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  1. AELFSTANN OF LEOFRICSBOROUGH EPISTLE TO THE CANONISTS To Papa Sixtus VI, High Pontiff of the Canonist Church, True Keeper of the Covenant of Holy Godefridus, Appointed by God with the Primacy Over All Them That Fear God, Greeting... I.Preface. Praise of the Canonist Religion. I.WE CHURLS always give Your Holiness greeting, on account of the great honour in which we hold Your illustrious spiritual ancestors, Everistus and Clement, called in our tongue Eadward and Miltsolidus and on account of the Church of which God has given you true and immediate jurisdiction. Such a Church is the spiritual Mother of so many; for from her abundant breasts are many made to suck the pure milk of sound doctrine, and thus, while yet babes too weak for the solid Angelic food that is the contemplation of the Godhead through sight, grow into the fullness of the divine maturity through the infused virtue of Faith, the hope of things unseen. For as your Scriptures say: approximans Eum est nullus. II.I, Aelfstan, Priest of my race and people, would trouble Your Holiness with certain questions concerning my religion and Your Holiness' own. I would state from the beginning that I bear no intention to rip the babes from their mothers' breasts. For we Churls hold that You worship God according to a prophetic covenant as we do, and therefore, we would not seek to convert anyone, unless he be a heathen, and him to the worship of the Singular and Omnipotent God, to Whom alone is glory and empire, world without end. Amen. Instead, we would seek to worship God according to the covenant we ourselves received, and not permit Your children to worship Him according to ours. For we desire Your religion to flourish as we would our own. We see no contention between the Priesthood of Hengst and the Priesthood of Owyn. Everistus and Benedict possess no emnity. Godefridus and Raedwald seek no strife; Saint Emma, honoured in our liturgy, draws not her sword against Aethelraelda, nor does the latter slay Canonists, but dragons. II.History and Explanation of the Churlish Religion. Its Relationship to Canonism. I.We trace our religion back to the time Your Holiness' own Scroll of Gospel details. It was in the time when seven thousand brothers were made for Horen, that a small group of them settled in Iegland, which is our homeland. Thus we hold the Scroll of Virtue and every Churl knows it by route. But they turned away from the tradition they had received from the mouth of our Holy Father, Saint Horenus, and, when a mighty dragon called Churlsbane (A name which means the Bane of Farmers, and our race are call'd thus) wasted so much of the land, his tyranny overcame our tribes. And so men turned away from the One True God and refused to trust in Him. They instead prostrated themselves before the dragon and exchanged the glory of the Creator for the creature, profaning themselves. II.A certain elder had intended to offer his virgin daughter in sacrifice to the beast, when a man who desired her hand, our Holy Father, Hengst, incensed at this, went forth to slay the beast, alone. But despairing upon the path, he was met by a certain Elfess, a Wood Elf of great wisdom, who had known Horen, and she told him of the Faith in the One True God. And she gave him the Aelfsword and Aelfstan, blessed with the benediction of the Creator. Now with these, he slew the Dragon Churlsbane, not without great aid from the virgin Aethelraelda. And the two, having slew the beast, married. Hengst became our first king, and received from God an holy and true and perpetual covenant, to worship Him according to a royal covenant, prescribing ritual sacrifices and moral laws which guide the Churls in righteousness, despite how much we fall short of them. III.Now the Era of the Elfstone last for some few hundred years, and we grew into a great kingdom, and furnished many Saints. But then the obsession with Elvish magic overcame us, and evil befell the country. We had loved overmuch and with overmuch curiosity the lore of the Elves. So that there began a sort of new idolatry, that of great magical objects, for which Men became willing to steal, deceive, even kill. Anarchy befell the land. Taking advantage of this, a few interested Elves ventured from the forests, and taught to us a heathen religion, and almost all the people fell away once more. But as Man is unfaithful to the Covenant, God is faithful. For He would give us a new Covenant stronger than the first. IV.Now there came about a great terror upon the land, for the Aelfpriestas, that is, the Elfish Priests who had become chief of our people, organised a sect called the Secret Friends of the Gods, who butchered and destroyed wherever they went. For their idea of worship was to destroy cultivation, so that the very name of Churl, farmer, was fit only for thralldom and death. "O Churls, we consign you to the land of Oblivion." That is what we call the Void, for in many of your own writers, it is called Terra Oblivionis, to wit, the Land of Forgetfulness. All hope was lost. Men did not believe in the Covenant or the old stories and legends. But there were a righteous sect of Elves who had received the Covenant of Hengst in the elder days, and those we call Fiergennesmenn, to wit, in Your tongue, Woodmen. And some of these were able to pass on the Covenant to a man known only to us as Benedict. V.Now this Benedict was, like Hengst, incensed to see a man sell his only daughter as a thrall in exchange for a magical object of dubious quality. And so, he killed the Aelfpriest of that district. At that time, our king, Saint Raedwald, long since a captive puppet living under house arrest, escaped from the heathen clutch, and met with Benedict. Together they sought to destroy the rebels. He called for the Fyrd, which is, to wit, the national militia of all free Men of the land. He despaired, but despair became hope, and hope was realised, because the Men did come, and, as one of our writers has said "What was thought to echo in the pages of myth, coloured the pages of history." Now at Malinsham the Secret Friends were destroyed and the land was freed from the new Churlsbane - this time the Dragon was that idolatry which enchained the hearts of Men. VI.Benedict it was who received our second Covenant, according to which each of us is bound to make of our lives a Sacrificium Laudis - to wit, A Sacrifice of Praise. So we do not cease to offer praises to God for You, but according day, twice at least and seven times at most (and once as well at night-time), we make on Your Holiness' behalf a holy and priestly sacrifice, made acceptable to God. VII.Now there were Canonists in Iegland, Auvergnes. These Auvergnes were once our foes. And so there was periodic persecution between our religion and Your own. But, when we were embroiled in dynastic civil wars, the Witan elected the Auvergne king, Philippe, as King of the Churls, who took the Churlish name, Offa II, marrying a daughter who was a direct descendant of Hengst. Thus the Royal Covenantly line was continued. VIII.At this time a dispute arose among the Canonists of that country about whether it was lawful for Offa to offer sacrifices according to our covenant. He was in a difficult situation, because he was unwilling to abandon the Priesthood of Everistus and Clement and its sacred rites so that he could be our king. Yet, if he failed to do so, we would be forced to reject him. So Saint Leofric, a holy man, interceded for us. He approached the local Bishop and asked him whether it was licit for Philippe to offer our sacrifices. To which the Bishop assented. Thus, to this day, our kings, who offer the royal sacrifices, are Canonists, receiving of Your Sacraments. Thus he was able to remain a Canonist and continue as our king. III.Submission of Dubia. Thus, it is to Your Holiness that I would ask the following questions: I: Do You consider it lawful that Churls who belong to the Covenant of Hengst should join in Canonist worship? II: Do You consider it lawful that Churls who belong to this Covenant should receive the Sacraments of Ablution and Matrimony? III: Do you consider it lawful for Canonists to offer sacrifice to God according to the mode of our religion, which contains nothing contrary to Canonist doctrine, but does not belong to the Church? IV: Do You consider it lawful for Churls to receive of Canonist blessings and other sacramentals? V: Do you consider it lawful for Canonists to venerate Churlish Saints, as we venerate Canonist ones? (For we hold the Priesthood of Everistus valid, and Your Saints as righteous worshippers of God according to that Priesthood.) VI: Do you consider it lawful for Yourself or the Bishops of Dioceses to grant us the right to use Your churches for our worship, granting a dispensation from the necessity of re-consecrating churches? (For the Royal Covenant involves the blood of goats and such. For this must in our eyes be excepted, seeing that it is the worship of God, according to a truly received Covenant, and in no wise offensive to Him.) VII: If you will not dispense us in the matter of bloody worship, will You allow Churls to use Your churches according to our other worship, which involves chanting of hymns and canticles and Psalms in Flexio? POST-SCRIPTUM: It is of note to add, Your Holiness, that some of our worship is already incorporated into Your own. For many of our Psalms, prescribed by Benedict, are found in Your prayer-books. I should also add that the veneration of martyrs proves that blood is not inherently unlawful when it comes to divine worship. For what is their blood, but as incense poured out before their Creator? Thus it is, blood can tend to God's worship, if done lawfully. I mean, avoiding the mere farmyard slaughter of animals, and human sacrifice, which we with all means and by all wises rebuke utterly.
  2. "There are two things I fear" says a Churl, "One is theology without devotion, the other is devotion without theology. Let the theologian always seek piety, and the pious man rigour in the Creeds of true faith."
