I, Guervas Anther, Crown Beadle to the King in Paramount City, take great pride in my work for the glorious Kingdom of Altoria. All official correspondence is carried on through the services of men like me. I am but a humble servant to Toran. Praised be his name.
I put pen to paper now, to give witness to that which I have observed on my travels. May my experiences enlighten you to the ways of the world.
I have traveled north to the lands of the vampyres, bringing messages to the Magorian Primes. I have sought out the Elves in their forested enclaves and coastal communities. I have braved the Qabaran caravan routes in the far western deserts to maintain contact with the Ogre Qatchahs and Khons. I have scaled rugged mountain passes to reach the entrances to Dwarven Strongholds. I must travel even south into the Wild Lands, home to goblins and foul beasts, to reach the Orc holds, where they have settled since being driven from the mountains by the Dwarves. I have seen as much as any Rover or Glimmer. Ereth is indeed a place of many peoples, many things wondrous and strange.
It is my humble opinion that we of Altoria are truly the chosen ones. Toran has graced us with his presence and we are blessed. Altoria is the jewel of Ereth. We have the most beautiful cities of all the lands. The Qabaran palaces may be larger, but our cathedral has no rival. Its' towering spire beckons all to Paramount City. Joyful is my heart on spying Toran's spire as I near our capitol. Praise be to Toran, the benefactor.
Products are brought to Paramount City by wagon, cart and pack beast from the farms and villages. Boats and rafts, carrying goods from riverside towns and coastal villages come, too. All the countries of Ereth, the great caravans of Qabara and trade wagons of the Rovers, all come to the Paramount City. The great ships bring goods from Magoria and San Wan, and some say even beyond, to our port.
Wherever I travel, on the King's Roads of Altoria or on the highways of other kingdoms, I see the great Altorian caravans bringing the culture and goods of our land to all. Great is the influence of Toran on all the lands of Ereth.
Here in Altoria, humans are in the majority, but it is not so in other parts of Ereth. Strange are the ways I have observed in other countries. You may think you know of a people, you may work with an Orc, or serve an Ogre in your shop, but to understand them, you must see where they have come from.
Many are the tales I have gathered from places you have heard of, that all have heard of-and many more the tales from places few know by name, or that have no name you can speak.
First I will tell of Magoria.
Magoria is home to the vampyres, or Magyars as the Rovers call them. They are our neighbors to the north. Just beyond the great river, across from our own Paramount City lies Vancour, capitol of Magoria.
When I last traveled to Vancour, I was appalled by the subservience required of even freemen towards the Magorian nobles. They rule with an absolute power that we in Altoria could never sanction. All must bow before the Primes and nobles and bend to their will. Each and every man, woman and child is subject to their whims. Horrible it is to see a vampire beckon to a commoner and demand their right to feed on the essence of her soul.
The acquiescence of the citizens is only fathomed when you come to understand how fully they have subjugated the populace. Their laws are such that the debauched vampyric rulers can decree any edict they choose and none may stand against it. Neither citizen nor god curbs their repugnant demands. Only as a Crown Beadle of Altoria was I safe from the vampires, and only then from their Law of Obedience. I was still subject to all other Magorian law. It is a most repressive society.
The non Magyars seem to have been abandoned by their gods. One finds it hard to believe they can content themselves with their pitiable lot in life. Would that our good priests could enter Magoria and bring these poor lost sheep to Toran.
Nowhere in Magoria do you see a Magyar labor. All about you, on the wharves, on the streets, in the shops, are the dull life-less eyes of the thralls. These poor creatures, their souls drunk by the vampyres, perform all the menial tasks of the country. They are worse than slaves, even death will not give them release. Pitiable creatures, to look on one, you can begin to understand why some priests of Toran contend that we, as Altorians, should not condone this horror by trading with Magoria.
The Magorian nobles never lift a finger in honest labor. All their fine goods, the renowned artwork, the magnificent ships, all are crafted by their poor abused vassals.
Even the humans and others who are not thralls but mere slaves or citizens, live in fear of the vampyres. When a vampyre looks upon you in Magoria, even the most staunch warrior feels his skin crawl. There is no question in my mind that these foul beings have no souls of their own. Only Lialu could have spawned such beings. Their arrogance is matched only by their decadence.
Magorians surround themselves with luxuries. The Rovers bring trade goods from Qabara. Even now, with the hostilities between them rising, the Qabarans want the Magorian artwork and liqueurs. Fine Qabaran carpets grace the floors of the Magorian Primes. The great ships bring in San Wanese glass wares and fine fabrics. The exotic goods of the Dark Elves are commonplace in the palaces of the nobles. Even the finest of Dwarven and Elven goods can be found in Magoria. The Magorian nobles pride themselves on their riches.
It is disgusting to me to be forced to enter their homes. They loll about on raised daises, attended by their slaves and thralls. Their women are immodest and the men are frivolous to an extreme. Even while attending to official business, they will have some poor slave anointing their bodies with perfumed oils and caressing them continually. They eat only the finest and most expensive of foods. Never is a proper meal served, only sweets and savories to tempt the palate.
While in Magoria, you are forced to actually observe while they feed from the souls of others. Vile thing it is, and they seem to take delight in doing this publicly. Nothing I have ever observed in all my travels has disturbed me as much as being witness to a Magorian Prime feeding on a lovely young woman. She came forward willingly when he beckoned, then he pulled her to him and placed his mouth to her neck. He lasciviously fondled her helpless body while draining her of her strength. It is beyond my understanding how anyone could allow such a thing. I, personally, would prefer death for myself or for any loved one of mine.