Mauritand, Sovereignty of
Distant from the power centers of the Tashrama, Mauritand's (Maw-rih'-tand) primary concern is it's protection of its own people and the Midlands from the wilds of the untamed lands to its south. Lord King Abuyk Nugosh is an open supporter of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron's unified lands, but he is quietly struggling to strengthen Mauritand to a point where it can hold its own pride without the need of subjugating his own royal line to a foreign power.
Life and Society
The need to pull income from business labors drives most communities in modern day Mauritand. Those who become the most successful end up gaining influence with town elders, or possibly becoming elders themselves. Wealth is not the only factor in gaining prestige however. Class and keeping close allies are just as important.
Mauritand has a relatively sparse population compared to other nations with the capital of Losojadan housing over a quarter of the populace. The sovereignty is covered with hills of bluegrass leading up to the tropical forests of the vacant lands, and much of the land is used for horse ranging.
Mining is conducted through many of the hills in highly secured regions. Diamonds have been vital to the economy for the last two hundred years. The lumber industry has also expanded into the northern stretches of the tropical forests in the Vacant Lands. But lately there has been an increase in the attacks committed by the cat-folk (Sekhnesti elves) who live in the forests south of the border. This has resulted in a recent shift the slaves taken in from conflict from bakali to the cat-folk. Slavery of other races in Mauritand is still permitted, but most slaves of civilized races are children of slaves. Rarely are their any new human, dwarven, Gildanesti, etc. slaves brought into the market.
Another recent commercial enterprise entering the markets is delverdo, a sport originating from Iveraque. Many of the northern towns have come to love this new pastime, and some entrepreneurs are attempting to find ways to cash in on the sport.
In early times, the nation held a deep tradition connected to the Tao-Shin faith. But after the Drowning, many people lost faith and little of it has returned since. When the Tashrama began to expand its presence, it discovered no love in Mauritand. All gods were blamed for the destruction of the golden age when the waters came, no matter what religion they were a part of. So after four hundred years of surviving and struggling on its own, Mauritand was not affected by the revelation that the Tashrama was being run by Elder Dragons or the news that the gods of the Tao-Shin had returned.
Strangely, although gods are seen as responsible for the Drowning, most in Mauritand harbor no ill will towards those who do have faith. Clerics, mystics, shamans, druids, and others devote to a higher power are not shunned like those who travel to the border states in the northwest of the Sovereignties (yet there are always exceptions). According to most citizens, to hate those who only see differently than you is a waste of effort and shows a lack of focus. As such, temples to the Tashrama, the Tao-Shin, and other faiths do currently exist in Mauritand. However attendance to their temples is naturally low.
The nation is ruled by the lord king from his palace in Losojadan. For centuries the title of the ruler was Lord Emperor, but upon joining the Midland Sovereignties, Umaka Nugosh agreed to change the name of his seat upon the whim of Sovereign Lord Montegron, who believed the title to be too grandiose when compared to his own.
The Lord King has full control of the nation-wide government and a strong influence on local affairs. In the past one hundred years, the towns and cities came into a common practice of sending the Lord King a short list of candidates for any mayoral spot that opens up. The list usually consists of names of local elders, business leaders, or town favorites. If the Lord King cared to, he would choose from the list the next one to lead. Otherwise he often appoints an adviser to make the selection for him. Some towns elect their mayors for life while others have ten or seven year terms.
Prior to the Drowning, cities and towns were often run by Damiyo, brave and honorable knights chosen to lead for their honor, intellect, wisdom, patience, loyalty, and humility. In modern times, all that is left of the Damiyo is The Damiyo Law, the Lord King's twelve elite bodyguards. Some say that Jermon Cavlin, founder of the Midland Guard, studied the Damiyo and adopted a few of their practices when forming the elite forces of the Sovereignties. Many in the Damiyo have gently and with good humor said if that were the case, he should have studied more.
