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Outside Medinaat al-Salaam, observers occasionally see a small parade of wagons, drawn by horse, camel, or both, seemingly poorly adapted for a nomad’s life in the desert, but still rolling in from the deep desert, narrow banners tugged by the desert wind. Sometimes, shoppers in Peddler’s Row encounter an unusually vibrant display of wares, breaking up the monotony of the gray-brown Maze. Every so often, the great thinkers of the Qabal and the theologians of the Jewel can be seen speaking to the impresario of a ring of wagons as they prepare to make a carnival for the evening. While rarely trusted, the nomads known as the Ra’Shari are always watched, because wherever they go, fortune, good or ill, follows.

For a people who do not permanently live within the Jewel, the Ra’Shari spend a curiously large amount of time there. If asked, most of the nomads will say, “It is our fate, to be tied to this place.” Some will say, “Everything worth remembering happens here. Why would we go elsewhere?” Yet they do. The Ra’Shari are a nomadic people, constantly traveling, only stopping in one place for short periods of time. Often, they stop in Medinaat al-Salaam.

Very few people can call a Ra’Shari a close friend, but many have positive relationships with them nonetheless. Once one understands their strange customs and their unusual take on truth, the Ra’Shari prove to be a steadfast and trustworthy people. Most of those in the Jewel are unwilling to take the chance, though. Everyone knows someone, or a story of someone, who trusted the nomads and wound up fleeced and frustrated.

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