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Author Topic: Cort'Mangar- Masterwork  (Read 15612 times)
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Tharoc Wargrider
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« Reply #45 on: 06 April 2010, 05:10:04 »

I am embarassed by your attributing me as the translator of your orcen myth, Valan. Thank you, sir.

By the way, this colour is orc-snot green.  ;)
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« Reply #46 on: 13 April 2010, 11:07:03 »

So far, this is a good start, Valan.  thumbup

1. The Overview could use some beefing up. Perhaps be a bit more clear where Cort'Mangar is at and maybe a bit of background to get the reader interested. As it is, the Overview is rather bare.

2. The People section is written in a very "real" sense. I suggest giving the Shades a bit more of a mysterious and vague explanation. Maybe a quote from Swiftrook's journal or observations from Kelweather. Also, whose theories do you speak of?

3. Since this is very ancient history, perhaps keep the tone of the entry vague. Try to gather different scholarly sources. What evidence is there about the War of the Chosen? Or is this some scholar's belief? Many theories abound about the Great Pyramids or Stonehendge, but no one alive today can definitively explain them.

4. In Description, you say the dark elves built Cort'mangar, but in People, you say the orcs built it. I would say that the ruins observable today hint strongly at orcen construction techniques not seen today (contemporary orcs don't build cities like Cort'Mangar anymore. Why? Maybe, as some theories suggest, because the dark elves built it with orcen laborers. Or perhaps the dark elves alone built it, but after the city's defeat, the orcs moved in and captured it for awhile changing the architecture and giving it a more orcen feel. But once the Shadespell Gorge erupted (again, no one knows exactly when that happened) the city was quickly enveloped in Netherworld evil trapping the orcs inside.
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« Reply #47 on: 16 April 2010, 23:10:14 »

I seem to be running into this problem all the time.

The city/fortress whatever: Built by orcs.
The great big evil towers: Built by dark elves (likely using whatever subjugated labor they had on hand.

The history identifies it as a dark elven city
Quote
Scholars estimate that the ancient dark elven city of Cor'tam'Angarek
(which is the history entry found elsewhere, except it calls the "city" Cort'Mangar)
« Last Edit: 16 April 2010, 23:16:21 by Valan Nonesuch » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: 17 April 2010, 01:16:55 »

Yeah...entirely my fault for being so inconsistent, Valan. Sloppy development.  :(

When the Gorge was written, the concept of Cort'Mangar was an afterthought written in to account for its presence on the map. The only consistent concept I had was the extinct Aeh'os'th'er'oc ruins in the area. It is not until now that I have a better history idea.

The bottom line, I think, is that I want to go in the direction of the Aeh'os'th'er'oc history.

Cort'mangar was originally an Aeh'os'th'er'oc city built long before the dark elves came. In my revised history, the Aeh'os'th'er'oc were an advanced civilization of orcs who thrived over most of Caaehl'heroth. The dark elves invaded and subjugated the orcs and conquered Cort'mangar. The city was then used as a base of operations during the War of the Chosen. The dark elves added their own architectural elements in the form of massive towers of night (likely a tribute to Coor). In the end, the city was destroyed during the Battle of Osthemangar (a detail still to be finalized).

Remember, all of this is from a developer POV. For the average compendiumist, much of this history is mythical and conjecture. The history must be gleaned from ancient scrolls, tribal myths, artifacts etc. Alternate explanations are also likely depending on the researcher you ask.

Make sense?
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« Reply #49 on: 21 April 2010, 03:03:44 »

I see you haven't taken care of yet of Azhira's latest comments, so in that case I refrain from checking the entry again in detail otherwise we'd probably comment on the same thing twice. So make it easier for the commenters, Valan - do your homework once you get some good suggestions and pointers, then it makes sense to give this another - hopefully final - check.
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« Reply #50 on: 24 April 2010, 06:30:49 »

Overviews, my persistent nemesis.

