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Author Topic: The World of Edrith  (Read 6074 times)

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Offline Iain

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Earth
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2004, 05:38:11 AM »
Earth
The faith of Earth is reasonably popular. It values courage, loyalty, steadfastness and faith; its services and worship emphasise these values. The attitude of Earth is generally for strength and courage to live through hard times, rather than in being hugely active to change them. In general, the faith of Earth does not like change.

Many farmers are followers of Earth (Earth and Life are the two faiths most honoured by those who work the land), as are many in professions such as mining, stone masonry, etc. In most of the world Earth has a reasonable amount of influence and power, though considerably less so than Order. In a few countries (e.g. the dwarven mines of Sedgwick and Phloem) Earth is the dominant faith.

Temples of Earth are frequently quite large; they are usually simple inside but have very elaborate stonework. Rock and stone are celebrated rather than wood and life; most things inside are usually stone. Chanting plays a large part in the worship. Earth does sometimes pursue a political agenda and has been known to very occasionally fight in “normal� wars, almost always in such cases in defence of a country that is strongly pro-Earth. Earth’s militant side is moderate – a poor third behind Order and War. Adherents of Earth are known for not surrendering and for being unwilling to retreat. Earth has one of the more ambivalent views of evil: although it opposes it, it would not view it with the anathema that Life would, unless it harms the earth. Earth clerics have been known to dabble in evil, despite the disapproval of Earth priests.

Organisation within the faith rarely reaches beyond that of the kingdom, though within a kingdom there will often be a hierarchy. Earth does not have a strong monastic tendency though it is not totally unknown, just almost. Earth is usually on fairly good terms with all the other faiths, particularly Life.
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Offline Iain

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War
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2004, 05:38:35 AM »
War
The faith of War is not hugely popular other than amongst soldiers; however, for soldiers it is, unsurprisingly, the most honoured faith. The faith of War does not, despite the accusations of some of the other faiths, merely a glorification of war (though they do belief that Chandark is served by valour, honour and prowess in battle); rather it is a belief in the necessity of War, as shown by their major festival, the Day of Pledge (28th Anwen) which marks the fall of Ventral to Goridan’s shadowspawn legions and the beginning of the sundering of the Covenant, caused in part by the Covenant’s lack of preparation for war.

War has far more non-cleric followers and minor clerics compared to the number of its priests than the other faiths; this is probably as soldiers are not usually drawn to the priesthood. War priests frequently serve as army chaplains (where they minister to soldiers of all faiths). War citadels are fairly austere in design and their emblems and hierarchy are rather military; services are short and to the point – chiefly a remembrance of comrades and praying for fortune in war in the coming year. War has no monasteries in the conventional sense; however, a number of pseudo-monastic establishments provide training grounds for militant War clerics. Like Earth, War tends to have a hierarchy (military and fairly strict) within a kingdom, though different kingdoms do not tend to acknowledge the authority of the clergy from another.

War regularly commits its followers to battle, believing as it does that War is served by valour and prowess in war. Frequently these conflicts need have no worthier cause than fighting for the kingdom of the follower. Strict followers of War do obey a code of honour in battle. War priests are known for being vigorous, enthusiastic and judgemental in prosecuting their views; however, these views can vary somewhat widely between priests. Many War priests have a fairly pragmatic view of most things (e.g. using dark prayers, killing people, etc.). Charitable work tends to be mainly concerned with maimed soldiers or dependents of dead soldiers.

War is occasionally looked at with some suspicion by members of other faiths (particularly Life); however, it is honoured along with the others by most people. Earth and Order are closer allies than Life or Silence.
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Silence
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2004, 05:39:08 AM »
Silence
Silence is the smallest and most reclusive of the five faiths. Its worship consists of an honour of stillness and silence – religious services involve large amounts of silent prayer and meditation – and there is little in this to attract the majority of people. There is a very strong monastic element to Silence worship (over half of Silence priests live in monasteries) and many of these monks take a vow of at least partial silence.

Temples of Silence are designed to be unobtrusive and to blend in with the surroundings. The architecture is cunningly designed to cut off the noise of the outside world and to muffle any sounds made within. Most Silence temples are found in cities or large towns – the faith is not large enough to have temples in small villages. The majority of people drawn to silence worship fall in to three categories: reclusive and solitary individuals who are at home with silence; certain people, often wealthy or scholars, who are slightly withdrawn from the world and who have come to find great spiritual meaning in Silence and the underclasses: thieves and assassins who live by stealth and silence and who thus see it as the natural power to worship. Naturally, the priests of Silence do not condone such actions; however, the ability to move with true silence is greatly admired and, as such, many great assassins believe that Ruth is served by their work. Maybe She is.

This association with undesirables is perhaps one reason why there is occasionally some suspicion of Silence. More seriously, some of the uneducated confuse the worship of Silence with the worship of the silence of Death: it is notable that on Avalonia, Longest Night is a festival of Silence whereas on Laurentia it is feared as the night when the forces of evil are strongest. This connection is totally unwarranted: Silence followers are in no way worshipping evil or Death and will oppose servants of darkness should they find them. Silence does not have the same antipathy towards utilising certain tools of the darkness (e.g. undead, dark prayers) as Life or Order; however, it is no more tolerant of such tools (in times of necessity) than War or Earth.

