On the peoples who have come to the Isle of Abella ENRU

"Hearest thou, brethren, how the hammer doth crash?

How its heavy sound doth rumble forth from the prison under the earth, where the Sleeper sits imprisoned? There doth he, betrayed by the gods, forge his Sword, smelting into it the flaming Sparks of mortals. One day, the Sword's forging shall be complete, and the Sleeper, freed from his imprisonment, shall execute his vengeance, and so shall a new Godmassacre come, and the world of men shall turn to ash, and shall never rise again.

But as of yet, the Sleeper slumbereth on, his hammer sleepily pounding his unfinished sword. And the Sparks of men and women glimmer as they flutter in under the arches of his prison under the earth. And the roots of the World Tree do weave around that place. And its wide trunk doth stretch into the unknown expanses of the fog, its mighty branches reaching over the world.

And all we who do live wander underneath their shelter.

Do you remember how everything came to an end, brothers? How the Vulpian Empire did fracture, its borders stretched as they were to encompass most of the lands which lay around it. How the three peoples did fight with one another, and how the war began.

Hard times have come upon us. In their midst, we have taken refuge in the legends of the Island. They say that the mythical Apple Land, the Isle of Abella, lies in the mists to the West. It is a peaceful place free of the terrors of the world. There, under a branch of the World Tree itself, all may find rest from war and sickness. There, all may find God and begin their lives anew. We hope to build the Third Empire, which shall spread its glorious light throughout all the world and begin a new epoch of history. This is why we have left our homes and families and set off on our dangerous voyage.

Away from the Evil. Away from our past lives, to a new life, a wholly different life.

But the way is long and hard. And the Hammer roars, filling us with fear. The Hammer telling the world that the Sleeper shall awaken soon."


Few have made it to the shores of Abella, after overcoming innumerable hindrances and hardships. The author of these words, a simple Accur, named Taid Utrick, is among them [...]

When they reached these shores, people were amazed to discover that they remembered nearly nothing from the lives they had lived in the past, before embarking on their perilous journey. We have researched this and concluded that, yes, everyone who comes to the Island, without exception, loses a significant portion of their memories – even memories that are very dear to them. Even a perfectly reasonable Gottlung or Slavard is generally unable to remember how they arrived here, what their country was called, and what they did in their old life. Others forget their whole trade, losing even the most basic of skills, and so they are forced to struggle through re-learning even the basics of craftsmanship.

In this way, life here really is a new life. In fact, it becomes your only life, as if begun anew, without any substantial life before it. The past has less and less meaning to the people here. All of them are focused, mind and body, on the construction of a new world, a new Empire ...

However, we must say more about the Island and all its wonders, for, as the gods do witness, many incidents and incredible wonders have happened here.
But for now, we shall list some interesting observations about our past which the author of this book has carefully collected by questioning all kinds of people, including even the dangerous, unwashed Khoors.

So we shall attempt to set forth the information we have with all precision and diligence.

It would seem that we now do not know what this Homeland looked like, even though we left it quite recently. We have no maps, no written descriptions of its geography, no lists of its countries, mountains, or rivers. We only know that a great empire known as the Vulpian Empire dominated that land for a long time.

[...]

And so the empire of the Gottlungs, which we have learned was called the Vulpian Empire or the Second Empire, and which united the three peoples, fell into ruin.

People seized by despair, criminals, runaway slaves, and other miscreants – including the Khoors – embarked on mass sailings to the West, where legends and old wives' tales said the sacred island of Abella, discovered in time immemorial by the Sovereign himself, hovered over the waters.

Many ships belonging to Slavards who believed they knew the way to the Island – and who charged large sums to ferry others there – never returned to the northern shores of their country. For only those who are chosen can reach the Island. Those who have received the mark of Svefnii himself, may the darkness cover him forever, may his slumbering be without end, and may his wrath never turn upon us...

The only people who have a tradition of chronicling are the Gottlungs. Our chronicles, only a few of which have been preserved, speak in fragments of the endless wars waged among the nobility, of the long and burdensome path towards unification and central power, of glorious knights, wise commanders, and all the people whose efforts not only defended Götland from its enemies, the Khoors and the Slavards, but also helped it crush the lands around, forging out of it an Empire.

[...]

Now, let us speak about the peoples of which some have come to the Island, along with all of their unique attributes and customs. The author of this work cannot guarantee the complete veracity of this information, but it is all that we possess.

Gottlungs

The Gottlungs were the central people and the holders of power in the Vulpian Empire. This explains their disregard for the other nations. It is rumored among them that the Khoors eat captured children, while the northerners take their own daughters' hands in marriage. Some even believe that the other peoples descended from wild beasts, while the Gottlungs were created as they are at the foundation of the world. Mostly, though, they deride only the Khoors, while they treat the Slavards with a kind of respect.

Clothing and Architecture

The Gottlungs wear the mark of the Sleeping God on their breasts. As the most advanced and civilized of the peoples, the Gottlungs wear the most intricate, fashionable clothing. Their women wear dresses covered in lace and frills, and their men wear loose shirts and vests or sleeveless jackets. Unlike the rough straps used by the northerners, the belts worn by the Gottlungs are long and thin, often nearly touching the ground, and they are adorned with intricate, modestly sized buckles. Their buckles are often adorned with the Eye of the Sleeper.

Their men, as a rule, wear only dark colors (white and red being the exceptions to this rule), while their women wear brighter colors.

Gottlung women use cosmetics, especially powder, with which they whiten their faces, necks, chests, and arms. This people considers it immodest to bring out the lips, so their women usually direct attention to their eyes and cheekbones.

Men cut their hair rather short, with a bowl cut, but often let it grow long. They often wear mustaches. Beards are much less common. A Slavard will just "let his beard go," but a Gottlung is more likely to keep it short and trimmed.

Gottlungs tattoo their bodies. They may use small emblems of the Sleeping God, or images that encapsulate the personal history or character of their owner, but they most frequently use incantations in the common and Gottlung tongues – though the meanings of the most ancient have been forgotten – and quotes from religious texts or other religious sources.

The Gottlungs pay great attention to their apparel. Clothes indicate not only their wearer's status but also their wearer's vocation.

Gottlungs are not nomads. They have large families and build massive framed houses on solid rock foundations. The walls of these houses are made of stone, wood, or wattle and daub, and the roofs are covered with tiles or straw. These homes are large and spacious, up to 4 stories tall. The Gottlungs also have strong stone castles.

