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The Felgarin Empire Lore Blog Part 2

  • LMPGames
  • 10/27/2023 04:49 AM
  • 266 views
262 PA – 702 PA

The Felgarin Empire was, finally, founded on 262 PA after much consternation around the total powers that would be granted to the provinces and in which ways and the situations under which those powers could be curtailed by the state. The Felgarin government would be built around a parliamentarian system where citizens of the provinces would have equal representation in the Parliament by way of voting in a three-year election cycle. Each election cycle, all members of Parliament would be up for re-election. There were no term limits, you would serve as long as your constituents returned you to your seat.

Every six years, the political figurehead for the country would undergo a test of confidence via election as well. While there were no explicit rules, language was put into place suggesting that there was a Presidential term limit of 8 terms: 48 years. There was no enforcement mechanism to enforce this suggestion, however, so many saw it as purely academic. The President was responsible for making certain decisions of national importance, weighing in on parliamentarian legislation, though the office had no authority over the enactment of legislation except within specific situations, and was to be responsible for coordinating various parts of the government in times of national emergency.

While there were a couple false starts, the first elections went off relatively smoothly and the gears of political civilization ground into motion. Things continued this way for many years until a shift within Parliament began to occur. One that would test this new form of government.

In the year 390 PA, a faction arose to minor power within the Parliament. They represented a new religion calling itself the Children of the Eleven Point Star. It had arrived within the country a little more than a year ago, brought by traders from the Duchy of Tarkaan, a country far to the east. The President of the Empire at this time was an aging man named Tierel Noggs. He had been in politics for most of his life, starting at the age of 18 when he was elected to Parliament by his constituents in Latis Province. He was a tall and roughhewn man, six feet eight inches tall.

Many credited his rich bass voice for his success in politics; it conveyed a sense of security. He rose quickly through Parliament and amassed much political power. He used it to the advantage of his constituents to press for legislation the empower Latis province as a secondary trade hub to help support Westerly. He knew and played the game for nearly fifty years until he decided to run for President.

His opponent, at the time, was a Parliament Member from Jostrin province named Crias Felhorn. His opponent ran on a nationalist platform, he wanted to restrict immigration, tighten scrutiny on religious groups, and cut international spending and redirect those monies to the provinces.

Noggs chose a different, much more nuanced tactic. He agreed with his opponent that the immigration system had gotten a bit lax as of late and that some changes were needed, but also advocated for increasing the annual cap for immigration by 45%. Because only so many were approved per year, those who had been waiting for as much as a decade were entering illegally because the system was not giving them a fair deal; he backed this up with numerous studies.

He did not agree with his opponent that Felgarin should withdraw from the world by cutting their support for nations enacting policies or conducting operations beneficial to their own interests nor would it make moral sense to cut aid to countries in great need. Sure, there are always areas needing improvement and support within any nation. In Felgarin, the neediest person is still far better off than a person from an impoverished nation. He argued that the cuts to international spending his opponent sought would be heaviest on such nations.

In the end it wasn’t really a contest. Noggs wiped out Felhorn by the tune of 87% of the vote. It was the largest win in the history of the country in those days and started a rivalry between the two men. Felhorn felt he was entitled to win and now that he had lost and in such a spectacular way, he was determined to be a thorn in Noggs side for as long as possible.

These days Noggs once striking black hair was now going from grey to white in his early eighties, but his mind was still as sharp as ever. He had withered brutal political times in the past, most of them figure headed by Felhorn who did indeed make it his life’s mission to see Noggs deposed. The problem for Felhorn was that Noggs was well liked by the people and he ran his office smartly, attempting to not give any possibility for attack from Felhorn or the rest of his coalition in Parliament.

The whole rivalry culminated in an assassination attempt. Felhorn himself ambushed Noggs as the President was walking into his personal residence on a stormy autumn evening around 15 years ago. He had paid off his security detail to go missing for a few hours and attempted to sneak up behind his enemy. He brought along a .56 Keljourner Special, a massive handgun known and favored for its lethality. Noggs was saved by two things that night; the first was Felhorn’s ego, Felhorn wanted Noggs to know it was him that had killed him even though with that weapon he could have done it from sixty feat away. The second was Noggs’ size.

Felhorn did manage to get off a single round into Noggs’ midriff, but Noggs’ had heard someone approaching and had started turning around. While he had a grapefruit sized hole in his side, it ended up not being a lethal hit. He whipped around and caught Felhorn with his fist, sending him head first into the side of a wall where he died instantly from the force of the impact.

The event turned into a conspiracy and 25 members of Parliament, and 10 members of the Office of the President were eventually arrested and charged with participation in a plot to assassinate the President. All of them were found guilty in the court system and were executed. After surviving as close to a coup de tat as could be defined, Noggs would go on to serve as President for another twenty years; the longest serving President in the history of Felgarin at the time.

Given his experience with political intrigue, he had taken note of this new religion. He was uneased by it; he did not know why, but it worried him when it had begun taking such a fast hold within the country. Not that the spread of religion was something to be halted, but it is also true that with quick change can come massive upheaval. What he wanted was stability; stability is what had propelled Felgarin through the past to now with very little conflict, external or internal.

The caucus in question was not advocating for extreme policies either, but he worried about the possibility of such. He had found that throughout his long life that when devout believers obtain power of authority, usually they end up trying to obtain more. Currently, their major goal was to pass legislation giving the Ministry of Faith additional powers to police the registered religions. An odd goal, considering that their own religion was not yet officially through the registration process.

