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Author Topic: The Gondolwenmith ("the Practical Krean")  (Read 20151 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #45 on: 06 August 2009, 01:19:58 »


- Re the semi-collon: But see here: http://www.essortment.com/all/semicolon_rcnr.htm

(i)To Serve as a Super-comma

When you have a series of three or more items that normally would be separated by commas except that each individual item already has a comma in it, you use the semicolon between items.

Example: We visited Pago Pago, Western Samoa; Curitiba, Brazil; and St. George, Utah.

Example: The trio's birthdays are November 10, 1946; December 7, 1947; and October 31, 1950.

Example: Her favorite players are Steve Young, a quarterback; Jason Buck, a defensive end; and Ty Detmer, another quarterback

(ii) You may also use a semicolon to connect two otherwise complete sentences even if they are connected by a conjunction, if the first sentence already has one or more commas in it. It's optional, but may on occasion make the sentence more understandable.

Example: When I eat alone, I leave a mess; but that's not the worst of it.

I think this corresponds to the "policeman semi-colon" in the explanation you linked to.

- I corrected the lemon thingy now. Maybe in a few years' time I might even invent a totally cool new version for the people - at the speed I work, I would caution against holding your breath though :P
« Last Edit: 06 August 2009, 01:38:12 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: 06 August 2009, 02:01:05 »

Yeah, you are right!

I think meanwhile I know better how to place semi-colons in English than in German  grin

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« Reply #47 on: 11 August 2009, 19:10:11 »

Ok!  I printed this out and had a read through the other day - amazing writing I have to say  :D  So now I'll got through and share my thoughts in wondrous teal.  Sorry it took me so long to get this up, but I hope it helps.

"the Practical Krean"
pronounced: Gon-DOL-wen-myth (o as in or and e as in west)

Maps attached at the bottom of the post! Marks their territories in colour

After the Year of Darkness (1649 BS), many among the Ancient Krean who survived the cataclysm left their lands, disillusioned with their homeland and in search of a new life elsewhere. Some from this Great Exodus settled on the eastern coasts of the Ivieth Mountains, modeling their new state after the principles of Gondolwen Madas Mith (EASTER EGG!), the celebrated Merchant-King of the Ancient Krean. Lovers of order, logic and discipline; stern and pragmatic, the Gondolwenmith became known as “the Practical Krean”. As centuries dissolved into one another like waves into the ocean, they emerged as great traders, shipwrights and bridge-builders. Relative to the size of their small state they have a disproportionately large fleet - the fourth largest in Nybelmar after that of Aca Santerra, Korweyn and R’unor, surpassing that of the Anpagan Republic.

Masters of transportation and commerce, the Gondolwenmith have colonies in strategic locations all across the northern half of the continent, vying with the R’unorians over the corn chamber of Loreney. They maintain a close alliance with other Krean tribes and the mages of Nybelriod; and possess an economic influence far beyond the borders of their own territories. Master manufacturers of textiles, porcelain and furniture, the Gondolwenmith are also renowned smiths in northern Nybelmar.

Among the achievements of the tribe one can list the creation of Merchants’ Law (a system of mercantile law known for its level-headedness and speed in adjudication) and maritime law; the founding of their capital, the fortified city of Caradruith; their unique ship-designs; and the construction of the many bridges and aqueducts crowning their land.

These people take their name from the celebrated Ancient Krean king, Gondolwen Madas Mith, who is viewed as the ideological father of their tribe. Incidentally, “mith” is also the suffix form of “mithreas” – meaning “student of”.

Alternative Names
Gondolwenmith has in common speech been eroded to Gondolwenith, and eventually to Gondolith. Gondolwain is also frequently heard, the suffix “wain” standing for “citizens of”.

Linguists point out that the name is not devoid of meaning, quite independent from the reference to the famed ruler: “Wen” means “son of” and is usually appended to place names, in which case it stands for “comes from: e.g. “Sihitarawen” or “Rhaastharwen”. So for example “Dearan Asaen Sihitarawen” (Dearan, of House Asaen of Sihitara) or in the case of a well-known family whose branches have spread to various cities: “Dearan Sihitarawen Asaen” (Dearan of the Sihitaran Asaen). “Mith” is not only the king’s surname but also the suffix form of “mithreas” (student or descendant of): e.g. Dearanmith (descendent of Dearan). Ergo, the name Gondolwenmith reads as “Descendents of the Son of Gondol”. Clever!