The Sword Infantry is an elite army of foot soldiers and cavalry trained to protect the capital and the pasturelands from incursions from the uncivilized cat-folk and bakali of the south. They also serve to protect the general populace when a town or city is in need of additional support. The head of the Sword Infantry, the Blade-Master, is a member of the Damiyo Law assigned by the Lord King to head the Infantry. Other than the Blade-Master, no member of the Sword Infantry is also in the Damiyo Law.
Magic and Mysticism
"Awe and respect; distance and caution" is the common theme of how the people of Mauritand see spellcasters. Even those who have magic users in their families will often stay away from them once they take up any of the arts or practices, but otherwise deference is given to them whether they are near or far.
This custom applies to all casters, although primarily to those of the arcane arts. Respect will be given even if one is seen as an enemy and practitioner of dark and violent arts (although that won't stop them from trying to stop, arrest, or kill the wizard).
Divine casters are given the same respect, but often there is an underlining sense that they are just humoring them. The power of faith is tolerated, but religion in modern Mauritand has a very weak foothold. People are free to practice their religion, but most of the population sees no real purpose for it.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
The Colored Fields: To the northern reaches of Mauritand, the land undergoes a strange alteration of color. Instead of grasses and plant-life growing green, all of the plants exhibit odd and beautiful variations of color. Grass grows vibrant violets, and trees sparkle with golden leaves in some locations. In other acres the trees shimmer with a shining blue and the shrubs rustle in bright oranges. At times even the sky seems to be different. No explanation has ever been found for the strange yet beautiful colors, and nothing appears otherwise wrong with the wildlife. Yet the lands known as the Colored Fields (even though much of it technically aren't fields), is a sight many who visit Mauritand wish to experience. Some recent converts to the Tao-Shin religion have come to meditate within these grasslands and woods.
The Doom City of Fuzaidu: The doomed city of Lacada fell under the rule of Damiyo Kensuke Hisorte during an unremembered time in history. The city is a massive multi-tiered marvel that completely covered a lone mammoth of a hill. Each circular level of the city is sectioned off by its own wall of stone and timber, making any invading armies attempts to reach the manor on the top of the hill from any direction extremely difficult. Other than the gates letting people in from one section to another, waterfalls spill out from each tier to the bottom, originating from a giant spring internal to the hill until the falls finally reach the lake surrounding the city.
The exact events that caused Lacada's damnation varies from tale to tale, but some elements remain the same. The people of the city became complacent with their well to-do lifestyles and began to turn away from the gods. Corruption in the city was everywhere except for one sparkle of light, and that was in their lord Damiyo Hisorte. Hisorte preached to his people, hoping to turn them from their conceited and vile ways. But in the end he failed. A dark shadow fell on the city. What type of shadow varies between the stories, but in the end Hisorte is murdered by his own civilians.
Over the course of a single horrific night, the metropolis turns in on itself. Murder, hubris, greed, lust, wrath, and far worse. The people of the city tear each other apart as evil runs wild. By morning no one in Lacada was left alive. The city of Lacada became the city of Fuzaidu, The City of Dark Souls.
As far as any alive can remember, Fuzaidu is a ruined city of undead spirits and husks hateful of both the gods and the living. Any intruder who enters the city, day or night, will likely be tortured and killed by those the gods damned to remain on the mortal realm, trapped within Fuzaidu's walls. Corruption lays everywhere. Even the water of the falls has turned to black sludge, and unholy things swim in its waters.
But one light remains in the city. On top of the ruins, the manner of Damiyo Hisorte remains as pristine as its days of greatness. When the gods damned the city and the corrupted souls within it, Damiyo Hisorte refused to go onto the next life. He accepted the charge of guiding Lacada to his heart, and although his own people murdered him and his family, he chose to remain with them. He hopes to eventually turn these cursed beings away from darkness and towards redemption and peaceful rest. Until then, he will not leave them, no matter how many times they turn on his home and slay him, night after night after night.
Falecohvo Ranch: The Falecohvo family runs what is arguably the most successful horse ranch in the entire Midlands, if not all of Adlatum. The ranch has been passed down from father to son for six generations before being passed down father to daughter ten years ago. The Falecohvo family has specialized in breeding stronger and faster horses over the years, and many come to learn to ride as well as purchase the animals. Located on the outskirts of Josal, the ranch has the advantage of not being broken up by the tributaries. Instead the ranch extends over eighty continuous acres near where the Maurtran River begins to break apart.
