The Kingdom of Loksalm
[The Kingdom of Loksalm]
- Demetrios, son of Argus, Farmer: We are the greatest kingdom in the world, the only place which follows the true revealed word of the Invisible God. I am a farmer like my father before me, because I like to farm. My son Hemeros is a priest now, and I could have become one, but I feel this is my calling, but it is my choice. Heretics like the Rokari would force me and mine to be farmers and nothing but forever. This is why demons will take their souls when they die, while I know Joy now and will go to Solace when I die. It's probably their fault as to why my crop yields aren't as good as they were for my grandfather. We have to do something but I'm not sure what.
- Lieutenant Hespera, Daughter of Rhea, Third Season, Fifth Year, Second Decade: My mother was the administrator of one of the districts around Rhianno, but I was apprenticed at age 7 to a blacksmith in Shakal; this built up my strength and when I had done my time as a Commoner, I eagerly entered the army. I originally planned to eventually become a noble like Mother, but now I'm not so sure; I'm really enjoying commanding troops and being in the army, so I may stick with it, though Mother will be a little disappointed. But you have to follow the call of Irensviel where it leads you. I'm stationed at Winter Watch; we don't want war with the Aldryami, but the omens indicate that the Hero Wars are about to begin and that means almost anything could happen. Loksalm has to be ready. My men are rowdy, but I think we will fight well. If we fight at all.
- Jannes, son of Felix, Priest of the Calling of Iraklia: Iraklia is a little farming village of 600 people, in the hills north of Dragon's Fang; it's mostly sheep and grain production. A quiet life, which is just what I want. I spent seven years working for a merchant in Southport, then spent seven years in the army, where I had to watch people die, in order to get to where I wanted to be, right here, tending to the souls of a quiet village. They drink too much and not as many of them make it to the weekly services, but all in all, I can't complain. It certainly beats making candles and smelling like wax until I die, like Father will.
- Galatea, Daughter of Malantha, Lady Temporal, Head of the Gallin River District: My father was a travelling peddlar, my mother was a barwench. I rule an entire district and before I die, I hope to sit on the royal council. My parents apprenticed me to a scribe and in the military, I kept records and managed accounts. The clergy used me for the same job in Southport and when I passed the test, I moved up to become assistant to the head of the Eastern Gallin River District. And here I am now and still rising. I don't want to be a Paladin but I think I could be if I wanted it. Where else in the civilized world could anyone have a career like mine? What greater country is there? None. Now I just have to find who keeps embezzling grain shipments, I'd be perfectly happy. How would you even fence huge shipments of grain without someone noticing? It makes no sense.
- Mikhalis, son of Basil, Wizard of the School of Sacred Geometry: I am *still* waiting on the shipment of sandstone I need to make this forge work right and it's driving the craftsmen crazy. This happens far too often. How am I supposed to... oh, hello, there. I am the son of a soldier, who loaded wagons for seven years, then loaded wagons for the military for another seven, while I studied literature and philosophy in preparation for my current job as a Wizard. I will probably do this until I die, especially as it has *no wagons*. Only now, I'm guessing someone bungled their use of wagons. Dammit. Oh, and don't stand there; your body's energies interfere with the flow through the completed parts, which would lead to damage.
- Helen, daughter of Agamemna, Paladin: I breathed my first breath seven years before the Grey Age ended and the oceans were Opened by Saint Dromal. My parents were farmers, but I dreamed of more. It was perhaps a mark of destiny that the lots chose for me to remain with my parents until I was twenty-one. I passed the first test and entered the army and did seven years of service on the new frontier... we actually *had* a frontier now. Then I became a Priestess and served in a small village in the back of beyond and when I was thirty-five, I passed yet another test and became administrator of a district of Far Watch. At 42, I became a Woman-of-All and since then, I have wandered and I have come to see the truth. If we do not stop the Kingdom of War, a new Time of Shadow will begin and it may well be that the Creator will have to start over from nothing, for if they have their way, nothing will remain. We must fight with all our strength, or we will die. We have not fought a real war since the Grey Age began. It may break us. But I am ready to die for this country I love. I just wish that many others would not have to die as well. But we must fight or we will die. I am ready. Are you?
- "Theophilus", Rokari Preacher: Heretics who will burn in the fires of the Hells. I do my best, but few will listen to me. Those who are willing to defy the Irrensalvists only do so in the name of depravity, cowardice, or self-indulgence. There is no man and woman, united in the hands of the Creator in Loksalm, only rutters who violate each other's bodies whenever and however they want and trample all the rules for men and women. Some feign marriage, to mock true believers, but there is no real marriage. Every Wildday is an orgy of self-indulgence, especially that evening. The only good thing I can say for this place is that Loksalm Coffee is better than real coffee, to my amazement. The food in general is strange, but not bad. But they basically break all the rules of caste and they persist in the deluded idea of the Man-of-All, which they call 'Paladins'. At least they do not consort with Krjalki. Though I've heard rumors of Elven temptresses on the northwestern border... Filthy elf-sluts.
