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The Last Sea

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" Over the many decades that I, the Wanderer, have traveled the sands of Athas, I have seen many strange things: lands and creatures wracked and twisted by the Sorcerer-Kings’ ravaging of our once-fair planet. That foul defiling magic has robbed us of the world of plenty that our ancestors knew, a world that would still exist were it not for the Sorcerer-Kings’ mad lust for power. Imagine my amazement then, when I discovered the facts behind one of Athas’s most popular legends: the valley of the Last Sea. Believe me when I say that the rumors are true, at least as far as they go. Far to the north of the Tyr Region, unknown even to most of its neighbors, the Last Sea lies nestled between the arms of the Thunder Mountains and the literally named Burning Plains. There, in a secluded valley protected from even the eyes of the Sorcerer-Kings, rests the only major body of water on all of Athas: a sea so great that its farthest shore is lost to the curve of the horizon!To him, the Last Sea had always been just another legend, something storytellers had rumbled about since he could remember. He had never met anyone who claimed to have seen the Last Sea, though, and so he had lent no credence to any of the tales told about it. Not, at least, until Kirka had stepped through the Last Gasp’s door. Kirka wasn’t the most beautiful woman Kabak had ever seen, but he fell in love with her almost instantly. She was kind to him in ways that no one had ever been before-in ways he hadn’t known were possible until he met her. Within a week, they were living together in his cramped room in the back of the Gasp. It had been her who had first told him about the Last Sea. She claimed to have been there—actually to have been born and raised there. If it had been anyone else who had told him such a tale, he would have laughed them out of the room. With Kirka, though, he believed. After the bar had burned down—following a particularly nasty riot that had started over the price of wafer (and who was going to waste the precious stuff then on saving such a dive?)—Kabak and Kirka had nothing left. It was then that she asked if he would accompany her back to her homeland, a place she called Saragar, where they would never have to worry about water again. Kirka claimed that in Saragar, the greatest city on the shores of the Last Sea, the wafer was so plentiful, they gave if away. No one ever went thirsty. What’s more, the ancient Mind Lords, the protectors of the city that had preserved if since the last age, ensured that everyone was always happy. It sounded like paradise on Athas. If never occurred to Kabak to ask Kirka why she had left in the first place. Sighing to push away these old memories, Kabak pushed himself to his feet. Kirka had died on the journey here, in an attack by a band of feral halflings. He had vowed that he would someday make her killers pay, but if that was to ever happen, he would need help. He hoped he would find if in Saragar."

- Kabak, The Wanderer's Chronicle: Mind Lords of the Last Sea

If Marnita is a wonder, the city of Saragar is a true miracle. The people who live elsewhere on the shores of the Last Sea have an average standard of living that’s higher than just about anywhere else on Athas, with very few exceptions. Saragar is one of those exceptions. Saragar is an automated city in which all of the drudge work which must be performed by the lower classes in other cities is taken care of by the minds of ancient criminals trapped forever in rather ordinary-looking obsidian spheres. The streets are kept clean by such apparatuses; cattle are herded, crops are tended, and garbage is removed by virtue of these psionic devices, which can be found throughout the metropolis.

Thirty thousand people live in Saragar, about three times as many as live along the entirety of Marnita’s other shores. These people have a lot of needs, and they generate a lot of waste. This is all taken care of by the Mind Lords and their spheroid minions. The only price the people must pay for being taken care of so well is that they must remain happy.

As the Mind Lords say, “Happiness must be maintained.” The lawkeepers are prepared to execute this directive, literally if need be, at all costs Sometimes their solutions to certain problems are “creative,” as will be explained later. In any case, their methods certainly seem effective. There is little or no crime in the valley, and matters seem particularly peaceful in Saragar itself. This is due to the fact that the lawkeepers can’t be everywhere within the valley at once, so they concentrate their attentions on Saragar itself, devoting their time to the other cities only as needed.

Given the enormous number of people in Saragar, as well as the fact that the city is home to all three Mind Lords, it only makes sense that the lawkeepers concentrate their efforts here. There have been some known to call such an effective government oppressive, but the people of Saragar believe differently. After all, without the Mind Lords’ intervention, their home could very well have suffered the horrible fate that befell the rest of the world.

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