- North - Elderwood and the Great Barrier Range.
- South - The Sylvan Mountains
- East - Salinon and the Forest of Aelfwood
- West - cuirlann and a small part of the flatlands.
Economy: Mostly trade, a lot of farming, cattle (mostly sheep). Raising sheep for wool is a growing business in Marigund and there is even a Wool Guild. Most families are involved with trading and moving goods through Marigund. Marigund is a crossroads and sees a large amount of traffic headed elsewhere. It is famous for its markets having almost everything for sale except slaves. One example is Salt brought in from cuirlann and traded here. It eventually finds its way as far north as Metamor Keep and as far south as Sathmore and the Pyralian kingdoms.
Marigund is a country of contrasts. Peace and love. Hate and violence. The nobility are mostly Rebuilders. The lower class is mostly Ecclesia. The middle class, including the merchants, are an even mix of just about everything else. One large group is the Yehudim (More commonly called the Predecessor). Being neither Rebuilder, Follower nor Lightbringer makes them neutral in the religious strife. Many of the Kings own guard and advisers are Yehudim. Others act as neutral middlemen for the other religions.
With so many diverging faiths so close by, hardly a day passes without an Ecclesiast or a Rebuilder getting into a scuffle of some kind. It's never more than a few hotheads throwing stones or punches, though; not even they would tolerate it escalating any further than that. Marigund is their home and they would not see it torn apart by religious strife as much of the countryside to the South has been. Still in spite of the seeming peace the tension remains but pushed below the surface.
Religion has become a matter to be practiced in one’s homes, and spoken of nowhere else. It is, in fact, a forbidden topic in the Court and in the Hall of the Mages' Guild. The first offense earns a flogging, the second a beheading. Those who would stir up a frenzy amongst the people are not tolerated; they are either thrown from the city, or executed publicly. Such harsh methods have kept the peace for a long time, but it is a peace that stands on a knife’s edge, teetering precariously every moment of every day towards a bloody civil war.
Ironically the ultimate answer to all this trouble lies OUTSIDE of the country. If there can be a reconciliation between Ecclesia and Rebuilder then Marigund can see real peace. Until then the tension remains always ready to boil but never quite boiling over.
In a world of religious intolerance and where bloody wars of religious cleansing are the norm Marigund is unique. All faiths are allowed to practice in peace. This has earned them many enemies. The Ecclesia, in particular, considers Marigund a place of evil. Several crusades have been launched against the country over the years but all have failed. Ironically enough, this has drawn all the people of Marigund closer together and left the country something of an armed camp.
One counter to the threats is a very strong interest in magic. The Mages' Guild in Marigund is one of the largest and most powerful in the Midlands.
One thing to remember is that Marigund is a crossroads. No less than 4 roads meet at Marigund city. Any travel through the Outer Midlands means going through or past Marigund. That means a lot of trade and commerce flows through. Most families in the country in involved in trading to one degree or another.
Note: Although religion is an important part of the culture it is NOT the overriding concern of most people. People are more worried about the weather, their families and how their trading ventures are doing. It is never mentioned publically and ALL the people of Marigund dress and act alike (mostly). It is impossible to tell the difference between a Lightbringer, a Follower or a Rebuilder merely by looking at them. And a large crowd gathered in the Grand plaza is sure to include people of all the religions intermingling. They are all also very carefully avoiding any mention of religion. Even if only to avoid being flogged.
Basic culture: 16th Century England with a strong Celtic element in the mountainous areas. There is an old, noble class that controls most power. But there is a new middle class/noble class gaining in numbers recently. Which has the older families upset to a degree.
Woman's rights: Marigund is definitely a male dominated society but elements of the older Centli culture do show through. There are many Centli tales of warrior women. Women are allowed into military roles but they are a minority. A common habit of many women is to learn magic (where things like body strength are not an issue). Which lead to one bard joking that it's the reason Marigund males are so polite to women. "Never upset a woman who burn down your house." Women are allowed to own property and run a business but are expected to live with with the parents (if unmarried) or their husband (if married). Very few live alone and those who do are usually considered strange.
Naming Rites: The origins of this ceremony are unknown but its believed to be millenia old. 7 days after the birth of a child a ceremony is held in which a child is officially named. Always a moment of great celebration. The child's name is pronounced in Lambemma common perhaps the only time that the name is pronounce in that tongue.
Naming Conventions: Names used tend to be English, Irish and Celtic with a few others thrown in for variety.