They would eventually find themselves with the votes to pass their bill. With it, they expanded the powers of the Ministry of Faith which would now have the power to perform audits of tithes and collections to ensure that proper taxes had been paid, they would have more power to investigate the individuals of a new religion seeking registration with the ministry. They would have the unilateral power to change tithe and collection taxes which had been the prevue of Parliament. A maximum number of registered religions was instituted, which could only be raised by three fourths vote in a parliamentary vote and if the advisory council that processed registrations for new religions unanimously agreed that the cap could be raised.

In addition to all of these, they also passed amendments to establish a small law enforcement organization under the command of the Ministry of Faith. Their mission statement was to monitor unregistered religions and if evidence of malicious action was found, they had the power to infiltrate, and monitor said religious organizations all the way through to the power to arrest the leaders given proper evidence.

While there was pushback for these changes, it was mitigated by the expansion the Eleven Point Star caucus, as they had named themselves, enjoyed. They were now a quarter of the Parliament and enjoyed certain privileges under the parliamentarian system, such as the ability to propose legislation directly and not through the legislative subcommittee responsible for taking legislative suggestions from minority caucuses and formulating legislation from those suggestions if they decided that there was merit in bringing such legislation to a vote. They also now controlled two seats on that subcommittee as well.

As time wore on, the Elven Point Star caucus started becoming more extreme. With their popularity came with it the attraction of those seeking to leverage their power for personal gains and ambitions. This eventually led to the election of a man to caucus leader who would forever change the nation, an individual that Noggs had worried would one day appear.

His name was Barthold Castillian. He was a charismatic middle-aged man from Veltin province. He was new to Parliament, having just been elected in the last round of elections. His platform was harrowing to Noggs who viewed his ambitions as nothing short of a hostile theocracy. He was a zealot through and through as far as Noggs was concerned. Castillian believed that the Children of the Eleven Point Star was the only true religion, all others were pretenders seeking to sway innocents into the clutches of evil. He believed that all facets of life should be dictated by one’s religious beliefs for if you did not live and act by your beliefs, you were condemned. This included areas of politics and law.

Castillian was a member of an extremist sect of the Children of the Eleven Point Star called the Ordo Diei Thantulus, or the Order of the Day of Thantulus. Thantulus was a major deity of the religion, the God of Light. Castillian’s sect believed that their religion was the one, true religion and that all others were false and subversive to their own and that they had been called upon to either convert or expunge the non-believers.

He had been elected after the previous leader, Swain Holstin, had been embroiled in a scandal involving exploitation of his parishioners. He had led a large congregation for many years before being vaulted to leadership over the caucus.

Barthold had been a fiery opposition against Swain; some would say he went too far in his advocacy for Swain’s removal. He often let his speeches against Swain wander into the realm of veiled accusations based on rumor and hearsay, with no proper evidence to back it up, but with just enough truth that his accusations sounded possible. Swain had no rebuttal to the allegations Barthold regularly launched at him; he believed that recognizing the ravings of a mad man would only ensure that his ravings would be validified just enough in the eyes of those that believed in them.

This turned out to be a mistake. Barthold spent months building up a case against Swain and, with no rebuttal from Swain, argued that his silence was acquiescence that Swain had no arguments to resolve himself before the Lords of Lords, a term used to refer to the deities of the religion. Bethold’s arguments found purchase in many of the caucus members, enough to trigger a leadership vote.

Swain was practically run out of his position; he only ended up with 3% support for his continuation as leader. From here, the EPS caucus became more radical under Barthold’s direction. Those with moderating views were ejected and eventually replaced by more radical voices come election time. They gave ever increasing power to the Ministry of Faith and began writing sweeping reforms to the organization.

Within three more years’ time the EPS caucus made up 54% of parliament, meaning they could pass whatever legislation they wanted to. Things eventually came to a head. Many members of parliament introduced a new bill that would require changes to the structure of the government to require a two thirds majority vote and the approval of the President before legislation passed was enacted into law; changes to the operations of Parliament were one of a handful of situations where the President had unalienable veto power over the will of the Parliament.

Arguments for this legislation were surprisingly met positively by all sides, there seemed to be enough support for it to be passed. Barthold was furious with the situation, he saw it as a personal attack on him and an attempt to stall his plans. He lashed out with the same fiery vigor that he had used to crush Swain, this time aiming for the other caucuses of the parliament, including some of his own caucus members that had publicly supported the legislation as well as Noggs who he knew was his ultimate barrier.

Things began to turn ugly with Barthold claiming that this legislation was an attack on the Children of the Eleven Point Star and that this had been orchestrated by President Noggs who had never been one to hide his views about the Eleven Point Star caucus. It was designed to infringe on their obligations to the Lords of Lords as citizens of the country, practitioners of the faith, and as leaders within the government. That the legislation was designed to target them specifically and prevent the exercise of their beliefs.

His arguments were powerful and as with Swain, no one dared to touch the third rail of supporting or acting against religion mixing with politics out in public. Many felt that strongly voicing opposition to Barthold would only serve to prove him right, that they did in fact have the intent to target the Children of the Eleven Point Star. Instead, they attempted to argue against his statements using allegorical rhetoric about events that could happen in the future without this legislation.

