Nation Settlement PRO MC Name:
The Kingdom of Balian
What is the history of your settlement since its founding and what has transpired for it to ascend to the status of a fully-fledged, multi-playergroup nation?(1000 words minimum):
The Brothers War and the Second Exodus
On the death of Philip III, the Holy Orenian Empire was cast into civil war, pitting brother against brother and family against family. Deep divisions in the country manifested as loyalists rallied around Emperor Peter IV and Mardonese rebels supported the invalid claim of his brother Frederick Fratricida, who was third in line to the throne. Known as the Brother’s War, it began with high hopes. The loyalists anticipated a swift end to the conflict and assembled in the Duchy of Reutov to celebrate St. Ari’s Day with Peter IV and his new bride, Lucia of Azor. However, a rebel ambush devastated the festival, resulting in the deaths of many leading figures in Peter IV’s court.
The remnants of the loyalist forces–joined by those who had remained at home for the holiday–rallied outside New Providence to rescue their emperor. They unsuccessfully tried to breach the city and were repelled. As they fled onto boats at Henry’s Wharf, the fratricidal Frederick beheaded his brother, Peter IV. The would-be king likewise had his harlot shoot Lucia of Azor through the head. She was with child, but the heir died in her womb that day. Balianites commemorate the solemn anniversary each year as Heir’s Day, honoring the child who should have been their emperor.
Oren’s loyal men and women were now without a home and fled the country on a cobbled fleet of fishing boats and a handful of imperial galleys. They had been at war for twenty years, feeding their children into an imperial war machine that bore only defeat and ruin. Savoyards had broken their standards and now claimed their homeland for their own. And so they sailed, not knowing where they would go – except to safety, for they were guided by the Wayward Star of Saint Lothar. The constellation was their sole source of hope through the daunting journey over storm-swept seas: a sign of God’s goodwill for these war-weary people.
Through God’s tribulations, they were shepherded south. The few lucky survivors of the Crash at Portolibre (known as Freeport to the Northerners) hobbled along the dunes with what scant supplies they could gather. They encountered many obstacles as they wandered through the desert and between steep cliff sides, but none so consequential as water. Once-proud men and women, noble and commoner alike, were set to sprinting at even the rumor of a muddy puddle, so great was their thirst.
And what a unique sight was this hodgepodge of exiles! Knights in their mail walked alongside sunburned bureaucrats, and thirsty merchants kept company with stout noblemen, their heavy furs thrown off at the first ray of the desert sun. The sands muted the tribe’s once vibrant dyes. But on the seventh day of the seventh week of this journey, God showed His sign unto the people of Balian. A cross of pure light shone above a plateau. The lost tribe of Oren had wiped away the sins of their kin, but not without plenty of loss.
And so Prince John Casimir ascended the slopes and prayed upon the Rock of Revelation. Through the haze of the desert, the star of Saint Lothar blazed with a purple tinge, water spouted from the sides of the mountain, and grass grew on the barren land beneath the weary traveler’s feet. Many were said to have heard voices gust through the air proclaiming glory to God on high. Prince John turned unto his people and proclaimed the Grand Duchy of Balian in honor of the homeland of Saint Lothar.
The Second Exodus had found their home, a land given to them by God. Among the south’s windswept desert valleys, a land of faith was established, and a city was erected in God’s name. This was a people founded on faith and one that would long endure.
- - - - - -
The Time of Short Peace and Growing Prosperity
Through hard labor under a foreign sun, the Balianite people built a lasting settlement called Atrus and a staircase of red stone known as the Ponterosa. Though once a remote imperial diaspora (despite incursions by disgruntled Orenians), their population grew steadily. Hardships had cast off old divisions, and the native population intermarried with even the noblest of houses, shifting the language and culture of the once-stuffy northerners. New customs emerged, such as the Syndesi Feriae, Honey Clubs for children, exotic tea ceremonies, exceptional dyeing processes unmatched throughout the world, and a unique architectural style previously unseen in Almaris. Even their calendar changed: the new Lotharian calendar marked its epoch at the moment of God’s miracle to the exiles, counting the years since the Balian Annum (B.A.)
As their settlement grew and their culture complexified, the Grand Duchy regained some of the civic heritage of the old empire, but was marked with a practical simplicity only the desert can bring. The Ducal Chamber established new offices with more diverse responsibilities, adopting unique titles used by the native people. Although the Grand Duchy eschewed the Old Empire’s top-heavy bureaucracy, they maintained the imperial tradition of the monarch keeping council with his subjects–an elected senate of nobles and commoners now sits in Atrus, advising the Grand Duke. In it, even the lowest of men can express and change the outlook of the Duchy; something sorely missed in the era of their imperial predecessors.
Grand Duke John I used these scant few years of plenty to build up his band of refugees, and his nation flourished. Yet, as the Scroll of Gospel says, all men suffer the sins of their fathers. This new peace did not last long, and soon Almaris was engulfed in the War of the Silver Isles due to Frederick Fratricida’s blundering. The deft diplomacy of the Grand Duchy secured their position in the coalition that would ultimately bring the usurper his justice. Just four years later, the Harvest Revolution overthrew the kinslayer and destroyed the false state that had replaced the Empire. Victory had been secured, the Duchy’s roads under the watchful eye of the Brotherhood once more, and the people thrived.