Every town and village has temples to the Sleeping God. These temples are short, squat stone structures, though there may be exceptions. The windows of these temples are upside-down and decorated with stained glass in various shades of red.

In these temples, the Sanctuary of the Sleeper itself is made up of several floors, most of them underground. A tree with a long lifespan (such as an oak, cedar, or pine tree) is often planted in the inner courtyard to symbolize the World Tree. The temple gates always point towards the West, where the Island is said to be located.

Ahead lies the temple of the Sleeper. The Slumbering One. The Dreamer.
It is taller than the city walls.
It has several floors above ground, and more below.

The sharp lines in the inverted windows show and remind us of the One on whom this ancient world stands. Scarlet ripples of flame are reflected in the stained glass.

The trembling world of the Imprisoned One. The expectant world. The slumbering world, on the edge of its doom.

The world pierced by the World Tree, as if by a spear.

These temples are built so that they may, on occasion, be used as fortresses. The temples are surrounded by workshops, smithies, vineyards, and vegetable gardens. The sale of religious items is permitted within the temple.
These include amulets and figurines of the Sleeper and of other gods.

Battle Gear

Suits of armor, chain mail, swords, pole war hammers, bows, and crossbows.

Legendary Character

The Founder, the Nameless Sovereign, uniter of the peoples and founder of the First Empire.

Religious Beliefs

The state religion of the Gottlung Empire is the cult of the Sleeping God.

The Gottlungs worship Svefnii the Sleeper, yet they know that he did not create their world.
The most important thing for them is not to trouble the sleep of this wrathful, cruel god, who cares nothing for the fortunes of mortals. In him, They see a symbol of the end of the world. But the world is just a prison, which Svefnii will one day destroy.

According to the beliefs of the Gottlungs, the Sleeping God is slumbering entrapped in the roots of the World Tree, which stands on an island enveloped in mist. Proper worship of the Sleeper includes hard, vain work – working until exhausted, until your palms bleed red – and the brutal destruction of enemies in battle. The Sleeping God also loves bloody sacrifices and blood poured onto the earth, or, better, into a pit. It is believed that blood absorbed by the earth feeds and strengthens the roots of the World Tree holding the Sleeper. Sacrificial items are also buried in the earth, accompanied with religious incantations.

The Sleeper is worshiped in various ways across the Empire. He is depicted in assorted ways: a craftsman, a warrior, the lord of fire – various places highlight different aspects.

Belief in the other gods is not forbidden, but worshiping them is frowned upon and takes the form of a superstitious appeasement of them. The Gottlungs are certain that the gods do not love people, and that nothing good can be expected to be given by them. The best one can hope for is that they do not interfere with one's life and work and that they do not become angry. And so every serious activity is preceded by a ritual of indulging the god under whose patronage that activity falls. And sometimes, a ritual of indulging all of the gods, just to be safe. The Gottlungs are, for similar reasons, convinced that the gods should not be admitted into one's home. And so they paint around their doors (and sometimes the doors themselves) and the shutters of their windows red, which symbolizes the flame of Risterverden, the world of the Sleeping God. "The stupid gods will believe this home belongs to the Sleeper and will pass over us."

All of the gods except the Sleeper love their own image, so you can often see Gottlung peasants placing wooden idols out in the fields or wherever else they perform their work. This idols vary dramatically in shape, appearance, and size. Sometimes they are sheltered from the elements by a roof or given special places intended for the laying of offerings.

Sometimes the gods forego disdain and accept any gifts, but at other times they require gifts to be valuable and dear to the giver – the dearer, the better. And thus the gods will hardly accept a chicken from a wealthy man, but they will likely accept one from a poor man – if that chicken was his last. And the more serious an undertaking, the richer the reward should be that precedes it.

Social Structure

Gottlung families generally consist of 2 to 4 children, besides those who perish in infancy or early childhood. Each roof usually houses several generations underneath it. The oldest son and his family usually remain and inherit his parents' house – or the oldest daughter and her family, if she has no brothers. Younger siblings with families build or buy houses near their parents' house. However, much depends on their place of residence: The larger the city, the less strictly these traditions and customs are followed.

There is a general trend towards equality of the sexes. Women can even receive an education and enter occupations traditionally belonging to men. However, the patriarchal way of life is still strong, especially in the villages.

Gottlungs give great importance to social class. Where you come from, how wealthy you are, and which group you belong to are at least as important as your own personal merits. In this system, vagabonds, poor people, and slaves are at the bottom rung of the social ladder. Slaves are essentially powerless, but a slave's owner can free the slave, which confers rights as a citizen to the now-freed man or woman. However, although there is slavery in the Empire, slaves are relatively few in number.

Whereas life is a saga for the Slavards, for the Gottlungs it is about acquisition, accumulation, and achievement. It is about quantity and quality. It is about legacy. This view permeates their worldview (careful treatment of history and a sense of historical and national superiority), their folklore (a good ending is not "they lived happily ever after," but "and they lived in glory and abundance"), and in their settlements (their architecture and heraldry and the abundance of regions and towns named after people and families).

The Gottlungs have very few secular holidays, but they have many memorial days and religious celebrations (the Day of the Coming Awakening, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Ancient Ancestors Day, and Day of the First Stone – the day the construction of a house begins). They also often have one-time festive events organized by the nobility.
 

Language

The Gottlung language is full of consonants, which are pronounced distinctly and deliberately rough and short, with plenty of voice. Their vowels, in contrast, are almost all soft. The sound of the Gottlung tongue is distantly related to that of the Slavard tongue, but the latter has many more compound words and very soft consonants.

The Gottlungs call the northerners "snow dwellers," "iron men," or "the iron people." They have much less flattering names for the Khoors: "earthers," "dust men," "steppe dirt," "smokers," and even "dung bricks."

The common tongue has preserved many words from the ancient Gottlung tongue. One of these words, "loits" or "leuts," is the Gottlungs' name for themselves. The word Gottlung is also used, but only in more official contexts.

"Whence shall I know, whether you are Leut or not? For such is not inscribed on you!"

Some common names: Yon, Cyult, Hundrich, Luiten, Yonas, Durgen, Yargen.
Some common family names: Guldshantz, Antberg, Nioisberg, Roitblatt.

Gottlungs sometimes have two or three family names. This applies not just to nobility, but to commoners as well. Family names are also often written with abbreviated "place names" before them that reveal the person's origin more precisely: Fiodrich Dio Noizschantz (Fiodrich Noizschantz, from Dioitzburg).