- Antonio Franchescos, Merchant of the Quinpolic League: The Loksalmi are excellent business partners as long as you are scrupulously honest. They usually know if anyone tries to pull a fast one, though it doesn't always work; they claim it used to always work but I expect that's just nostalgia for the past. They sound like my grandmother, sometimes, complaining everything was better back in her day. They need things they can't grow themselves, like sugar, cotton, various spices, ivory, tea, *real* coffee, porcelain and so on; they trade us bulk metals, food, timber, their terrible coffee substitute (Don't ask me why, but Vithelans *love* the stuff, so you can make a huge profit off it but don't drink it unless you hate yourself), books, paper, and so on. They're tremendous goody-goodies, but in fact, they have lots of perfectly good entertainments as long as you aren't decadent or a Rokari. Also, you need not worry about the Vadeli competing with you here, because they literally *burst into flames* if they get too close to a Cathedral here. I've seen it and I wish I could unsee it. Unfortunately, either they won't share their secret or it really is a blessing of the Invisible God, but in that case, why won't he help us? I'll note that the Rokari don't burst into flames here, more the pity, but they hate the Rokari as much as we do.
- Herbot Rajavi, Carmanian Initiate of Etryes and Merchant: Our grand Lunar Empire embraces diversity; the Loksalmi are determined to strip away all the colors of the rainbow but one. One true faith, one true way to live, one true government. But they aren't murder-crusaders, so we can usually get along, probably aided by the hundreds of miles between us. My ancestors were dualists, who believed in two gods; it would be too simple to say 'good' and 'evil', but perhaps one might say 'nurturing' and 'aggressive'. The wise man learned to be both, to balance the open hand and the fist. But the Loksalmi believe the fist is evil, and I fear they will be eaten alive by those who can see all the colors and have multiple options in any situation. That being said, it certainly makes trading with them a delight as long as your goods are the color they can accept.
- Harrek the Berserk, Leader of the Wolf Pirates: Before I die, the Kingdom of War will kill and enslave them all. A collection of pathetic weaklings who aren't even worth plundering. I could probably kill them all myself, but I would die of boredom. What's that? You want revenge on them? You're clothing now, I'm the one in charge and I have better things to do! If I wanted to kill weaklings, I would spend all my time stomping cockroaches and... *makes irritable noises*. Anyway, the only thing worth looting around there is Sog City and I already looted it... it was disappointing. Don't waste your time, unless you want books and empty buildings. Why waste all that time piling and mortaring stone if you're just going to let it fall down? Gunda does like her mirror, so it was worth it for her. She should already know what she looks like by now. Dammit, now I want to go have a real fight, but I'm so tough, hardly anyone can give me one any more. Don't get old, no one will be able to kill you and you will be bored all the time. Oh yes, Loksalm. Not worth your time, and soon the Kingdom of War will kill them all. And then I can come back and have a *real* fight. Oh, their Paladins might give you a real fight, so if you go, that's who you want to kill. I can kill five of them while eating breakfast now but they used to give me a workout. Anyone else, pathetically weak.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth : The Loksalmi are lunatics who worship a book. All Westerners worship books; I can't read and never will and it protects me from this kind of idiocy; I leave it to priests of Lhankhor Mhy, who can handle it. That being said, their warriors are reasonably strong and skilled, though few of them can stand up to a warrior of my skills. I command Orlanth's power and sometimes *become Orlanth* and they just shoot bows and stab people. Their evil priests try to enslave the gods and are the worst of them. And some of them *are* formidable. I saw one of them speak a single word and a rune he dug in the dirt exploded in flames, killing fifty men at once! Another one could re-attach severed limbs. And a third tried to force Orlanth to abandon me, but my faith exceeded his blasphemy and I sent him to dwell in the hells with his 'Invisible God'. Which is to say, his totally imaginary god. Then I plundered his false-temple and had a priest of Lhankhor Mhy study my loot and destroy anything connected to Chaos. I've heard they face a potent Chaos foe, the Kingdom of War; I don't know enough about it to know who is stronger, just to know Orlanth is stronger than *either*. But they're so far away, they might as well live on the Red Moon, really. And at least they are not filthy Lunars. They have normal marriages, though fostering all their children out of the clan seems risky to me; how do you hold the clan together if others raise your children? On the other hand, it does cut down on feuding. A strange place, but with lots of loot.