  3. LEOFRIC OF MALINSHAM Sermon for First Vespers of Saint-King Raedwald TRANSLATED FROM OLD CHURLISH BY EDMOND OF LISIEUX ON DEATH. Historical Notes About the Author: Saint Leofric of Malinsham was appointed royal assistant-Priest to the first Auverginian King of the Churls, Philippe I (King Offa II according to the Churlish name he adopted), in 1205. He was an extremely prolific author and preacher, and is one of the most famous names in Churlish literature. He did much to foster mutual love between the Auvergnes and Churls, most notably by meeting with the Canonist Bishop of that region and obtaining on behalf of King Philippe a licence to offer the Priestly sacrifices prescribed by the Churlish religion. This ensured that Philippe was able to both remain a Canonist and fulfill the role of Priest-King of the Churls. About the Feast: The Feast of King Raedwald is one of the principal feasts of the Churlish calendar. It commemorates King Raedwald (d.920.) Raedwald is considered the ideal of the Churlish warrior: fatalistic, honourable, merciful, wise and pious. Raedwald was brought up at the royal palace under effectual house-arrest by the pagan Elf-Priests who at that time tyrannised the land. But, breaking with three hundred years of precedent and when it seemed the Churlish cause was lost, he broke out of house arrest and united himself to Saint Benedict. They defeated the Heathen Army at the Battle of Malinsham, and re-established the Churlish religion, monarchy and liberty. The words of this sermon, or the last two paragraphs, are frequently read when the Churl Men take their fathers' shields at the age of 13 and formally become warriors. HERE STANDETH SAINTE RAEDWALD KINGE AND HERO OF THE CHURYLES PERMIT NOT OUR COUNTRIE NOR THE RAYCE OF MENNE TO WANTE OF SUCHE SOUYLES "O, dear sons and daughters of Horen, of Hengst, of Raedwald, what a joy has to come to us on this feast! Of it I wish you every joy and every grace, that this sacred liturgy may plant a seed in your hearts, that may be reaped for an eternal harvest. For we say not: what great things the Saints have done, but what great things God hath done in His Saints! Thus it is God who reveals Himself as the principal author of holiness. So I say that, if God could work greatness in the hearts of Men in ages past, there is no reason why he cannot raise up a thousand thousand Raedwald's in our own time, and He would, if we desire and ask for it, for He is unfathomably generous to the soul that seeketh His face. What shall I say? No words would suffice to speak of the subject that is demanded of me. So I shall dwell on but one aspect of his life and character. And that is his battle-cry: "Death!" Which he gave at the Battle of Malinsham, the greatest victory ever won by the Sons of Men in their whole history. Raedwald was king only in name when he was elected by the Elfish Witan. It had been this way for over two centuries, and so no king had exercised his own power for generation upon generation. For the king to act, to move, to be what he is, was as strange to Man and Elf of that time as if the sky were not blue, or the sun did not shine in the morn. But Raedwald knew his vocation - his calling from God - which was to be truly king, priest and father to his race. And he would undertake it even if he was convinced it must fail. He placed His faith in the Rewarder of Virtue and the One who sees all. As Hengst went out against Churlsbane of old, ready to either render his soul to God in trust of His mercy, or have the victory, so was Raedwald. No earthly hope could sustain his courage, for he was ready to die and die only was what he was convinced would happen. But he would rather die honourably than live dishonourably. And so he escaped the clutches of his enemies and called forth the Fyrd. He thought it was useless; he thought mean would laugh and mock such a call. But he made it anyway, because, as king, it was what he ought to do. But the Men did come, and they did fight, and they did win, and the hope against hope was victorious so that we might dwell in freedom and peace. This cry "Death" what does it signify but this? But what he was prepared to accept and undergo? It was a refutation, in a single word, of all the evils that had beplagued our nation. For Men had forgotten their Creator, and exchanged Him for the creature, and in doing so, they lost all wisdom. For without the Creator, the creature also vanishes. The glory of God is the dignity of Man; and Men, casting Him aside in the name of the dignity, soon lose sight of it. Men feared death as the ultimate evil. They sought magical objects for the prolongation of life, and to have power to rule and dominate over others. They had forgotten the true origin and meaning of death because they had forgotten the Author of Life. And so the cry: "Death!" As in, Death, I embrace you, I am prepared to undergo you, and I am not afraid of you. For what do you do to me, but render me back to the One who gave me life? And so those who sought to prolong life merely stretched themselves out, and died a thousand deaths: but those who cried "DEATH!" inherited eternal life. What was the origin of death? It was a curse of iblees, Men say. Each of the four Descendants was given a curse by iblees which was counteracted by a blessing. Man's curse was a quick death, and a short life. But it is a curse only to those who seek to vainly prolong life and seek power outside of humility and servitude. For, I beseech you, for us who worship the Author of Life, is this quick death a curse? Tell me: how is that which speeds us from this land of exile and vale of tears to our true native country in the clouds to be admitted to the vision of our God, where we possess all beatitude, of whose wonders eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, what unnumbered blessings are there hidden, how is this a curse? And is not death the ultimate act of trust and faith in the Lord? For, behold, no land is more uncertain than that which ancient authors called terra oblivionis - the land of forgetfulness. The path which no man hath trod to make a return unto the realm of the living. The men who fell to evil by dark magics did so because they could not accept this ultimate act of faith and hope. Observe that God is all good. Thus, He would not allow evil to exist unless He were not so good so as to be able to bring good out of it. And this is the good He brought from this alleged curse. He pointed us skywards. He gave us a destiny in the heavens. He taught us true courage: cry "DEATH", O Churlish warrior, O Churlish maiden, and fear not! O iblees, what a happy curse thou hast given us! O foolish one! Thou hast sought to curse, but thou hast blessed! Thou hast sought to devise, but thou hast been outplayed! Thou didst desire to destroy us by means of this artifice of death: but thou hast succeeded only in joining us closer to the Author of Life. Thy curse of death is become the portal of life! Thy curse the means of blessing! Then, cry out, defiantly, DEATH! And when thou hast embraced it, then, O Churlman, dost thou begin to live! Cry it out, and do good, and fear not. And let thy heart take courage, and do manfully, and trust thou in the Lord. Death is turned from evil to good when it is preferred to sin.
  4. THE CHURLMEN "Haec plebs bibere vinum et commedere carnem sine fine amant. Suntne tanti magni Horberti?" (This people love to drink wine and eat meat without ceasing. Are they not little more than big Hobbits?) -The Earliest Recorded Heartlander Reference to the Churls, A Merchant's Complaint. c.600.- "In piety unceasing, in archery unmatched, in merriment unbridled, but in victory insufferable." -An Auvergne Monk on the Churls, Upon Saint Godwin's Day, 1522.- "The hot-blooded Hengst and the lily-white Aethelflaed would go on to marry, and live happily-ever after. But, as mentioned before, Hengst, first King of the Churls, went down in history by a different name. He was called Aelfwine, which means Elf-Friend, and to this day the word of address for a ruler among the Churls is an Aelfwine, an Elf-Friend. All Churls alive today are said to be flowers borne of that noble root, descendants of that noble stock, and to this day they still sing the fame of their first parents...To this day the Churls, or Coerls, which is the Old Churlish word for farmer, have a special love of the Elves, whose magic, by God’s grace, saved their race from destruction." -A Judite Monk on the Story of the Churlmen, 1886. Name THE CHURLMEN, Churls, or Ceorls, which is the Old Churlish word for farmer, go by many names. To themselves they are known as Churls, but they are also called Yeomen, Great Hobbits (Bearing no relation to that race, except that a Merchant commented on their eating habits, and it stuck), Elf-Friends, the Thee-Thous, How-Nows, Beseechers (These last three due to their dialect), and, as a stab at their rather...phonetic approach to spelling, they are sometimes slandered in Flexio texts as the Illiterati, or Illiterates, which is rather unfair. They are a race whose early history is shrouded in saga, dwelling in various little towns called Burhs and villages called Hams. Due to their obscure origins, whether they are Highlanders or Heartlanders is actually a disputed question. However, when looking at their ancient language, Old Churlish, its similarity to Waldenian in terms of vocabulary would seem to demonstrate that they are, in the greater part, Highlanders in blood, with very considerable Heartlander inter-mixing. They are a race of yeoman farmers, fine archers, epic poem enjoyers, God fearers, myth embellishers, ale drinkers, pony riders and Psalm singers. It is worth mentioning that there is also a sub-group of Wood Elves who ‘went native’ and embraced Churlish religion and culture. Many of these are some of the most revered and notable characters in Churlish history. They are called Fiergennesmen, as derived from the genitive Fiergennes (‘Of the wood’) and therefore they are called something like “Men of the Wood” or “Woodmen.” They hail from an island on the edges of the Known World, which, when Aeldin was more accessible, represented a halfway point toward the continents presently inhabited by the descendants and the great mysterious continent beyond. This island, known unimaginatively as Iegland (The Island), is also home to other peoples, notably Auvergnes, an isolationist Wood-Elf kingdom, and several Highlander peoples. History “Aethelred cowered to save his country’s breath, Aethelred found a meet reward in death. Aelfwine disdained, and fear’d not the Dragon’s flame, Aelfwine found himself a country, life; endless fame." Origins: Era of the Elf-Stone (1-600) Ancient Churlish history is obscure. For the first 200-or-so years of their existence, the only written account we have is that of an Elf called Gildas who spent considerable time among the early Churls and wrote an account of his experiences around the year 400. Gildas was probably the first Woodman. We also have many sagas about this mythical period, but the extent to which they embellish is disputed among writers. According to Gildas, the Churls were descended from a man called Offa and his companions, who were among the 7000 ‘brothers’ of Horen later mentioned in the Scroll of Gospel as being created by God. These men settled in Churland during the Tribal Era. Those companions became the patriarchs of families and the leaders of tribes, and, quite soon, the elders of ‘Hams’, or villages. Heartlander and Highlander settlers freely intermixed into the native population. They remained in this scattered way for several generations, when a leader emerged. Legend says that a dragon called Churlsbane attacked and threatened to wipe the Churlish race from the face of the earth. One of the village elders wanted to prostrate himself before the Dragon and worship him, and offered his only daughter in a sacrifice of praise to the beast. But one of his companions, his nephew Hengst, refused to go along with such a cowardly course of action. Aided by a wood Elf lady skilled in magic, who gave him an enchanted sword (called an Aelfsword by the Churls) and Aethelstan (Elf-stone), he was able, with the help of the daughter who had been offered, Aethelflaed, to slay the beast. That man was honoured by Man and Elf as ‘Aethelwine’, a name which means ‘Elf-friend’, and to this day a king or man of honour among the Churls is reckoned with that title. Aethelwine was the true father of the Churlish people, and Aethelflaed its true mother. It was they who invented many Churlish customs, wrote the first literature in Old Churlish, and established the first traditions of the Churlish religion. “Heroic Elflede! great in martial fame, A man in valour, woman though in name: Thee warlike hosts, thee, nature too obey'd, Conqu'ror o'er both, though born by sex a maid. Chang'd be thy name, such honour triumphs bring. A queen by title, but in deeds a king. Dragons before the Churlish heroine quail'd: Edmond himself to win such glory fail'd.” At this point, Churlish society prospered and developed under the watchful eye of Aethelwine’s descendants. Elvish magic and Churlish bravery was a powerful combination, but, around the year 600, society began to corrupt and splinter. This first part of history is also called the ‘Era of the Elf-stone.’ The Pagan Era (600-900) "I feel...thin. Sort of...streched, like butter scraped over too much bread." - A Churl describing the early effects of a magical item which was prolonging his life. In their fondness for the magic-loving Elves of the nearby forests, the Churls became addicted. They sought nothing but signs and wonders and would kill and murder for magical objects. These objects promised the prolonging of youth and everlasting life. But they gave no new life; merely stretched it out, like butter scraped over too much bread. The religious rites were evil and often emotionally manipulative, focusing on working men up into a frenzy. Even the Aethelstone and Aelfsword, which of old had humbled Churlsbane, were lost in the chaos. Eventually, they abandoned the monotheism of their fathers and began to worship the gods of the Wood Elves in special groves. There is evidence, the Churls maintain today, that the Wood Elves of the Churlish forests were themselves originally, or had at least been at one time, monotheists. In any case, they turned to the general religion of their race and soon converted the Churls also. An evil sect, calling themselves the Secret Friends of the Gods, began to burn and pillage everywhere, murdering and destroying on the farcical pretext that bringing the land under human cultivation robbed the gods of the splendour of the forests. Only with the extermination of farmers and the destruction of farms, they said, could peace and balance be once more restored to the world. Modern persons will, of course, protest that this is a perfect perversion of the principles of that religion, and they are perfectly correct. The Wood Elves who had ventured from the forest to help the Churls, who had been given a position of trust over these people, themselves became corrupt. Some of them started to rule over the Churls as ‘Aelfproestas’ or Elf-Priests. They exploited the Churls, keeping them in terror using the Secret Friends and taking any fruits of their labours. The royal family was little more than a set of puppets. Civilisation descended into barbarism, fettered only by usage at the pleasure of the tyrants. There was, in the truest sense, an anarcho-tyranny over the realm. The most terrible crimes of the Secret Friends were passed over. One who killed an elderly thrall some angry locals attempted to bring to justice. The Elf-Priest demanded him back; “Oh what a poor thing, what a terrible crime, what a wicked deed,” said the Elf-Priest “For this poor man’s langseax to be dirtied with the blood of animals.” Another supposed saying of the Aelfpriests: “There are no criminals, only friends or enemies of the gods.” Those who held to the Old Religion were systematically butchered. Civility and freedom were vanquished and the name ‘Churl’ was associated only with evil. Oaths were mere words, and all had forgotten the name of Aelfwine. All except one man. The Restoration (900-918) HERE STANDETH SAINTE RAEDWALD KINGE AND HERO OF THE CHURYLES PERMIT NOT OUR COUNTRIE NOR THE RAYCE OF MENNE TO WANTE OF SUCHE SOUYLES. “Erat vir qui timens Dominum. Quis est hic, et laudabimus eum? Fecit enim miribilia in vita sua.” - “There was a man who feared the Lord. Who is he, and shall we praise him? For he hath done wonders in his life.” Such is the first written reference to a man known to history as Benedict, after the Flexio Benedictus, or The Blessed One. Around the year 900, this young man, then of little note, saw a man sell his own only daughter as a slave to the Elf-Priests (for slavery was not abolished among the Churls at this time) in exchange for some magical trinket - one that did not even work. Confused and disgusted, Benedict wandered into the wasted lands, intent on leaving behind his native country, if he might, having given up on her. He then had a chance and choice encounter that is described by Churls as a marvel of Providence. He met a young Elf in the wilds. Gazing sadly on a ruined townhouse, Benedict, seeing his pointy ears, was restrained only by fear from unleashing an act of racial revenge upon the lone and unguarded enemy. But enemy he was not. He was a Woodman, and, in fact, he was Gildas the Younger, son of that Gildas who had first written an history of the Churls. Benedict could see that he was weeping. More than weeping, he was praying. Benedict’s anger was disarmed by the man’s piteous appearance. The two conversed, with raised guards at first, but with increasing familiarity. Gildas the Younger, himself around 500 years old, spoke to Benedict of the history of the Churls, and of their founder. Benedict was struck by the parallel of the tribal chieftain who tried to appease the dragon and the man who had sold his daughter to appease the Elf-priest. “Fain would I slay the dragon that now oppresses us! But how can I, a cowardly man, be Hengst to my people? For I see no other Men left to be such.” “My friend”, replied Gildas, “Did Hengst think himself a Hengst? No hero of old thought himself heroic. Rather, it is necessity which is the mother of heroism, and it is those who do not think themselves heroic but do what adversity requires that she crowns as her children, and endows with her virtues.” It was this conversation, reproduced a thousand thousand times in sagas and histories and dialogues, which bestirred Benedict onto the heroic quest of finding the Aelfsword and Aethelstan to slay the new dragon which enchained the hearts of Man and Elf. In a brief outline of history, it suffices to say he succeeded in that quest through many heroic feats, including being the first of the sons of Men to enter into the jealously-guarded Wood Elf kingdom which lay at the door step of the Churlish lands. Those Elves were offended and scandalised by the behaviour of their countrymen, and the covenant between Man and Elf was once again reforged - as once again was the Aelfsword of old. “To overcome his prejudice against Elvenkind,” writes a chronicler “is reputed to Benedict’s magnanimity, as that race it was that destroyed his country. But he realised that they too had saved her in former days, and that, whilst all of them had consented with one voice to the saving, but a sect of them were responsible for the destroying.” “These are rebels, enemies of my race and yours”, said the Elven king. “Fight them.” Benedict first returned to his home village, and, with the Aelfsword, slew the tyrant slave-merchant who styled himself Elf-Priest of that district. Immediately, those decent men that remained flocked around his banner, and his fame spread. Then came a brutal reprisal. Benedict was defeated at the Battle of Evesham and forced to give up any territory he had managed to capture. His allies were simply too few. He fled into the country, a fugitive and rogue fighting for his life every day. It was the lowest ebb. He was barely able to establish a guerilla hideout in the marshes. At that vital moment, when all seemed lost, Benedict found a new friend. Raedwald, king of the Churls, escaped from house arrest in his palace and was able to make contact with Benedict. Raedwald granted the official use of the potent symbols of royal authority to Benedict, and also called for the Fyrd - the national militia of all the free men of the land. From their marshy Burh they disseminated the message by every means available. But who would come? The Fyrd was a name breathed in legends. The king had not exercised that right in centuries. In fact, the king had not issued any right whatever for centuries, let alone such an important one. Also, the Fyrd pertained only to free men - about half the population were slaves. There was every chance people would even think it was a joke! Even though King Raedwald was of the unshakable conclusion that no Men would come and they would fight and die that day, he remained fixed to his duty with an awesome fatalism. And, hoping against hope, they waited at the assembling-field, a place strangely called Malinsham, in the year 918. And the Men came, and what was once thought to echo in the pages of myth, coloured the annals of history. The Monastic Revolution (920-1200) "Nihil operi Dei praeponitur." Needless to say, Benedict was victorious that day. The new Churlsbane had been slain. The Churls consider this the greatest victory ever won in the history of land warfare. So high was Benedict’s honour that, when the newly-restored Raedwald died in 920, the Witan or royal council offered the crown to him. Even members of the king’s family voted in his favour! Yet, Benedict chose a path that would immortalise him even more than had he been a greater king than Hengst the Aethelwine. He insisted on Raedwald’s son continuing the dynastic tradition of royal succession. One day, Benedict’s supporters literally said “this is a god and not a man”, and began to insist on his own deification. This made Benedict realise that the Churls had no real guidance or principles. The religion of Aethelwine had long since vanished. Now, the tyranny of the Elf-Priests had gone also. The Churls felt a vacuum, and it was felt that they would embrace anything that could fill it. Benedict chose to live a monastic life, and, inspired by his example, young men followed him. Soon, young women established convents in the land. He lived a life filled with wonders and miracles, but, more strikingly, a virtuous one. Benedict left them a Regula or Rule that was full of practical wisdom on the living of this life. Above all, he insisted on a life of poverty, chastity and obedience, and, crucially, manual labour. This revolutionary idea seemed calculated to win the hearts of the Churls. In contrast to the Elfpriests, who scourged the land on the principle of hating cultivation and yet lived off its fats, the monks were men of work. Their disciplined manual work - that they contributed to the communities with their own hands - restored the glorious Churlish countryside of hedgerows and fields, and now church spires, too, became integral to the landscape. “This land is a land of monasteries' ', came the report of an Orenian traveller at the death of Benedict around the year 1000. The Churlish religion, that of Hengst, was once more established in the land, and not only this, it seemed to quickly become its root and cornerstone. Civilisation was restored, art and literature were once more made, and more regular relations with the Elves were maintained, to avoid such evils ever coming to the people again. Auvergne Renaissance (1200-1500) and Modern Period (1500-1900.) Battle of Hengsborough (1204.) GREAT has been the influence of the neighbouring Auvergnes on Churlish language, culture and civilisation, and this influence reached its peak in the period called the Auvergne Renaissance. First, there came, in the year 1200, a succession crisis when King Offa of Hengsborough and his two sons were all killed in a freak boating accident on their way to a foreign country. “No ship ever sailed that did bring such disaster upon mankind”, wrote one chronicler. Several claimants arose, and found battles and skirmishes. In the chaos, the King of Lisieux, a nearby Auvergne kingdom, invaded. He thought that the outdated Fyrd system of shield walls and boars’ snouts and other outdated tactics, combined with Churlish disunity, would make her an