No one listened and once again the lack of strong pushback on Barthold led to his victory. The outcry was so severe that not only did the dissenters within the EPS caucus switch to support the tabling of the legislation, so too did most of the rest of parliament; only 25% voted in favor of the new restrictions. President Noggs even felt the repercussions of this situation and saw his public support, which had never dropped below 90% since his attempted assassination, dip eighteen points. Bethold felt that his time was at hand, he had amassed support from this victory and felt that he could use it to his advantage.

He announced a bill that would fundamentally change the Felgarin empire. He claimed, without proof though that didn’t matter, that the President had been in collaboration with those that had tried to enact the largest suppression of religious freedom seen in the modern world. He claimed that the office of the President was too likely to be used for corrupt purposes, citing more than two dozen incidents in the past where there was indeed large-scale scandal and corruption within previous administrations.

He claimed that there was only one solution; a monarchy, controlled by a religious state, must be instituted. He stated that Parliament would still be responsible for legislating, though that any bill would require approval by the Church before it could be ratified. The Church would be formed from the Ministry of Faith and take on the same roles as the ministry. It additionally would collect tithes directly from the different registered religious organizations instead of through the provincial branches of the Ministry of Faith which were to be shut down. Unregistered religions would be taxed at higher rates and be heavily monitored.

The monarchy would be held for life by an individual selected by the Church. The Church reserved the right to depose the King at any time for reasons of sedition, treason, unbecoming behavior, corruption, or refusal of orders from the Church. If removed, the King would be imprisoned in accordance with the crimes he had been removed for up to and including death.

Most of these proposed changes were met with wide popularity. Large swaths of the populace had become soured to the current government after years of allegations of corruption, financial fraud, and all of the things that Barthold had alleged for years that had been going on. They no longer cared about the veracity of the claims, they just wanted change, any change.

The first king of Felgarin was emplaced in 408 PA; King Russart Vatlim, a man fifty two years of age and of average height and build. He was not particularly intelligent, but he knew his way around politics and was submissive to Barthold. Naturally, he was a strong advocate and believer in the Children of the Eleven Point Star; Barthold ensured that the first King would be a staunch ally to the Church and extoll the intelligence of this new form of government whenever possible. With Russart in place, Barthold began to slowly build support for further changes, biding his time for the opportune moment.

With his power stripped from him Noggs retired to his personal residence in Westerly and passed away of natural causes four years later. While Barthold did not like the man personally, he still ordered to have him lie in state, recognizing that he could moderate some of the negative opinions about him and by himself more time to execute his vision.

As is usually the case, patience bore success. In 415 PA small-scale fighting between the Children of the Eleven Point Star and several smaller religious groups broke out. Several EPS churches were burnt to the ground by extremists from these other religions. This led to larger conflict and fighting across the country as a religious civil war flared into existence.

Members of these two religions, Filstarism and Palisam, felt that the Children of the Eleven Point star were becoming too influential. They found their congregations being actively led to the Eleven Point Star and had been met with hostility when attempting to use shared communal spaces for spreading information about their religions.

Their complaints to the Church had been ignored for years. Even when there had been physical altercations resulting in injuries and deaths, no actions were taken against the Children of the Eleven Point Star practitioners that had committed those crimes. They were taking matters into their own hands.

Barthold could not have asked for a better scenario. He decried the attacks as religious persecution of the predominant religion of the country, one practiced by most of the population, and called it religious terrorism. He called for investigations into these religious organizations immediately.

Within two days the Church had revoked the registrations of both religions and sent out their enforcers to round up all of those who had participated in the burnings and attacks. Over two hundred people were arrested and sentenced to harsh terms in prison, some as high as thirty years.

Barthold then proposed legislation to help address the issues these conflicts had raised. He wanted to enshrine the Children of the Eleven Point Star as the national religion of the country. The Church would become the Church of the Eleven Point Star and be the seat of power for the religion globally. All other religions would be tightly controlled to prevent any further assaults on believers and while they would be free to operate, they could not use communal areas or public spaces for the spread of their religion.

Punishments were to be instituted for religions that had teachings antithetical to the Eleven Point Star. This included imprisonment for up to ten years and severe financial penalties. The Church would be granted even more power over enforcement of the law, with the judiciary being removed from handling cases where religious factors were at play and instead a panel created from and run by the Church would pass judgement in those cases.

While the legislation passed and was ratified, there were repercussions felt for years after. There was much unrest as religions found themselves targeted by Barthold personally, using his silver tongue to weave a tapestry of believable lies to get their religions banned and practitioners arrested. Over the course of a decade, almost all other religions other than the Eleven Point Star had been stamped out in Felgarin and the Church had amassed huge amounts of power.

Time passed and while tensions eased over the hostile takeover by the Church of the government, everyone played along to get along. At least, until the Felgarin Civil war of 680 PA. It was triggered by changes enacted by the Church, through their puppets in Parliament, to enact higher taxes on trade and increasing tithes by thirty percent. They would enforce these changes through the Ecclesiarchy, an organization built out of the Enforcement Bureau of the Church. After many years of stifling trade restrictions enacted by the Church, the populace had started to decline in wealth and prosperity.

These, and other factors, led to the proposed changes being the last straw. It started as a humble revolt in a town called Osterlin in Jostrin province. When the tax collectors came to collect, the people of the village forced them to leave. The Taxmen came back the next day with Enforcers who ended up in violent clashes with the people of the village. Things escalated quickly and the village was burned down; many lost their lives. It was a spark that triggered a conflagration the spread throughout the empire.

