"As the reader may be aware, myself and my crew have travelled many a land in this great world and beheld many a wonder, so I feel that I am being accurate to characterize the Theocracy of Theos as the most dour and uninviting realm in the world." - An exerpt from "Accounts of the Civilized Lands", a travel log by Admiral (ret.) Saveth, noted Naturalist and World Traveller.
"It was well that we travelled with the Royal assent of the Third Duke of Theos XXXXX, for our greeting at the border was very cold. I would not be overly surprised that should we not have had the necessary papers at best we would have been denied entry (which, as shown in later events, would have been the most desirable outcome!) and at worst we would have joined those sad souls hanging from the large and well-used gallows stationed just behind the custom’s house.
A lifetime of travel had prepared me for this meeting - we queried not what the victims had done to attract such attention and made great efforts to act as if such a greeting was not unusual. When the Knight of Customs finished reading the papers and confirmed them with some sort of prayer, his demenour changed noticably, becoming fawning and apologetic. I even noticed a flicker of fear behind his eyes and it was then I noticed that not all of the corpses hanging in the wind appeared to be riffraff. Some of the bloated figured showed signs of some wealth and power.
We were due to travel to the city of Chezon, the residence of the Third Duke and for the journey, the Knight of Customs assigned to us a Sub-Knight and two Squadsmen. In this land, rank was all important - absolute subserviance to ones betters was the cardinal rule, with any exceptions dealt with extremely harshly.
It was later we found that having been sponsored personally by a Duke, I held a temporary rank far higher then any of the Theosians I met prior to meeting with the Duke himself. Alas, had I known this earlier, an unfortunate situation could have been avoided…
It took us three days to travel from the accursed customs’ house to Chezon, and all through the journey we saw the iron grip that held this kingdom. Although we were obviously outsiders (our manner of dress was a different from theirs as a Jester’s outfit differs from that of a judge - Gray seemed to be the national color - how barbaric!), none seemed interested in asking news of us. The wayfarer’s inns held all of the hospitality of jailhouses - indeed I’ve seen the insides of a few that were greatly superior in comfort and company.
Altough not lining the roads, Gallows seemed to be as common as churches - and this comparison is apt, as the reader will find shortly….
Theos is medieval Theocracy ruled by a council of Dukes. They all claim fealty to Theos, hailed as both King and Deity of the kingdom. Each of the Dukes is a powerful priest of Thoes.
At one time, the pantheon of this people included numerous gods, but the worship of Theos has superseded all others to the point that they are now considered monotheistic.
Much attention is spent by the Dukes of Theos towards the purging of their lands of ‘Demon Worshippers’ - any who worship the other gods of the Theosian pantheon. Outsiders are treated generally with neutrality so long as their nation is not considered an enemy, but without a powerful sponsor within the lands, travellers have little protection.
The God-king Theos is said to physically reside at the capital, though this is said to be a lie perpetuated by the council of Dukes who are the real power in Theos.
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Chezon - Stronghold of the 3rd Duke of Theos. Pop 56k, walled with two keeps in addition to Ducal Castle.