easy conquest. However, whilst Offa had died tragically, he had beforehand set in motion military reforms during his long reign which would prove the Lisonians had miscalculated gravely. The chief weapon of the Churls was now massed archery combined with heavy infantry and spearmen, and, at the Battle of Hengsborough (1204) a local army made up purely of the lower classes was able to withstand a force of Lisonian knights and mercenaries five times its number. The triumph of this humble ‘band of brothers’ against the pride of a much larger feudal nation is still a point of pride among Churls to this day. But the wise Lisonian king, Phillipe, realising that conquest by force was not such an easy option, turned to diplomacy. He was able to get the support of a claimant, and through that claimant was able to obtain the Aethelstan and Aelfsword of old. When he ‘placed the sacred objects in Our court for safe-keeping’ it was obvious to too few men, too late, that he himself coveted the crown. The king offered to arbitrate the struggle and restore peace to the realm. The war-weary populace agreed. When it became obvious that none of the claimants could reach a satisfactory compromise, the king presented himself as the only viable solution. The Witan eventually agreed that he was to marry the closest female relative of Offa still living, his daughter Osburh. The resulting issue would be recognised as the true offspring of Hengst, bringing Lisieux and Churland into direct, personal union. Phillipe had a separate coronation, and took a sacred coronation oath in Old Churlish to respect the rights and autonomy of the people. This proved to be a great partnership. The intervention of Lisonians is viewed favourably by most Churls today, who know that they defeated the Lisonians militarily, but chose freely to pledge allegiance to their king. And, in their eyes, he is their king also - the blood of Hengst flows through the veins of the Lisonian kings. This tradition continues, as intermarriage between the royalty and nobility of the two countries is commonplace. Indeed, the Churls are more loyal to the king than most of his own countrymen. The Lisonian king still takes a separate coronation oath in Old Churlish, and wields the potent symbols of Churlish legitimacy - the Aelfsword and Aethelstan among them. He is still also technically elected by the Witan, although this has become little more than a formality. He also has a special dispensation from the Canonist Church to offer the ritual sacrifices prescribed by the Churlish religion. The union of the Churls with Lisonians would be the beginning of a happy period in their nation’s history. Particularly flourishing during this time were the arts, heavily patronised by a king eager to be viewed as a supporter of Churlish culture. The gradual influence of Auvergne culture would see Old Churlish, still used as a literary language, evolve in the vernacular to the Churlish that is so famous today. The monasteries, meanwhile, from their humble beginnings became sprawling centres of knowledge. But for the Known World, the greatest impact of the Auverginian Renaissance would be the arrival of the Churls themselves - as Churls, under the influence of Auverginian friends and in-laws, follow them to realms such as Aevos, and, for the first time, begin to branch out from their little island. Language Much of Old Churlish literature is highly poetic, many monks writing wreams of poetry about elements of the liturgy. To be considered an educated man among the Churls, it is necessary to know three, arguably four, languages. Common (in the Churlish dialect), Old Churlish, Flexio and, among the nobility, Auvergne. Woodmen also speak Elvish - and some Churls themselves have learnt the language. The bi, tri or even quadrilingual nature of the Churlish upper class has made the Churls masters of linguistics. The most famous Churlish linguist is the Woodman palace official Aelfred of Malinsham, rumoured to be still alive in Aeldin. He is said to have taught languages to the Churlish royal family for centuries, and during his long life has mastered dozens of languages. Others say he embraced a monastic life and wrote a 100-volume ‘Historia Mundi’ and then translated it into every language in the Known World. Old Churlish - The most ancient of the languages. There are some remote villages where it is still spoken, to the exclusion of any other language. It is said to be the language of Hengst and the first generations of Churlish tribesmen. It is the exact equivalent of Old English. A largely literary language, it is the stuff of saga, epic poetry, and the royal chronicles. Churlish nobles, clerics and learned men know it. Much of their royal ceremonial is in this language. Even Churls who do not know it are familiar with Churlish words relating to royalty, Elves, weapons, the weather, various expressions, and history. Churlish - The butt of many jibes against the Churls, considered by most linguists a dialect or variant of Common, and by a few fringe Churlish patriots as its own language. It resulted from a mixture of Old Churlish, Flexio, Common and Auvergne and is the result of centuries upon centuries of development. It reached its current form during the Auvergne Renaissance. It is the most commonly spoken language among the Churls, and, historically, was rarely used in literature, until the Auvergnes brought the printing press to the Churls. Recently, it is experiencing something of a literary golden age - much of what is rich and engrossing in Flexio, Old Churlish and Auvergne literature is turned into plays for which this form of Churlish has become famous. It is equivalent to Early Modern or Shakespearean English, both in speech and spelling. Churlish is further sub-divided into two accents, sometimes considered dialects in themselves: ‘South’ Churlish is spoken with a West Country English dialect (see examples.) It must be noted that Churls have no set way of spelling, being isolated from such institutions as the Great Library and the Canonist Church. They tende to spelle thinges qywte phoeneticallie, often adding weirde 'e's' to the endes of their wordes. ‘North’ Churlish is spoken with what is called today the ‘Black Country’ accent of the West Midlands. (See example.) Given here is the conjugation of the present tense of ‘to be’ in Churlish: 1st person singular: I be 2nd person singular: Thou beest (Thou bist, in South Churlish Thee Bist) 3rd person singular: He beeth 1st plural: We be 2nd plural: Ye be 3rd plural: They be ‘To have’ I have Thou hast He hath We have You have They have Flexio - Flexio is the ecclesiastical language of the Churls, as well as the language of much of their literature. It was once the lingua franca between Man, Elf and Auvergne in Churland, and hence, it is still taught as a spoken language, despite its largely literary use. It is still spoken by Woodmen and by the Elves of the forest. It is generally the language of both science and religion. (Because monasteries are the centres of learning.) Also, philosophical treatises are written in this language. Auvergne - The language of the ‘Renaissance’ period, and thus, along with the vernacular, the language of much of the ‘new’ literature among the Churls. It is largely associated with romance and chivalry. Some Churls are not happy with this adoption of Auvergne romance, but many are thrilled with the idea of tournaments, heraldry, cavalry charges, princesses locked in towers, and so forth - the kind of crazes that have gripped mainstream Heartlander culture for centuries. Others have synthesised romance and saga in a new way. Names Among the lower classes, surnames are rare. People generally have Old Churlish names. Some Churlish immigrants to foreign lands accept surnames as a way to fit in with census data and so forth. In these cases, nicknames generally become surnames - Offa the Smith becomes Offa Smith, or Offa Smithson, for example. Names: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Old_English_given_names Among the nobility, it is necessary to adopt surnames in order to compete with Auvergne competitors. They generally take the name of the place of origin - someone might be ‘Denewulf of Evesham’, for example. Some very noble Churls adopt Auverginian surnames, to the distaste of their countrymen! A few Churls have adopted first names from Common and Auvergne, and monks sometimes take Flexio religious names, as Benedict did. Some have adopted Elvish names. The Elvish influence on Churlish culture can be seen in the Old Churlish names - names like ‘Aelfred’ (Elf-counsel.) Many Woodmen have kept their Elvish names - others have adopted names from a variety of linguistic sources - Old Churlish, Flexio and Common. Placenames - Placenames tend to be fairly literal and often from Old Churlish, but often they betray a deeper cultural influence. For example, places named after Saints and heroes, and with obvious Elvish inspiration (Malinsham) are not uncommon, and betray the deep influence of Elves on the Churls. The basic unit of Churlish society is the Ham, or village. Many Hams grow, but retain their name. They also have a few fortified settlements called Burhs. This is from whence the suffix boro comes from, e.g. Hengstborough. There is also the Caester (Chester), or city, e.g. Witancaester. (Win-chester.) Many Churlish expressions of every-day speech relate to Elves. Rain is called Aelfegan (Elf-tears), bread pudding is called Lembas, after the famous Elvish bread, an enchanted sword is called an Aelfsword, and it is highest mark of respect for a man to be called an Aethelwine (Elf-Friend), or Aelfred (Elf-counsel.) Religion "This lande be a lande of monasteryies." The Churls are not, contrary to popular belief, Canonists. Not for the most part. Most of them, those who are not part of the Canonist minority, belong to the Ealdagas - a word which literally means ‘the olden days’ but which most translate as Religio Antiqua - The Antique Religion. This religion, due to heavy similarities with Canonist aesthetics and practice, is confused with it, but differs from it in some ways. The Churls inherited a strict monotheism from their fellow Men. As mentioned before, the Wood Elves of the Churlish lands were also said to be monotheists, only later adopting the general religion of their race - and even then, they are considered different enough by some persons as to be their own religion. This is excluding the significant minority of Elves in the Iegland who have embraced the Ealdagas. (More on Woodmen religion and culture to come.) Ealdagas - the Antique Religion After the people turned to dragon-worship, it was Hengst who restored monotheism to the Churls. Hengst was not only a hero-king of old: he was a prophet. His religion was re-established by Benedict, and hence got its name - Ealdagas - translated as Religio Antiqua by monks, and from thence to The Antique Religion. It is also called the Benedictine religion, but Churls do not like this, as it implies it originated with Benedict rather than Hengst. Churls have something of a complex relationship with Canonism. They do not believe in any universally-binding divine revelation as such, nor do they consider the Canonist Church as a body to which all Men must belong. This is because their religion was already long established before Godfrey and Sigismund. They rather believe that God has inspired many Men in history to seek Him and to worship Him according to a covenant. They believe that the Canonists represent one covenant, and they their own - and that the former err in ascribing themselves a monopoly as Man’s religious body. Because of this view, Churls venerate Canonist Saints in some wise as they would their own, and some even partake in Canonist rites when no Churlish ones are available - as is the case in the Known World. Churls are bound by two covenants (trēowa, sing. trēow), or agreements between God and Man. The first is the Covenant of Hengst, also called the Royal Covenant. This stipulated the worship of God according to various ritual sacrifices as offered by the King-Priest figure (Hengst and his descendants.) The people, for their part, offer a spiritual sacrifice - the sacrifice of inward contrition for sins, of praise, and of righteousness. Later on, when all except the Woodmen had apostatised from this Covenant, the Lord sent Benedict and established a new covenant with him, called the Benedictine or Monastic Covenant. This bound the Churls to offer this Sacrifice of Praise in a more concrete way - by the ritual chanting of Psalms at certain hours. Benedict established eight times of prayer (called ‘hours’): Mattins (night vigils), Lauds (morning praises), Prime (6am), Terce (9am), Sext (12pm), Nones (3 pm), Vespers, also called Evensong (Early Evening) and Compline (Later evening/early night.) Monks must offer all of these hours, laymen only Lauds and Vespers, which they observe within their homes and by going to monasteries to join the monks. Because of this, all Churls know how to sing Judite Chant, and literate persons can read it. At Lauds and Vespers time, you would hear every household gather together and sing chants in Flexio, Churlish and Old Churlish. This discipline means Churls generally get up fairly early and go to bed early! This ‘Sacrifice of Praise’ is called ‘Divinum Officium’ - The Divine Work, more commonly The Divine Office. St. Benedict famously said: ‘Let nothing be preferred to the Divine Work.’ Lauds is centred on the ‘Benedicite’ Canticle, which calls on creation to bless its Maker. It is not uncommon for people to know it by heart - and, people often shorten it by saying ‘Benedicite’ (Short for 'benedicite omnia opera Domini, Domino') as a blessing at meals, and in place of the other hours of prayer which they do not say. In order to make the Psalms and Hymns accessible to laymen, an anonymous Churl translated the texts into the vernacular, Churlish. These are sometimes chanted in the choral style that can be found in Anglican cathedrals. (As below.) At the end of summer, Hengst’s covenant is celebrated with a great festival. It is celebrated in summer because it is the fairest time of year - but then shortly gives way to autumn and winter, showing how the ‘perpetual summer’ offered to the Churlish people was forsook for idolatry and witchcraft. At the start of spring, Benedict’s feast-day is celebrated, to show how God offered a new dawn to the Churls and has ended the winter of their most evil days. Also, the feasts of great Saints - Churlish, and often Canonist - are celebrated throughout the year. (More can come on Churlish Saints and heroes.) The Churls observe the first day of the week as Holy Day (or holiday). They abstain from work on this day as part of the Royal Covenant. They play football - a game which involves getting a leather ball through the gate of an opposing village, and which can become quite bloody. Warfare "Tak'st thou this shieylde, hardened by the blowes of thy fader's enemyies. Take it up to defende thy hamme and thy Shire, or not at all. Become thyself a warrior, or not at all. Be preparyed to looke deathe in the fayce, or call not thyselfe a Churlish Manne of the Fyrd."-Churlish translation of one of the things said At the Reception of the Shield. In the Churlish homeland, the backbone of their might was always the Fyrd, when the free men of the land would gather together to fight as a militia, usually in a shield wall. However, the Fyrd is now obsolete. Despite this, Churls in their own villages still gather and take part in drills, parades, historical reenactments, etc., and act as a local militia to slay beasts where necessary. The Churls are thus evidently very proud of their status as warriors, even though now few of them exercise it. A Churlish boy coming of age at 13 is given his father’s shield in an Old Churlish vigil by candlelight. He makes a vigil outside the house of his father, keeping watch through the night. This symbolises that he is now a Man, with the right and the duty to defend his people and his village from attack. For Churls, to be a Man is to be a warrior, and to have a shield is the mark of a free man, so they are often prized objects passed down through generations. In the morn, he is made to withstand twelve shots with the bow with his shield. He takes part in the drill that day with the others - a member of the shield wall! In the late 12th century, King Offa realised that this ancient system needed to be adapted. But he knew better than to get rid of 11 centuries of tradition, and therefore preferred to build around it. He spent his entire reign propagating the use of the War Bow among the Churls. Churls can now pursue a life of adventure as Bowmen for the King, accompanying him on campaign. The finest archers of all are the Woodmen, having both Churlish steel and discipline, and Elvish skill. Other Churls have embraced knightly ranks and honours from the Auvergnes. King Philippe settled a number of these horse-loving Churls on the frontier of his kingdom, on wide and open plains, where they have proven as keen to remain on horseback as their homely cousins are as keen to remain on foot. Such men are called Ridan (Riders, singular Rida) Still, other Churls prefer to remain as Huscarls (Housecarls), fighting on foot in the shield wall or protecting the archers. These Footbound Churls even go as far as to disapprove of the uses of horses in war entirely, seeing them purely as made for racing! More could be written about the Ridan. A trait that each Churlish warrior is supposed to possess is a kind of grim fatalism. This was inherited from King Raedwald, the victor-king at Malinsham and the restorer of the Fyrd. Many Men became obsessed with control, power, and the prolongation of their earthly life - the kind of powers that the magical objects gave them. They were unwilling to simply lay down their lives and let nature take its course. Even good Men were corrupted by their desire to do good, and became the kind of busybodies who would render Men’s lives miserable. But Raedwald embraced the inevitability of death, and, even after being convinced of defeat, did not fall into despair, content that he could only do what was his power and duty as king. Thus Churlish warriors cry “death!” They embrace the uncertainty of death as the necessary portal to the Skies; the ultimate act of trust in the Living God and love to one’s brethren is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ultimately, Raedwald’s honourable action was rewarded against any hope he himself could devise; and thus the Churlish warrior must do his duty even when all seems lost, for there is a Providence in this world, and virtue does not go unnoticed or without purpose. Cuisine Churlish cuisine is shaped, above all, by religious practice. Churls tend to fast prior to Lauds and the Priestly sacrifices that are offered with it. Thus, the first meal of the day is called Break-fast, for it is when this fast is broken. Breakfast is regarded as the finest part of the day, and is made up of small parts that have slowly accumulated to take its present form. The Churlish breakfast consists of bacon, gammon, fried eggs, beans, sausages, cooked tomatoes (Fruit and vegetables are often cooked, according to one Churlish author ‘'Beware of green sallettes and rawe fruytes for they wyll make your soverayne seke'), and a country delicacy called black pudding, usually made with pork blood. Dinner tends to consist of a great stew called pottage. Other Churlish foods include shepherd’s pie and bread pudding (called Lembas.) Another more modern form of nourishment is peppermint confection which tends to be called 'White Lembas.' It contains massive amounts of sugar, and is used by pilgrims and marching soldiers as a refreshment. "Oh, it is Lembas indeed!"-Report from an Elven traveller. On holidays, families tend to place a large cut of meat in the oven before Lauds. When they return, they tend to enjoy a mighty meal called the Holieday Roaste. Monks often brew beer, so that the Churls are famous for their ales. The Churlish immigrants to the Known World tend to have a particular obsession for continually drinking tea, which some have said is some kind of genetic trait. Society and Governance "Oh, how sadde and ignoble thatte foren facions do prevaile upon the lande, in playce of that owre faders wore!" Since the Auvergnes abolished slavery in Churlish society under Canonist influence, the Churls have followed a feudal structure, albeit with some distinct characteristics. The highest social class consists of the Earls and Thegns, advisors of the king who own large areas of land. They are the rulers of Shires or counties. Earls are admitted to the Witan and elect the new monarch, although this is now a formality in the basically hereditary tradition of Churlish monarchy. Certain monastics, especially Abbots (but not Abbesses) are appointed Priests by the king. These are anointed to offer sacrifice according to the prescriptions of the Royal Covenant in a particular locality. Under the Thegns are the Huscarls, roughly the equivalent of a knightly or gentry class. These men attain their status by affording the best armour and weapons and undertake elite military training. Most Woodmen, although they are archers, are considered Huscarls by class due to the high levels of education and respect they have, meaning that they outrank most Churls in social status but are not generally at the top of their society. The bulk of Churls are simply called Churls. That means farmer - the free and prosperous class of ‘yeomen farmers’ that also form the bulk of the Fyrd. Many, however, have become educated or work according to a skilled profession. The majority, though, remain simple farmers in the countryside. An underclass has emerged in Churlish society. The Thrall or slave-class, having been abolished, have not been able to enjoy the full and true status as Churls. The Auvergnes originally wanted to simply repurpose their own institution of serfdom, but the ex-Thralls cast off this burden in a series of short but bloody revolts. In the end, although officially Churls, an underclass of non-landowing ex-Thralls with little security and few prospects lingers at the bottom of society, forming around 15% of the population. Churlish society is Patriarchal. Virtually all political power, with notable exceptions, is exercised through and by men. When women do influence great events, as they often have, it tends to be as the wives, mothers and daughters of the great men, or as abbesses of mighty houses. Churlish religion teaches that ‘The father is the head of the household, whilst the mother is its heart’, meaning that woman occupies a submissive, but not unimportant, role in household affairs. Man is also the head of the family as a religious unit, and Men alone offer ritual sacrifice as Priests. Ideas of chivalry and courtly love have also given women a more privileged position in society, as men, perhaps for the first time in Churlish history, put women 'on a pedestal' and seek to do things for them. Women are not called up for the Fyrd. Note on Relations with Other Cultures Churls tend to have a very high regard for Elves, especially Wood Elves. This may not have been the case, had not Benedict of old taught the Churls to forgive the trespasses inflicted against them. They also tend to have both a friendship and a rivalry with the Auvergne peoples, since historically they have been enemies but now for 700 years have shared a monarch and have fought alongside each other in wars. Most Churls came to the Known World as retainers, servants and knightly companions of Auvergne settlers. Now the hostilities of old are reduced to friendly banter, although some Auvergne noblemen still look down upon the Churls as a savage and ignoble race speaking an antiquated and barely comprehensible peasant dialect. These bigots tend to be few, fortunately. On the other hand, a few Churls only speak Old Churlish and avoid Auvergne literature and culture like the plague! With most other races the Churls tend to be of a neutral disposition, being little known to them, and in turn knowing them little. Of these unknown races, many take a cautious approach, especially towards those bigger than they are, such as Uruks. Sometimes the Churls can clash with Men. Their liking of the Elves can cause tension with their fellow sons of Horen because of the prejudice that some Men have towards Elves. Some Men see the Churls as a kind of “Fifth Column” - the fondness of the Elvish race they see as a comprising factor.
