The Curious Pastime Tales

Here is my tales,
My tale of woe,
Yet please gather round,
As I tell my tale, of The Curious Pastimes.


3. The Nations

So there are the races in the Land of Sacuria, but now let me introduce you to the Kingdoms of Sacuria:


Firstly, we have the The AlGaia, they are the Children of the Goddess: spiritual, respectful of the land and driven with a passion to rid the world of evils that plague the good people of the factions. Queen Amgea – matriarch of an ancient fae household – leads the warhost, the former ruler, Lord Hart, having fallen into darkness. Matters of religion are tended to by Oak, a zealous forest elf who speaks with the voice of the Goddess, while all things magical are overseen by Inigo Magnus – a powerful wizard and scholar of the arcane. Many among the warhost are seen as zealots; filled with the strength of The Goddess they oppose the unnatural in whatever guise it takes, be it demon, undead or other manner of strange creature that plagues the lands. Some take this to the extreme and dedicate every waking moment to the Path of the Goddess. Known as her Swords, these powerful warrior-priests are beacons of light against the darkness who rally the faithful around them. Some are people of the forests or seas, scouts, sailors and rangers who venerate The Hunter; the noble protector that is son, father and husband to The Goddess. Those who know well the dark paths and deep shadows of the woodland, or treacherous coasts are well respected among the AlGaia, for their guile and knowledge is invaluable to all. Naturally drawn to the arcane, many people of the AlGaia turn to magic; studying the arts in scholarly institutes across the lands. Mages, Healers and Shamans hone their powers in an effort to master magic and turn their power against the enemies of the free peoples. The magical forests of Lyonesse and Estragalles are ever teeming with all manner of esoteric beings. Satyrs and Dryads dance within the magical woodland, their music luring wanderers from the paths. The Courts of the Fae continuously vie for power among each other in an eternal struggle, while trolls and beast creatures born of the land venerate the Goddess and Hunter in ways that may seem strange to many. Religious, magical and at one with the land, the AlGaia strive to rid the world of the darkness that plagues it and to bring the light of The Goddess to all corners, driving away the deep shadows of evil once and for all.


Secondly we have the Fir Cruthen. The Fir Cruthen live by word and deed; whilst written documents may hold little significance, the spoken word means everything. “Honour above all else” is their law and the many gods and dark histories are all they have to fear.   Death does not concern the Fir Cruthen, believing that they will pass to the Summer Lands and await their next birth on the cycle of the world.  This can make them seem bold, fearless and even reckless as they charge their enemies.  They are often lightly armoured, to the point that all that protects them is their painted woad; but this allows them to be an exceptionally mobile skirmishing force, even in the heaviest of combats.  This is not to say life is cheap, merely that creating a legend is always important; to be remembered in song around the fire is the greatest of honours. High King Cole MacCormacc rules the four nations, whilst the Taniaste or ‘lore keeper’ keeps the faction in line with the myriad plans of the gods. Chief warrior Kale McArthur leads the armies to war, marching under the banner of the stag. Comprising the lands Erin, Caledonia, Manx and Cymria the peoples are as varied as their tartans.  Family groups often travel to fight alongside each other, whilst others wander the lands and find themselves inexplicably drawn to the warhost. As long as a person honours the gods, and does not break the laws of the land, then they will be welcomed as family and given the unmistakable hospitality of the camp. Not all are warriors, amongst the people the Druids are looked to for guidance, their arts often mystical and strange and use their revered positions to show the paths the Fir Cruthen are to tread, whilst bards of renown tell the stories of the past, sing of the legends of our time and speak with a free tongue. Some of those who travel are off the old Noble houses, human and proud, who work alongside Elves from the ancient and mystical forests. Beastmen from the North, Knights from the border lands and even the rare Trolls from the darker corners accompany the warhost, for they all have some traits on common; they all come to carve their legend, to honour the gods and to be a part of something more – these are the traits that make them all Fir Cruthen.