Relevant changes made in Pink. I am slowly but surely running out of white text in this entry as well as colours to use.
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« Reply #51 on: 30 April 2010, 04:58:46 »

Comments!

- The Overview still doesn't mention anything about the castle's former inhabitants. Dark elves? Orcs? None of these things are mentioned in the Overview. This is rather essential information I'd say. Give us a glimpse of that mystery in that paragraph. The Overview should be the key to the whole entry and give you the most important things straight away, so that you don't have to read the whole entry.

- There's something missing in this sentence, right?

Quote
Now its only inhabitants are dead air and the mysterious Shades that haunt its fog shrouded streets.

- In the People section: You say that there first was the city of "Cor’tam Angarek" ("City of the Dark Claw"), then the dark elves come and then you talk about "After the destruction of Cort’Mangar..." So... Reading that section alone - when did the name Cort'Mangar arise? So still a bit shaky there.

So there are still a few things missing, but we're getting there... I think...
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« Reply #52 on: 30 April 2010, 08:24:50 »

In addition to Arti's comments above...

Overview
Far to the north of Sarvonia, the ruined fortress of Cort’Mangar looms in the north of the peninsula of Caaehl'heroth, south of the Deep Winds Portal at Osthemangar. The city, believed to have been fortress-like in its days as a settlement now sits cracked and decaying like a putrid egg near the infamous Shadespell Gorge. Now its only inhabitants are dead air and the mysterious Shades that haunt its fog shrouded streets.

I mentioned elsewhere about the history of the now extinct orcen civilization, the Ae'es'th'er'oc. I am further expanding them in future entries such as the Caaehl Mountains entry and I already mentioned them in the Kalta'Goor entry. Those ancient orcs built great places all over Caaehl'heroth. Cort'mangar was believed to be one of their cities, so make that clear in the overview. It was a fortress city built to defend their lands from invaders from Aden (Dinali). Also give a bit more info about the Shades. The overview is a summary of the entry itself.

•  Description

I would suggest writing a bit about Marvan Swiftrook's account in the beginning of the entry. Detail some of what he saw and how his writings came to be known today. It opens the description with an eerie eyewitness account because scholars now do not know what it really looked like in its heyday.

"Erpheronia’s majestic castles hold not a candle to these dark ruins. I find them strangely beautiful…" Marvan Swiftrook, an early Erpheronian explorer to Caael'heroth, wrote of the shattered, jagged spires of Cort'Mangar. These massive towers rise above the riven and ruined walls of the city, which enclose the mist which obscures much of the rest of the city, and its unearthly inhabitants.

Who are these unearthly inhabitants? The reader is left hanging until much farther down the entry when you actually mention the Shades.

Much of Cort'Mangar's remaining construction seems slapdash. Block shaped orcen buildings standing along great towers of night, broad streets broken up by arcane circles of stone megaliths engraved with some sort of symbols. Researchers cannot approach the city close enough to investigate these further, for fear of life and limb.

Someone will need to approach close enough to gather more details. It may be possible to approach the city closely long enough before disturbing the Shades. If not Marvan, maybe Saryas was able to get closer. Or perhaps the Mist Hunters were able to get in. They are best equipped to handle Netherworld hauntings. However it happens, I think we need another account apart from Marvan. His visit was all too brief.

The towers of Cort'Mangar, supposedly of dark elven construction, stand easily 160 peds tall in their broken state, as has been estimated by the use of complicated mathematical formulae. The design of these towers is strange, more like they were grown than crafted, resembling nothing more than great, black backbones stretching into the sky, splintered tops clawing at the clouds.

The towers stand in sharp contrast to the blocky orcen built ruins below. In several places, jagged shards of towers crater the surface of the ruins heavily, or litter the mist covered streets.

You need to clearly distinguish the belief that the lower ruins are orcen while the later tower ruins are dark elven. The dark elves essentially built another city atop the orcen one. There are visible differences in structure (layers) but it is not too clear here of that.