- Mandarin Abe Masinori, an Initiate of the Truth Dragon, in service to the wise Exarch of Hakusan Province, Shizumu Mamoru: Perhaps the most important fact about Loksalm is their complete failure to understand the menace posed by mer-folk to truth, justice and the modesty of all men and women of the land everywhere. I blame what they call 'The Closing', which lasted so long that they must have forgotten. The second most important fact is that their society fundamentally opens the gates of disharmony by refusing to accept that each person has a specific role and purpose. Instead, on a whim, you can abandon your duties and role in order to seek out other roles. I do approve of their recognition of the spiritual equality of men and women, which is masked by physical differences in many, inferior cultures. Further, the Loksalmi are polite, generous, and loyal to each other. And their land is somehow free of the evil foods of Chern Durel, even though their climate is similar that of Air Province and even much of their diet is similar. *That* bears further study.
As of the last census, 1,568,333 people lived in Loksalm. A new census is in progress.
Once these lands belonged to Akem but during the first age, it sank into the control of evil when wicked men opened the Gate of Banir and let Chaos in. Oppressed by Akem, these lands eventually united under the crown of Loksalm and while the land has waxed and waned and even been ruled by the Middle Sea Empire, it has a long and glorious history. When the Middle Sea Empire turned to darkness, it fought free of their control and rose to new glories in the Third Age.
In 1499, Prince Snodal and his allies slew 'The God of the Silver Feet', a Demon who was leading an army of Hsunchen known as the White Bear Empire, to invade and destroy Loksalm. This somehow created the Syndic's Ban, known to us as the Grey Age. Every nation in Fronela was cut off from each other. Yet isolation allowed holy King Siglat to finally return to the pure system of Danmalstan, the original home of all the Malkioni peoples, in which the castes were stages of life, not prisons you were born into. Thus it became possible to rise from commoner to soldier to wizard to noble and finally to become a Paladin, a Man-of-All, who embodied hard work, courage, wisdom, and leadership on behalf of the community.
Now everyone, regardless of birth, must spend time on a farm or in a workshop or hauling goods or building roads, that they might learn the virtue of hard work. Some then move on to the army where they learn how to fight in order to defend others and study the code of Chivalry. The wisest among the army then go on to train as wizards and priests and many find themselves content to study, preach, and work with higher magics. But the call of leadership draws some to give up that freedom for the duties of leadership as nobles. And a precious few go on to join an order of holy knighthood and become a Paladin.
The nobles elect a king when the throne falls vacant; he is advised by a five person council: The Lord Mayor of the Farmers (elected by the farming caste members), the Marshall of the Army, the Ecclesiarch of the Church, the Chief Justice, and the Royal Treasurer.
The rest of the noble class are the 'Lords Temporal'; they staff government in the cities and at the national level, while the countryside is largely governed by locally elected mayors of farm villages, with a few Lords Temporal overseeing the districts and handling district level affairs. The Order of Artificers (wizards) construct special buildings for the lords which channel a portion of the land's magical energies to them, helping them to do their jobs.
The wizard caste is divided into orders which answer to the head of the Church, which is staffed by members of the wizard caste above the local level. (Village lectors are trained in certain specific rites for the good of local communities if not enough priests exist to staff a village properly.) The Church is controlled by the Ecclesiarch, who is elected by a council of Priests known as the Chapter of Electors.
The military is divided into a normal military hierarchy; the king appoints the top officers, including its commander, the Marshall.
- Regular forces are organized into groups of 7, known as 'weeks'. 8 weeks plus a lieutenant and four sgts. form a 'season'. 5 seasons + 2 weeks of specialists (commanded by a lieutenant), a captain, and four lieutenants forms a 'year' of 325 men. Ten years and an additional 250 specialists and officers, including a Colonel and several Majors, forms a Decade of 3500 men. Typically a year has 2 seasons of pikemen, 2 seasons of archers, and 1 season of skirmishers and scouts (including light cavalry).
- Specialist forces of various sides may be attached which include healers, wizards, priests, and engineers.
- Knights form units of 8 (moon), 64 (sun), and 512 (star) and are attached to armies as appropriate; a Decade of infantry usually will have a Star of Knights with it.
- There are currently known to be 15 decades of infantry and 15 stars of knights. Of this group, about 20% are 'seven year men', who are on the way to the wizard and noble castes but doing their time here; the rest will serve until age 40, then either move to noncombat duties or are given land and retire to a farm.
