Address to the People of Braelin

I write this address upon the first anniversary of my ascension to the throne, even against the recommendation of my closest counselor, Karasin Stragos, because my experiences in Revma have indicated that speaking directly to the people of Braelin might help to assuage their fear of me—to make me human in their eyes.

It is likely by now that you have already decided, in your heart, to believe that I am or am not worthy to sit upon the throne of Braelin. But even the stillest lake will show the ripples of a stone tossed into it. So I hope it will be with my words.

Not long ago, I was living in great contentment among my family and friends. As winter turned, I cleared the cobwebs from my home on the banks of the Hasumi River and bid farewell to the old year. But when the spring mists rose up into the sky, the word of the God Who Reigns possessed me, and burned my mind with the command that I was to go away from Caprina’s shores to rule in Braelin.

I will be honest: I did not want to go. Though I boast no exceptional skill, my work as a tekni was consistent, and I found joy in it. I had never ventured more than two days’ walk from my home village of Chonburi. What did I know about ruling a strange country across a sea which compatriots far worthier than me had never crossed? Why would the God Who Reigns burden me with such a task when surely there were those in Braelin better suited to it?

But it was as though a fever had gripped me. I could not concentrate on anything. A vision of the moon hanging over Revma was already in my mind. If ever you have felt the voice of a god, you will surely understand.

I knew it was unlikely that I would see the silver waters of the Hasumi or the cherry trees of Chonburi again. My closest friends, gathered together the night before my departure, were already strangers to me. My heart was overwhelmed by the prospect of the vast journey ahead.

When I first arrived on Braelin’s shore, Karasin Stragos and I found lodgings outside of Revma. The innkeeper there must have been surprised to greet such unusual guests, but they merely introduced themselves and assured us that we could sleep that night with our minds at ease—that they would allow no one to bother or attack us. I observed the innkeeper carefully and saw that they were indeed a person of stubborn honesty: strong, simple, straightforward. I found their purity of heart most admirable.

That night, I listened to a performer reciting a country ballad from Blacknall to the accompaniment of a lute. It was not like the stories of Caprina, or our traditional dancing songs. They were singing in the room right next to ours, and I found their voice very noisy as I was trying to rest.

But as I continued to listen I realized how good it was that such fine customs exist in this land. Here was a country that had endured more than a thousand years. I felt such a sudden connection to the Braelinese people that I became certain that I had lived as a Braelinese citizen in the past, and that, therefore, this was my homecoming. For a short time, I forgot the hardships of the road, and laid aside the twin burdens of loneliness and doubt I had carried with me across the sea, and was moved to tears.

Since that moment, I have not felt myself an exiled Caprinan, but a Braelinese citizen. You may think this has made my destiny lighter; but it has merely served to double the sense of responsibility I feel toward this country and its people.

As monarch I have tried to seek virtue and wisdom for all before considering my private interests, and to look to the state of the people of Braelin before I look to the interests of the state. When I arrived, Braelin was wracked by war; its cities were broken and burned, its enemies threatened on all sides, and its people were sick with wounds of body and spirit.

It is said that war is a curse: it should be resorted to only when it is inevitable. And so I dedicated myself to bringing peace; to healing the injuries the country and the citizens have endured; to rebuilding homes and families; to forging bridges instead of destroying them. I sought not only to protect my new home, but to make it better for those who live and will live here. If I have failed you in this, I beg your forgiveness as one who never expected to rule.

Perhaps a different person would bring prosperity and peace to Braelin. Perhaps a different person would be better suited to rule here. But the God Who Reigns did not select a different person; it selected me. And so I believe that, while a different person might give the people of Braelin the illusion of happiness, I will give you the reality of it.

Thus I hope that you believe me when I say that I take my duties seriously, and that I have no intention—as some have suggested—of occupying the throne of Braelin as a foreign conqueror. Rather, I wish only to protect and better the country on behalf of the people—and as one of them. Should any person or persons seek to undermine this country, as many Braelinese seem to fear, I will make every effort to stop them. Should those persons be apprehended, they will be condemned to the Burning Death, so that their evils cannot be perpetuated in future generations. This I vow by the God Who Reigns.