Language: the most common language is Common. Spoken by 90% of the population. Most people still understand at least a little Lambemmai (Also called Old Centli) but it is reserved mostly for formal or ceremonial things. For most the only time it is used is in a child's Naming Rite. But in a country so involved with trade you can find most languages spoken by someone. The most known is Old Suiel - used in legal forms and old documents (at places like the Mages Guild).
Government: Monarchy (a king at the moment), but most cities and towns are allowed to elect their own leaders. There is also an assembly (parliament). It has no real powers and is a new creation (established in 697 CR) and is more like an experiment. It is the one place in the entire country where religion can be mentioned openly. Even there, such discussions must be kept 'civil.' This has led to some really raucous debates (yelling and screaming and several fist fights). One story goes that a nobleman who was sent there by the king as an observer after attending one meeting asked to be sent back into battle - where things were quieter and less dangerous. But it has helped lessen tensions by giving the leaders of all the different faiths a place to meet and debate problems openly. "It's better to scream and yell in the assembly than to have a riot in the streets," is the thought of many people. Only time will tell if it helps lower the tensions or fails.
The royal family: King: Alfred, Wife: Margaret, and 6 children of varying ages. Oldest is Philip the official heir to the throne and now 15 years old. The royal family is officially neutral (and not having ANY religious affiliation) their own personal leanings are kept a strict secret. Also a member of the royal family must get married 3 times (Once for each religion) when taking a husband or wife.
Overlord or High King: Although an independent country Marigund does owe fealty to Duke Otakar of Salinon who rules all of the Outer Midlands.
January 1: - Runtafaer - Means Renewal. New Years Day. Celebrating the renewal of the year.
April 4: Remembrance day. Only recently (703) an official holiday but one long honored unofficially. It is the anniversary of the start of the Burning. Marked by a day of prayer, somber attitude with all business shut down. A rare thing in a market city. Many wear black and decorate in black as if in mourning to remember those who died in the Civil war.
May 16th: is celebrated as the anniversary of the resettling of the city after Prince Ovid drove the Lutins from the region in 228.
June 23: Emperors day. A day of celebration, dancing and just plain relaxation. The exact Emperor being honored is long forgotten along with the exact reason or why he is being honored
August 7: King (or Queens) birthday.
Military: With so much hostility directed against them by the Ecclesia (and a lot of Lightbringers as well) the people of Marigund have a well developed army.
The army is feudal but with a large core of professionals. This army is bolstered by varying number of mercenaries. The feudal element is made up of various nobles whose owed duty is usually anywhere from 60 to 90 days but that number can be doubled in an extreme emergency.
The primary weapon of Marigund is the composite longbow. This powerful weapon has turned the tide in many battles. It is a law that every boy MUST learn how to use a long bow. Even noblemen in Marigund are expected to be able to shoot a bow with decent accuracy. Also most women learn how to shoot. Shooting competitions are a large and well attended part of every festival and fair.
One other weapon worth mentioning is the battleaxe. This weapon has long been a favorite of the Sylvan mountain folk who found it useful for cracking open the tough armor worn by knights and noblemen. It has since been adopted by many Marigund nobles who enjoy the fear factor that facing such a fearsome weapon can engender.
A Marigund army will usually consist of 60% archers, 20% infantry and the remainder cavalry (almost exclusively nobles). The Marigund Mages guild routinely sends a good sized group of mages along with any army. Their spells giving the soldiers some powerful firepower to back them up.
Aelrig the Even: also called the Bloody, or the Peaceful. He is credited with making the peace between the faiths that now holds sway in Marigund. When tensions between all three major groups broke out into open warfare he brought peace by killing everyone involved with the fighting regardless of faith or social class. He did bring peace to the country and laid waste to a third of the capital in the process. This whole period in Marigund history is called 'The Burning' an apt description.
He was also the one who laid down the laws against mentioning religion in public called the 'Declaration of Silence'. Aelrig showed his sincerity by having his own son flogged publicly when the prince broke that ban. Ironically although he was loved and hated by Rebuilder, Ecclesia and Lightbringer alike his own faith is still unknown. He never revealed it to anyone. His ultimate legacy is hotly debated and probably always will be. But in a region full of bloody religious strife he gave Marigund something all too rare in the Midlands - peaceful coexistence.
