DISCLAIMER: I am posting it for those who might enjoy taking a look into my insane mind. I do NOT intend to run this as a group again EVER until my kids all go off to university.
About eight years ago, when I was really new to play-by-post, I had an idea for a truly massive gaming world. I spent weeks writing it up and making maps. It was the very best I could do. Unfortunately, it failed. There were a few reasons. One is that I had never run an online game as a GM before. I discovered that it was hard to find the time to do all that I should. Being in a solo game is easy and playing a game is easy, but running a game, where you have to write for most of the NPCs, with eight players, is very difficult. Things were going O.K., but I was getting burnt out. I was considering that I had bitten off more than I could chew, and had actually had someone volunteer to help me, when my internet connect shut off for two full weeks. I did not have a cell phone, or internet at work, or even a car to go to the local library. We were dirt poor and could not pay to have our internet turned back on.
When I returned, two and a half weeks later, or so, everyone was gone, and everyone was pissed. It is really understandable. I was younger, and new to the online universe. I could have sent messages explaining, but they all seemed so upset, so I put it off out of fear. Eventually I almost started the game again, after finding like one of the old players, but it did not work.
I learned three valuable lessons:
1. I am not someone who has time to GM a large group game. A small social group thread, where there is little real leadership and everyone interacts for fun, I can do. A game where you need to be the universe for your players I cannot do, in a play-by-post environment. Since then, I have not tried. I still like running little social threads though.
2. If you are going to be online and be in a community, you need access to at least a couple of internet providers. I got myself a cell phone, signed up for internet, and that was that. Now, if one is down, I can tell people, rather than making them believe I abandoned them.
3. I like solo threads. In a solo thread, it does not matter if a post takes a week to get posted. In a group game, that would kill everyone's fun.
I provide the following archive of my failed game, for your entertainment. If anyone out there would like for me to run a SOLO game for them, in this universe, I could do that. If anyone out there is a really good online GM and wants a different world to work, besides the ones we already know, then I am willing to allow you use of my world, with full privileges to add to it as you see fit. If someone did this, I would LOVE to play in my own creation.
There may be concepts in this world which I do not like to role-play myself. I understand myself better now. Also, at the time, it was a PG-13 game, so things would have always faded-to-black. Even so, I stand by the world as I wrote it.
There may be some error in it. My use of the English language has improved a lot in the past eight years. Still, it is too long and cumbersome a document for me to take the time to proof-read it again. I apologize for any mistakes.
THE WORLD OF THE DIVINE MOTHER
(More Detailed Maps Available After All Of The Text, So Scroll Down If You Wish)
Welcome to the world of The World of the Divine Mother. This is a free-form friendly role playing game set in a unique fantasy world. The World is one created by a Great Divine Mother Goddess. She formed the mountains, the oceans, the trees, the animals, the people and the oceans in her womb and gave birth to them. She has sustained and nurtured Her World with love.
A threat has been abroad in The World for centuries though. An ancient evil has rebelled against The Mother and seeks still to usurp her position. The characters in this game will take the parts of those who want to fight this evil and of those who are just out to make a buck.
This is a complex world with well developed cultures. Please take a look at our maps and then take a look at our cultural files. There are also some essays on religious issues related to The World.
If you wish to join, please take a look at our joining and rules section.
Thank you for visiting!
----------------------------------------COSMOLOGY AND THEOLOGYThe Womb
In the center of The World is an ancient and mysterious area known as The Womb. This area is also never entered or even approached deliberately. It is said that to approach this area, invited or not, leads to death.
Sailors unlucky enough to have sailed in sight of the womb say it is a massive stone ring. Little is known about what is at the center of that ring, or how one could enter it.
The consensus of scholars from many countries is that The Womb is the literal birth womb of The Great, Divine Mother. Many have argued that if this area is her literal womb, then the whole of The World must be her body. Others have argued that The World came forth from her womb and she lives in the sky, touching The World through her womb.
Some heretics say that The Womb is not the literal womb of The Great Mother, but merely a symbolic place in which her act of creation can be worshipped. Some of these heretics have sailed off to prove their point, but never returned to verify their claims.
What is known for sure is that the whole World is holy and should be reverenced and The Womb is especially to be reverenced. We should all consider the loyalty and love we owe to our Mother and bow in the direction of The Womb to say our midday prayers.
-Father Jes Meltom Norm, High Father of Lorado City in the United Kingdoms of Kethol
-----------------------------------The Desolation of Lister
The Desolation of Lister is a vast and changing desert. There are some rock formations in it, which are covered and uncovered with the shifting sands. These rock formations can offer shelter during a sandstorm, but the very shelter one seeks may become ones tomb.
