I am a member of the Constructed Culture Mailing List. As such I have made posts describing various aspects of the various cultures involved in my fiction. I have been putting slightly edited versions of the sections of those posts which deal with the Nmusysy and Paradisan cultures up on the web. Even though I have also been posting data on the cultures involved in Raisinbread, I haven't been putting them in the Raisinbread Webspace because they should really be sorted out and put into various different pages. However, that meant that until I got around to doing that, they didn't appear anywhere. So I'm putting them here for now, and later I'll move them to where they belong.
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The Celestial Republic is, basically, all extraterrestrial human civilization. Its capital and major population center is the space station Angelperch, which orbits Earth at a Lagrange point. The protagonist, Jennifer Choate, is a robot lord (a low prestige job) there. Celestials, who are mostly descended from Americans stranded in space at the time of the Apocalypse, speak English and use standard spelling. They are the most technologically advanced nation, but not as advanced as humanity would have been had there been no nuclear war.
The United Towns of America, a.k.a. the Towns, is a nation on the Atlantic coast of North America. The relevant part to the novel is the area which is now Long Island and Connecticut. The Apocalypse and the subsequent disease, starvation, and emigration severly depleted the population in the 21st century, and it still has not risen to the level of the 18th. The Towns is an Emmist nation, Emmism being a religion founded in the first few decades following the Apocalypse. (One obvious result is that all men are bearded.) The technology is roughly equivalent to the early 19th century for natively produced goods, but trading with more advanced nations (including the C.R.) results in a mixture of low and high tech. They speak English and use Vermont Revised Spelling.
Scavvers are a hunter/gatherer people living in the wilderness of The United Towns and the Republic of Vermont. They are also Emmists who use Vermont Revised Spelling (for those who are literate). They have in recent years become less pure hunter/gatherers, trading with and working for more settled people. They also have a technologically mixed culture due to trading.
The Celestial Republic considers a human to be an adult on her eighteenth birthday. She then has the full rights of an adult. The actual coming of age ceremony, however, is the minor school graduation, which generally occurs when the student is still seventeen.
A towner is considered an adult when he leaves home. There is an Emmist ceremony, called "Outsending", in which the parents give the child various items to assist him in setting up his own household (some symbolic, some of real use). The age of this varies a lot. Women often leave home at marriage or during the year-long engagement. Women typically marry between 14 and 20. Men usually leave home later, but a man who still lives with his parents at 25 is considered odd.
Given their nomadic nature and fluid living arrangements, leaving home is not that clearcut a concept among the Scavvers. They do, however, have Outsending. It usually happens at the age of 15 or 16.
There is no official religion in the Celestial Republic, and no majority belief among its citizenry. Most Celestials are atheists or agnostics, but there are also adherents of many different religions, mainly forms of Christianity, Buddhism, or Kibology.
The Celestial Republic is constitutionally neutral WRT religion, and this is enforced more strictly than in the present day U.S. They would never dream of putting a statement affirming the existence of God on their currency, for instance.
Emmism is the official religion of the United Towns of America, and is practiced by the majority of its citizens. The southern Towns, which is the part relevant to my novel, is almost exclusively Emmist, although there are some Red Catholics in the northern Towns. Scavvers are almost exclusively Emmist also, although they have no central government and therefore no "official" religion.
Emmism is a religion founded by Emma, a woman who appeared about a decade (I'm still working out the details) after the Apocalypse (WWIII) in the survivers' colony of New Eden, on the Delaware River. She was not clear about her past, but she said she came from the Pine Barrens. She stayed a couple years, essentially converting the colony to her philosophy/religion, and then announced that she was going to Vermont. No one in New Eden knew that there was another colony in Vermont, but she went straight to what became Vermont Center on Lake Champlain. She stayed there for five years, also converting the colony, and then left for the east, saying she was going to Mt. Adams. She was never seen again.
Emma taught that every sufficiently complicated system has a consciousness. The consciousness of the universe as a whole is what people perceive as God. However, there are other subsystems which are also conscious, such as the planet Earth. Although she never came out and said so, she implied that she was the incarnation of the planetary consciousness. This has become dogma for Emmist in much the same way that the divinity of Jesus has become dogma for Christians. Emmists believe that she went to Mt. Adams in order to be reabsorbed into the planet as a whole.
