Kingdom of Aquitaine

Name

Kingdom of Aquitaine

Other Names

 The First True Kingdom of the Children of the Sun

Official Language(s)

Lumiran: The language of the Codex Lumiatar, which also is the official language of Aquitaine.

Other Languages

  • High Chant: The Templars, Seekers and very religious people will also speak “High Chant” to some degree. It is the language of prayers and miracles and takes a lot of dedication to learn as it speaks almost entirely in complex metaphors.
  • Eldian (Common or Traders Tongue, aka English): This is the common language that is spoken by almost everyone.
  • Drukár: Many traders and craftspeople prefer to learn Drukar instead of the Old Tongue of the Gwerin, as it will allow them to converse politely with their main trading partners without having to take the “magic tongue” into their mouth.
  • Vanir/Norland Tongue: Spoken in the border-towns and fortresses due to trade and due to some missionary efforts in that direction.

Geography & Geology

Size & Location

Large: The Kingdom of Aquitaine is located on the continent of Vendia. It is bordered on the west by Tynár-Dazûr and the Great Ringwall Mountain ranges. To the north, across the North Rheic Inland Sea, lays Nordheim. It is bordered on the east by the Kingdom of Vales Province of Sask and the Rift. To the south is wilderness and the neutral realm of Helvetia.

Climate

Northern Temperate: Long summers and equally long and harsh winters mark the land. The mountains are plagued by fierce storms from the west and north in winter. The central plains often take the brunt of the brutal winters as they are subject to the weather systems from the north and the mountains to the east and west.

Terrain

The Kingslayer’s Dagger mainly comprises a large, gently climbing plateaux in the South, in contrast with the steeper and higher-lying northern and central areas, and is dissected by river valleys that frequently change direction. The transition to the Plains of Dusk is a series of hills known as the Broken Foothills. The V-Shaped valley of the Silver Waters creates a very visible break with the main plains.

The term “Plains of Dusk” often suggests that the area is entirely flat, which is incorrect. The Plains of Dusk are the remains of the foothills that were crushed when the Ringwall Mountains were formed, they have several deeper river valleys and rolling woodland hills between wide, almost flat vales.

Geology

Aquitaine lies in a very geologically stable area. There are remnants of extinct volcanoes and perhaps one or two dormant ones to the southeast (the Rift border). However, any earthquakes are mild temblors, and volcanic activity is practically nil. There are areas with hot springs and low-lying mud volcanoes that hints at the land’s turbulent past.

Population Centers

Elumina: Capital of the Realm, and major center of trade, legal life and spiritual life.

Port-of-Storms: Most important port of the land, and center of the grain and flax provinces, hence major contributor to food and cloth production.

The Central Seeker Monastery is situated in this province, near Storm Towers Fortress.

Northstar Watch: Northernmost Provincial Capital, ruling over the Mountain provinces in the Kingslayers dagger, center of mining, silver-work and coinage.

Northstar fortress has been the informal seat of the High Lord Commander for the last few centuries.

Vigilia Lumina: Provincal capital of the Whipsering Lands provinces, center of glassmaking and herb lore.

The main Speaker school, the House of the Voices is in this province.

Population

Common Races/Species 

  • Vasimar
  • Other Murian races
  • Dwarrow (as visitors, not residents)

Population Distribution

About 80% of the population is spread across the country, with the Stormland provinces being the most populated and the Northstar Provinces the least populated. 3% of the populace live in the capital and the surrounding Crown Lands, and each set of provinces has a center in their provincial capital.

Wealth

Medium: Aquitaine is an industrious nation, with mines of iron, copper, and silver, of which they make good use, they also grow flax, and many crops (the surplus is traded to the dwarrow) and they make the finest colored glass in the land, the deep crimson flasks with gold mesh are famous and traded far and wide by the dwarrow who buy them. Aquitaine also makes mirrors, a good sought in many lands, to scarcely used in Aquitaine itself, as it is seen as an item of vanity. Mining in the Kingslayer’s Dagger provides many raw materials, including silver, tin, copper, and iron. Many of them are taken by crafters and transformed into things of use or trade. Trade is very important for Aquitaine, although they conduct a majority of it in the Dwarrow capital in Tynár-Dazûr.

Note: With the glass, think of the Kingdom of Bohemia and Glass road.

Stability

Medium: The conflict with the Black Templar of recent years brought high stability down somewhat, and the new King and new Templar Leadership have yet to settle in. 

Danger to Outsiders

Moderate: For your basic traveler or visitor to Aquitaine, who is not a magic-user and does not have any taint of the arcane about them, Aquitaine presents only the usual dangers anyone faces.

