The land of Triman has for a long time time suffered under a brutal civil war, where different warlords lead their followers to the capitol Jarslav to demand the crown of the dead king Vladmir. Raiders from foreign land plundered at the border, and former soldiers and mercenaries banded together as brigands and highwaymen to plunder the villages.
The late king Vladmir was not a benevolent king. Although he paid respect to Svarog in words, his deeds spoke otherwise. Under the rule of his predecessors, the church had been reduced to a teaching institution that was paid lip respect to, but with no influence amongst the Council of Nobles, which didn't care much about the legislation from the Council of Commoners, but overruled them in all important matters, and accumulated great wealth.
The church resisted them as good as they could, but the beggar-knights couldn't both protect the common people, who were even not allowed to own arms, against the nobles internal endless wars against each other and fight the Council of Nobles led by the king and his army at the same time. They had to be content with protecting the life, and not the rights of the common man.
King Vladmir didn't only follow this path, but aimed to disband the beggar-knights at all, claiming that they were plotting to have him overthrown. He marched his knights against the church and besieged their fortified churches. Although a few churches fell, and the followers of Svarog abandoned the cities, the kings campaign was at large unsuccessful, especially counting that the Council of Nobles believed that the church secretly amassed great riches, which they hoped to get access to.
When king Vladmir was killed in a fire later the same year, no one except Ratmir missed him. Several high nobles tried to force Ratmirs mother to marriage to secure themselves more support in their claim for the throne, but she in stead fled, and was by High Patriarch Kirillus Mifodija given sanctuary in Chernobor, the greatest of the fortress-churches, which held all the great relics of Svarogs priesthood and was guarded by the Copper Guard.
Ratmir grew thus up sheltered while there was war over the crown. In the end not only the people, but most of the nobles grew tired of this struggle. Then the High Patriarch and the beggar knights marched towards the capitol in full strength, broke into the hall where the Council of Nobles still discussed what to do about the approaching knights of the church, and presented prince Ratmirs candidature. The Council of Nobles could do nothing but comply. If Ratmir was crowned then and there, most wouldn't have complained either. But the High Patriarch cast in stead the land out in a new civil war by letting the councilmen leave the hall. Several of the most influential nobles then united their armies and marched against the prince.
But now the common people had someone to unite behind. Seeing a candidate supported by the church they still believed in, they took to arms and were trained by the beggar knights to fight.
You were all champions in king Ratmirs army, defeating the warlords and the brigands and the foreign raiders, and are now enjoying the stability that he brought as heroes of the people.
But as the king has grown older, there has been more and more disagreement with the old High Patriarch, culminating in the withdrawal of the beggar-knights right to act as law enforcers and then the beggar-knights refusal to disarm or take orders from the king and his men.
The land of Triman is an enlightened monarchy with a king elected by the council of nobles and approved by the church of Svarog.
Worship of Svarog is the state religion, and although other worship isn’t prohibited, there is a strong social stigma encouraged by the church for it, and places for worship of other powers is prohibited.
The Church has no land, only a few fortified churches, but it has great power through it’s beggar priests that are teaching children mathematics, reading and writing and various crafts in addition to the religious rules. The priests are specialized in different trades, and quite a lot of them are beggar-knights, warriors that hunt down wild beasts that threaten villagers, or fending off bandits and raiders from the warlords or foreign powers.
In addition to the Church, the Council of Nobles, from which many of the dukes became warlords during the unstable time, has great power. There has been an uneasy truce between the council and the king, with the council supporting the king only under the threat that he will bring down the beggar-knights on them.
Before the civil war there was also a Council of Commoners, that participated in the creation of laws and taxation of the population, with representatives mostly from the various merchant guilds. During the civil war the trade was devastated, and they lost power. Adding in the pressure from the Council of Nobles and the warlords, the Council of Commoners had to fall. The current High Patriarch has proposed to assemble a new Council of Commoners, but nothings has been done with it so far.
Earl (with the honorific lord or earl)
Nobleman (with the honorific lord)
Freeman (there are no bondsmen in Triman officially, but there are rumors that the Grand Dutchy of Kardomir has tralls)
A bit on the legal system
The medieval legal system is based upon a contract between the feudal lord and the subject.
The subject gives up certain rights, amongst them loyalty, the right that the feudal lord can judge them and pledge to follow his laws in return for protection from attackers and bandits, and usually land. Since the feudal lord pledges his loyalty to the king, every subject of the kingdom has pledged loyalty to the king and his laws.
The kings rule is often founded on the fact that he's placed there by gods will. This is not the case in the kingdom of Triman.
Just like the king of Christian Jerusalem he has to be elected by the Council of Nobles as king of the land, and the election has in theory to be unanimous (although it has not been uncommon to simply remove anyone opposing and then have a new vote)
The Grand Dukes are all related to the royal line, and can in theory inherit the throne if no closer heir exists. They have also the privilege to judge in the land just like the king himself, while other nobles can only judge subjects of their fief. A judgement by a noble can always be disputed and taken to that nobles feudal lord. So a duke or grand duke's judgement can be taken before the king.