Silence worship is also characterised by a respect and veneration of knowledge. Many Silence priests work to preserve knowledge and they are frequently in the forefront of establishing and running the great libraries of our world. This is one reason why the faith often draws scholars. Silence has a much less rigid hierarchy than Order, War or Earth; however, unlike Life there is much contact and informal cooperation (and knowledge sharing) between devotees of Silence in different kingdoms. The smallness of the faith is one reason why such an informal arrangement can produce a relatively tight-knit fellowship.

Priests of Silence often pursue charitable work (other than that related to knowledge) in the cities in which they are; however, they usually work unobtrusively and, combined with their small numbers, mean that this does not make a huge impact on the public impression of the faith. Silence priests are sometimes advisers to nobles and rulers (though usually behind the scenes); for the size of the faith it wields a surprising amount of (subtle) influence. Silence is usually on reasonably terms with all of the other faiths.
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Offline Iain

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The Monastery of Zarant
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2004, 05:40:33 AM »
Excerpt from “A History of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth� by Arakan Foltar, 1656-1732SS

The Monastery of Zarant was founded in 449SS, several centuries after the Act of Secession and at a time when the civil wars that followed had largely dissipated. The Monastery was founded as a result of a large gift to the Order of Silence from the Szlachta (parliament) of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth; a gift generally believed by historians to have been a successful result of the Szlachta’s attempt to weaken the dominance of the Order of Earth, strongly loyal to the Sejm (ruler), within the Commonwealth.  The donation provided for the establishment of a large Monastery of Silence within the Forest of Zarant in the heart of the Commonwealth, the Monastery “to provide a perpetual and living monument to Ruth, the lady of Silence and to aid the growth of Silence throughout our dominion.â€?

For the next few centuries the Monastery of Zarant prospered; under the patronage of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth it quickly became the leading centre of Silence worship in north-eastern Laurentia and one of the largest in Laurentia. At its height, the Monastery housed over 700 monks, priests, scholars and acolytes and possessed considerably influence. Prominent abbots include the great scholar Konelis Larach, founder of Cornelius College in the University of Linnarson and Lachzan Borat, chief adviser and eminence grise to Dominic the Great, 37th Sejm of of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth. The Monastery of Zarant was also a great research centre: it was here that the complex Silence prayers Invisibility Sphere, Blanket of Silence and Vow of Silence among others were developed. It was during this era (7th –9th centuries SS) that the Forest of Zarant began to be known as the Forest of Silence due to the frequent deadening of all sound in large regions of the forest in the course of research.

By the end of the 9th century the Monastery of Zarant had reached its zenith. The monastery was razed to the ground in both the first and third shadowspawn uprisings of the 10th century, with many monks and priests being slain. The troubled times led to the people turning from Silence to Order and War and though the monastery was rebuilt, it was on a much smaller scale than before. In 1083 the monastery was once again attacked, this time in the Rokosz (legal rebellion) of the duke of Toarcia. Large sections of the monastery were burnt. With the decline of the Commonwealth and the steady withdrawal of Zechen-Rotliegendish influence from the region, the funds and political will were lacking to once again rebuild the monastery and it was finally abandoned in 1125.

After almost 600 years, little remains of the Monastery of Zarant. The buildings themselves have long since gone, either eroded by the elements or the stone carted away by peasants for buildings elsewhere. Though some relics from the Monastery can still be seen in the region (items may be found in the Ducal palace in Bajada, in the city of Zechstein and in various places in Rotliegendes), by far the greatest number, including the famed statue of Ruth, were removed in 1137SS by an expedition from the University of Linnarson. The statue of Ruth is now located in the Chapel of Silence in Cornelius College, Linnarson, near to the grave of the college’s founder Konelis Larach, sixth abbot of Zarant.
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The City of Linnarson
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2004, 05:42:12 AM »
(excerpt from the archives of the Imperial Society of Political Affairs, Triune Empire, Avalonia, last updated 422PC).

The government of the city state of Linnarson is most unusual and effective; it is, perhaps, unique in the world and due entirely to the atypical nature of the city itself. Linnarson, a large metropolis of around 300 000 people, is the greatest trading and university city on Laurentia. Dominated by the wealthy Council of Merchants and the wizards of the University, the city is large, prosperous, cosmopolitan and crawling with intrigue. The great University of Linnarson is renowned as the greatest university in the world. The city state comprises the city and a few leagues surrounding it.

The government of the city is split between the wizards and the merchants. Though the supreme authority in the city is the Chamber (a committee comprising seven wizards, seven merchants and one other, the Gendarsh, who may be either a wizard of a merchant), both factions have a large degree of autonomy within their own area; for example, the wizards make almost all the laws concerning the use of magic and the merchants determine trading rights, import and export levies. In fact, many laws affect people differently depending on whether they are a member of the merchant’s guild, the University or neither (and on their status within these organisations). Many of the power struggles centre over getting issues declared to be within the dominion of either the merchants or the wizards; for example, in 421PC the wizards scored a coup by getting national defence declared to be primarily the domain of the University.