The Gondolith mainland extends from Cloud Cape at its northwestern-most point through the skerries of the northern shore and traces the idyllic coastline of Ivieth as far south as the delta of the Great River Vaenar. Across the Bay of Gondol it encompasses the peninsula of Qimueh, stopping short of the Lorenite city of Lahssar. The capital is the fortified city of Caradruith.

The Gondolwain have established colonies in strategic locations all across the northern half of Nybelmar. Usually, these represent a string of small, fortified settlements securing a foothold for the Goldolwain in otherwise inhospitable regions or serving as markets in their trade network. These seaports, especially in the east and northeast, teem with merchants from neighbouring states as the Gondolith do not impose levies on sales and offer very favourable tax regimes for capital stored in their Vaults. This has generated a lot of friction – often culminating in great naval battles - between the Gondolwenmith and other Nybelmarian powers who were not pleased with all the trade gravitating toward these small harbours, draining the lifeblood of their own major commercial centres. The most notable (furious?) "most infamous" maybe? That's sort of got the negative connotations. among the Gondolwain’s “sparring partners” as the R’unorians call them are the Sceptres of Tarshiin and the High Kingdom of Aca-Santerra.

From west to east, the first of these colonies is the Isle of Númen Andúnië or Númen Anduinië (pronounced NOO-men Ahn-DOO-knee-eh and NOO-men Ahn-duEE-knee-eh; the circumflex accent denotes a long vowel) which lies between Mist, the Sceptres of Tarshiin and the Trumarim Dwarves in the Western Bay. Then comes the petite isle of Caras, nestled halfway between the Drifting Woods and Essalui Thareliath, to the north of the Plains of Kaerath. Roughly midway between the southern landmass of Essalui Thareliath and the Gondolith mainland, to the northeast of the Port of Nór, drift two islands; Ankalas (the “a”s pronounced as in “cart”) is the larger of the two. The Gondolwain have also managed to carve out from the Lorenite realm the Delta of Areírien (aka Árenbar or Árienbad; pronounced A-reh-EEE-ree-ehn, AAA-rehn-bar, and AAA-ryehn-bahd respectively). The outposts of the Gondolith in the east are too many to list here; the reader is encouraged to consult the Compendium’s maps. The most noteworthy among these are the Cape of Mifreas to the north of the Ulinoth Plains and the citadel, to the west of the Ehebion Peninsula, known as the Pride of Gondol - a nuisance to the Aca-Santerran fleet.

Environment (Mainland)
Most of the Gondolith mainland is well-forested with a carpet of maquis and evergreen woodlands, terminating on the soft sand of the many coves hidden along the coastline. A notable exception is the Vaenar delta to the south, where the trees gave way long ago to ordered, well-cultivated cotton plantations.

All along the coastline lie long, narrow inlets of sea between steep cliffs, penetrating into the mountains and their valleys. These inlets are appreciably deeper and colder than the adjacent sea, their waters cooled by the icy currents of the mountain rivers feeding them. The reefs along the bottoms of the inlets abound in marine life, which is perhaps why the Gondolwain coastline, especially its northern shore, is such a generous fishing ground. These inlets provide much needed waterways for passage and ferrying between the quarries deep in the Ivieth Mountains and the coastal towns and ports. During the winter months, however, strong tidal currents and wide saltwater rapids occur at the mouths of these inlets – a menace to navigation. Set against snowcapped peaks, these inlets offer majestic views, especially amidst the much taller slopes of the northern shore, carving a smooth, serpentine waterway through the mountains. The air of these inlets carries the sharp, refreshing scent of the lymmon blossoms dotting their slopes; a school of fish causing the occasional ripple here and there only heightens the silence ruling these aquatic valleys.