Declaration of Silence: A series of laws and decrees that forbid the mentioning of religion in public in any shape and form. The only thing close to an exception is the building of houses of worship. Later laws were added strictly regulating the size, shape and decorations of such structures. The first offense merits a public flogging. The second beheading. But nowadays the first offense usually merits a beating (or time doing public service for the younger offenders). Foreign offenders tend to get mixed treatment. Accidents done by visiting merchants are usually let off with a stern warning the first time. Visitors who come to deliberately stir up trouble are flogged and then deported. Such troublemakers are rare (usually 1 or 2 a year for each religion).
Skirmish In spite of it's name it is a sporting game involving a ball. It can best be described as full contact soccer. 2 teams attempt to put the ball into their opponents goals while protecting their own. A player can use any part of their body except their hands. Players are also allowed to bump, push, tackle and even trip their opponents but no punching or kicking is allowed. This is a game that has become popular in Marigund lately and that popularity is spreading to the rest of the Midlands. Legends claim that the game is based on an older Centli game which used the severed head of an an enemy. This has led to the ball having a face painted on it for good luck. The game is actually based on an Elven game where the ball actually floats several inches off the ground.
Ganal: This is a thick porridge of lamb and grain. It is served hot with shredded bits of boiled lamb and looks a lot like oatmeal with some funny looking lumps it it. Usually eaten at breakfast it is a popular food.
Suielman name for the area was Pintia.
Economy notes: Placed at the junction of 4 trade routes Marigund always has lots of merchant traffic. Trading and merchants are an important part of the economy. Marigund is a trading crossroads. Products traveling to and from the outer Midlands MUST pass through Marigund. There are extensive markets present in the city that sell and buy almost anything. The saying is that if you cannot get it in Marigund you can't get it anywhere. A new element rising in importance is sheep. Wool is fast becoming an important industry both raising sheep and processing the wool. Also there is a small amount of copper mining in the mountains to the south.
Elvish influence The entire area was controlled by the elves for millenia and for centuries afterward the elves guided and helped in the area. This had some long lasting influences. The Marigund use of the bow is due to seeing the elves use it so well. And the strong use of magic comes from seeing the elves wield such powerful magic. Most of the early Marigund mages were tutored by the elves.
City of Marigund: The capital bears the same name as the city.
Tol Doron: This is a small forest located in about the center of the country. The trees here are tall, strong and very old and seem to bristle with a primal power. There is no doubting that the forest has some sort of magic about it. Attempts to cut down and clear tracts of land fail as the trees grow back over night. Persistent cutters tend to wind up injured or dead by forces unknown. It has becomes something of a park and wildlife preserve. Hunting is allowed but only if the hunters take only what they need to feed themselves and their families. Dryads are known to live there in considerable numbers and there are reports of the sighting of centaurs and satyrs but that remains unconfirmed. It is believed that these woods are part of the Forest of Aelfwood. There is a legend that says that was once all of the Outer midlands was covered by a vast forest. But as the elves withdrew so did the woods till all that remained was Elderwood, Aelfwood and Tol Doron. How accurate that legend is remains to be discovered. See Tol Doron.
The most famous of animals of the forest is the Doron Wolf. Highly respected. One old legend says that the Doron wolves are legendary heroes reborn to protect the forest.
The Burning - From April 603 to August 609: This period of civil war is called the Burning or often 'The Troubles'. the Name stems from the wide scale killing and burning of half the city of Marigund. Tensions had been rising in the country for several years between Rebuilders, Followers and Lightbringers. The country had been divided between Follower and Lightbringer for a long time when King Eldrids policy of tolerance attracted large numbers of Rebuilders who were being attacked and harassed elsewhere. The specific incident that is considered the Keystone event occurred when A Follower religious procession and a Rebuilder procession came into contact. Shouting and punching quickly escalated into full blown fighting which left 5 people dead.
Factions of all types quickly formed their own small armies splitting the city and countryside into separate zones of control. The fighting ranged from rock throwing and name calling to small skirmishes to full blown riots. Mostly it was small scale with the larger violence being rare. The best real world similarity is the bloody fighting that went on in Kansas before the U.S. Civil war. (That earned the area the name Bloody Kansas.) The violence went on and off this way for years with the King unable to stop or even slow things down. The death of the King and the entire royal family in 606 led to the complete breakdown in central authority and an escalation in the violence. Intervention by the duke of the Outer Midlands only seemed to make things worse since the troops he sent usually wound up favoring one side over the others.
In 609 the duke in a moment of brilliance hired a mercenary named Aelrig and sent his mercenary band to Marigund being sure that none of the soldiers was Rebuilder, Follower or Lightbringer (A large number of them were Predecessor).