Emma taught that the different consciousnesses of the universe all interact with one another, and that it is possible for them all to do so harmoniously. Pain and suffering are the result of interactions which are not harmonious. The Apocalypse was the result of human civilization becoming majorly out of harmony with itself and with the planet.
Emmist believe that every person has a soul, which is the seat of their individual consciousness. When that person dies the soul becomes detached. Ideally, it becomes absorbed into the consciousness of the human species (considered as a whole). The exact nature of that absorption is a major doctrinal dispute between the different branches of Emmism. The soul may also wander free, and become a ghost, or enter a fetus, and become reincarnated.
Celestials have three names, two given names and a surname. These are always written in Roman letters without diacritics or punctuation and with the first letter only capitalized, so you have "Mcdonald", "Obrien", and "Lheureux". Both husbands and wives usually keep their surnames after marriage, although occasionally a woman will change hers to her husband's. A child takes her mother's surname.
The default honorifics are "Mister" for males and "Miss" for females, including those females who took their husbands' names. "Mrs." sounds archaic to Celestials.
An example, from more to less formal, is:
Towners also have three names, two given names and a surname. These are written in Vermont Revised Spelling. A woman takes her husband's surname upon marriage. A child takes her mother's surname, unless she's born out of wedlock and her father declared paternity, in which case she usually takes her father's surname. (Note that if she's born in wedlock both parents' surnames will be the same.)
The default honorifics are "Mister" for males, "Miss" for unmarried females, and "Missiz" for married females.
An example, from more to less formal, is:
A scavver's full name has five parts, a given name, a matrilineal surname, a patrilineal surname, a gang name, and a tribal name. These are all written in Vermont Revised Spelling. A child takes her matrilineal surname from her mother and her patrilineal surname from her father. Both husbands and wives keep their surnames after marriage. The gang name will change if the person changes gangs. In any event gang names themselves are subject to change for various reasons. The term "tribal name" is somewhat misleading. It identifies a region more than a tribe as that word is usually understood.
Scavvers do not use honorifics among themselves, although they will often adopt Towner (and similar cultures') honorifics when dealing with them.
An example, from more to less formal, is:
In the Celestial Republic sex leads to romance leads to marriage. The central ritual in the marriage ceremony is the signing of the marriage contract. This may be a detailed agreement similar to modern prenuptial contracts, but more usually is just a simple statment along the lines of "Because of their great love for one another Dennis Paul Himes and Laura Bradley Cook agree to marry." Both newlyweds usually wear white.
Both men and women are legally allowed to marry at 18, although marriages that young are rare.
Polygamy and polyandry are both legal but rare. Homosexual marriages are legal and common.
Although premarital sex is not only accepted but encouraged couples rarely live together before marriage. After marriage they usually do.
Divorce is fairly common. Sometimes, in fact, marriage agreements have a time limit and automaticaly expire. In the case of a divorce all wealth acquired during the marriage is split evenly and all wealth brought into the marriage is retained by the person who brought it. Children are put in the custody of the mother. Child support is not an issue, since the republic supports all children. All of this can be overridden by the marriage agreement or by mutual consent.
Towner romances usually blossom during community events, such as Sunday Common, a meal shared each Sunday by the entire community. Premarital sexual activity short of intercourse is accepted, as long as it's discreet. (Young couples often take a roundabout route home after these communtiy events.) Being Emmist, Towners have a year long engagement, during which either party may call it off. Intercourse is supposed to wait until after the marriage, but pregnant brides are not unusual nor are they shameful (in most communities). For a man to call off a wedding with a pregnant fiancee is considered bad, even though it's legal, and may lead to violence from the woman's male relatives.
When the marriage does occur it is officiated by an Emmist priest. The bride wears white for a first marriage and red or pink for subsequent marriages (which usually will only occur if she's a widow). The groom wears blue. The bride and groom each give the other a wedding ring, which is worn on the left ring finger.
A woman lives with her parents until marriage, when she moves in with her husband. Sometimes this move happens during the engagement. If a man has not already established a home he often does upon getting married. If not, the couple lives with the groom's parents.
Women usually marry between 14 and 20 years of age. Men average about four years older.
Emmist are stricly monogamous. Homosexual marriages are not legal but still occur unofficially.
Divorce is legal, but rare.