High: For magic-users or anyone allied with those that are considered arcane, Aquitaine is a very dangerous place.

Form of Government

Hereditary Monarchy

Current Ruler

King Romar I

King Romar came recently into power after the death and alleged murder of King Aedan. While hailed by many as a descendant of true Calerdan blood and thus the return to the rule of old, some whisper that Romar did indeed have a hand in the murder of King Aedan and the disposal of his son Galahed.

Others believe that Romar may be of Calderan blood, but does not have the first right to the throne, as descendants of the old Calderan royal house are still alive in Aquitaine. If this is so, they have hidden well among the people.

Not much is known on Romar’s policies yet, as he just came into power, but many expect severe changes to Aquitaine in the years to come.

Capital: Elumina

Elumina is the capital of the realm, sitting at the relativ center of the land. It houses the royal fortress, the High Seat (The Seeker court) and the Tower of Guard (formal seat of the High Lord Commander of the Templars), though the latter is not practically used in that function and just a Templar garrison manned with some of their best. The High Catherdral and other grand buildings are famous throughout the land.

Elumina also is the center of trade in the land, where strangers, especially dwarrow come to trade for wares.

Hierarchy and Structure

While Aquitaine is a monarchy, ruled by a king, there is a strong balance of power between the King and the High Lord Commander of the Templars. In theory, the High Lord Commander does not answer to the King but only to the Chosen of the Light. Since there has not been one since the former capital of the Faith, Cal’dyra, was destroyed, the High Lord Commander of the Templars is the Highest Authority of the Lumiatar left.

The Royal Council: Advisory council to the King, consisting of Nobles. Influence is intermittent.

The High Seeker: Head of the Inquisition. Formally no advisor to the King, the Head Inquisitor is in practice a man who is heard when he speaks and who has the power to make even a King listen.

High Lord Commander of the Templars: Usually seen as a balance to the King, after the Fall of the Last High Lord Commander, the newly called High Lord Commander Artanur will have to prove what he is made of.

Important Organizations

The Speakers (Ordo Vox Luminari)

The Order of Speakers is one of the religious Orders of the Luminari, admitting both genders for full membership. Speakers are the main priest anyone will meet in Aquitaine. They are the parsons of the villages, the main keepers of public schools, and generally do the religious footwork all over the country. Every village has its Speaker, if the settlement is very small, the Speaker will also teach the village children to read and write, calculate and know the law. If it is a larger settlement, two or three order members will solely be there to keep the school. Aquitaine has a large literacy rate, as the faith demands every man or woman needs to be able to read the Codex Luminar themselves. Speakers are “of the people” living and working among them, guiding them as they do, and deeply rooted in their communities.

Speakers are permitted to marry and have families, and frequently do, though many of them feel they have all the family they need in their flock.

The Seekers (Ordo Custae Luminari)

The Order of Seekers, commonly also known as the Inquisitors are the Guardians of the Luminari. While many see them as the “witch-burners,” they do not solely investigate and hunt the arcane, but also deal with heresy, cultism, sects, and general questions of morality. The Seeker Order allows admittance of male and female believers alike, though the 10-year Novitiate is strict, and the trials to become a Seeker are harrowing. Seekers are called upon when it comes to dark things or witches or the arcane haunting the land, though usually, those cases go often to the Templars first. They are also called to investigate heresy and crimes or morality.

While stern and feared, Seekers are not keen on ending any case in a pyre. In fact, they are quite glad when a “haunting” proves a harmless children’s prank or a “ghost” is found to be a simple vagabond in the woods. Seekers know what darkness looks like, and they are not keen on sniffing it at any corner. That makes most of them excellent investigators.

Seekers frequently hand cases to the Templar for investigation, not because they fear to handle these things, but for the question of numbers. The Order of Seekers is the smallest in Aquitaine and cannot handle a full load of work deposited at their doorstep daily. Seekers receive powerful talents during their trials, but many fail at those, dying in the attempt.

While no law forbids Seekers from marrying and having a family, the order counsels strictly against it, not for reasons of celibacy, but for reasons of safety. Any family might be used against them by the dark ones. Hence the best a seeker can do is not put other people in harm’s way that is not ready to fight the darkness.

The Templar (Ordo Gladio Luminari)

The Order of Templars is the main sword of the faith, warriors with a set of powerful abilities, granted to them by the Blessing during their trials. Templar trials are not as hard as Seeker trials, yet a quarter of all Novices dies each year, failing the trials. The Templar Order allows no female members, for simple reasons of strength, as Templars are expected to wield heavy armor and weapons, also for the tenet that women ought to be protected from the violence of battle.