Although he officially retired, Gosma Falecohvo spends most of his time here with his wife Rudaen, helping his daughter Hannean in choosing which horses to pair together to produce the better stock. Hannean Mavaire takes of the various breeds as well as gives lessons to new and expert riders. The second of Gosma's three daughters, Noragaen Veliya, is the current Second Protector of the Midland Guard. Since her ascension to her rank, the Falecohvo Ranch has become the number one supplier of horses to the Midland Guard and many of the Sovereignties.
The Drowning swept most of Mauritand away, including all of its most ancient history. From what can be gathered and remembered from tales, Mauritand was part of a slightly larger nation that included sections of Iveraque, Hudiechia, and some of the Vacant Lands. But over time this forgotten nation fell apart. In time Mauritand formed, possibly under the direction of its first Lord Emperor, or possibly not. Histories conflict as to whether the Lord Emperor ruled Mauritand in the earliest days or not. These contradictions leave even gnomish scholars in frantic debates whenever a new piece of evidence is uncovered.
What has been generally agreed to (for now at least), is that ancient Mauritand had deeply held traditions linking itself to the Tao-Shin religion. Some historians, but only a bare majority, believe the original Lord Emperor was also the religious leader of the land as well as political. A recent scroll depicts a story suggesting the original line of Lord Emperors contained the blood of the god (or goddess) Tsanahenan. Unfortunately no records could be found to identify the modern name this god uses, if it is a true god at all. Since the ancient Lord Emperors appeared to also be regional leaders of the Tao-Shin faith, it would be expected that Tsanahenan would be recorded somewhere in Tao-Shin writings, but so far no other mentioning has been found. Most historians state with absolute resolve that the story was likely written to further glorify the Lord Emperor and is not based in any degree of fact.
Although the details of the ancient history were lost, many of the events occurring during the last several hundred years up to a thousand years before the Drowning have survived, mainly from records discovered in other countries or underwater by the Corinesti.
The dominant figures of Mauritand's past underneath the Lord Emperor were the Damiyo. Damiyo were a style of knights who were known for their honor, wisdom, patience, education, adherence to tradition, and finally their skill in combat. They were believed to have trained themselves into a state of being blessed warriors of light and justice. They believed in showing gods of darkness only the respect they deserved as gods, and further more they acknowledge the dark forces by decorating their intricate battle armor with masks of demons. In one of the few books that survived the Grand Library of Losojadan's destruction, Breath of the Damiyo by Eijin Baota, "The mask symbolizes the inevitable tide of evil needing to turn and devour itself. Our souls and actions are solely for the light, but the mask lets those who forward chaos and destruction know what they see inside themselves as they look inward in their final moments. As the face of the demon flows towards them in battle, they will cower and look away, into their own soul. There, they see the more horrid demon and must come to terms with that during their first moments of eternity."
Many Damiyo of renown were given charge of lands within Mauritand to rule under the will and guidance of the Lord Emperor. The boundaries of their provinces appear to have charged as often as when a Damiyo is assigned, but often the province would only include a single town or city. Many times when a Damiyo was bequeathed a province, only a small area was given until his ability to "give his land guidance" was proven in the Lord Emperor's eyes. Once done, the Lord Emperor would then add more lands to the Damiyo's responsibilities. This suggests that many regions of the country were outside of the Damiyo's control since the Lord Emperor did not appear to have to remove land from another Damiyo's province before giving it to another. History also suggests that although the Lord Emperor was sometimes a member of the Damiyo, it was not a requirement for the nation's ruler. More often than not, the Lord Emperor was never of the Damiyo but had some Damiyo training.