Some common "place names": Dio, De, Del, Dar, Got.

City and settlement names often hint at a founder's name (such as "Fiodrichstadt") or a geographical location ("Yusten-am-Hiolt," that is, the city of Yusten, located on the Hiolt River). This does not apply to older locations.

Gottlung speech is also generally characterized by markers showing rank or status – or simply military nicknames. If a certain person holds some high-ranking post, honors, or a certain status, all of this will be shown not only in the way he is addressed but also in the way he is referred in other conversations.

For example: Baron Val Um Obad Del Barak, knight of the Silver Scythe.

This person's first name is Obad. Del (Dar) Barak means "from Barak," which is a tiny town named after an ancient citadel.
The Silver Scythe is the highest award given to knights.

The Gottlungs use the respect marker Val Um (or vallum, or just val – pronunciation may vary). Perhaps the closest translation of "vallum" is "sir."

Vallum Tussenrost is a living sword from the Godmassacre.

Baron Vallum Reeves Del Lindale, regent of the Imperial lands of the region of Hendi-Sovn.

Rider Val Yon Del Adainna Vasqa-Violingch (Gentleman Yon from Adainna, called the "Sack of Kindness").

However, if the speaker has the aim of expressing their disdain for someone, the person is deprived of their status, as it were.

"Reeves? You mean the Reeves who by the oversight of the gods came to rule the lands east of Ishram?"

"Val Jon Vasqa? Who's that? Adainna has lain in ruins since the fall of the Sleeping God, and no wonder. Every mongrel and his mother has tried to slap his false title on a piece of it!"

The seven ancient citadels can be found mentioned in Gottlung manuscripts, and from their names come various titles and other heraldic elements. This is used to demonstrate the nobility and age of one's lineage.

Barackka, Iona, Adainna
Located in Gottlung lands.

Bladetpalm, Istenpalm
Located in Slavard lands.

Drømmendust – unknown allegiance.

Nud-Az-Burhan
Located in Khoors lands.

Gottlungs do not generally give their children a parent's name as a first or middle name, but if their lineage has included a famous, heroic ancestor, they will often append that ancestor's name to their own thus:

"I am the scribe Adrian Liechtenstein. Of the Yeningi Liechtensteins."

"Adrian Liechtenstein-Yening, head scribe of His Flameness, Kuld Accur Gaston Sixtus the Fifth."

The name of an ancestor, Yen, is here reflected in the family name Yenings.

Göttlung speech comes in many dialects. The residents of two cities 400 to 500 kilometers apart can have quite different accents and vocabulary:

"An Ormslanger is best held in the hand like you can draw a mental line from the top of its guard to the tip of its blade. But do not look at the blade! Never take your gaze off your opponent. Let your gaze be stern and sure, your knees bent slightly, your codpiece not too tight, and your knight's rouge fresh and fragrant."

"Point your Ormslanger right at your enemy's forehead! Bend your arm! Blade follows your opponent, always. Tordn og aldingr!"

Gottlung cultural development (including linguistic development) has led to the creation of a literary language, a "high style" used mostly by the elite and educated. No such style exists among the Slavards or the Khoors.

Gottlung speech avoids the epic and ornate language of the Slavards. It tends to be emotionless and terse. The Slavards have contributed many expressions and proverbs to the common tongue, but the Gottlungs have filled it with precise terms, names, and jargon.

"Come now, dust face, write this down: Zvaihander – four pieces, Morgenshtern – four pieces, one claymore, one – no, don't write down the claymore, just one grip left.
— Which one's claymore? Don't understand!"

"– This is called Messerkompf. Not that we must needs know how it is called by them, brothers, but none but the Gottlungs have a name for such."

In interrogative sentences, the Gottlungs follow a word order of placing the verb before the subject in many cases. This applies more often in elevated speech styles. But it must be admitted that even common Gottlung speech sounds bookish at times.

"– Where did you sneak this, Tille? The other day, I heard you say, 'I'm off to Hulda's shop for buttons.' What ever brought you to speak so, dear?"


"And so the Sovereign drew his sword from its sheath.
The rising sun glinted off of Spiegelmund Tussenrost, piercing through the morning fog that lay over the field of the fallen.
Sharp as the scythe of Jhode that cuts stars from the branches of the Tree of Life.
And then, he turned to the kneeling rulers of north and south, and spoke these words.
"What see you, O Wolf of the North?"

McTir Arianu, called the Red Heather by subjects, grinned at this. Still proud even as he knelt in the mud, he gave answer, refusing to lower his eyes in retreat from the Sovereign's gaze.
"I see in your sword a way to Ristertverden, O Sovereign."

The Sovereign nodded and turned to the southern ruler.
"And what do you see, O Storm of the Steppes?"

The great khan Tusgaal the Stormbringer lifted his gaze from the earth. He glared at the blade, as do all the steppe men, inquiring of the spirits of war.

"I see the heavenly tent where my ancestors wait for me, O Sovereign."

But the Sovereign lowered his sword, refusing to feed its unquenchable bloodlust.
"A sword divides what is whole and dismembers what is one. But my sword has brought you together this day. You and your lands. And my sword shall take us beyond the bounds of Risterverden and Elgverden. It shall take us, together, as one."


ancient burned pages
 

Khoors

The wild, cruel nomads who live on the steppes with their long-haired little horses. The are rather short in stature, covered in hair, and walk with a seesaw gait.

Clothing and Architecture

Everyday clothing for the Khoors includes boots and vests intertwined with laces and ropes, puffy hats, and laced leather bracers.

The Khoors do not build temples, but they have burial mounds throughout the steppes. The Khoors build them on places where especially bloody and fierce battles have been fought, places where many warriors have died. For it is not possible to grant so many warriors a proper funeral pyre, as there is not even enough fuel on the steppe for such a blaze. They leave gifts for the "ghost warriors" (those never given a funeral pyre) on the mounds, including horse skulls – thus giving them ghost horses for their journeys – and weapons, especially old weapons that have seen many battles and are no longer useful to the living. The Khoors consider the unburied warriors the guardians of the steppe. At night, they wander the Khoorsian lands on their dead horses, scaring away foreigners and entering their countrymen's dreams to warn them about impending invasions. But these warriors have not been laid to rest. They are trapped in the world of the living, a place unsuitable for them. And so the Khoors are not only "equipping" the dead men when they give them slain horses and old weapons – they are also appeasing them.

