|Svaathë, a Tlavatli.|
Among the children of the Rmoahals, some travelled north, and there they settled, and there they learned selfishness. There they learned ambition.
They dwindled in size as the centuries progressed, the better perhaps to live in the vast cities they built, the last of which still stand on the Five Islands. They think of themselves as seafarers and heroes, every man and woman with the potential to be king or queen, and while the Atlanteans might mock the Tlavatlis practice of electing their kings and queens through popular acclamation, and deposing them when they fail, would a king elected by the people have taken up the Black Banner? Could a Tlavatli have made the Throng of Bestials or have created the Thralls of Leagh?
True, some of their institutions have stayed with the Atlanteans. The Tlavatlis were the first to institute slavery; they were the first to create a standing army and to colonise for the sake of empire. Now, their empire amounts to a few shrinking principalities and kingdoms, and too many of their own people toil as slaves of the Atlanteans.
The Atlanteans do not study the ways of the Tlavatlis. The only characteristic they ascribe to the Second People is an absolute lack of honour. A Tlavatlis is frivolous and scornful of niceties, so it is written. A Tlavatli is wholly untrustworthy: never, say the treatises, make a deal with a Tlavatli because it will never be kept.
In fact, the Tlavatlis maintain strict standards of truthfulness and honour among their own. For family, friends, regiment, King or Queen, they will stand, unto death and beyond. For their own, the Tlavatlis swear by the Akâsha, the most final and objective of authorities, and to their private gods, deified forebears who judge every action.
Outside of their own, however, the Tlavatlis owe no duty of truth, no reason to keep a deal if it doesn't suit. Outsiders cannot be trusted; why should they have cause to trust you? Outsiders steal from you; steal from them first.
And is it so frivolous to laugh? The coming catastophe is an irony, a final joke of Fate. If one laughs in its face, what of it? We will all die, but some of us will have laughed when we had the chance.