The Desolation of Lister is a mostly barren and foreboding land. It is a dangerous place to travel through. There is little water and little life. Still, there are established trade routes through the region, which are well patrolled. It is not wise to venture away from these routes though, or to travel alone. Many rumors and legends of horrible, inhuman monsters abound among the caravan drivers.
There is talk of a few mysterious, murderous, nomadic tribes in the Desolation of Lister. Nothing has ever been proven though. Most believe them to be stories made up by the merchants to scare other merchants off of their routes.
To learn more about how The Desolation of Lister came about one should read A Treatise on Creation penned by Mother Ella, Cardinal of the Holy Womb of Odeland. It would be wise to go and read that essay in full to gain a full understanding of the situation. This is only a very quick summary.
The basic story is that a minor god named Lister wanted equality with The Divine Mother. He wanted the power to create. He was not able to truly create though, but could only twist her creations. His followers tried to enslave The World using these creations. The Divine Mother sent them packing and destroyed the entire area they had occupied. She did not kill all of their creations though, but took pity on them. Instead she gave then isolated homes throughout the area she had obliterated.
A Brief Theological Treatise on Creation
-By Mother Ella, Cardinal of the Holy Womb, by appointment from Her Holy, Divine Pureness, Esmarelda Odella Brianna Blackfler, Queen Mother of all the Children of Odella and Sovereign of the Lands of Odella's Creation
In setting about to write a treatise on creation, it must be recognized that the author does not intend to supersede Holy Scripture. This treatise is merely a humble attempt to relate the events contained in the scriptures in such a way that the true meaning of their words would reach into the hearts of our children and cause them to have some affection for The Divine Mother.
Often we have been persecuted, and ostracized by foreigners for our reverence for Odella. They claim that we neglect the true worship of The Mother and instead elevate her daughter Odella above her. Wars have been fought and people have died over this principle.
I believe that we must take an honest appraisal of our hearts. We give great honor and worship to our goddess and do not speak ill of her Mother. Is this enough? If a child were to realize that her mother's mother had violate her very being, and yet that mother was forgiving and even would offer the kiss of peace, would this child also not be willing to do the same? There was enough received by the mother from her mother that she still would give forth affection, despite her hurts.
Did our goddess ever curse her Mother? Did she ever spur her people away from giving decent and solemn prayer to The Mother? No. She encouraged her children to be respectful and reverent, even when The Mother wished them destroyed. Instead of rebelling again her mother and raising an arm against her in anger to demanding justice, our goddess lay down her very life for us.
Therefore, I say that we must do the same. We must recognize the debt that we owe to our Creator and give her decent and serious worship at temple, even as our hearts long to sing songs of joy to the One Who Appeased for Us.
To that end, I write this treatise to remind our flock of the life and care given us by The Great Divine Mother, so that we may do what is right.
In the beginning there were the goddesses. Creation of many worlds sprang from their wombs. Each world was brought forth by the pain and labor of a goddess. In the bearing of children, their daughters echo their pain and also their joy in creating.
No one knows, or can know, the nature of the father of these worlds. How can we even beginning to comprehend his nature or existence, when we cannot even comprehend that of The Mother? It is a mystery that we must accept, though human logic would have us take its measure.
When there was no world, The Mother took a lump of clay and formed a vessel, like a serving dish. She chose the nature of the vessel and formed it with her two hands. Into this vessel were poured all the fluids that were her life. The vessel held the essence of The Mother. From these fluids she formed all that is and was. All the creation shouts out her origin in the waters of life of The Mother.
A womb was formed. From this sacred womb, creation poured forth. All that is or was or will be sprang from there. Even now the womb still lies at the center of creation.
The Mother created the animals and the plants, the oceans and the mountains, the sun and the moon, the stars and wind that drives our sails, and men and women. All this she created and loved. Still, she wanted companionship. None of these creations were worth.
The Mother decided to create a race of servants that were closer to her essence; who had a spark of her creative power. Five goddesses and five gods were born. These divine being sprung from her womb in their full glory: Odella, Mendolin, Jasp'ta, Mala, Daria, Lister, Horris, Barkus, Peltan, and Brock.
She gave command of her creatures to these children, commanding them to mold them and make them worth servants, for her glory. Each one was given charge over a part of her creations. To aid them she also created a multitude of servant spirits and beings.
Men and women flourished under the care of the goddesses and gods. They multiplied and started settlements. They raised crops and herded sheep. They showed a true capacity for love and for hate.
All was well until the youngest of the gods and goddesses, Lister, made a fateful decision. He decided that all that separated him from equal status and nature with The Mother was her power of creation. He himself held some of this power, but it was not absolute, like his Mother. Not merely content to mold and shape his charges, he pushed his worshipers to lend him the prayers and praises that would give him the strength for his task. He sought to tap into and control power such as his Mother possessed, convinced that he was as wise as her.
