Thursday, January 22, 2009


Journal of Khazrel Nakhu “Journey to the Cities Afar” 32’s93


”The sprawling kingdoms of men and their inhabitants are seemingly the most primitive of those we trade with. This is a perceived notion at first glance and now I know they can be frighteningly complex creatures with no small amounts of abstract thinking, lack of forethought, social conflict, and remarkably aggressive behaviors. While some men do indeed value the code of law, most simply do so to better their own well being or merely to survive. Alas one can not deny that the kingdoms of men are successful in their own way. They have build unto land were Dwarfs would find indefensible and hold it for generations, often rebuilding settlements several times after being utterly destroyed. Perhaps there is a lesson of perseverance to learn from that Dwarf kind would be wise to see.”

“Men stand at least two heads taller than Dwarves. They have thin weak beards and smallish eyes that shift dishonestly. Their skin is often mottled with pot-marks, scars, disease or other markings. They rarely bathe so it is true that one can often smell the likes of men before seeing them. Men breed often, often as much as six or seven litters a generation. Luckily most of these young perish before adulthood either by disease, war or neglect. Otherwise the world would likely be overrun with petty man-kingdoms everywhere one looks – a horror I can scarcely imagine."

“Men live in a variety of social structures; from small nomadic villages with a mere twenty members, to the vast cities in the three kingdoms which is said to contain more than 50,000 of their folk. The largest city I have seen has been Ahkerik of Vamarine which contains roughly 24,000 inhabitants. I can scarcely see how a place can be more filled with squalor, decay and strife while still surviving. As I have eluded too, men divide themselves into kingdoms which have a local ruler who pays homage to a greater ruler. These greater rulers are often at strife with one another for one petty reason or another. In particular after the sundering of great Ladoga, there is neither certainty nor consolidation towards any central core nor even a central language among men.”

“Vamarine, Orobia, and Kabdoria are the three major kingdoms of men with well over a dozen smaller ones who pay homage to one of these three. A few smaller ones are independent all-together but this is rare. Of late many of these smaller kingdoms have fell while others have rose to power in a very short period of time. The peasant folks often take the brunt of this turmoil either by being displaced, levied to war, or simply slaughtered for dwelling in an unfortunate location. For this reason most other races avoid the realms of men unless it is to trade with the border kingdoms. Dwarves, Elves and certainly Halflings have little interest in this fruitless and endless conflict.”

“These large overbearing wars drive a great deal of their society. Iron is mined to make weapons, horses are bred for war mounts, salt is quarried for rations and so forth. Even children are bred and trained at the arts of war at a very early age. The things that are not surrounded by war I actually find quite pleasant. Men are often good hosts, at least for a short time. While they can be quick to judge, they usually hold no ill will towards those who come and offer trade. They have festivals occasionally and often a wide assortment of brews. A few stalwart souls have found the time for art and culture, so at least some is seeping into the general society. Some dwelling of learning have slowly developed as well, although not as quickly as I would have hoped.”

“In an effort to illustrate my points let me speak of a recent journey to a mid-sized kingdom called Kaleria.”

“Last spring I met up with a smallish caravan heading to Kaleria at a large walled homestead that catered towards the traveling sort. They were well to have me, as men like to share a tale as much as any full bearded Dwarf. We left the following sunrise with Scoki and I among the forward carts. A pair of badgers glided along side of our cart and I surmised they were present to smell out trouble or potential game. A great northern bear pulled the rear heavy cart while two horses pulled ours. To illustrate the superstitious nature of men, we stopped every time we crossed a river and left an offering of shiny pebbles and corn on a lily pad to each shore. When the road strayed near a stagnant pond, all men strode by with unblinking eyes and never facing their back to it. Salt was routinely offered to ill-shaped trees. One evening a young lass told of a Meggit she had saw and spoke too. She was chastised for speaking to it and we rode several more miles instead of breaking for camp in case the Meggit returned with more of its mischievous kind. Indeed the following morning we all awoke with spoons on our heads – luckily it was not mandrake in our tea.”

“I was glad to arrive in Kaleria and I was quickly invited to the lord's keep, Bohemond of Kaleria and Arkril. I suppose this is because I am a Dwarf, rare in these parts and because my name is known as a seasoned traveler. News from far away is a valued commodity and I will gladly put it forth should it get me a better meal and bed. I suspect this is why I was promptly invited to see his lordship.”