Major Laws

Overview

Justice is a complex thing in Aquitaine, as there is the King’s Law and the Religious Law. Usually, they exist side by side, and sometimes they mix, or a case is referred from one to the other.

Examples

A woman is accused in the Court of Light to be a witch. During the investigation and trial, it is found out, that she simply poisoned her husband to inherit his lands, without magic. The case would be referred to the King’s court for trial and adjudication.

A man is accused in the King’s Court of having murdered a farmer. During the trial, it becomes apparent he tried some kind of sacrifice when he killed the farmer. The Case, in turn, would be referred to the Court of Light for a trial against darkness with the accusation of Blood Magic.

Between those two extremes are grey areas, the King’s Court might decide to send a case to the Justice of Light because they feel that the morality of the case outweighs the legal concern, or the Justice of Light might send a case to the King’s Court because it only marginally involves the faith or morality. As both Courts have a codified law, which is kept to the letter, most Aquitanians feel that their law is just and well kept.

The Aquitanian law is parted into three sections: The Civic Codex containing mostly laws regarding everyday life, the Code Martial containing the laws and rules of their wars, and the Codex Contramagica, containing their numerous laws and rules against magick, magical items and the arcane in general.

Harboring Magic Users

Hiding and harboring a magic-user inside Aquitaine carries a severe physical penalty, depending on the severity of the case. Between 20 to 50 lashes can be expected, the latter almost always a cruel death sentence. Under “excruciating circumstances” (a mother hiding a very young child, for example), the sentence can be reduced to 15 lashes for the mother and immediate taking away of the child. In other cases of family members guilty of hiding one of the family from the searches, the punishment is severer, but carries no further repercussions (no loss of rank/station) because “The heart easily errs were family is involved.” Otherwise, the repercussions can include lashes and banishment. The only case of the hider being exempt from lashes is when he or she proves to be Arcane too – in that case, it is simply banishment to the dwarrow for both of them.

Note: As Arcane People are not considered to be citizens, they cannot be punished for not doing their civic duties.

Arcane Artifacts

Possessing and hiding arcane artifacts – artifacts have to be brought to the Seekers or the Templars or the Gatherer of the King; failing to do so will incur a penalty of 15 lashes, 50 Gold Crowns and up to one year of hard labor and deprivation.

Magical Harm

Harming others through magical means of any kind or hiring someone to do the same – both crimes incur the penalty of death through fire. (“Blood washes, Fire cleanses.”) The harm must be clearly proven, as must be the doer. The Seekers are meticulously on both.

Shared Penalty

Aquitanian law also states that if one partner in a marriage is convicted of a crime, the partner has the right to request to share the punishment, be it lashes, prison, labor and deprivation, even death. This request cannot be denied, and the partners are not to be separated during punishment time, as true love under the Light proves in such deeds.

Coming of Age

Aquitanians come of age the day they turn 16. But they can enter the trials of a Novitiate from any age above 8 (even without parental consent), enter troop training from age 14, and learn a craft from age 14 as well.

Freedom and Oppression

While perceived as fairly strict to dictatorial because of their stance towards the arcane, Aquitaine basically follows the Rule of Law. There is the King’s Law and the Law of Light, both outlined in well-known codices and kept by courts of justice, either by the King or by the Seekers. There is no “we invent a law just to suit us in the middle of a trial,” but there is also no leniency on the extent of the existing law.

The atmosphere in towns and villages is usually friendly, community is strong, people help each other, even the local priests (Speakers) usually play a vital role in the community, providing counsel to those distressed, seeing to it that no lonely person is without aid and ensuring new people have help integrating into the community. Many speakers serve many years in the same place and often become a familiar part of life for the people in their settlement. The Speaker Order does not needlessly send a Speaker away from his parish.

There is not a constant atmosphere of suspicion in Aquitaine, as most people trust that the Seekers and the Templars will have the Darkness well in hand. Local churches are always built for prayer, defense, and the ability for the community to retreat there in times of danger. If a person suspects some foul play/arcane goings-on, they will not talk much among their neighbors but most likely seek out their Speaker, or make their way to the nearest Seeker Monastery or Templar Outpost to report it there and have those who know better do further investigating. So it is rare that there has been gossip inside a community about someone being “arcane.” Most communities react more shocked than anything else when an adult magic-user is found in their midst. With children, they know that the curse of the land will take some, no matter how faithful.