On August 5 609 yet another round of fighting between the groups resulted in the Grand square being the battlefield of a 3 way fight said to have involved over a thousand people. In the fighting both cathedrals and the Lightbringer temple were burned and the flames spread to the rest of the city. At this point Aelrig restored order by simply killing everyone who was fighting regardless of their rank or religion. Thus taking no side in the religious bickering. By August 12th the fires had burnt out and order restored. A third of the city had been destroyed and an estimated 3,000 lay dead or wounded. That day Aelrig announced his famous Declaration of Silence' outlawing all forms of public display of religion. That declaration backed by the force needed to enforce it soon brought an end to the violence. Duke Richard of Salinon confirmed Alerig's control of the country a week later by sending 4,000 mercenaries. A year after that Aelrig was crowned king.
After effects: The most immediate results was the loss of life and destruction of private property. It took over decade to rebuild the city. The exact number of dead is unknown but serious estimates place the number at 5 to 6.000, roughly 53% of the total population.
The legacy of bitterness and distrust lingers on even now. But it has also deeply effected the people in a good way. The memories of the death and destruction has burned into the peoples minds. No one wants that to ever happen again so in spite of the anger, hatred and bitterness the violence remains very low level and all sides strive to keep the peace. One other unusual side effect is religious processions. By law all Follower processions must be between dawn and end one hour before noon. All Rebuilder between one hour after noon and sunset. And the actual routes must be approved by the City Watch at least 6 months ahead of time. This has led to most churches preregistering funeral processions even if no one is ill or has died. If no funeral procession is needed on that day they simply cancel it. Lightbringer and Predecessor are not required to register processions but most groups do anyway 'Just in case'.
-4000? to -601__ an unwalled elven settlement exists on the site of the city. Name unknown. The elven name for the entire area is unknown but was mostly left wild. the entire Outer Midlands was called Dûn Fennas (the "Gates of the West").
-601 Marigund City is founded by the still expanding empire on the site of the Elven settlement after driving off the elves. It is named Marigundium. The area itself is called the province of Pintia. Trade remains the primary income but the outlying areas develop significant agriculture.
The Human-Elf War, -559 CR to -549 CR The small settlement was attacked and destroyed. With the end of the war the city was left in the hands of the empire by treaty. It remains a (very)small Suielman province in an area mostly held by the elves.
-549 to +150 The city flourished as a crossroads of several roads and a brisk trade with the elves and human settlements. The trading is uneven at times as both empire and elves are uneasy with the others presence. It remains something of a border town but brisk trading makes it a popular place. With time old hatreds are slowly forgotten. there is a considerable exchange of cultural ideas between the humans and elves.
+150 to +228 With the collapse of the empire the Midlands is overrun. The city falls and is sacked in 151 and subsequently abandoned. The elves push the lutins out and reclaim the ruins and the surrounding area but the city remains empty. When the army of Prince Ovid finally routs the lutins in the midlands around 228 the city is slowly resettled but at only a fraction of it's original size. The official date of resettlement is May 16th 229.
+328 The last elvish elements withdraw from the area leaving it totally under human control.
+603 to +609: The time of the religious turmoil called The Burning. It ended with Aelrig's 'Declaration of Silence' outlawing all forms of public display of religion.
Legends and Myths
Marigund has a wide collection of legends surrounding it. Some are simple, some are complex but all are an integral part of the culture.
Lost Suielman Treasure: When the empire collapsed the legend is that many Seuilman left hordes of buried treasure behind. Now those hordes are laying forgotten just waiting to be discovered.
Burial Pits: This legend is that in the wake of the Burning with many dead the locals dragged all the dead and buried them in huge, vast pits. These pits are supposedly scattered all over the country. NOTE: There is some frightening truth to this legend. The exact number killed in the Burning is unknown. But a known burial pit excavated by City archaeologists in 1215CR will uncover the remains of 215 people. That was one of 12 originally known burial pits in the city. A city wide survey done in 1003 (as part of the 400th anniversary memorial of the Burning) will confirm at LEAST 35 more burial pits holding more than 100 bodies. Disturbing the dead in these pits can be dangerous since not all the dead rest easy.
Elvish Ghosts: This old legend is as old as the city itself. On certain nights - the ghosts of the elves who first lived in Marigund supposedly come back and walk the streets of the city and hunt the humans who took their beloved home from them.