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Miran

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 10 months ago

Miran

 

This human realm was perhaps the area of Miraboria least affected by the fall of the Empire. Population is 3,300,000 humans and about 470,000 others. About 100,000 are hobbyts and the rest are mostly half orcs, szathair, and half-elves held in slavery. The Capital city of Kethlarium has a population of 135,000. The Mirani claim to be the true heirs to the Miraborian Empire, and have retained an Imperial-style social structure.

 

Slaves, hereditary, debt- and captive- are commonly owned by the upper class of Patricians. Large groups are used as plantation labor, as miners and as other forms of labor. Next are the serfs, nearly slaves as they are forbidden to leave the land that they farm. Free tenant farmers are a minority. All land is owned by citizens of the Kingdom. Citizenship is a prized right in Miran, and many non-citizens spend years acquiring the funds and the connections to purchase it. About 40% of the population are citizens, while the rest are members of the slave-caste, peasantry, army or are free-born non-citizens of the middle class. Citizenship is acquired either by purchase or by serving 20 years in the army (children born of a man who dies during his 20 years of service are considered citizens). Children of a citizen are automatically citizens; however, any man or woman who loses citizenship also forfeits it for any minor children in his or her care. Military rank is prized in Miran, and is considered equivalent to social rank. There are six general non-slave ranks; serfs, tenants, merchants and artisans, landholders and officers, patricians, and senators.

 

Women are held in low esteem in Miran, always being considered of lesser intellect and capacity than men. They are to be sheltered, kept in private, and not allowed to mingle with the real world. Every woman is legally required to have a male guardian. She cannot come before the courts, negotiate legally, buy or sell property, or enter into any contract without a legal male representative. A wman alone will be stopped and questioned constantly by almost every male she encounters. Only the very poorest and very wealthiest women escape some of these restrictions: beggar women are not uncommon, but are treated badly; noble women who have been widowed and have neither father, brother nor adult son to represent them, may hire a legal representative. These rare women oft en become extremely powerful in their own right. A few priestesses of the Goddesses Sithlar and Talaia have similar freedoms.

 

Though the kingdom is ruled by an extremely powerful Emperor, there is an “elected” body of patrician members called the senate. These men are the most powerful of the kingdom, voting on many of the laws that control Miran. The Emperor is their war-leader, controlling the large armed force of Miran, and also is the high-priest of the temple of Centarius, protector of the realm.

 

Despite the rigid societal structure and religion-dominated society, Miran is a slowly growing nation. The Mirani are arrogant and greedy, as the garnering of money is seen by them to be a form of worship of their merchant-god.

 

The language of Miran is very like ancient Miraborian, unlike the common tongue used in other lands. Very few locals speak that ‘common’, only a few merchants and innkeepers. More common but still unusual is the speaking of Mistlander.

 

The Shalani who come to Miran are accepted as necessary, but are not respected or liked. The Mirani see the Shalani worship of Centarius the traveler, the road god as distorted, almost sacriligious. They prefer to emphasise the loftier aspects of Centarius, as binder of bargains and holder of honorable words, as at the same time the trickster and master of intrigue. The Shalani of course prefer Centarius’ aspect of protector of travelers and patron of wanderers.

 

In Miran magic is forbidden. It is anathema. Precisely why is not ever said, but outland mages who attempt to disregard this prohibition soon find themselves facing a harsh tribunal, sentenced to flogging, branding or even the removal of the hands. No native Mirani practices magic, or at least admits to it. (Except it is rumored, one strange and powerful band of Centarii (priests) who are the king’s most trusted and powerful protectors and weapon against possible civil unrest or treason). For this reason the Szathair, while prized as slaves for their strength, are never permitted to exist in a free state: their natural affinity for sorcery makes them extremely suspect.

 

The only “magic” outside the temples that exists in Miran is druidic. The small hobbyt population (about 3%) mostly follows the druidic faith. Perhaps 1 in 50 hobbyts is a druid or a druidic assistant, but this means that there are 5,000 druids/druidic assistants in Miran, and therefore somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 druidic groves. Most are in the northern provinces, or even in the outer provinces. Hobbyt druids are looked upon by the Centaurii as ineffectual and humorous. However, their absolute refusal to bow to outside authority, their strict neutrality, and their fiercely protective stance has won them some recognition from outsiders. In fact, a tiny fraction of humans are turning towards druidism as a favored alternative to Elanora. The druids of the south are also very interested in the Szathair, hoping that these creatures can be converted to their faith.