The children of Lister, commonly called The Cursed Ones in the common vernacular or the Lissen to be proper, sought to take for Lister a power that was not his to take. Not only was he not wise enough, as if anyone except The Mother could be, but he also did not have a womb from which that which is new life could spring. Still he persisted, obsessed with the thought of original creation.
His people manifested his directions and his power in their beings, seeking to be a conduit by which he could create. First he tried to create new animals. After multiple attempts, all he could manage were bad distortions of animals that already were. These horrid abominations still populate the wildernesses of The World.
Still not willing to admit his mistakes, Lister next tried to create new peoples. From these failed experiment sprang the Trolgs and the Gobyns in turn. The Trolgs were a big brutish race, barely human in appearance and intelligence, with the temperament of caged Badgers.
Though the Gobyns were actually a well-formed people, capable of love and wisdom, as well as hate and malice, they were not new but merely a careful breeding of the old. If wolves be breed to protect sheep, instead of feasting on them, are they then a new animal? No. In the case in question though, it is like unto taking a sheepdog and creating a wolf. The wolf may still be affectionate to her children and her mate, but she will kill the sheep without mercy. Of the two distorted, abominable races Lister created, the Gobyns are the only ones that may possess souls. It is hard to say if they are whole children of their twisted father, or if they remain children of The Mother. Only she will be able to answer that, on the Day of Reckoning.
Lastly, Lister and his children tried to create beings of pure spirit. This also failed, resulting in foul and dark spirits that hindered, rather than helped man. From these two were created that were so terrible that the world weeps still over the moment of their shaping. It is not right to speak their names, nor put them into writing. They were a great and terrible distortion of the natural, gentle spirits that The Mother sent into The World to serve her god and goddess children.
These two whispered lies to Lister and his children. They told them The Mother had been deliberately aborting their attempts at creation, because she was jealous. She did not want her children to see that they too could create wholly original creations.
Lister and his people rebelled against The Mother. They used the stillborn wretches that were their "creations" to enslave the races of humanity. The Great War lasted many years and cost the lives of over half of humanity.
The Great Divine Mother loved Lister and was patient, but his open rebellion and destruction was too much. She open up her womb and drew back into herself everyone tainted through the use of this false creation power. From every direction, north, south, east and west, they were compelled to come to the Sacred Womb. On ships and boats they came. Over land to the sea and then on over the waters they came. Those with no boat swam, and drowned. Lister himself was drawn in.
The place where his people had lived she obliterated, killing everything that moved, drank or soaked in the light of the noonday sun. To this day it is a desolate and barren land. This was done so that the taint of false creation magic in the very rocks and trees would be destroyed. The creatures she let be, pushing them all into small areas away from her children. Though they were deformed, she did not blame them for having been created. She knew that the false magic remained in them, but after so much death, she could not bring herself to take their lives.
The children of Lister, and the god himself, she intended to unmake. She intended to absorb the fluids of their life, both physical and spiritual, back into herself, their very essence could be reused to make a new and holy people, free of evil. The taint was too strong though.
As she drew Lister back into herself, his taint infected her as well. With a cry of anguish, she felt her Divine Womb ruptured. No more would new creation spring forth from it. All the Mother could do now was reshape the creation that already was. No new souls would be born.
Before this, she would have absorbed a being back into her fluids, soul and all, after it died. The soul would have dwelt with her intact until the Day of Reckoning, when it would be judged. Now she had to re-use the souls, or see her world empty of life. She had to take each soul and shape a new form for it. This is why we must suffer the pains of war, famine and death. For each one that is born, one must die. Death is not real. Death is merely the hand of The Mother molding us into another shape for a time. With each life, we have another chance to prove ourselves worthy to be judged righteous on the Day of Reckoning, so we can become one with The Mother for all eternity, rather than be obliterated.
Realizing she could not absorb anymore taint into herself, with further damage to the womb, she begged one of her divine sisters to take these people. She pleaded and her sister did, pulling them out of this world and into her own.
Her sister rejoiced at receiving these people. Though larger and more powerful than her sister, she lacked the finesse to create such intelligent, beautiful beings. She worked hard to push the taint from them.
On her world these exiles created a shining city on an island in the sea and prospered. Their taint drove them again to try and usurp the creation powers of the goddesses. Malformed fiends and creatures were unleashed on this new world as well.
In her wrath, the sister goddess sank their shining city below the waves, never to be found again. She was not as forgiving as her little sister and removed the very existence of these rebellious people, save two. These two, a man and a woman, had the least taint of evil in them.
