When she was 13, Vasana daughter of Farnan was initiated according to the tribal traditions of the Colymar. She was chosen by Vinga and pressed on to I Fought We Won. She was welcomed as a “young man” by her community and was sent to the Starfire Ridges along with some 300 other young men from the local clans. They were given a cloak, a broad-brimmed hat, and weapons.
Vasana spent the next two years among her fellow “young men” learning to fight, learning about the Orlanthi gods. Most of this time was spent atop the Starfire Ridges, where they raided, hunted, and learned to fight as a group. They learned to survive in all seasons, learned to run long distances without breaks, how to climb cliffs, etc. After the first year, Vasana was given a sword by the Wind Lord, a sign of her promise. At those feasts and ceremonies, the young men learned to dance and flirt with women. Some even learned the mysteries of sex with women (some may have already learned the mysteries of sex with other young men).
As a woman, she was the among youngest “young man” present. This forced her to learn to compete with older (and no doubt stronger) boys and hardened her for the Vingan life.
During the second year, the training continued. They learned songs and poems of the gods and heroes. They learned to make a shield wall and how to fight with their sword. They learned of the spirits.
At the end of the second year, they were brought back into the community and back to their clans with feasts and celebrations. Most then went on to initiate to Orlanth; Vasana initiated into the Vingan band at Clearwine.
When she was 13 years old, Yanioth went through her clan initiation rites. Afterwards, she was given, as is traditional for young women of her Ernaldoring clan, to the Clearwine Earth Temple for two years of training and apprenticehood. She served the priestesses, learned useful crafts, and learned the songs and dances of Ernalda. She received magical lore and learned of the spirits. She lived in the temple with the other young women, and functioned as a student and a servant of the priestesses.
At those ceremonies where the young women met with the young men, she learned to flirt and dance with the young men. Yanioth also learned the mysteries of sex with men (and possibly women as well).
After two years, she was returned to her community with feasts and celebrations. She initiated into the deeper mysteries of Ernalda, and Yanioth returned to the temple (where her mother is a priestess).
As an aside, I kind of imagine the “young men’s apprenticeship” like going to Camp Wolfeboro (a Scout camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains) as a teenager. But with more spears and swords. And lots more dancing. And no hiking boots.
I could easily compare it to the epheboi of Ancient Greece or the hypothesized kóryos of the Indo-Europeans, but let’s be fair – it is a dangerous Boy Scout Camp that lasts two years. With more weapons and more dancing. And probably a lot more booze and drugs (although I recall more than there was supposed to be, but it was the early 1980s).
And the occasional raid on the nearby village. Probably to get booze, drugs, and food. Heck, that might even sound familiar.
Young adults with unusual divine patrons, like Babeester Gor, Lhankor Mhy, Storm Bull, or Yinkin get sent to a nearby temple for apprenticeship and to learn the secrets of those gods. Sometimes they might be sent far away and some never return to their home community.
The girls are at the Earth Temple. And even the young men up in the hills know not to upset the priestesses. And their snakes.
Withe names, the problem is terminology. I am sure they are called whatever “Young Men’s Assocation” (“Jungmannschaft” or “yuva sangh” or the “Wild Cat Brothers” or whatever). But that sounds odd to our ear (even if epheboi just means “young men”). So “tribal camp” is misleading in English as it conjures images of summer camp, rather than young men surviving nearly naked in the wilds, armed with weapons, and learning dances and songs of the Storm God.
Actually because this is organised as a clan and tribal activity, I doubt the loss of hands is that much of a problem. Happens regularly, and easier to deal with than if the militia is called up at an odd time.
Complaining about field hands leaving the fields for two years as part of their religious and clan obligations certainly is not a clan or tribal matter! It is just worrying about you.
Lots of cultures and religions do something similar, including agricultural communities. Think of the Mormon missionaries on their 2-year tour.
Remember, women don’t initiate by five year bands, and their apprenticeship tends to be at a clan level rather than a tribal or city level (different skills being learned).
So young men are going to the hills for 2 years every 3 to 5 years by big “batches” of several hundreds, but young women are more on an “ongoing” schedule, with, say, only 20 of them every year in each clan doing “temple internships” and such? Exactly! And in some isolated clans (like the Varmandi), it might just be 20 or 30 boys sent into the hills for 2 years. While in Boldhome, it might be assemblies of a thousand camped out near Orlaman’s Keep or around the Sacred Hills and sponsored by the Prince, where they really focus on training for war, physical sports, and group loyalty.
So everyone knows that Vargast is going to the hills after his initiation. Well everyone except Vargast, as this whole thing is a clan secret and hidden from the not adults. If you are a free farmer, you can simply hire a tenant. If you are a tenant, it probably isn’t that huge a loss (and there are often itinerant labourers). And of course, the Orlanth temple supports this and feeds the kids, etc.Same deal with the Ernalda equivalent.
This also drives a lot of the raiding and cattle thieving going on, with young men proving themselves and learning about war and raiding.
So the 300 men represent five clans over five years, while the Ernaldings might have 20 young women per year top.
Where would a future Babeester/Maran Gor cultist go during her apprenticeship? Devotees of gods other than Orlanth, Ernalda and their “immediate family” (ie sub cults), get sent to a nearby temple. Sometimes they never return. So the young adult who finds Lhankor Mhy on their initiation gets sent to the nearest city with a library. And so on.