MARAK: colonial city situated on the western fringes of the Eastern Canopy. It is a relatively recent settlement, established over the last fifty years, with a mixed population of Argosians and Nurians. Grave tensions persist between the colonists, the native inhabitants and their Argosian rulers at ‘home’. Marak colonials are mostly merchants dealing in Treespice, the one plentiful natural resource in the Eastern Canopy. The entry in the seminary encyclopedia under ‘Marak’ reads as follows:
When the first Argosian traders crossed the Gap and settled on the west fringes of the Domains in the Year of Green Grace, 1131, they found the former Empire of Nur in disarray. The Eastern Canopy was prey to bandits, the degenerate Nurian chieftains unable to maintain the rule of law and order. Superstition and unbelief were rife among the population. The Priest’s Council in its infinite mercy sent soldiers to guarantee the traders’ security and missions to spiritually guide the natives. If the colonists subsequently found themselves in positions of power and influence it was only due to sound business practices, moral rectitude and the guiding will of God.
For a few years, the colonies prospered under their rule, Nurians and Argosians alike responding to the revivifying power of righteous rule. The Domains paid their tithes in Tree-spice to the Mother Canopy and in return, Argosian money developed the mines and transport systems that ensured their prosperity. The early Argosian missions set up schools, hospitals and libraries for the local population, helping to bring the backward Nurians into the twelfth century. Alas, even in the early years these well-meaning efforts were met with graceless dissent, and once an open riot in Marak that led to the imposition of martial rule. Ultimately, however, it was not revolution that saw the downturn of our fortunes in the colonies. It was the weather.
Though the Eastern Canopy had been barren of its leaf-forests for at least three centuries before our colonists arrived, the native inhabitants cursed for their unbelief by the All-Father himself, rainfall had always been enough to carry on the old vine-farming techniques. But within a generation of the establishment of Marak a lasting drought hit the region, caused some maintain by the stubborn refusal of Nurians to practice true Tree worship, despite the seminary’s efforts. They took to dew-farming but the yield was pitiful and impossible to exploit on any large scale. Businesses began to suffer, even our own. Tree-spice was the one resource left in the canopy that guaranteed a decent living. It was harvested from the dry sap wells and used in a wide variety of medicines and foodstuffs. The spice trade continues to this day and motivates all Guild presence in Marak.
Margoose: flightless bird raised for eggs and meat in Argos. Margeese lack feathers on much of their bodies and have a scaly, leathery hide.
Mora: stifling season before the onset of the autumn rains in the Eastern Canopy. Temperatures soar and the weather is oppressive and overcast. The word is a Nurian one, of course, co-opted by the colonists.