Thousands of island blocks run parallel to the northern coast, between Cape Cloud and the Port of Nor, and provide a protected channel for commerce behind an almost unbroken string of mountainous islands and skerries, sheltering Gondolwain transports from the treacherous weather conditions of the open sea. Hundreds of bridges, tall and proud, each a monument to the power and ingenuity of the Gondolwain, span the skerries, linking the islands and connecting them to the mainland. The taller summits amidst the northern skerries are crowned with fortresses and catapults, guarding the Gondolith homeland against the fleets of other Nybelmarian powers and rendering the skerry-protected passage behind unassailable.

Rainwater and snowmelt collect in the mountaintops of Ivieth, forming tiny streams. These gullies either grow larger as they collect more water or add to the water of greater streams they meet along their descent towards the shore. Countless tributary streams all across the realm of the Gondolwain merge, forming rivers in the higher elevations of the mountains and hills; and the rivers grow larger as they accumulate more water from more tributaries. The great rivers of Daeinion Ivieth carve deep V-shaped valleys as their fast-moving water cuts away at the rock on its downhill surge. The vigorous current picks up pieces of rock and conducts them downstream, breaking them into smaller and smaller pieces of sediment. Leaving the high elevation of the mountains and entering the flat plains, the rivers slow down and begin to saunter towards the level landscape of the coastline, giving the sediment a chance to fall to the river bottom and be deposited along with the rocks and pebbles worn smooth in the rivers’ long journey. Thus, the Gondolwain say, rivers do not just flow; they change the surface of the Disk.  "Disk" seems out of place to me, but it might just be because I read too much Terry Prachett.  Do we believe the world is a disk? But amidst the many waterways of Gondol, only the Great Vaenar achieves the ultimate goal of the river: to create a wide, flat valley where it can flow smoothly towards the sea.

Geography determines culture, and so does the geography of agriculture determine land use: Dairying and intensive farming of perishable vegetables and fruits take place in the fields close to the settlements as these products must get to market quickly - the chilled oxcarts of the Dearanic Age no longer being a luxury Nybelmarian mages can replicate. Since grains last longer than dairy products and are much lighter than the timber and firewood used for fuel, thereby reducing transport costs, they can be located further from the Gondolith cities, often imported from the “corn-chamber” of Loreney to the northeast or from the Sartheran elves to the southwest; the Vaenar delta attends to the much more lucrative demands of the textile industry.

The sea causes numerous indentations in the land, creating picturesque coves and lagoons on the eastern coastline all the way from the Port of Nor to the River Vaenar, with merchant ships taking refuge in their calm waters or the private vessels of the wealthier Gondolwain anchored a few dashes from the coast - tied perhaps to a solid pine tree onshore, enjoying these idyllic sanctuaries.  Maybe split this long sentence into two? Indeed, the entire Gondolith shoreline pullulates into countless bays, ports and shelter creeks.

The sheltered geography as well as the thermal underwater springs induce a climate very much like that of the Plains of Zhun, which is rather milder than one would expect from the higher latitude of the region. The sea surface temperature, for instance, ranges from about 1.6 to 2.5 periks throughout the year, which is warmer than the bay between Faen and the Aesteran coastal city-states to the west. All these factors have led to the region being called “the Zhun of the North” by the southern civilizations of the continent. Again, like the Sea of Zyloth, the currents of the Bay of Gondol are not smooth in respect of either speed or direction, influenced as they are by the blowing winds. However, due to its relative limpidity and hot waters, the Bay of Gondol accommodates large quantities and a broad variety of fish at the time of their procreating maturity, immigrating from the harsher Maren Nybeth and Marein Nermarein.

The realm of the Gondolwain is rich in waterfalls, which grow taller and more striking towards the north, adding yet another treasure to the scenic landscape. Ships sailing towards the Gondolith mainland will be quick to spot the great aqueducts carrying the water of its many streams and waterfalls, bringing order and prosperity to a difficult region which no other tribe on Nybelmar had hitherto dared to master.  So far the region seems pretty good - you've got good fishing, good farming, plenty of timber....why is it difficult?

Natural Resources
The Gondolwenmith are so resourceful, so unyieldingly efficient, and drive so notoriously hard bargains that many Nybelmarian nations are convinced that the Gondolith “can extract water from stone”, as the saying goes among those who tend to be on the raw end of these deals. Indeed, the Gondolwain approach the land they live upon and the waters they sail across as if they were conducting commerce with the elements, determined to wring every ounce of value.