She suppressed their taint as best she could. Despite her power, she did not have the fine touch for beauty her sister had. In these two people, she saw her last chance to have a people of her own. She was lonely and could not stand the thought of killing them.
Nothing else is known of this other world, though legend speaks of beings from it coming to The World from time to time. Whether they are agents of chaos and evil is not know, but one would guess that they would be.
Our Divine Mother realized that the rupture was massive and would not heal. Left unchecked she would surely die and her creation would stop existing. She could never again allow a taint to enter her world. She commissioned her nine children to watch carefully over their people and to seek out corruption and false motives where they could.
The evil spirits and forces let behind could not be unmade or banished. The Mother was too weak. Since that time she has had to watch her creation suffer under the damage that was caused by the disease of misused creation power. She fears that someday the taint will spread again and rip her womb apart.
In her pain and fear, she lashed out at Odella with a might anger over the minor transgression of sleeping with mortal men. She demanded the death of all Odella's mortal children, so that they could be reborn as children of another goddess. Odella, horrified at the thought of her own children dead lying around a bloody altar, threw herself on the altar and took their place. When The Great Mother's hand reach down and smote, she thought she had killed them. Odella's bodily fluids were enough to equal all theirs. When The Mother realized what she had done, she wept and repented.
One can see the suffering that The Great Mother suffered. We need to consider how she that was All Wise and All Compassionate was changed by this trauma to her innermost being. She no longer had the ability to think with compassion and wisdom toward her daughter Odella, due to her agony and bleeding.
How then can we not forgive her? If a mother, in a moment of extreme agony and grief, were to hit a child, would they not forgive her? The Mother realized her error and brought her daughter back to life as best she could, by taking what was left of her spirit and instilling it in Odella's oldest mortal daughter Ophelia.
Odella herself, through her queens, has asked us to forgive and once again bow our heads in honor to The Great Mother. If we cannot lover her with a warm and tender affection, as once we did, we can at least do what is right and offer her the kiss of peace and a bended knee.
I ask you then to consider the pain and anguish that drove The Mother too transgress against our sacred founder, the Goddess Odella. Can we not forgive her, as a child forgives her mother? When next you go to your temple, or church, offer up incense to she that formed you in her womb and then praise Odella, who saved you from destruction, with loud shouts and songs.
-Signed this Year of Our Pardon, 945, by the hand of Mother Ella, Cardinal of the Holy Womb
-----------------------------------The Afterlife: Reincarnation Issues
There are two major prevailing theories on The World as to the afterlife. One is held by the citizens of Get and the other by most of the other people groups on The World. The Gobyns hold another view entirely, but it is not a well know one. The tribal groups in Emdoor also have a distinct belief about the afterlife.
If you have not read the Brief Treatise on Creation please go read that first and then return to this discussion. After you read it, come back here.
Basically, at the beginning of creation, when someone died, they were drawn back into The Mother, to be held until the final days until The Day of Reckoning.
At some point in the future, The Mother will stop making new people with new souls and bring back to life all the people who had died. Each one will be judged, and asked if they had lived their gift of life in a worth fashion or not. Those who did not will simple stop existing. Those who did will be with the Mother, as her children, forever. She will heal the creation and let them live in it, with Her, in peace. She will take bodily form and walk among them.
You may ask why she allowed the world to be as it is. Why allow people to live, die and suffer? This was so they could prove their worth. If The World started out perfect and beautiful, then it would be easy for anyone to live a good and worthy life. It is in the suffering and struggles of life that worth is proven.
When she drew the taint of Lister and his folk into herself, the taint was so strong that it ripped her womb. No longer could she create new souls. She knew that she could bring the Day of Reckoning right then, and judge all souls, but she would not be strong enough to heal the Creation and to recreate them as perfect and undying beings. She could still manage to create new mortal forms for old souls to go in though.
If she did nothing, the people would all die eventually, with no new births taking place. She did not know when and if she would ever heal enough to be able to create souls, or heal the lands fully. The lands might lay empty for century upon century. She could not bear the thought.
The Mother decided that all of the souls, living and not, would be reborn upon their death. This would give them each multiple life times to prove their worth, and provide her a world that was not dead and silent. Someday, when she heals, the Day of Reckoning will come.
This means that the population of The World does not fluctuate. As new infants arrive, other must die to make room. Wars, disease and famine all play their part to keep things in balance. The Mother does not see this as cruel, since the dead will be born again.
The people of Get see things differently. They believe that anyone who serves The Father and proves himself to be His true servant will go to be with The Father upon his deaths. He exists in a wholly other realm. His realm is a beautiful, endless palace with any possible pleasure for the faithful. Those who are against Him and die outside His will, go to be slaves to the faithful forever, serving in the afterlife, as they should in this life.
