Pyrophilos ran through the streets, barefoot on stone. He ignored the heat they radiated under the bright sun, but his toes registered the change from the cobblestones of the middle City to the flagstones that surrounded the Convention Hall. "Coming through... message for the Convention... make way, please!"
The crowds paid him little mind. Their attention was all on the two debaters on the holding forth on the steps leading up to the columned portico of the Hall. They blocked the way up, and he had no choice but to slowly force his way through, the argument reaching his ears as he did so.
"...shall we be hypocrites, then, and silence those who have come to us to share their beliefs? We try to convince them of our ways, after all. Censorship never did mankind any good."
"It is not a matter of evil, it is a matter of defense. Our land survives due to the bounty of the Powers -- Lord Amalkur of Earth gave us the stone you stand on from his domain -- and this Varen Church subverts our people to worship of a foreign Power that doesn't even seem to exist."
Another law up before the Convention to ban the Varen missionaries, Pyrophilos thought. They'd always failed before. Some of the legislators were just paranoid. "Make way, please."
"That is for our people to decide given the facts and the positions under debate. We must hold to our principles: the rational man given truth will come to a rational conclusion."
"We are not obliged to countenance a mindset that rejects rational argument in favor of blind obedience, the spread of which in our population weakens our greatest defense against Varen aggression."
"Varens have never aggressed, and if we maintain decent relations never will."
"You are wrong; I yesterday received report of an attack on the Oldest Essential Mine, and believe it to be Varen." The crowd gasped. Pyrophilos paused, stunned, just as he had made it above the crowd, and looked down at the message in his hand. The strands of numbers were too complex for a casual reading, but long practice and good calculational skills allowed him to decode them.
"Attack on Essential Earth Mine 1 this morning." Three hours ago, said the timestamp, and word could not possibly have gotten here sooner.
Pyrophilos tugged on the toga of a bystander. "Crave pardon, sir, but who is the speaker in favor of the censoring?"
The freeman glanced over at him. "Eucastor, I think. New Convener from some farm province."
"Many thanks, sir." Pyrophilos dashed up the steps and toward the Caller's office. For possible collusion in the heart of the Convention, he would have to speak. Politics were a dangerous game for a slave to play, but on his mother's fangs could not let so horrifying a suspicion sleep.
Tomos is a land where Hellenic rationalism meets the wildness of elemental magics. There the powers of the mind work side by side with the primitive ferocity of beasts, and both frame the struggles of a people making their mark in a complex world that is part of a larger universe. Tomos proclaims the equality of men and the supreme power of the human mind, yet feels itself superior to the other cultures it meets while its people pursue as many ordinary dreams of wealth and power as visions of utopian ideals.
Below find what I at least intend to eventually be the table of contents for this setting; at the moment, chapter headings with none of their subheadings activated probably lead to paragraph-sketches of what will eventually be there.
I'd like to thank the sandwich.net crew for pre-alpha playtest of this material, and Zibblsnrt in particular for his knowledge of Greek and Roman history and language. This is still in pre-publication form, and any input is welcomed.