Steward of Derm & Lord of Demor


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I’ve been told that Foe is a favourite amongst my readers and I have to agree. He’s a kindhearted, honourable, loving man who will not hesitate to lay down his life for you if need be. He adores his wife and son, while always opening the door for anyone who needs a place to sleep, eat, or recover. He isn’t your typical noble as he treats everyone with kindness no matter their background but don’t mistake his kindness for leniency. If you threaten to harm someone while under his roof you should fear for your life. He’s a gifted warrior with a difficult past that his hides behind his smiling blue eyes and big welcoming grin. Now, that my personal opinion of Foe is out of the way let me describe him in more detail.

 

Personality:

Foe is relatively calm and friendly. He likes his wine and Briskin Honey Mead like any good Dermite warrior. His pastimes consist of training new recruits, tending to his gryphon – Vesper – or giving attention to his wife. When he isn’t doing those, Foe can be found tending to his responsibilities as Lord of Demor or giving his advice to his close childhood friend – Charn, the Northern King – on battle tactics.

His likes consist of drinking, friendly competition, and playing with his son.

His dislikes consist of “dishourable thugs”, running needless errands, and cleaning up after Charn.

 

Appearance:

Standing at 6 feet 9 inches, some would call him short compared to other Dermite. His long blond hair has streaks of grey near the ears, which is usually tied back in a half-pony. His bread is trimmed close to the face that is leather like in appearance with his time spent in the sun. His eyes are a ice blue and narrows when he smiles.

Imagine Kevin McKidd – with  blond hair and more scruff.

His outfits change depending on what he is doing. If in court he wears his leather armour with a silver band around his head. In battle he wears polished Demori steel mail. Other times when he isn’t fighting politically or on a battlefield, he wears a deer leather jerkin with a cream linen shirt. He always is carrying his broadsword, as there is never a time that a sword is not needed.

 

Background:

Foe is the middle child of three siblings, and the only son. His oldest sister – May – married a wealthy Spice Merchant and moved to the East, close to the Endless Sea. She has four children, three boys and a girl that keep her very busy. Foe’s younger sister – Lin – married one of the Ambassadors of Derm. Lin had two children, both girls. Sadly Lin and her family were assassinated by Southern spies. It is believed her husband knew something that he shouldn’t have.

Foe grew up in the city of Demor, close to the border where Derm and the Western Valley meet. His father – Lord Brig of Demor – was the Steward of Derm, leaving it only natural for Foe to follow in his footsteps. As a boy, Foe spent a lot of time with Cain and Charn – the Northern Princes. They trained together and fought together in many of the frays between the North and South. It was Foe who introduced Charn to his late wife – Azti – who was a good friend of his younger sister. Foe spent a lot of time covering up Charn’s mistakes as to make sure no ill attention fell upon the royal family.

It was after King Calvik died and Prince Cain took the throne that things began to change for the North. Cain didn’t hesitate to push the lines and feed a good amount of resources into building up the Dermite military. Cain was a natural at leading and with each promise he made he kept. Through pure awe at Cain’s leadership Foe worked hard to join the King’s guard and fought along side King Cain. Unfortunately fate didn’t shine upon Cain for long, as he was killed during the Battle of Barbeck only a year into his reign. The only survivor of the King’s guard was Foe.

Riddled with guilt for what had happened Foe returned to Demor to recover from the traumatic events that befallen him during the Battle. It was at this time Charn became the new king of Derm and with thanks for all the years Foe had supported him Charn made Foe Steward of Derm. This only made the guilt worse but he accepted the position as to not dishonor his father’s legacy or his family’s reputation.

Within a year of becoming Steward and Charn becoming King, Queen Azti passed away after giving birth to a son – Cáel. The Queen’s death helped distract Foe from his own misery to focus his attention on ensuring Charn could still rule. When it came to both Charn’s and Foe’s attention that the newborn prince was not a healthy baby the Sister’s of Mercy were brought to Derm to tend to the sickly babe. That was when Foe was blessed with the love of his life, a young mixed-blooded nurse named Marcia.