They believe that when all the true faithful have been harvested, The World will be destroyed with fire. When The World belongs to them, and all the unfaithful are dead, then the time will be fulfilled and they will all be swept up to be with The Father, before He destroys The World.
They also believe that Lister was evil, because he strove to be like The Father. They believe he was simply an evil magician. All gods and goddesses were mere mortal, historical men and women who faithfully served The Father, until their followers distorted their teachings.
The Gobyns believe that if they die in battle or through exposure to the elements, that they will walk as spirits across mystical mountains in a sacred land. They may be able to see their descendants, since the mystical mountains are overlaid over the real ones, but they will not be able to touch this world in a physical way. Still, they will be able to give guidance to their children and their children's' children.
The tribal groups of Emdoor believe in a sacred hunt that any faithful hunter, or hunted, human or beast, will be a part of forever after death. There is a fuller discussion of this belief in the section on Emdoor.
------------------------------A List of Deities of the World
Here is an alphabetical list of the deities of The World.
Barkus the Hunter- He is the god of the peoples of Emdoor. Barkus is pictured as a mammoth man the size of a bull. He has flowing blonde hair, a beard down to the middle of his barrel chest and arms and legs the size of tree trunks. He wears only the carcass of a black bear the size of a buffalo and thick black boots. The bears head sits on top of his own. He carries a wooden cudgel the size of a sapling. Barkus is known as fiercely protective of his people, the forest and the animals of his forest.
Brock (St. Brock)- Brock is one of the lost deities of Get. The Church of Get considers him a saint and not a deity. He is pictured as an averaged sized man with blue eyes, long blond hair and is often shown wearing light brown robes and the cowl of a cleric. He is thought to be peaceful and thoughtful.
Della- She is the goddess of the sea and sailors Della is the only god or goddess who is not tied into a specific people or land area. She was commanded to care for all those who traveled on the sea and all the creatures that dwell in the sea. She is pictured as a nude, green skinned woman with moss for hair, webbing between her toes and fingers and small scales over her whole body. She is known as capricious and dangerous, but also merciful at times. Her figure is often carved on the prowl of ships, or on other points on the ship. Sailors often wear a medallion of her, or have her tattooed somewhere on their bodies.
The Divine Father- Get Only- It is not lawful to make images of The Father. He is known as the Creator. The citizens of Get see him as beyond human understanding. His ways are mysterious and unknowable. Every person's destiny is to serve Him or to die.
The Great Divine Mother- She is pictured in many ways by many cultures. She takes on the look of each people and each image is valid. Sometimes she is old and sometimes she looks like a child, but always she is smiling an enigmatic smile. She is the true Creator.
Horris- Horris is the god of the Kethol Empire. Horris is pictured as a muscular man wearing a golden skirt, sandals and a red sash. His hair is long and black and his body is muscular. He is often pictured with an inquisitive look and a grin. Horris is known as intelligent, curious and humorous.
Jasp'ta (St. Jasp'ta)- Jasp'ta is one of the lost deities of Get. The Church of Get considers him a saint and not a deity. He is pictured as a towering, muscular man with dark eyes, long black hair in braids and bronze skin. He is shown wearing tight black clothing, full chain mail armor and a mighty two handed sword. He is the patron saint of all true warriors of Get. He is fierce in battle and loves honor above all else. He protects the weak and kills all enemies of The Divine Father with holy vengeance.
Lister the Cursed- Desolation of Lister is the destroyed land that belonged to Lister. He is usually pictured as a devastatingly handsome man, with pale white skin, full lips and perfect black hair, shrouded in a black cloak. He is thought to be cruel and totally evil by most. He was exiled to another world, but there are always rumors and prophecies about his return.
Odella- She is the goddess of Odeland. Odella is pictured as a petite, fair skinned woman with large brown eyes, flowing brown hair and graceful movements. She is pictured in a variety of outfits. Her people see her as self-sacrificing and perfect. The direct line of female queens from Odella's mortal daughter carries the spirit of the slain goddess.
Mala- She is the goddess of the Tarabethian Islands. Her people's representations of her show her as a plump, wide hipped woman with dark skin, flowing black hair and a pleasant expression. She is seen as a gentle, peaceful goddess, though her anger can build over time.
Mendolin (St. Mendolin)- Mendolin is one of the lost deities of Get. The Church of Get considers her a saint and not a deity. She is pictured as a tall, thin, ebony woman with closely cropped kinky black hair. She is most often shown wearing simple black robes that flow down her lanky frame. She is known as serious and honorable.