Willing members of the populace from towns and villages across the country joined up in Veltin to try to take over the Church and depose Archbishop James Alister, who had been leading the Church since the Great Reformation about seventeen years ago when Parliament transferred most of its remaining power to the Church. Alister had been a member of the Children of the Eleven Point Star since he was a child and was a fully indoctrinated member of the Ordo die Lenich; the Order of Lenich. Lenich was the Goddess of Ice, the tenants of her order were that there was no forgiveness, no salvation for the heretic. Salvation would only give rise to further corruption; the purity of the religion was to be maintained. As such, Alister was brutal in his actions.

The revolutionaries were met by the Enforcers as soon as they entered Shrig and a bloody battle ensued. Both sides took heavy losses, but the Enforces had won out. The revolutionaries that were still alive fled back into the Veltin countryside, searching for somewhere to hide while they recovered and planned their next moves.
After their defeat, the revolutionaries found it hard to recruit new members; many feared what would happen should they join. Most of the families of those who had been captured or slain during the incident in Veltin had been rounded up and thrown in prison as collaborators. Those who were lucky enough to face a trial found themselves sentenced to dozens of years of hard labor for sedition. Many were simply never heard from again.

It was not long before the Church sent out the Enforcers to hunt down the remaining members of the revolutionaries responsible for the attack, using information gathered by those with contact with the group. They were doggedly tracked down to the last man, no one escaped and those that had been captured were sentenced to public execution for treason against the state, their entire families sentenced to prison until they worked off the debts charged to their guilty family members who were held liable for the monetary value of the damage and death they had caused.

What followed was fifty years of abject terror on the part of the populace of the Felgarin Empire; the Church was ruling with every force at their disposal imaginable to stamp out any remaining embers of rebellion. Archbishop Alister was derided as a tyrant abroad, but back at home dissent was kept to a whisper in the dead of night lest someone overhear and report to the authorities. All they could do was hope that Alister would die of old age, which many believed should have happened by now; he was 78, well passed the average life expectancy for that time.

Information on citizens speaking ill of the Church was heavily rewarded monetarily. For information leading to any arrest, the reporter was awarded a sovereign; equal to 10,000 Geldir. The Church had augmented the currency system with new denominations of Geldir equivalent to prevent the wealthy in the country from undue influence nor the ability to finance a revolution. There was not much that the rich could do other than watch their fortunes turn to dust overnight, comparatively.

However, there is only so much push that a population can sustain before an opposite reaction is provoked; and that opposite reaction was about to be elicited. In 698 PA an unknown, relatively young man, aged 32, named Vasin Rafard was causing waves in Westerly in Ralsk, a small town southwest of the provincial capital. Vasin was a stout man with an athletic build and a height of six feet. He had raven black hair and piercing golden eyes that the residents of his birth province of Jostrin are known for. He was born in Marnin and had moved to Westerly eight years ago.

He was tired of the Church confiscating 80% of his profits because his business happened to be located next to a church and the Church felt that the increase in business from this location dictated that he owed more.
He was locally known for pushing the line every tax collection day, he would argue and physically stop the taxmen from doing their job up till the point that they would call in the Enforcers. It became a bit of a betting event for some of the locals; would “Crazy Rafard” get canned today or not, take your bets and no refunds! No one seriously believed that Vasin would do anything, that possibility was too outlandish to even entertain. No one in their right mind would fight against the Church was the common conceit, though they all knew that this was nothing but an excuse. An excuse to allow them to not feel guilty for doing nothing about the situation, both in Vasin’s case and more generally.

After one particularly bad week, Vasin was about to see most of his holdings confiscated to pay the fine for not being able to meet the minimum tax for a business of his size. He had gone well past his usually self-imposed lines and had clocked a Taxman clean off his feet, knocking him unconscious. A sizable crowd had gathered to see what was going to happen to him when the Enforcers arrived.

Vasin was quick of mind though; he had gotten a torch from the nearby blacksmith’s, doused a rag with oil, and wrapped it around it. He threw it at the church next-door to his business. It was an excellent throw that landed upon the roof where it caught the building ablaze. The speed that the structure went fully up in flames was almost supernatural.

Upon seeing what Vasin had done, the remaining Taxman drew out a tiny stiletto and lunged at him. Vasin barely saw the flash of the blade and if it were not for the adrenalin flowing through him from lighting the church on fire, the blade probably would have stabbed him in the side. Instead, he sidestepped the attack and, without thinking, grabbed a sword that was lying nearby and ran the Taxman through with it.

The crowd around him gasped, they didn’t know what they had expected from the situation, but apparently murder wasn’t on their radar. When the Enforcers arrived at the scene, they found no one around except the dead Taxman on the ground and the smoldering ruins of the church. They fanned out through the village, looking for Vasin.

The place seemed deserted, they saw no one; not even children playing in the road or shopkeeps tending their stalls. As they neared the townhall the silence was shattered by an ear-splitting scream as dozens of men flooded out from the building carrying weapons of all kinds. The Enforcers were not prepared to deal with this many malcontents and while they managed to kill some of them, the villagers won out at the end.