Very little of the city itself can be distinguished where it is shrouded within the mists. Those structures which are not towers are laid out in an ordered grid, long since broken and mutilated by the destruction of the city. The orcen ruins are blocky, with harsh corners and heavy battlements around what must have been doors or windows. Though few remain, orcen wall defenses seem to have tapered to a spike-ringed tower with an open top.

Do any accounts give a relative distance width of the city? Or how high the walls may have been?

"I can sense a palpable malevolence in the area" is what Swiftrook wrote of the region around Cort'Mangar. It is true that there seems to be less light the closer an observer approaches to the ruins. The cause of this seems to be two-fold. The weather around the ruins is in a state of permanent changelessness. The air does not stir unprompted and a permanent bank of dark cloud extends from the city for about ten strals in all directions. It does not rain or snow within these ten strals usually referred to as the "Desolation of Cort'Mangar". Nothing green grows on this frozen plain. It requires a great deal of effort to do more than crack the ground and digging is nigh impossible for any one man. The second reason for this pervasive darkness is thought to be the sapping influence of the Netherworld. It may be that the proximity to the Shadespell Gorge, or one of its "tributaries" sucks the very light and life out of a place. Few dare approach the ruins and this remains mere conjecture.

Who refers to this as the Desolation of Cort'mangar?

When it comes to Netherworld opinions, you need a Netherworld scholar to help make those suppositions. The most current scholar of that sort is Vekarn Kha'mal, the Volkek-Oshra demonologist. Netherworld studies are highly conjectural as only one known person has visited the Netherworld (Quagoth). Maybe a paragraph or two highlighting Vekarn's thoughts on these tributaries? Just a thought.

The ruins can only be approached by two means. The south, where Marvan Swiftrook undoubtedly made his ill-fated expedition, and the west. Initially, only the southern route was known yet, upon later exploration, the Injerín explorer Saryas Kelweather discovered a great bridge that crossed the body of the Shadespell Gorge and ended near the city. This is the only known crossing of the Gorge and remains structurally sound despite its age, suggesting the use of magic in the construction.

•  Location
The Ruins of Cort’Mangar are located on Caaehl'heroth in the north-easternmost section of Northern Sarvonia. The nearest visible landmark, Mount Osthen, is estimated to be some hundred strals from the ruins. The Ruins lie to the south-west of the Deep Winds Portal at Osthemangar and at one end of the Shadespell Gorge. Cort’Mangar and the immediate region are often referred to as a whole as “The Desolation of Cort’Mangar”. Scholars suspect that a fissure from the Shadespell Gorge extends underneath the city itself, leaking its otherworldly aura into the region.

•  People
In the long ago days before Thar, the king; the fortress of Cor’tam Angarek, ("City of the Dark Claw" in an ancient, long since dead orcen dialect) was an orcen fortress, built to keep some enemy , from encroaching further into Caael’heroth. The orcs built high walls and tall towers in Cor’tam Angarek and girded it for war. This enemy, believed, from recovered artefacts in the Shaddhar mountains, to be an offshoot of the Dinali, feared soldiers of the Chosen Eckra the Cruel

First, who is Thar? Here you introduce the orcen name of Cor'tam Angarek, but give no clue to the reader that it is the ancient formal name of Cort'mangar.

Second, you say it is a fortress, but above you say it is a city. Which is it? We know it is a city, maybe say fortified city?

Third, give some history about Eckra and the Dinali. A reader may have no idea who they are! A future Dinali entry may expand on what you write about them here.


Fragmented records from Injerin libraries suggest that during the War of the Chosen, Dark Elves were believed to have enslaved the orcs inhabiting the city, building dark spires of impossible heights, summoning circles and eventually creating twisted, evil creatures for the war, making Meph'guor and other monstrosities to do battle.

There are other sources of the dark elven take over. The Osther-Oc do have legends and stories as well. It was their ancestors who were conquered after all!

