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What Everyone Knows about the Selhomarrians

by Geoff Gander

A Krugel orc to his sons:

"You think yer tough, Grikk? Well, you just wait, 'cuz one day the Selhomarrians'll be back from over the sea! Yep, it was quite some time ago that they came, real quick-like, too. They was comin' over the waves in their long boats, an' they decided to land on the shores over there.

"Was I there?!? Shaddup Urk, ya stoopid whelp!! One more smart remark like that an' I'll make you wish you was in the Selhomarrians' hands! It was hundreds of years ago, not long after we came to this new world.

"Well, them Selhomarrians, they was comin' outta their ships to get some food - must've been at sea for a long time. That's one way we know they ain't smart - no one with brains leaves dry land, it's too dangerous out there! Goin' by sea's also a stoopid way to attack someone - 'cuz you can see where they're comin' from a long way off, but anyways...

"So they was scroungin' around for somethin' to eat, an' one of my ancestors, Hurggrik One-Hand, saw his chance an' set up an ambush with two hundred warriors to get 'em if they came too close. So them stoopid Selhomarrians did, an' we whupped 'em good - collected twelve scalps that day. 'Course, over half of us got wiped out, an' old Hurggrik with 'em, but we still got what them wimpy folk call a "moral victory" - we showed 'em who owns this land - right boys? They may have sharp little swords and good armour, but we're orcs!

"Am I afraid of 'em? Nah! I could kill five of 'em, easy! With one hand tied behind my back! What? How many Selhomarrians were at the battle? I dunno, about thirty or forty, according to legend, what's your point?"

Yorl Agmundsson, to his fellow reavers before landing at a Selhomarrian port for a night's work:

"Get ready, men! In a few minutes we land at Sepirolos to get some booty. We've been lucky to make it this far already - I'm surprised their patrols haven't found us! We should've been caught and chased away miles back! Their loss...

"Just a few words of wisdom from someone who's done this before. The Selhomarrians are unlike any other people you'll meet on this world. For one thing, they're half decent sailors. They know how to build a good boat, and how to use it well. Some say they've been here for a very long time - longer than we've been here, I'm sure. Maybe that has something to do with it.

"Another thing. Never ever let them get you into a pitched battle! Stick with skirmishing tactics; they seem to enjoy marching about like turtles, tightly packed together. Just draw them out and pick them off, one by one. Even if they capture you, you have nothing to worry about; they have too much compassion for a fallen enemy - you'd practically be a guest! Just wait and eventually you'll be ransomed for some trinket we relieved them of some time ago - and then you'll be free to loot them again! Not too bright if you ask me - bloody cowards!. "They may be weak, they may be soft, but they can fight and sail, and their towns have good plunder for the taking. All right, men! Beach this craft and let's earn our living!"

Aurius, a Milenian diplomat, to a longtime friend:

"One thing you'll learn soon enough if you ever go to Selhomarr is that the Selhomarrians are very single-minded, and slightly intolerant. They may be nice, but never, ever try to discuss theology with them. They believe in no Immortals but their own beloved "Xeron" - a faker if you ask me. They attribute everything to him, they obey his every wish, as interpreted through his priests. They are so convinced of their own closeness to this "Xeron" that they are quite condescending to others - they never mean to be cruel, mind you, they just consider all other cultures to be like children.

"Still, for all that they have a beautiful country. Paved roads go everywhere, great forests are tended by druids, and everything is so pristine. It's too perfect, if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, they're nice people, but they're so...strange - they must be hiding something, but I can't put my finger on it. I wouldn't trust them too much if I were you, I'm sure they want something from us.

"What really makes me suspicious is that, if they have been here as long they claim - several thousand years - why haven't they tried to conquer us all? We should be seeing Selhomarrian cities everywhere. No, I definitely think they're up to something, all right, the pitiful puppet-emperor and his scheming priests. Still, you can never shake the feeling that the Selhomarrians are nice, they're so open and friendly, they want to learn everything about you. I think the Immortals put them on that isolated continent for a reason - to protect us.

"Another thing is their political system. Their emperor, while hereditary, obtains advice from ten regional princes, who really have more power than he does, and the druids and priests. They dangle him like a puppet on strings, telling him what to think, what to say, what to do. It's sinister, if you ask me. If they are so powerful, why don't they take our side in any disputes? Just what are they up to? Even during my time there, I could never find out..."

Khemenut, a Nithian scribe, on his trip to Selhomarr:

"My friend, should you ever find yourself in Selhomarr, I warn you, be prepared to witness the unthinkable! Never in my entire life have I been in such a place! Unending farms, towns, villages, and roads spanning the countryside as far as the eye can see - surely the populace of that nation must dwarf the whole of the rest of the world! And if this sprawl were not enough, the omnipresence of their temples devoted to Xeron, that heathen Immortal they worship, blots out everything else.

"That is what struck me as most strange, that such an apparently rational people would venerate such a ludicrous Immortal. They attribute almost everything to this 'Xeron', from the eternal sun itself to the growth of crops in the fields, from their very existence to their continued prosperity! Indeed! Oh, some of them pay lip service to other Immortals, but believe you me, nothing sways them from their falsehoods!

"Another thing that is odd about them - they don't practice slavery! Oh, certainly there is indentured servitude for those who fall into debt, but they claim to have never enslaved anyone. I think they're either lying through their teeth, or they are that naïve; slavery is what conquered peoples are for!! To top it off, they even give their commoners a say in local government! That did it for me, I tell you, who in their right mind could stand living in a nation where the common rabble - including madmen I'll wager - dictate to their social betters? Bah! Don't let them fool you, the Selhomarrians are little more than barbarians well-versed in the arts of deception!"