Vasin waded out from the middle of the mob and stood atop a nearby cart exclaiming that they had succeeded in doing what they thought impossible, fighting back against their oppressors. His plan had worked only because everyone agreed to take part and played a part in the success. The Church was not unbeatable and they should be answering to them, not the other way around.

He asked for those that wanted to join him to accompany him on a journey through the kingdom to build up a new rebellion to topple the Church and return the rule of their country to something resembling what they had had in the past; the current government was corrupt and nothing but a lap dog to the Church.

Vasin’s message spread like wildfire as did the tale of their deeds in Ralsk. The success they had had and the non-reaction from the Church, who were caught off guard by the ferocity of the events that had unfolded and were unsure of how to respond in the immediate aftermath. It also helped that Vasin was a very charismatic speaker, he was able to bring forth the repressed anger of the people of Felgarin and focus it on one entity: the Church. Vasin’s goal was simple; destroy the Church and everything it stood for, strip it of its power and bring to justice the tyrants that had abused the power they now held.

The Church recovered from their initial shock quickly, but not fast enough to stop the uprising that Vasin had triggered. They would have to stamp out yet another rebellion and prove again that they were in control of this country. Archbishop Alister called up every Enforcer at his disposal with the intent of razing Westerly to the ground if that was what it took to stop Vasin and his followers. He gave specific orders that no one was to be spared, nothing was to be left standing. If the Enforcers encountered hostility upon entering a town, that town was to be destroyed.

Those in the South, while supportive of Vasin’s intentions, did not outwardly support him; they were too close to the seat of power of the Church and did not have the same level of support from the general populace that Vasin did in the North, though sentiments were changing. Meanwhile, the North was awash in chaos. The Enforcers were sweeping toward Westerly, using extreme prejudice against anyone that stood in their way for any reason.

Vasin had been moving his forces South to meet them in combat, eager to stop their advance and prevent any more destruction and death. It was clear to him now that the Church was completely rotten. To issue the orders that they had was as tantamount to evil as could be, while the Church may not be inherently a horrible idea, the leadership must be torn up from the roots. Vasin knew the power of Humans who believed they acted for a righteous cause.

So, he began talking about the need for the Church, that it had been founded for good intentions, but was now being run by individuals who had sought their stations with corrupt intent, for power and nothing else. He stated that his goal was not just about restoring balance in their government and control of it back to the people, but it was about saving the Church from itself.

His words had more impact than he believed they would; people were flocking to join him from all over the northern part of Felgarin. It felt like the whole of the able-bodied country was joining him and he began to feel the weight of that responsibility. It wasn’t something he ever thought about when he started this movement, but now he was responsible for the lives of tens of thousands of people. He knew that he was motivating many of them to their deaths, even if they won. These were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, and uncles; all of them had families who cared for them and relied on them in some fashion or another.

Their loss would impact those families greatly. He was asking for individuals to follow him into the Shadowrealm, potentially, and all of these people had agreed to do so willingly. The enormity of it kept him up at night. More than once he considered ending the whole thing and turning himself in to beg the Church to spare his followers. He would then remember that these people had not joined him on a whim and that the Church would give no leniency to them even if he surrendered.

They had joined him because they had been trodden on by the Church just as he had. They had felt the bite of tyranny and sought change. They all knew the consequences of joining Vasin, no one in this country could not know after what the Church had been doing these last years; lest they had been living in absolute seclusion.
Vasin needed an actual plan, winging it was not going to work as they got closer to Shrig, the capital city of the country. The Church was sure to have elite troops stationed waiting for them to foolishly conduct a frontal assault. Instead Vasin went to his followers and asked for those with the most military experience to join him in forming a war council.

They were no longer fighting for freedom from repression, this had and would become the second Felgarin Civil War, a true one this time and one that they could not afford to lose. Everything was at stake and all options had to be on the table. He asked that they consider the ramifications and then join him in a tent he had constructed for the council if they still wanted to volunteer.

As people streamed in, hoping to make a name for themselves, five individuals stood out during the questioning Vasin put them to. In the end, the five Vasin asked to return to him were a diverse bunch.

Gerlow Tarlin, a low-born farmer who had organized a local guard to help keep monsters out of the fields. He was middle aged, but his tactical awareness was impressive, and he had a good mind for strategy. He knew how to place troops, when to pull them back, how to use different formations, and more theory you would not expect a farmer to be knowledgeable of. He had some interesting answers to the questions Vasin had asked him. Vasin had asked what he would do in a scenario where the Church had surrounded him in a village. He would have thirty archers, fifty foot soldiers, and ten cavalrymen. Vasin had expected an answer within the realm of withstanding a siege until such a time that inclement weather would shield an attack against the attacking forces.

Instead, Gerlow stated he would wait until early morning just as the siege camp would be stirring from rest. He would move his archers around the city, stationing them as high as possible while allowing them to remain as hidden as possible. He would give them an order to fire arrows to cause panic and then focus on one area of the blockade to try and thin the enemy forces enough for the cavalry to break through. He would also send half of his foot soldiers with them to secure the opening while the archers provided ranged support.
He would then have the cavalry attempt to charge down the nearby blockade forces while the archers picked off the spearmen and the foot soldiers focused on taking out any other ground forces designed to counter enemy cavalry.

Vasin was impressed; it wasn’t a completely sound strategy, but, for a farmer, he showed an unusual creativity in his thought. It was something that they would need to win, not fighting in a practicable manner, using methods and strategies that, while seemingly crazy on the surface, were deadly when executed correctly.