- The Navy is, by comparison, weak and not up to the standards of anything else in the country, though it's trying to improve. For centuries, Loksalmi sailors could cruise around part of the Gulf of Loksalm and that was it. Fishing boats could go a little ways from shore at sea but not any trade vessel. But now the world is open and they're still trying to get a grip on naval warfare and trade. The Red Men have offered to sell boats to Loksalm but something about them makes the Loksalmi wary. Loksalmi Cogs are built from oak and have a single mast. Cogs typically have two mounted siege engines and a force of marines armed with bows and spears. They get close and shoot the crew of enemy ships dead, after an honorable surrender chance is made (of course). The siege engines attack the enemy masts. Cogs are decent trading vessels but as warfare ships... it is fortunate they mainly only deal with raiders from the Yigg's Islands, who rely on ships to get to land and can only fight at sea by ramming. It is unfortunate that the navy is too small to catch all the raiders.
The church's holy blessings and the work of wizards (who do not shun aiding the tillers of the soil, for they have been tillers themselves, unlike in evil lands like the Kingdom of Seshnela) ensure hugely fertile crops and support a very large population. Only about four out of every ten Loksalmi needs to farm in order to feed all ten, freeing up more for craftwork, military service, wizard, the priesthood, and the nobility. There are no serfs in Loksalm but about sixty percent of farmers are tenant farmers who rent government or private land. The other forty percent are free farmers who own their own land or even rent some of it out.
Loksalmi cities are usually ruled by an elected council and a Lord Temporal appointed by the Precinct Governor. Guilds govern the various businesses; guildsmen are all of the commoner caste. Cities are large and flourishing, fed by trade and the profuse products of the countryside. Most guilds have a lector or even an actual priest who tends to their spiritual needs.
The Loksalmi church is divided into callings (local communities with a shared lector or priest), bishoprics (21), and archbishoprics (3: Northpoint, Southpoint, and Scale City), one of whom is the Ecclesiarch. Every bishopric has a Cathedral in the bishop's seat which focuses his bishopric's divine magic for the good of all, passing on a tithe to his archbishop. Bishops wield incredible power when in their Cathedral. Archbishops even more so. Some of this power is shared with the various wizardly and clerical orders.
Notable Wizardly and Clerical Orders
Note: These orders include a handful of Paladins as there are not sufficient Paladins to form independent orders of them. All non-combat orders are open to women; women who want to fight must become a Daughter of Elleish.
- The Children of Dromal: Dedicated to providing the church's services to commoners, a large chunk of active duty priests belong to this group, along with a cloud of lectors trained by and supervised by it. It is larger than most orders, though less politically powerful. It possesses grimoires relating to Harmony, Fertility, and Earth magic.
- The Daughters of Elleish (combat): Saint Elleish is the champion of women who wish to leave traditional women's roles; the Daughters of Elleish combine scholarly study of magic with aid to the army in battle. Unlike most orders, a woman must decide to join this order upon leaving the Commoner Caste and then is trained by them and serve as support forces for them while doing their military service. They are most commonly versed in the Combat (Mastery), Harmony and Water runes.
- The Order of Artificers: They study the arts of construction and sacred architecture; technically priests, they look more like wizards to a casual observer. They have an extensive set of grimoires and typically know some combination of Earth, Stasis, Magic, and Architecture (Mastery) magics.
- The Order of Joyful Combat (combat): Those devoted to Saint Talor join this order; they are a mix of priests with combat training from their military service and Paladins. They organize themselves into groups of 8 as military cavalry is organized, generally living with the army and supporting it. They are generally devout but not very theologically inclined; they find evil and hit it until it dies. They are most commonly versed in the Harmony and Eternal Battle runes.
- The Order of the Watchers Over the Dead (special): This order has the job of maintaining graveyards and ensuring the dead stay dead, the living stay alive and the two groups don't mingle except in the form of the order. Every member must die and then be raised from the dead by the order; this enables them to walk in both the Underworld and the world of the living. Some members train for combat, while others lead worship, hold funerals, and tend graveyards. Fighting members train with Grimoires of the Death and Underworld runes. Non-combat members study grimoires of the Harmony and Underworld runes.
- The Sailors on the Sea of Fate: A new order, formed in the wake of the coming of Saint Dormal and the end of the Syndic's Ban; they are a missionary order which also aids Loksalmi traders. They possess grimoires which offer power over the Water, Motion, and Truth runes.
- The Seekers of Wisdom: This order follows Saint Conwy; they maintain schools and libraries; they have a huge array of grimoires but they are most commonly experts of the Truth, Fate, and Law runes.
- The Shield of Hrestol (Combat): Saint Carpattia guarded Hrestol and so do these wizard-priest-knights. They act as bodyguards and judicial champions to major members of the noble caste, protecting them from danger. They learn the Combat (Mastery), Truth, and Stasis runes through grimoires.
