Gifts and Talents

Gifts and Talents refer to the same thing, but different cultures/geographical areas have different names for these abilities. In the United States, Southerners tend to use the term Gifted while those in the North and New England–if they speak of such things at all–speak of Talents. The Germans call it “Zaubermachen” or speak of having “Zauberhande.” At this time, these are the only cultures with which I’ve dealt directly, so those are the only ones I know the names for.

Talents are genetic, which is why the same types of Talents continually reappear within a family line. Also, as Talented individuals tend to seek out and marry others like themselves (because it’s nice to be understood and accepted by one’s family), certain families often have a large number of strongly Talented members.

The original ability to work “magic” comes when Fae blood is mixed into a human bloodline. Star and Danica’s abilities come from a phooka ancestor on one side of the family and a member of the Sidhe on the other. However, once the genes are introduced into the bloodline, they don’t disappear. They can be diluted by intermarriage with non-Talents to the point where they no longer routinely manifest, but the genes are still there and sometimes reappear even in modern times.

Most cultures used to have Talents of some sort, but in the times periods I write about, not all still do. Usually this is because the culture in question actively tried to remove Talents from the gene pool. For example, there are very few Talents of Spanish descent, because most of them were wiped out during the Spanish Inquisition. In Puritan-settled areas of New England, the use of Talents has been repressed to the point of no longer manifesting. Many Asian cultures, especially those heavily influenced by Confucianism, tend to discourage the use of Talents as being detrimental to the the common good. Muslim Talents are practically non-existent.

On the other hand, some cultures did, and still do, actively support and celebrate the idea of having Gifts/being Talents. The Celtic nations are one of those groups, as are the natives of North and South America. That explains the high number of Talents from those backgrounds.

Finally, in some areas it’s not always certain whether a Talent will be accepted or persecuted. For example, some African tribes venerate the Talented, calling them “Favored” or “Fortunate,” while the next tribe over consider them the offspring of demons to be killed as soon as they manifest. In these areas, those Talents with openly visible gifts (the Fire-Callers and Air-Weavers and whatnot) usually learn at an early age to hide what they can do. Those with the mental Gifts (such as Benders, Finders, and Dreamers) can usually get away with using their abilities more often without being caught.


Next:  The Different Types of Talents.