Initiation Maze

Initiation Maze

The community has this tradition, all the youngsters, as they reach sixteen years old, must go through the maze kept by the elders.

The maze has to be kept, as younger people absolutely want to explore it and overcome it a little earlier than their friends and rivals. The mazekeeping is hard work. The creatures living in the maze have to be contained and they have to be fed somehow, a potential meal per sun revolution isn't enough.

There is also the threat of outside "sapper cultures" mines reaching into the maze and "contaminating" it, or simply making it branch into the unknown and the uncontrolled.

The elders share a checklist compiling check points and common fixes necessary to maintain the initiation maze. The checklist is a monotonous song in an archaic version of the village language. The youngsters are keen to intercept pieces of the song as it's performed.

The easiest part of the song to understand are those about the orientation within the maze, hence the motivation to "steal the song", it gets a bit weird when the song branches in the description of the fixes necessary for the maintenance, and then there are the parts of it that are just for flourish, actually prevention of performance errors (and loss of memory).

Seeding pieces of the song to the young people is a kind of amusement for the elders. There is an inoffensive fake version of the song that circulates. There is an offensive fake version that is used in the long feud between some of the families of the village. The maze also takes the lives of elders and thus eliminates the versions of the song that have too much drift.

There is a belief that says that the song makes the maze, that the song is not a map but a generation technique.

Not all the youngsters survive the initiation maze. Some youngsters fail completely by refusing to enter, they will live but will not be considered as adults (most of them leave after a while).

Not entering the maze makes you an outsider.


Fast forward a century. The village is still here, its population has doubled, but the maze has been almost completely forgotten, but it's still here.

Entering the maze are only outsiders. Some of them guided by a tune overlaying the noise of their minds.