Bonfires must never be lit near the mounds, for it is not good to remind these fallen warriors that they never received a proper funeral pyre. Any unfortunate traveler who does light a fire near one may attract evil spirits as his persecutors and for the rest of his life suffer as they plague him with nightmares and demand their funeral pyres. All in all, the Khoors consider it a bad idea to spend the night close to a mound. The dead might decide to arrange a particularly "exciting" night for those sleeping nearby.

The Khoors' dwellings are the least defended of all the peoples'. Few trees grow on the steppe, the rocks are too large for construction, and animal skins make a very weak wall.  The Khoors must often spend the night under the open sky, away from any shelter at all. When this happens, fire is the only way to keep the wild animals and the cold away. Under these conditions, the Khoors have developed a special sensitivity to this element. They continually thank this "younger sibling of the sun" for the help it gives to mortals.

Battle Gear

Khoorsian armor is simple and straightforward. It is designed to be of minimal weight and provide maximal speed. For this reason, it is made of skins and leathers.

However, it does sometimes feature metal parts. These mainly include light chainmail and wide metal plates fastened to leather belts covering the chest, shoulders, and back. The strongest and most agile warriors can also add a skirt of modestly sized metal plates joined by ring mail, which covers their legs to the knees or even lower, as well as a forged helmet with a terrifying iron mask.

Legendary Character

Tusgaal the Stormbringer, also Tusgaal-Gar-Shoorga (a title from the time of the first empire, when "Gar-Shoorga" meant "Left Hand of the Storm") – a great ruler and a conqueror of antiquity.

Religious Beliefs

For the Khoors, the world around them is the world of spirits. The spirits reside in fire and earth, in water and sky, in wood and metal. These spirits can be strong or weak, or helpful or harmful, but not good or bad. "Good" and "bad" depend on the spirit's aims, and the Khoors believe that men and women cannot perceive the aims of spirits. However, the aims of the spirits and a man may coincide, or an agreement can be made with the spirit, boosting the man's strength and fortune.

Offerings can be made to the spirits, just as they are made to the gods. Whether these offerings involve throwing some kumiss into the fire or leaving a chunk of meat (or even a bound captive) on a steppe stone depends on the wealth of the one making the offering and on the seriousness of the request. Swords are considered to be special spirit containers.

The Khoors respect the deities of the Gottlungs and Slavards.

Worship of the Sword

The Khoors worship the Sword of Heavens (Hootga-Tenger), which crosses the night sky from the West to the East, like our Milky Way. The Sword is their provider and protector.
The Sword unites heaven and earth.

Khoorsian swords imitate the shape of the Sword of Heavens, since they are considered reflections of it (Ir-Tusgaal).
They believe that the universe began with the Sword, and in this way their beliefs concur with the myth of the sword of Godernblodbad: Vallum Tusenrost.

To the Khoors, the world is one of spirits and their reflections.
Their sabers are a reflection of Hootga-Tenger, the Sword of Heavens.
The Sword of Heavens, in turn, is a reflection of the Flaming Sword, which rests in the darkness of the lower world, the world of fire in the roots of the World Tree.

Some of the Khoors are certain that the Sleeper of the Gottlungs, called Svefnii by the Slavards, is the living Ancestral Sword Gal-Hootga.
It is with their swords that the Khoors commune with the spirits, heeding the calls to war and peace that come to them as they gaze in the fiery reflections running along the surface of their blades. The Khoors believe that each blade weaves the destiny of its owner, literally its "pattern song," which can only be seen and heard by the gods and the spirits.

And so the main aim in every Khoor's life is to live life so that the gods admire the intricacies and artistry of their bladesong.

The Khoors  believe that the Sleeper is the incarnation of fury, the living Ancestral Sword (Gal-Hootga). When his song sounds worth, it will change the world and its people once and for all, becoming the world of Sword and Fire. Then people shall hear and see the pattern song, the Doo-zagwar, woven by their singing swords.

But there is also a new belief growing about the Khoors, in which the Sleeper is more like his depiction in Gottlung devotion. In this belief, the most worthy souls become links in the mystical fetters that bind the Slumberer. As long as brave and noble people walk the earth, the Sleeper shall not awaken, and the end of the world shall not come. This belief is more common among craftsmen and traders than among others.


The Khoorsian concept of Holza (Erthnii), however, is not the same as that of the Gottlungs or the northerners.
In their understanding, Holza does not weave the threads of life into the tapestry of destiny. Instead, she listens to and evaluates the lifesong of each warrior and remembers it.

The Khoors hold that the whole world sounds out, every item speaking or whispering to them – but only swords can sing the Song witnessed by both gods and spirits.
 
The Khoors also, like their swords, are reflections of the mighty sky, earth, water, or fire spirits that fill the higher and lower worlds, their glory and strength shining through the Khoors themselves.

The spirits of the higher worlds are the spirits of fire and sky.
Those of the lower are the spirits of earth and water.

Khoorsian tribal names:
Sogo-Tusgaal – reflection of a fire spirit.
Tenger-Tusgaal – reflection of a sky spirit.
Ys-Tusgaal – reflection of a water spirit.
Delh-Tusgaal – reflection of an earth spirit.

Sample name: Yirtin Kaiarata, of Tribe Delh-Tusgaal

The Khoors do not construct temples or sanctuaries. They believe that each of the gods and spirits exists essentially everywhere and needs no special place for communion with them. The only exception to this general opposition to building sites are the roughly made, rather scary idols of some deities placed in the steppe here and there (the feeling of "here and there," random placement, is only when judging by the sensibilities of the other peoples). Those who encounter idols must leave them sacrifices or offerings.

For example, when the Khoors pray to the goddess of death, Amghooy (who at some point became identified with the Dead Maiden), beseeching her to pass over them during a battle or journey, they place a sacrifice on a flat, ordinary rock. If the sacrifice is carried off by a vulture – the bird of the Goddess of Death – then her mercy is assured. If the sacrifice lies untouched, however, or is carried off by a beast of the field, it means the plea has gone unheard. The warriors usually sprinkle the rock with wine or blood. This ensures the sacrifice will arrive at its destination. The Khoors also pay great attention to signs given them by nature.

The Sleeper – Akneh-Hootga (Akneh), Jhode – Amghooy, Holza – Erthnii, Amate – Amaty, Velent – Haranhoo, Gloom – Khoohalday

It is believed that the World Tree appeared in the Khoors' faith when they encountered the western and northern peoples.