The members of the Chamber are selected by the wizards and the merchants. The Gendarsh is elected by the Chamber and requires the support of 11 of the members of the Chamber; once elected, the Gendarsh serves for either 30 years or until he (a) resigns, (b) dies or (c) is deposed, which also requires 11 votes. Once he has left office, a former Gendarsh may not sit in the Chamber for 5 years and may not be Gendarsh again for 10; furthermore, a person may not be Gendarsh for more than 60 years per century.

To be passed, the majority of matters require the lesser majority of 10 members supporting; some (such as election of the Gendarsh) require the support of 11 and a few (mainly concerning amendments to the Chamber’s jurisdiction, for example a motion to give the Chamber or the university jurisdication over the internal affairs of colleges) require the greater majority of 12. The side with the Gendarsh naturally has an advantage as they have 8 members in the Chamber rather than 7; in addition, the Gendarsh has a very small number of executive powers. As a result, in order to appoint a Gendarsh, one side will usually have to make concessions in other areas. An ordinary member of the Chamber may also be dismissed with a vote of 11; however, there is nothing to stop the Council of Merchants of the Learned Assembly reappointing them.

Given that neither the merchants nor wizards can ever have more than 8 members in the Chamber, one might wonder how any motion can be passed, given that all of them require at least 10 members to support it. However, there are factions and opinions that cross the lines of merchant or wizard and thus temporary alliances can form allowing motions to be passed. In addition, one side may give up an advantage in one area in exchange for concessions in the other. It is true, however, that this prevention of dominance by one side serves as the greatest check to the power of the Chamber and ensures the continued quasi-autonomy of so many other organisations within the city.
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Offline Iain

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The merchants of Linnarson
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2004, 05:42:40 AM »
Amongst the merchants, the primary arm of government is the Council of Merchants, a 200 strong parliament comprised of the wealthiest merchants in the city. The Council is divided up as follows: 15 merchants of the first rank, 25 merchants of the second rank, 40 merchants of the third rank, 50 merchants of the fourth rank and 70 merchants of the fifth rank. All members of the Council must be masters in the merchants’ guild; assuming this is met, rank is awarded in order of declared assets (assessed annually) (i.e. the fifteen richest merchants are merchants of the first rank). As well as ensuring that those most capable of rulership (in the eyes of the merchants of Linnarson) have the most power, this law also has the useful function of helping to reduce tax evasion. Any merchant may be barred from the Council by a 4/5 vote of the Council; once barred, he may not stand again for five years.

In order to become a merchant member of the Chamber one must be a merchant of the first rank. Delegates to the chamber are elected by voting (a simple majority vote is sufficient) and sit for 7 years. Merchant members of the Chamber are not officially counted as being in the Council of Merchants (so the 15 merchants of the first rank are the fifteen wealthiest merchants excluding the Chamber delegates); however, they may still vote, with the exception of the Gendarsh who may not vote.

In the Council, decisions are passed by voting; the number of votes required to pass a measure varies depending on the measure. Members of the Council are awarded votes in accordance to their rank: Chamber delegate = 25votes; 1st rank = 10 votes, 2nd rank = 5 votes; 3rd rank = 3 votes, 4th rank = 2 votes, 5th rank = 1 vote (a total of 770 votes). In this way, although the lower ranks are more numerous, their voting power is not as great. Any measure is vetoed if a) 10 merchants of the first rank vote against it; b) 3 Chamber delegates vote against it and fewer than 4 vote for it; c) 4 or more Chamber delegates vote against it.

There are a number of subordinate bodies and executive roles, the majority of these that have any real power may only be held by a merchant of the first or second rank.
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The Wizards of Linnarson
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2004, 05:43:11 AM »
“In the hallowed halls of the University of Linnarson a glimpse may sometimes be caught of the Senior Masters, learned sages and masters of knowledge. They seldom leave their dusty studies full of learned tomes, other than to dine - each evening they will be found shuffling down the dimly lit corridors to the dark and shuttered Great Hall. After feasting at high table by candlelight they will be gone, returning once more to their studies.�

Steeped in antiquity and reeking with the odour of learning, the University of Linnarson is large and sprawling; universally recognised as the pre-eminent centre of learning on the continent, it dominates the town of Linnarson in which it is situated. The university is home to many learned men; the vast majority of those at the university are wizards, with the rest consisting of other learned men.. The university also takes students, who come from all over the continent for the privilege of learning.

The university is very old (almost 1000 years old, though it has expanded over the years). It's architecture reflects this, with styles ranging across the centuries. Many of the buildings are very grand. It has a collegiate structure and there are 32 different colleges (founded at different times), many of which are named after deities or saints; prestigious nobles or the founder. Each college is quasi-autonomous but bound within the overall body of the university; the independence of the colleges is quite great with each having control over their own finances and having their own laws within their own confines. Three of the colleges admit only women, eight are mixed gender and the rest admit only men.
Colleges vary in size, wealth and splendour. Many have grand buildings and beautiful grounds. All share some common features including rooms in with the Masters, Senior Masters, scholars and students live, a place of worship (not necessarily all devoted to the same deity), a small library and a Great Hall (shuttered) where the members of the college dine. Meals are formal occasions wearing formal robes and gowns; at many meals archaic ceremonies involving speeches in Dalradian, bowing and other such formal occurences are common. Of course, the food and wine is extremely luxurious: Duke's College has enough wine in it's cellars that at the current (high) rate of consumption it would have enough for forty years. Rivalry between the colleges can be quite intense, leading at times to genuine animosity. The rivalry is formalised in the Summer Games, a week long period of tourneys (both physical and arcane) between the different colleges.

