And now for something completely different.
I’m working on a new ms — draft at 25,000 words (which for me is about 2/3rds of the way through a first draft — I’ll add description and explanation and additional character interactions in subsequent passes) and I need a kind of initiation trial.
So I was reading about ways in which different peoples mark adulthood for their kids and one which jumped out (although it jumped rather confusingly because the sources seem to say different things) was the Spartan Krypteia.
Certain boys — who had performed so well at their training that they clearly had leadership potential — would be sent out into the countryside to kill helots, subjugated peoples the Spartans used as agricultural slaves. The boys were instructed to target strong, fit men especially. presumably to reduce the likelihood of rebellion (which was an ongoing concern — there were a lot more helots than Spartans).
What a terrible thing to do to children (and subjugated populations).
What a brilliant background for a story.
It’s no use for the one I’m writing at the moment, however, so on with the research…