After much negotiation, the sea yields them salt, sand, and a great selection of fish and other marine life – which is supplemented by the tributes of the many lagoons penetrating the mainland. Fish eggs and the pickled roe of larger fish are choice foods among the Gondolwain, and represent a major culinary export to the discerning citizens of neighbouring nations.

Dyes and paints are industriously prised out of the most unpredictable places, though not without some resentment on part of the reefs and mountain forests involved - for many of the flora and animals from which the dyes are coaxed out are poisonous, and diligently extract their tariffs, in the form of a few Gondolith lives every other year or so.

Of the flora that decorate the Marketplace, the Gondolith mainland, where this Great Bargaining takes place, the lymmon tree sentries standing watch over the inlets and the cotton plantations of the Vaenar delta are the most characteristic.

Quarries and mines, multitudinous as they are, also contribute their fair share to the family finances of the elements: “white gold” (platinum); iron and an inimitable ore known as “Gondolith Mithril”; the raw materials that make porcelain; and Gondolwain’s hallmark white stone, “Gondolstone”, are surrendered by the earth after much pestering – which earns it three weeks of rest every year as quid pro quo for its generosity.  The earth gets three weeks rest?  You mean they stop mining?  This last sentence confused me a bit.

But water is the capstan around which Gondolwenith life revolves – whether it be thermal and mineral springs, which lend themselves oh-so-nicely to spas and effervescent drinks; the water harvested by aqueducts and dams; the waterfalls which in their virility invigorate the spirit and enliven the eye; the tides and the rushing waters which power the pulleys, mills, wheels and hydraulics that unobtrusively turn the watch-work that is the Gondolwenmith nation and open its fortified gates to a brave new world waiting to be explored; or the great rivers and the many unsung streams making their way down the mountains – channels through which much of these negotiations with nature are conducted. I tried to read this sentence/paragraph out loud and I started to feel slightly dizzy...Could you split it?

The four masts of Gondolwain industry are: textiles, porcelain, furniture and smith-work. Their trade network is so vast and their fame so great that there are few merchants across the Disk who have not heard of Gondolith fabric. Whether by magic or skill or some other invention of the mind the Compendium cannot say, but the Gondolwain can spin cotton so finely that over the seas it has come to be known as “the new spilk”, “Gondolspilk”, “Gspilk”, “Geespilk”, or simply “Gonsilk”. In a world terrorised by rough, uncomfortable clothing prone to inducing redness, itching and all forms of other distasteful tactile experiences, Gondolwain cotton offers a more affordable alternative to the discerning customer, undercutting the silk and spilk producing nations. It has three qualities to commend itself: It is miraculously soft, airy and lends itself to tailoring as water into the sea. Oooooo, interesting...

Most Gondolwenmith clothing is blessed with Krean Magic to shield the wearer from unpleasant weather conditions, as well as the consequences of overzealous sweat-glands. Nonetheless, such fabric is difficult to come by outside Nybelmar, and a wealthy Avennorian merchant, a Veior or a Jorn for instance, would be lucky to sport one or two such items in his wardrobe. These arcane-spun fabrics preserve the wearer’s body temperature, a quality which has spawned the saying “cool as Gonsilk”. In addition, the fabric keeps itself dry by causing water to evaporate this word sounds rather scientific to me, maybe you could replace it? upon contact – making enchanted Gonsilk a sterling choice for seafaring episodes, given that the only plausible natural substitute, the lightweight watertight hide of the Rahaz-estar snake procured by the Shendar, is very rare and not available on the market.

None other than Gondolith weavers know quite why or whether it is a side-effect of this enchantment but Gonsilk does not easily catch fire. In fact, one way to test whether cotton fabric bears genuine Gondolwain enchantment is to throw it into an open fire: If it does, the springing flames will lick the cloth without igniting it and as the temperature increases strange runes will emerge and begin to glow, as if they are draining the heat. This glow gradually intensifies until a point of saturation is reached – as if the cloth has become “soaked” with fire – after which the runic structure will suddenly fall apart like earthenware shattering upon hitting the ground and the fabric will burst into flames shortly thereafter. Ergo, given the probability of the claimed Gondolsilk being devoid of any enchantment and thus ruining what is otherwise perfectly decent fabric, this is a useful but potentially expensive experiment – so it is best reserved for verifying the claims of overweening merchants before one consummates the purchase.  I've never heard "consummate" used for anything apart from marriage before...reading it here gave me a bit of a double-take as I tried to work out if they had some weird ritual of sleeping with the merchant to finalise a deal... I really love the rest of the explanation in this paragraph though.

