Head(s) of State: Leofric de Hollemark
- Title: Emperor
- Angkar: As the troubles from the Dark Conquest have died down, and are no longer as much a concern for the country as they used to be, Morrim has started to reach out with a peaceful hand towards Angkar, which assisted them in their time of need. While Isra had been on good terms with Hemlock while he was in power, she is unsure whether or not the new ruler will be the same.
- Ashoka: Neutral, for the most part. Ashoka and Morrim have always had very little to do with each other after the initial attempts at expansion, and with Isra regaining control after the events that nearly tore the country apart, she has continued with the isolationist policy Morrim has always held.
- Soto: One of the last countries to be affected by the war against Andromalius, Soto was nonetheless influenced by the destruction of the Eye of Zanna. Political ties have thus been strained since Isra's return to power. With the semi-normality finally restored in the country, it is Isra's hope that she can mend the ties with Soto's council members, at least reducing or getting rid of any hostilities they may hold.
Capital City: Kinaldi
- Spring: Calm and generally cool. Thunderstorms and heavy showers are not uncommon, and there is also a chance of snow until late in the season.
- Summer: Relatively hot and dry, but with a chance of thunderstorms from time to time. The heat may cause forest fires.
- Autumn: Still warm, autumn is the stormiest time of the year in Morrim. At times there may be hurricane-force winds blowing across the land.
- Winter: Cool, wet, and windy, rain is common, although snow is, on the whole, infrequent (there may, however, be some seemingly random snow storms) in the interior, and any snow that accumulates along the coast quickly disappears. Early in the season it is very stormy, wet, and windy, while the end of the season is characterized by less wind, less precipitation, and lower temperatures. Towards the mountains heavy snowfall is quite frequent and the temperatures drop significantly.
- Black Tower
- Do'suul Mountains
- Loniar Swamp
- Mulciber Volcano
- Windswept Plains of Aeril
Exports: Agricultural produce, gems, horses, iron ore, livestock, perfume, precious metals, textiles, rice.
Specialities: Agriculture, mining
Agriculture: Pasture land and fields consume most of Morrim's available land, including some of the land on and around the mountains. Crop farming is a major industry, as the soil in Morrim is ideal for growing. This has also led to some rather large farms springing up throughout the country, in turn leading to increased competition amongst farmers that helps keep prices competitive.
Morrim has a long, and fierce, history of conquest and colonisation. Indeed, the modern imperial state can trace many of its social and economic attributes to being forged in the crucible of warfare. Situated on the fertile flatlands on the east of Soare, Morrimians have the luxury of not only the finest horse pasture, but also the infrastructure and population density to make long-term warfare possible.
The lands are nominally owned by the crown, and are leased as dukedoms and earldoms to the highest ranking noble families in return for military service. These lands are then leased as baronies, marches and counties to lesser nobility - the stewards in charge of single villages are known as knights. A knight must be able to pay for the possession and upkeep of their arms and armour and their horse, as well as that of their squires and their levied peasants.
The rank of knight is attained through a long period of tutelage from an early age. For a yearly fee, knights accept children from the age of eight into their household, where they are taught to read and write, the customs of knightly conduct and the maintenance of weapons. Provided the family keep up their payments, at the age of twelve the child becomes a squire, and is taught to ride and fight. One can become a fully-fledged knight at the age of sixteen, provided that they have the patronage of a higher-ranking noble who has lands in need of stewardship. If not, then they usually become soldiers of fortune, or armed retainers to their patron, living in their household as a bodyguard. The merchant classes often send their children to knights to get a foothold on the ladder of nobility, whereas serfs and peasants have little hope of doing so.
At every echelon of noble ranking, from Dukes to Earls to knights, individuals are bound by oaths of fealty and duty to the noble who grants them the lands and are responsible for providing soldiers whenever the Imperial Levy is called. While all are nominally bound in service to the Empress, local conflicts between lords are not uncommon. Typically, higher ranking nobles will have the wealth to keep a company of professional armed retainers, whereas earls and knights have to recruit willing men from among the peasantry.
Historically, companies of professional mercenaries operate within these confines with a high degree of success and sustainability. Although they are viewed with a little disdain by the nobility, they are viewed as a good deal more reliable than peasant levies and can fulfil a number of battlefield roles. In the main they are common-born, taking up the trade out of economic necessity, although squires who have failed to successfully find a patron are also fairly typical. In the aftermath of the Dark Conquest, many have found gainful employment as caravan guards or as armed retinues for nobles, while some have abandoned soldiery for banditry.
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Morrim has the most effective cavalry unit in Soare, which is the domain of the nobility. They are mounted on strong horses, and heavily armoured with at least a coat of mail and a helmet, and armed with a lance and sword or mace. The devastating charge of Morrimian knights has passed into legend, and they are a feared force on the battlefield. They are quite hotheaded in battle, and may charge without orders, but their morale is strong as they draw on a legacy of military dominance. Aside from the charge, they lack unit cohesion, but excel at individual combat.
