A guest post courtesy of Rachel Hartman.
Welcome to Goredd, friends! I understand this is your first holiday in our fantastical land, so I thought I would provide you with a little background. A travel guide, if you will.
Some parts of Goredd will be reassuringly familiar. It’s got all the princesses, castles, and knights you could ask for (although the knights are banished and living in a muddy cave. You’ll have to excuse their manners. They do their best). There are cathedrals and picturesquely grimy streets. There is never a precise correlation between Real Time and Fantasy Time, but if I had to put an era on it, I’d say late Medieval or early Renaissance.
Does magic exist in Goredd? Goreddis themselves are divided on the subject. Goredd is certainly a low magic world. You won’t find wizards, spells, or enchanted household objects here. They do get the occasional quack alchemist or hedge witch, but none of those feature in this first adventure.
Insofar as Goreddis believe in magic, it generally takes a religious flavour. They are a devout people, with a panoply of peculiar Saints. Each Goreddi child is given a patron to guide her through life. There are Saints for every occasion and every need, and a whole lot of swearing by them. If you’re here long, don’t be surprised to find yourself occasionally uttering “St. Daan in a Pan!” If you notice that you’ve started kissing your knuckle piously, it may be time to go home – or take orders.
What Goredd lacks in ordinary magic, however, it makes up for in dragons. Don’t be frightened! Thanks to Comonot’s Treaty, signed nearly forty years ago, dragons aren’t the fire-belching menace they used to be. The saar, as the big ones are called, are able to fold themselves down into a human form, called a saarantras, and then they’re not scary at all. Well, they’re scary at mathematics, and they don’t understand jokes or manners, particularly. Saarantrai must wear a silver bell, so humans will know who and what they’re talking to. There’s nothing more off-putting than making a new friend, only to learn later that he’s some kind of hideous reptile.
Romantic liasons with saarantrai are strictly illegal and prosecutable by law. Foreign visitors are advised that Goreddi prisons are Medieval in every sense of the word.
A second species of dragon also lives in Goredd, although no one likes to admit it. These are called quigutl, or quigs for short. They are roughly human-sized, flightless (their wings having evolved into a second set of arms), and unable to change shape. Their presence in Goredd is an unintended consequence of the treaty. No one considered that the quigs would want to come south, or that they’d find human cities so much to their liking. They should have known, though; quigs eat garbage and prefer to live in crannies, and the city has plenty of both.
The quigutl make a number of odd devices, which are used by the saar. Some devices allow people to speak across a great distance; some are spooky statuettes that move or sing. There is great debate amongst Goreddi scholars as to whether these devices are demonic or mechanical in nature.
Quigs are ugly and they smell, but they won’t hurt you. If a quig approaches you in the street, do not scream or panic. Do not give it any coins; that just encourages it to beg. Go directly to the nearest guard station and file a report. The Queen’s Guard will escort it back to Quighole where it belongs.
On behalf of the Goreddi people, thank you so much for visiting. I hope you enjoy your time here!