Life in Loksalm
The Loksalmi raise sheep for wool and grow flax for linen, using the former for clothing and the latter for underclothes and bedsheets. Loksalmi use a pinned linen underwrap around their groin area; women loosely bind their breasts with linen strips if they're going to engage in vigorous activity like farm work or in cold weather. Men and women wear brightly colored tunics and leggings; the tunic is held shut with a belt and they wear boots over the leggings if they're outside the house. Boots are taken off indoors. These tunics typically have either floral or geometric patterns. When working, women often put shawls around their long hair to keep off dust; men keep hair cropped short and generally wash their hair quickly after work, before dinner. At festival time, women wear wreaths and men wear conical hats, decorated with symbols which brag about their accomplishments.
Foreign styles are starting to be used by many wealthy folk, but the church preaches against it. The wealthy are allowed to wear silk versions of standard clothing and to wear more and fancier accessories.
In war, Soldiers wear scale bronze armor when possible, though lighter troops wear cuir boulli armor. Some units, due to money or need for more mobility wear leather with strips of metal on it; this may simply be studs in some cases. Most use shields. Officers wear badges of rank.
Wizards often wear strange ceremonial clothing of a variety of kinds, covered with runes.
Nobles wear fancy silk versions of everything and some kind of crown of gold or silver.
Loksalm's food relies on local production, though spices, tea, and coffee are popular imports now that the Syndic's Ban has ended. Barley, rye, wheat, and oats are the standard grains and broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, onions, carrots, and peas are the standard vegetables. Orchards produce apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and plums. Bushes produce strawberries and blueberries, and they grow a lot of grapes, though to be honest, their wine is only mediocre at best. Their beers and whiskeys are much better (but consumed only moderately... though there's increasing problems with too much boozing), and they produce 'Loksalm Coffee', a drink of highly similar taste but made from rye, barley, and wheat mixed together. It has no caffiene. Fruits are turned into jams, jellies, and preserves, unless you have magic to preserve them. Soups and stews are popular; many other dishes rely on Hrestol's Blessing, cauliflower which has been ground into small rice-like chunks and is used much the same as rice. Loksalmites especially love aspic, a jellied treat made from meat juices and bits, often with fruit and vegetables inside it. In the winter, ice cream is popular. (Most can't get it cold enough the rest of the year.) Many spices are imported now, but salt, bay leaves, oregano, sage, chives, and mints are still used much more commonly. Pepper is virtually unknown in Loksalm cooking as it costs *far* too much, and other spices tend to be used by nobles and wealthy folk, which creates some resentment and some see it as a sign the true faith is breaking down.
Coldberries are a distinctive Loksalmi plant, unknown elsewhere; unlike most plants they LIKE cold weather and the harder the winter, the bigger, jucier, and tastier the berries. Young children are put to work harvesting the berries early in Sea Season while adults and teens do harder work.
Pork, beef, chicken, and fish are common meats, but most people eat meat sparingly; the wealthy can eat meat more and on the coast, everyone eats shrimp, oysters, and fish in much greater profusion. Under the right conditions, in some locations, you might have waterfowl, such as ducks, a few times a year and coastal Loksalmi sometimes eat turtles. Mutton is an option but not one favored by the Loksalmi. The Korkalin to Farwatch coast regulates turtle hunting but almost everyone can get enough to eat turtle for a week or two a year there, usually at the start of Darkness Season. Lokasalmi enjoy a variety of entrails and bits that some people do not; if you're going to kill one of your animals, you should eat as much of it as you can. Eggs are the most available meat for most folk. Meat is salted or smoked to preserve it and for special events, you dig a fire pit and barbeque it. Loksalmi drink milk from cradle to grave and love to make many cheeses.
Honey is the main sweetener; sugar is a luxury. Pies, with or without meat, are popular.
A typical Loksalm farmer might have oatmeal with either fresh fruit or some kind of preserved fruit, along with some fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast, sliced (by them, on a stump) bread and cheese for lunch, and a stew with chicken, Hrestol's blessing, onion, cabbage, and carrots, seasoned with sage, salt, and oregano, for dinner, all three meals washed down with beer or Loksalm Coffee. Bread with butter and / or preserves might be added to dinner and two or three times a week, you'd have aspic or cookies or a pie with dinner.
