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 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 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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The Western Valley: The Border Town of Bay’s Lake


bayslakeBay’s Lake is a merchant hub that’s close to the Derm border. Still considered part of the Western Valley, Bay’s Lake welcomes anyone wishing to trade or sell goods. They carry exotic items from the far south like silks, perfumes, and jewellery. They carry precious gems and special leathers from the East. They also carry master crafted weapons and ale from the North.

Bay’s Lake, although considered a neutral border town,is occupied by Dermite. Those living or visiting will see the guards marching in their royal blue capes, dressed in their polished silver armour and carrying their banners of the Silver Gryphon. The guards mainly keep to themselves and rarely get involved with the lives of those on the island but if there’s trouble they’re the first to act.

The village isn’t only known for its large marketplace, but for their fishing. As the largest body of fresh water, Bay’s Lake is the main producer of sturgeon, lake trout, and during certain times of the year salmon. They also harvest the kelp and snails.

The population of Bay’s Lake fluctuates depending on the year. During the winter Bay’s Lake has around 100 living within the village, while during the spring, summer, and fall there can be over 500. There are several inns and taverns to accommodate all travellers’ tastes and with music playing every night by the docks, there is always entertainment.

If music isn’t your passion there are plenty of trails and shops to explore. There is also an assortment of food to try from roasted chestnuts and dried fruits to the locals favourite suckling pig and kelp chips.

If you are passing through to the North or making your way to the South, don’t forget to stop off through Bay’s Lake for a visit. It is worth any detour.

“The fishin’s great and the inns are cheap.” -Brek Brambldo (Fish Bank)

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“The view of the lake is absolutely inspirational.” -Daislee Patree (Calin)

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“Cooler than I’d like but the food made up for it.” -Kal’kin Gir’mli (Syder)

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The Western Valley: The Hunting Village of Beck


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If you have the choice to go to Berk or Beck, choose Beck. Beck is a village made up of skilled hunters, who focus their attention to big game.

The reason? Firkin the Bear Bludgeoner of course.

The story goes that about 265 years before the present day the small town of Beck was ravaged by a giant grizzly bear. As the village at the time was focused around farming and logging, like most Northern Scout Posts were, they didn’t have the skills to go after such a powerful beast.

For ten years they fed the bear goats and sheep, hoping that the bear wouldn’t kill the farmers or Gods forbid a child. The villagers of Beck feared leaving the open fields to explore the forests that helped fuel their fires and held a variety of other resources.

That’s when Firkin, a young bullheaded Northerner came to town. He had been put there to manage the scouts and make sure the loggers were working. It was upon hearing the story of the giant grizzly that Firkin decided that it was time for the people to stop fearing an animal and he headed into the woods.

Those in the village say that they heard Firkin and the grizzly fight for three days and three nights before the large Northerner came lumbering out with the skin of the bear. The people no longer feared the forests and became devoted to Firkin’s leadership.

Firkin stayed in the village of Beck when they were abandoned by the North during King Cark’s reign. Firkin married the local warden’s youngest daughter, where they had seven children, four of which became hunters like their father.

It’s from the story of Firkin that hunters from across Gaitan travel to hunt in the western forests in hopes of finding a giant grizzly, or other big game common to the area.

If hunting doesn’t interest you, than the Firkin Inn is bound to hit that historian bone of yours where you can see the head of the giant grizzly hanging behind the bar, while it’s fur is displayed across the ceiling.

“Not much for appearances, but the game is good.”

Rynor Crawlbek (Derm)

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“I only stopped here because I had to.”

Gregindorth Pillywagon (Easterly)

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The Western Valley: Berk


 

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Berk, a village consisting of two farms, a smith and about fifteen people, all of which are related to one another in some way. There is no inn or tavern. The closest thing for entertainment is watching farmers drunk on home-made mead try and tip cows.

The town on Berk isn’t a memorable place and most just hurry to the next town or avoid the village all together.

They produce wheat, barely, and beef.

It is believed Berk started as two families who left the town of Irbet, although no one really knows… not even the villagers. They all have different stories regarding how the town came to be. Some say they came from the mountains to the North, other say they were prims* that decided to settle down and build a community.

Not much is known of the town and honestly… no one really cares…

*Prims: savage, wild, nomadic peoples of the eastern wild-lands.

“Whatever you do… do not have the stew.”

Caldor Lefwid (Easterly)

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“Nothin’ but cows and their brew tastes like piss.”

Baller Eccstone (Derm)

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Master Healer of Fish Bank


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caldorconceptCaldor Lefwid is a Chijin Master Healer, mostly known for his medical and political presence throughout La’reen and the North. As one of the oldest characters I have created, I wasn’t sure what voice to give him. It was upon writing where this old sage came up with his own voice – one that is at times blunt and condescending but at the same time endearing. His pass times consist of reading and educating others in his interests. He loves scouting out potential and watching it blossom. He doesn’t like people who are lazy, and those who are too lazy to speak correctly.