Towering like a monstrosity over the city of Linnarson, is one of the most imposing and unattractive buildings in the university: the Great Library. Recently extended, it consists of a large tower seven stories high with adjacent wings built on. It is known to extend several stories below ground, though the total extent of its catacombs is less widely known. The library is the largest in the known world, containing several hundred thousand volumes. Scribes are constantly setting out on long journeys to copy books from other libraries.

It is probably the only place where holy books of worship and healing rest only a few tens of feet away from those of the vilest necromancy and dark sorcery (some areas of the library are restricted). A visitor to the library would first find himself in the grand antichamber, a circular room lined from floor to ceiling with books.

Honour duels are very common amongst the students. Duels are fought with long, thin duelling swords and are usually to first blood. It is considered very bad form to accidentally kill someone in such a duel, and a mark of skill and honour is to wound your opponent in the face. Facial scars from such duelling are thus common, and recognised across the continent as a mark of someone who has been to the University of Linnarson.

There are four main types of people in the University: Students, Scholars, Masters and Senior Masters. Students are people who have come to study at the university. They pay fees to the university, attend lectures and study. Some work as servants in exchange for a remission of their fees. Scholars are those whom have some status and have been awarded scholarships by the university. This is typically not until after 2-5years of study (or none, if the person has a reputation from elsewhere). Though scholars learn, they conduct much more independent study on their own and are likely to do some independent research.

The Masters are those who teach and research in the University (c.50-60 per college). The Senior Masters are the most senior of the Masters (around 300 in the university). There are elaborate ceremonies for the admission of a scholar, the creation of a Master or the promotion of a Master to a Senior Master (this last is secret, only observed by other Senior Masters). Many Masters never become Senior Masters. Many Senior Masters are extremely old (they prolong their lives with their magical arts) and hold all of the important roles within the university.

The governance of the university is determined by the Learned Assembly, comprised of all the Senior Masters. Though matters are known to be decided by vote, the full details are not known to those outside the Assembly; all that is known is that they strive for consensus. The Learned Assembly also selects the Chamber delegates, all of whom must be Senior Masters. A Chamber delegate normally holds office for 25 years. The internal governance of each college is conducted by the Governing Body of that college, the mechanics of which varies greatly from college to college.
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Offline Iain

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The yearly calendar
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2004, 05:45:23 AM »
(From the archives of the Geographical Society of the Triune Empire, Avalonia (Last updated 422PC))

Probably due to the fact that the three continents were once under one government, the Covenantal Pact, the entirety of the known world shares one calendar. This calendar is divided in to 13 months, each of 28 days. In addition, there is an extra day, known as High Scriansa, located in midsummer, between the beginning and end of each year. High Scriansa is not part of any month, nor is it part of a week and it is usually treated as a holiday in most parts of the world. Every 4 years High Scriansa lasts for two days.
Months (in Dalradian – names vary slightly in other languages).

Liandre; Olmandre; Truz; Evthomindre; Roandre; Kire; Moradon; Anwen; Ellawen; Pilter; Pluessy; Trenwen; Lialwen.

Spring:   Pilter, Pluessy, Trenwen
Summer:    Lialwen, Liandre, Olmandre
Autumn:   Truz, Evthomindre, Roandre
Winter:    Kire, Moradon, Anwen, Ellawen

Days of the week

Mildar, Trenadar, Kdeith, Magvel, Forndar, Saladar, Sodtar.
Mildar is the first of every month. The 14th and 28th of each month are holidays.
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Festivals
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2004, 05:52:18 AM »
There are a number of festivals, both religious and secular, in the world of Edrith. Some of these (usually the religious ones) are separated in almost all countries, others, primarily secular, in just a few. It should be noted that as the majority of the population worships all five faiths, a festival of one faith will usually be celebrated by everyone, not just by clerics of that faith (though it will naturally be most important to these people). However, some faiths are far more popular in some countries or regions than others, meaning that the corresponding festivals are larger in some areas than others.

High Scriansa. Date:High Scriansa. Celebrated:Worldwide.
Joyful mid-summer celebration of all five faiths and the creation of the world. In most areas the biggest festival. Gifts are given.

Longest Night.  Date:Night of 14th Moradon.  Celebrated: Worldwide
On Laurentia: the date when the forces of evil are strongest. People stay inside, light candles and other lights. In some areas warding talismans are hung up.On Avalonia: this has been adopted by the Order of Silence as a festival of their order. Worship of Silence in silent contemplation. In some areas the Laurentian interpretation still holds.