The church has the privilege of self-government and is sovereign in it's holdings. Outside of them they are expected to follow the kings law.
The beggar knights are a hard issue, as they don't answer to the law, although they still can be imprisoned and judged by the authorities that they don't recognize.
Only nobles and their men at arms can carry weapons.
In addition, the privilege to carry arms can be granted.
Particularly, it's granted members of the church and citizens of cities
Knives, axes for woodcutting, spears and bows for hunting are not considered weapons, but tools unless used otherwise.
This law is ignored during the civil war of course, but technically you can be arrested for carrying weapons without a document that permits you to carry them
Killing in self-defence is legal, but hard to prove
Only murder, rape, trafficking with devils/demons and treason to the crown is currently punishable by death
The concept of adoption doesn't exist in Triman. Kin is important, and an orphan that is kinless has an additional right to protection from state and church.
Being in kinship to someone gives special privileges before the law, particularly when it comes to trial by combat
Trial by combat
Someone who a crime punishable by death is committed by, or the relatives of such person, can demand trial by combat if he or she wants, or if there is not enough proof to get the offender condemned.
The combat is until death or one of the sides admit to the crime or the accusation to be false.
Although it is considered immoral, there is no law that prevents any other kin to demand a second trial by combat if the first doesn't bring results.
All members of the church, that is the beggar knights, ordained priests and the copper guard are considered kin for all legal purposes.
The legend of Svarog
Svarog was a god that once walked the Earth, teaching mankind, his creation, how to live and prosper. He taught man how to grow seeds and make bread, how to navigate by the sun and the stars, and how to make copper swords to protect themselves against the beasts of the dark woods.
But man didn’t share the bread with each others, and used the stars to navigate to each others settlements and kill each other with the swords Svarog gave them. Svarog was saddened and left mankind.
The Black Serpent then rejoiced, and sent his beasts to hunt down and kill mankind.
Mankind was scared, and begged Svarog to defend them, but they didn’t abandon the killing of each other. Therefore Svarog didn’t return, but he sent his servants, Angels with flaming blades, down from the sky to vanquish the beasts of the Black Serpent.
The Black Serpent and his beasts were banished to the nether realm, and a mighty fortress was built by the Angels to hold them back. But like the Angels were strengthened by mans good deeds, the beasts of the Black Serpent was strengthened by evil deeds.
The Angels were overrun, and the beasts of the Black Serpent gained strength. Still, the banishing magic prevented them to come to Earth in large numbers, and mankind lived on as they did before, sinning and committing evil and strengthening the power of the Black Serpent.
If mankind doesn’t change it’s ways, like Svarog taught them and his beggar-priests teach across the realm, the Black Serpent and his serving beasts will again come to Earth and slaughter everyone. Only by living after Svarogs teachings can this be prevented, and a new time of prosperity, when the god again walks among men will come.
The issue of spells
The clerics receive spells, but Svarog isn't talking to anyone, and he grants no miracles. In a way, the clerics function like ur-priests, except they believe they do it with Svarogs blessing and for his cause (which they do, clerics not following his teaching are denied powers)
Still, some even speculate that Svarog is dead, and the angels try to keep up pretense.
Other believe the opposite, that the angels are gone, and that Svarog is unable to do much without them
A third theory is that both are very much weakened, and are simply unable to aid mankind more, being to tied up in countering hells growing strength
The church of Svarog holds Svarog to be the one and only true god, with every other divine being as either angel or devil
The church of Svarog holds that almost all angels are dead, and thus any divine being to manifest should be considered a devil until proved otherwise by deeds.
The church of Svarog is not to own any wealth, and it's preachers should not own land or loan out money. They should in stead give away what they have of in abundance to those in need. Most take this to mean that a preacher or servant of the church should live in poverty. The church owns a bit of land and several heavily fortified churches (think Mont Saint Michel fortified) as well as churches in cities. All churches are built to withstand a siege, with heavy stone walls. The masonry is beautiful, but the church has no costly decorations.
The church of Svarog holds that their god called to action, not words, and thus hold no prayers and no services, although they precede over rituals of naming, coming of age, marriage and burial. They also have ritualized celebrations of many different events during the year, but they don't adress Svarog then, and simply perform things "as they always have been done, or how the teachings say they should be, not in honor of Svarog"
The church holds knowledge to be their clergies most important responsibility, and all that follow Svarog are supposed to teach as much as possible of their own knowledge. The priests of Svarog spend thus most of their time not preaching, but teaching children to read, write, mathematics, agronomy and art, all things they believe Svarog once teached mankind
The High Patriarch - Kirillus Mifodija
The patriarchs - knights Ratislav and Mirovar, patriarch Dubodum and matriarch Elisia
The copper guard (knights only)
Knights of Svarog and priests of Svarog
Beggar-knights and preachers
The Copper Guard
When the Angels came down to fight the beasts of the Black Serpent, there were some men who were free from sin, and volunteered to fight alongside them. The angels scorned them at first, but recognized soon their virtue and trained them so they could fight the evil beasts. They were given copper armour, unlike any strengthened hides man then uses to protect themselves with, and they were given swords of copper far stronger and with longer reach than what any human smith could make.