Finally, to prevent Gondolwenith sailors suffering from heat strokes in the hot summer months – especially given their prolonged exposure to the elements and sunlight bouncing off the waves – charmed Gondolspilk reflects sunrays falling upon it. Elves might always have light on their faces, but so do the Gondolwain – on their clothes. This gives the white-washed settlements of the Gondolwain a luminous quality at firstflame & sunset, which sparks into radiant sparkles around sunblaze, now flashing on, now flashing off, the streets bustling with merchants and craftsmen and sailors and all the dramatis personae of a thriving economy, all aglow and all afire.  If this material is so expensive and magical, how does every worker afford it?

The cotton grown and spun in the Vaenar Delta thus gives the soldiers and workmen of Gondol an advantage over their counterparts in other nations in battling the hot climate of Nybelmar – and their harder work reaps its own reward in the form of opulence, world-dominance, and a lot of shiny objects...hehehe

Also, some Gondolcotton can be enchanted to “store” light and release it incrementally like a slow-burning candle as the day wanes from sundrown onwards – a favourite trick used in all sorts of Gondolith coat of arms, flags, banners and related paraphernalia. Sunset is magnificent everywhere, but in few places on Caelereth is the dusk that follows it as breathtaking as in the Gondolwenith mainland: as Injera sets, drawing her light away from the Disk back into herself in much the same way the mysterious force of alsetism pulls iron dust onto itself, it is replaced by the softer light issuing forth out of flags, banners, spreads, laundry left out to dry... and the cities of the Gondolwain begin lighting up as the sun sails away from the land, melting into the horizon.

Items made with this enchantment are known as “suncatchers”. A prominent use for them are in “Gondol-lanterns”, lanterns tailored out of Gondolcotton into all forms of magnificent shapes. Think of paper-lanterns – in this case “cotton-lanterns” – that need no candles inside. A variation is the “Bad-tempered Dragon”, a Gondol-lantern with an open ceiling out of which a wick protrudes for several nailsbreath, with its walls curved towards this wick. As the enchanted cotton radiates with the sunlight it collected during the day, the air inside the lantern grows hotter until finally it sparks the wick of the candle it encloses. Of course, since Gondolsilk is heat-resistant it does not burst into flame along with the candle it contains. In the worst case scenario a few rune-laces will begin to shimmer through the fabric, which would only add to the lanterns’ exotic beauty. Lanterns which light themselves – like bad tempered dragons spontaneously combusting – are rather glorious party starters. However, they tend to only work during very hot days, when the lantern has had the opportunity to trap enough sunlight to perform its trick after daywane. On such days dragons are probably not the only ones with a foul temper – something which will not come as a shock to anyone who has experienced a Nybelmarian summer – so lighting up the atmosphere and diffusing the tense mood with a few pretty lanterns is probably not a bad idea. Like everything the Gondolwenmith - “the Practical Krean” - do, behind the splendour lies a practical thought.

The second and third most important manufactures are porcelain products and wood or wrought-iron furniture. The Gondolwain are also renowned smiths in northern Nybelmar, whether it be wrought “Gondolgold” (white gold, platinum) jewellery, intaglio and cameo engravings, weapons or armour. Clockwork constitutes a smaller but prestigious industry. Ooo, this would be a good industry for Brownies to get in on.  Or they could use it to power their boats?  Because that would just be such a neat use for it. The main food exports are lymmons and various delicacies made from fish eggs. Furthermore, the soft sands of the coves dovetailing the mainland lend themselves well to glassblowing. However, whilst Gondolith glassware is of decent quality, it cannot rival the first-rate products of the neighbouring Aesteran city-states to the west. The dyes extracted from various flora and fauna inhabiting the reefs, lagoons and mountain forests are used both in the textile industry and the paintings for which the Gondolwain are renowned.