After the destruction of Cort’Mangar1, the exact cause of which remains unknown, the only inhabitants of the ruins are the enigmatic “Shades”, "Hav’ak Lohks” (Faces of Night; Kh'om'chr'om) to orcs. Terrible spectres who flit silently among the decaying city. "They do not walk. They…slither on barely perceptible legs. As if their lower bodies are bathed in shadow. I see hundreds of them. Maybe thousands!" Kelweather called these creatures "Náfreánh" (Faded; styrash). The commonly held theory of Santharian scholars states that these creatures are the spirits of the dead caught between Caelereth and the Netherworld.

Your translations need some work. Ideally, the format is "Hav'ak Lohks" (orcen lit. "Faces of Night"). The same with "Náfreánh" (Styrash lit. "Faded").

An approximation of the destruction of Cort'mangar is in the Gorge entry I think. The Battle of Osthemangar I think?

You introduce the Shades here as a common knowledge. Where is the ominous mystery surrounding them? Where are the vague descriptions? Where is the anxiousness in Kelweather's words? What about a mention of Marvan's encounter?


The Osther-Oc believe them to be the spirits of the orcish warriors that inhabited the city, punished for angering the land and cursed to keep all creatures from it for eternity, and share this belief with the Kaaer'dar'shin Half Orcs.

This last part may need some thinking. I don't know how the Kaaer would think at this time, so its best to leave that bit out.

•  Climate
The weather surrounding Cort’Mangar can hardly be called such. Like much of western Caaehl'heroth, the ruins are perpetually shrouded in cloudy greyness. It does not rain or snow about Cort’Mangar, nor does the wind blow, making the soundless air seem strangely dead.

This becalmed aura extends for six or seven strals in every direction from the ruins, leaving the ground cold, dusty and desolate. A perpetual black fog lies on the ruins themselves, obscuring the ground from easy inspection, and wreathing the towers like fell smoke.

The air is biting cold, and only grows colder as the approach of the city continues. No wind touches Cort’Mangar, nor its coast, and sea-faring vessels daren't approach it for fear of becoming becalmed. Time behaves oddly within the Desolation, twisting and knotting, warping like wood left to dry. There is no discernible pattern to how this behaves, days can last blinks of the eye, or blinks stretch on endlessly until they seem to be days in ending. The air smells of cold and faintly of decay, despite any flesh in the city having rotted away aeons ago.

•  Mythology
Fragment of Dinali text, recovered near the orcen ruin of Ogh ca. 730 b.S.
"And we fled to the sea, we crossed it and came to land, and were driven back into the sea by monsters."

That's it? Surely more could be gleaned from this fragment...the monsters could have been anything. What relevance is this fragment to the Shades specifically?

Osther-Oc Oral History (transcribed and translated from Kh'omchr'om by Tharoc Wargrider)

In the days of our grandsires' grandsires, vermin came to the land. The clans fought them, but they could not kill all the vermin, weak as they were, for they were too many.
To keep the vermin from their lands, the clans built a fortress. They built its walls high and strong. They called it "of the Dark Claw", and there they made camp.
The clans killed the vermin, drove them back across the mountains and thought them crushed and dead and returned to their camps, never more to cross the mountains.
But the vermin returned, and brought more with them.
And music of battle sounded on the plains and the spirits rose up, angered by the blood of the vermin.
The angered spirits tore open the land, and made it barren and drove orc and vermin both from it.
And in their anger, the spirits cursed the fortress. They tore down its walls and broke its camps and killed its peoples.
They cursed its people to keep all from it, and to walk the land for as long as stone is hard and water is wet.
And the cursed warriors died and rose up, clothed in the night.
Their faces were the night, and they rose and kept the land from vermin and from orc.

The little myth is nice.


