The Commonwealth of Ch’leroc
Population 2.3 million
POLITICAL Center Kingdom where priests and clerics rule, believe their magic is a gift from goddess, she calls people to her service by giving them stronger magic abilities. Generally peaceful, but nearly unstoppable when on religious crusade for something. Lots of mining and mineral wealth. Occasionally they annex places with the excuse of religious significance. The Great Temple is on the site of Joelem the Blessed’s vision. Uneasy alliance with Ordno Empire. Lots of tourists but only pilgrims are treated politely and encouraged.
Someone with strong magical power is appointed by the previous ruler. A council of eight of their peers can depose them if they don’t have sufficient magic, have a crime or scandal in their past, or are not devout enough. There are very specific rules. This person is called Holiest, usually with no name stated.
The previous Holiest was deposed three years ago for making an alliance with the Crimson Circle. The new one is a 40-year-old mother. The former Holiest lives in Tranquility, making speeches and rousing followers, but he always vanishes before anyone can arrest him.
People crammed into cities, very urban, some farming.
REGION: In the region of Fira, Seln returned the land to Ch’leroc about a hundred years ago. They annexed it 600 years past, and finally returned it to gain peace. Ch’leroc values it for the mines. They promptly forbade worship of the elements (paganism), and everyone must worship Truth. Underground religion present, dissidents strongly punished, tribal elders forbidden to make rulings. The local church officials sent from the capital are encountering massive hostility.
EXPORTS Famous for weavings, exports chefs, artisans, and architects. River barges transport goods. Lots to Lotorinum, a little tiny bit to Everhome (they keep trying). Not much to Seln. Only to Alcanster if their people transport it. They have a few farms but are famed for their innovative, extensive greenhouses.
NAMES AND LANGUAGE The word Ch’leroc means holiest land. Ch’ means holiest. Priests add it to their names. Feminist linguistics. They use lots of un words for outsiders- unbelievers, ungodly, uninitiated…
CLOTHING STYLE Devout people only wear black or white, slightly more daring are navy, gray, brown. Anything else is unacceptable. Weapons forbidden to priests, discouraged in visitors. Always forbidden in temples.
JUSTICE Three priests decide. Religious dissidents can be held in prison a long time unless rescued. Traditional punishment for most crimes is all or half of possessions go to the church. Some priests truly believe in justice and think they’re doing the right thing, others want to protect them. Stealing from the church is almost equal to murder. Constables wear purple and brown; they take criminals to jail cells under temple.
CLASS Get respect from position in church (rise through priest ranks through more training) priests rule. Nonpriests respected for piety (size of donations and volunteer time). Novices can be treated very badly, although it’s kept quiet.
MEN AND WOMEN Joelem’s daughter Jemma inherited his dynasty and established the religion. She made it a female dominated society of priestesses.
CURRENT ISSUES Church intolerant and capricious- conflict between religion and morality. Does church have too much power? New theories of self discipline. Also big anniversary celebration.
RELIGION Devoted to The Principles of Truth- emphasis on self discipline and self control. Some people expand this to mean order over the land and punishing dissidents. Some priests are more tolerant than others. 8 is the lucky number since there are 8 principles of balance. They use a wooden goblet and a crystal pitcher to represent truth flowing into human minds, with treated honey that looks like sunlight. 8 candlesticks in 4 corners. Holy Book called the Writ of Light. Priests can marry and have kids but only to another priest. Otherwise need special dispensation. Year 1369: Joelem the Blessed passes on, he ascended to the Realm of Truth (heaven) from the top of a sacred mountain. Mount of Light. He invites worthy people to follow him. Everyone prays towards the mountain. Novice, deacon, Archdeacon, Highest Priest
FOLK TRADITIONS “Walk in the Goddess’ light.” “If the Goddess smiles.” “May truth inspire you, child. Child play rhyme about Goddess. Known for its elegant architecture and inventive cooking. Many priests are epicures. They manage to extend fruit seasons. Their wine is the most sought after. Art and literature all religious but great works and creativity within that. Lots of poetry and psalms. Music hymns written for large cathedrals. Some religious ceremonies involve dance. But there it is one religious book that details how to perform all 613 rituals in their Religion. Ritual Masters ensure that things are done properly. Stereotypically, they’re stuffy and pretentious. People quote the Holy Book a lot. Kids go to public school at church
HOLIDAYS/CALENDAR: each of 12 months has one of the 8 principals holidays, then 4 months of emptying oneself in prep for new year in mid fall. New year is very solemn, with services and chants. Coiled pastries and eggs are traditional, no meat. Day after is big festival. Late summer months are time of abstinence, winter is time of light and celebration.
LIFE CYCLES Naming ceremony for boys and girls on 12th day. Kids lead services at age 12 and 18- rite of passage, can’t be made up after year ends. For weddings, they throw a pair of dolls on the river as a way of surrendering lives to Truth and fate. They bury bodies in a church ceremony (corners are the preferred place—holier people get them.)
GEOGRAPHY They resist invasion (no mountains) by being welcoming and gracious to everyone. No plate tectonic problems. Lower than Tin’Kar or Seln, but still quite cold.
MAGIC Clerics- Magic through religion.
CLOTHING beards always trimmed short or absent. People smell of incense. Lighter colors equal higher rank. Jewelry is considered vulgar, except for a lady-star. Expensive furs and wools are common since they’re practical and pretty. Some velvet, no silk except altarcloths, etc.
MONEY various flower designs. A star coin is called a rose here, with a garnet chip. A silver is called a lily (with lily pattern) and a bronze is a daffodil. All three coins are small, the size of pennies.
Year 1348: Joelem the Blessed leads followers to a wasteland left from the Ordeno Empire’s battles and bargains with them for permission to farm the land. Eventually this becomes the Commonwealth of Ch’leroc.
Year 1537: Tin’Kar drive the Ordeno Empire away.
Year 1548: The Commonwealth of Ch’leroc declares itself a country rather than a neutral monestary. Trade relations open with Ordeno Empire.
National animal: honeybee. Colors white and dark red