“The keep was small and dank but very practical. I was surprised how far the fortifications have come in the past few centuries and indeed this keep would be very troublesome to overtake. I was led to a largish chamber where Lord Bohemond toiled. The first obvious sight was that of a forlorn Halfling hanging in a cage. The cage was too small to stand straight in but too narrow to sit, and it pained me look upon the poor soul. I was later told the resident was a Sheriff who took some matter into his own hands and Lord Bohemond took it upon himself to display the true authority in the land. I later guessed his true intention was to gain the Sheriff’s knowledge of presentience and use it against his enemies. After I left Kaleria I was told Lord Bohemond had a Dwarf in a hanging cage as well, but removed him from the chamber due to my presence. He obviously knew my honor would have no choice but to demand his freedom. Even now, months later, it troubles me.”

“Lord Bohemond fingered through sorts of maps and ledgers while his men ate a fare of mead of mutton well within sight of the Halfling. Lord Bohemond was surprisingly courteous to me as we spoke. We spoke as an equals when most nobility of men rarely do so. He was candid about his recent conflicts, where a very strong lord to the north in Orobia overtook his territory in Arkil which is now in their hands. Later I learned that this was partly Lord Bohemond’s doing when he pickled the Orobia diplomat and sent him on a boat full of the Orobia delegation, all locked in the briney hold and set adrift.”

“While Lord Bohemond did indeed loose Arkil, he noted that he levied every peasant therein who could hold a sword and matched them up against the well trained Orobia archers and spearmen. Needless to say most of the population of Arkil was laid to waste and Lord Bohemond’s knights burned most of the fields and homesteads. While Orobia indeed won the territory, they gained little and indeed stretched their supply lines in maintaining their force therein. At the time of our meeting Lord Bohemond was planning a counter strike in the early spring when the Orobia supplies were most strained.”

“The candid nature of Bohemond was in truth a bit nerve wracking. I sense that he was gauging my reaction and choosing in his mind on what do with me. Luckily I have little contact with his enemies and my insight onto his war plans seemed to impress him. His men offered me a good room and even employment which I declined in the most graceful manner that I possibly could - I feinted a death in the family that I needed to return too. I have no doubt Lord Bohemond knew that this was indeed a farce but I think he appreciated the gesture.”

“Keleria is a militaristic realm, even by human standards. Lord Bohemond had over two dozen landed knights and their men were all well trained and preparing feverishly. Their battle rituals were interesting and comprised of superstitious gestures, meager offerings, and some knights prayed with various clergymen. Bearcats and dogs were used along side the men in battle but as in most warfare, minor roles of surveillance, decoys or logistics. I am told tales of mammoths, wurms, and even walruses being used in battle and I generally scoff at such things. What a sight it would be to behold, and I admit the glory of battle did flow into my heart while in Keleria. It is such an all encompassing thing that it is hard not to get caught up on it.”

“Lord Bohemond was gracious enough to free me of any taxes while I traded, and I did so for a few days before taking my leave. I could sense I was being followed, but by very skilled hands as I never did catch sight of them. I still can feel the eyes in an odd sense; perhaps Lord Bohemond has the Oculus? If so indeed the Orobian lords are right to fear him, and more so of the ambition and intelligence behind his sullen eyes.”

“And so, you can see the people of men are thoughtful creatures, even though their actions and direction is greatly misplaced. I genuinely look forward to visiting the lands of men again, although hopefully in decidedly peaceful times.”


  1. I would like to know about the Bastards.
    Half dwarves? Half lings? Half Kalevope?

    Are the misshapen wretches? Or mutant hybrids of blessed proportions?

  2. Kalevope?

    I have no particular plans for Half-Elves, Elf-Dwarves, Half-Halfings. They have never interested me very much, and I would think they would race enough to just be a anomaly.

    If I were to do other races I would probably make them off-shoots during one of the great seasons.

    Not quite sure what you man as far as misshapen ?

  3. hehe Kalevope the Lumberjack Giant from your other races list.

    Misshapen, I run half dwarves to be 50% the best of both, the other are like Quasimodo.

  4. Yeah I caught the Kalevope reference as I read more. They are more spirits then anything flesh so I would that is unlikely. Perhaps one-of instances where you end up with something like... Grendle.

    A Half-Dwarf Quasimodo like figure is doable, but likely an outcast. I did not plan on anything prolific.