The Southern Gardens

"Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." -John Milton
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Gesar
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The Southern Gardens

Post by Gesar » 16:04:59 Sunday, 26 February, 2017

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Past the grand ballroom and down through the sculpture-lined Red Hall is a discrete door, barely notable were it not for the famous wing of the castle just behind it, commissioned by the first King Ettien in the aftermath of his successful campaign against the Oscellans. In between two clearings around a pair grand fountains to the east and west (known as Xander's Sacrifice and the Magician's Remorse, respectively) is a wide array of pergolas and arbors shielding Saenwyn's courtiers from the summer sun, interspersed with flower arrangements and religious sculptures. This shelter, and the privacy it allows, makes it an ideal center for intrigue, gossip, and the transfer of information between nobles, merchants, and other courtly hangers-on, and one can often find bits of literature lying about the wing. Of particular interest are the twin exits: to the east lies the glass-covered Botanical Gardens, home to exotic plants from across Tir Bhaile, while to the west one may find the Royal Trophy Room, a popular destination during the reign of the last King Carlon.


OOC: Treat this as you would a newspaper thread adapted to the setting. Collaborative attempts at fleshing out the setting are also welcome, provided they're ran by the proper channels first. See this thread if you're still confused.
Smyg wrote:The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of Gesar coping with being a total fucking a-grade revolutionary thinker

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Huojin » 01:26:06 Wednesday, 15 March, 2017

WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATIONS

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Lords and ladies, paupers and princes, men of cloth and of coin, honoured guests all - return once more to Gerand's Keep this coming winter for grand celebrations, as we welcome in the shortest day and longest night of all the year!

Witness once more, those age-old traditions!

- The Pre-Dawn Procession
The arrival of guests to the capital along each and every road from around the Kingdom, travelling under cover of darkness before yet even the earliest hints of sunlight have brightened the silent winter skies, to arrive in the safety and warmth of the city - a last chance to take sustenance and refreshment before the traditional fast throughout the daylight hours until the nighttime celebrations - in remembrance of times when winters were a force to be reckoned with.

- The Almsgiving
Slumber during the day, or travel the streets of the city and local villages with other lords and ladies, burghers and priests, distributing gifts to children and alms to the poor - to warm their hearths and hearts, and steel them through the long night to come!

- Crossing the Threshold and the First-Foot
Return to the city itself as the skies darken once more, the shortest day having whirled by during the day's celebrations, and prepare yourself for the night! Cross the threshold of the Royal Palace, competing for the esteemed honour of being first-foot - the first chosen guest to cross within, and bestow a gift upon the household to impart luck to its occupants.

- The Solstice Feast
Be seated and break your long fast at the best-stocked table in all the realm, at the Solstice Feast! From great beasts brought down in the hunts, to delicacies from the Marches to Massalia, to the traditional Red Fruits, gathered fresh with winter or stored from the summer days, whose brightness evokes memories of warmth and of the dawn!

- The Mid-Night Ball
Satiated and full of libations to winter's chill, join hands in the masked dancing and merrymaking of the Mid-Night Ball, with music and celebration carrying on late into the night. Listen also to grand ballads and epic poems, stories of winters past and heroes gone, to carry us through the darkness.

- The Vigil of the Longest Night
While more tired hands may slip away, those more determined folks will remain awake for this, the oldest of the solstice traditions. Keeping vigil with storytelling and poetry throughout the darkness of the night until the golden-red of dawn creeps blushingly into the morning skies, marking the passage of the night and a new dawn for the year!


Honoured guests from across the realm, you are duly and cordially requested to attend, by invitation of

CORENTIN I
KING OF SAENWYN, DEFENDER OF THE REALM

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Smyg » 00:34:46 Wednesday, 22 March, 2017

As you stand in the Southern Gardens, you notice a piece of trash laying around. As you pick it up, you notice it is a crumpled, fragmented copy of a... legal will? It is covered with a very neat set of handwriting, surely done by a professional scribe and now slightly smudged, and stamped with a red wax seal, bearing what appears to be three crossbows.
As the Winter Solstice nears in this the Year of 835, knowing not the hour of my death, I - Lord Gidion of House Dain, Count of Edinnclif, Lord Regent of Cambaern - make this my final will.