•  History

Author's Note: Information derived from old Injerin records and from scrolls recovered by Saryas Kelweather. (Where did he get the scrolls?)

ca. 9800 b.S. The City of Cor'tam'Angarek is Built
Scholars estimate that the ancient dark elven city of Cor'tam'Angarek is built to function as a fortress city against incursions from the Aden peninsula. It is said that the city had spires far grander and taller than any known in the present day.

ca. 5000 b.S. Cor'tam'Angarek is destroyed during the Battle of Osthemangar
The Battle of Osthemangar rages for many days over most of the northern reaches of Caaehl'heroth. Cor'tam'Angarek's defenders fall to a siege that lasts over several weeks. As the dead lay in the thousands among the fresh ruins, the influence of the Netherworld presence along the chasm somehow infects the bodies. Over time, the name is bastardized and the city of shadow becomes Cort'Mangar.

Above you say the city's destruction was unknown. Here you are specific about it. Likely, the humans bastardized the name. Maybe the current name came from the Erpheronians.


ca. 4700 b.S.
Injerin records report strange, unnatural weather out of the north-west from across the Sea of Tears. Storms the carry the sounds of battle, unnatural wailing and screaming in the wind and a persistent smell of death in the air occur almost monthly for a year before suddenly disappearing.

It's better that the records be orcen, not Injerin. The orcen sources are more reliable.

ca. 1000 a.S. Erpheronian Explorer Marvan Swiftrook Discovers Cort’Mangar
Shortly before his disappearance in the Mists, Marvan Swiftrook discovers the Shadespell Gorge and the city of Cort’Mangar. His discovery and narrow escape from the Shades slowly drives him mad. His journal tells of a mysterious people that live in the city now completely overrun with shadow and Netherworld presence.

ca. 1200-1300 a.S. Swiftrook's Journal recovered by Kaer'dar'shin Mist Hunters
A group of Mist Hunters recovers Marvan Swiftrook's journal from a G'hun'Morta-Oc in the Mists. This journal would later find its way into the hands of Syras Kelweather and from there into the possession of the Santharian Dream.

ca. 1400 a.S. Syras Kelweather rediscovers Cort'Mangar
Syras Kelweather rediscovers Cort'Mangar by way of a bridge over the end of the Shadespell Gorge and observes the creatures Swiftrook called "Shades".

[1] The compendiumist has attempted to maintain scholarly neutrality by avoiding subscription to any of the dozen theories as to the cause of the opening of the Shadespell Gorge.

Overall, the entry requires some more detail. I know the Gorge entry is all you have had to use as a reference. I was hoping you would expand considerably on what I wrote, but what I see describes not much more than the Gorge entry, if less. You added the Dinali concept, which is good, but underutilized here. The Gorge entry has more detail on the Shades then here, and I would expect more about them in this entry. The sources of information are inconsistent and all too brief. Marvan and Saryas' accounts are barely here at all.

This is not an easy subject to write on, I will admit. Myth/historical entries have to be written with just enough detail to warrant a historical footnote, but not enough to give away their mythological aspect. Your best course of action is to take far ancient history from orcen legends and Injerin records. Then, use Marvan and Saryas for eyewitness accounts (Shades). Lastly, use a Netherworld scholar for the Netherworld opinions.

Yes, you are building alot of this entry around my places, people, tribes and myths...welcome to Caaehl'heroth! Azhira's playground of doom!  evil
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« Reply #53 on: 01 May 2010, 01:17:39 »

Well, yeah, this indeed isn't a simple project you've got yourself into, Valan... :D For one it is at least a masterwork, and secondly you're closely watched by Azhira, who knows the region very well... - so you need to live up to that a bit. Places entries are never easy, and here you have the chance to really make an essential entry for the North. That's why it's also important to listen to the Northern Sarvonian expert and try to elaborate what is offered to you what you could/should add. Remember, it's a masterwork ;)

I see you're feeling more at home at other entries, which is perfectly fine, but I also think there's a bit more potential in here, eh?  cool
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« Reply #54 on: 01 May 2010, 02:46:51 »

Valan,

Please feel free to point out any inconsistencies with my comments. If I am being unfair or harsh, please tell me. I want you to succeed. I've never had anyone develop a places entry in my area before and places tend to get more scrutiny than say a beast or plant entry. I hope you are encouraged to forge your own path. I am just trying to remain consistent with what I have already written in other entries.  thumbup I am not trying to write this for you nor am I trying to push you into following my vision. If you feel that I am at any point, let me know.  heart
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« Reply #55 on: 13 May 2010, 00:15:30 »

I started out having one issue, and then I started looking at the history tables.
I hate the history tables. So much. crazy

No one is sure exactly what the Battle of Osthemangar was yes? Who fought it and how or why are unknowns.  It wouldn't have been the Chosen, they're all dead at this point.