Thirdly, The Jhereg, they are a people drawn together by their shared belief in the unity of the nation and their pragmatic moral outlook. His August and Terrible Majesty, Lord Jhereg, leads the people as the avatar of the Jhereg Spirit. At his right hand and involved in all the inner workings and politics of the nation is Liv Loneye, the people’s governor, while Wyatt, a hero of Norovik holds the prestige of being the People’s Warrior and advises on all matters of war. The hostile land of Siberia is where the Jhereg make their home. From deadly marshes to vast unforgiving deserts the Jhereg people not only survive but thrive there. Ever the great mix of societies, Siberia can boast of both great city-states and many thriving tribal civilisations. The Jhereg Empire believes in the ‘Great Freedom,’ where no race, religion or belief is persecuted. They will go to any lengths to protect their own, to be Jhereg is to never be alone. Powerful wizards ply their trade across the land, divining great mysteries and unlocking the workings of the arcane, or creating items of power to bolster the warhost. Beast creatures come to the call of the Jhereg spirit, strength and ferocity in their hearts.  They stand beside proud soldiers from the many cities who come to guard the warhost; their fighting forces bolstered by potions and skilfully crafted tools of war. Clever traders collate vast wealth and expand their treasuries with strange magical items, while diplomats make peace with the nations around them who often misunderstand the Jhereg ways. Though mistrusted by others, the Jhereg are most often found at the forefront of any fight against threats to civilization. Be it aligning with mystical forces, wielding powerful magic’s or cavorting with dark entities, the Jhereg will use whatever means are at their disposal to win the day.


Then we have, The Lions. The Lions are the royal warhost of Albion, fabled land of chivalry and valour. Righteousness, honour, law – these are the watchwords of this unyielding band of heroes as they strive to keep the light of order from guttering in the darkness of a chaotic world. The High King of Albion himself, wielder of Excalibur and Chosen of the Gods of Law, leads the Lions warhost. In his name, Lord Blackwell, Hand of the King and Lord Leofric, Knight Commander, marshal the resources and armies of Albion to strike against enemies near and far. The Lions are typified by the chain-clad presence and glorious pennants of their knights. Whether they are a brotherhood forged in battle, a religious order committed to the Gods of Law, entitled nobles seeking glory or simply roving knights errant… regardless, far and wide the blades and blazoned shields of the Lions are cheered by their allies and feared by their foes. Yet the High King maintains eclectic company within his warhost and though the knights are arguably the most famous, they are certainly not the only arrow in Albion’s quiver. The Lions honour scribes, law keepers, scouts, priests and mages too, bound by oaths and as true to noble purpose as any sworn blade. Whether seeking aid or volunteering service, the greatest meeting place in the lands is acknowledged as the Round Table of the Lions. Here all are treated as equals and even the freshest face can learn and influence matters of state and war. Albion, though largely a green and fertile island nation, is nonetheless troubled. Whether one hails from the troll marshes of Anglia, the bustling cities of Essex, the political hotbeds of Oxford, the stalwart borderlands of Bernicia, Deira’s undead-ridden forests or war-plagued Cornwall, the agents of evil and destruction lurk in every shadowed corner. Only the unbending vigilance of its myriad peoples keeps the ten kingdoms free from chaos. To the common man, every man and woman of the Lions warhost is a hero. The simple truth is that the warhost is the Albion epitome of tenacity and righteousness, summarised in the closing lines of the Lions Prayer: “To stand against evil, wherever it is found. We are the Lions… and we shall not falter.”


Also we have The Steppe Alliance, their treads the line between light and dark, striving for balance, ready to step to either side in order to preserve the equilibrium between the two. The Steppe Alliance have no true leaders, as they believe that all are equal, although they will annually elect Voices to speak with the combined voice of many. The current Voice of the Steppe, entrusted with speaking to those outside the Alliance with the voice of all brothers and sisters, is Najai; a first-born elf from the Great Wood. Changes to Voices and Lore are overseen by a wise Alexandrian librarian by the name of Amacsus Siregun Medleg. The diversity of peoples within the Steppe Alliance is their strength, but it is what they have in common which brings them together; their respect of the land, their reverence towards their Ancestors and their love for the Mother. The harsh lands and array of peoples have bred a plain-speaking culture within the Steppe that their allies respect. This is represented by the Steppe Alliance Treaty; a fluid, annually renewed document of Lore displayed with pride whenever the Steppe come together. People of action, whether they be warriors or mages, have their Voice; people of reason, whether they be scholars or diplomats, have their Voice; people of caution, whether they be entertainers or healers, have their Voice. This variety brings a colour and vibrancy that is celebrated in the Steppe. The Steppe Alliance claim ownership of no land, but instead tends the free lands to the east. These lands are as varied as their people, from vast deserts to the Great Wood, from the grassy plains of the Mongol heartland to vast mountain ranges. Hospitable and vibrant, their variety meaning the Steppe Alliance is never a dull place to be. Their only real foe is imbalance, and they will travel any path and find any ways to combat it and restore harmony wherever they are.