Being Emmist, Scavvers also have a year long engagement and are also strictly monogamous. They also have unofficial homosexual marriages.
While marriages within a gang are legal if the newlyweds are not second cousins or closer, marriages often occur between gangs, especially since for many gangs there are not a lot of potential partners who aren't second cousins or closer. There are often whirlwind romances during games, which are festivals which occur both on set occasions and, sometimes, spontaneously when different gangs meet. (The name is misleading, since athletic contests are only one type of the many activities which go on.) Premarital sex is accepted, with little need for discretion, but (in theory at least) stops short of intercourse.
Marriages are officiated by the boss of the groom's gang, sometimes in concert with an Emmist priest. The bride and groom each give the other a wedding ring, which is worn on a chain around the neck. (These rings are often bigger than anything which would be worn on a finger, but they are always circular.)
The wife lives with the husband's gang after the marriage.
Both women and men usually marry later than Towners, but before they're 25.
Divorce is legal, but rare, although not as rare as in the Towns.
There are no human prostitutes in the Celestial Republic. Prostitution is instead performed by pseudos (short for pseudohominids, a.k.a. androids). Some pseudos are manufactured specifically for prostitution, and most general purpose pseudos are capable of sex. "Full body performance" is the euphemism pseudo salesmen use to indicate this.
Although this is perfectly legal, for the most part it is embarrasing to admit that one actually takes advantage of it.
Pseudo prostitution exists for all combinations of customer/pseudo sex, although male/female is most common.
Prostitution is illegal in the Towns, but it exists in the cities and is usually tolerated if it's kept discreet. I say "usually" because sometimes a local government will close down the brothels (there are no streetwalkers), but they always eventually come back.
It is usually women servicing men, although sometimes men servicing men.
There is no prostitution among the Scavvers themselves, but some Scavver woman will service Towner men when camped near a town. There is much disagreement among the Scavvers whether or not this is a bad thing.
Celestials use the Gregorian calendar. Dates and times are written in Celestial Standard Time Format, which has the form YYYY/MMDD/hhmm/sscc, where
When only giving some of these data any slashes to the right of the missing digits are left off, but not ones to the left. E.g. a date with no year or time looks like /0716, and a time of day by itself is //1617. (In informal use this rule is not strictly followed.)
Towners use the Gregorian calendar. Several methods are used to write the date, such as:
Scavvers use the Gregorian calendar. Dates are usually written day, month, year, although Scavvers in close contact with Towners and other settled people will sometimes adopt their convention, which gets as confusing as the current US vs. the rest of the world conventions. Months are often written in Roman numerals, e.g. 16 VII 2260.
Celestial food is usually eaten on small flat plates, one per dish. Most food is designed to be eaten with fingers, and that which is not is eaten with forks and spoons. Knives are not usually used; food is presliced where necessary. Forks are usually thinner than modern ones. People mostly eat while seated at a table. Tableware, plates, and drinking cups are usually made out of hard synthetic materials, although glass cups are also used.
Towner plates usually have high edges, and are really shallow bowls. They are made of metal or wood. Towners also eat seated at a table. They typically eat with forks, spoons, and sharp pointed knives, made of steel, and drink out of cups made of glass, or sometimes metal.
Scavvers usually eat with their hands out of a wooden or metal bowl which is held while eating. They also use metal knives, sometimes as we would use a fork. Beverages and soup are drunk out of similar bowls.
There is not much discrimination among the Celestials, but what exists is mostly directed at recent immigrants from Earth.
Towners tend to think of Scavvers as savages. There is also discrimination against non-Emmists, especially Charnerists.
Scavvers consider a crime against a non-Scavver to be less serious than the same crime against a fellow Scavver.
Designs with sixfold axial symmetry are considered good luck, and are often worn on jewelry or painted on buildings. Tulip tree leaves and spiders are also considered good luck. These are often painted on the front door of a house.
Scavvers carry many talismans around, usually hanging from a thin chain or rope around the neck. These are sometimes pieces of jewelry passed down from generation to generation. They can also be bird feet, feathers, or pieces of preapocalyptic technology. Wedding rings are also worn this way.
Celestials shoes are usually built for comfort. There are many different styles. Since a typical Celestial will never be outside, their shoes do not have to keep their feet warm or be able to handle rough or uneven surfaces. Sometimes shoes and pants will be part of a single piece of clothing. (Sometimes a complete set of clothes comes as a single piece.)
