Before the coming of the refugees, numerous native settlements already existed in the Sunset Isles. The human settlement of Nordheim on the northern isle of Aktau was already well-established, and many smaller settlements of colonists, pirates, and treasure-seekers could also be found along the coast. None of these settlements had any government more sophisticated than a town council, when a more direct tyranny wasn't the case.

These settlements remain into the present day, many swelled by refugee numbers. A distinction lingers between "natives" of the Sunset Isle, and "refugees", despite the fact that the ancestors of the latter arrived over a hundred years ago. In some settlements, the "exiles" consider the natives to be little better than savages, while in others the natives tolerate the refugee descendants as no more than burdensome thralls who are fed as a boundless kindness they scarce deserve.

In most places, however, both natives and refugees get along as best they can. The Isles are a harsh land and have little room for the luxury of factionalism, and the smaller the village the more is required from each citizen. Native customs thus vary widely from village to village, but all recognize the need to draw the utmost use from each man and woman. Idleness is a grave sin to most.

Native villagers thus tend to be distinctly egalitarian in outlook. With the exception of thralls, most are willing to give a man or woman as much respect as they prove capable of earning, and the ability to fight off an enemy or bring in a catch is counted far more important than any details of bloodline, sex, or past.

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