As I hold no legitimate heirs of my own, I give and bequeath my title as Liege Lord and Count of Edinnclif, with all buildings and lands that come with that fief (with a few exemptions, noted below), to Sir Verin of Miller's Path, my sole surviving true brother and kinsman, in all but the letter of the law. After him, his legitimate children - at the present, Marten, Jehanna, and Coryn - shall be his heirs. All equipment, weaponry, and other items - in addition to any and all cattle, horses and other creatures - shall go with this my inheritance, again save for certain exemptions below.

Of my monetary holdings in gold, silver and copper at the time of my death, with the exception of some sums noted below, I give and bequeath one fourth of it to the Duchy of Cambaern itself, to be used by its Lord in financing the maintenance and advancement of Dainhall's defences. Secondly, I give and bequeath one fourth of it to contribute to the clearing and settlement of the Thrennish Ranges, to be divided for such purposes frugally by the future Lord Paramount of that region, Lord Emmerick, Count of Nanntede and Custodian of the Southmarch Way. Thirdly, I give and bequeath one fourth of it to the Royal Army, or whichever other royally-organized force is carrying out that task at the time, for the sole purpose of financing the pursuit of the bandits and murderers known as the "Circle of the Forsaken", and any other such foul bands, so that the King's Law may be implemented. Finally, I give and bequeath the last fourth of any theoretical monetary holdings to the smallfolk of the County of Edinnclif, in the form of seed for the next harvest, to be purchased and divided fairly among all households by Sir Sytos the Black.

To His Majesty Corentin Tremayne, King of Saenwyn, Lord Protector of the Crownlands, Count of Gerand's Keep, Defender of the Realm, etc. I hold no gift of significant enough value to offer, but I give him my best wishes, and a final pledge of allegiance. Hail, King.

To the commoner known as Hareld of Hornbow, for his heroism during the Pretender's Strife, I give and bequeath whichever of the horses within my stables that he selects, and the gift of one gold coin for each rhyme he can craft within a period of no more than five minutes (under supervision of my personal scribe) dedicated to the glories of the Nine-from-Three, in a ballad which must be titled The Bear's End. To Lord Rislyn Havre, Baron Wynvirke, I give and bequeath my hunting spear, so that he may hone his skills even further in the future.

To my former squire, Sir Sytos the Black, I again give and bequeath whichever of the horses within my stables that he selects. Should there be a dispute with another party of this will in that regard, they are to resolve it via debate, not combat. In addition, I give and bequeath any properties of mine within Gerand's Keep, small as they may be, and also my full suit of armour, which he is to either reforge in part to fit his purposes, sell as scrap, or create some form of ornament to be displayed in the aforementioned properties.

To Lady Maelle Guefet of Massalia I give and bequeath my dagger, once looted in the heat of battle from a fallen sellsword of House Louarn, to remind her that all real danger come from within, and to thank her for amusing an old knight.

For the truth in their hearts and for their pious advice during my regency at Dainhall, I give and bequeath a symbolic sum of a hundred gold coins each to to Perran, Archdeacon of Cambaern, and to Serra, Sister of Marchmont Abbey and tutor to His Grace the Duke, respectively. They may do as they please with it.

To my second cousin Sir Edwyn Dain of Erling's Hollow, thought to be in the City of Glass at the present, I give and bequeath my crossbow, given to me by his late father, during his brief service as the Steward of Dainhall, with the sole provision - a moral such, if not legal - that he must never use it against a direct subject of Houses Tremayne and Dain.

To Her Grace Lady Leila Vance, Duchess Dowager of Cambaern and my sister-in-law, I give and bequeath the tome of bawdy poetry entitled The Lover's Perils, gifted to me in my adolescence by her late husband and never once opened, so that she may remember blissful times past. To Her Grace Lady Alyssa Dain, Heir of Cambaern and my niece, I give and bequeath my sword, gifted to me upon my coming of age by my father the Duke of Cambaern, crafted on his order from a forge in Gerand's Keep and embossed with gold, so that she may remember to keep her edge keen and her gold unspent on unnecessary luxuries. To His Grace Lord Arrick Dain, Duke of Cambaern and my nephew, I give and bequeath my shield, gifted to me during the Pretender's Strife by my mother, the former Duchess Dowager of Cambaern, so that it may guard one of our blood yet again.