  5. Your Name and Surname: Theophane de Lisieux [Your Username]: TotusTuusEgoSum Your Age: 13 [Your Discord]: TotusTuusEgoSum Your Expertise: The mercy of God Singing Psalms in Auvergne
  6. FLEXIO PER MODUM NATURUM A textbook for learning Flexio, in Flexio. Preface Great is the necessity for Men to know the Flexio language if they wish to consider themselves educated. For without it, not only are the Scriptures accessible only through the veil of a translation, but a great part of Human literature is thereby rendered obscure. Flexio is sometimes called "High Imperial", because it was used of the Orenian court of old. Thus those archives are unintelligible without this tongue, for much of them remain untranslated. At the same time, the greater part of Mannish tongues and even Common itself can be showed to be evenly derived from Flexio. It is reckoned that 60%of Common words are derived therefrom: simply put, to understand Flexio, is to understand Common, and to be ignorant of it, is to be ignorant of Common. It is also called the Angelical Tongue, for the common opinion among Men is that it is this language that the creatures of Pure Spirit do speak, and is therefore a language greatly suited to poetry, religion and all manner of beautiful and angelical things. Therefore, I hope to disseminate its study among all races, for all races, Canonist, heathen, Highlander and Heartlander, Man and Elf, may find in it beauty, honour and goodness. Especially this textbook will be useful for aspiring clerics in the grasping of the Flexio language. A brief note on the "Natural" or "Nature" Method. This method is contrasted to the method called "Grammar-Translation." The Nature Method attempts to teach a language more organically. It teaches the language through itself (per se illustrata) by revealing the meaning of words through context, pictures, and other means that relieth not on the first language of the learner. The language was pioneered by the High Elves. Saint Pius of Sutica, who was, in his youth, a great linguist of the Silver State's Library, was taught through this method, and taught his fraternity Priests Flexio and Akritian by the same means. However, he was not, and nor am I, wedded to it in a dogmatical way. Flexio grammar is significantly different from Common, and therefore, certain things must be explained grammatically. Therefore, I will hope to make available grammatical notes with each chapter. How to use this book. Each chapter is split into three lectiones (lessons.) It is recommended to 1)read the lectio on one's own (worrying not if little be understood), 2)read the grammar notes and read it the lectio again more carefully, using a dictionary or lexicon to look up any words that thou understandest not, and 3)read it again, with the normal speed to apply what thou hast learnt. I recommend also that, when thou, at thy next lesson, move on to the next lectio, read thou the previous lectio quickly, to remind thyself of the vocabulary and grammar of the previous lectio. But its particular usage is left to the discretion of the teacher and the self-taught learner. Most likely, thou shalt not find it necessary to do this in the first few capitula (chapters.) ((I hope to post a capitulum fairly regularly, until a complete Flexio textbook has been made. The grammatical notes for this chapter are not yet done, I shall add them later, but the chapter is pretty straightforward anyway.)) CAPITVLVM PRIMVM - IMPERIUM ORENIUM. LECTIO PRIMA Ecce, Haensa et Orenia. Haensa regnum est. Orenia quoque regnum est. Ubi est Orenia? Orenia in Almaro est. Ubi est Haensa? Haensa quoque in Almaro est. Haensa et Orenia sunt duo regna in Almaro. In Orenia est Providentia. Quid est Providentia? Providentia oppidum est. In Haensa est Karogradus. Quid est Karogradus? Karogradus quoque oppidum est. Estne Providentia regnum? Non est regnum, sed oppidum. Estne Karogradus regnum? Karogradus non est regnum, sed quoque oppidum est. Suntne Providentia et Karogradus duo oppida? Ita, Providentia et Karogradus sunt duo oppida, non duo regna. Num Orenia oppidum est? Non est oppidum, sed regnum. Num Haensa oppidum est? Haensa non est oppidum, sed quoque est regnum. Num Orenia et Haensa oppida? Non sunt oppida, sed regna humana sunt. Num Providentia in Haensa est? Providentia non est in Haensa. Ubi est Providentia? Providentia in Orenia est. Quid est Haensa? Haensa regnum est. Ubi est Providentia? Providentia in Orenia est. Nonne Orenia regnum est? Ita, Orenia est regnum humanum. Orenia et Haensa sunt duo regna humana. LECTIO SECUNDA Fluvius Augustus Ecce fluvius, nomine Augustus. Ubi est Augustus? Augustus est in Orenia. Quid est Augustus? Augustus fluvius est. Nonne Augustus in Almaro? Ita, in Almaro est. Avonus quoque fluvius est. Augustus et Avonus fluvii sunt. Suntne multi fluvii in Almaro? Ita, multi fluvii in Almaro sunt. Suntne multa regna in Almaro? Ita, sunt multa regna in Almaro: Orenia, Haensa, Norlanda, et cetera. Num multae Oreniae in Almaro? Non sunt multae Oreniae, sed una Orenia est in Almaro. Estne multae Haensae, aut una Haensa in Almaro? In Almaro est una Haensa. Deserta Mundus Ecce deserta. Ubi est deserta? Deserta in Almaro est, sed non in Orenia neque in Haensa est. In Orenia sunt multi fluvii et multa oppida, sed in deserta pauci sunt fluvii, pauca sunt oppida et nulla sunt regna. Suntne multae desertae in Almaro? Non sunt multae, sed paucae sunt desertae. Num fluvius Augustus in deserta? Augustus non in deserta, sed in Orenia est, et Orenia deserta non est. Orenia regnum est. Haensa et Norlanda quoque regna sunt. Quid est Augustus? Augustus fluvius est. Ubi est Augustus? Augustus in Orenia est. Ubi est deserta? Deserta in Almaro est. LECTIO TERTIA Litterae Flexionae Litterae Akritiae Ecce litterae Flexionae et litterae Akritae. Nonne δ littera Akritia? Ita, δ littera Akritia est. Quid est 'V?' 'V' est littera Flexiona. 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', et ceterae sunt litterae Flexionae. Num γ littera Flexiona? Non est littera Flexiona, sed littera Akritia est. Litterae Akritiae sunt α,β,γ,δ,ε, et ceterae. Oppidum est vocabulum Flexionum. Regnum quoque vocabulum Flexionum est. Oppidum et regnum sunt vocabula Flexiona. Estne Orenia vocabulum Flexionum, aut Akritium? Orenia est vocabulum Flexionum et Akritium. Estne deserta vocabulum Flexionum, aut Akritium? Deserta est vocabulum Akritium. Verbum Akritium pro deserto est ερέμος (Eremos.) ερέμος non est vocabulum Flexionum, sed Akritium. Quid est Providentia? Providentia oppidum est. Quid est Orenia? Orenia regnum est. Nonne Haensa et Norlanda quoque regna sunt? Ita, Norlanda regnum est et Haensa regnum est: ergo, Norlanda et Haensa regna sunt. Fluvius est vocabulum masculinum. Singularis est: Fluvius. Pluralis est: Fluvii. 'Ergo, Augustus est fluvius.' 'Augustus et Avonus fluvii sunt.' Mundus quoque verbum masculinum est. Deserta est vocabulum femininum. Singularis est: Deserta. Pluralis est: Desertae. Ergo, 'deserta in Almaro est', 'desertae in Almaro sunt.' Cetera verba feminina sunt 'littera', 'Orenia', 'Haensa', 'Norlanda.' Regnum est vocabulum neutrum. Singularis est: regnum. Pluralaris est: regna. Ergo: 'Orenia est regnum'; 'Orenia et Haensa sunt regna.' Cetera verba neutra sunt 'oppidum' et 'vocabulum.' ((Note: Grammatical notes to follow, later tonight hopefully.))
