To Raise the Scythe, to Ride the Plow
by Orn the Warrior-Peasant
A somewhat esoteric, (despite the content), training manual of sorts, describing in great detail how common farmers and workers tools can be wielded with devastating effect if the proper training is undertaken. It covers the scythe, the sickle, the awl, and many other random tools, such as the odd, but effective Monks Spade. Where the book becomes peculiar, is when it goes into abstract polemics of socialism, grass-roots movements, and revolutions in between sober and practical pictorial essays on the weapons of the common man. Orn himself was a past peasant hero and champion, in a largely rural and agricultural area, who dared to stand up to a conquering force, and inspire his fellows to do the same.
30 Tomes - Murometz
The Provincial Authority of Oane-Seritan enjoyed a long uncontested period of great prosperity and influence. But such golden ages cannot last, and Oane-Seritan’s fortunes started to fail. The governing council passed edicts to ensure the prosperity of the Provincial Authority, restricting the movement of peasants, turning free men into serfs. A nuevo-nobility arose among the men who owned the land that was now bonded with workers who could not leave upon pain of death. Taxes were levied against the incomes of the folk who were not serfs, and were not part of the Provincial Authority Guild. This became a period of strong public dissent and there were many rebellions and revolts during this time.
But, all of these revolts failed. Some simply lacked organization and cohesion to offer a viable threat to the government. Others were quickly crushed by the military of the Provincial Authority. Each quashed uprising resulted in reparitions levied against the dissidents, lands siezed, goods taken, and the survivors being pressed into land bondage. Eventually, the fighting spirit of the people was eroded away by the paranoid vigilance of the soldiers, their own hunger, and the constant fear of punishment. A stupefication spread across most of the Provincial Authority, along with endemic poverty and a crumbling or civic structures such as non-military law enforcement and healing centers.
But all was not squalor and filth. The heart of Oane-Seritan was a vibrant cosmopolitan trade city. The wealth of the Provincial Authority flowed into the one city, filling it’s vast coffers and lining the pockets of endless beaurocrats, neuvo-nobles, and the esteemed leadership of the Provincial Authority Guild. What was not consumed in Oane-Seritan was funneled away, tributes and dues to a distant foreign empire. Indeed, the Provincial Authority existed for that sole reason, the administration of the Oane-Seritan region for the enrichent of the empire.
A Revolution of Conscience
One man would radically change the course of Oane-Seritan and the Provincial Authority. Orn of Lower Seritan, a farmer by profession and neuvo-noble by benefit of birth is an unlikely hero to rise from the masses. Orn grew up in the bosom of wealth, his family major land holders, with hundreds of serfs and some outright slaves. Orn learned about agriculture, animal husbandry, and had a knack for leadership and medical studies.
Traveling to several distant manors, Orn was struck by the abject poverty he encountered, and the lack of spirit shown by the people. They were not happy, or proud, they were downtrodden, their faces cast in shadows, their eyes sunken and defeated. This was no way for one many to treat another. Orn’s interest soon turned to trying to help out some of the these people, which in turn cast him as the black sheep of the family. Almost everyone was surprised when Orn refused to apologize for his behavior and seek the forgiveness of the family. Instead the young man fled the family estate and vanished into the masses of the indentured populace.
Traveling as a vagabond and healer, Orn did something that many other would be radicals didnt. He started a movement greater than whispers in the back rooms of taverns, his movement started at the very roots of Oane-Seritan, in the fields and the pastures. He healed the sick and the injured, he lectured to those who would listen. If a helping hand was needed, he lended his own. In some cases, if a sword was needed, he would lend that as well.
It was during this time that Orn met two influential men who would go on to become his spirital father and secular master. The Prophet Jughash was considered by most to be a very paranoid man of at best mediocre intelligence, but while their meeting was brief, Jughash and Orn found a common flame burned in their hearts. Jughash would leave Orn and Oane-Seritan and would lead a burning crusade across the Sabeline Magistrate that would lead to him founding his own kingdom. Following in the prophet’s footsteps, Orn was recruited by an intensely charismatic exiled noble. Lluildhat was exiled from Oane-Seritan some years before for daring to protest the measures being enacted against the lesser guilds. In his time away, the silver tongued Lluildhat gathered a cadre of mercenary warriors to aid him in his quest to destroy the nobles who exiled him, and usurped him of his birthright. Orn would serve as Lluildhat’s right hand. If Lluildhat needed something built, Orn would organize and oversee it. If he needed soldiers trained, Orn would see to their training, either by finding trainers, or training the new recruits himself.
The War of the Spades
The most common weapons available to the peasants and commoners of Oane-Seritan were large crescent shaped spades. Study tools intended to last for years, the spades were thick and heavy, well suited for the rigors of combat and taking and keeping a lusty edge. The acquaintances and contacts made from years of travel, lending aid and helping soon rendered Orn and Lluildhat into the leaders of a region wide peasant unrising. The local magistrates and overseers were powerless against the numbers and organization of the peasants. Within a few weeks, the city of Oane-Seritan proper was under siege by the rebels, with even elements of the military standing not against the rebels but with them. The city would eventually fall, the palaces looted and most of the nobles who didnt manage to escape being placed in dungeons, or executed, depending on the magnitude of their offences.
Following the success of the rebellion, Orn and Lluildhat had their work cut out for them. One thing fell in their favor. The distant empire was far more concerned with Jughash’s consolidation of power in the Sabeline Magistrate and it’s surrounding satrapies to devote much attention to the rural Oane-Seritan region. Taxes and tithes to the empire were greatly reduced as the serfdom and slave labor were all ended. The landed guilds were dismantled, further reducing the power of the old aristocracy. Lluildhat and Orn became somewhat estranged during this time, with the former becoming more and more involved with leadership over the collective of Oane-Seritan and its maintenance, while the latter still followed his heart. That is not to say that the two were not still friends, but their meetings become irregular and more formalized.
During this time, Orn served many duties and roles for Lluildhat and for Oane-Seritan. While Lluildhat lead the entire domain, Orn lead reforms of the old land systems, oversaw the construction of houses of healing and schools, and organized crews to fix and repair damage to mills and irrigation systems. He also took this time to write his account of the War of the Spades, in the form of his book To Raise the Scythe, to Ride the Plow. After the book was finished and copies of it started to disseminate around the region, some reaching as far as the distant halls of Palisander, Orn was assassinated.
The Fall of a Hero
Orn’s body was laid to rest in a small village cemetary and a shrine for him was raised close by. There are dozens of theories and rumors about who was responsible for the act. The popular theory is that the distant potentates of Palisander sent an assassin to kill the man they felt most dangerous in Oane-Seritan. The empire would certainly crumble if all of the satrapies rebelled as Oane-Seritan had, or as the Sabeline Magistrate did. Lluildhat vehemently claims this is the truth.
Others whisper, oh so quietly, that old Lluildhat had Orn killed. With the revolution sealed, and their forces in control, Orn was still a revolutionary at heart, not content to take what the nobles had and enjoy it themselves. They whisper that Lluildhat wanted Oane-Seritan and didnt care about the people, or their suffering, and that like the spade that won the war, he used Orn. With his need gone, the hero of the people was a thorn in his side that needed to be removed.