Towner shoes are built for walking outdoors. They are usually made out of leather. Men's shoes will generally cover the ankles, women's usually won't, but neither of these is a hard and fast rule. Almost all shoes have laces, although people will sometimes have slippers for use around the house when it's too cold to go barefoot.
Scavvers' shoes are made of leather and always cover the ankles. They are secured with laces. A scavver's shoes are one of his most prized posessions, and stealing shoes is considered a serious crime.
Christians have the Bible, and other members of other religions similar texts, but since there is no dominant religion in the C.R. there is no work which has the significance of, say, the Bible in a Christian nation or the Koran in a Moslem one.
The Emmists' holy book is called Emmaworks ("Emmuwerx" in Vermont Revised Spelling). It is a collection of transciptions of interviews with Emma, letters written by Emma herself, rememberances of Emma written by her followers soon after she left, and commentary on her philosophy by some of her followers written during the first decade after she left.
Full nudity in public is illegal. Partial nudity is legal but considered risque. Children are clothed in public.
Partial nudity is acceptable in some situations and not in others. While swimming, it is normal to wear only shorts, or sometimes nothing. When working outside in hot weather partial nudity is acceptable. However, when just walking down the street even partial nudity can result in the police asking (really demanding) that you cover yourself.
Full nudity in public is pretty much confined to swimming, and then only among people you know well. One wouldn't swim fully nude at a public beach.
The above applies only to adults. Children under the age of ten or so often go around partially or fully nude. The cutoff age is not hard and fast, but before puberty.
In warm weather partial nudity is acceptable and common. Swimming is usually done fully nude. Children are often fully nude.
Since most Celestials live on a space station there are not the physical clues for a sleep/wake cycle that there are on Earth. Nonetheless, the society operates on a 24 hour clock (keyed to GMT, even though there is no longer a Greenwich Observatory), and most people stick to it, especially if their work schedules demand it. They generally don't put a lot of emphasis on dreaming, but in the novel I'm writing, partly based in Angleperch, I describe all of the dreams the protaganist has.
Other Celestial settlements have their own sleep/wake cycles. Those on Mars, for instance, go by the Martian day, which is just a little longer than our own.
Towners generally sleep at night and are awake in the day, although this is seasonal; they don't sleep through an entire winter's night. They often time their bedtimes so that they get up with the sun. Dreams can be considered messages from ghosts (such as of dead relatives) and other entities. Whether or not they actually are interpreted that way depends on the individual beliefs of the dreamer. The Emmist Church considers that sort of dream possible but generally declines to endorse any given dream as significant.
Scavvers also generally sleep at night and are awake in the day, although they often get up later than sunrise, especially in the spring and summer. Some scavvers consider dreams to be very significant, and will go to expert dream interpreters to find out their meaning. Others consider this to be bunk.
There are political groups lobbying for women's issues, such as improved health care for pregnancy, but feminism is not as big an issue as in our world, because sexual equality is guaranteed by law and generally respected in practice.
There are feminist organizations, but their influence is limited. Sexual equality is guaranteed by law but often not respected in practice.
There are no feminist organizations, because there are no formal political organizations as such. People do have different ideas on how much rights women should have in society, and those that think they should have more could be described as feminists.
Celestials play a number of physical games, most of which have both full gravity and partial gravity versions. The most popular is a form of tennis, which is called "tennis", but which has some different rules, such as playing the ball off the walls in some circumstances. The most popular spectator sport is tubeball, which is similar to soccer but played in a cylinder in zero gravity. Celestial communities on planets and moons usually have sports specific to their places, often variations of soccer.
Minor school students (roughly 14 - 17 years old) in Angelperch have beam wars, which are similar to laser tag games, except they have hundreds of players to a side and take place mostly in the parks. These were originally illegal (or at least unofficial) but by the time of the novel have become highly organized. (I would like to note that I invented this before I'd ever heard of laser tag.)
Many Celestials play abstract mental games, Western chess being the most popular. Any organized tournament, however, has to deal with the fact that it's very easy to cheat. Computers advanced enough to beat any human can be made small enough to hide in your ear. Anyone playing in a tournament expects to be extensively monitored, and the top tournaments require players to submit to a thorough scan before entering a secure area which they can't leave without resubmitting to the scan upon reentering.
