The Tarskan have a reputation for being cruel and self-indulgent: fond of war, torture, wine, arenas and harems. They are also notoriously greedy and fond of lavish social events and opulent homes and castles adorned with detailed stone and wood carvings, frescoes, and murals. To outsiders, their social arrangements seem very convoluted and intricate, a mix of blood ties and political expedients with innumerable customary cultural exceptions and exemptions. Even the Paretzi find their arrangements confusing and difficult to navigate at times.

In spite of their apparent self-centered desire for wealth and delight in cruelty, the Tarskan admire any sort of expertise and go out of their way, for example, to acquire Eloran tapestries and embroidery, to hire Paretzi bankers and lawyers, and to recruit the finest Tunisi soldiers for their private guard. They also pride themselves on their own expertise and breadth of learning and skill so it is not unusual, for example, for a skilled soldier to be a painter as well, or for a surgeon to use his understanding of human anatomy to become a better wrestler. The Tarskan world view is a mystery to outsiders though it is not enigmatic to the same degree that the Katarsi mind set is.

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