Orithia- Skull & Shackles
Far to the south of Salamonis, across the seas lies the continent of Rosaia, making up this large landmass are a number of nations both large and small. Rosaia is widely believed to be the cradle of Human civilisation and the vast majority of people living here are Human. One of the largest and oldest nations on Rosaia is Eáldîm.
Eáldîm is a land of chivalry. It’s inhabitants are generally hard working, honourable and trustworthy. Their entire culture is based around the great heroics of past heroes and aspiring to be as perfect as these paragons of legend, be that on the field of battle, or serving the community.
The language of Ealdine is one of the most commonly used across Orithia thanks to its spread amongst Eadline settlers and sailors. Particularly in the naval community, Ealdine is used as an international ‘common’ tongue.
The people of Eáldîm are split into four classes or ‘castes’. The peasant or ‘Serf’ caste are the workers of the land, underlings of more powerful lords they do not own the land they live on or the houses they live in. They gleefully work the farms, tend to the cattle, mine, build houses and all the other menial tasks of society in return for protection from the Knights and armies of Eáldîm.
The Worker caste are slightly higher up the scale than Serfs. They are usually merchants, scholars, soldiers, town militia, businessmen or great craftsmen (blacksmiths, shipwrights, architects etc). They are allowed certain privileges such as the ability to advance up the scales of society and earn their own money. The third caste is the Knight caste.
The Knights of the realm are the defenders of the country, champions of the downtrodden and shining virtue personified into living beings. They are skilled in the arts of mounted combat and are incredibly patriotic and religious. Each noble family has its own heraldry which it’s members proudly displays upon their clothes, armour, barding and anywhere else they can! It is a personal symbol used along with signatures to identify each other and their property (including Serfs).
The Knights own the villages, cities and farms of Eáldîm, paying the King a tax each month for the right to live and work there. The Serf families under their ownership then work the land and build houses. The Knights then employ Workers to settle in their towns and take up skilled jobs.
The Knights are responsible for protecting the land, defending villages and towns from marauding monsters, criminals and enemy armies.
The final caste is the Priest caste. Arcane magic is not illegal, but heavily frowned upon in Eáldîm, and its practitioners often have to operate in secret to avoid persecution. The only magic allowed openly in Eáldîm is divine magic, and even then only an ordained Priest may use it. Since the destruction of Valonia, the government of Eáldîm has cracked down even harder on arcane magic users and especially psions. Most people blame the influence of the encroaching Capitavirate but most people agree that what happened in Valonia cannot be allowed to happen again in Eáldîm. Priests are traditionally female, and only in recent years was the caste officially renamed from ‘Priestesses’. A national stigma still stands with male spellcasters but it is slowly being eroded by newer generations.
Eáldîm’s caste structure is very strict. A person is bound to the class he/she is born into and may not marry above their class. There are a few ways by which people in Eáldîm can ascend the social ladder and potentially change their class. A Worker who has amassed enough fortune can petition the King to buy a tract of unused land somewhere in the kingdom and become Knight of that region. Such action is common but rarely is the land bought in any fit state to be settled. Nevertheless, not a year goes by without some new unskilled Knight riding out into the sunset with wagons of supplies and a gaggle of Serfs, never to return. A Worker may be ascended to Knight-hood by order of the King after a particularly impressive display of bravery on the field of battle or in defence of their village. A Worker (or rarely, a Knight) can also petition to be ordained into the ranks of the Priests. To do this, one must apply to their local church (only certain religions are recognised by the state, most commonly Pelor, Heironeous, The Lady, Kord, Moradin or St. Cuthbert) and be accepted. Each church and each faith have different tests and rites which a candidate much fulfil, often involving some form of lengthy ‘quest’. A Knight can also be stripped of his rank and land should he fail in the eyes of his lord. A Knight who flees from battle, commits a crime or acts in anyway that violates the ’Knight’s Code’ faces a strict court martial at the Palace.