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Tje is an old land. So old that the gods who saw it born weren’t remembered by the gods who walked among the stars when they first started to go dim. And near to half have gone dark by now, say the wise men who stare at the skies for millennia on end.

Tje lies near one of the last bright stars. It burns hot and huge and pink. The north of Tje is blasted, vast stretches of baked earth and glistening ice, depending on how far north one goes. But no one goes north. The south is temperate, dominated by a massive forest that hides the bones of a once grand civilization, one that ruled galaxies and danced through the tears in space. Nothing of it remains but its shattered skeleton. Along the edges of the Black Wood sit a dozen small city-states and a hundred princedoms that wage constant war among themselves, drowning the Grass Sea in blood every few years. Past the thousands of miles of Grass Sea, the Tsars rule over a patchwork of elegant cities and rugged coastal settlements along the Forever Sea in relative comfort, pretending that they carry the legacy of the Lost Gods in their blood.

The eight tribes of men make up the better part of the sentient beings in the south. Only one tribe live under the Tsars, while the other seven claw at each other in the Grass Sea. Among them, the Indr pass unnoticed, sometimes not knowing themselves that they are not men, machines so intricate and perfect that only the Lost Gods could have built them. Sen are not as fortunate, twisted creatures disfigured by the overwhelming nothingness of the north, brought to the Grass Sea as animals of war, but too clever to serve as such. The Fell and the Tion rarely venture from the Black Wood, or very deep inside it. Deep in the Black Wood dwell unimaginable things, but the tales of the Folk are the most commonly told of these horrors, and the most true of them.

To the north live only monsters. The wise men say that at the top of the world, cradled in the ice, sits a place of unnatural grace and horror, the home of the last of the Lost Gods. No one has seen it. No one ever will.

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tje bill_tannery