The death of Hrestol enabled everyone to achieve the Joy of the Heart in this lifetime and to reach Solace upon death, so long as you strive to do what is right. No one, of course, is perfect, but the Invisible God. Everyone attends a half-day of worship on RestDay? each week, along with the 14 days of Sacred Time. Normal initiates do not have to attend further services, though many do. The second half of RestDay?, no work is done; ideally, you should read sacred texts, visit with friends, and attend approved entertainments; it's increasingly a problem that people go hog-wild during the second half of RestDay?, especially in the cities. Certain extremely pious people go to great lengths to avoid anything which could be called work, sometimes to the point of just praying and reading and fasting the rest of the day. Most people understand that this means not working in the fields, not doing drills, and so on, but it's okay to cook yourself a meal or clean the house.
Priests spend all of RestDay? on holy work of various kinds, preside over the Sacred Time ceremonies, and spend five days each season celebrating various holy days. For example, Sea-Truth-Wildday celebrates Saint Dromal's birthday; it has become a huge festival to celebrate the end of the planting season. Fire - Harmony - Clayday is the holy day of Saint Horal, patron of all soldiers, and thus the biggest holy day of that caste. Saint Ilyena, patron of Priests, has her holy day on Earth - Movement - Waterday. Saint Josselyne, the blessed martyr, is also patron of all nobles and has his holy day on Darkness - Stasis - Windsday. And of course, Saint Siglat is celebrated on Storm - Truth - Fireday. Twenty other holy days add to the responsibilities of a priest.
Every RestDay? service involves some kind of This World Heroquest which recharges the Church and refreshes the Joy of the Heart in participants. A proper service requires a priest; a problem for many villages is that there are an insufficient number of Priests and a Lector must preside, with periodic visits from a proper priest, likely on some other day of the week. This didn't use to be a problem, but less people are rising to the rank of Priest or maybe the population has just outgrown the number of priests, no one is sure. This means less powerful services and more times something goes wrong and you have a week of bad fortune and petty curses and being cut off from the Joy of the Heart. Holy day services also need a Priest to do it right, though often that is when a visiting Priest will arrive in your village. Urban churches virtually always have a resident priest and are more likely to be overstuffed with worshippers instead. That, however, just generates more power.
The Holy Text of Loksalm is known as the Revelations to the Saints , and composes three parts:
- The Book of Malkion: This work lays out the story of Danmalstan, from its foundation by the Creator to Vadel's fateful trip out into the Shadowlands to the rise of the Shadow and its first wars against Danmalstan. It was written by Malkion himself and includes his discovery of Solace. It can be studied to learn Spirit, Truth, or Law magic.
- Quote: Irensaval the Hidden Mover cast his thoughts out upon eternity and his light shone, driving back the Shadow, shaping all that could be into what is.
- The Book of Hrestol: It begins with an account of Malkion's betrayal and murder by Zzazabur, followed by the Flight of the Exiles, who fled Danmalstan, taking the word of Malkion to the western shores of the Shadowlands. It tells the story of how Zzazabur tried to redeem himself by destroying the Shadow with a mighty spell and of the first years of the Exiles on the coasts of the Eastern Lands. It tells the story of how Prince Hrestol of Seshnela found the secret of Joy. It can be studied to learn Fate, Death, or Movement magic.
- Quote: The laws of Zzabur depended upon the fear of death. By revealing the Secret of Solace, Malkion drove that darkness from the human heart, allowing men to ignore Zzabur's laws and try to regain the true laws of the Creator which Zzabur had distorted. By revealing the Secret of Joy, Hrestol made this life worth the living. Will you waste their deaths on wicked behavior? If so, woe unto you!
- The Messenger's Rites: This begins with Hrestol's betrayal and murder by the impious materialists of Sog City and how Saint Tomaris brought the good news of Hrestol to Fronela and the world. It also contains many moral and metaphysical teachings of Hrestol, and lays out the basics of worship. It can be studied to learn Harmony, Stasis, or Magic magic.
- Quote: One must neither worship the world as the materialists do, nor fall into worshiping the Runes, which were made to serve the Invisible God and to serve us, not for us to serve them as the pagans do.
- Siglat's Purification: This lays out the story of Prince Snodal, who slew the wicked 'God of the Silver Feet', a vile demon of Chaos who led the White Bear Empire against us. It tells the story of how we survived the Grey Years, when all lands were sealed off from one another. And how King Siglat reformed Loksalm into its current state, along with his Meditations and Wisdom.
- Quote: Rank must be earned. Honor must be earned. Anyone who is born into privilege must earn it for themselves, once they are old enough to begin to strive on their own. Even a prince must start at the bottom of the ladder. Thus we avoid the corruptions of Zzabur.
There are many other Holy Texts of lesser importance, one for each Saint and many others. The Voyages of Saint Dormal allows study of Communications and Water magics, for example. Lesser Texts typically have only two or even one Rune they teach. Actual Wizards also study Grimoires of various schools of magic.
