The Earth Wife's Favorite is a role held by a young man in native Rathillien fertility rites, both among the Merikit and in Kothifir, and likely elsewhere besides. On Summer Solstice every year, the Favorite fights a Challenger in order to retain his position; if he loses the Challenger becomes next year's Favorite. The Favorite is also the Earth Wife's lover, and the "darling of the hills". The Earth Wife presents her lover to her consort, the Burnt Man, as their son, this being called "fooling death".
- ↑ Seeker's Mask, "Part VIII: Kithorn" — "Since last midsummer, he's been the Earth Wife's Favorite, the darling of the hills,"
- ↑ Seeker's Mask, "Part VIII: Kithorn" — " 'Now the Earth Wife is supposed to present her lover, the new Favorite, to her consort, the Burnt Man, as their son. Life out of winter and ashes, d'you see? Spring fertility and frolics. It's called "fooling death." Not too bright, our friend up there. Of course, once in a while he catches on and the Favorite spontaneously combusts."
- ↑ The Sea of Time, "Chapter XXII: The End of Many Things", II — " 'So tell me: how did you manage all of those women? They line up outside my door every night. I hardly get any sleep at all.' "
- ↑ Bound in Blood, "Chapter XV: Winter's Eve", II — " 'Look, housebond, a visitor, and by the Four t'is the Earth Wife's Favorite himself! How honored we are!' […] 'Come back tonight and favor me, silken boy.' […] 'And, from what they said, I suppose that the Favorite has the pick of the village.' 'Oh yes. To bear a Favorite's child is great good fortune—' "
- ↑ Honor's Paradox, "Chapter XVIII: Summer's Eve", II — " 'I could give that to her as her housebond, but I can’t if I become the new Favorite.' So, although valued for their sexual potency, Favorites weren’t allowed to take life-mates during their tenure."