Address to the People of Braelin

The good and loyal subjects of Braelin are presently united in celebration upon the joyous occasion of Their Majesty Darien Odell’s return to the throne of Braelin. According to the twofold dictates of duty and fate, it is my privilege to welcome them back to their rightful place as ordained by the God Who Reigns. I readily join with the people in their rejoicing that Their Majesty Darien Odell is alive and well.

I believed, when Their Majesty Darien Odell first entered the throne room in Revma, that my responsibilities as monarch had come to their conclusion. I stated in a previous address that the mantle of the God Who Reigns has always rested heavily upon my shoulders; that I felt unprepared for the weight of ruling when I was called to do so; and that my arrival upon the shores of Braelin was the cause of uneasiness and concern among much of the populace, rather than of acclaim and welcome. My time upon the throne has been fraught with difficulties. Thus I wondered if the God Who Reigns, seeing my unfitness, planned to release me from its service.

Yet the light of the God Who Reigns has not been removed from my person. For this reason, and in consultation with Their Majesty Darien Odell, it is my conclusion that I am meant to succeed Their Majesty Darien Odell when the time comes that they either choose to step down or are led from the Ephemeral Realm by the God Who Waits.

In the meantime, I believe I am supposed to learn from Their Majesty Darien Odell, who has agreed to act as my guide, mentor, and instructor. This, in turn, means that I no longer have the right to the title of riga. Therefore, from this moment forward and until such time as I am asked to take Their Majesty Darien Odell’s place once more, I ask to be known only as Jintaru Paristos, a humble apprentice and learner.

During my reign as riga, I have sought to safeguard and maintain the integrity of Braelin. My goal has not and never will waver from that, even as a paristos; but it is my hope that, in time, I will come to re-earn my place as monarch not merely in the God Who Reigns’ sight, but in the wisdom of true experience and in the hearts of all the people of Braelin. Let the entire country continue as one, and devote our common strength to the construction of the future. Cultivate the ways of righteousness, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution, as I will do in my position as paristos.

With sincere thanks for your patience and attention, I will finish with an iketis’ parable for your consideration:

            When one goes to the Western Shrine in Jia they see carved over the gates the words The First Principle. The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a masterpiece. They were drawn by Kasem Epmos three centuries ago.
            When Kasem Epmos drew them, they did so on parchment, from which tekni made the larger carving in wood. As Kasem Epmos sketched the letters, a bold paristos was with them. The paristos had made several gallons of ink for the calligraphy and they never failed to criticize their leader’s work.
            “That is not good,” they told Kasem Epmos after the first effort.
            “How is that one?”
            “Poor. Worse than before,” pronounced the paristos.
            Kasem Epmos patiently wrote one sheet after another, until eighty-four First Principles had been accumulated, yet still without the approval of the paristos.
            Then, when the youth stepped outside for a few moments, Kasem Epmos thought: “Now is my chance to escape their keen eye,” and they wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: The First Principle.
            “A masterpiece,” pronounced the paristos.

 

As written and signed by Jintaru Paristos, apprentice to Their Majesty Darien Odell,
in the Summer of the year 1218.

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.

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.

Winter Developments & Updates: Part 6

By Order of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga: Fifth Edict

All persons, whether noble or common by birth, owe an implicit debt to their country and fellow citizens; and ought to feel both pride and humility in the act of giving back to the society in which they live. Therefore by 31st Summerfall 1217 all persons aged 16 to 18 must report to their local Yu, or Youth Academy, for a mandatory two-year period of civil service, general education, and military training. A joint coalition of tekni and Fabricators Guild members are currently designing and building four academies throughout the nation:

  • Yu Nua, or Northern Academy, to be located near Pinemont in the town of Heath, Blacknall;
  • Yu Khwa, or Eastern Academy, to be located near Stonemoor in the town of Keldwick, Caxton;
  • Yu Tai, or Southern Academy, to be located near Revma in the town of Foxmere, Stemma; and
  • Yu Sai, or Western Academy, to be located near Cedarshade in the town of Ashhaven, Hawksworth.

Additionally, a fifth and final academy will be built in Zikari near the city of Ilios. This will bear the name Yu Trong-Kham, or Academy Across the Sea, and will be built by a coalition of tekni and Zikarian architects to conform to Zikarian cultural and living standards.

Furthermore all persons turning 16 years old prior to the last day of Summerfall during each successive year must present themselves at their local Yu by 31st Summerfall of that year in order to fulfill their civil obligations and reap the benefits of a fully-subsidized education. Any youth failing to register at their local Yu in a timely fashion will be considered in contempt of the law and their immediate family will be fined an amount of 1 gold per day that they remain truant. In addition, all citizens within a truant’s immediate locality will be held legally responsible, at the discretion of the local epmos, for locating, encouraging, and assisting the truant in upholding their civic obligations.

By working together in this way it is Their Majesty Jintaru Riga’s sincere hope that Braelin will advance forth into a modern-day Era of the People that will prove even more prosperous than that which was enjoyed under the country’s early monarchs.

Winter Developments & Updates: Part 5

By Order of Their Majesty Jintaru Riga: Fourth Edict

By summertime of year 1217 an epmos, or cultural ambassador, will be posted to every town in Braelin in order to facilitate the exchange of cultural information. Town representatives, Watch members, and local nobility are expected to extend to these epmos all due hospitality and to render whatever assistance is in their power toward the goal of fostering a working dialogue between the epmos and the citizens of Braelin.