Some of the Khoors' clans consider thunder to be a bad omen. The Khoors refer to thunder as a "shaking of the World Tree's branches," and to lightning as "cracks in the heavenly sphere." The Khoors believe that their holy land gives the World Tree new strength, so they are eager to take their place in this process and conduct rituals involving portions of "native ground" – carried around in sacks.


Social Structure

Khoorsian society can be divided into two major categories: Settled Khoors and nomadic Khoors . The settled Khoors are relatively peaceful, while the nomads are extremely aggressive and cruel. But beyond that, the Khoorsian people is divided up by their clan system. Each clan is led by a Haaz. The Haaz has two or three bodyguards. The Elder Council, the ten chief Khoors from the clan, also wields great power. The most important clan decisions are made by the Younger Council, which includes any man who has raised at least one son who is now of age – in other words, who can ride a horse and shoot a bow. The weak and elderly are not members of the councils, but if they were once in places of authority, their opinions continue to carry weight with the others.

For many centuries, looting and plundering were essential parts of the nomadic life of the whole Khoorsian people. Without the advantages of a stationary place of residence – building smithies, sowing crops, and so on – robbing others was a matter of life and death for the Khoors. For a long time after their victory over the Gottlungs, tribute replaced plundering. When the great truce was made, the Khoors found a new way to replenish their meager stores: trade.

Over time, Khoorsian trade helped them find a common language with the other peoples, despite the great differences in their cultures and worldviews. The Khoors make up for their eccentricity with their own style of generosity. In addition to being knowledgeable about rare herbs, they are skilled jewelers. Other peoples consider their adornments and figurines of stone, wood, metal, and bone to be unusual and original, so the Khoors happily trade these things, too.

Material prosperity is greatly respected by the Khoors. When a group is in conflict with Khoors, suggesting a trade relationship is often the best way to end the enmity. When Khoors travel in trade caravans, they chant caravan hymns so that any who encounter them are aware of their peaceful intentions well in advance. The Khoors particularly value tobacco, since they are heavy smokers but are unable to grow the plant in the harsh environment of the steppes.


Knowledge of herbs is also very important to the Khoors. Their herbalists spend their time picking and drying rare plants from the steppes which flower only in certain places at certain times of the year. The Khoors then make drinks, ointments, and smoking mixtures from these plants.


Many of these smoking mixtures, which the Khoors sell on their trading trips, have a spiritual effect. The Khoors claim that they can make the user bolder, more charming, more fierce, and so on.

Language

Haaz – an honorary suffix appended to the names of leaders and veteran warriors.


Tusgaal – at some point in Khoorsian history, this became the main title of the khan.

Tan – "warrior." Used to address warriors


Kaiarata – "hunter." Used to address hunters

Khanir – "beautiful." A respectful way to address women and girls, regardless of their outward appearance. By this, the Khoors obviously mean a beauty other than that which catches the eye.

Kht'yn – "idiot," "loser," "novice." An insulting, disdainful form of address.

Aghoor gham'yt – this phrase is so vulgar that the Khoors refuse to explain its meaning to any outsiders unaware of it.
*If a khunkut (the Khoorsian word for outsider, foreigner – in other words, a Slavard or Gottlung) uses this expression, he is immediately accepted as one of the Khoors' own. For future reference: a character with the perks "trader," "lucky," or "educated" can resolve a conflict by cursing the Khoors this way. If the Haaz has a sense of humor, he'll answer with something like "Oho, a sharp tongue! Don't kiss him, girls, or you'll get scratched!"

Rookha'a – translated as both "old" and "wise" ("experienced," "veteran," "elder"). A respectful way to address the elderly.

Khamir – "spirit" (but not in the sense of "demon").

Example Khoorsian names: Kiar-Haaz, Yirtin, Giaschak, Diadiga, Akhzil, Kharti-Diangu.

Characteristic syllables in the Khoorsian tongue:

ia, khi, kia, dia, yir, khaa, haa, za, tan, tin, ruk, dit, chak, khun, khoor, tu, yer, kut, sa

A vowel glide ("y") is often encountered, whether written as a "y" (yer) or an "i" (dia).

Khoorsian phrase building

Khoors are much worse at the common tongue than their neighbors to the north and west, so they use phrases that are clumsy, even if technically grammatically correct. They often only use simple present verbs, make mistakes with subject-verb agreement ("we is," "he run"), and overuse the objective pronoun case. The worst instances are when all three collide ("him run" instead of "he's running"). They prefer very short sentences, avoiding compounds. Due to their limited mastery of the language, their statements are often ambiguous.
"I don't know" : "Me not know"

"You must go another way" : "You go different road"

"We hold this place sacred" : "Here us sacred place"

"Greetings, travelers! Do you come in peace? Would you like to trade? We have things for sale!" : "Hey, traveler! You come with peace? Want trade? We have much trade!"

"An accurate hunter who never misses." : "Hunter shoot straight. Make arrow fly right to enemy's eye!"

"I will be guarding my home." : "Me guard house."

"We are weary, for we have come far, and our food is gone." : "We travel much road. No more strength. Food gone."

Few outsiders understand pure Khoorsian, since their common tongue explanations of Khoorsian expressions are usually not fluent enough to actually explain anything. They love to praise their goods, pushing their mastery of the language to the limit as they do so:

"Look at my beautiful Yagan! One swing, no head on enemy! Two swing, red river run deep! Three swing, ai checherdik yerle, Tusgaal-Gar-shoorga come down from heaven, ask what happen? Why everyone killed? One be sad!

Sometimes they tell highly improbable tales of famous characters, as people might do with Chuck Norris or Einstein:

"Legs of Akhzil-Bagatur like cedars! Arms of Akhzil-Bagatur like oak branch! Chest of Akhzil-Bagatur like Alankar's Shield! Head of Akhzil-Bagatur like huge cauldron! But mind of Akhzil-Bagatur like dung fly's shadow."

"Yirtin-Rookha'a live many years, still drink kumiss like boy. Mighty his snore. When he sleep, ground shakes, like when khunkuts march! All awake, grab sword. Haaz mad, go beat old kht'yn.

Khoorssian proverb:
"Yatm kht'yn aghoor gham'yt tygkhanav!" – Unlucky camel dung kissing rune writer.

Alternate weapon names:

Khoorsian warriors use many different kinds of weapons in battle, including hunting weapons: long spears and blades, axes, lassos, combat knives, and heavy scourges.


Pchuk – a small, straight knife with a patterned blade.

Kalkan – a round shield.

Hootga — a saber. As in titles, the word "Tusgaal," reflection, may be appended to the names of bladed weapons.