Day of Deliverance.  Date: 25th Evthomindre. Celebrated: Worldwide
The date on which the Farladan Company destroyed Turriculatus and brought about the downfall of the Variscan Imperium. Joyful thanksgiving, combined with remembrance of the dead. On most of Laurentia, 2nd largest holiday (largest in Krinth-Turon)

Day of Founding. Date: 13th-14th Roandre. Celebrated:Triune Empire.
Two day holiday commemorating the founding of the Empire – celebration culminates on the 14th. Characterised by celebrations, pageants and military displays.

Birthday of Corithin Andar. Date: 5th Trenwen. Celebrated: Triune Empire   
Minor festival to commemorate the birthday of Corithin Andar, the ruler who led to the founding of the Empire.

Day of Rebirth. Date: 1st Pluessy. Celebrated: Worldwide.
Dedicated to the Order of Life, celebrating the rebirth of life in Spring. Fairly major festival in most places.

Valadar.  Date: 14th Ellawen. Celebrated: Mainly on Avalonia; less popular on Laurentia.
An Order of Order festival, remembering all those who have died in the service of Order. Date marks the time when an Order temple sacrificed itself to defeat an orcish invasion in to the rest of Avalonia.

Feast of Balance. Date: 24th Olmandre.  Celebrated: Worldwide.
Dedicated to the Order of Order, celebrating the balance of life. The recent dead are remembered and gifts are given. Fairly major festival in most places.

Harvest. Date: 20th-21st Truz. Celebrated: Worldwide (date varies slightly).
Dedicated to the Order of Earth. A harvest festival, marked by feasts and thanksgiving. Fairly major festival in most places.

Doren Mur. Date: 10th Pilter.  Celebrated: Mainly on Laurentia; less popular on Avalonia.   
The date of the Act of Secession, marking the formal end of the Covenant. A day of mourning and grief. People fast.

Day of Pledge.  Date:   28th Anwen.  Celebrated: Mainly by soldiers.
Dedicated to the Order of War, it marks the fall of Ventral to Goridan’s forces and is an affirmation of the necessity of war. Celebrated mainly by soldiers, they remember dead comrades, pray for success in the coming year, and end by feasting.

Justice Day. Date: 3rd Evthomindre. Celebrated: Torridon (and vassals).
Date of Niavon’s seizure of power (when he “brought justice to the people�). Marked by much pageantry and military parades, as well as feasting.
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Miscellany
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2004, 03:55:21 AM »
Note that these next three posts were compiled in Linnarson and so have a slightly "Laurentio-centric" view of the world.

Nine Greatest Libraries

Acinacean Library (Acinace, Elder Alliance): The major library of the Elder Alliance, it is renowned for containing a large number of esoteric magical works, particularly those of the more reclusive races. The largest collection of gryphonic and cho-ja writings in the world.

Errenyawae Liiranidalenar (Ellessae, Triune Empire): Original library of the elven kingdom that now forms a third of the Triune Empire. Known for its large number of works in the dead language of Evvenyae.

Great Library of Linnarson (Linnarson, Linnarson): Beyond doubt the greatest library in the world, situated in the greatest seat of learning in Laurentia and, indeed the world – the University of Linnarson. The library is immense – 12 stories in height (4 of them being underground) and contains an enormous collection of both magical and non-magical texts.

Imperial Library (Wenlock, Triune Empire): Contains all the governmental records of the Triune Empire going back to its founding. Also contains a large number of historical, geographical and political treatises. No magical works – these are sent to the University of Walinor.

Kurgolean Library (Aesthen, Scandia): Largest library in the southern region of Laurentia; the pre-eminent library of the priests of Order. Known for its military and theological works, with particular emphasis on the theology of balance.

Library of Kerbryhaine (Kerbryhaine, Scahanian Peninsular): Kerbryhaine’s historical position as a trade city has led to it having one of the larger libraries of southern Laurentia. A reasonable collection of works of all kinds; more Avalonian works than are typically found in a Laurentian Library.

Library of Larach (Bajada, Santon): A relatively large library founded by Konelis Larach, Abbot of Zarant. Specialises in theological works.

Library of the Most Holy Order of the Helm, Rochansza and Stirrup, Knight Defenders of the Honoured Wyvern of the Zechstein-Rotliegendish Commonwealth (Olfensee, Rotliegendes): Largest library of the former Zechstein-Rotliegendish Commonwealth. Large collection of magical and non-magical texts, especially ones relating to the Zechstein-Rotliegendish Commonwealth.

University Library of Walinor (Walinor, Triune Empire): All of the magical knowledge of the Triune Empire is contained here. The library itself is old, far older than the Triune Empire and contains some vaults that no-one can access any longer. This library contains mainly magical texts.
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Miscellany
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2004, 03:59:13 AM »
Some (very brief) thumbnail sketches of "living legends" who most moderately informed/educated people in the world would have heard of.

Agarwe Dermantes Lord General of the armies of Florin and Commander in Chief of the forces of the Florinese Alliance. A calm, considered general, he is known for his meticulous attention to detail and brilliant, near instantaneous grasp of complex strategy.

Aliana Mosali: One of the chief advisers of Lord Niavon of Torridon, Aliana is a powerful mage with a superb natural talent at magic. Her skills lie primarily in combat magics and spells of power and energy.