The Loksalmi like to design houses which resemble the rune for what they are made of; this strengthens the home. A typical farmer home is a wooden long hall with three circular towers around the three sides of one end of it. One tower contains the bedroom of the head of household, one contains a bath, and one serves as a grain and other storage tower. This evokes the power of the Plant Rune. Stone Buildings are square. The Loksalmi use other materials only for decoration, though a few rare Wizard towers are made of strange materials. Courthouses and other government buildings are triangular, in order to evoke the Law Rune. The Church of a small town or village will probably be made of stone and thus a square, but many Cathedrals are built to resemble their Rune when possible.
The inside of a peasant home has a long table and benches and probably a loom at one end of it, used especially in Dark and Storm season. A small portion of the far end without towers is usually blocked off as a storage area. Most of the family sleeps in the long hall, but the heads of the family have their own bedroom with a real bed in one of the towers; wealthier families have multi-story towers and may have multiple bedrooms in the living tower, one per floor. They may also have special rooms above the bath for various purposes.
Inside cities, homes are stone and brick and it's fairly common to have your workspace - business on the ground floor and you live in an apartment above where the spouses and kids live, with several bedrooms and a dining area. In the city, people go to public baths by neighborhood. There is typically one such bath per five hundred people. Loksalmi cities have running water, but you must heat or chill it yourself.
Wizards often favor towers based on their strongest rune; Nobles, when possible, build homes based on the Mastery Rune. One arm is for governing business, one arm is for living in, and one arm is for entertaining guests and interactions with others. The connecting bar is home to the library, beautiful items, and so on.
Loksalmi villages and cities also often adopt a runic pattern, often the Harmony rune. When they do not, it is usually a grid pattern. But some have other patterns.h Loksalmi cities are carefully planned and designed. They're clean with running water and garbage removal. However, they're now having a harder time maintaining these services since the end of the Syndic's Ban.
What follows is the old pattern; now sometimes things happen which disrupts this.
- Sea Season: It rains moderately in bursts of three days, followed by three days of dry weather. Temperatures are in the sixties to seventies.
- Fire Season: Temperatures rise to the seventies and eighties; it rains once a week on RestDay?, usually in the morning while everyone is at services.
- Earth Season: Temperatures drop to the sixties and seventies; it rains twice a week, usually WaterDay? and RestDay?.
- Dark Season: Temperatures plunge like a rock; by Death week, it's in the tens to thirties with a few bursts in the forties; it rains on FreezeDay? and WaterDay? and sometimes other days too; snow and ice cover everything.
- Storm Season: Weather was erratic and unpredictable, usually plunging into the thirties to forties early in the week, then gradually warming up but all sorts of surprises could happen and it rained or snowed or hailed with no rhyme or reason.
- Sacred Time: The first day is always below freezing and then it gradually warms up to the sixties and seventies by the end.
Wizards are important, but also monitored to ensure they don't turn into God-Learners. Wizardry is a collection of rational, predictable ways to compel the Runes to obey you and change the world at your command. In practice, since the Runes are sapient beings, this means compelling the 'gods and spirits' which pagans worship to obey you, instead of grovelling before them and obeying them to get a few scraps of power in return. Wizardry requires spending extensive amounts of time studying mystical tomes and engaging in magical ceremonies which build up power to use when it's important to act quickly. Apprentice wizards can only do Common Magic, which augments normal activities; Wizards learn Lesser Spells from Grimoires and Greater Spells by astral quests onto higher planes.
Performing spells of a given Rune can be facilitated by surrounding yourself with things connected to the Rune, including the way you dress and the foods you consume before casting, and by sacrificing things related to the runes. Sapient beings can never be licitly sacrificed in the Loksalmi traditions; this is the sin known as Tapping, one of many introduced by Vadel. Animals, however, are fair game. The manner of spellcasting varies by Grimoire and School.
- Sacred Geometers: They work their magic by creating things in the shape of the Runes and in shapes out of sacred geometry, to focus magical power to accomplish some task. They might craft a forge which is a perfect cube with the anvil and fire in the exact center of the cube, inscribing runes on everything. They might aid the construction of a city so its streets become absorbers of magic, tapping the power of locations naturally strong in various Runes. Southpoint is a classic example of this. Typical Grimoires include: The Creation of Sog City (Earth), The Notebooks of Saint Dormal (Plant), The Cities of Danmalstan (Harmony).