 

Miran is divided into five Provinces, which are roughly based on the ancient petty kingdoms that formed the early nation, and other lands as they were added to the realm. Miran also claims three regions outside its official boundaries. These are called the outer provinces, and they are still mostly wilderness, although there are army outposts and the occasional town or village. Most of the folk who dwell in these regions are hardy survivors who frequently have good reason to prefer not to dwell inside Miran’s tightly controlled bounds.

 

The Five Provinces

1. Tremonia ( pop 1,000,000), capital Kethlarium (pop 135,000); Rostochi (pop 36,000) town of Lhunshore, village of Whistlewater.

2. Argentor (700,000), capital Astae; town of Vyssipone.

3. Brixia (800,000), capital Neomagi, Town of Regii

4. Tergesti (700,000), capital Cadomi; Towns Brevia, Bassilis

5. Campis (800,000), capital Arconae; Town of Ticini

 

Each province is governed by a provincial governor appointed by the Senate and approved by the Emperor. The senate is made up of men elected from the ranks of the Patrician class families of the realm. Senators serve four year terms, but most are re-elected until they choose to step down.

 

Army: the army of Miran is large. Nearly 5% of the population serves in the army at any time. It consists of eight divisions, drawn each of the true provinces, and (in theory) each of the outer provinces supplemented by volunteers from other provinces, and the Imperial Guard which is wholly based in Kethlarium. Each division is divided into 1,200 man legions, which are made up of 12 cohorts. Most legions have 10 standard cohorts and two support units, but this varies considerably depending on the area the legion is stationed, and the history of the cohorts themselves. Cohorts can and often are broken off to serve individual duty, especially in border regions.

 

Dragons and other Dangers

Black Dragon: this beast is one of the most ancient and evil predators on Miraboria. He arrived during the fall of the second Empire, and even then was powerful. He rules his demesne with an iron claw, and has an extensive spy network in the surrounding areas. He often knows of adventurers days before they become aware of his presence. He dwells on the northwestern flank of Miran, overlapping one of the outer provinces with his demesne.

 

Mated Green Dragons: on the northeastern coast inhabiting the ruins of the ancient city of Imbular. These beasts dwell in what was once the palace of the ruling King under the 2nd Empire.

 

Escruag: The legendary lost city of the 1st Empire. Rumors claim it lies deep in the Stinking Lands south of Miran.

 

History of Miran

circa 2000 What will become the kingdom of Miran was once two of the Second Empire’s provinces (one of which was called Merithia). After the collapse, these small states struggled to recover from rebellion, political dissent, religious intolerance, and economic collapse, as well as plague and drought. In place of the provinces of Merithia and Tremaniona rose half-a-dozen or more small petty kingdoms. Some survived, others vanished over time.

 

2024 City of Imbular sacked and destroyed. Within the decade, mated green dragons settle in the ruins. Imbular was the capital of one of the 2nd Empire’s lesser kingdoms under the Emperor Khur Habbal. The kingdom was called Merithia, and its people called themselves Merithians, though they considered themselves Miraborians first. Most of this kingdom lies outside the current boundaries of Miran, to the north.

2156 Official founding of the Petty Kingdom of Tremonia (known then as Tremon Arivia).

2162 The wizard known as Maloso rose to power in the petty kingdom of Tergesti. He created an army of wizards and beastmen (legend says they were were-folk, but the were-folk have no such stories), and seized the throne from the rightful king. His reign lasted 30 years before he was finally slain by a band of priests of Centarius (and, though it has long since been forgotten, several mages). It was at this time that magic became so hated and feared in Tergesti that pogroms began.

 

2177 City of Rostochi re-established after burning forty years earlier. It was a 2nd Empire city, and may even have been a 1st empire location.

Circa 2200 The petty kingdoms have joined to form the Confederation of Miran. They occupy about 2/3 the current area of Miran, in the central region.

2271 A warlord by the name of Devronius takes power in Argentor.

2281 Devronius has married into leadership of Brixia.

2283 Devronius seized Tremon Arivia from its minor heir (who was said to be a sorcerer), and launched a successful military campaign to seize Campis. The Tremonian royalfamily fled, escaping into the swamps according to some stories. It is said that they were of “magic blood” and that their reign was corrupt and evil. (The king’s sister was traditionally the kingdom sorceress and ruled almost as her brother’s equal. Her children fled from the massacre into the swamps).A few decades after that, Tergesti allies with the new land, and the whole nation renames itself the Empire of Miran.