Ariana Meridlen: The elven part of the Emperor of the Triune Empire, she has held the post for over 100 years. Since the Variscan wars she has been the dominant personality in the Emperor and is one of the chief champions of the Triune Empire’s current isolationist policy. She is known to be working on a series of magical items of great power to protect the Empire should an evil such as Varisca ever make war on it in the future.

Baradon the Slayer: A legendary assassin, feared throughout Laurentia. He is known to have no loyalties other than to his current contract and it is said that there is no contract he will not undertake. Whereabouts unknown. His favoured weapon is the crossbow.

Gurnol Thredor: First Counsel of the Republic of Krinth-Turon, a wily diplomat, a political genius and a strategist who spins plans that will take decades to come to fruition. Now in his 4th consecutive (and 7th total) term, his is the mastermind behind Krinth-Turon’s plans of dominance over Laurentia.

Itureld Beresh: Archimandrite of Order upon Laurentia and Archbishop of the See of Aesthen, Itureld Beresh is a frail, wizened old man. He is famed for his wisdom and scholarship and is believed to deserve his title “Beloved of Andur.� He is still considered a worthy leader of the Grand Synod where he attempts to govern though consensus rather than by power.

Krandannien Olmaera: High Mienvar (the highest office) of the Elder Alliance. A powerful mage and a strong-willed leader, he is stewarding the Elder Alliance in these turbulent times.

Lord Niavon: Absolute ruler and military dictator of Torridon. He seized power in a military coup after the debacle of the Silurian War of 1758 and has since conquered the neighbouring kingdoms of Santon, Cadomia, Rodinia and Allende. A good ruler, terrifying fighter and brilliant general.

Prian Hendarth: A great merchant prince of Ludlow in the Triune Empire and possibly the richest man in the world. His trading Empire stretches across the whole of the Triune Empire and the surrounding archipelago and also extends to Krinth-Turon and the western sea-board of Laurentia, stretching inland as far as Linnarson.

Varakoth Xorast??????: A powerful wizard under the evil Variscan Imperium, there is no record of his having been killed in the destruction of the Imperium. He is known to have made a pact with death in order to prolong his life and many believe him to be still alive today, pointing to the increase in darkness and evil creatures and the turbulent times. His location (if he is still alive) is unknown: the most respected current theories include that he is located in Linnarson, the ruins of Turriculatus, Kurdon, the Pelagic “Empire�, the Scahanec mountains, Falani (the capital of Krinth-Turon) or Tournais.
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Offline Iain

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Miscellany
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2004, 04:00:39 AM »
Great Cities of Today

Acinace (Elder Alliance, Laurentia, c. 180 000): The fabled triple city of the Elder Alliance, it is the only major city in this mountainous domain. The city is on three layers: underground is the great cho-ja hive, on the surface are the houses of the orcs and above, in their high eyries, live the gryphons. The city is located in a valley to which there is only one main access route, guarded by a giant sphinx.

Aesthen (Scandia, Laurentia, c. 250 000): The largest city in southern Laurentia, Aesthen has gradually grown over the ages to its current size. It is the spiritual home of the Order of Order and the honorary see of the Archimandrite.

Kerbryhaine (Scahanian Peninsular, Laurentia, c. 150 000): A large trading city on the southernmost point of Laurentia, the city has a long trading history with Krinth-Turon and the Triune Empire. One of the more influential city states of the Scahanian Peninsular.

Ketton (Triune Empire, Avalonia, c. 320 000): The capital of the human section of the Triune Empire it is the second largest city in the Empire. As well as being an important residential, governmental and trading city, it is also notable for being the chief home of the military forces of the Empire.

Kurdon (Torridon, Laurentia, c. 250 000): The capital city of the powerful nation of Torridon, Kurdon is a large, bustling city. Located on the River Ruduk, it is moderately prosperous though contains a reasonable proportion of slums. The Old City is surrounded by high walls and contains a number of impressively old buildings; the city is also notable for having a wall around its entire perimeter – very unusual for a city of this size – which has been constructed since Lord Niavon came to power.

Linnarson (Linnarson, Laurentia, c. 300 000): The independent city state of Linnarson is the greatest trading and university city on Laurentia. Dominated by the wealthy Council of Merchants and the wizards of the University, the city is large, prosperous, cosmopolitan and crawling with intrigue. The great University of Linnarson is renowned as the greatest university in the world.

Murchisoni (Krinth-Turon, Krinth-Turon, c. 220 000): Formerly a free city, Murchisoni became the capital of the united republic of Krinth-Turon in 1662SS. Murchisoni is located on the borders of the two former kingdoms and near the great Moraldan mines.

Pelagin (Pelagic “Empire�, Laurentia, c. 350 000): The capital of the nation of Pelagos (now the Pelagic “Empire�), over the past half century Pelagin has increased in size five-fold with the growth of Pelagos. Troops from Krinth-Turon (and from Pelagos itself) crowd the city, making it resemble an armed camp. The majority of the city has plain, functional architecture organised along military lines.

