Preface, First Pages of Ven Polypheme's Journal, Chapter One through Chapter Three
• Ven is a Nain - a race of people that usually live underground; however his grandfather, Magnes the Mad, broke with tradition and decided to open a ship building business. The Nain are different among humans in that they are usually below five foot and live much longer than the average human. A Nain is still considered to be a teenager at 50.
• The story opens on Ven's birthday. He is excited because he finally gets the chance to draw straws with his brothers to see who inspects their latest ship. To his delight Ven pulls the shorter straw. Though the brother's rigged the result, Ven couldn't care less.
• Aboard the ship, Ven meets a painter called Max. Max tells him the ship's name because, he says, it is Ven's birthday. Ven would have preferred it if...
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