The major import of this tribe are grains and corns from Loreney, which are not grown in Gondol as the only area suitable for farming is devoted to cotton-growing. Well-aware that this dependence on trade for the staple of their diet is their main weakness, the Gondolwenmith are exceptionally proactive when it comes to securing their food supply - often pre-empting Runor and Aca Santerra for control of the continent’s “granary states”. Of course, as a thriving economy, various luxury imports are in constant demand as well.

(see attached Word file for a table of imports/exports)


The Gondolwain’s mercantile mindset, industriousness and ingenuity traces descent from<-- "traces descent" is quite hard to understand at first glance.  How about "has its origins in" or "can be traced back to" their Ancient Krean ancestry – but the Breaking (1969 BS) and the many centuries of exodus and hardship that followed it have greatly curbed their appetite for the ornate. Lovers of order, logic and discipline; stern and pragmatic, the Gondolwenmith thus became known as “the Practical Krean”. This pragmatic outlook is probably best exemplified by the tribe’s famous axioms, such as “The practical is the moral” or “Form follows function”.

The Gondolith have a talent for languages and for making things happen, which many of them capitalize on in choosing their life’s calling and the financial means by which they live. Indeed many around Caelereth envy how the Gondolwenith mind gravitates towards opportunities as a compass to ley lines. So it is no coincidence that the Gondolith are the great explorers and guides of Nybelmar. Over time, they rose to fame as traders, shipwrights and bridge-builders.

Perhaps owing as much to the geography they were born into as to the culture they were raised in, many Gondolwain are drawn to a life at sea – whether it be commerce, work as a sailor, or a soldier for the navy.

They maintain a close alliance with other Krean tribes and the mages of Nybelriod, which, coupled with their extensive trade network, gives the tribe an economic influence that reaches far beyond their own territories. As part of this allegiance, the Gondolwain have their mages trained at the Academy of Nybelriod. The significance of this might not be apparent to all the readers of this Compendium: Nybelriod has in its possession a great collection of tomes and journals from the Dearanic Age and thus produces the greatest sorcerers of the continent - other than the Efferdita (“Krean Gypsies”), if you believe the rumours. (This might explain how one city-state can control such a vast swath of territory in one of the most hostile regions in Nybelmar!) Thus, the Gondolwain are one of the few tribes which have access to a coherent system of Krean Magic – alas, the godlike powers of the Ancient Krean belong to a bygone era.

Aside from a proclivity for the arcane arts, the Gondolith inherited an eye for beauty from their ancestors. Although the same discernment is evident in every aspect o f their life, it is in their remarkable seascapes and panoramas of the skies that their Krean pedigree most fiercely shines through. As many a connoisseur will aver, a cluster of clouds painted by a Gondolwain is never just white, but an explosion of colour and light.

Finally, witnessing the Breaking and the fall of the Ancient Krean, a civilisation which walked as gods among men and which many thought could never fall, left a deep impact in the Gondolwain and an avid urge to leave their mark on Caelereth, to be remembered and not have the ideas their civilisation stands for wiped from the face of the world. This has led the Gondolith to become great historians and chroniclers - a pursuit that ties in well with their expertise as explorers and merchants.

Food & Diet
Bounties of the sea form the staple of the Gondolwain’s diet - to which they attribute their longevity, good health and stamina! Owing to their vast trade empire, the number of strategically placed colonies they have all across northern Nybelmar and the sheer practicality of their recipes, Gondolith cuisine may well be one of the most influential cuisines of Caelereth. Certainly, their character shines through in their cooking:

It is said in Nybelmar (and in ports as far away as Varcopas in southern Santharia) that when the preparation of food is at its simplest and best, it often owes a debt to the Gondolith kitchen. The Gondolwenmith aver that the essence of good food lies in simplicity – and most mothers endorse the popular Gondolith adage that the more you spend the less well you eat. Indeed, Gondolwain food is all about good basic ingredients, simply prepared and fondly cooked to produce a meal that has not taken all day to create. And anyone who has been brought up in a Gondolith port town knows first-hand the respect accorded to food and eating. So in a sense Gondolwain approach cooking the way they approach life – and the resulting cuisine is like everything else this tribe makes: sensible, no-nonsense and of sterling quality.