Amat'i-yagan, or just Yagan – Amate's bow, the Khoors' favorite weapon. A long, curved blade, similar to a large scimitar. Killing an enemy with a weapon named after one's favorite goddess is a mark of respect for that enemy. It is a sacrifice to Amate, a kill made for her glory.

Slavards


The Slavards are made up of multiple related tribes who inhabit the northern and northeastern parts of the known world. This is a harsh and hardy people, accustomed to hard labor, eager to write glorious sagas, and always ready for a good fight, a good feast, and a voyage by sail or by sleigh.

The Slavards are coarse, simple people, not picky when it comes to clothing or food and certainly not effusive when it comes to emotions. Young Slavard men are tall, muscular, and wide of shoulders, while in old age they become quite bearlike. Their women are also strong of build, but with striking figures and beautiful, charming faces. Slavards are fair of hair, skin, and eyes and easily burned by the sun. Many of them have red hair, which is considered the light of Svefnii's forge. Redheads are given special treatment, as they are considered to be people predestined to perform important (though not always good) deeds. Redheads hold positions of authority and are feared and respected. When they speak, people listen, and so a good number of them become priests or prophets.

The Slavards once considered dark hair and dark eyes to be unseemly. Dark features were the marks of slaves and foreigners. But times have changed, and over the past centuries, the Slavards have lived as neighbors and subjects of the Empire – and so a good number of Slavards now have dark hair themselves. Brunettes no longer have to expect suspicious glances as they walk the streets of Slavard settlements. However, fair or red tones remain central to the Slavard concept of beauty.

Girls and young women from the north do not cover their heads, but they always braid their hair. Married women are expected to cover their hair, or at least tie it up with a ribbon. There is no standard hair custom for Slavard men, though, so many different styles exist: Some grow their hair halfway down their backs and braid it, while others shave their heads or give themselves a bowl cut. A man's beard, though, is an essential part of his appearance. Shaving one's beard off is not forbidden, but every Slavard, even those born in the time of the Empire, knows that a beardless man is hardly a man.
Especially if he is not a Slavard.

Marks and mutilations received in battle are marks of pride and are often displayed in full view. Slavard men boast of their scars and missing fingers and hands. They never wear patches or bandannas over missing eyes. Scars are pleasing to Svefnii, after all, for injuries are a sacrifice he delights in. Scars, especially old, faded scars, are often highlighted with special tattoos. When a Slavard is missing an ear, he often shaves half his head so that his hair will not obscure the scar.

Clothing and Architecture

Slavards dress simply and practically. The most common dress for men is spacious leather or homespun woolen pants and a shirt, with a jacket sewn of two skins and/or a hooded fur cloak over top during the cold season. Slavard men wear knitted stockings or leggings made of fabric strips, tanned leather boots, shoes of tree bark, and fur caps on their heads. When working, they wear aprons of fabric or leather. The belt is the most important – and often the most valuable – item in any self-respecting Slavard's wardrobe. Purses, wallets, keys, knives, adornments, charms, and weapons are all attached to the belt. For this reason, belts are not made cheaply. They are crafted of good, thick skin, reinforced with metal rivets or fasteners, and fitted with sturdy buckles. It is an unbearable humiliation for a Slavard to have his belt taken from him.

Slavard women wear full-length dresses, fastened at the neck with bone or amber buckles. Over top, they wear tunics made of two rectangular lengths of fabric joint at the shoulders by leather buckles (for poorer women) or brooches (for richer women). Women who work around the home wear, in addition to belts, chains fastened to their clothing by buckles or brooches. These chains are fitted with small bark boxes for holding needles, knives, keys, and other small items.

The farther south a Slavard lives, the more his wealth and social status will be reflected by the way he dresses. Rich and famous Slavards from Imperial cities often wear silk and cloth brocaded with gold or silver thread, two-colored cloth jackets similarly brocaded, and cloaks embroidered with exquisite needlework. But Slavards from the North primarily view such countrymen with contempt, men and women "dressed up like girls going to the fair."

The northern priests of the Lei Sisters, called Leiwargs, wear two-toned black and white loose-fitting garments during their rituals. Both of these colors are used to symbolize death. White is the color of the Iceeyed's hair and eyes, and black is the color of her sister's cloak. The pagan, ancient beliefs of the Slavards center on death, and the Slavard priests are guides into its world – living servants, in a sense, of the Lei Sisters. Most pagan rituals include sacrifices, and once a sacrifice is complete, the priest generally dips his finger in the split blood of the victim and with it draws a scarlet sickle on his chest. Warriors setting off for a battle that will be especially hard – or that all know will be a fatal defeat – also wear the Sisters' scythes, painted on their foreheads and faces in blood.

What the people of other nations express with their dress, the Slavards express with tattoos. Tattoos are an indispensable part of every northerner's life. A Slavard's tattoos tell you what lineage he belongs to, what vows he has taken, how many victories he has won, what honors belong to his ancestors, and what honors belong to him. Or, to the contrary, a man's tattoos mark him as an oathbreaker, a traitor, a coward, or a deserter. Such people are branded with special tattoos (assuming the Jarl allows them to live, of course).

Each image depicted in tattoos has a specific meaning. For example, an ax is the mark of a professional warrior. A raven shows that its bearer has competed in the yearly contest of skalds, and the scythe of the Lei Sisters reveals that the warrior has vowed to perish on the field of battle. A gavran tattooed on the chest marks a man out for a sailor who lives by piracy. A gavran tattooed on the back identifies a sailor who lives by trade or fishing. Many Slavards, of course, will have ships displayed on both their chests and their backs. No Slavard would consider getting a tattoo for "beauty's sake." The tattooing process is quite painful, besides being sacred, and it is carried out under the guidance of a special priest, a "master of inks." But each Slavard's life is full of happenings and accomplishments, so by old age, many are covered with blue-green ink from head to toe. The more tattoos a man has, the more authority, wisdom, and experience he is considered to possess, and the more significant his opinion becomes to others, on any subject.

Battle amulets are forged in the shape of various weapons: Axes, hammers, shields, daggers, arrowheads, and spears – made of bone, stone, copper, and wood for ordinary warriors, and made of silver or gold for Jarls and their militiamen. Women often wear pendants depicting household items: Spoons, keys, and combs. The spoon is the symbol of family prosperity. The key indicates family stability, faithfulness, and devotion. Craftsmen prefer more practical amulets, depicting the anvil of Dost, a hammer, or a pail. Fishermen carry amulets shaped as Tolki's tentacle to ward off storms, or as fish to ensure a good catch. Hunters wear boar fangs. Northern pagans often use fragments of bone from their ancestors or defeated enemies (be they humans or dangerous beasts, like bears) as amulets. These include fingerbones, teeth, pieces of a jaw or rib bone, and so on. Those who worship the Sleeper, however, will generally only wear a single amulet of the Sacred Eye.