Additionally, I give and bequeath ten farmsteads, with good arable soils, on the northern reaches of my County Estates, in the vicinity of the now-ruined hill fort known to the smallfolk as "Hildur's Redoubt", via the Diocese of Saenwyn as a proxy, to the Pantheon of Extribus. These lands shall be dedicated to a singular purpose: to provide the produce and incomes necessary to sustain a small medical hospital open to the smallfolk of Cambaern, maintained by Brothers and Sisters of the Nine-from-Three. Should such a hospital not be established within one year from my death, the lands shall instead be sold by auction open to the yeomen of Cambaern, and the profits donated to the study of the medicinal craft at Gerand's Keep.

Finally, I offer a final and solemn request to His Grace, the King of Saenwyn, Lord Protector of the Crownlands, Count of Gerand's Keep, and Defender of the Realm: That, by a Royal Proclamation signed by the Monarch's own hand, witnessed by the King's Chancellor, sealed with the stamp of the Lord Justice and preserved within the Royal Archives, the man known as Sir Sytos the Black, knight and natural son of Lady Melissende and Lord Josse Babyn, Baron Grysmoor, be declared of legitimate status, as an adopted son of mine. This I ask both due to the loyalty he has held towards me since squiring for me, and so that there might be another last Dain to fight for the Realm to. He shall hold no right to inheritance, but be allowed to either display the Dain coat of arms or to quarter our crossbows with his own marks, and shall be awarded all other rights held by our ducal family. Any theoretical heirs of his shall be titled Dains of the Mire, and be seen as a cadet branch.

Signed at Dainhall, with a clear mind,
Gidion Dain.
As soon as you finish reading the partly torn parchment, a sudden gust of wind takes it out of your hands. You watch as it rises up above, before falling gently into the cool waters of Xander's Sacrifice.
His Excellency Carl Johan Adlercreutz, Riksföreståndare of the Kingdom of Sweden-Finland.

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Huojin » 03:05:05 Saturday, 25 March, 2017

THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE WOLF AND STALLION

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Established by proclamation of His Majesty King Corentin of Saenwyn, a new noble order of knights is founded in commemoration and honour of the great deeds and steadfast service rendered by the Clawborne Clans unto the Crown. True and valiant vassals in all regards, earnest warriors and faithful protectors in peace and war, they are granted recognition by this Order of their service.

The members of this Order shall constitute solely the Monarch and the chieftain of each Clawborne clan, endowing them with the attached rights and honours open solely to the members of this Order; namely, that each shall bear knightly rank by right of this title, that they shall have the right to wear the colours associated with this Order including its badge of honour, and that each shall have the right to affix or include a crowned stallion as part of their emblems, banners or other heraldic trappings.

Long may the allegiance of wolf and stallion stand the tests of all comers.

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Snacks » 00:12:05 Sunday, 26 March, 2017

Sitting on one of the garden's benches, you find a note written with a careful hand, evidently a portion of an unfinished letter.
...Amid the bustle around Dainhall as the Lord-Regent’s tournament approached, it was not hard to pick out the camps of the visiting Massalians as one drew closer. The songs and dances of Massalia, like its people, have often been described by the charitable as ‘lively’ and by the merely polite as ‘irreverent’, the truths of which are plain as one ventures among the tents and stalls of the Gold-Blooded. Merchants from Cambaern’s eastern neighbor, already a common sight in the ducal seat, hawked every conceivable commodity and trinket, fighting men sparred in anticipation of the coming melee and tournament, craftsmen and servants hurried about their preparations for the festival, and among the goings-on Massalians- young and old alike -sought to find a moment of leisure and celebrate.

Taken all together, the throngs of visiting Goldblooded created an atmosphere of barely-contained anarchy, held back only by their own particular sense of propriety and the will of the leaders among them.

By far the most numerous of those notables were the arriving fighters, retainers of House Guefet and the Stradiot mercenary riders of Massalia. You have heard, no doubt, of the exploits of Bertran Lewyn, ‘the Seaborn Knight.’ I admit that, regretfully, I missed his display of gallantry in the melee, but bore witness to the prowess of Darrel Marrak, cousin to the Baron of Emporion’s late father, as well as the performance of a Stradiot known to me from my childhood as one of Massalia’s woods-folk: Andon Cheveri, one of those riders serving the Guefets.

I even shared a meal and a few words with Mason Lanvin, notorious leader of an independent Stradiot company from Highwater and noted rival of my aforementioned aquaintance, as well as the young Claude Angwin, a friend of the Baron Winoc Guefet and the Seaborn Knight. While the former was there in hopes of unhorsing Darrel Marrak (I’m led to believe the sentiment was mutual), the latter was evidently goaded into taking part in the melee by his friends after an embarrassing defeat in a knife-throwing contest, by a young lady of fair features accompanying the three no less!

