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Companions of the Shell -- Introduction

by Tristan Dunigan

The Tortles. This race is among the most peaceful of the Savage Coast. Their values of peace and their belief in coexistence with those around them is both a tribute to their gentle nature, and a curse that has doomed them to a life of servitude. With no true dominion to call their own, they have simply adapted into what ever culture they happened to be living. This adaptation has kept most Tortles in the same seemingly hopeless situation for generation after generation.

Life for a Tortle on the Savage Coast is difficult at best and they are often seen as "second-class" citizens. As it is not in their nature to be hostile or confrontational, this perception stays mainly intact. Indeed, because of their peaceful nature, many of the cultures they have melded into take advantage of them for menial tasks and cheap labour. They are often perceived as lazy, slow, and clumsy. None of these stereotypes is true, but one can see how the Tortles have their work cut out for them when it comes to gaining acceptance by their neighbours.

Other Tortles enjoy a life of relative tranquillity. Those who dwell in the Tortle Tribelands are for the most part independent and in much better spirit than their cousins. The villages of Tlech', R'nak, and Prash are examples of how some groups of Tortles have come together and share ideas and a culture all their own. They are known as the "Free Tortles of Zul". Many of these Free Tortles share a hope that one day all the Tortles of the Savage Coast will again come to know their own culture and history. What follows is an explanation of how two of these Tortles went about turning a dream into a reality.