Loa Saray

Another round of cheers rose from the heart of the city, and though Cosetta and Felippo were far from the night’s revelry they could still hear the music and see the occasional cluster of colored lights through the trees and buildings. They walked hand in hand along the riverbank; though it was barely into the first hours of the Dryday festival, both their faces were solemn beneath their colorful kerchiefs. Occasionally Cosetta would nervously peer over her shoulder. Felippo would squeeze her hand reassuringly whenever she did so, patting the satchel at his side with his free hand. They neither sang nor spoke as they went.

The docks would be full of merry-makers all throughout the festival, so the pair had to make their way through back roads and over ill-kept bridges to meet their contact. They stopped in the shade of a spreading marsh tree; a young woman with long red hair, another goblin like themselves, pulled away from a crevice in its trunk to greet them. Her hands and face were bandaged and her figure was hidden beneath a long gray coat. Felippo had heard she came from one of the villages further inland. He hoped it would be far enough away.

“Did you bring…what you said you would?” she whispered.

“Right here,” murmured Felippo. He carefully pulled the satchel from over his shoulder and unfastened the ties, revealing its contents: inside the bag, wrapped in soft rags, was a sleeping baby goblin. A carved wooden marsh deer, its surface already pockmarked with fresh chew marks, was clutched in one tiny hand. Little fins fluttered at her cheeks and pudgy elbows, each a slightly yellower shade of green than her scales; they were the spitting image of Felippo’s. The baby stirred but did not wake.

“She’s beautiful,” said the woman in the long coat.

“Born cursed,” said Cosetta, her voice bitter. “Horseman says she’s got a bad fate all up in her bones. You take her away from here, never tell her she’s nobody but yours, and maybe she can be wrigglin’ out of it. Don’t let her take up the spellfire, keep her away from them spooks and specters and men pullin’ snakes out of empty bags, let her talk to nobody you don’t know. You better promise this or we’re gonna have ourselves an altercation, girlchild.”

“I…I promise. I’ll keep her good, I’ll keep her safe. Nobody talks to Leper Mathild, so she’ll hide better with me than in the guts o’ the deepest cave. I swear.”

“You’d better,” said Felippo, sternly. He carefully passed his daughter to the leper woman, careful not to wake the sleeping babe. Mathild tossed him a pouch of coin, which he caught and pocketed in a single fluid movement. “It’s done. We’re goin’. We’ll not see you again.” He leaned over the satchel to brush the hair away from his daughter’s forehead, pausing to look at her face one last time before planting a kiss there. “We’re gonna miss you, baby girl,” he said, making a sign of good luck over her sleeping form, then both he and his wife turned away from their child to disappear into the festival night.


Loa Saray is a port city built at the mouth of the Kruashiki River delta, surrounded by miles of swampland. It is equally active at all hours of the day, with a thriving night market operating by moonlight. Most of the population are goblins, followers of Bet Rhialle, or both. The city is arguably second only to Liidhaga for the number of learned citizens living within its walls. It has a bit of a bad reputation among other parts of the world for tolerating the open use of magic; travelers who note they are from the city are sometimes suspected of being witches by default.

Loa Saray is the chief exporter of bog iron to the rest of the world. It also produces exotic seasonings and extremely fine silks, which are especially popular in Moorva.

It is famous for its raucous festivals based on the rise and fall of the Kruashiki, known as Flooddays and Drydays; these are popular among travelers thanks to their encouragement of drunkenness, overeating, and public nudity, although the latter tends to be far less interesting than it sounds due to much of the population's lack of mammaries. A different festival held on the winter solstice, known as Viollca's Night, involves wearing masks or face-concealing paint from sundown until sunrise in order to confuse the spirits of the dark and send them away for another year.

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