The Deep Winds Portal is created circa 9000 b.S, as is the Shadespell Gorge. The history also mentions that the Shadespell Gorge was created during the War of the Chosen. But the Battle of the Winds is supposed to have killed off the four chosen that had taken up residence in the north about a quarter of a century beforehand. They and their armies drown when the Eight Winds Bay is created. As an aside, if we know that the Battle of the Winds occured circa 9023 b.S. and that the Shadespell Gorge was created by chosen, it isn't circa 9000 b.S. since it had to have been created before or during the Battle.

The Shadespell Gorge entry suggests that Gelgath tore open the Gorge and started ripping up the White Armies or perhaps that the death of drakes during the Battle broke the fissure open with their falling corpses.

If I were to point to the Battle of Osthemangar as the single defining reason, there would still be the question of what exactly destroyed Cor'tam'angarek, whether fire, or magic or acts of gods, which I gather is sort of opposed diametrically to what we're doing here.

The Osther-Oc believe that the spirits were pissed off at the bloodshed and perversion of nature and destroyed the place, salted and burned the earth and said "Don't Come Back".

It could very well be that the elves finally pulled a Lovecraft and summoned something beyond the ken of mortals from the Netherworld that then invited it's buddies along for the ride. Or perhaps the Shadespell Gorge grew underneath the city, and the bloodshed and chaos just made it easier for the corruption of the netherworld to seep into the place.

The way it's worded at the moment, it subscribes to none of these theories allowing for any or all of them to be true.

I seem to have managed to get off topic writing this so I'll just add that current edits are in gold and that I think I've managed to cover most of the bases. The overview and the history/myth bits are still eluding me as to what to do with them.
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« Reply #56 on: 14 May 2010, 02:42:42 »

Side note about Valan :):

I was thinking abut Valan the other day and I believe there is a strong case to be made that Valan is actually a machine or a computer and not actually human.   grin

1) In its short tenure here I believe it (Valan) knows more facts (both big and small) than most anybody here.
2) It doesn't understand sarcasm.  ;)
3) Its conclusions are almost always infallably accurate if not also blunt and to the point.
4) It does not come across as being young or old...it just is.
5) It already ranks 11th in the list of users who have being logged in for the most time.
6) It deserves a +1 aura for just being so dedicated (like a dedicated server). :D
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« Reply #57 on: 14 May 2010, 09:59:03 »

Oh Miraran...

Where art thou with one of your juicy comments dripping in sarcasm? This just begs for your biting wisdom right about now... rolleyes
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #58 on: 14 May 2010, 10:49:33 »

If so, we could make a good case for putting the Valan up for the Turing test.  I'm pretty sure most computers don't use expressions like 'pissed off' correctly, while on the other hand they generally know when to use 'its' and when to use 'it's'....

However, Seeker's arguments are most convincing, and the body of data amassed gives one to think.  Do we have any precedent for admitting non-human intelligence as a Compendium researcher? 

Why, yes, we do!  We've got Brownies, elves, dwarves, Azhira, and even the odd orc (and Ava knows Tharoc is as odd as they come) on the staff so far...why not a computing dweomer?
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"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #59 on: 14 May 2010, 12:00:50 »

Do we have any precedent for admitting non-human intelligence as a Compendium researcher? 

Why, yes, we do!  We've got Brownies, elves, dwarves, Azhira, and even the odd orc (and Ava knows Tharoc is as odd as they come) on the staff so far...why not a computing dweomer?


Wait...

Did you just insult me?

Non-human, maybe. But intelligent?? That hurts.
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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