Towners play baseball in the warm months, with rules very similar to those of our time (except with no designated hitter). They play football in the cold months, with rules derived from modern American football but changed much more than with baseball.
Towners play checkers and chess sometimes, but card games are much more popular. The most popular card games are poker, setback, and Arlington. Arlington is actually a game I invented, but in this conhistory it arose in the Towns in postapocalyptic times.
Scavvers have a number of games which are played during "games", which, as I've noted before, are festivals which occur both on set occasions and, sometimes, spontaneously when different gangs meet. (The name is misleading, since athletic contests are only one type of the many activities which go on.) Races and shooting contests are common, as are "fieldball", which is similar to soccer except that fists can be used, and "poleball", in which two teams each try to knock a dowel off of a pole by throwing a ball at it, with each team trying to make it fall in a different direction.
Scavvers also play corners, which is a board game played on a 8x8 board, with each player defending a corner against incursions by his or her opponent. I know the rules to this game, but I've never written them down.
Many Celestials, including the protagonist of my novel in progress, live in Angelperch, a space station orbiting Earth. Angelperch consists of a central cylindrical structure, essentially a tube, called "the Spine". Attached to this are different components. Many of these are tori whose axis of symmetry is the Spine, with supports which look like the spokes of a wheel. These are, in fact, called "wheels". They are spun to create centrifugal force on the inside of the outer surface. There are also two parks which are larger cylinders whose axis is the spine. These are also spun. There are also units which are not spun. All units which are spun are spun in the same direction.
Angelpercher living quarters are called "shells", and are generally very small, space being a precious commodity on a space station. Jennifer Choate's shell has three rooms, a kitchen/dining room, a bedroom/living room, and a bathroom. It has one door and one window.
There are no roads as such. There are hallways and tubes.
Towners live in towns, although, as in modern Connecticut, the term "town" includes cities. Most, however, would be considered villages. Even the cities are not very big by today's standards. Most people, even in cities, live in single family houses.
The largest of the preapocalyptic cities (e.g. Boston) were destroyed in the Apocalypse, and others were abandoned. Some, however, such as New Haven, have been continuously occupied since the 17th century.
Most of the preapocalyptic road system is now buried. In some places, such as New Haven, it's been continuously maintained, but for most of the Towns it's covered over with centuries of autumn leaves to become part of the forest floor. However, when a new road is built it often is done so along the path of a preapocalyptic road.
Scavvers are nomadic, or semi-nomadic, and travel in "gangs". A gang is typically 20 to 30 people, although it varies considerably. They will usually live in tents which they carry with them, although most gangs will also maintain permanent buildings which they'll visit when they're in the area. Many of these buildings will be shared among several gangs, especially the ones which were originally preapocalyptic structures.
Scavvers travel on footpaths through the forest. These often follow the paths of preapocalyptic highways.
Cleaning is done by robots, which come in many shapes and sizes. Most are small and crawl along the floor and climb the walls. Almost all waste is recycled somehow. Theoretically one of these robots can operate without supervision, but most Celestials like to keep an eye on it as it's working to make sure it doesn't get rid of something it shouldn't.
Towners sweep periodically, and scrub with soap and water when necessary. Cleaning is mostly women's work. What rugs they have are not attached to the floor, and are taken out and shaken or beaten when they get too dirty.
Scavvers have whisk brooms. These are used to brush off bedding and tent floors (for those tents which have floors) before they're packed when the gang is moving to a new location. What permanent homes they have are not kept as clean as a Towner home would be, although they are careful not to leave food about which might attract vermin.
Most drugs are legal for adults in the Celestial Republic. However, anyone using the more addictive forms (such as tobacco and opiates) must first get a license, and, in some cases, deposit a large amount of money. This money is used for detoxification should the user change his mind or should a court revoke his license. In addition, any drug which is smoked is highly taxed, since oxygen is a valuable commodity which the republic provides free for its residents.
The most popular recreational drugs are alcohol and various synthetic psychedelics. Hashish is also somewhat popular. Marijuana is practicaly unknown, because the smoke tax makes it more expensive per high than hash. Alcohol is drunk in the form of wine or liquor (especially whiskey). Beer is rare.
Caffeine, mostly in the form of coffee, is also very popular.