The two quickly fell in love and soon married. It would be 11 years until they would have their own child – Druce. Some saying it was a miracle the child was born at all, and survived being born with a cord around his neck. He is small for his age but that doesn’t stop the boy from getting into trouble.

As the years passed and the prince’s health continued to decline Foe knew that he had to do something, although the King may not have been please. Contacting an old friend at the university of La’reen, the same sage who had helped him recover from his experiences at Barbeck, Foe was happy to hear that the Master Healer Caldor of Fish Bank was so willing to take up the challenge of finding the reason behind the prince’s sickness. Between tending to the prince, Caldor and Foe became close drinking buddies that eventually turned into more of a brotherly love. Together they looked after the prince, and watched after the King.

 

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The Heinous Hanging Boatmen


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Hanging Boatmen is a group of Dermite bandits and thieves that raid the waterways between Derlin (Derm’s Capital) and King’s Port. They are believed to be responsible for the majority of the crime within the capital city and have claimed several heinous actions such as setting fire to the logging camps near Bay’s Lake, the hanging/plundering/burning of several shipping vessels within the shipping channel, raiding the armoury in the lower district of the capital city, and the kidnapping/murder of Lieutenant Rowel Brickton of the Gryphon Guard’s wife and daughters.

This group of terrorists was given the name Hanging Boatmen since their signature on many of the shipping vessels as of late is hanging the crew from the masts. The group has two leaders although their names and whereabouts are still unknown at this point to the guards responsible in finding them. Those within the Hanging Boatmen can be recognized by the symbol of a noose sown into the sleeve of their clothes. Anyone with that symbol within the capital is automatically arrested and interrogated.

It is known that cities and villages outside of Derlin pay off the Hanging Boatmen who threatens to burn down the places they threaten. As no one knows how many are part of this heinous group or clear on what their motivations are those threatened prefer to play safe by handing over the requested amount of quint.

As of late the Hanging Boatmen’s actions have been quiet. They still utter threats but their silence is cause for concern as to what they might be planning.

Rumours in the capital say that there is a vigilantly walking the streets at night seeking justice of those harmed by the Hanging Boatmen. Although the guards will not speak of them, local folks are open to sharing the tales of the Burning Avenger – a figure engulfed in flames that hunts and kills whatever Hanging Boatmen they come across.

The King is concerned that as much as this Burning Avenger is helping his men to fix the unrest, this Avenger will turn into a bigger threat then their the Hanging Boatmen.

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Jewel of Chijin Culture: Kadmir


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If there is a point in Gaitan history that could be pointed to as the moment the north and south’s hatred for one another boiled over it would be the battle over Kadmir. Before Kadmir the northern region of Gaitan stayed out of the affairs of the south, permitting them to move into the Western Valley and through the middle of Gaitan, which was at the time unclaimed territory. They saw no reason why unused land should be ignored and if the South wished to have that land, then the north was more than happy to give it to them. The problem only escalated when the south grew greedy, wanting more than just the middle land of Gaitan and began encroaching on the land primarily under the Chijin peoples care in the east.

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The city of Kadmir was known as the Jewel of Chijin Culture with their colourful birds, lushes fields, ample forests, and luxurious culture. They were exporters of rare spices and
masters in economics. One could say that Kadmir’s elements were what forced Sydrin to build La’reen out of shear jealousy of the fact those of Easterly were gifted enough to be the most advanced of the people within Gaitan. The first theater was built within the city focusing on music, drama, and other pieces of the arts. The famous play Fates Above covering the creation of the world and the early life of the Three Gods created by the famous playwright Delverkin Van Morsner was one of the many piece of Chijin art found within the remains of the theaters archives.