Merrick- Avatar of The Divine Father- Merrick is not a true god. The direct line of his male descendants continued to act as avatars of The Divine Father. They hold His spirit, but are still human. Merrick is only honored in Get.
Peltan (St. Peltan)- Peltan is one of the lost deities of Get. The Church of Get considers him a saint and not a deity. He is pictured as a short, sturdy man with a fearsome grin, short brown hair, a thick beard and blue eyes. He is thought of as an adventuresome sort who loves a good beer and a good drinking song.
THE LANDS AND PEOPLESThe Frozen Land of Emdoor
Located in the south of the western most continent, this region has extremely long winters and only a few weeks of true summer each year. A forest of ancient evergreen trees covers the area. There is also a mountain range in this area that is always covered with snow.
There are small, scattered tribes of people living in the forests and mountains. They simple call themselves "The Humans", which in their language is Trock. The peoples of the forest are of a similar stock. They are a broad and strong people, with hair and skin ranging from light to darker. They were probably merged with some different peoples in the primitive past, since both darker and lighter individuals can be found. Despite intermarriage, the variation in coloring continues. The coloring does tend to run to certain shades within different bands, but they do interbreed.
These tribes live very primitive lives. Their shelters are earthen works and they have no knowledge of metalworking. The men make spearheads and arrowheads from stones. Despite this, their weapons are well crafted and expertly wielded.
The Trock survive on hunting. The animals are sacred to them for the life they provide. They make their clothing and tools from the skin and bodies of the dead animals.
They hunt along the coasts as well, in long bark canoes. Hunting parties have been known to catch all sorts of ocean dwelling animals, including the massive ice snakes. The oil they can get from these snakes hold much of the nutrients they need for life and can also be used stone lamps, for weatherproofing clothing and for other uses.
Whenever a kill is made, the hunters thank their God Barkus, the Hunter. Their religion is primitive and not elaborate. They rely more on their own strength and stamina, than on divine aid. Still, they thank Barkus for providing the animals that allow them to hunt.
The Trock see the animals that they kill as being gifts from their god. They also see these animals as having souls and tribes of their own. It is the order of things that the animals must die to feed the human tribes, but they still mourn for the tribes of the slain animals. They usually leave a portion of the animal behind for other tribes of beings. This honors the sacrifice the animal made and shows that they too are willing to share in the order of things. When a wild animal or a Troll kills one of the hunters, they simply see this as a part of the order. That person is honored for their sacrifice. Animals slain have a place of honor as the eternally hunted in the hereafter. If they are a prey beast, such a wolf, they will have a place in the eternal hunt.
They do not weave, but they are very skilled at using the hides of killed animals for clothing. Most men and women wear buckskin pants and shirts. Over these they layer heavy furs. Their buckskins are decorated by burning elaborate patterns of hunting scenes from myths, legends and recent hunts.
Both men and women have long, very thick hair. Women and men both hunt, but when a woman is expecting, she is protected and not allowed outdoors. There is little or no separation of tasks between the genders, except when women nurse the young. When a new child is born the whole tribe helps care for her. She knows who her parents are, but everyone is family.
The Trock mate for life. Life is short and hard though, so it is not uncommon to have more than one mate in a lifetime. When a mate dies, his brother, or her sister usually takes them on as a mate, unless they are already mated. In this case, the widowed one can look for another mate if they wish. Their children may go with men who leave for a new mate, or not, as they wish.
Despite their love of the hunt and skill with their weapons, these are a peaceful people. Warfare is virtually unknown. They kill because it is the order, but can barely understand killing without a purpose. No one has ever tried to conquer them. This is probably because no one really wants their frozen lands.
On the few occasions that one of them has started killing for no reason, or outsiders have come through and done the same, they were killed. Those who kill outside the order of things are no longer part of the order themselves. They must be killed to preserve the order. This is always a sad and somber act. The offender or offenders are captured, stripped naked, tied up and left out in the snow. They are left within earshot of the camps, since their suffering is not only a lesson for all, but so those who must perform the act that kills the offender are not removed from the consequences of what they had to do.
The Trock believe in The Divine Mother. They do not have a concept of the soul being reborn in another body. Instead they believe that all that follow the order of things faithfully become part of a great hunt after death. They believe that all who live for the hunt, and so for the tribe, deserve a place with The Mother, as do all living beings that follow their place in the order. In the hunt lands of the mother, they will hunt, or be hunted, for all time. This will fulfill the nature of their being. Those who break the order do not deserve a place in the hunt. Their fate is much debated.
There is great fluidity among the tribes. Each tribe has no more than twenty people at a time and as little as ten. When a tribe gets to small, it will merge with another tribe. When a boy is of marriageable age, he will look for a mate among the other tribes. When he finds her, he joins her tribe. There is no real conflict among these tribes since they see themselves as one big family.