History was replete with times when lands without Damiyo leading them came under the control of a local figure. Even though many of these individuals may be fair leaders, sometimes they may also grow to be warlords. There had been several internal conflicts in which a warlord has challenged a claim set by the Lord Emperor that his or her own lands were to then be set under the guidance of one of the legendary knights. Sometimes a warlord would not wait for such an edict, and they would try to grow their control by attacking neighboring provinces. One legend tells the tale of a warlord who was so successful, for forty years his own lands were larger than those controlled by the Lord Emperor. Upon his death, the warlord ordered the weakened Lord Emperor to take his granddaughter as his wife "so her blood will inject strength back into the line in which wisdom reigns." The Lord Emperor accepted the old man's dying wish, and the nation was reunified. His successor, the warlord's great-grandchild, was said to be the strongest and wisest of all Lord Emperors, Raiusam, with his younger sister becoming the first of the rare few rare women to become Damiyo during the earlier days.
Lord Emperor Raiusam's era is unknown. Many historians do not believe he actually existed and is only a figure of legendary tales.
During the Canon War, many of the Damiyo left to lead and serve in the armies against the minotaurs. Some served as generals, others as rank soldiers, each to their own talents and abilities. But they were not the only ones to serve. Much of the general population went to fight the bullmen when Lord Emperor Ude, a sixty-year old man well trained in the art of war, led the charge against the threat. During the Battle of Roden in 89 PD, Lord Emperor Ude sacrificed his own life to save the life of a minotaur he had just taken prisoner. The Mauritand forces in the battle became cut off from the main battle lines as a result of treachery conducted by an agent of the Empire of Dhu. The minotaurs swarmed their enemy. The Battle of Roden lasted for two weeks with non-stop fighting. The minotaurs had contained thirty-nine Damiyo along with the Lord Emperor, but the fighting went on for much longer than expected. In the end, tens of thousands of Mauritand's forces were killed.
When the minotaurs found Ude's body, a hatred for the Lord Emperor weld up within the minotaur commander. Ude had been a major thorn in their side during the early decades of the war, and he planned to desecrate the body to demoralize the human-dwarven forces. The young minotaur Kol whose life the Lord Emperor saved from a stray arrow, stood against Commander Jorkef. When Jorkef ordered the boy's execution for disobedience, many of his own men turned against him, remembering Ude's sacrifice. The Battle of Roden continued for three more days, minotaurs against minotaurs. Jorkef's forces won the battle, and those who stood with Kol were slain as traitors, but the Commander ended up losing an eye and a leg in the battle. Jorkef was forced to leave combat for the remainder of his days.
There is now a legend in Mauritand of a brigade of minotaur spirits, led by a young one, who roam the borders of Mauritand, seeking to protect those soles who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause of justice. It is said their first appearance was far outside of Mauritand, and that they had participated in three of the lesser-known battles of the Canon War. These ghostly minotaurs wear armor that is a blending of Mauritand's own and that of the minotaurs of old.
Two more Lord Emperor's would fight in the Canon War, and both died. The Lord Emperor Urati died the hour before the Drowning began to engulf the continent. Having failed to protect his injured sister from a group of human mercenaries working for the minotaur army, he saw the coming wave and believed the world doomed for his inaction. He begged the gods' forgiveness and took his own life moments before the wave struck. The remaining Damiyo honored their fallen Lord Emperor by standing guard against the coming water. The wave wiped the noble heritage from the face of Krynn. Whether located on the fronts, in Mauritand, or even at the doomed marriage of Roric Heymelion and Pharaceilia Heratecin in Drejor, every one died.
For Mauritand itself, the wave and floods swept almost every standing structure (and almost all of the population) into the Sea of Tears. Only a small percentage of the original Mauritand population survived, and most were men and women away to the north fighting in the war.
In the following years, the Midlands were in flux. People were searching for lands of stability where there was little to be had. Many foreigners from the north settled in the Mauritand region in order to escape Iveraque's constant flooding. Many individuals came to the south to take advantage of others in their desperate situations, and some regions of Mauritand were claimed by the wild. Encounters with the bakali of the Vacant Lands escalated into warfare. Eventually the industry of slavery of captured lizard folk helped to stabilize the country. Slavery had always existed in Mauritand as far as any could recall, but this was the first time foreigners were bought and sold.