As for the young Baron Winoc, and his sister Maelle, I admit to knowing only secondhand at best most of what transpired during their visit to Dainhall. It would seem their initial introductions at the Ducal court were without major incident, practically sedate compared to stories of how Guefets tend to cause a stir, though I cannot help but suggest that perhaps given the difference in temperaments between the Baron and his sister, this was by the Guefet matriarch’s design.

Despite the fright evidently given to one of Sister Serra’s charges by Lady Maelle and Prince Ettiene, it would seem the young lady was almost conspicuously well-behaved: I’m told that upon their introduction to the young Duke Arrick the two presented a gift selected by Baron Winoc, a noted lover of the arts- a sturdy easel and set of fine brushes so that the bedridden Duke might try his hand at capturing the world outside his bedroom window – while Lady Maelle reportedly entertained him with stories of her exploits around the city of Massalia, and her commentary on the tourney competitors as he watched from his window- though it would seem she gave the nearby servants the slip before the arrival of some anonymous knight, expressing an interest in meeting the mysterious figure.

It would seem that a good deal of the Baron’s time at Dainhall was spent assisting a number of scholars from the University of Massalia, including the well-respected academic and occasional advisor to Duchess Guefet, Master Calixte Oury, along with former tutor to the Guefet siblings, Imanol Prynne. Though even the often-serious Winoc seems to be able to find time to relax, and apparently participated in the poetry competition, penning an entry being referred to as “Hands of Cambaern”, in honor of the duchy’s smallfolk farmers. I’m told he was as impressed as any with the composition of Sister Serra and seemed surprisingly fond of speaking with the Sister and her charges for a member of the somewhat irreverent House Guefet- I suppose being educated outside of the usual tutoring by the Pantheon’s sisters, the academic sort grows curious of what knowledge is to be found there...

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Red John » 17:33:35 Monday, 27 March, 2017

Found in a dark corner of a Lathair tavern, this seemingly innocuous piece of paper spots your eye…
A Call to Arms!

Dear King Corentin, the successor of the decadent royalty, has shown his true colours! Once more, the King tries to assert his control over the country. Once more, the privileges of the nobility - wicked and unfair as they may be - are being revoked, centralising the King's power at the expense of all other men and women! Already, the King's men roam the country, divvying out what they call the 'King's Justice' - an arbitrary means of settling disputes which more often than not end up with the man of higher standing paying no due for his crimes.

Even now, as Western Saenwyn descends into anarchy, the king feasts and parties - hearkening back to the jovial days of the decadent monarchy. Whilst towns struggle to fend off Voslavja thieves that pillage the land, the King holds feasts! A tragedy! How many innocent men must die defending their families from foreigners before the nobility care for the common man? They have been granted privileges over the lives of millions – and what do they do with these privileges? They squander them – all with consent of the crown, of course.

It is the natural endpoint of a monarchy. No good king can last forever, and it is impossible to ensure that each subsequent king will rule justly, fairly and uphold the scant few rights the common man has. The nobles follow suit of their proud leader who indulges in many excesses as the concerns of the realm are swept away by wine, women and music. It was not but a few years ago that this land was swept up in a civil war to finally remove ourselves from dynastic politics; remove ourselves from oppression. But that was crushed. It is a sad sort of irony when the nobility fight the nobility for the nobility, only to be betrayed by the nobility. The accursed nobility seem only to know betrayal – as we have all experienced one way or another.

What is the solution, then, you may ask? It is very simple; take up arms! This is the only logical conclusion to the situation at hand. It is the only way with which we can ensure the rights of the many are protected from the claws of the few. Years ago, the Confederation was crushed in the penultimate battle by betrayal! The only way for us to fall is through betrayal! If we stand united, shoulder to shoulder, what can they do to stop us? What can they do to avoid paying for their injustices? What can they do when their soldiers refuse to shed the blood of their brethren and family? Nothing!

Already, people take up arms because the nobility have failed them – their kingdom has failed them, given up on them. But we, the Circle, have not given up on either our ideals or the people. It is our eternal duty to stand as both the bulwark and the vanguard of the people. Where there is no justice, we will enforce justice. Where there is no order, we will enforce order. Where there is no equality, we will enforce equality.
All we do is for the people, and all we stand for mandates we fight for the people.