2300’S During this era the anti-magical sentiments of Tergesti spread across the new empire. At the same time, riding this wave, the priests of Centarius become more and more powerful. By the 2400’s it has become habitual for the Emperor to be a priest of Centarius, and that has become the state religion.

2405 Magic is officially declared anathema in Miran, and the “prophecy of slaying” which declares that magic will be the downfall of the Empire has been widely spread across the empire. No one now knows where the prophecy began, but it is widely accepted by the populace.

 

2620 Current Year

 

 

Secret Societies in Miran

The very oppressive nature of Miranian society makes the existence of secret groups a necessity. There are many small secret groups, frequently based in a town or city, which are relatively harmless outlets for frustration, provide a vehicle for mutual support, and otherwise cause no problems. However, there are other groups which spread themselves wider, and have a greater impact on Miran’s culture. Some of these are outlned below.

 

The Centarii Acerbus: this order of priests is the Emperor’s right hand. No one knows exactly how large its membership is, but rumor hints they are everywhere, spying and gathering news for the Emperor. Only rarely do they put in a visible appearance, in rusty black robes and bearing the red scales of Centarius in their hands. They preside at executions of patricians, at certain religious ceremonies, and their leader is seen at the Emperor’s right hand on all ceremonial occasions.

 

Organized Crime: this group is actually about five different groups compiled. They function autonomously, and often even compete, but their highest leadership is all in the same hands, and sometimes they cooperate without even being aware of it.

 

  • The Robbers are a group of theives which establish traditional guilds in each major city and may have outlying arms in smaller towns nearby. They burgle, run pickpocketing operations, and other scams and cons. Each guild is separate, and sometimes competing operations form, but overall they are all controlled by the empire-wide leadership. Of course, there are always a few who think they can form rival groups, always short-lived.

 

  • Smugglers; extensive coasts and strict laws against many prized items (magic, drugs, certain gems and ores) make smuggling very lucrative. Also, smuggling in slaves to avoid taxes, and arena beasts for the same reason, is common. The smugglers operate sometimes hand in glove with the local Robbers, but often in competition with them.

 

  • Beggars; It may seem difficult or even pointless to organize beggars, but they make an excellent spy system in many towns, cities and on the roads of Miran. Most every city or town has a series of hospitals, soup kitchens and other support services run by charities for the care of the poorest of the poor. These places are the perfect place to organize and dominate the beggars for nefarious purposes, usually by the Iron Ring or their representatives.

 

  • Iron Ring: They maintain multiple small cells in each city, usually composed of one or two mid-level thieves, an assassin, and three to five paid thugs who know little or nothing but serve as bodyguards and lookouts. They may also collect messages from spies and agents in the city, but rarely have direct control or even knowledge of their plans. The local Iron Ring cells act as liasons between the local theives, smugglers, beggars, etc... They are also very skilled at arranging transport out of the local area for stolen, smuggled and illegal goods. The Iron Ring is very secretive and controlling. Local operatives know only a few contacts in the nearest cities, but are in place to help higher powered folk as needed. The most important thing a local Iron Ring cell does is maintain a secret and secure safe-house.

 

The Hedge Wizards: a loose scholarly affiliation of wizards and sorcerers who all, for their own reasons, desire to restore magic to legal status in Miran. They are also all joined in the quest to discover the locations of several mighty artifacts of First Empire origin.

 

The Schola Muliebris Defensor: The School of Womanly Defense is not a secret society per se. It is a place where young females are sent to receive training:

To become the companions of wealthy men - these girls are taught bedroom arts, entertaining and artistic skills. Most are slaves, often purchased by women as gifts for their husbands, or as “maids” for themselves but actually for the husband.

To become personal body servants to high ranking women - these girls are taught to be dressers, maids and companions. They are taught social skills, some entertainment skills, and possibly some craft. Many are slaves, but not always. In some circles there is a certain scorn for having a personal slave rather than paying a free servant.

To become bodyguard/companions to high ranking women - these girls are taught martial skills and animal handling, such that they can act as bodyguards and also so they can train animal defenders for their charges. Most of these women are also trained as body servants. Very few are slaves in this class, as it is felt that no slave should have weapon training, nor should a slave be made to defend the life of another (as they are unlikely to work very hard at the job).

