The people who live in it consider the Fifth World paradise.

The people of the Fifth World draw life, wisdom, and strength from the lands they dwell in. Some consider the land a lover, and the hunt a matter of seduction. For others, the land mothers them, providing all they want or need freely. Many tell an ancient story of how the first humans dwelled in paradise, and how they committed some terrible sin that resulted in their exile, and how their heroic ancestors found their way back to restore their birthright.

It takes a few hours of work a week for hunter-gatherers in the Fifth World to provide for their needs. The gardeners have greater ambitions of shaping the land around them, and work somewhat longer to do so — some toiling for as long as six hours a day for almost half the year. Of course, “work” usually means taking a walk, hunting, fishing, or occasionally joining your friends and family in some physical labor, singing songs and frequently breaking to eat, drink, and play games.

They eat richly, enjoying a diet so varied, delicious, and healthful that it would have strained their ancestors’ imaginations. Most of the infectious diseases of the old world have died out without large populations to sustain them. The people of the Fifth World each have their own treasure of ethnobotanical wisdom to treat the infections and injuries they do suffer, the sort of knowledge that the pharmaceutical companies of old would have lusted after. People in the Fifth World expect to live a hundred years or more.

They would not consider themselves peaceful people or pacifists by any means. The Fifth World lacks any professional class of fighters to call upon, so when violence becomes necessary, they have no one to do it but themselves, and so they have disposed of the codes of ancient military aristocracies. War may not have disappeared from the world entirely, but it has become a truly rare event. Instead, scouts fight shadow wars of threats and intimidation on the periphery to ensure that their neighbors always know not to trifle with their community.

Wherever they live, the people of the Fifth World consider their territory paradise, the very center of the world. The stories and legends that give meaning and context to their lives all take root in the same soil. Within it, the strength and wisdom it provides makes them indomitable. Driven from it, they lose a significant piece of themselves.

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