Light cavalry is considered something of an oddity in Morrim, and it is usually left to mercenary companies to fulfil the role. The nobles are unwilling to mount peasant soldiers, partly due to the cost of maintaining mounts, but mainly because it might give the commons certain unsavoury ideas. The social status quo must be maintained everywhere, even on the battlefield.
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The Morrimian infantry is drawn, in the main, from the peasantry. Typically they are armed with spears and shields, and armoured with whatever hand-me-down helmets and curaisses they have on hand. Some minor nobility will also fight on foot - known as 'pauper knights' - and will be better armed than their common counterparts. Their morale is steady, but poor - they are likely to break if they are shocked by a sudden reversal. Their role on the battlefield is to hold the enemy in place for the cavalry to deliver the coup de grace. Being drawn from agricultural peasantry, they can also fulfil the role of sappers effectively, throwing up ditches and other earthworks with relative efficiency.
In the mountains of Do'Suul, there exists healthy culture of archery. Levies from these regions typically supply archers in lieu of spearmen, giving some diversity to the Morrimian foot troops. Utilising the longbow, and arching volley-firing techniques, these archers are devastatingly effective at range, but will fall swiftly in a melee due to their lack of armour. They are light-footed, though, and will occasionally be used as flanking forces in a desperate situation due to their ease in manoeuvres.
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- Morrim does have a fair tradition of artillery use, mainly around ballistas and trebuchets. Bombards are quite rare, but not unknown - although they are usually purchased from Sotoan guilds as opposed to being home-made, as Morrim lacks the foundries and technical expertise required to build such pieces. Typically they are found in the cities as a defence rather than having a professional corps, and as such their performance is inconsistent when brought to the battlefield.
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Morrim's naval traditions are weak, aside from their early colonisation of Angkar, and they posses no standing navy. They rely on requisitioning services from merchants, and sometimes pirates, should they require a seaborne expedition.
Due to this lack of authority on the water, many pirates have hideouts along the Morrimian coast, where they can plunder the trade routes between Angkar and Soare with ease. The port city of Fairin is home to many retired pirates gone merchant.
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- Magic is not uncommon in the Morrimian military mind, and many knights will learn at least some of the arcane arts in their tutelage. Typically they tend towards warding and healing spells, with destructive battle magic being seen as against the knightly code of conduct - although it is not unknown. The darker arts are viewed with deep suspicion, although their practice is not unwelcome.
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The Order of the Thicket
A monastic knightly order, based in Kinaldi and sworn to defend both the city and the reigning monarch, they are the closest thing Morrim has to full-time professional soldiery. Named for the lush woodland that surrounds the capital, they are affectionately known as the 'Hedge Knights', or disparagingly called 'Scrub Knights' by certain members of the aristocracy. Typically their ranks are drawn from squires who have failed to find a suitable patron, or from nobles wishing to live a more pious life - although the latter must give up any claim to their lands and be released from their oath of fealty to their lord.
They are all armoured with the finest Sotoan plate, with tabards of deep green, with a white oak leaf embroidered on the chest. Oddly enough, they fight exclusively on foot, utilising swords, shields and polearms. This is partly practical, as they train mostly for defence actions in the city, but also ideological, as meekness is an attribute they seek to cultivate.
In practise, they are like monks - their barracks are humble, their quarters akin to penitent cells. Their days are spent in prayer or studies on Vespasian and other Morrimian saints, as well as a harsh regimen of martial training. Certain members also specialise in healing magic, and the Order run a hospital in the city. Experienced, fully fledged knights act as the police force in the city, arbitrating disputes and keeping the peace. The highest ranking members form the personal guard of the Empress herself.
Nationality: The Morrimians are more muscular in stature, as much of the land can be used for farming, and, indeed, usually is. Commoners who farm are especially muscular, while serfs and slaves tend to be thin and scrawny, malnourished and typically exhausted. The people as a whole are very mixed, possessing dark hair and olive skin to light hair and pale skin, typically with light-coloured eyes, although it is not entirely unusual to see people whose irises are very dark. One might describe some of the people as being snooty due to their elevated position in society, while others would describe them, the peasants especially, as being humble, narrow-minded (This is our lot in life and thats all there is to it), a smidgeon melancholy, even.
National Designation: Citizens of Morrim are known as Morrimians.