Pridoli (Siluria, Laurentia, c. 230 000): The capital of the powerful northern nation of Siluria, Pridoli has been a major port for centuries – it is the pre-eminent port of northern Laurentia. Situated around a large bay (sheltered by a sea-wall), the city also has strong defences to landward with a high, strong citadel being prominent. The architecture is old, graceful and strong.

Wenlock (Triune Empire, Avalonia, c. 550 000): A young city, Wenlock was founded just over four hundred years ago after the signing of the Charter of Unification created the Triune Empire. In order that none of the former three kingdoms would have pre-eminence, a new capital, Wenlock, was constructed at the juncture of the three kingdoms. Today, Wenlock is a vast urban sprawl, containing all of the extensive bureaucracy and apparatus of government of the Empire, as well as being the centre for much trade. The city is prosperous and extensive and is the pre-eminent city of the Empire, much larger than the three regional capitals.
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Offline Iain

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The Pillar of Zech
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2005, 05:10:52 PM »
Excerpt from “The Legacy of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth� by Alexander Kaszarjd, 1712SS – current)

Background

Amongst the many legacies that the Commonwealth has left us, one of the most controversial is the secret organisation known as the Pillar of Zech. Whilst almost none would doubt that it exists, its extent, numbers and influence is unknown: its critics claim it to be nothing but a talking house for a few eccentric escapists whilst those of a more romantic (or perhaps hysterical) frame of mind claim it to be an extensive, insidious, almost all-powerful organisation which secretly controls and manipulates almost every event and action of significance on the continent. The truth, I suspect is somewhere in between – my research has certainly led me to believe that the Pillar numbers several powerful figures amongst its members (though hardly as many as some would like to think); however, too large an organisation could not have been kept secret for so long; furthermore, if it were so powerful its actions would be far more evident than they are.

What is known then, about this mysterious organisation? The Pillar of Zech was founded in the latter half of the ninth century SS by a number of senior figures (Szlachta nobles, senior intellectuals (such as priests and wizards)) in the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth. At this time the Sejm of the Commonwealth was Pavel Jitanski, 52nd Sejm of the Commonwealth, a corrupt and tyrannical ruler who neglected the affairs of the Commonwealth and sought (ultimately in vain) to curtail the powers of the Szlachta which was, in this period, particularly divided and ineffectual. Fearing the threat of outside invasion, the founders of the Pillar did not wish to resort to Rokosz and instead founded the Pillar of Zech as a secret organisation dedicated to the greater good of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth and the promotion of its values. Over the next five centuries, the Pillar grew and became more influential, numbering many influential figures of the Commonwealth amongst its adherents and being a major (frequently the major) faction in controlling and influencing the direction of the Commonwealth. It was in this period that many of the rituals, practices and traditions of the Pillar that continue to this day. During this era the Pillar of Zech, though never fully open about its doings or members, was by no means as secret of mysterious as it is today.

Despite the best efforts of the Pillar of Zech, the power and extent of the Commonwealth waned inexorably. The requirement for unanimity in the Szlachta proved an insurmountable obstacle to adaptation and the Commonwealth eventually became a 4th century nation (in terms of its governance) in a 14th century world. The independence of the nobles resulted in an inability to cope with the incursions of the Commonwealth’s increasingly aggressive and powerful neighbours; a situation not aided by the increasing propensity of nobles to resort to Rokosz. Though occasionally the situation would be reversed for a decade or two, thanks to a talented Sejm or united Szlachta, in the end the result was inevitable. By the time the Pajderza War (1378SS-1381SS) resulted in the formation of the independent states of the Kingdom of Rotliegendes and the Duchy of Zechstein (and thus the dissolution of the Commonwealth) the Commonwealth controlled little more than these original kingdoms anyway.

The failure of the Pillar of Zech to stop the decline was not only due to the failures of the Commonwealth’s government system; rather it was due to the fact that the members of the Pillar were themselves a product of that system and firmly believed in the very aspects that led to the Commonwealth’s fall. Their energies, rather than seeking reform, were rather directed to the betterment of the Commonwealth within the existing structure. When their influence was strong this was all very well; however, in between such times the Commonwealth waned.

This discussion, however, would be no more than an interesting historical treatise if it were not for the astonishing fact that the Pillar of Zech not only managed to survive the fall of the Commonwealth, but has managed to preserve its structure, influence and secrecy to the present day. Its members surely number in the thousands, possibly the tens of thousands and are distributed across all Laurentia, predominantly in the north. Many of these members have considerable influence in the land, and all are sure, even when not explicitly furthering the cause of the Pillar, to help out and trust a fellow member.
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The Pillar of Zech
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2005, 05:12:21 PM »
Workings

Little is known about the inner workings of the Pillar due to their secrecy. This secrecy is preserved by careful choice of membership, a culture of loyalty and brotherhood, a series of oaths (some probably enforced by magic) and, almost certainly, a determination to preserve their secrecy by any means necessary, up to and including murder. It is certain that no Pillarians above the fifth degree have ever revealed the inner details of the Pillar; though some lower degree members have not always kept the tightest reign on their tongue, their knowledge is not only limited, but confused by people who delight in making up such stories. As such, the information I am about to impart is speculative at best.

