On the borders, chauvinism is often at its most potent, with distinctions of them and us, them and them, and us and not-quite-us. Frontiers are always permeable, in spite of the fortifications facing out to the supposed danger, books forming inappropriate barricades.

Fierce enforcement from behind the lines hopes to lessen lawlessness, but the places near the edge none-the-less attract renegades and mavericks. There are frequent border skirmishes with marauders, reavers and moss-troopers.

This is a place where custom and constraint cannot prevent a motley mix of selves.