Mauritand recovered as many who initially came south to take advantage of the destitute began to turn to other avenues of business. Within a generation Mauritand was rebuilt by those who sought to exploit it. Loret Nugosh, a veteran of the Canon War and a distant relation of a previous line of Lord Emperors, was installed officially as the new leader of Mauritand, but it would be thirty years before his reign would be recognized by all of the current territories now within Mauritand.
Business and work ethic became the new code in the following century. During the years in which the Lord Emperor's word was weak, those business leaders who had hands on experience in rebuilding the individual towns or building new towns from scratch became the elders, the new warlords of Mauritand. Swords and war changed to money and negotiations. The Damiyo was reformed in a fashion under Ashina Nugosh in 40 AD as his personal bodyguards, now called the Damiyo Law, but the control they once had and the awe they inspired were lost, even after imperial control was fully reestablished.
During the Days of Darkness, the forces of Chaos flowed over the borders like a tidal wave. The Lord Emperor Umaka Nugosh's son Abuyk saw the Damiyo Law fighting with every ounce of their being to defend his father and sisters. The image was burned into his mind. He believed in those days the Damiyo of old had truly been reborn, but when the time to rebuild came, everything not only returned to the status quo, but it turned in Abuyk's eyes for the worse.
Conflict with the Sekhnesti (called the cat-folk locally) escalated as the timber companies began to press into the forests of the Vacant Lands after the forces of Chaos destroyed the forests in eastern Mauritand. When Lord Montegron helped press back the incursion, he was able to convince Umaka to bring Mauritand into the unified Sovereignties. Montegron also convinced Umaka change the name of his title to Lord King, believing the title Lord Emperor was too glorified when compared to his own title and that of the other kings and queens of the Midlands. Abuyk watched as the pride of Mauritand diminished.
A decade later, Abuyk became the Lord King of Mauritand after Umaka suffered a stroke. Publicly the Lord King supports the Sovereignties and the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, but his aims are reaching higher. He dreams of Mauritand standing on its own and the Damiyo returning to their old noble glory, replacing the business men with knights of valor. Ironically, he is seeking aid from their old enemy, the bakali. Montegron currently has no knowledge of Abuyk's traitorous interests.
Hekaja (Village 433): This tiny village was built in 418 AD when a group of freed bakali slaves promised the Lord King to serve Mauritand, the country some of them were born in, by watching a stretch of the southern border that had before been lightly protected. Previously this land was not viewed as a weakness during the days when the bakali were seen as the major threat from the south, but with recent attacks by the cat-folk, the need to keep an eye on more of the land near the tropical forests is becoming paramount. Many of the bakali citizens were given their freedom for unknown reasons by someone high within the national government.
Josal (Large Town 4,825): This town was founded by foreign travelers and carpetbaggers in the years following the Drowning. Even to this day, most of the family names in the city sound as if they were from elsewhere in the Midlands.
The coastal town of Josal is cut up into many minute pieces by the Maurtran River, which breaks up into several small tributaries before letting out into the Sea of Tears. This results in the town being interconnected by a network of bridges extending from island to island to mainland. Josal is also bisected over the famed Kavite Bridges by one of Mauritand's major roads leading directly to the capital to the southwest.
Josal has a strong fishing industry and also produces medium to small size boats. However it is better known for the ale produced by the local brewery and the horses bred at the Falecohvo Ranch on the eastern side of town.
Losojadan (Metropolis 39,305): The capital is a large city located near the southern coast of Mauritand. As such militia, Sword Infantry, and Damiyo Law protect Losojadan from the uncivilized threats not too distant in the Vacant Lands. The city is a major port and conducts constant trading with the Corinesti Trade Guilds. The center of the city, away from the docks, is a secured city seemingly separate from the rest of Losojadan. This inner city is dedicated to the wellbeing and lifestyle of the Lord King.
Prior to Mauritand joining the Midland Sovereignties, only the Damiyo, the Imperial Family, and those invited by them could enter its secured walls. But now, under the Sovereign Lord's orders, any who have a need to deal with their Lord King or those within the Mauritand government may enter. The Midland Guard also has established a small local headquarters to assist in protection of the southern border within the Central City.