The problem, they decided, was one of validation.

Fellowesland’s position was… unfortunate. Flooded in the north, heavily forested to the west, and rocky wherever it wasn’t mountainous, travelling from place to place was not easy. Every bit of mud in the land had been devoted to farmland long since, and the few great towns and cities in this small nation clung onto this side of existence with a tenacity that even the Song respected. Their clothing was expensive, their armour impressive, their weapons works of wonder.

What they wore, however, was generally tattered and old. A threadbare shirt over stained leather trousers, serviceable but ancient boots. A blunted dagger with frayed string wound around a shakey hilt. This is difficult to understand, but here is the problem:


Getting stuff across Fellowesland was a chore and a mission. Rocky roads shatter wagon wheels, ravines make a four day trip take weeks. A day when your cart travels a mile in a straight line is a day you’re going in the wrong direction. Almost all travel between townships and cities is reserved for food, with the shipping of quality goods so expensive that it renders the ownership of said goods trivial by comparison. You would think, then, that sale of these goods becomes difficult? Not so. The Fellowesland gentry came up with an idea: Validation. You may buy the most beautiful dress in the world, but if shipping it is a chore, you can instead wear the proof of ownership pinned to the lapel of the dress handed down from your sister. You may own the greatest sword since records began, and you could prove it by wrapping the reciept around the shattered sabre at your hip.

The idea was revolutionary, and soon every person in Fellowesland subscribed to this notion; which was fortunate, as in order to recognize the import of someone it was necessary to spend a short while investigating all the little bits of paper they had pinned or attached to their possessions.

The problem, of course, was one of validation. After a number of noble families spent their life-savings on what amounted to an empty shelf in a warehouse on the border, the Warehouse Authority was set up with its gold stamps, proving that a ticket of sale was the genuine article.

A colour code became established, from violet though to red, so you could tell at more of a glance what the quality of a person’s goods were.

Trade became easier. A trader merely had to turn up on the doorstep of the city with a neat box of bright red tickets, stamped by the Warehouse Authority (which became the de-facto government of the land) for authenticity, and they could sell tonnes of expensive goods without all that bother of storage or transit. Duels became safer, as they were decided by examining the weapons the parties would have dueled with and their relative skills, and a victor declared by an official judge in a ceremonial yellow hat.

Fellowesland was, unfortunately, entirely destroyed by an Orc invasion many years ago, as their invading masses refused to wait patiently while the Fellowesland army marched to fetch the weapons they rightfully owned. Refugees scattered to all the other nations, and proclaim a new joy brought by actually ever holding the things they pay for.