So have some (as yet unintroduced) twins!
Hector-Hernan and Bartolome Criston are 13 year old brothers, born in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port sometime in the early 1600s (they are illiterate and don't know the exact date). St-Jean is a beautiful little inland village straddling a river on the modern-day border of France and Spain, and is almost smack in the middle of Basque Country.
Now, I love the Basques. I could rant all day about the Basques, and never run out of things to say. Originally Hector and Barta were going to be Spanish, but then I realized that there just weren't enough berets, espadrilles, and crazy Basque words in this story (for example, txotxolo--pronounced "cho-cho-lo"--meaning "idiot"). THIS HAD TO BE REMEDIED, AND QUICKLY. So they became Basque. They don't look it, though; Basques have generally dark complexions and coloring, prominent brows and large earlobes. Solution: their mom was Spanish and they inherited her looks. Hurray for cop outs!
Hector is the older twin by ten minutes, and is slightly more introverted. Barta is just a bit taller and more developed, and laughs when Hector gets upset about this (the difference is not noticeable enough for the other members of the Wunderkammer to tell them apart with any accuracy; Theano has the best average at about 65%). They are both relatively easy-going, and excellent cooks (hence the pots and pans in the sketch. Twin #2 is holding a bunch of dried peppers in his left hand, a Basque specialty). Their clothes are somewhat traditional, but tattered and missing some items; they found the Wunderkammer by accident by falling through a hatch on their uncle's sinking ship while fishing for Cod off the coast of Massachusetts. They only speak Basque, a language of about 200,000 words known by less than 3 million people at any given time, and unchanged since before Romans got it into their heads to conquer Gaul.
Ok, some Basque facts. Because I must!
- Basque language, culture and customs have remained intact and unchanged for as long as they have been recorded in history (pre-Julius Caesar). It is believed that their DNA has remained relatively unchanged as well, and that they are direct descendents of the first neanderthals to settle in the area thousands upon thousands of years ago.
- There is evidence the Basques were fishing for cod off the coast of New England hundreds of years before Columbus was even born. They sailed there in open-topped skiffs, and dried the fish with a process they learned from the Vikings.
- The first man to circumnavigate the globe was a Basque; Magellan's second-in-command, who took over when the captain died. Most of that crew (and Columbus', and pretty much every other ship going out during the Age of Exploration) were Basques as well.
- A Basque invented the first steam engine during the 1500s. They promptly lost interest after the King of Navarre deemed the contraption frivolous. A Basque also founded the Jesuit branch of Catholicism, St. Ingnatius of Layola.
- The Basques do not have a name for their country: they refer to it as "Euskadi," or "the nation of Basques"/"the nation of Basque speakers." Technically they don't even have a country; at least not an internationally recognized one. Euskadi spans from Biarritz, in France, to Bilbao, in Spain. Because it so conveniently spans the border between these two nations, the Basques are excellent smugglers, up to and including Jews, children and refugees during WWII. For nine months Spain recognized them as a legitmate country and independent government during the early part of Franco's rise to power, since the Basques opposed his regime. However, when he finally came into office he revoked that status and tried to kill, and later breed, them out.
- This is getting too long, but I will leave you with the fact that Papa Hemmingway was in love with Basque country; I cite for your reading pleasure For Whom the Bell Tolls. Conversely, the Basques love him. Shit is named in his honor from St. Jean-de-Luz to Pamplona! Wow!
Also, the rebels in Pan's Labyrinth are Basques. Sweet!