Wishing to be the ruler of all free men, King Ja’kle of Syder raised a force to intimidate those within Kadmir to abandon the city or at least give ownership of the city over to the south. It was with this news the northern king – Nor – raised an army to come to the Chijin’s aid. Those in Kadmir welcomed those of Derm with open arms, which in turn enraged King Ja’kle further causing him to retaliate by burning the city to the ground, salting the land, and poisoning their water. In their mind, if they couldn’t have the city then no one would.

These heinous actions against Kadmir pushed those in the North to attack King Ja’kle and his troops resulting in the southern king’s demise. The conflict could have ended there but with the death of the southern king and the loss of Kadmir the new king of the South – Ar’id the Avenger, eldest son of Ja’kle’s eight children – swore to seek justice for his father’s ‘murder’ by declaring war on the Northern Nation of Derm.

All that remains of the Jewel of Chijin Culture is a wasteland worn away from years of battles fought upon its soil. Pieces of the once proud buildings said to be laces with silver and gold are no more than outlines of foundation. There are still some places that remain in one piece, mostly the tunnel systems that once snaked through the streets. Those studying archaeology and history in the universities throughout Gaitan say that there are still murals depicting everyday life and culture scattered throughout the vast tunnel systems. Kadmir’s artifacts like pottery, surviving manuscripts, and art can be seen on display at the University of Calin. Some pieces like the original screenplay of  Fates Above or maps of the city can been seen upon formal request.

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Derlin the City of Kings


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Derlin – the capital of Derm – also known as the City of Kings, is the third largest city in Gaitan. The population is mainly Dermite but there is a fair amount of Chijin living within the wall of the city. The population of Derlin fluctuate throughout the year. During the winter months the city has about 943,800 residence but when spring comes around and the passage to the Isle of Steel opens the populations goes down to 678,300 (give or take).derlin2

As Derlin has a channel that leads into King’s Port, they mainly use that for transporting their goods. Derlin is where most goods are sorted, stored, and priced for trade to other countries such as Easterly or some communities in the west. Their main form of trade is Demori Steel (shipped in from the Isle of Steel), feathers, wood, granite, grain, cotton, and hemp. King’s Port also ships fish to the capital where it is mostly salted and stored.

Outside of commerce the city of Derlin is also where most government discussions between the councils are held. Once a year for two months representatives of the countries across Gaitan gather in the inner chambers of Derlin’s Castle to discuss trade treaties, open border agreements, and other political arrangements.

Leaders of the Dermite military are also trained within the walls of Derlin, taking part in similar training as the Gryphon Guardians that train in the higher levels of the castle close to the Gryphon Keep – the highest point in all of Derlin.

The Castle of Derlin is built into the mountainside with ornate architecture that tells the stories of historic battles and important moments in Dermite history. The carvings continue on the inside of the castle where you can see the faces of the hard working craftsmen that built the castle carved into the archways along with symbols and words long forgotten by history. Rumors say that one of the hallways in the castle was dedicated to Kanrow Farbic – prophet and creator of the Prophecy Six.

Although Derlin is considered rich from their commerce and their population is relatively happy the city isn’t without their problems. When the villages outside of the city suffer with bandits and slavers Derlin’s guards battle with keeping the gangs and thieves under control. One group – the Hanging Boatmen – have been causing the most issues since they made themselves known about five years to the common day. The Hanging Boatmen got their names from raiding the ships using the channel between Derlin and King’s Port and leave the crew hanging from their mast. No one knows what they do with the supplies they raid, but it is assumed that they are selling it on the black-market to help enemy forces.

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The Western Valley: The Mountain City of Morza


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Morza is the city best known as the Masters of Dragons and mountain people of the West.morza

While most would stay away from the dangers of the Western Mountains the people of Morza learnt to live in harmony with what many would fear. After being exiled from Sydrin over 400 years ago, the Morzi people made their way West and settled in the mountains where they set up small yurt like buildings. They grew to depend on everyone pulling their weight and did not see gender as weakness. A man could do a woman’s job just as well as a woman could do a man’s.