The Slavards live in long, low-roofed log cabins, with roofs covered in grass or sodden earth. Packed earthen floors, wooden benches for sitting and sleeping, glowing hearths, and sheep and goats sleeping under the roof with their owners during severe frosts – Slavard dwellings can hardly be called places of comfort. Their houses are heated with chimneyless stoves, to make matters worse. Slavards prefer to sleep outside whenever the weather permits. The braces of their doubly-sloped roofs are usually decorated with depictions of animal heads. The shutters on their windows are also covered with stylized carvings depicting waves or plants of the sea. A Slavard's yard is generally enclosed by a fence or palisade wall. Human skulls are often seen hanging over the gates, the skulls of the ancestors of those who now live here, elevated to protect the inhabitants from misfortune, frost, and evildoers.

Slavard weapons and armor

Slavard armament, too, is not known for being intricate or adorned. This people often wears a felted, leather, or quilted jacket lined with metal plates or ring mail, as well as high-top boots, riveted bracers, gauntlets, and an open bevelled helmet with nose guards. Chainmail pieces are rare in the North, normally only worn by Jarls and their militiamen. In the Empire, though, nearly every Slavard, whether he be a professional warrior, a trader, or a craftsman, keeps chainmail at home.

A Slavard's weapon is an indispensable companion. Every Slavard learns to use his weapon from a very young age, until it becomes second nature. There is no such thing as a Slavard unable to wield a weapon. Slavard women, too, are quite skilled with bows and "Ungersverden," literally "young swords," which are large Slavard knives. The most widely used types of weapons include: Axes and pole-axes, short swords (Frossnesangen), bows, short spears, daggers, and sometimes whaling harpoons. Swords are rare weapons in the North and are symbols of might and authority, wielded by Jarls and their militiamen. In the Imperial lands of the South, however, swords are not so revered and are often used by common people. The pagan Slavards also often wield slings, war hammers, and clubs enhanced with bone spikes, bone arrowheads, or even tips of stone. Slavard shields are round and wooden, with large metal bosses in their centers and bright decorations depicting their bearer's heraldic crest, or that of the Jarl.

Legendary Character

McTir Arianu, called Red Heather.
The Right Hand of the founder of the ancient First Gottlung Empire, the nameless Sovereign.

No heather but white heather has ever grown on the hills of the North. McTir received his nickname not because he loved flowers but because he made the flowers red as they fed on the blood of his enemies.
But this figure from Slavard history is so ancient, so legendary, that he is little spoken of other than in fairy tales.

Religious Beliefs

The Slavards are sure that the gods spend much of their time among people and are like people in every way, but stronger. Nevertheless, they hold that some heroes from among humans "are strong enough to hold their own with the gods!"

The northerners abbreviate the gods' names, which the Gottlungs consider very disrespectful. For instance, the goddess called Jomfrutotte by the Gottlungs is called simply Jomfru by the northerners.
The gods of the Slavards are adapted from the gods of the Gottlungs.

In addition, the Slavards are quick to adopt new religious beliefs, since they have no organized church tradition and rarely emphasize higher theology or dogmatics.

The gods original to the Slavards are cruel and impulsive. None of them can be called "good" in the usual sense of the word (as in the Gottlungs' religion).
Svefnii – a great warrior who strives to destroy the world. He collects the soul Sparks of the greatest mortals, and out of them is forging the sword of the next Godernblodbad. The Slavards continually debate the essence of Svefnii the Sleeper.

Gloom – the deity of mean jokes, deception, conniving, and manifestations of traditional feudal "creativity" (such as torture methods). Gloom's mark is a cut mouth, with scars on the cheeks. A slit throat is called "Gloom's smile."

Kalle, called Kallente by the Gottlungs – the goddess of beauty and fertility.

Ama, the Goldeneyed, the Flamehaired (called Amate by the Gottlungs) – the Goddess of the Sun.

"The Sparks of the chosen ones who had beheld the beauty of Amate were locked up in Isenbrusts, magical heavenly pieces of ice. Since then, they have decorated the night sky, as well as the Dark Halls of Velent. These Sparks also adorn the cloak of Velent the Hasty."

Lei, the Dead Maiden Jhode, called Deathbreathing and the Cold One by the Gottlungs and the Iceeyed (though some hold to Frosteyed).

The Elder Lei and the Snowhaired. Her name is Velent. It is she who races through the darkness before dawn on her chariot, bound with the howl of the northern wolves, collecting the flaming sparks of the dead. She is the patroness of killers, the bringer of plagues and fevers, the poisoner of wells. It is her dark cloak, decorated with thousands of Sparks that once belonged to important and honorable mortals, that covers the earth at night.

The Pale Lei Sisters (the Slavards also consider Jomfru, Jhode, and Velent sisters) are the only northern gods that have their own priestly caste, the Leiwargs, whose duties include funeral and burial rites and the caretaking of burial grounds. Sepulchral Hills, the successors of the prehistoric "Houses of Silence," are built like ships in the North, great "stone gavrans." Their sterns always point West, towards the legendary Island called Apple Land.

Runes – the sacred writing system of the Slavards. Runes are the marks Gloom used to try to record the secrets of the mastery of Dost which he spied upon in the Smithy. Runes are inscribed on weapons, amulets, and work implements, carved into thresholds and doorposts, tattooed on flesh, and drawn in the air by those trying to ward off evil omens and feelings of foreboding. Ballads and songs are also written in runes. Usually these inscriptions can only be read by the Skalwarg who wrote them, or by a student of his.

Social Structure

The Northerners' social structure is a direct democracy. On the last evening of the Slavards' year, during the autumn equinox (also known as the Night of Fires), the residents of each village – whether of a tiny town or a large settlement – gather in the Veche (Ting) to elect the elder who will lead the whole village during the coming year. Those with the right to vote include men who have reached the age of fourteen and women who have borne at least one child. A female elder is rarely elected, but it does happen, especially in years of hardship where the men are fighting or leaving for campaigns in distant lands.