All that is from the gods is fated. Thus it may be that the God Who Reigns always intended for me to fail. Who can claim to know the will of the gods? If that is the case, I will abide by my destiny. However, as one human to other humans, I will humbly request this: if I do fail, and it comes to pass that I must forfeit the throne, I ask to be shown the mercy of death rather than the strictures of exile—for I know in my heart that the death of the body is no evil, while to live in prison or to be forced once again to leave my home—Braelin—would mean the daily death of my spirit.

I thank you for your patience in bearing with my inexpert words. I will finish with one final item for your consideration. It is a parable that an iketis taught me when I was very young, and which has lived in my heart ever since:

            Danas Paristos, at Busawan Iketis’ yu, decided they would take good care of their old teacher’s health and give Busawan Iketis only fresh miso. Busawan Iketis, noticing they were being served better miso than their pupils, asked: “Who is cooking today?”
            Danas Paristos was sent before the iketis. Busawan Iketis learned that, according to their age and position, they should eat only fresh miso. So the iketis said to the paristos: “Then you think I shouldn’t eat at all.” With this they entered their room and locked the door.
            Danas Paristos, sitting outside the door, asked their teacher’s pardon. Busawan Iketis would not answer. For seven days Danas Paristos sat outside and Busawan Iketis within.
            Finally in desperation another paristos called loudly to Busawan Iketis: “You may be all right, old teacher, but this young paristos here has to eat. They cannot go without food forever!”
           At that Busawan Iketis opened the door. They were smiling. They told Danas Paristos: “I insist on eating the same food as the least of the paristos here. When you become the teacher I do not want you to forget this.”

 

As signed and sealed by Jintaru Riga, monarch of Braelin,
in the Autumn of the year 1217.

Summerfall 1217: The State of Braelin

Summerfall 1217:
State of Braelin

As the reign of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga proceeds, the continued mixing of Braelinese and Caprinan culture is on everyone’s mind. Changes are underway throughout the kingdom and the world!

Those merchants who travelled to Caprina over the past few moons have returned; and though they were disappointed to find the price of tungsten higher than expected, their reports confirm that the island-nation is a lovely place to visit. A few visitors have even gone so far as to claim that Caprinan culture is more sophisticated than Braelinese culture, and that Braelin stands to learn much from their new neighbors! This attitude has astonished some and upset others, in particular the most nationalistic Braelinese, who believe that no culture in the world can possibly compare to their own.

Many citizens have been heartened by the news that Their Majesty Jintaru Riga has formally invited Princess Valencia Odell to meet with them in the capital. Preparations for the princess’ arrival are currently taking place, and it is estimated that she will arrive in Revma by the end of Summerfall. Will the monarch invite the princess to become an advisor? Will Princess Odell take up her position as diplomat once more?

Interestingly, a fusion of Braelinese and Caprinan fashion has taken the capital city by storm, inspired by Their Majesty’s recent adoption of certain elements of Braelinese dress. Though such trends usually occur first among the urban nobility and then trickle downward through society, this new aesthetic seems to be working the other way: the commonfolk of Revma have been the first enthusiastic adopters—a visual confirmation of their support of the new monarch.

Registration for enrollment at the various academies is fast approaching, in accordance with Their Majesty’s edicts. Many young Braelinese, especially among the commoners, are eager for the chance to improve their education (and spend some time away from home).

Now that the deadline for the registration of shamans and tattooists have passed, the epmos have begun in earnest to enforce the new laws surrounding these professions. Despite anxiety that the implementation of the new epmos position would spell doom for Braelin, the epmos have thus far acted courteously and—on the whole—with empathy. Most people agree that the epmos have been genuinely interested in making cultural connections, and it seems they will be integrated into society without issue, given time. Some particularly observant individuals, however, have noticed a strange reluctance among the Braelinese to accord the epmos and members of the Black Orchid with the proper degree of respect; though both are equivalent to nobility, they are often addressed and treated like commoners by many of the Braelinese. Whether this is intentional or due to ignorance is uncertain, but could spell trouble if the habit persists.