The Morzi mostly kept to themselves, trading with lone merchants travelling between the North and South. Although their relationship was rocky with the South they kept friendly with the large nation that had let them live.

They were one of the only groups asides from the scattered few across Gaitan that follow the Grand Three belief where all three Gods work in unity to make the world spin. Most consider this a deluded belief as many believe that the Gods are in constant conflict just like the land of Gaitan.

The Morzi did not have a king. Instead they were led by a leader they called the Mor. The Mor, in a sense is like a Warden, making the final decision in tough situations. Most issues were decided by the people with the Mor having the last say in the matter if need be. Second to the Mor was the Shazamest – or Master Healer. The Shazamest was the keeper of history and tradition as well as the most skilled healer of their people. The Shazamest worked as council for the Mor and at times could over power the Mor if in the best interest of the people.

Morza was the smallest territory with the smallest population. They rarely imported goods unless for special events like their New Years celebration which took place during the early fall. Their main exports were dragons and dragon items (leather, teeth, bone), which they raised and trained from the caves close to their city.

Not much is known about the Morzi people as they considered themselves private and few outsiders were ever granted permission to learn the complex histories of these people. What knowledge we have on record is through oral communications with Ambassador Suzara, and texts discovered upon further investigation after the massacres. We at the university of La’reen hope to find further insight regarding these unique people and will continue to update this entry upon discovery of new knowledge.

Records by Sage Beltervil Vedmolc (Middle Summer, fourth week, Age of Cain) 

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The Western Valley: The Stonework of Stone Creek


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stonecreekStone Creek is a work camp caught between the Western Valley and the Northern border. Its main purpose is to cut marble from the old Mia river basin that was redirected by Dermite workers when the marble was discovered over 130 years prior.

Only a handful of workers live in the camp, switching out every three months to visit family in Derm or Menk. The marble is sent to the Dermite capital of Derlin to fortify the walls or grow the city within the walls. The marble is also sold to the East for their elaborate architecture, although the East prefers to work with alabaster and limestone.

The camp consists of thirty men at one time which spend most of their hours cutting and moving stones out of the quarry. Stone Creek is abandoned during the winter seasons and resumes near the end of spring when the snow has fully melted. Those that work in Stone Creek are friendly and up for trading food for stories if you happen to be travelling through that way.

Not many choose to stay at the camp unless they have to but new faces are always a welcoming sight for the men working the quarry.

There is a Chijin sculpture by the name of Havin Grockburnker that spends his time in the quarry. Since the age of ten, he spent his summers with the workers learning about marble and at times negotiating prices with merchants that wish to buy. When he was fifteen, Grockburnker began using the flawed pieces of marble for his personal projects, sculpting ‘the spirit’ of the marble. He has created over 100 pieces and is paid to do commissions for very influential clients, (Empress of La’reen and Father Valkrin of Sydrin). Now, at the age of 56 his work is bought by royalty and the money he receives he uses to better the lives of those in the quarry by buying new equipment, lodging, or food.

Havin Grockburnker’s most famous pieces – The Three Siblings – can be found in the Arrowhilm Temple.

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The Gateway to The West: City of Demor


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demorDemor, the gateway between the Western Valley and the Northern Nation of Derm. This city was built 300 years before the common day, around the same time Morza was founded in the West. After the Dermite fled from Derlin – the capital city of Derm – many settled closer to the resources they needed for their weapons and people.

Demor is home to over 2000 people in tightly confined walls and townhouses. The area is surrounded by pine, cedar, and spruce. Their main purpose is to defend the Northern border from attackers, breed the gryphons that live in the hills and supply the capital with iron, silver, and steel.

The Steward of Derm resides over the city and keeps close watch on the relationship between the West – mostly Bay’s Lake – and the Dermite. They are far enough from the south-east to not concern themselves with the war going on between Derm and Sydrin, but they are ready if need be. The only issues Demor contends with are bandits robbing the merchants on the main roads and slavers stealing children from the outlying villages.

