“Hearth of Hearts”
- Head of House: King Randar
- Government: Demarchy, a land governed by randomly selected leaders from a broad inclusive pool of citizens, as selected by lottery
- Seat: Brynce
“Long before the Red Orc crossed the Dragon Spine Mountains, there was a young man born to privilege in Arndell. His family kept a prosperous farm and wanted for nothing.
This young man was not happy though with his rural life. He wished for finery, and loathed to be dirty or sweaty. He left his home to find a place more to his liking, among the structure of a large city.
There he found work as a clerk for a merchant, spending his days indoors stooped over books counting sums. The work was relatively easy for him. As I said, he had been born to privilege. Though his family kept a farm, he was still educated.
Day in and day out, the young man continued his existence among the wares of the merchant’s shop. And each day, his back curved just a bit more from the stooping, and his eyesight grew more strained from the reading. Over time he aged, and one day when he was as old as me, he went back to visit his family home.
He found the farm occupied by a sturdy old man tending a herd of goats.
‘Ho, old man,’ he called in greeting, for the goat herder was yet older than him though you could not tell by looking. ‘How do you stand so straight and proud on my father’s field?’
Though his words were meant as a challenge, the herder did not take its meaning that way.
‘The land is my backbone, young man,’ the old man answered. ‘With my feet firmly planted in this ground, I only stand straight as a pine.’
When the old man spoke, the young man who was now old recognized his father’s voice.
‘Father, it is you!’ he exclaimed. The old man looked long and hard at him, attempting to gauge whether the hunched figure before him could be his son.
‘So I am,’ the old man agreed grudgingly. ‘But then who are you but a crippled version of
the young man I once knew?’”
-story told by grandmothers to their grandchildren