Enjoyment is the most characteristic aspect of Gondolith cooking and eating – and a Gondolwain cook will very vigorously tell you that if a recipe and the ensuing meal does not persuade you into the kitchen, enliven your day and bring a smile to your face, it deserves to be hurled into the sea.  lol On most days the Gondolwain eat quick, light meals. These they eat rather frequently albeit in small proportions: about four to six times a day, with two main meals (breakfast and lunch) supplemented by gentler, snack-like suppers made from vegetables or fruit throughout the day. But a “traditional” Gondolith meal is a great family affair, reserved for special occasions or the weekends, when there is more time to cook – and more time to talk, argue, laugh and savour. These gatherings have a rather complicated meal structure, which perhaps gives the remarkably practical members of this tribe a chance to unleash their inner Krean... Such a meal (often a lunch) starts with a selection of appetizers, soup or salad followed by a pasta dish. Do we have pasta? Neither of these courses is large in volume for there are still three more to follow! – seafood, the main vegetable dish and dessert or fruit. Perchance food is what brings family and community together in this otherwise exceptionally individualist culture?

Gondolwenith government is based on the principle that less is more: This tribe ardently believes that free trade and a live-and-let-live approach to life are essential not only to the prosperity of the state but also to the wellbeing of its citizens. They advocate a system of part private, part public finance for services ranging from education and transport to justice and defence – “for every fish is hooked from its own mouth” as the Gondolwain say... In many respects therefore their state is modelled after the principles set out by Gondolwen Madas Mith, the celebrated Merchant-King of the Ancient Krean.

The head of the Gondolith republic, who is elected every seven years, is known as “the Sovereign” in Tharian and “Amor” in the Gondolith tongue. However, a closer translation of “Amor” would be something between “Custodian” and “Far-seer” – the first, to call attention to the idea that the Amor rules because the inhabitants entrusted a portion of their free-will to him and his charge as a guardian of their freedom; the second, to underline the vision needed. The Sovereign is expected to plan ahead and see further than the leaders of other nations in order to secure for the Gondolwain their free trade. As the Gondolwain say: “Today is clear-cut; tomorrow too is distinctly visible - but is your vision true Amor-sight? Or does five years, ten years from now look smaller and blurrier – like birds over the horizon?”

Gondolith Sayings and Idioms
“The great secret of life is that no creature is against another; each is for itself and repeats itself. So make their benefit coincide with yours.” – a quote from Gondolwen Madas Mith, the celebrated Merchant-King of the Ancient Krean, which elegantly sums up the Gondolwain’s worldview.

“When life gives you lymmons, make lemonade – and find someone willing to purchase it.” – another quote from the Merchant King Madas Mith’s Life Lessons

“Every fish hooked from its own mouth” – emphasising that everyone is responsible for what they make of their life and that ultimately one suffers the consequences of his own actions. Usually invoked when one witnesses something one regards unwise but does not wish to interfere

“Today is clear-cut; tomorrow too is distinctly visible - but is your vision true Amor-sight? Or does five years, ten years from now look smaller and blurrier – like birds over the horizon?” – a saying that alludes to the wisdom and foresight of the Amor, the Sovereign of the Gondolwain. Can be used as a gentle or fatherly warning when one is faced with someone with rather extravagant plans and who believes to have everything sorted out.

“The practical is the moral” – contrary to popular belief, this is not a blank cheque to do anything that furthers one’s own interests whatever the consequences to others. Rather, it emphasises that so long as life and relationships are based on the principle of trade – giving value for value – there need not be conflict between the practical and the ethical. If the purpose of life is the survival and furtherance of man qua man – that is: as a rational being in pursuit of his own happiness and capable of productive achievement – then anything in line with this is not only the smart but also the right thing to do. In other words, the Gondolwain take life as the standard of value and man’s own life as his ethical purpose.

“Form follows function” – pointing that style must match the purpose. It does not necessarily call for beauty to be subordinated to functionality – indeed, the aim must be to make the functional beautiful. Rather, it cautions against aesthetics that flies in the face of reason and sabotages its purpose, beauty that trips over itself.

“The more you spend, the less well you eat” – suggesting that the essence of good food lies in simplicity and good basic ingredients, sensibly prepared and fondly cooked to produce a meal that has not taken all day to create.