Marly Hington, a foreign-born woman from the United Nations of Gol, she had been a commander in the UNG military for ten years before retiring and migrating to Felgarin twenty years ago. She was old, but her mind was as keen as a fox’s. She had proper experience in leading men into battle and knew proper military stratagems and theory. She had led assaults on pirates, bandit organizations, she had even participated in the war between Minsor and the UNG forty years ago.

It was where she had gained her promotion to commander when leading her platoon as acting commander when their previous commander, a famous tactician named Henris Gostlion, was slain in action. She came from a military family and so had been raised with her enlistment in mind. She had many shrewd comments about the state of their forces compared to their enemy. She also said, though, that the belief that a cause is righteous and just can overcome a lot of adversity; she would know, her country was born from such a hopeless cause.

It was this history and this knowledge that all those born on Tilrin knew to be true that led Vasin to bringing her on. If someone from the UNG believed a cause was just and righteous, then it must be so; this was a common belief held globally due to the hardships and tribulations during the Galardian era on Tilrin.

Ostil Waeinfroth was an interesting fellow and an unexpected ally, a half-elf looking to prove he bore no ill will to the people of Felgarin and that he was no danger to them; Elves and Half-Elves were heavily discriminated against. Being of Elvish blood, his magic was more powerful than a normal Human’s and that would prove beneficial as the Church forbade anyone of Elvish descent from participating within it.

Vasin hoped that including Ostil would help in four ways; first to reduce the racism against the Elvish and Elvish descendants. Second, that his inclusion would get other Elvish to join his cause, the more of them they had, the more powerful his forces would become. Third, Ostil was very intelligent; some of his initial insights had surprised Vasin for their bluntness and accuracy. Fourth, and most importantly, inclusion of the Elvish and Ostil being an integral part of the revolution would help to signal to Eldawine that Felgarin was changing, that they need not worry about threats from the North.

Carne Hinst another man from Marnin, Jostrin province whom Vasin has known of as a child. He was well versed in magical theory; in fact, he was something of a savant. He was joining because the Church had been clamping down on the practitioners of so called “Black Magic”. He had always hated this term due to the connotations it held. Vasin had not thought about it prior to his discussion with Hinst, but quickly came to agreement that the name was born from an ignorant past. Hinst’s philosophy impressed Vasin, he had many complex views and while he did not completely disagree with the Church and what they had done he did agree that the Church was going too far.

Hinst argued that there was a place for the Church and that their intentions, when not tainted with lust for power, were meaningful and properly intentioned. Vasin and Carne had several extended debates on the morality of the actions undertaken by the Church. It was interesting to Vasin that someone so thoroughly persecuted by the Church would be an advocate for it, at all. Many that had joined them did so because they wanted to remove the Church entirely from its existence as a governmental institution. Vasin had not considered that there could also be a range of views on this topic within his forces.

He was forced to consider the fact that potentially more of their members had similar beliefs to Hinst but were afraid to speak up given the somewhat radical nature of many of the others that he had attracted. He made it a point to figure out how to resolve these differences in opinion before they made their move on the Church; it would do them no good for a portion of their forces to abandon them mid-fight because they couldn’t condone what they were doing.

Hinst also impressed Vasin with his knowledge of magic, he was only seconded by Ostil, though admittedly Vasin didn’t know many mages. In his explanations, Hinst would expand upon how certain magical theories could be manipulated, or even broken, given enough skill with the base elements of a spell. He also talked about how Elvish magic was fundamentally different from Human magic, which was surprising to Vasin.

He had not known this fact, and in fact it wasn’t common knowledge. Hinst explained that while everyone knows that Elvish magic is stronger, it isn’t because the Elves have some kind of genetic factor making it stronger. It was stronger because it more closely resembled the magic of old told in many myths and legends. It was something hidden from the general citizenry of the country to prevent further subjugation of the Elves and to prevent a second Arcanum War from occurring. It made sense though, why Ostil’s magic was so much more potent than most Human mages. Even more reason to get more of the Elvish on their side.

Finally, there was his biggest prize; Garreth Dorin, a defector from the Church. Not just a defector, but a Paladin; one of the strongest warriors in the country that had one of the highest commands in the Enforcers. Dorin was a massive man, almost seven feet tall and an extremely muscled physic. He was one of only a handful of people who were known to be able to wield two-handed weapons with a single hand and Dorin was well-known for his unique fighting style that incorporated two pikes. He had fiery red eyes that seemed to bore into your being and radiant golden hair that reached his midriff.

Dorin could no longer condone what the Church was doing to the people of Felgarin. For years he just followed his orders, putting aside his disdain for the atrocities he was ordered to commit. He could no longer uphold his vows and continue fighting for the “corrupt bastards” as he called them.
Vasin had no idea he had attracted such an individual to his cause. Dorin had made no grand entrance; he had just shown up one day, heavily disguised. He knew the kind of people he was joining, if he did not hide his real identity until the right time, there was going to be trouble. He had hopes that Vasin was a reasonable man; his hope was rewarded.

The intel Dorin brought with him was invaluable. Battle plans, contingencies, operational strengths and weaknesses, supply line locations, information about unit formation, composition, and strength. So much information that at first Vasin thought it was a trap, that Dorin was sent as a double agent. Dorin swore on his oath to the Gods and on his families’ souls that he was here in good faith and Vasin could do nothing except believe him; Paladin’s take their vows seriously, not one of them would tarnish their honor by swearing on them in falsehood.