Then we have the nation of Teutonia. It is a land of efficiency where action matters. What may seem like brutality is clarity of thought and action, uncluttered by moral uncertainty. Philosophers in Teutonia are welcomed to gather in dark corners to mutter and argue about morality at their leisure. Empress Callista Aurelia, the Flaminica, Keeper of the flame and Protector of the faith has moulded Teutonia in her own image; pragmatic, resourceful and without fear. Her sword is Dominus Drusus Scaro who embodies the uncompromising efficiency and ruthless focus of Teutonia, while last surviving Teutonic Knight, Arch Duke Nash oversees the development of alchemy, craft and trade within the nation. Efficiency drives Teutonia. A common belief is that by your own hands you will change the world and bring glory to the Nation and Gods of Teutonia. Teutonians do not think it noble to die for their country, but to kill and kill again in defence of your nation is something to believe in. Religion is at the core of Teutonian life. Teutonians do not ask for gifts from their Gods; there is a solemn, devout and ingrained belief that the Gods do not serve Teutonia, Teutonia serves the Gods. How you show your devotion is unimportant; that you show it is critical. Teutonia is a land of variety. From international ports on north, western and southern coasts, to desolate forest stockades and mountainous outposts in the east, Teutonia is a vast and varied landscape. Teutonia is a land of old, dark ways. Necromancy flourishes and undead work for the betterment of the living; sentient undead walk amongst the living races as friends and allies within the safety of Teutonian borders. The reunification of Teutonia, following years of civil unrest and a succession of rulers, has culminated in the individual fingers of Teutonia becoming clenched into an iron fist. Skilled crafters and eloquent ambassadors look to turn the blood of their enemies into the wealth of a nation. Positioned at the heart of the allied nations, Teutonia is set as being the beating heart of the world.
And finally, we have the nation of The Wolves of Norsca, they are a vibrant society who do nothing by half measure Whether sending enemies to their deaths beneath their axe-blades, or singing tales of heroism around a campfire – these people, born of a harsh land make staunch allies and formidable foes. The Lord Wolf, Bothvar “Twice Born” Snorrison, rules over the Warhost of the Wolves and the lands of Norsca with an ice-cold grip and sharp mind. To aid him, High Thane Orrin Karlson, son of the High Castellan of the Hearth of Norsca sits at his right hand, while Thane Hygd Brunsdottir sits at his left as High Magistrate of Norsca. Norsca is a land of ice, where high peaks and snowy plains lead to an existence of hardship. The people of the land are proud to live in such harsh climate; indeed, they welcome it.  The capital city of Odinsheim is the home of the ruling council of all of the land, where The Hearth gather to decide the rulership of the peoples. Huscarl, Carls and Jarls lead their people. Often warriors of great renown, or wielding dangerous frost-born magic’s, they stand firmly with those they lead, weapon in hand, screaming death into the face of their enemies. While much of Norsca is predominantly human; Ogres, trolls and beast creatures from the darkest regions come to support the Warhost. Driven by the promise of battle, they venerate the Aesir with as much fervour as any human born of the lands. Their might adding to the destructive forces of the Wolves battle lines. Skalds, healers and brewers accompany the warhost, for their love of storytelling is matched only by their love of battle, their warriors will always need aid and celebrations are forever to be had. No other people has such a fervent bond to their gods, who often walk amongst them, guiding and instructing their lives as well as tending to their dead. Honour is not taken lightly; very much a people of their word, an oath uttered is utterly sacrosanct. Make sure of your facts if you intend to declare someone an Oath-Breaker in Norsca and expect to have to defend your statement with your sword. The Wolves are a welcoming people, born of a harsh land. Whether celebrating in battle, or around the warmth of a fire they are ever ready to stand for what they believe, or die with blade in hand and meet their gods.
As with any kingdom we have Mercenaries. The Mercenary camp is home to mixed groups from disparate backgrounds – warriors, scholars, spell casters, craftsmen, traders and drifters; those who have no home in the factions and those who are seeking one. Each group in the camp has their own command structure and is responsible for their own actions. Veteran mercenaries, Shaunter and Nicholas Charles of the Lion Azure, act as liaisons and contacts between the various peoples in the camp. Some mercenaries work for coin while others act for honour, some for knowledge or power. Some simply travel the lands free of the ties to a nation. Each acts for their own purpose, there is no single motivation that unites the mercenaries. Mercenaries are outside the political systems of the land and are beholden to no one with all the advantages and disadvantages this brings. All have learned to survive and defend themselves away from the support and protection of the factions, each with their own friends and allies.


And, of course we have Outlaws. Outlaws are those who are forsworn by all others and are hunted down without mercy. Extermination of Outlaws is considered obligatory by all Factions. When in neutral territory, or when specifically requested by a Lord General, any may hunt down such people and bring them to a very public justice. Only a Faction Leader may declare an individual or group Outlaw and this is a terrible decree to be made and therefore used only in the most extreme situations.

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