The benevolent smile of Empress Kou-an can still be felt in the lands of the Sho. Her wisdom, guided and refined by the light of Jojii's Four Stones, has in turn guided and refined our culture.
Great granddaughter of the great Emperor Kou himself, Empress Kou-an ascended to the Throne at age fifteen, when she was the same age he had been when he began the unification of our people. This auspicious “coincidence” surely shows she was favored by Heaven.
Empress Kou-an it was who, in her wisdom, sent the Thousand Emissaries to the far away lands of the Gharu'ndim and the Milantos, even as far as the exotic lands of the Viamonters and the Aluvians. She foresaw the increasing numbers of outsiders who would chance upon our borders.
And it was Empress Kou-an who, in her wisdom, decreed that the common tongue of the other nations, Old Roulean, would be taught to all. Surely, with her far-seeing gaze, she must even have glimpsed how important this would be to those of us now upon this island of Dereth, whereupon we must interact with those from other nations on a near daily basis.
So let us repeat here the wisdom with which she wrote of some of the people that now we find so commonly around us.
On the Aluvians: The Aluvians have long suffered in the conflict between outside conqueror and native defender, nobility and commoner, rich and poor. Their greatest hero is still King Pwyll the Third, who helped bring their kingdom to a glorious peak that would have made the Firebird proud. Defeated through treachery, Pwyll III still holds a special place in the history of Aluvia. These are a people who will not suffer unworthy subjugation. They are independent and fierce when pushed into a corner. Their bravery and spirit are worthy of respect.
And indeed, it may be seen that the Aluvians continue to be this way on Dereth, as they were the ones who were initially enslaved by the Olthoi. True to their nature, they eventually found a way to free themselves, and in doing so ensured the safety of all future arrivals. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.
On the Gharu'ndim: The Gharu'ndim, sometimes called the Garondish by outsiders, are a proud nation of desert-dwellers who were once warriors of caliber such as to make the Dragon proud; they once nearly overran the legendary nation of Roulea, and that is a feat to make one pause. Yet their greatest hero is a poet, Yasif ibn Salayyar, who wrote the Alamakhaida, their book of poems that lays down their laws. In this way, ibn Salayyar is much like Jojii himself, though of course the creed he taught is not the exalted Path to Heaven that Jojii taught. Still, the Gharu'ndim are highly conscious of honor, and as such should be treated respectfully.
Here in Dereth, the Gharu'ndim have taken up their residences in the dryer areas of the world. While contact with them has been limited, we should take care to treat them with due honor and respect.
And the Empress wrote also even of us. We are the Sho, descendants of those who fought the Elder spirits, and who survived --- or in some cases, won, to our sorrow. Through the teachings of the Jojii, who glimpsed Heaven as no others have, we have been given the key stones to how to live life correctly. Even should we found ourselves far from home, on alien shores, the key stones should guide our conduct. Riches or poverty should not deter us; praise or scorn shall not rule us. Heaven's grace, splendor, and power shall be ours if we remember to be humble, disciplined, compassionate, and detached from earthly matters.
Surely no more prophetic words have there ever been, than these. We are indeed on foreign shores, further from home than can be imagined. Let her immortal words remain with us now, as lights to guide us.