In exchange for all the information that Dorin bought, Vasin would get so much more in addition. That a Paladin of his stature joined them would further cement their cause as righteous in the minds of those, like Hinst, who still believed in the ideals of the Church. It would further validate Hington’s position as well. It would serve to shock the lower rank and file of the Enforces who were sure to have been told nothing of the defection; it may well lead to individuals laying down their arms and not fighting back.

And in exchange all Vasin was required to do was do what he had intended to do from the start, remove those currently in power from it. This was a boon he had never expected, and it would be a critical one in the times to come.

With his council selected, they began formulating battle plans, starting from initial skirmishes to announce their intentions to the Church all the way through to their final strategies for taking over Shrig. Obviously, these plans would need to be malleable as war is a fickle beast, you never know what you will find behind that unopened door and once open it is hard to close once more. They needed plans that could be altered or even completely redesigned should the need arise; with the minds he had collected, it was a relatively easy task with many counterplans for potential situations. Dorin’s knowledge of their enemy’s tactics and how they would respond to various situations would be instrumental in their success going forward.

Over the course of four months Vasin’s forces fought against the Church and pushed them back into the South. Their numbers swelled each day as the liberated more territory that had been held by the Enforcers. While Dorin had command of the front-line forces, Vasin would penetrate behind enemy lines with a select group of warriors to prepare the next push but sabotaging supply lines, introducing fake intel into their knowledge pool, and taking out mid-ranking officers whose absence would go unnoticed until it was too late.

Archbishop Alister was terrified of the progress the insurgents had made and that the notable voices of the World seemed to be in support of them. He desperately wanted to maintain his power, more than almost anything else in his life. That said, he was also deathly afraid of all of those around him, the defection of Garreth Dorin was a shock to his perceived invincibility. How many others secretly detested him as well?

Because of his paranoia, the resistance put up by the Enforcers was sloppy. Alister had, had all the upper chain of command brought before him to swear loyalty oaths. Those that had refused to show up, no matter the reason, were hunted down and imprisoned even though most were much too busy attempting to prevent the destruction of the empire Alister had built. Many attempted to inform the Archbishop of this, but he refused to listen to them and branded them traitors.

As a result, almost everyone with the experience to fight this war properly had been removed from the battle and the Church’s army was effectively being run by conscripts. It was no wonder that they were being steamrolled by the highly experienced forces that Vasin had put together. More experienced commanders would have noticed company commanders going missing, contradictory information suddenly reaching their desk, and all the other small actions Vasin had been taking to sow chaos. By all rights, the Church should have been winning this fight but for the paranoia of one man.

One month later Vasin and his forces had blockaded Shrig. Almost all of the Enforcers left in the South had either escaped north, defected, been captured, or had been killed. Defying the pleas of the cardinals at Saint Rideon’s Cathedral, the seat of power for the Church and their headquarters in Shrig, Alister refused to release the forces he had imprisoned even now. He had even had the cardinals arrested. He sat now, practically alone, on the Golden Throne of his one great empire, staring out across Shrig at the forces of commoners, traitors, upstarts, and usurpers that had come to end his rule.

He would not be trounced around in public like a common deposed ruler. He refused to accept the humiliation of being defeated by the means of mortal men. If he was going to lose his power then he would do so by answering to a much higher authority, one no man had rule over.

As Vasin and his troops entered Shrig everything was eerily quiet. Vasin knew there were people around, he could see movement within houses and people scampered away from shrouded windows as they passed by. There were no guards, no Enforcers, no resistance of any kind.

Vasin sent word throughout the army for everyone to hold position. Vasin gathered up his five generals and the seven warriors that he had fought side by side with throughout most of the campaign; they would proceed while the rest took up positions throughout the city in case of an ambush or attack from outside of the city while his group headed for Saint Rideon’s.

Saint Rideon’s cathedral was an enormous structure. It rose hundreds of feet above the city like a towering behemoth. It was the largest building aside from the castle in the city and had cost almost six years’ worth of Geldir to build. The design of the building had meaning, it wasn’t just big to be intimidating. It was a temple to the Earth God Rideon who ascended from a commoner to a saint and was rewarded with apotheosis into a major God. Saint Rideon’s was supposed to both symbolize the commoner origin and ascension to Godhood as well as represent Rideon’s protection of the Church in the mortal world.

When Vasin and the others arrived, they found the Plazza de Rideon, a large square area leading up to the cathedral, empty. Normally there would be elite guards stationed all around this place. An unease fell upon Vasin as they continued; why was this so easy?

They entered Saint Rideon’s main atrium, as deserted as the rest of the city; they could hear the clanking of Dorin’s armor booming off the massive, vaulted ceiling as they proceeded through towards the massive triplet staircases that lead to higher floors. Dorin parted with the group here, he was going to check the lower levels to try and find some answers as to what was going on.

The Archbishop’s office was on the tenth floor of the cathedral. It was a long climb up the polished wooden staircase. Every so often a loose stair would creak as they passed and make everyone jump; the tension was at an absolute peak. How could they have encountered no resistance, this deep in the enemy stronghold? They had to know that they were here by now.