Most people are only aware of the first role, and a bit of the second. The school does have its own agenda, which is that of increasing the visibility and presence of women outside the traditionally approved roles in society. They are also very interested in building a network of powerful women who can help other women who are in trouble. They help rescue abused women, prevent bad marriages, help female slaves escape, and they have an extensive network of communication. However, the school’s purposes are not all innocent or good; many of the women are power-hungry, and use the school’s work for their own goals.

 

 

Early History of Miran: The province of Merithia

Merithia was one of the 2nd Empire’s provinces. It was based in the regional capital of Imbular. Geographically, the province covered most of the peninsula, even into the swamps, and as far northwest as the flanks of the mountains of Koruzd.

 

The people of Merithia had several beliefs that stood apart from much of the rest of the Empire. They believed heavily in “red magic” (See Wonders Out of Time), and in physical and mental perfection. They recognized Kol, the sun god, as their primary deity. However, they were far less interested in the Gods as beings than in the principles they espoused.

 

Merithian History: The Merithians were famed for their wisdom and their physical perfection. They were at their peak 1000-700 years ago. During the collapse of the 2nd Empire, the City of Imbular was first sacked by attacking armies, and the provincial government destroyed, then it was taken over by great evil. A book by Ulnerias Featherwright tells of the history of Merithia. Ulnerias is still alive, living in Visipone in Argentor province.

The design of the city of Imbular came to the provincial governor in a dream; it was based on the waves of the ocean, and the city was completely rebuilt to meet his visions. It is said that a cult of some kind now dwells there.

After the city was sacked by an army (from the province to the north), the Merithian province collapsed due to economic and civil unrest. The Centurian Knights - the province’s traditional defenders - were destroyed, and the provincial governor committed suicide. Legend has it that the Centurian Knights still haunt Imbular as ghosts. Some say the reason is that the governor never called his personal guard to the war, and they all were imprisoned and killed by the invading army.

 

Merithian Art and Culture: In general it was quite formal, stylized. A few plays (tragedies and comedies) remain, and a few works of statuary; very lifelike but idealized. Of their way of life, little is known. The Ballad of Lena and Gnaeus is a famed work written by the Merithian Bard Sophilias. All copies are believed to be destroyed; it is remembered only because other ancient works refer to it. A surviving play is titled The False Friend, by Sophilias. It is considered one of the great works of literature. The Merithians were famous for their Great Libraries: There were six of them, named after the first six Provincial Governors under the Second Empire’s rule. There was a central library in Imbular, and the other five were in lesser cities of the province.

 

Merithian Heroes: The greatest heroes of Merithia usually came from the ranks of the Centurion Knights (the province’s most prestigious military unit). However, the Merithians also admired their hereditary provincial governors, several of their red sorcerers, and a few others as well. Caius Orphellius was the last Provincial Governor. He committed suicide after his city (Imbular) was sacked by an army of peasant slaves from the north. The Centurion Knights are remembered as one of the greatest fighting forces of the 2nd Empire. They wielded deadly short-swords and shields in tight formation fighting. They were mostly wiped out attempting to defeat the invading peasant army from the north. General Miroades was the last commander of the Centurion Knights at the siege of Imbular. Little is known of him aside from his famous suicide stand at the walls of the city, where he and his men were defeated. Some say he lived long enough to be carried fromthe field of battle and write an account of it before he died. Perinocles was the greatest known Red Sorcerer. He lived in the last century of the 2nd Empire, but tales say he vanished sometime before the fall of Imbular. Sophilias was a bard and playwright of Merithia; some say the greatest that ever lived. Most of his works are lost.

 

Merithian Religion: The Merithians generally worshipped Mikol, but not much else is known of their religious rites or beliefs. The Greeting of the Sun was performed daily by the faithful. Priests of Mikol in Merithia were supposed to be faceless and formless. Strict adherence to a vigorous system of exercise was part of the Merithian faith. The Merithians believed that the dead must pay a toll to enter the afterlife, so each body was buried with a gold coins on the eyelids.

 

Merithian Ruins and Artifacts: Imbular was the capital of the Merithian Province. It was sacked in the fall of the Miraborian Empire, by a slave revolt from the north. The ruins of that city lie somewhere in the northeastern outer province.

 

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