Places of Note
- Fortress of Masgor Hkali (3,000): This is an ancient fortress, crafted in the Great Darkness by a Sky Captain, Masgor Hkali. It stands atop a large hill, ringed by a great stone wall with eight towers and four gatehouses. There is a great circular keep, ten stories tall, in the middle. The fortress as a whole augments Fire magics, especially in Fire Season and on Fireday. At night, it shines over the countryside for miles. It contains strange art of humans with appearances either unknown in Glorantha or else just not common to Loksalm. One wall segment depicts a calendar of 12 28 day months and a 29 day month which ends the year. Each month is marked with an animal, such as a monkey, a sheep, or a raven. Three Years of infantry and 3 Suns of knights are stationed here.
- Northpoint (60,000): This mighty city is one of the marvels of the north; it stands on the slopes of a mountain which rises on the shore, four great spurs thrusting outwards in the cardinal directions. Each is attuned to one of the elements: air near the peak, darkness to the north, fire to the south, water to the west and earth to the east. The angle between the fire and water spurs is the great harbor where traders come and the angle between the earth and fire spurs is where the Royal Navy (such as it is) is located. Fuel sellers and Metalworkers live along the fire spur, farmers, stonemasons and sculpters along the earth spur, sailors, fishermen, and traders along the water spur, entertainers, bookmakers, and scholars along the darkness spur, and the churches and government and the King high on the slopes. The Archbishop of Northpoint has a grand cathedral and the Royal Palace stands on the slopes above the valley between the darkness and earth spurs. The valleys between the darkness spur and the water and earth spurs on each side are where the poorest citizens dwell, though they live well compared to other lands, in tightly packed two story buildings where they either live over their shop or the building is divided into eight apartments, four per floor. The Grand Cathedral focuses Mastery magic and floods the city with it; everyone here thus crafts, studies, fights, or works with enhanced skills. The Order of Artificers has its master house here.
- Scale City (18,000): This fine city is the seat of the most junior of the Archbishoprics; Archbishop Marcia is the highest ranking woman in the Church. Many think she has her eyes on becoming the first female Ecclesiarch, though the current one seems unlikely to die any time soon. Scale City is unusual because the city is made out of the bones and scales of a dead dragon. Crazed, evil Dragonnewts ruled here, tyrannizing the land until Saint Talor slew their Inhuman King and they fled into the swamp, becoming barbarians. This city is sacred to him and contains the Master House of the Order of Joyful Combat. Weapons forged here are especially potent against dragonkind. Just before the Syndic's Ban, draconic voices could be heard whispering at night when it was quiet and many were filled with fear but it all just stopped cold when the Syndic's Ban came down. No one is sure why. The city has been attacked 29 times by Dragonnewt armies since the First Age but never fallen. The city's Grand Cathedral focuses Beast magics; this gives the inhabitants exceptional control over animals; it also rather helps in fighting Dragons and all their kind. This is an ideal place to come to get trained animals, exotic animals and the like.
- Skull City (16,000 + the dead): This city is shaped like the death rune and indeed, the Death rune is powerful here; The Order of the Watchers Over the Dead is headquartered here and the city is largely involved in producing things for funerals, holding funerals, training people in Death and Underworld magics, producing anti-undead weapons, and providing support services for those involved with the above. The local bishop often clashes with the Order of the Watchers Over the Dead, who are independent of his control, reporting only to the Ecclesiarch. Massive graveyards ring the city; if anyone attacks it, the dead rise and destroy them. Unfortunately, then they have to be hunted down and put back to sleep in their tombs, and at times, that has been worse than what invaders would have done.
- Southpoint (50,000): This city stands on a high hill, ringing its slopes with circular roads cut by eight great roads, each sacred to one of the eight virtues. Lesser, unblessed roads, fan out between them as lesser spokes of the wheel. At the peak is the Grand Cathedral, which focuses the Magic of the realm at the command of the Ecclesiarch; the city is littered with shrines and radiates holy power. Only the best at what they do are allowed to live here and they are compensated well; competition to get a home is fierce, since even a stevedore lives very well here with a two story house and a garden. To gain entry, you must show great faith and skill at what you do in the competitions held during the last two weeks of the Dark Season each year.
- Southport (20,000): Since the end of the Ban, this once small city has exploded in size, overflowing its walls and overflowing a new set of walls. It is a higgledy-piggledy jumble of badly organized streets, guilds which can't meet demand and are being overwhelmed by independent competitors and general chaos, at least by Loksalmi standards. The Sailors on the Sea of Fate have their masterhouse here and the city cathedral has been reattuned to focus on water magics. The bishop here, Andreas, has ended up by default the head of Loksalmi missionary work, working closely with the Sailors. He's also rolling in cash from the city revenues and is thus heavily involved in sponsoring charitable work at home.
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