Just after dawn this morning, the Republic of Grigovia released a group of American wildlife photographers detained seven months ago. The thirteen individuals were arrested in 2011 in the Lower Yalung Valley near the border Grigovia shares with Tajikistan. A rugged and inaccessible area favored by spice and weapons smugglers alike, the Lower Yalung is famous for the Yaelong, a tight-lipped, aggressive people nearly universally addicted to a a bitter concoction called czabtlan that is brewed using the spice. A mountainous country dotted with remote valleys accessible only by helicopter, Grigovia harbors the world's last remaining wild herds of three-toed tree ibex, fleet-footed forest dwellers prized for their lean meat and intricately-patterned coats. The U.S. State Department accepted custody of the photographers during a brief ceremony held at the embassy's wishing bridge.
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