Some of the tribes have sent trading parties out. These parties leave with furs and come back with steel axe heads and knives. A few in these parties can speak the trade tongue. The future is slowly coming.
There is another kind of people in the Mountains of Emdoor. They are a massive, powerful people called Trolgs. These humanoid beings are descended from human stock, but stand an average of seven feet tall and are as strong as bulls. The trolgs look distinctive in more than size. They are a hairy people and have upturned tusks coming out of their mouths or rows of sharp, beastlike teeth. Though is not known if a troll and a human could conceive a child, and no one is likely to try and find out.
Very little is known about these people, beyond the facts that they live in caves, use very simple stone tools, and make crude garments from the hides of killed animals. They have never been known to use bows or slings, but do use clubs and stone headed spears. Isolated bands have been known to attack humans, but generally they avoid contact. Wild tales of their evil natures and disgusting habits have circulated for years, but no one is sure if the tales are true, or mere fabrications.
From the one or two scholars that have dared to live among the Trolgs we know that they do have a spoken language, but it is a small, practical language that uses many gestures in conjunction with the words. There is no tense but the present, perfect tense. Trolgs have little or no sense of history or the passing of time. The scant research of one of these researchers is on record, but he was only among them for about three days, before he was forced to make an escape. The males had taken to tossing him back and forth between them as a form of sport.
It is thought that the Trolgs may have some form of religion. They bury their dead under piles of stones after covering the body with pine branches and singing long mournful songs that have no understandable words.
--------------------------------------------The United Kingdoms of Kethol
The people of Kethol are a slightly built people of medium height. They have black hair and very dark brown eyes. The top lids of their eyes form a slight protective fold. They have somewhat broad faces. Their muscles structures tend to be long and lean. Most peasants are thin, but some of the merchant and noble classes are fat.
There is a wide variety of dress among the noble and merchant classes. Styles are ever changing. Silk is the most popular fabric though. The only true rule is that nudity is a taboo. Not even the most brazen would wear something that exposes their private areas.
The peasants generally dress in loose, functional clothing. Both sexes wear durable trousers, tunics that are drawn closed with a sash and sandals. Hats made of straw are also common when working in the fields. Even the farmers are doing well at this point in history. Most can afford two sets of clothing.
Basic History and Government
The United Kingdoms of Kethol is made up of three kingdoms. They are Selta with her capitol city of Great Lakes, Massunica with her capitol city of Lorado and Ulach with her capitol city of Carson. Selta is ruled over by High Queen Tabina of the House of Romana, Massunica is ruled over by King Rocklar of the House of Kear and Ulach is ruled over by young King Odeon of the House of Theet. High Queen Tabina is the ultimate authority in the United Kingdoms. The other rulers pay tribute to her and defer to her judgment.
The capitals each have a beautiful palace made from stone, bamboo and wood. These palaces are easy to defend. There are walls around the cities as well, but they are very fair out. Kethol has been at peace for so long that these walls are in disrepair.
Each capital city has a parliament. The members of this parliament are voted for by all of noble birth in each kingdom. The parliaments advise the rulers. They can overrule the decision of a ruler, with a two-third-majority vote. The members of each parliament hold their position for life. This system has been in place for about three hundred years. It was established after the nobles of the three kingdoms rose up and rebelled against the corrupt High King Hugo.
The three kingdoms became united under the rule of the high king, or queen, over seven hundred years ago. The Queen Moab blazed a path of destruction and death across the whole of the three kingdoms, until not one noble house was left. She appointed new houses to the nobility, drawing on the middle class merchant houses. They supported her against the cruel, evil leaders of their lands. She united the kingdoms under the banner of her house, the House Romana.
As things stand now, a council, under the authority of their respective shire councils, rules each town and village. The shire councils are under the authority of the three royal councils. The local level councils get members through a vote of everyone in the circle of their authority. Every farmer, herder, woodsman or craftsman has a vote. Men and women both can vote, as can any child over the age of fifteen. These local councils can pass laws and appropriate tax money. They must still follow the directives of the councils above them though.
Citizens can pass from kingdom to kingdom as they wish. There are border guards to help regulate trade, and impose tariffs and taxes, but they do not stop the free movement of citizens. Most citizens never leave their home village though.
Each noble and ruler has a small standing army, but there is not national army. There has not been a war, or even a civil struggle, for about fifty years. These small armies act more as honor guards and bodyguards, than as armed forces. Still, there are trained militias that can be called up in emergencies.