The most popular recreational drugs among the towners are alcohol, mostly in the form of beer, and marijuana, which is always smoked in a pipe. Tobacco is forbidden to Emmists, and is practically unknown in the Towns. Hard liquor is also known, but not as popular as beer.
Children are supposedly not allowed to take recreational drugs, but giving a sip of beer to a child would not be considered a violation of this rule, even though it technically is.
Coffee is known, but somewhat expensive, so it is not widely popular.
Scavvers' most popular drug is marijuana, also always smoked in a pipe. It's common to pass around a pipe while sitting around a fire in the evening. Children are not supposed to partake, but exeptions to this are made, especially with older children.
Alcohol is also drunk, mostly in the form of whiskey.
Being Emmists, Scavvers also do not smoke tobacco.
Scavvers also sometimes eat hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Celestials, at least those in Angelperch, don't have streets. They live in tori called "wheels". These are usually named either after a place on Earth or a person (who could be either a prominent early Celestial or prominent scientist or mathematician from history). A person's address would be the distance, in meters, of her front door from an arbitrary starting point, followed by "North" or "South", depending on which side of the central walkway she lives, followed by the name of the Wheel. E.g. "234 North Michigan".
It depends on the town. New Haven streets are essentially the same as in the 21st century, i.e. they're a complete mess. Towns founded after the Apocalypse are generally not much better. The same general mechanism happened in postapocalyptic times as happened in colonial times. The original settlers would lay out a nice grid for what they needed, along with a few long roads to nearby communities. As the population grew new streets were added on an as-needed basis.
Numbering, where it exists, is generally from one end of the street to another. Some, but not all, towns will have all even numbers on one side of the street and all odd numbers on the other. Most streets, however, do not have numbers at all.
Scavvers do not have streets. They do have trails. These are named, but there is no "official" name for them, and the same trail might have different names used by different gangs. The name of the trail is often descriptive (e.g. "the Sharp River Trail", which follows the Sharp (i.e. Naugatuck) River) or, if it follows a preapocalyptic highway, might be named after the highway ("The Seven Trail"), or it might have a traditional name whose origin is forgotten ("The Preston Trail").
Living in space, they don't have many natural catastrophes. The worst catastrophes in their history are man-made. The greatest danger is that a ship approaching the station will lose control and crash into the station.
Floods are the greatest danger, although more for the Towners than the Scavvers, since Scavvers can just move to higher ground. Hurricanes come by once a decade or so, and are one of the main causes for floods (which can also be caused just by a lot of rain in spring, when the rivers are high anyway from snow melt).
Every few years there is a large blizzard, but since there isn't that much travel in the winter anyway it's not a catastrophe.
Celestials who live on planets or moons usually bury their dead. For Celestials on Angelperch there are two common methods. One is to recycle the body through the station's normal reprocessing systems. This is not done by throwing the body into the garbage; the station has mortuaries set up handle this, with areas to accommodate whatever rituals the dead's friends and relatives want. The other method is to seal the corpse in a capsule and send it into space, usually either in orbit around the Earth, into the Sun, or out of the solar system.
As for an afterlife, there are a number of different beliefs. A majority of Celestials believe in no afterlife, but a large minority believe in some sort of heaven, and a few believe in reincarnation.
Emma taught that corpses should "feed the planet", so they're buried, usually without a casket. The grave is marked with a stone, on which is carved the dead person's name, birth date, and death date. Sometimes a short epitaph is included. A few northern towns cremate their dead, a practice which survives from their preEmmist days. This is considered heresy by some, but usually nobody makes a big deal out of it.
Emmists believe that the soul detaches from the body after death. It usually joins the planetary consciousness, but it can roam free (and be a ghost) or attach to a fetus (and be reincarnated). Just what "joining the planetary consciousness" means is a major subject of theological debate among Emmists.
Scavvers have a custom of burying a person where that person died. This is not always possible, but a corpse will be buried as close to the location of death as feasible. Usually the death is noted by a carving in a nearby tree. Scavver funerals are day long affairs, not always held at the place of burial. Attendees fast throughout the day, and there is always at least one person playing the death beat on a drum. The death beat being, simply, beat, beat, pause, beat, beat, pause, on and on throughout the day.
Scavvers are Emmists and have the same basic beliefs about the afterlife as Towners.Here is a VRS version of this page.
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