The men was not allowed to go with the angels to the nether realm to fight the black serpent, but were in stead instructed to guard mankind against evil. These first warriors became later known as the Copper Guard. They strive to be like the angels that their predecessors fought alongside with and prepare for the final battle, when both the Angels and the Beasts of the Black Serpent will return. They believe if they are strong enough it will prove for Svarog that there is much good in man, and that Svarog himself then will return to Earth.
The Copper Guard of today are the finest warriors following the teachings of Svarog, and most have been recognized from the ranks of beggar-knights. Each year, many a brave hero come to their great Citadel, the Fortress-Cathedral Chernobor, that is also the official seat of the High Patriarch (or High Matriarch), to ask for a place in the ranks of the Copper Guard. They are all turned down, even though some of them are seasoned beggar-knights that hope they are worthy. The only way to join is to be chosen by the Copper Guard themselves and asked to join.
The newly chosen swear many oaths and are cast many spells on so they are able to serve in the capacity of guardians of the world, for that is what they are (members of the Copper Guard that have turn undead replace is with "turn devil" (who count as +5 for hd determination of highest hd turned) .
There are other Copper Guards in other lands, but their citadels are few and far between, with maybe one or two on each continent. The closest to Chernobor being five borders away, in the dark marches of Brickhnewdron
Although the members of the Copper Guard don't arm themselves in copper, but wear steel as the rest of men, they wear copper ornaments copying the armour of the Angels, and are rumored to have several artifacts left behind by the Angels as well
Mechanics for the Beggar Knights
Wealth limitations as paladin, except: can in addition not own more than 50 gp
Lay on hands: as paladin
Spells: Discern Lies 1/day/ecl, Detect Evil 1/day/ecl
Skills: +4 to Sense Motive
Some important dates
Some distant past - Svarog walks the Earth
730 years ago - war between the churh and the crown
710 years ago - peace settlement between the church and the newly crowned king Dobrinjar Dobroljub
700 years ago - first war with the sovereign duchy of Kardomir
690 years ago - the order of Beggar Knights was created by king Dobrinjar Dobroljub and high matriarch Olga the Fair
684 years ago - second war with the sovereign duchy of Kardomir
670 years ago - defeat of the Black Magii of Kardomir by the Copper Guard
620 years ago - Kardomir annexed to the kingdom of Triman. The 2nd son of the king is made grand duke of Kardomir (the first son was then grand duke of Gradoslavl)
618 years ago - The 2nd son of the king marries the daughter of the disposed duke of Kardomir, ensuring their lasting loyality
516 years ago - First attack by Tulgarian raiders
400 years ago - decline of the alliance of the church and state
350 years ago - sacking of Vostokograd
74 years ago - The king searches for a cure to be able to sire a heir
73 years ago - Grand Duke Vratslav resigns from the rule of his dutchy, joins the beggar knights
70 years ago - Prince Vladmir, Ratmirs father is born. Vratslav joins the copper guard
69 years ago - king Vsevolod the Cruel is found killed in his own throne room. The Council of Nobles rules in the name of prince Vladmir with Vsevolods brother Bezslav as regent
48 years ago - Regent Bezslav dies, Prince Vladmir is crowned king
33 years ago - King Vladmir accuses the beggar knights of treason, attacks the church
32 years ago - King Vladmir dies in a fire. The pregnant Queen Olgmila flees to fortress monastery Chernobor. There she gives birth to Ratmir
31 years ago - After the Council of Nobles are unable to decide on a king or regent, civil war breaks out
11 year ago - Prince Ratmir presents his claim to the throne
map of Triman and surrounding realms: http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r...s/Triman-1.jpg
The lands around the kingdom of Triman:
west - Frizia, a land characterized by advanced agriculture and trade with nearby countries, particularly Elsifors and Haiheim
east - Tulgar, mostly rocky steppes where the inhabitants have large herds of sheep or goats
south - the city states of Damas and Vesans, who have dominion over various peoples in their area, and are currently in war with each other
north - cold, barren waste
Both Frizia and Vesans allows only the worship of Svarog, but in Frizia the church of Svarog is weak, and has little to say in politics, while in Vesans, the church is the greatest power, but the king is formally the head of the church as well, and thus has even more power that way.
In Tulgar, Svarog is revered as a god of knowledge, and Kresnik, one of the archangels, as a god of war, but they also worship many other gods.
The city state of Damas worships other gods with other names.
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