Although there are plenty of dangers outside the walls, Demor is surprisingly safe within the walls. With the population made up of militants and their families, that really isn’t of much surprise. The city smells of urine, wood smoke, and feces from people dumping their garbage in the streets. The Detress – wife of the Steward – is responsible in finding ways to improve the peoples’ morale and the state of her city. Asides from the terrible smell and cramped living space, Demorian’s are happy living within the walls of their city and won’t waste time bragging about it.

If you are looking at staying in Demor the best place would be the castle as there’s a lot of space once you make it through the second wall and inside the castle limits. Gaining access to the castle is difficult though, since only those welcomed by the Steward or the King are aloud to preside within the walls. This list includes council members, political officials, family, Gryphon Guardians, physicians, and special guests.

If you don’t fall under any of those titles you will likely be staying outside the castle walls. The best we can suggest for your accommodations during your stay within the Gateway City is the Naughty Norg. The inn sleeps fifty and has a good (could pass as) meat pie. They also – according to the fat Chijin that own’s the place – have the best stout in the city.

“I had the pleasure of staying in the castle. It was a wonderful experience and the Detress ensured my stay to be most pleasant. The feather mattresses were like sleeping on air. The food was made for a King and the gardens were breath taking.” – Milo Kettlebert (Mispick)

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“I like the garden, and the people in the market are friendly… although I spend most of my time reading in my room.” – Liora (Morza)

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“Best way to improve morale is to have mor-ale. Get it? Mor Ale! Ha!” – Finto Brassworth (Arrowhilm)

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“The shops have a lovely selection of fabrics and the draper is always willing to share his secrets.” – Emery Thermae (Menk)

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THE GRAND THREE (TRINITY)


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From what I was able to piece together from the traditional texts of my people and the information given to me by the Master Healer Caldor, the Grand Three was the belief that the world could not work without the Gods working in unity. Sirphan gives the world water and life. Darkel’s creations can then grow and feed Sirphan’s creations. Kidoss ensures that the creatures are protected and returns them to the earth from which they came. From this it is believed that life follows a circle and returns from once it came.

Those that followed this belief were the ancestors of my people – the Chijin – before we chose to let science replace belief. It later migrated to the Western Mountains, likely by word of mouth or merchants travelling from the South, to the primitive Morzi with their own spin on the religion where they set up stone idols to represent the three Gods. With what Master Healer Caldor explained regarding his Morzi apprentice, there was a morning ritual where she was responsible for cleaning the idols and garden on where the Gods’ ‘resided’. After the cleaning was complete she would then present gifts to the Gods, asking for their guidance and blessings for the coming day. During festival times the people of the village would gather and pray to the idols, some leaving gifts, while others touched or kissed the idols to be blessed.

This of course is one person’s interpretation of their belief as all records regarding the Morzi Trinity belief has been lost or may be mistranslated. It is also believed that the Trinity belief – better known as the Grand Three – was where the Gods’ Mark was first created. Sign of this symbol can be dated back to the first clans of the Chijin people over 10,000 year ago. You can find this symbol in Chijin architecture and even primitive clothing preserved in the University of Calin.

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Please note my attempt at the Gods’ mark above. The top of the trinity apparently represents the Goddess Sirphan, to the right is Darkel, and to the left if Kidoss. They are wrapped in a circle but their parts are separate, since they each play their own role in the circle of life but are at the same time united. Some also argue that the circle that surrounds the center trinity is a representation of the Gods’ mother, Fate, as Fate encompasses all things living and dead. This of course isn’t fact but it is a theory we must consider when approaching this subject. In regards to the use of this symbol by the followers of Kanrow – Chaos Singers – we can only assume they wanted to take a familiar symbol to make their outrageous claims of their text appear more valid than it actually is.