Religion: Religion in Morrim is unlike any of the other religions found in the rest of Soare; rather than worshipping a multitude of gods, their prayers go solely to one: Vespasian. Their belief stems from an old legend from several hundred years ago about a warrior who started life out as a simple farmer, rose up from nowhere to aid the Morrimians when they were faced with hostility from a neighbouring country, and then won their battle. He was yet struck down by one foe who had managed to manipulate his way into the Emperor's court, and upon his death was deified for his actions. While their one god exists, the people of Morrim believe that he appears to them in many different forms, and though each of these forms may have their own separate namefor example, Malarian is often the name given to the form that takes care of the home and family, while Filie is in charge of trade and wealththey are all just different forms of the same underlying figure.
Priests and priestesses of the religion are often dressed almost identically in each of the temples scattered across the country. Over their head they wear a large piece of cloth that gathers about their shoulders much like a shawl. Hanging from the cloth down on their forehead is an ornate fringe, often decorated with beads and other stones. It is worn as such always, to signify their status in the temples. Other religious figures are often dressed depending on which form of the god appeals to them most; some may wear shawls of green for Filie, while others wear red for Malarian, and so on. Each shawl is similar in nature to that worn by the priests and priestesses, though the biggest difference is the fringe that hangs about their foreheads. On those of regular status it isn't as decorated and appears much simpler.
Over the years, other historical figures have either been reported to have performed miracles during their lifetime or been martyred, creating a host of saints. One of the most beloved is Dikiae, the saint of Justice and Punishment who is blind after having her eyes prodded out with a hot iron by the unlawful Adimmon, a zealous man who claimed to be a prophet. She was entered into the canon upon her death, and many believe that this crime must have pleased Vespasian, for Adimmon was smited shortly thereafter, burned to death in an accidental fire.
Another saint, Loren, was added to the canon after his death. He performed a great deal of miracles, the most important being that he is said to have brought one of the Daelynid heirs back to the brink of death when he was little more than a few months old. Loren also performed other healing miracles, from curing sickness to reportedly helping the criminals of Morrimian society accept Vespasian as the only deity. He passed away in his 90s due to natural causes.
Education: Only the royal, noble, and gentry classes are educatedvery few, if any, serfs can read, and it is fairly certain that not a single slave can read or write. Most upper and middle class girls learn how to act as proper women, being taught either in small schools or by private tutors to cook, clean, sew, and how to manage a household; young men, typically, are drafted into the military as pages, eventually becoming squires and, finally, knights around the time that they turn 20 or 21. Here they learn about military strategy, basic history, cultures of other countries, and combat training. Those who do not join the military may go on to become lords and politicians of a sort, and they may even become advisors to the Empress, although only a small percentage will have this opportunity. Regardless of career choice, boys who are heirs will also learn how to run a fief in all aspects from their fathers. Girls may enlist to become pages, but very few parents allow this.
Society: Morrim follows a traditional feudal hierarchy; from top to bottom, the state is very rigid in its social structure. At the top resides the Empress, below her the high nobles (also known as magnates), which also includes her advisors, followed by the lesser nobility (the gentry), the peasantry, commoners, and, lastly, slaves. These slaves, however, are not in the sense that one thinks: these are, rather, slaves of the household, known as serfs. While slaves who are forced to till the fields and must do difficult and endless manual labour, serfs are primarily composed of those who cook, clean, sew, act as stable hands, among other mundane jobs that involve the tending of their lords and ladies. The lives of the serfs are much better than those who are whipped and beaten by cruel masters in large complexes, but, as previously stated, these are few and far between. Some lords are known to extend cruelty to their domestic slaves.
The land is divided into fiefdoms, or estates. Each fief is headed by a very wealthy magnate, and each fief acts as a sort of barrier, as if the country were divided into provinces along the lines of inheritance. On each fief there is a central building, known as the estate, where the magnate and his family will typically live (for the laws state that a woman may not inherit the land, and that the next male heir, perhaps a brother or an uncle, shall take over once the immediate owner or heirs have died). All commoners and the gentry in the neighbouring towns are to go to the presiding magnate should a problem arise, and he is responsible for dealing with it. In turn, the magnates go to the Empress should they have a problem, while the commoners are unable to do the same (in this way the hierarchy is very segregated). The Empress also possess her own separate estates, one of which encompasses the capital city, Kinaldi.
Morrim is the longest-unified country in Soare and the outlying islands. Since the dawn of history, Morrim has been ruled by a dynastic monarchy, which was once puny but eventually came to rule a majestic state that would affect the lives of those far beyond its borders.
In this monarchy, different families came to be in charge of the dynastic monarchy. During its period of reign, a family would try its hardest to preserve their position through arranged marriages and protection against would-be assassins. So long as the country prospered, a family tended to stay in power. The longest-lasting dynasty of Morrim was the Orchiaëd Dynasty, which lasted from 768 BR to 545 BR, only collapsing because the last member of the line, Cholpon II, was so inbred that he was infertile and could not produce any children.
For much of Morrim's history, the Morrimian people were relatively uneducated, the masses being far distanced from the extreme upper class of nobles, lords, and royalty. They had little interest or understanding of the rest of the world, but were content in the small and often pastoral scope of their lives.