Common militia groups are formed by the fighting men of several neighboring settlements, who often share family ties. Members of the militia are recruited when needed. Additional militiamen are not needed during years of peace, so younger men of age who dream of war must either come to terms with the current peace and seek another craft or leave the village in search of someone who needs their fighting skill. Due to the power of lineage in Slavard culture, militia recruits are most often the sons of militiamen. They are trained better than the other men, understand the art of fighting, and already know their fathers' brothers in arms. The militia is supported by the villages and has their protection as its primary mission. Other sources of militia income include: piracy, plundering campaigns, guarding trade caravans, and raiding bandit camps. Loot obtained in battle is divided up as follows: The Jarl takes one tenth, the militiamen who for one reason or another could not fight in the battle take another tenth, and the survivors of the battle evenly divide up what remains.

Once every three years, the militia meet at a Ting and elect a Jarl, a battle leader, from their ranks. On the day of the Ting, after the election result is announced, any candidate has the right to challenge the winner to battle and, in the case of victory, take his place as Jarl. At any other time, challenging a Jarl or disobeying his orders is considered a threat to the entire militia and is punishable by death.

A tribal chief, called a Knez, rules over the militias and Jarls of a tribe. The Knez only truly has power during wartime, whenever war between tribes or large-scale campaigns require many militias to come together.  When a Knez dies, the next Knez is elected from among the Jarls. Each Knez is elected for life. Tribes can be at war, at peace, or members of alliances with one another. These diplomatic actions are the responsibilities of the Knezes. Over the past few decades, most of the Knezes have been required to swear oaths as vassals of the Empire. But when the darkness came, these oaths lost their force.

Language

Slavard names have two parts. One part always denotes religious or abstract quality: beauty, defense, good, death, cold, Dost, Lei, and so on. The second part is something material: peace, sword, blood, wolf, heaven, forest, etc. These names are in the language of the North, of course, and sound something like this:

– Jarvald
– Branisleiv
– Rathimund
– Trogwald
– Dragstein
– Nargrim
– Dostobrand
– Mornullve

Ideally Slavard names contain a mix of pre-Christian Slavic elements (Jar-, Rati-, Rog-, Drag-, -mir, -slav, -rod and so on) and Scandinavian elements (-vald, -ulv, -grim, Hall-, Var-, Gud-, and so on). This is quite typical but does not need to be met in every case. Minor characters can be given slightly modified Scandinavian names.

These names can be formed with Norwegian, Irish, Icelandic, Finnish, Welsh, and Hungarian elements.
For example: Lauisten Blaidkriegson (Wolf of war, God's hand son)

In addition to their name, all significant northern characters also have a nickname. This nickname is given to indicate specific feats or qualities and is often used like a second name. For example: Yarbrand Suppressor Wolfen, Hallmir Ironvoice, Yorneda the Pallid, etc.

Traditional Slavard greetings, used both by northerners and by those in Imperial lands, include: ‘Good flames’ and ‘Warmth to your fire.’ This phrase is used when meeting friends or strangers on the road, when entering someone else's house, and when approaching someone else's fire. It carries religious significance.
Khoors are never greeted this way. If necessary, they are greeted with a wave of the hand or a nod of the head.

Slavards say farewell in various ways, depending on the social situation and their professions. Sailors say, ‘ull sails!’ or ‘ood seas!’ Warriors say, ‘see you at the Forge’ or ‘much shed, little bled!’ Commoners usually wish each other to ‘eep on shining.’ "Keep shining!’ is a universal farewell. It is also used when speaking with Gottlungs, and even with Khoors. All have the Spark, after all, and all understand the meaning of the phrase.

By the way, the Slavards do not consider it offensive to address someone as ‘Stranger.’ It is simply a statement of fact. When they meet a newcomer, they will call him ‘Stranger’ simply to emphasize that they are not acquainted. If the newcomer has given his name, they will likely use it to address him.

Slavards are not much for forms of etiquette in conversation. They have no rules for how to address others, except one: When addressing a chief, his title of Jarl or Knez must be used. So if a man named Dragnar is Jarl, he is addressed as ‘Dragnar Jarl,’ or just ‘Jarl,’ but never just ‘Dragnar.’

On the other hand, Slavards try to incorporate poetry into their speech, using expressive turns of phrase, so they often use quite unusual language, especially in ceremonial settings:
‘ As a dragon takes wing, as a wind rushes, so did I fly hence, Knez Svantemor, to your hearth which warms these cold lands.’

Ballads and sagas often use similar expressive phrases when warriors speak during a battle. This is simply dramatic artistic hyperbole, of course. In real battles, warriors bark short commands and orders. But later, these words are expanded into exquisite speeches full of metaphors and vivid imagery. Or, this word is entrusted to the Skalwargs who write tales of battles. All are aware of these customs, and none are bothered by them.

– Affirming by negating the opposite:
‘Think not that you can force me…’
‘None can dispute that Svagard Bear Son is a coward and a traitor.’
‘Few can argue that rare is the gavran which can match my Flying Serpent in speed!’
‘It does not seem there is another way to Dunborg besides the Path of the Dead.’

– Anthropomorphized weapons and household items:
‘Hot and harsh is the kiss of my ax, and you are its next love!’
‘The chatter of my blades pleases the ear more than any eloquent speech of man.’
‘None did hear the Jarl's last words but the spear which pierced his heart.’
‘He trusts his hammer more than his brothers.’
 
– Threats are often made in the third person:
‘An old man should not try to deceive sailors of the sea. Does he think his gray hair can save him from an ax blow?’
‘I'm sure the archer will have time to loosen his bowstring. But wouldn't that earn him a blade in the throat?’
‘The Knez believes he can take our lawful share of the bounty. But the Knez is mistaken.’
 
– Threats can use the subjunctive mood, as if speaking hypothetically:
‘If I were to shove my sword into your bowels for the words you just spoke, you would, methinks, regret those words and wish you could take them back. So perhaps you should take them back now, while you still can do so of your own free will.’
‘If this courageous and intelligent traveler were to open his bag for us so that we could have some of his things, there would be no need for bloodshed, which would probably not end well for the traveler.’
 
– Understatement of the seriousness of an event or situation:
‘Our land has been uneasy after the death of the Knez.’
‘Our new Knez has opened many paths of opportunity for skilled warriors. Some lead straight to Ristertverden; others, to the cold embrace of Jhode.’ (regarding a civil war, for example)
‘One unaided cannot think to defeat dozens.’
‘I doubt Orlaf will forgive us for the death of his son.’
‘This gavran isn't quite as sturdy as I hoped.’ (on the deck of a sinking ship)