Hive-Lords, though unremarkable in appearance, wealth, mentality, and respect, are vitally important to the growth of children, steering their direction in life by giving them a single as-yet-unanswered Question to seek the truth of. These queries can range from the suitably mundane ("which of my mandibles is your breakfast in?"), to the delightfully esoteric ("what are the rituals of patron goddess Kiluma?"), to the philosophically perverted ("is it possible to enforce consensus reality by proclaiming a longer, or smaller, aedeagus?"). Oftentimes, the questions will veer toward community service ("who killed Daniel Mboya?", "how long would it take you to complete an index of the Folktown Records?", and "who is the lady in Alarius' fresco?")
Whatever the Question, the importance of its Answer is reiterated regularly as the young mature. Many consider the solution a status symbol, to "make something of yourself", "grow up", and "make the family proud." Those who get easily Answered Questions are considered to have been "spoon-fed" their status (and those particular Hive-Lords are quite popular among parents who have an "image to uphold"). "Spoon-fed" Ghyllians are often looked down upon by those who dream daily of the same lofty perches, and attacked by miscreants who have eshewed the search for Answers in exchange for destroying what they can't (or won't) attain.
As joyous an occasion it is to publicly proclaim your Answer, it is equally disastrous to solve another person's Question, whether deliberately or accidentally. To do so and be discovered usually means a stripping of one's status and an assignation of an incredibly difficult puzzle (often a Question that has remained unsolved for centuries, having reverted to the public domain after the recipient died). The punishment becomes even worse when knowledgeable and helpful scholars remain tight-lipped, stonewalling questions with a disapproving glance and heavy sigh. Only two people have successfully returned from these travails: Quezlar 6 and Andelphracia, having both answered the other's Question, also worked together to solve their newly assigned Mysteries.
Because of the negative repercussions, editors at the Folktown Records toe a very fine line (much smaller than a linanit) between what questions to answer and which to reject. No one wants a repeat of Garth Haversham's accidental Answering in -5 EC, but some suspected (hoped, even schemed) it would happen sooner or later after his failed baiting of Gibbous Saunders's mother in -7 EC. Garth hasn't been heard from since his banishment, and current speculation places him deep in the Elminster Mire.
Hive-Lords assign Questions when the young has reached 5 years of age.
--Morbus Iff 18:54, 5 Nov 2004 (EST)