The farmers frequently own their own lands. When the first High Queen took over, she redistributed the lands. She gave every family in her realms a plot of land to work. As time has gone on, the local lords have bought a lot of this land back. They waited until a farmer had a bad season, then lend him money. When he could not pay the money back, they took his farm and then allowed him and his family to stay on as sharecroppers. There are still some independent landowners though. Even the sharecroppers live a good life, compared with the peasants of most kingdoms.
The mountains are a rich source of gems and minerals. There is also gold in many of the lakes and streams. The UK of Kethol is a wealth Empire. They also do a brisk business trading with other nations by sea.
Kethol has one of the best educational systems in The World. Each village and town has a school with a full-time teacher. Each child has the opportunity to go to school from age six until age twelve. They are taught reading, writing, arithmetic and history. Even the lowest peasants send their children, hoping that they may become merchants or craftsmen. There is more movement among the social classes than in any other nation. Still, it is likely that a son or daughter will follow in the social footsteps of his or her parents.
There are many universities and colleges in the capitol cities and even a few in the bigger towns. Both women and men can enroll, though there is discrimination against women in these schools. Many professors still make women sit in the back row and a few make them sit in the hallways.
Kethol is generally a male dominated society, but within the past two hundred years women have won the right to vote, the right to an education and the right to own and operate businesses. A woman can now legally make a living and own land. Still, there is no such thing as affirmative action. Each woman must fight her own battles. It has always been possible for a woman to ascend the throne, if there is not male heir.
Kethol has many technological advances over the other nations. Kethol produces the best mechanic devices in The World, including clocks, crossbows, horse drawn agricultural devices, simple printing presses and wind powered grinding wheels. They have even begun to experiment with an explosive black power and using steam pressure to move mechanical parts.
Arms and armor
Kethol allows citizens to carry a single, visible weapon. The most common weapon carried is a cudgel or staff. Still, many young men and some women have started using long, thin, pointed steel blades called foils. The crossbows being produced in Kethol are now so powerful that they punch right through chain mail armor. Many are abandoning armor and long swords in favor of the newer fighting styles that emphasize these new kinds of swords and the quick, deadly fighting style that has developed around their use. This style of fighting has not spread much past Kethol's boarders yet.
Every person, from the High Queen to the lowest sheepherder, is a part of a house. The house is lead by the oldest living male member. Most villages are made up of one or two houses. These houses can have hundreds of members.
Children continue to live with their parents throughout their entire lives. When a woman marries, she leaves her parent's house and becomes a part of her husband's house. It is forbidden to marry within one's own house, even if the one you wish to marry is a second cousin.
All children stay with the women until they are about eight. After that the boys go with their uncles and fathers to learn the family trade. This has changed a bit among the merchants and craftsmen. It is now more common to see girls learning the trades of their fathers. There is also more mobility among the classes. Houses of a higher social level sometimes adopt well-educated young farmers. Their families work long and hard to buy them a place in these classes. These social shifts have only been legal for a few hundred years.
Most houses and building are built from bamboo stalks and thatched roofs. Some richer folk use wood as well, but even their houses use bamboo for their basic frameworks. Despite the nearness of Emdoor, much of Kethol has warm, almost tropical weather. Many higher-level nobles do use stone to build their homes though. There are also beautiful stone temples and shrines through the three kingdoms.
Religious leaders can be men or women. All religious leaders are part of special orders. They are pledged to remain celibate and in poverty. Many live in temples or local shrines, but some travel the land begging. Some orders are very formal and structured and others are very loss. It is even know for someone to declare him or herself a new order and go around trying to recruit members.
The people of Kethol worship the god Horris. He is known as the quietest and most philosophical of the gods and goddesses. They also pray to their family members that have passed on. They believe that these family members watch over them and have the ear of Horris.
They do believe that a soul can be re-incarnated, but they do not think that EVERY soul is. Most simple watch over the family and wait until the Day of Reckoning. Still, some are so good and holy that The Divine Mother and Horris decide together to send them back. Many of these re-incarnated ones are the heads of religious orders.
Kethol used large ocean going ships. They use up to three masts and are the envy of the world. They are a peaceful people, without much of a navy. There are some commissioned coastal defense vessels, but they do not send naval forces out into wide-open oceans. Still most merchants arm their vessels with powerful arbalests. Some even have small, deck-mounted cannons. Their crews are armed with clubs, cutlasses and powerful, compact crossbows. They are not an easy target. Some rich merchants even have started to carry primitive, experimental hand held cannons.
Kethol has been trading peaceful with the Tarabethian Islanders for a long time. In recent years, they have clashed with Get. Odeland and Get have been at war over control of these Islands. Kethol has sided with Odeland, but still has not committed naval vessels. They have been slowly driven out, but the current Queen has not seen fit to commission more naval vessels.
TO BE CONTINUED.........[/color]