Meanwhile, the iketis continue to garner genuine goodwill. In Caxton, local healers had been facing the prospect of a virulent summertime plague, with trained apothecaries predicting both a significant death toll and a rapid spread of the contagion into Stemma, Durant, and—worst of all—Blacknall, whose recovering infrastructure could not have survived the introduction of another new problem. However, a group of iketis intervened at Their Majesty’s request; they managed not only to contain the plague but to save the lives of many of the infected. Residents and healers alike have professed their gratitude for their skillful assistance.

But even the iketis’ knowledge has its limits: in the newly founded duchy of Durant, a strange wasting sickness leaks from the ruins of Ülló. Try as they might, neither iketis nor Braelinese healers have been able to identify or cure it—though it is, at this point, not a primary concern. After all, Durant has otherwise been enjoying the benefits of the Order of the Silver Fern’s growth ritual, and the Braelinese and former Serenite leaders of the area have been working well together.

The people of Braelinese Gavell have, after several moons of debate, settled on a new name for themselves: Fidelle.* Though it breaks with conventional tradition, the new Duke and Duchess have announced that they consider it a fitting declaration of their people’s ongoing dedication to Crown and country.

News from elsewhere in the world is mixed. The Xirosi government has cordially accepted the delegation of diplomats sent by Their Majesty Jintaru Riga to Ammos, where discussion is said to be productive. Yet the Xirosi forces amassed in Hawksworth and Blacknall still refuse to withdraw. Young Sandlar Blacknall, now a celebrity in his ravaged duchy, has proclaimed—to massive popular approval—that he will lead House Blacknall’s army against the Xirosi if diplomatic efforts stall.

The Republic of Zála continues to flourish against the odds; in the face of droughts and food shortages, the Zálans have managed to capitalize on their proximity to the sea with the assistance of a significant investor, the Beauvais Trading Company. Under the tutelage of the Company’s shipwrights and sailors, the Zálans have built a decent number of schooners and have adopted fishing as a source of food and commercial goods.

The Archduchy of Gavell has followed through on its promise to reimburse loyalist families choosing to relocate back into Braelinese-held territory; many such loyalists have opted to resettle in Durant, but some have joined relatives in Fidelle or elsewhere in Braelin. Though the Archduchess has vehemently reiterated that Gavell continues to prohibit slavery by law, unsavory rumors about the burgeoning slave trade persist. Gossip alleges that cutthroat Archduchy nobles have taken to kidnapping their political or economic rivals for sale across the Thalassa Sea.

And finally: All is quiet from Seren, where the new ruler continues to solidify his hold on the throne. Rumors of “restructuring” among the Serenite nobility are rampant, and Travelers coming across the border report that the Serenite army is preoccupied with efforts to reclaim land seized by the Beast-people in the far eastern parts of their country…

__________
* Fidelle: fee-DELL

Summerrise 1217: The State of Braelin

Summerrise 1217:
State of Braelin

Though the war is over, its echoes can still be felt throughout the world of Éras as various nations, both new and old, rebuild and attempt to stabilize.

Braelin’s newest duchy, Durant, has made a pledge of mutual support with the nation of Obarsza to the north. Whether Duchess Lyfield and Imperatrix Felician truly plan to work together for the benefit of both their lands, or whether this oath is simply for show, remains to be seen. There is hope among the nobles of Durant, as well as Obarsza, that prosperity can be achieved if both fledgling territories work together. Many among the common people, however, remain suspicious. Old grudges between former Caxtoners and Serenites run deep and will likely be difficult to mend.