“This is a great and noble truth: a commodity draws its price from its utility, longevity and scarcity. So invest in land – not even the Krean are making more of it!” – Gondolwen Madas Mith (Merchant-King of the Ancient Krean), Life Lessons

Important Achievements
Among the achievements of the tribe one can list the creation of Merchants’ Law (a system of mercantile law known for its level-headedness and speed in adjudication) and maritime law; the founding of their capital, the fortified city of Caradruith; their unique ship-designs; and the construction of the many bridges and aqueducts crowning their land. Indeed, the Gondolwenmith are the great law makers and enforcers of North Nybelmar – and many traders opt to have their transactions governed by Gondolith law and courts. Much to the dismay of Aca Santerra, the Gondolwain have unified – that is: strong-armed – most North Nybelmarian nations under a single maritime regime, presiding over matters such as sunken ships, spoils of war and territorial disputes. In fact, the Gondolwenith often use infringements of this “Law of the Seas”, which R’unor and Aca Santerra do not recognise, as an excuse to initiate strategic strikes against the two states. It is for the same reason that other, smaller nations have adopted the Gondolith code: to have a “big brother”, if one would excuse the expression, to which they can turn should R’unor or Aca Santerra invade their shores or capture their vessels.

Again, an amazingly entertaining read, wonderfully written :).  I haven't read much of your stuff to date, but I can see why you're such a legend around here!

But on to Brownie stuff...and a very quick summary of ancient Brownie history will be necessary I’m afraid! Before 10,000 there was only one Brownie settlement that we know of....I suppose we could invent another but that would be a lot of messing around with history which I'm not that keen on.  Anyway!  There was only one, which was in the Paeleon Forest in Southern Santharia.  It wasn't that happy and was plagued with internal squabbles, and broke down around 10,000 b.S.  The Brownies who became the Darklings left at some point before this, driven out by arguments and revolutions....and travelled all the way across to the caves under the Western Bay somehow.  (I’ve conveniently the actual “how” and “why” rather vague :P.)  Now, the ancestors of the Gondolwenmith Brownies could be part of this band who got separated somehow, or choose to break off.  The only problem with this is that I don’t know what Nybelmar (or Sarvonia) was like then, I know that it was changing a lot and that’s partly why the Darklings got scared and moved underground...so why would these Brownies choose to stay above ground and in the right area?

Anyway, once they’ve got to the area, I can see why they’d stay – lots of forests and quiet, mountainous valleys?  Perfect!  The only thing is that these forests are evergreen, not deciduous.  Because evergreens tend to prevent any light getting to ground level, and also often drop poison on the ground to stop other trees from growing, these forests will  not provide nearly as much food for the Brownies as a deciduous forest would, and certainly not enough to allow them to live in the close-knit groups they love.  But do not despair, because these valleys also have one great commodity – inlets teeming with fish.  Brownies are generally scared of water (a little ripple to you is like a humongous tidal wave to them), but with so much food in the water rather than on land I can see why they would get over this hereditary fear.  Maybe they could have boats reminiscent of Viking longboats, as I know those were designed to cut through waves as best they could, as they were fairly small and were still used on the open sea.  Also the calm of the inlet bays would not be as dangerous for the Brownies as a river or the sea.  So, now we have Brownies making that step onto the water, and gradually building up a

So what happens when they make contact with the Gondolwain?  Maybe as the Gondolwain increase their empire, they begin to come into the Brownie’s inlet more and more.  Now, the Brownies, being opportunists at heart, see these mighty ships (compared to their ships anyway) and maybe begin to steal from them?  After all they won’t be speaking the same language, but a warped version of Birni Browniin, and might not even have a clue what these things are.  Gradually they become more of a menace, enough for the Gondolwain to do something about them.  Possibly they somehow make some sort of an alliance with them, making them an official part of their empire?  That way they could begin to move into the cities and become a real part, helping in certain industries (clockwork for example?), maybe keeping down rats....anything.  In return they get better boat building techniques (I’d love to see a Clockwork-powered boat myself) and new trading opportunities etc etc. 

So what do you think?  Does that fit your idea of them, or were you thinking of something completely different?


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