Membership of the Pillar is by invitation only. It appears that all moderately senior members will keep a look out for any person who he thinks, through their behaviour, conduct and capabilities, would make a worthy member. Qualities looked for include a strong sense of honour and integrity, intelligence, trust-worthiness (and the ability to remain silent) and some form of drive. Prospective candidates are then approached in a subtle manner – usually being asked to perform a small task in secret (to test their trust worthiness) which will have some clues that indicate that the Pillar is involved (to test their intelligence). People approached in this way have almost always shown interest in and/or sympathy for the Pillar of Zech and its ideals. It is known that the Pillar takes both male and female members, though the majority are male.

Once this test is past, a member is initiated. A member is first known as an Initiate, and then progresses up the ranks through the three degrees of Initiate, the two degrees of Faithful, the seven degrees of Guardian and the five degrees of Da-Szlachta (meaning “parliament in exile). To earn each degree (and particularly to progress from one station (e.g. Initiate, Guardian) to another a member must learn lore, take part in ordeals, have shown his loyalty and faithfulness of the Pillar in furthering its work and ideals and take ever more constricting oaths and bindings. On attaining each degree, Pillarians learn more lore (including not only ancient knowledge, but also powerful magical and religious rituals and powers and knowledge of secret currents in the current affairs of the world today) and gain more authority within the Pillar (such as knowing more people within it). A junior member of the Pillar will know only a few other members of the Pillar; this number will gradually increase as he progresses through the degrees (there are also signs by which a Pillarian can make others aware that he is one – these, however are unknown to us though it is believed that more senior Pillarians know more such signs than junior ones). A Pillarian is expected to help another Pillarian in his day to day life as much as is feasibly possible (without endangering the secrecy of the Pillar); furthermore, one is expected to defer to a Pillarian of higher degree (unless they have been specifically placed under you by a more senior member of the Pillar) even if you would normally be in a position to command them; the greater the difference in degree the more deference is expected. The stations and degrees are believed to be (from lowest to highest):

1.   Novice
2.   Comrade in Arms               INITIATE
3.   Master of the Pillar

4.   Temple of Faith               FAITHFUL
5.   Citadel of Virtue

6.   Knight of the Pillar
7.   Knight of Zech
8.   Circle of the Honoured Servant
9.   Royal Paragon of Dominic            GUARDIAN
10.   Knight of the Shining Star
11.   Sacred Wyvern of Virtue
12.   Prince of the Leszt of Olfensee

13.   Knight of the Helm/Chalice/Book
14.   Perfect Knight of the Helm/Chalice/Book
15.   Prince of the Helm/Chalice/Book         DA-SZLACHTA
16.   Prince Adept of the Helm/Chalice/Book
17.   Royal Commander of the Helm/Chalice/Book

For the thirteenth to the seventeenth degrees there are three equivalent ranks at each degree, representing the three noble orders of chivalry of the Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth. Pillarians take the path best suited to them – those more military become a Knight of the Helm, those most pious a Knight of the Chalice and those most scholarly a Knight of the Book. Once set, this path is final. The seventeenth degree is held by only three Pillarians at a time – one of the Helm, one of the Chalice and one of the Book. The Royal Commanders have authority over all others in the Pillar (though many will not know who they are) and direct the activities of it. Technically, their decrees may be reversed by a decision of the Da-Szlachta (which is also the only authority which can change any of the procedures, rituals, etc. of the Pillar); however, as the Da-Szlachta, just like the Szlachta before it, requires unanimity on any decision, the Pillar is essentially strictly hierarchical. In general, members of the Da-Schlachta are merely senior members in that hierarchy.

The number of degrees is seventeen, a number which is known to have profound mystic significance to the Pillar of Zech. Seventeen is comprised of the first four prime numbers: two (for the two nations of Zechstein and Rotliegendes which formed the Commonwealth), three (for the three holy orders of chivalry), five (for the five gods) and seven (for the seven princely virtues (courage, honour, independence, intelligence, integrity, piety and revenge)) which together sum to make seventeen; itself indivisible save by itself (the seventeen original leszts (fiefs) of the Commonwealth) and by one, the unified Zechen-Rotliegendish Commonwealth, eternal in spirit.

A large number of symbols, numbers, rituals etc. are rumoured to have mystic symbolism for the Pillar; there are too many to detail them all here in a serious work of scholarship. Two things that are known is that members pledge, “In loving memory of the Zechen Rotliegendish Commonwealth, eternal in spirit,� to which the reply is, “Honour and glory be yours, then, now and for ever more.� The chief seal and symbol of the Pillar of Zech consists of a stone tower divided in to five segments surmounted by a red wyvern, rampant (the Sacred Wyvern, emblem of the Commonwealth), the whole surrounded by an eternal golden braid of three strands and seven tassels in a figure of eight (i.e. two holes).

The aims of the Pillar of Zech are to promote the seven princely virtues throughout the world by all means consistent with these virtues (naturally Pillarians are also expected to demonstrate these virtues in their daily lives) and, ultimately, to look for the reestablishment of the Commonwealth over the whole earth, when all the world will live by and acclaim these virtues as their own.
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