The Archduchy of Gavell, on the other hand, has been hard at work forging commercial ties with Seren. Many in Braelin have expressed suspicions regarding slavery, which remains legal in Seren, but the Archduchy’s government denies any participation in the trade. A number of loyalist families have decided, surprisingly, to remain in the Archduchy instead of settling in Durant like many of their peers. The reasons for this trend are unclear. Perhaps these families do not have faith that the Archduchy will last, and seek to remain on their ancestral land until it is reabsorbed by Braelin. Perhaps they have found life in the Archduchy to their liking. Perhaps internal social politics or disagreements have stayed their departure. It is difficult to tell.

Though small and relatively quiet on the world scale, Zála appears to be doing quite well, and it represents hope not just to former Serenite slaves but to a small number of war refugees from parts of Braelin that were hit particularly hard by the Beast-people—Blacknall and Hawksworth. Even a few families from both the Archduchy and Braelinese Gavell are rumored to have travelled to Zála, seeking a new beginning.

In Braelinese Gavell, Baron Aurelian Sollers has been named the new Count of Fonteyn by Duke and Duchess Jonathan and Leda Fonteyn. There is talk of changing the name of the duchy, and several names have been put forth, with Bonsecour, Dairelle, Laguerra, and Fidelle as the frontrunners; but as of yet there is no consensus, and the name of the duchy remains Gavell for the time being despite unpleasant associations with the Archduchy.

The matter of Caprina is, of course, the most discussed topic in Braelin. Their Majesty Jintaru Riga continues to rule Braelin, and much of the original opposition to the new monarchy has quieted. Only the loudest voices against Their Majesty Jintaru Riga continue to shout. The Braelinese remain somewhat uneasy about the impending arrival of the epmos, but so far Their Majesty Jintaru Riga has dealt fairly with the people of their new country and has made progress on their edicts. For example, the building of many of their proposed academies is nearing completion, and the first students are expected to arrive toward the end of the summer. Merchants who have applied to do so are being permitted to travel to Caprina over the summer, though the number of ships admitted to the island remains low, as not to overwhelm the people there.

Things seem relatively stable on the whole, but trouble may be brewing with the Xirosi. Their Majesty Jintaru Riga has officially issued a thank-you to the Xirosi mercenaries who assisted in fending off the Beast-people in Hawksworth and Blacknall, followed by a formal request for them to withdraw now that the crisis has passed. In response, the Xirosi have claimed that they wish to remain “until the area is fully secured,” and have made no effort even to pretend to depart.

Many obstacles remain for the people of Braelin as they recover from the war, but will they embrace their new monarch and the future that monarch has planned? Only time will tell…

Silencing 1217: The State of Braelin

Silencing 1217:
State of Braelin

Sudden quiet has settled over Éras following the ascension of Jintaru Riga to the Braelinese throne. Their decisive action and apparent diplomacy have ended the many wars that threatened to tear the world to pieces. But their reign has also ushered in a time of change.

Though most Braelinese citizens are cautiously optimistic about the new monarch, segments of the population express concern over Their Majesty’s recent decrees. Everyone seems to have an opinion—to trust the Purple God’s wisdom, or to point out the god’s past mistakes; to hail the academies as a welcome equalizing force, or to decry them as tools intended to shape the beliefs of Braelin’s youths; to celebrate a chance to learn about a new country and people, or to resist the imposition of Caprinan philosophies and ethics onto Braelinese society… In short, whether to praise Jintaru Riga or reject them. Nevertheless, no one has taken action to remove the monarch from the throne—yet.

Meanwhile, messengers from Revma travel the country with this announcement: the government will subsidize town officials and select Zikarian citizens to travel on the first ships to Caprina. Private individuals are not permitted to anchor in Caprinan waters until summertime, to prevent the island from being overwhelmed by foreign visitors. Though merchants grumble about this delay, none are wasting any time in preparing their wares.