Finally, at the tenth landing, Vasin pushed open the massive ten-foot-tall bloodwood doors that lead into the Archbishop’s office. The walls were lined with bookcases filled with ancient looking tomes. Throughout the floorspace were desks and tables with odd looking relics and gaudy furniture.

At the very back of the room was a massive desk that was supposedly carved from a single palo santo tree hundreds of years ago. Laying across it was the body of Archbishop James Alister, his head facing the to the side. His face was contorted into the most disgusting face you could imagine, his hands were clenched tight in a death grip, his fingernails had dug into his palms enough to draw blood. He had been dead for some time, possibly since the morning; his body was cold.

As they sought a reason for his death Gerlow warned everyone to step back. He asked if the others smelled anything unusual. When no one could come up with an answer he said that there was a pungent scent of Ilex in the air, one of the telltale signs of Jhedimar poison. Vasin ordered everyone to back away from the body into the middle of the room. He had heard of this stuff, it killed by skin absorption and very quickly. It was designed to be absorbed into surfaces easily and once it had, be almost impossible to remove. Assassins used it when they wanted to contaminate a crime scene and render it unusable as well as to kill anyone that came looking for their target.

This deluded man believed that he alone should rule over the Church and was determined to ensure that anyone that tried to succeed him would meet the same fate as he did. Gerlow said that the desk, chair, and other objects near the back of the room had been soaked in the stuff. It had started turning the wood of the desk a deep black color as the morning sun shone down on it.

One of the other peculiar side effects of the oils in the poison; they would cause materials saturated to turn black in sunlight. This led to its common name, the Black Death. It was odd that the Archbishop would have this substance at hand; it was considered an underworld-spawned substance due to the affect light had on it.

Dorin arrived a few minutes later and had relayed what he had found down on the basement floors; he found many of his fellow paladins locked up in holding cells. They had told him they had been arrested on suspicion of treason. When he learned what had transpired with the Archbishop he was aghast; such malevolence was unbecoming of a leader of the Church and for him to have had possession of some Black Death was even more worrisome.

For now, they would have the room sealed until they could deal with the Jhedimar; now they had a monumental task ahead of them; rebuilding a shattered country, for they had won. It was not an easy process. Many in the capital were still loyal to the Church, even after the revelations of what had been happening in the north. They would spend a total of four years bringing the rest of the high-ranking officials of the Church to justice and dealing with the disparate groups of Enforces spread throughout the country who were attempting to re-establish a foothold from which the Church could operate in exile from Shrig.

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I guess you weren't kidding about the length lmfao. Damn dude, it isn't NYT Bestseller level writing but I would be lying if I said I didn't get sucked into it. The pacing feels a bit better over the first one, but some places still feel a bit jerky. I don't suppose that is going to be completely fixable.

Much better job on details though I still feel you could have gone further. That said, I see more tidbits here and there hinting at future lore blogs. I really am intrigued by the Children of the Eleven Point Star and the way it progressed from just another religion to a problem feels a bit too real for these days.

But that is also what makes it cool, it is relatable which is something a lot of ameture writers struggle with. One of the feelings I am getting from your writing for this lore so far is that you are trying to be very non-anime. What I mean by that is that you're trying to keep events based around the actions of people as opposed to the trope of having demons, gods, and other such supernatural entities screwing around to cause them.

I do know that the supernatural is going to play a part in the story at points though, you talked about that with the Shadowdark when you were creating the Codex plugin demo. But I like that you are trying to not fall into that trope; almost every JRPG does in some way or another within the main plot.

Tropes are fine and it is a good trope, but it has also been used for like 28 years; something a bit different could be refreshing.

One thing I did not expect was the political intrigue. It seems mild right now, but I feel like that is something you would expand on potentially. I was also jebaited a bit here, when you stated that Felgarin was a monarchy in the title area of post 1 I assumed it was founded as one, but this post explicitly says it is something similar a mixture of Britain's and America's political systems and then transitioned to a Monarchy later.

I like that; subversion of "facts" to reveal the actual truth is a really powerful tool. The fact you are using it here means you're using it in the story as well right? I like a good twist in a story so this particular tidbit got my immediate attention.

I think the last quarter of this is the strongest though, I was thoroughly hooked at the reveal of Dorin. I also really liked the iconography of Alister looking out over the city he ruled and being a salty bitch that the people of the country hated his actions enough to come after him. It was a really interesting and rich scene that gave me a really good idea of his character; aside from all of the other horrible crap he did.

This part definitely has more "juice" to it. I don't know if that is just because it is much longer or if you actually made changes to it as well. I really hope you release something like a lore compendium with the game that has everything. I would actually pay extra for that tbh.

Looking forward to see how this wraps up.
Glad you liked it. Yes, I actually nearly ran out of room for this part; I hit 52K characters. I wanted to add in a bit more, but felt that with the length it was, it might end up longer than I could post.

As for subversion of things a reader thinks they know, I think most of the great stories use that writing mechanism. It isn't just a cheap "oh, hey here is a twist" type of thing, but a fundamental shift in the understanding of the story and events when used correctly. Yes, I am using this technique in the game's story.

I will think about that lore collection extra idea. I do think I want to hold some things back so that if I decide to work on a follow-up game (almost certain it would be a prequel or set in some earlier time period) to this I have something to work with, but at the same time I see how that could interest a lot of people.

Thanks for the feedback!

52,000 characters?! Jesus christ dude...

I look forward to the novelization of this game some day lmao.
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