Criminals are people who appear like unto you and I, smell like you and I, speak like you and I, and ambulate like you and I. They are so similar, in fact, that sometimes it is difficult to separate the true criminal from you and I, or from large gatherings of our family and friends, or even from the enormous crowds congregating at the summertime rock concerto set in the Sejfeld parkway.
As to the emergence of criminals, there is a theory that anyone, including you and I, can become a criminal, though this theory is just that, only a theory. Others propose that indeed, criminals are quite distinct from the general Ghyllian population; not in looks but in kinship.
The Gyp Theory begins by delving into the word criminal and makes the observation that its origin is quite unknown, or at least forgotten. Zed Dredig, a strong proponent of this theory, has gone on the record to say that criminal stems from the conjoint terms crim and nal, crim being of unknown meaning but nal clearly meaning good riddance. The importance of this is that there exists a Lake Crimin many days walk southeast of the Principality of Jurra.
The second area of investigation within the Gyp Theory is the Gyp themselves. This we know: the Gyp are vagabonds, miscreants, and used-carriage salesmen. This we also know: they have largely disappeared into the dustcorners of our modern society; mind you disappeared does not mean gone to nothing, but rather cease to openly show themselves as by intermarrying with regular Ghylls like you and I.
Historically the Gyp came from the east, so says the Tempton School (founded in part by Irictus Ross), possibly as far east as the Xurient but this remains speculation. At one point, they came to live on the shores of Lake Crimin. They were originally known as polishers of brass doorknobs and, as this was an important, trade they grew in wealth and esteem. But after this rise in status, many generations after, there arose an ominous corollary: where there is Gyp there is shiny brass doorknobs, but there is not silverware, or table cloths, or cotton pants. It is from this time that arose the proverb, "I've been gyped!" It is also from this time that the Gyp began to move about like brathlings swarming from a putz mound. After this they came to be known as "world travelers."
The Gyp Theory states that it was precisely after the exodus from Lake Crimin that the Gyp came to be known as the folk from the Lake, or the People of Crimin, and which eventually transmutated into Criminal.
Whether Criminals are descendants of the Gyp or not, there remains one fact: Criminals have altered the legal landscape. It is from the appearance of criminals that the Codex RealAxe has evolved. Back in -207 EC, a nameless event occurred and the Codex RealAxe was produced, some say by very angry fathers and uncles of some very ashamed young maidens. Death by axe is still within the legal remedies for some crimes to this day. Though legal codes, rulebooks, and playbooks differ from region to region and between towns and villages, there is some underlying commonality. The core being a community healer of divisions entitled Adjudicator in the Codex; as well as a defender of rights called the Advocator and a defender of law called the Adversicator (the officials in Iganefta-on-the-Sea use the terms Protector and Persecutor for the last two offices, but the idea is the same).
--Nikos of Ant 22:33, 3 Jun 2005 (EDT)