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This is the story the people of Popham tell: their boat (a pinnace) was on the way to the not-long-for-the-world English Colony in Maine, when a terrible storm swept the boat beneath the waves. Their town itself is a boat — literally, a beached Dutch-built vessel, now replete with threadbare sails and rotting wood. They’ve built homes into and off of the boat, with gangplanks and walkways connecting up from the crow’s nest and spreading across to the Hedge walls themselves. They’re an alarmingly moral crew, these so-called people — they wear all black, they hide their faces, they show very little skin at all. They do not brook foul language, shows of sexual impropriety (nary a whiff!), or violence that their elders did not call for.
Thing is, these people aren’t people at all. They’re hobgoblins, presumably (those who have laid low one of the pilgrims of Popham found they were little more than bags of skin filled with swirling sand), but they sure seem to believe that they’re really people. Theories suggest that the boat is the real deal, but that when it came “through” into the Hedge, those who manned the vessel were probably taken by Fae or butchered by vicious goblins. The current inhabitants seem to take a great deal of their behaviors from a dusty old journal found in the captain’s quarters.
- In an odd turn, changelings can use the Pinnace of Popham to help increase their Clarity. Something about this town and these hobs helps ensure that a character’s sanity comes back into perspective. Doing so is not a pleasant experience. The moralists of Popham are brutal — they beat moral lessons and cold virtue into the flesh of those who desire (or deserve) such rebalancing. For every point of lethal damage accrued as a result of these lessons, the changeling may take one experience point off the cost of raising his Clarity by one dot, but the catch is that the changeling must accept punishment for a number of days equal to 10 minus her current Morality score. Some freeholds have sent their wayward Lost to the Pinnace for “reeducation”. Ironic, perhaps, that it is done at the hands of hobs masquerading as humans.
- , p. 84