The Balianite culture is a diverse melange that can only be born in the daily struggle for life in the desert. Aside from the Balianite people, the most significant part of this pastiche is the Rhenyari and Qalasheen natives, whose culture, language, dress, and traditions were the first encountered by the imperial exiles. New diasporas from former imperial lands have followed, magnifying the Grand Duchy’s population and diversity. Walking in the streets of Atrus, one might encounter a sweating Haeseni merchant divesting himself of his furs as he speaks to a Rhenyari woman with a painted face, both under the gaze of a Balianite nobleman with tanned skin and golden hair, his raiment the most vibrant of shades.
How has your settlement expanded into a core LotC staple, warranting nation rights?:
In the age of discord, we like to keep everything in-game. For example, our election for the Balian senate was entirely done in RP. Citizens came to a station in-game to receive their voting registrations, then casted them in ballot boxes and live updates on the results were given over time to encourage feverish campaigning and further role-play. It isn't just a Google form anymore, and we try to make sure that most of our work gets people on the server, into the city, and role-playing with one another! Like it should be.
Balian also is a core staple in human history as it resulted from the Brother's War. The Orenian community was split, with the Imperial diaspora moving south and forming the Grand Duchy of Balian. Our community members are highly dedicated to expanding Balian's culture, dress, and language so that we become as recognizable as possible. To be able to have humans quickly identify a person as Balianite from hearing how they talk or seeing what they wear is a goal we strive for. It creates unique characters and role-play found nowhere else but here in the desert, we call home!
What are your plans once getting Nation Status and the remainder of your tile?:
We have plans to further develop our culture to try and encourage the growth of a new niche hub for roleplay within the realm of Almaris. We intend on making this a long-lasting project that will be able to demonstrate a notable historical schism for future players. We wish to develop the surrounding lands to make it feel more alive- as well as construct more culture posts and encourage abundant and contributing RP.
We currently have a few cultural posts that are ready to go, such as our language alteration that was posted recently. Thanks to the help of people like CharmingCavalier- we have developed a language that merges multiple unique languages- such as Romanian, Sicilian, Neapolitan, Italian (Illatian), Catalan, Spanish, Greek, and Latin (Flexio). Not only does this tie in historical human languages to better imbed Balianite culture, but it is a wholly unique way for our players to identify and be identified as Balianite, just by how they speak.
What niche does your nation capture that does not exist among the current ones?:
Balian was not brought about through OOC means. We did not form because someone had a grand idea to create it and began mass recruiting over discord. It was brought about because of the history we all lived through. The Brother’s War made two opposing factions- the Loyalists and the Usurpers- and the Second Exodus fled to the South and founded Balian with the loss of the war. Additionally, Balian is the only southern location that is Canonist and, more recently, is competing with the Orenian Remnants regarding activity. Balian is very welcoming to new players, keeping much of the nation’s inner workings in roleplay. It provides new players with the opportunity to really develop their characters IRP and to really become a part of the group.
As discussed above, the culture we are developing is unique. Although heartlanders have struggled to create a cultural identity that is complex, codified, or not a scam copy of a real-world culture with some Google-translated phrases stuffed in (Illatian, Augverne, etc.), the Balianite culture is freed of these limitations. Our setting is distinctively unlike those of the lush fields of the north, our city is built in a style unseen elsewhere, and our language and clothes make us stand out as Balianites, not generic humans.
Do you feel confident that your settlement has grown to the point that it can survive the departure of its existing leadership? Is your player-group able to incorporate new players into the existing roleplay community that founded your settlement?:
Our player base was created from a group of people who believed that Peter IV was the true heir of the Holy Orenian Empire. Out of that belief sprung a very active player base of people who have evolved into a self-sustaining group. Ave_Imperium has led Balian very well but has also been innovative in incorporating his IRP heir, Shmeepicus, in much of the roleplay, as well as within OOC. This has made the player base very comfortable with the thought of Shmeepicus taking over. We believe this alone will help immensely when the time comes for Ave to depart as the Grand Duke. Likewise, the government has undergone several transitions that have not caused any damage to the community or its progress toward creating the best roleplay possible.
Our player base has been excellent about incorporating new players into the existing roleplay community. We try to keep everything IRP, including Council meetings and the likes since roleplay is what this server is all about. We believe that fact alone can appeal to new players who have yet to get a feel for what the server is like and about. Rather than have them enter into an OOC-based clique, Balian allows for natural RP and a means for new players to feel like they are being included in the settlement’s/nation’s project.
New and current players can also get involved in the governance of Balian through the Senate. With seven seats for the commoners and nobles to share, anyone can rise through the community and run for office. It is no longer restricted to old-headed and/or inactive nobles. The Senate isn’t just an advisory body for the Monarch but also actual legislative power. Expanding the government and leadership to not just a single monarch or their office but those elected by the players. It is something we think makes us exceptionally unique.