 

Update:

It has more recently been discovered that those of the supposed Six have been branded with the Gods’ Mark, although it is unclear if it is by choice or on purpose. The representative of the Six – Ambassador Liora of Morza – refuses to comment on the matter regarding the strange markings and responds with hostility whenever questioned about it. I quote, “Aren’t there better things to be asking than what marks are on our skin?”

At this point in time it is unclear if these brands could be the source of the Six’s strange abilities or if it is just coincidence. Further research must be conducted into the Gods’ Mark to have a clearer understanding of its purpose in the ‘Prophecy’.

 

Councillor Bargrim, University of La’reen

 

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The Western Valley: The Simple Village of Irbet


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Irbet is best known for their tavern, The Happy Farmhand, since that’s really all there is for visitors passing through the small town of 60 or so villagers.

Irbet is a self-sustaining farming and logging village in the Western Valley. Irbetians are relatively friendly folk with a mixed populace of defected Northerners and Easterners.

This village was originally a scouting post for King Ral of the North during the Era of Ago’kath. It later began logging and setting up a permanent hold in the valley after the Southern king – Ago’kath – died at the Fall of Hathos, which began the Era of Ral.

The village lived happily in the Western Valley, sending plenty of food and wood to Derm. With their distance from the Northern and Southern conflicts in the south-east, Irbet began to distance themselves from the north in hopes of defecting. Their wish to defect was granted during the reign of King Cark, who defined the borders of the North abandoning all settlements in the west.

Irbetians, although isolated, are happy with the choices they made over the years. The villagers are allowed to come and go as they please. Many becoming merchants to trade with the west and north avoiding the southern countries in fear of being killed due to their linage originating from Derm.

 

 

“If yah have the time, the brew is good and the air is fine.” -Merchant Rec  (Demor)

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“Their tavern is loud, the drinks are heavy, and the streets smell of bull. I don’t stop there unless I have to.”

-Merchant Maltoser Salvin (Arrowhilm)

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“Never would I have stayed in a place with a name like that… I was not impressed.”

-Master Healer Caldor Lefwid (Fish Bank)

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The Western Valley: The Orchard Village of Downrow


Downrow is a village who focuses mainly on fruit and fruit trees, in the middle of the Western Valley.downrow

It has a population of 160 people and growing, since the main road cuts right through the middle of the town. With this convince of the main road Downrow gets a lot of travellers heading either to the North or South throughout the travelling season of spring- fall. Even with the growing population and increased visitors, Downrow doesn’t have an inn or tavern.

Well they have a tavern but it’s a tented shop with wooden boxes for seats. The local rumours have it that they’ll be looking at building a tavern in the coming years if the visitors keep coming. They don’t want to waste resources on something that won’t bring in coin.

Downrow is also home to a Pellar (a basic healer that uses strange mixtures and odd items to cure people). He lives along the river’s edge outside the village limits in a tent. He likes to be alone but is known to have the Baker’s wife – Talia – check up on him and make sure he’s well.

Downrow is called the Village of Orchards for a reason, as most of the trees surrounding the village bear some kind of fruit. They harvest apples, plums and peaches. They also grow strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They have the juiciest and sweetest fruits in the land, which even those in La’reen seek to have on their breakfast platters. Researchers from Calin believe the deliciousness of these fruits can be contributed to the rich soil of the valley and the Mia River that helps create the perfect environment for the fruit trees to flourish. The locals believe it is their hard work and passion for growing the perfect fruit that is the reason their village has grown in popularity for their harvests.

So, if you like your fruit and don’t mind sleeping in a barn for a night come stay in Downrow.

“Broket’s Bakery makes the best peach tarts.” – Rose-Marie Fiddlebottom (Arrowhilm)

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“Can catch some nice trout, and they don mind yah cookin’ it on the shore neither.” – Frow Rolbirk (Grelmik)

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“They say they had a healer, but he’s a loon!” – Kalben Aldros (La’reen)

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