  7. [OOC Note: This origin story I created as an introduction for a new culture I am creating, the Ceorls, or Churls. But it got too long so I made it its own post! All this is original, but the last poem about Aethelflaed I took from the panegyric a mediaeval English chronicler praising a Mercian queen, for I could think of no better words to give our heroine.] The Legend of the Churls By Br. Edmond, O.S.J. In the remotest epoch of ancient history, when Man and Elf were still young upon this earth, and shadowy saga sings of heroes but barely known, a quaint little hillfort on a lonely hill was the centre of a people’s hope. This is the story of that hope as the Churls tell it today. The surrounding countryside, inhabited by peaceful farmers, was ablaze with dragon’s fire, and the awful roar of the beast echoed through the valleys, shaking the hearts of men to their cores. The keep of the fort was little more than a hovel with a flat wooden roof, built that a man might observe the plains and valleys beneath. On top wobbled a withering ash-tree, a trembling old man; a slave to fear. His name was Aethelred, whose name means in Old Churlish, the Poorly-Advised. He was once a great warrior. “We must prostrate ourselves before Coerlsbane, mightiest of Dragons! We must forget the Covenant of Horen, for where is he, or his Creator, upon this day? To see my people consumed with flame! O sad day! There is no fighting such a Dragon. Let us surrender ourselves to him; let us implore his mercy. My Huscarls! Presently bring hither my most precious possession - my joy, my life, my loveliness - yea, my heart and my soul! I know what must be done to save my people. Bring also the Dragon Priest!” A sinister man shrouded in black robes slithered to the old Chief’s side. Aethelred said: “O Friend of the Dragon, thou mayst yet be the saviour of my race! Bring thou my only daughter down to the valley, bind her to a tree, and leave her there as an offering to the Coerlsbane. It may be that her virginal goodness shall yet appease his ire. Go!” “O Father!” Cried the beautiful princess, the golden-haired Æthelflæd. “Thou needst not force me so to offer of myself as oblation for our people, if it be thy will! ” “O, ‘tis a heavier weight to me that if thou hadst resisted, for truly, O thou brightest evening-star of thy people, thou hast out-manned me upon this fateful day.” “What be the manner of this devilry?” Roared a young Huscarl, the hot-blooded Hengst. He would go down in history by a different name. “How know’st thou that the Dragon will be thus appeas’d? For thou think'st to choose between death and disgrace! Disgrace thou choosest, and death too shalt thou have. If we die, let us die honourably with swords in our hands, for, even if die we must, the Creator shall accept us as a burnt offering acceptable to Him. His is not the ire of Men or Dragons, which flares up to destroy for its own sake. Rememberest thou not the trials of Horen, of Owyn and of Godwin? As silver is tried by the fire, so the Lord refines the just by trials. Therefore, let us humble ourselves before the Lord, believing that these scourges are meant for our profit rather than our destruction. If we win, we have won ourselves a great name for courage. And if be destroyed we must, eternal redemption is in the fanning of the flame. Therefore, my liege, be constant, and sin not. Do manfully.” “This lad has read too many sagas and romances. Boy, thou hast not seen but a fraction of what I have. Obey thou my orders.” The valiant-hearted Hengst replied: “Do as pleases you, but I shall go to face the Dragon.” This was the most preposterous suggestion the boldness of youth had ever conceived. Scornful laughter filled the air, and then…silence. “If any man prefers noble death to long life, follow me.” He cried. But none did follow. And breaking the deafening silence was echo of what the Churls now call Dracaansbell, Dragon’s roar, which is now the Churlish name for a thunderstorm. His resistance broke. He sheathed his sword and laid apart his shield. Below, in the Valley, the noble Princess now stood bound and utterly at the mercy of Coerlsbane, who still circled the valleys and turned villages into ash. Hengst watched, dejected by his own cowardice and saddened by the fate of the sweet-tongued Aethelflaed. The strength of Men had failed. He could now see two fates for his people: either they would be slaves to a Dragon, or ash. As the wound in his heart festered to its lowest ebb, the dreadful roars seemed to be suddenly vanquished by a gentle, feminine voice that melted into his ear. “O, thou lonely one”, said she, pitifully. “Come down.” His determination was renewed. He thought he was going down to die, as before. But a faint flicker of hope also enlightened him, and suddenly he raced down to the Valley, whilst Aethelraed called after him desperately. On a dirt path meandering down the hill, he met the one who had spoken to him. His jaw dropped in astonishment. Her Elf-eyes were fairer than snow, her mantle calmly fluttered in a gentle breeze, which seemed to come from her, rather than pass by her, and she extended two merciful hands which held a shining sword. To this day, Churls call white flowers Aelfegan (Elf-Eyes) they call a gentle breeze Aelfsbraeth (Elf-Scent) and an enchanted blade is called an Aelfsweord - an Elf-Sword. The sword was pattern-welded in the Churlish fashion, meaning that it was awash with glorious spirals that bejewelled the blade. But, more than this, the spirals shone with a brilliant splendour, leaving Hengst with no doubt that this was no sword of Men. He took it into his hands with exetremest reverence. Gently, she tied a stone around his neck. “Drop thy shield, child, and take off thy hauberk. Faith in thy God must be thy shield today, and valour thy mailshirt. There is no more to say. Whether thou shalt win or lose, I know not. But go gaily into the dark!” As he walked out upon the wide plain, he found the lily-white princess bound to a stalkish tree. As he was walking to the side, he heard something terrible. Something few men have ever heard. A laugh. The laugh of a dragon. It is very hard to put into words, and lives only in legends and the nightmares of children. Churlsbane’s laugh seemed to scorn even the stars into lowly contempt, melting oaken-sinewed Hengst’s valiant heart. He stood motionless whilst he saw the beast flutter silently over the hillfort, and all of a sudden consume it in flames. But the dragon did not roar this time. It seems he wanted the damsel to hear the screams of the burnt and burning, which pierced the plains all around. The hot-blooded Hengst was about to run over to the lilly-white AEthelflaed, when the Dragon landed in front of him with a terrific crash. The Dragon did not talk, yet he spoke. They call me the bane of your people. I alone am your god. I did not spare those who sought to worship me, but thou hast shown promise. Thee shall I spare, if yield to me thou wilt. These words seemed to enter Hengst’s mind, but he shook them off with an Horenian effort of willpower. He took the Elf-Stone and held it up in defiance. Another terrible laugh. Then, just as Coerlsbane was about to engulf him in a mountain of flame, he drew the Aelfsweord. The flames seemed to cannon off the blade which blazed a brilliant red. Seething with anger, the Dragon picked him up and hurled him down, sending the Elf-stone tumbling down the valley. O slave of mine! Torturous shall be thy death, and long and cruel. First thee shall I mutilate, then the maid, and thee again, and slowly, till thou shalt see each other thus mangl’d, and be cursed by a mutual piercing of hearts. Then at last shalt thou die. A fameless death, a hopeless death; a loveless death. And why has thy so-called God suffered thee to have such evils, being a man reputed upright? “Not without love”, responded the king-hearted Hengst faintly, “For if I loved not, I should not be thus pierced out of pity for my lady. But I know that my Redeemer lives, and that this flesh which thou shalt turn to ash upon this day, shall gaze upon my God, even the Living God, and what in time is corrupted, shall put on incorruptibility. The flame is but temporal, but the flames of thy punishment shall be everlasting. And enslave me canst thou not, only thyself, if I fear not death.” They dialogued thus for a few minutes, and many a saga has dwelt on such a dialogue. Not all versions of this story have such Creatorist themes, but this is the story as the Churls presently tell it. Yet while they thus dialogued, the Elf-Lady reappeared, and untied the dove-gentle Aethelflaed. Aethelflaed crept down to find the Elf-stone, and tied it to her mantle, the symbol of her virginity. The Dragon did not feel the patter of her feet upon his back. She tied the stone-adorned headdress about his neck, and all of a sudden he howled in anguish and fear. The enormous Dragon winced pathetically as the little maiden’s tiny foot seemed to him a weight that crushed his head. The Elf-Stone had unmanned the beast! Clemency might have been shown the beast, had he remained thus. But, as the hot-blooded Hengst let his guard down, he attempted to swipe at him in one final gasp of strength. Hengst blocked the blow with the sleight of his sword, and then thrust it deep into his belly. The dragon dissolved into an enormous cloud of ash such as he had wanted to turn men into. The hot-blooded Hengst and the lily-white Aethelflaed would go on to marry, but, as mentioned before, Hengst, first King of the Churls, went down in history by a different name. He was called Aelfwine, which means Elf-Friend, and to this day the word of address for a ruler among the Churls is Aelfwine. All Churls alive today are said to be flowers borne of that noble root, descendants of that noble stock, and to this day they still sing the fame of their first parents. “Aethelred cowered to save his country’s breath, Aethelred found a meet reward in death. Aelfwine disdained, and fear’d not the Dragon’s flame, Aelfwine found himself a country, life; endless fame." And of Aethelflaed was sung: “Heroic Elflede! great in martial fame, A man in valour, woman though in name: Thee warlike hosts, thee, nature too obey'd, Conqu'ror o'er both, though born by sex a maid. Chang'd be thy name, such honour triumphs bring. A queen by title, but in deeds a king. Dragons before the Churlish heroine quail'd: Edmond himself to win such glory fail'd.” To this day the Churls, or Coerls, which is the Old Churlish word for farmer, have a special love of the Elves, whose magic, by God’s grace, saved their race from destruction. And Aelfwine and Aethelflaed lived happily ever after, in this world and the next.
  8. Edmund, having been learning to read for almost a year now, does so with some difficulty, but at length is able to understand the message. He has to read it again and again in order to understand it, and one phrase in particular jumps at him every time: "our era in Oren ends with this day." That word, Oren, had meant to him the whole world once. He had always been raised a loyal subject of that country, whilst he had only served Jazloviecki a couple of years. Oren was dissolved, and with it every civil institution he had been taught to reverence. And Jazloviecki had taken him in with great kindness. Only now did the realisation of the depths of the gravity of what was going on hit him. But he stiffened his resolve. He said he would follow his liege wherever he went, and he would. And now, a sense of daring and adventure welled up in his young heart. "GRODNO!" He cries.
  9. Edmund sighs. "Lord 'ave mercy, this weigheth heavy. Fond am I of the land, of the high walls, the distant mountains and the green hills." His grief stiffens to resolution. "But where my liege leadeth, whither shall I go." Over time, the yeoman even warmed to the idea. He tries to comfort his liege: "All places that the eye of heaven visits are to a wise man ports and happy havens. Teach thy necessity to reason thus: there is no virtue like necessity. Think not that the Harvest did banish thee, but thou the harvest: Woe doth the heavier sit where it perceives it is but faintly borne. Go, say we are sent forth to get thee honour, and not that are banished! Or suppose devouring pestilence hangs in our air and we are flying to a fresher clime. Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it to come whither thou goest, not whence thou comest: suppose the singing birds musicians, the flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more than a delightful measure or a dance! For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite He that mocks at it and sets it light. Wher'er I wander, boast of this I can, though banish'd, yet a true born Grodno man." (( inspired by Richard II act 1 scene 3))
  10. Edmund, a lowly recruit, saw the treaty up close, seeing with his own eyes the pen of his liege Maciej sign the historic document. But his illiteracy prohibited him from reading it. In his heart he knew he saw history unfolding before him, and his heart stirred and yet saddened. He was filled with a desire to learn, to know, to continue his great adventure that had brought forth unfolded wonders, and yet knew that because of this desire he could never return to his village, nor would life ever be as simple. He was in the world.