The newly independent Archduchy of Gavell is working on rebuilding, stabilizing its internal politics, and making arrangements for displaced noble loyalist families. While these families debate how to proceed, loyalists living in what remains of Braelinese Gavell face yet another a crisis of identity: what to call their much-reduced duchy now that the traitorous House Gavell has assumed control of the Archduchy. By decree of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga, Jonathon Fonteyn and his wife, Leda, will serve as the new Duke and Duchess of Braelinese Gavell. Which family will rise to take the Fonteyns’ place in ruling county Fonteyn has yet to be decided.

A second appointment in the annexed Braelinese territory beyond the Caxton Wall! Their Majesty Jintaru Riga has asked Verine Lyfeld, erstwhile baroness of a staunch anti-rebel house in Eston, to rule as duchess. Their decision to appoint Lyfeld has been widely praised. Upon accepting the office, Duchess Lyfeld announced that her new duchy would not be called Lyfeld, as many expected, but rather Durant. She has designated a piece of land outside the ruins of Ülló to hold her capital city, which will be named Honore, and invites her fellow loyalist Gavellese to join her in forging life anew.

Yet as different as life in Braelin may seem, the eastern parts of Éras have undergone a greater change. Where one united empire entered the war, three countries have emerged!

Seren’s emperor has at last been overthrown by young warrior Koppány Biró. Despite fears that a new ruler might threaten the Braelin-Seren accord, Biró has focused inward to shore up his position and to take stock of the devastating losses his country has sustained.

Along the western coastline, the Free Nation of Zála stands like a beacon for the oppressed. Its fortifications built, the Zálans have elected three Councilors—Szandra Takács, Valéria Király, and Móric Pintér—to preside over a government they call a “republic.” Absurdly, they intend to allow every Zálan citizen over age 16 to vote directly on legislation and executive bills. This is, of course, a preposterous way to run a country, but most Braelinese have adopted a bemusedly tolerant stance toward the people they helped to liberate; they are convinced that the Zálans will soon understand the ludicrousness of their plan, and fix it accordingly.

In response to diplomatic requests that Braelin withdraw its armies from Zála, Their Majesty Jintaru Riga is complying. However, to many people’s surprise, a significant number of Braelinese soldiers are choosing to take advantage of the recently-passed Citizenship Bill. This bill states that foreigners who have lived continuously in Zála for more than one year may apply for citizenship. Those accepted by a majority vote become fully enfranchised Zálans and must revoke their foreign citizenship.

The kingdom of Obarsza has risen in the north, formed from several provinces the Bloodline Coalition wrested from Serenite control at the end of the war. Its monarch, Ibolya Varga, styles herself Imperatrix Felicián I; and her first official act has been to issue an Emancipation Decree to free all slaves and render slavery illegal throughout Obarsza. She is joined by consort Emil Vastag, with their future children set to inherit the throne.

Finally, the Xirosi continue to assist the people of Hawksworth and Blacknall who have been impacted by the Beast-people’s incursion—with the help of reinforcements from Jintaru Riga’s personal guard. Reports confirm that the joint Xirosi-Caprinan troops have routed the Beast-people, forcing them to retreat all the way to the Paranomos. Each faction has stayed to render aid in the affected territories, but rumor abounds that neither group likes the other, likely due to the significant cultural differences in how they handle the dead.

And so, a tenuous peace holds as old nations struggle to recover and adapt, and new nations attempt to rise and assert themselves. Which will succeed and which fail? How long can this peace last? Will Their Majesty Jintaru Riga manage to sway the Braelinese populace to their side, or are their days on the throne numbered? Only time will tell!


Pronunciation Guide

  • Durant – duhr-AHNT
    • Honore – ohn-OAR
    • Ülló – ooh-LOW
  • Obarsza – oh-BAR-sah
  • Zála – ZAH-lah

Winter Developments & Updates: Part 9

By Order of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga: Eighth Edict

The body is a sacred vessel, forming an integral link in the chain of death and birth; mutilating, permanently altering, or otherwise disfiguring one’s flesh is a crime against future generations. For this reason, all forms of corporeal modification will henceforth be prohibited, as per the following rules and regulations:

  • Traditional corporeal punishments involving the intentional amputation of digits or limbs, in part or whole; whipping or caning; stoning; branding; or any other action which will permanently deface the body are henceforth prohibited.
    • Any official proscribing such a sentence shall be immediately disbarred or otherwise removed from power and tried for the crime of manslaughter.
  • Beginning on 1st Summerrise 1217, tattooed individuals will be subject to a fine of 5 silver per moon and/or minor gaol-time for each tattoo that they bear.
    • Tattooed individuals may present themselves to a government outpost at any time to have their tattoos removed at no cost.
  • All persons currently in possession of tattoo pens or other related accoutrements should surrender these items to their local epmos by 31st Summerrise 1217 for proper disposal.
    • Any person found in possession of tattoo pens on or after 1st Feasting 1217 will be charged with the possession of an illegal substance, and will be punished as such.
  • Any person found to be selling their services as a tattooist or inscribing tattoos on themselves or another person will be charged with the use of an illegal substance, and will be punished as such.
  • Any person with information about illegal tattooing practices and/or materials should contact their local epmos as soon as possible.
    • Persons presenting information leading to an arrest and/or the seizure of illegal items will be given a reward of up to 1 gold.

Additionally, all tattooists must report to their local Yu by no later than 31st Summerrise 1217 to register with the government and to be retrained for free in a different profession of their choosing.

Finally, individuals with scars or other disfiguring marks may report to their local Yu for a free consultation with a trained paristos or, when available, an iketis. Any person may seek the assistance of an iketis to learn techniques to keep oneself healthy, whole, and strong of mind and body.

Winter Developments & Updates: Part 8

By Order of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga: Seventh Edict

The body is a sacred vessel, forming an integral link in the chain of death and birth; defiling, neglecting, or otherwise mishandling a dead body is a crime against future generations. For this reason, the handling of dead bodies will henceforth be subject to the following regulations:

  • Raising the bodies of the dead via shamanic magic, cremating a dead body, and knowingly disturbing a grave for any reason shall each be considered a crime on par with murder, and punishable as such;
  • Unknowingly disturbing a grave will be considered a crime on par with manslaughter, and in addition to all associated compensations as set forth by the law, perpetrators will be expected to make due reparations to the dead;
  • Commanding the bodies of the dead via shamanic magic shall be considered a form of slavery, and shall be punishable as such;
  • Destroying, mutilating, or removing a grave marker for any reason shall be considered a crime on par with the unlawful destruction of property, and in addition to all associated compensations as set forth by the law, perpetrators will be expected to make due reparations to the dead;
  • Any person who knows or has reason to know that an unmarked grave site has been disturbed, destroyed, defaced, removed, or exposed shall immediately notify their local epmos;
  • Any person who discovers a previously unmarked grave site shall immediately notify their local epmos;
  • Shamanic magic which destroys undead creatures will not be penalized;
  • Other aspects of shamanic magic will not be penalized.

All shamans are expected to register themselves with their local epmos upon the epmos’ arrival at their post. Finally, any shamans or gravediggers who are interested in learning how to perform traditional Caprinan funerary rituals may report to their local Yu for instruction.

Winter Developments & Updates: Part 7

By Order of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga: Sixth Edict

New monarchs of Braelin have traditionally appointed and maintained a personal guard to ensure their safety and well-being on a day-to-day basis. In keeping with this long-standing tradition, Their Majesty Jintaru Riga hereby announces the creation of their personal guard, to be known as the Black Orchid, under the command of Karasin Stragos.

The Black Orchid will initially be comprised of Caprinan and Zikarian individuals, as selected by Their Majesty Jintaru Riga and vetted by Karasin Stragos. Citizens from the other duchies of Braelin may apply to join the guard, but must agree to undergo a formal, one-year-minimum probationary period before official acceptance is extended.

Applicants may hail from any social class. All Black Orchid members will be considered equal despite their original backgrounds, bear the designation Promachi, and will be given an appropriate measure of respect as members of Their Majesty’s personal guard.