In the dry steppelands, one of their most valuable exports is the dried sap of the Larthorn tree. These ugly plants are covered with vicious thorns, but the locals harvest the golden droplets that ooze from their bark each Autumn. This sap, once dried, is valued for its medicinal properties and as a spice. Since little gold or silver is found in the hinterland, the dried droplets of sap are often used as currency by the locals.
A terrible affliction spreads through the land: A disease, highly contagious, which makes its victims mildly ill, but then permanently paralyzes the vocal cords. Dozens of reputed cures and protections are sold in the marketplaces, which gradually grow quieter and quieter...