So I, ‘Red’ Saloman, leader of the Circle, heir to the ideals of the Confederation, Man of the People and Vanquisher of Tyranny – call upon the people of Saenwyn to take up arms when we give the call! We must purge Saenwyn of these corrupt individuals and build a new order!

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Snacks » 22:26:43 Sunday, 02 April, 2017

An excerpt from Master Calixte Oury's "On the Cultures of Saenwyn and Their History"
'A man's home is his castle- his wife, the seneschal,' is a common and widely-attributed snippet of wisdom throughout the realm; One that on more urbane tongues is used to remind a man to respect the wisdom of his wife as much as it is used to direct her to obedience. A more common version in Massalia, likely influenced by the egalitarian Karkhedonians, is 'A man may own his house, but his wife is still master of it.'

This folk-wisdom is often helpful in illustrating the attitude towards women among Massalian culture: though it can often be as traditional as any other region of Saenwyn, and a far cry from the strange customs of some far-flung barbarian cultures where matriarch-ruled families are the rule, the average Massalian carries a certain reverence for women, even deference in some matters, that goes beyond the norm. The sentiment that- for her nurturing of children, maintenance of the home, and even (especially among the more affluent) tending to their husband's affairs while away -the woman is master of the household is not simply a platitude but a widely accepted fact of life among the Gold-blooded, and numerous are the cautionary tales and jokes at the expense of men punished for failing to respect the judgement of their womenfolk. Though specific customs and their enforcement varies throughout Massalia and fiefdoms peopled by the Gold-blooded, there is a widely-respected notion that free womenfolk, even commoners, have certain legal rights, extended even to serfs depending on the attitudes of the particular lord.

Common protections include the right of a woman to bar any man from her home, even her husband (given sufficient reason, if appealed to the relevant authority); The right to petition for appropriate redress if injured by her husband; The right to inherit and own property, and to petition one's lord for divorce and/or to claim her husband's assets as her own in recompense for abandonment or infidelity. In some towns and even the ducal seat, a woman reserves the prerogative to accept or reject betrothal.

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Re: The Southern Gardens

Post by Coin » 19:36:42 Wednesday, 12 April, 2017

Traversing one of the establishments more frequently used by visiting clergy or philosophers, your eye lands on a small sheaf of papers that fell behind a table. It seems to be a basic transcription of a series of speeches on the subject of prehistory.
...which of course leads us to the conc conundrum of what on earth the underfolk - the durgen, or dwarves to use their common name - were eating? Did they perhaps work the land above their deep holds in summers, as... *unreadable*... Calrad Cardaron so famously proposed from his study of the terraces surrounding some of the western hills? Or, perhaps, one might guess at underground agricultural systems, an entire school of thought we can scarce dream at...

But this leads me to the thrust of my own thoughts on the topic more generally, if you will forgive my constant digressions. Man is prone, is he not, to presume he is at the ct centre of all. In youth, the child thinks all exist only for their own sustenance. As we age, we appreciate our working within a greater scheme, of good and ill - urged on by the Nine - with our own responsibilities. We divide our histories into those of men - and those of others. Man and elf, chiefly; but we lump together the dwarves with the latter, and all other races too. A neat dichotomy, surely.

Nonsense! Think of the strange races beneath the heavens we know; and those we do not know for mere lack of knowledge of distant lands. Would we really throw together elf, dwarf, ratkin, and snakemen? In terms of their relations with humanity this is understandable; but to analyse our world objectively, it cannot be done so!

But nor wul

But nor would I hazard a stride down the dangerous road of some of our more eccentric compatriots. Useful as it is, a study of each race as one might study a breed of livestock is of no use. Instead, a more base question: how does one divide the creatures of the earth? Why, the youngest would tell you, by their habitat. The flying bird; the earth-bound animal; the beasts that swim; and the burrowing mites.

Why limit this merely to the unthinking beasts? We should instead divide the races in such a manner! The races of men and elves, those who dwell upon the earth, are alike on the fundamental principle of habitation, despite the eternal division of blood, faith, history and biology. And the races of rat and dwarf, while long gone to us, are surely better categorised together also despite their ancient rivalry and biological divisions!

But I do - once more - dig digress. What is the reason for my diversion, in a discussion on agriculture? Well, I must digress once more to the subject of freshwate...

***At this point, the writer seems to have lost interest in his transcription, the remainder of the paper showing only various doodles.***

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