Things began to change when the Cypselid family came into power in 183 BR, overthrowing the relatively mediocre Rothkilid Dynasty. Their regime was a short one, but productive. Rather than sitting back and letting the country progress as it would without any government interference, the Cypselid king, Arian Cypselis, chose to pour money from Morrim's burgeoning treasury into the Morrimian military and infrastructure. There are many cited reasons for his sudden interest in the troops and roads, but regardless of what the intent was the end result was the same: Morrim was changed forever, but the treasury was absolutely drained. Arian had dug the country into debt. Just as he was beginning to formulate a plan to fix this, he and his family were violently overthrown by the Daelynids in 178 BR.
The government's coffers were soon replenished, for the country had been worked towards a golden age: the people lived well, for they were better able to travel, and the new military suppressed violence from within and without. Knowledge and culture flourished, and when the new generation of educated youths grew to be of age, they turned their eyes outwards, to the rest of the world.
Thus began Morrim's transformation into an empire. Beginning in 171 BR, Morrim expanded outwards, taking land from elsewhere, often with conflict. Most of this expansion originally occurred in Ashoka, between the coast of the Tamarind Bay and the Origa Ravine, though they began to encroach upon the border they shared with the Sotoan kingdoms. At that point, the Ashokans were not yet unified and so the disparate nomadic tribes had no power to resist them. Meanwhile, the various sovereignties of Soto were embroiled in their own war, so the sovereignties that were dominated by the Morrimians got little or no outside help, and thus fell with only some resistance.
By 160 BR, the Morrimians had taken land beyond the Origa Ravine and had spearheaded the development of the city of Etruria. Their possessions in Soto extended along the coast, the Falann River, and elsewhere into the Erth'netora Forest. It was at around this point that the Sotoans and Ashokans finally began to take action against them. The Sotoans had united a few years earlier, but had not yet ventured into war. The Ashokans were in a similar situation: neither country felt strong enough to take on the famously powerful Morrimian army alone. So, they unified, and began a war that largely took place in Ashoka. Later, the war became known as the First Origa War, lasting from 160-145 BR. During the course of this war, the Morrimians lost land up to the Origa Ravine and Etruria and were left with only a few small possessions along the Sotoan coast.
The war was ended by a truce because fifteen years of fighting had tired everyone. The Morrimians did not want to lose more land and at first were well aware of the fact that the Sotoans and Ashokans would probably try to get the last pieces of their ancestral land back. However, after many years of peace, hubris began to set in. It seemed that the Sotoans and Ashokans had become quietous as well and were content to remain as they were. So in 136 BR, under the direction of newly risen emperor Hinos Daelynin, the newly formed Morrimian navy set out from their new coastal possessions in search of new land. They came across Angkar, dominated the people there and began to settle, exploiting the land for the sake of trade. Many exotic luxury items came from this land, such as spices, coffee and sugar. Slaves were also a big import. Soto eventually took land there too, and it was conflict with Soto over land in Angkar that brought about war again.
Thus, in 127 BR, Morrim suddenly had to fight a war on two fronts: in Angkar and the surrounding seas, and in the lands to the east of the Origa Ravine. It could not be sustained, especially as there was turmoil in the government and threats on all sides for the Daelynid family. Morrim soon had to retreat from Angkar, for the Sotoans and Angkarians had allied against them, and this defeat soon precipitated the defeat in Ashoka and the Sotoan mainland.
During the final throes of the war, in 121 BR, a strange thing began to happen: time began to warp and people came out of seemingly nowhere, claiming to be from another world called Mianor. This hammered in the final nail of the Morrimian coffin. The Daelynids were overthrown and the Amiel family came into power. While Morrim could not be restored to her former glory, the Amiels at least repaired it and sustained it during the difficult times of the Mianor migration and the fall of the Mianorite gods. There were some rough patches, of couse, such as the dictatorial actions of Bane Amiel after the loss of his wife.
In 73 BR, Isra Amiel came to power at the tender young age of fifteen. Despite her youth, she was a just ruler, perhaps having learned from the cruel actions of her father, Bane. However, peace could not last, and years later Isra was usurped by a man she trusted as an advisor. The Banshee King, Andromalius, kidnapped Isra and used the Morrimian army to conquer Ashoka, though he suddenly abdicated before he moved on to Soto. Isra was kept in the Black Tower, and eventually her soul was sealed in an artifact known as the Eye of Zanna, which decayed Morrim's land. Morrim's economy and society collapsed and all seemed lost until the Eye of Zanna was destroyed and Isra's spirit was released.
Isra did not die, nor did she exactly live: she became a banshee, and resumed her place on the throne. Since then, Morrim has struggled with poverty and famine and Isra has struggled to save it alone.