He will not hesitate to correct you.

If you say gonna instead of going to or yeah instead of yes, Caldor will correct you. It annoys him to no end hearing lazy conversations. He also doesn’t like contractions either, believing that if you have enough time to stop and speak there is no point in shortening your words. That is why he usually speaks without contracts unless he is panicked or extremely upset.

He also doesn’t like boring questions.

Don’t ask him how the weather is. Don’t ask him how he is doing. He will just roll his eyes at you and reply with a sarcastic answer, or scoff. He will not say hello to you, but instead say ‘Good Day’. This is his way of prodding for an answer and he will analyse what you say to approach the conversation with you accordingly. If you wish to get on this sage’s good side ask him about his travels time in La’reen, recent publications from Calin, or his adventures to the South. Ask him about his discovery of the Florapeck Blue Cap Mushroom in the caves of Calin, or his experiences learning about Black Creep with the Fellowship of Flesh. There is no shutting him up if you bring up questions about other cultures, or historical events. Believe me… may characters have tried.

He is also not one that will openly show you affection. Regular human emotion confuses him, so don’t expect a hug or a supportive ‘it will be okay’. If you have an issue and go to Caldor for an answer, he will find you a book to solve the problem. Unless it is a medical issue… then he’ll poke and prod you until he figures out what you have.

Appearance:

As a Chijin in origin, Caldor isn’t much taller than 4’5. (Imagine a mix of half-ling/ dwarf).

His hair is long and balding at the top which he mostly hides with the hood of his robe when out in public. His hair is a mix of grey, white and black; as is his beard. His beard is long enough to tuck into the belt of his robe, which he twists to keep from tangling with his hair.

His eyes are hazel and he wears small glasses to assist in reading. The glasses are chipped and sit on a angle due to being put through years of abuse.

Around his grey robe, that rests on the ground hiding his woolen socks and sandals (such a trend setter), is a braided leather belt and a notebook. A pencil hangs from a string around his neck, so he is always ready to take notes.

His eyes wrinkle when he smiles, as do the corners of his mouth.

His eyebrows are like two large, black caterpillars, while his nose is slightly crooked (to the right) from breaking it when he was young. Apparently his father hit him across the face with a textbook when Caldor refused to put it down to help his father with that mornings catch…

Background:

None to speak of, according to him. His father was an abusive drunk which made Caldor’s earlier years hard. His mother was the one that supported his passion for reading and learning, protecting him from most of the abuse. His older brother Cavin left home when Caldor was twelve but worked with their father on the docks in Fish Bank.
Caldor never had interest in becoming a fisherman like his family and always saw himself in the university of Calin.
His father would try to break his spirits by destroying his books or telling him he was nothing – which only made Caldor more determined to reach his goal.easterly

One day Caldor stepped into the middle of his father’s abusive rampage against his mother, and was cracked across the face with a iron pan. He told his brother of what happened, and his brother said he would take care of it. Later that night Caldor awoke to shouting by the docks where he witnessed his brother murder his father, dumping the body into the ocean. Filled with guilt but also a sudden wave of relief, Caldor left home the next evening to head to Calin. He wanted to forget about his past and start the life he always wanted in the large Chijin city in the East. He was sixteen.

Things in Calin started off rough. He took classes at the university and worked as a net maker in the docks of the city for extra money. It was Stelo – a head professor of botany – that saw his potential and took the young Caldor under wing. Caldor worked hard to prove to Stelo that it wasn’t a mistake to give him a chance. He spent the next years buried in his work until he met a Chijin woman, named Sara. They courted for some time but Caldor chose his love for his research over the love of a woman. Sara left shortly after for Derm, making Caldor leave for the South. He spent several years studying medicine in the Glass Tower of La’reen, which sent him travelling around Gaitan to study medicinal practices from specialist across the land. At the age of thirty Caldor gained the title Master Healer.

Free from having to study to gain recognition in his field, Caldor travelled around Gaitan – this time for his own pleasure – learning everything and anything he could about disease and ethnobotany. He published several books used in the university of La’reen, in regards to proper sutures and types of infections. It was upon his publication of his book called, The Mysteries of the Flesh, a book about the strange skin disease (Black Creep) only found within the South, that the King of the North called on him for a more personal matter.

Once arriving in Derm, Caldor was quickly appointed head physician to the King and was instructed to be the Queen’s personal caretaker. Unfortunately there was nothing Caldor was able to do for Queen Azti, as she passed away giving birth to the King’s son. Caldor’s task wasn’t finished though, as it turned out the prince was suffering from his own mysterious sickness. Intrigued by the situation, Caldor took curing the prince as a challenge. No one had been able to cure the late Queen of her illness, but there was hope for the prince.

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