Theocratic Monarchy allied with the Church of Thedine (Th-di-NAY) and the Society of the Black Earth. Common ethnicity is of Maetah descent, and most speak North Common. Located along the Maldaer Plateau in the Northern Rhiat, with borders in the mountains to the south, the Minkush river to the west, the North Sea coast and waterways to the east respectively. The capitol is Meriburne.
Argaevaligne’s subsistence is fully agricultural, supplemented by wild game hunting, and increasing amounts of fishing in proximity to the coast. Communities are sedentary, but it is common for upper class families to venture south to Vensat for the winter, and own coastal summer homes. The economic system is feudal with aristocratic ownership of agricultural lands. Primary trade items are lead, iron, tin, silver, and timber. Exchange is through currency, supplemental by barter systems in outlying areas. The primary unit of currency is the Gold Crown, though coinage of most legitimate states are accepted in larger towns. Unlike most of the Rhiat, slavery is outlawed. Serfs are common, and though not legally tied to the land, have little recourse for ownership of prime agricultural land.
Argaevaligne is a limited monarchy, wherein the elder of Barony of Meriburne has near total power within the moral guidelines and national interested as perceived by the Church of Thedine. Elders within the other baronies have informal input, and a ceremonial approval of the ascendence of succeeding Barons of Meriburne. The legal system is based on a simple written code, which corresponds on an economic and community level with the scripture of the Church.
Currently in border conflict with the Ramush along the edge of the Maldaer Plateau and Minkush River. Argaevaligne is allied with Nipend, Vensat, and the southern faction in the Ghikarn’gai Civil War. The Barony of Dunve still engages in trade and neutral political relations with Northern Ghikarn’gai. The Barony of Mhodara struggles with encroaching tribal settlements of independent Maetah communities.
Kinship organization is patrilocal and patriarchal in both ascendence and determinant. Inheritance is by partial primogeniture, with the eldest male in the family inheriting title and primary item of real estate, with successive siblings given portions of other capitol and secondary real estate.
The primarily and sole legal religion is the national Church of Thedine, and agricultural deity inherited from the original Maetah tribes. Other members of the the pantheon are still casual honoured, particularly in more rural settings, but no temples exist. The practice of Sorcery and Conjuration is outlawed.
The current baronies (and a few others no longer extant) grew out of the clan settlements of Maetah that moved further inland. The exception is Meriburne which unified a number of smaller clans and struggled against other North Sea towns. After seeing the traditional Heteri foes crushed by the encroaching Mindat, the inland clans accepted the leadership of the Chlendi and allied as the Eschlatli, or �?People of Righteousness�?, around 1900 (Mindat Reckoning). In successive centuries and the Eschlatli expanded to include much of northern Rhiat, and Maetah communities were unified under the governor of the Argaevaligne Province. Over the years Argaevaligne grew isolated and independent as the political center of the Eschlatli moved south. After the collapse of the Eschlatli, the Baron of Meribune unified five of the other baronies under the faith of Thedine.
Meriburne – Central barony in Argaevaligne, located along the North Sea coast. Current Governor of Argaevaligne and seat of the Church since the state’s foundation.
Ewwin – Northwestern barony of Argaevaligne, closest to Ramush border. Founder was an early Duke of the Eschaltli Republic who was renown for crushing rogue Chlendi outposts in the nearby hills. The barony is staunchly conservative and aggressive today.
Bludelm – The wealthiest of the Baronies, trading ore with Nipend and Balaconth. They suffer from conflict with mountain tribes and only pay lip service to the Church.
Mhodara – Mhodara shows the most traditional elements of Maetah culture and social relations are still based on clan pacts centuries in age.
Dunve – isolationist barony in the southeast. Remain insular and neutral in the face of nearby Ghikarn’gai civil war.
Birth - midwife, often a grandmother of other trained female relative brought in once mother is unable to tend to fields or care for other children. At this time the mother remains in the family home. Shortly before birth, the mother and midwife retire in private to the birthing house at the local Church of Thedine, where necessary fertility blessings are made by the priest. Father is not present at the time of birth.