  11. THE PHILOSOPHATE OF ARBINA "Most excellent, most noble, most good Antipater, I do hope your Excellency is as full of good health and humour as last I found you. You did ask me for a report on how the old Queen of Cities fares and if the political issues there render her unsafe. I attach my report, beginning with the speech of the one they call Gaius Severus, which I have translated from their ancient tongue. Make of everything what you will." "My bold countrymen! The Assembly meets as men refreshed, about to embark upon a bold new venture. We have, for generations, preserved the ruins of the Queen of Cities from utter destruction; guarded her philosophic secrets with a jealously not to be rivalled by the most ferocious guard-dog, and even kept good order and discipline between the cruelty of tyranny on the one side, and the horror of anarchy on the other. Mark how many nations fall to barbarism and lawlessness, mark well their savagery and baseness, and reflect how good it is to be a Citizen. But there must come a new chapter if ere the tale is to continue. Are we mere custodians of ancient stones? Worshippers of dying embers? What! Shall sheep and cattle continue to graze under the ancient triumphal arches, their owners blind to the glorious history they once were built to celebrate? I would rather be a dog than a citizen of such a place! It does not take long for dying embers to become dead ashes. No! We must be carriers of a living flame, bearers of a noble torch, warriors for a noble cause! Friends, we must not stagnate in the towns and villages that were once arms of a single great Corpus! Men say we are in dark times. They despair. They think on former days. Ye look upon yourselves and ye see not the great Philosopher who died in the cause of truth. O slight man. Knowest thou not the All-Seeing Eye of Divine Providence? Then weep not. Aye, God hath brought thee to the present time to do Him such definite service. We are born now. For the present moment. Not to bring back to an old time, but to forge a new one in the image of the old. Then let us go forth, striving! Let the walls of the City once more rise! Let her fam'd library once more become the envy of the world! But first, let the Schools be once more be filled with eager young men ready to do their duty; presently the rest we shall have if they be willing." Severus' opening speech was greeted with rousing applause. It was surprisingly fiery for the stoical 'Traiarius' School. (You see, your Excellency, they think emotions are below them.) But as he was to find out, to make speeches was easy, but to navigate the Assembly was harder. He would soon come to wish himself the absolute monarch of the state. "What is now remiss that this Assembly must address?" He began calmly. "Noble Brother", spoke up the equally young, equally brilliant and equally annoying (according to some) Titus Antoninus of the rival Honorific School. Whispers of outraged discontent feathered the air like so many newly-lit sparks. How dare he address the Noblest, Best and Wisest Philosopher as 'brother!' Waiting for silence to return, he weighed his words with sure deliberation. "I stand like a charioteer on the Circus Antiquus, reins in hand, ready to do my country good. And the good I seek, is this: THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY!" "WHAAAT!" "OUTRAGEOUS!" Even a "BLASPHEMOUS" Roared from the Traiarian benches. "HOW DARE YOU MAKE SUCH AN ACCUSATION!" Came the reply in an hundred voices. But this time, there was no silence to follow the rage. Men who, moments ago, just heard a speech about civilisation with utmost self-righteous composure began to give vent to the worst passions, brawling, beating and bearing down as blows landed. The moderates (or Custodian School) stood agape in the middle, motionless. "He had the reins in hand, aye." Complained Severus bitterly to a nearby friend. "And he let them loose, and behold, the horses do come barrelling into the crowd! Mark'd you his words?" And then it came. The silence. Why? A word, barely a mutter, came from a frail old man at the far side of the room. (A foreigner such as your Excellency or myself might have supposed him to be a spellcaster.) He held the folds of his worn toga in his shaking hands, up to the assembly before him. His voice was tedious, barely dragging itself to the ears of his listeners. But men listened like as if some prophet spoke. "O Philosophers, be worthy of your name!" He pleaded. "Here, within the folds of my toga, I hold peace and concord, or civil war and strife. Which will you have?" "Peace." Said Severus with a sigh. A little while later, Antoninus the Honorific agreed: "Peace among us, most noble Claudius." "Allow me to propose a motion..." Severus said. "Let us try to restore the great library built by our fathers. It will take many years, but he who begins is half done, said great Mato of old. Wisdom is more precious than any jewel, so it shall be the first to be enthroned in our new City-State. That is I wanted to propose before we were...led amiss." "I...second the motion." A defeated Honorific managed. "I second the motion." He managed with greater enthusiasm. It was passed unanimously. (But passing a motion and putting into practice are not the same thing.) "I propose a motion." Said Severus again. "To condemn violence in the Assembly." "I second the motion" the Honorific replied again. It was passed unanimously. "Dear Darius, your report is far too elaborative. It reads like cheap fiction, not an official report. I like it. Carry on. His Excellency, Antipater." Actions -The insanely ambitious plan of Gaius Severus begins. Texts of the most important antique works are searched for, copied and catalogued very carefully. The ancient ruins are searched for books, scrolls and manuscripts. The once famous Great Library has been devastated and destroyed, that plan is abandoned. Instead, the most intact and largest ruin that can be found is invested into building a new library. Until then, books and scrolls are stored in the Villa Sempronia, in the house of Claudius the Custodian. (2 B and 6,000 C invested for now.) -An harbour is built on the riverside. (1 Harbour built) -Political strife in the Assembly is stopped by the intervention of the ancient statesman, Claudius. Speculation begins as to what will happen to the Philosophate when he dies and the passions and calculations of these young men are let run free! -Emissaries are sent to the Republic of Lena.
  12. Discord Name (If I don't already have it): TotusTuusEgoSum #3901 Nation Name: The Philosophate of Arbina Nation Government/Leader Rank: Oligarchy/the Philosopher. Description of National/Provincial History & Culture: The Philosophate is the last remnant of antiquity, a state that before the Great Comet was famed for commerce and learning. Arbina was styled Queen of Cities. Now graze the sheep below the triumphal arches where once victorious horsemen did ride. Nevertheless, a small number of enthusiasts - or fanatics - keep alive the old flame of the great philosophical state and its old glories admidst the ruins. The Philosophate is a strictly hierarchical society governed by several schools which disagree with each other on fundamental issues. In this, however, they agree and bind themselves: that there be the One, and no other, viz. they reject polytheism, that the pursuit of wisdom and virtue are the highest goods, and that life ought to be governed by the strictest adherance to civic virtue. They trace these ideals to the universally venerated Gaius Mato, usually called Mato Maximus. He was put to death for turning the City away from the old gods and laying down the principles of the ideal philosophical state. His idea was of a City-State governed by a Philosopher class. Mato in death had the ultimate victory: his disciples seized control of the City and it has been governed according to his principles since. The Comet saw the Queen of Cities disrobed of her regal glory. But in the depths of despair arose a new leader, Numerius Didius Severus, who intepreted events as providential. Surely the One was displeased at how the Philosophers had grown fat and degenerate? Surely this trial needs must come? For a lesser man might have seen death only in the Comet. But Severus perceived that new life might emerge. He gathered together the remnants of the noble families. The young Philosophers must now live a semi monastic life and keep the flame of learning alive. Every since Severus, the Philosophate has remained steady, although a figment of a shadow of her former glory. Her goal, thus far, has been merely survival and preservation. But is there something more? Notable Characters; [VERY Important to have flushed out RP for vassals, politicians, w.e your government type is. Due to small scale of nations, characters with RP and Lore behind them will have much more impactful actions, will get events, boons, etc: Gaius Didius Severus: the chief Philosopher of the state. He is of the so called "Trairius" school. This school believes in strict, hereditary hierarchy, time honoured ritual, and is generally opposed to expansion and the idea of a standing army. They believe that a moral life necessitates nullifying passions and emotions that reason might rule. They also uphold slavery, teaching it to be part of the divinely constituted order of the universe. This makes him popular among the "craftsman" and "soldier" classes. A direct descendant of the elder Severus, he is an idealistic and rather gallant young man who believes in old ideals. Although personally brave, showing signs of being a good general and a clear thinker, he lacks political nouse. Ironically for his position, he often invests emotion in his arguments and places his own sentiments always before political expedience. Appius Sempronius Claudius: Severus' main political, personal and intellectual rival. He is head of the "Honorific" school, which is more meritocratic, democratic and expansionist in its outlook. It believes in expanding Philosophate rule and even opposes slavery outright. Unlike their main rivals, it believes emotions and passions are good if ordered according to reason. Claudius is quite similar to Severus, which makes their rivalry even more intense. They do agree, however, on the importance of civic virtue and are often able to put aside their differences. Claudius is a gifted orator, a spirited man popular among his own class, and, it is said, the slave class. Titus Aemilius Antoninus: head of the third main school, the Custodians. The Custodian school is one of moderation and expedience. "Prudence is charity finding a way", said one of its key proponents. For example, Custodian orators have always defended the rights and conditions of slaves when attacked and deprived, but never attacked the institution itself. Antoninus is a veteran politician standing between the two rivals, and who acts as a moderating force. An affable and gentle man, he is a rather dull orator and poor soldier, but is surprisingly popular and almost venerated as a kind of grandfather of the nation. Unique Military Units (One): Philosopher Heavy Spearmen: being drawn from the sons of the highest caste of society, these men are considered one of the elite infantry units of the world. They are given training from the youngest age and buy themselves the finest money can buy. However, drawing from but one class, their manpower pool is extremely limited, and a military disaster could wipe out the flower of the nation on a single day. In olden times they were hoplites; with the development of armour they have become foot knights armed with halberds, poleaxes and other heavy polearms. It is important to mention that the Arbinans have no standing army. Rather, a well motivated milita is drawn up from all classes of society. Much of the militia use out dated weaponry. National Idea (nothing strictly mechanical): Civic Virtue: liars are utterly despised in society, and integrity upheld at every moment. Typically, an Arbinan would rather suffer death than contaminate his hand with a bribe, or break his Oath. This makes for a place where crime is remarkably low and whilst the Arbinians are utterly incapable of intrigue, so also do they appear to be immune thereto. Player POI: a small city next to a medium sized river, centered on the ruins of a sprawling metropolis, surrounded by grassy plains.
  13. "So doth a man that drinketh wine thereby blaspheme? For it is a sure truth that wine gladdeneth the heart - and therefore it seemeth incorrect to say created material things ought not to raise our spirits, but faith only." Comments an Acolyte.
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