The Song of Amergin
BALKHAN: THE WILD LANDS
People are a reflection of their lands. The Balkhani are wild and untamed; no man a slave to any other. They are passionate and explosive. The Balkhani live by the principle “Me against my brother—my brother and I against my uncle—all of us against the world!” Bloody disputes fray the patchwork of alliances and intrigues of Balkhani princes—the voivods. Overnight, they turn farmers into warriors, and the next night, their wives into widows. Only in times of great distress will the voivods leave their malice at home and shake clammy hands with their neighbor—hands which just the day before, they would have gladly placed into chains. Now the call resounds across the mountains—unite against the enemy! Everywhere ring the dark, disturbing songs of the Dushani—the soulless. Threatening echoes cross the wide plains, breaking on the rugged mountains. The Dushani live in rocky grottos with their slithering companions, watching the events of human affairs from afar.