Maturity - Males - Mother cuts off braid of hair. Father gives helm. Hunting trip to kill first boar for family. Females - bracelet of yarn or ribbon in clan colours worn on wrist as necklace to symbolize availability for marriage.
Marriage - Three days before date of wedding the groom and father of the bride leave to hunt for a boar. Meanwhile any dowry and other possessions of the bride are moved to the groom’s home by her family. When caught, the groom return alone with the kill, and the ceremony takes place. During the ceremony the wife does a symbolic braiding of the groom’s hair, and prayers are said. Marriage ceremony lead by local magistrate or priest of Thedine. The couple wears garments in the colour or style of the groom’s clan. Afterward the boar is eaten as the centerpiece of the feast.
Death/Burial Cremation by funeral pyre attended only by family. If male is killed in battle away from town, the body is cremated, and the braid is returned to the widow. Ashes are given to local priest of Thedine at next church service, which are then spread across a communal farming field.
Clothing Among the peasants and lower classes, dress is simply. A sleeveless tunic is worn, which drapes down the the knees, covering baggy trousers tied tight at the ankles. A lightweight, long sleeved linen shirt is often worn underneath, and the whole ensemble is covered by a shoulderstrapper leather or woolen blanket during colder seasons. Dyes are rather, and most garments are in neutral colours, and muddy shades of blue and green. Hair is worn long and intricately braided. Head wear is eschewn except during the coldest months where fur lined hoods are worn. More wealthy people have a similar garb, but the materials are often dyed in subdued colours, and garments are made of fine fur or vertical leather strips. Members of the ecclesiastical classes, military and nobility are marked by and fine weave short sleeve over tunic, often of imported silk, or other fabric, trimmed in golden cloth or embroidery. This garments will hang down below the knees, and is split at the waist to accommodate riding. Family elders and those of rank wear a variety of heavy sashes and belts. In more rural areas ornamentation is marked by strings of teeth, beads, and feathers. In the most backward coastal towns shell jewelry is worn.
Food Maetah communities began to raise cattle once they acclimated to the Northern Rhiat climate. These cloven hoofed bovines are bred for meat and milk and have heavy woolly coats of brown and black fur, which is warm but difficult to weave. Their favoured domesticate animal is the northern swine, which is has been bred for generations for ham and pork, but has resulted in some inbred mutations. Superfluous tusks are common, and many have difficulty in moving their vast weight on short and crippled legs. In hillier regions sheep and goats are also raised. Near the coast, a variety of fish and large shellfish are harvested, some of which is dried, slated, and shipped inland. Deer, turkey, and other small game are hunted, which supplements small-time horticultural garden vegetables as well as gathered wild onions, potatoes, nuts and berries.
Your largest meal is in the evening. You don’t consider dogs, horses, insects, or reptiles to be food. Fish, snails, shellfish, and rabbits are though. Swine, cattle, deer, and garden vegetables are common meals. Unless you are of low class, a fisherman, or live in a rural areas, you rarely kill your own food, unless it’s hunting season. You eat at a table, sitting on benches or chairs, with your family. Grain liquors, beers, and ale are common beverages. Unless you’re wealthy, the outhouse is a separate building and your home has a dirt floor. Work & Travel
You work six days a week, the middle day of which is spent at the Temple or local shrine. You’ve probably never been more than a day’s ride from your home village. If you are wealthy, you may have seen one or more of the other cities in Argaevaligne. Aside from Merchants, few have passed the borders
You have a fireplace or hearth at home, which is heated 8-9 months of the year at night. Winters are snowy, the spring and late summer very, very wet. Winter storms can be nasty, and leave multiple feet of snow near the hills. The coastal regions have large storms and the occasional hurricane.
Typical jokes target the Ramush or the old Maetah towns to the north Informal entertainment is drinking, songs, and storyteller around the fire, often at local taverns. Once or twice a year, you’ll attend plays or performences by traveller troubadors.
You may have shot a pistol or rifle, but don’t have one unless it’s a family heirloom. You probably don’t own a sword, but you’ve got some nasty farming implements, and perhaps a bow. You seen people die, but not killed yourself. Unless you live in the borderlands. To be continued…