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Offline Medusalin

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The Kingdom of Medusalin
« on: August 31, 2023, 03:39:43 PM »
THE KINGDOM OF MEDUSALIN

The Kingdom of Medusalin has throughout its history been known by several names ranging from, the Isle of Doom to Isle of Outcasts. The island began as an area used seasonally for fishing from the Alba Karinya mainland, mainly as it was plagued by volcanic activity which has been largely dormant since the 2nd Century AD when the last eruption is thought to have occured. At some point in the early 3rd Century AD a stone building was constructed on the northern shore with an inscription stating "This is the house of death. All who enter may never leave save to their Gods" It is clear from historical record however that this island had already begun to be used for a dumping ground of a mixture of people thought to be highly infectious in terms of disease, most likely leprosy, and criminals. There are records indicating that some criminals were tricked into believing that they were earning the right to freedom back by acting as nurse-maids or workers on the island and that the Gods would forgive them inf they did this work. There are however no historical records of anyone ever leaving the island.

By the middle of the 6th Century AD several settlements had been established across the island, some known as "clean" where workers were based to carry out work such as agriculture, fisheries and mining, other settlements were known as "unpure" and were largely walled cities with gatehouses preventing anyone entering or leaving without permission. While the illness spread in many occasions to the worker class the island did manage to become wealthy. A series of large stone boxes were erected on rocky outcrops known as "Vinegar Banks" these were boxes were large amounts of gold, silver, diamonds and various other precious items mined on the island could be deposited soaked in vinegar, a measure believed to prevent the spread of illness. Traders and pirates would leave goods, food and even at some points slaves and take the goods. As a result the island became rather diverse however the vast majority of those on the island would be described in the historical record as "pale of skin, golden of hair", a belief that came from the idea that the Gods were described as being "Golden" and that such people could be their semi-human offspring and thus immune from the disease.

In the early 13th Century one of the people left on the island was a young 17 year old Knight by the name of Franz Gottschalk was sent to the island. The thought of never being able to leave and some of the immorality he saw happening there lead him to leave the "unpure" settlement he had been put into by sneaking out and killing two guards. He established his own settlement and by the time he was 23 he had taken command of a rabble known historically as the "Masses of the Grave". A combination of their lack of fear of death, fear of their illness and Franz's connections meant he had taken control of the island by 1278. He made himself King and in 1279 an agreement was made with nations across the region that "King Franz the Cursed" would accept all criminals and ill in return for annual gifts and slaves. Franz's right to be King was seemingly supported by the Gods as despite the leprosy taking a great toll on his appearance and physical abilities he remained alive until the age of 61. Through a mixture of adoptions, marriages and decrees the island remained a private Kingdom in effect until the mid 1700s.

In the 1700s the island began to experience the occasional slave revolt but these were often harshly put down. Slavery was finally outlawed in 1861.

When knowledge on leprosy improved the island became more open for trade and visiting and for once it was permitted in 1887 to leave the island.

In 1902 there was a brief conflict on the island between the Republicans and Royalists. The Royalists won and have maintained control of the government ever since.



Today the island of Medusalin still can be seen as a divided island. Parts of the island are still established as a place for primary industries that at one time made the island capable of supporting those with illness. The other side of the island has become modern settlements. The island is still dominated by the royal family and its strong control over everyday life.

The people of the island follow a faith known as Gorgonism which is heavily influenced by the time of the island being a leper colony.



National Population - 3.8million
Capital City - Haven (population 650,000)
Currency -  Farthing  f

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Offline Medusalin

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Re: The Kingdom of Medusalin
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2023, 06:47:33 PM »
THE ROYAL FAMILY

Bayer Family Coat of Arms

The Bayer Family assumed the throne in 1904 two years after the conclusion of the nations brief civil war. The Bayer family had been a leading supporter of the royalists and in 1903 Crown Princess Helena married the eldest son of Duke Theo Bayer. A year later the crown passed to Helena and as such the Bayer's became the legitimate royal family.

The family, like all of the royals since the 1700's, have maintained almost total control over the nation. The royal family technically own all land on the island, appoint all judges, commission all military officers and all public servants swear an oath of loyalty to the crown. The family also technically own all mines and ports on the island. There are however systems that have seen these used in other ways, for example when buying a house the buyer pays something called "Land Duty" which is a price on top of the house price that gives the new home owner the land the house is built on, with certain conditions, for 999 years. 

The current monarch is Queen Elisabeth IV who inherited the throne in 2018.

The royals seat of power is actually in a castle built in the 1400's to watch over a major "Vinegar Bank". The castle is known as the Throne Castle and is actually attached to the islands mainland by a tiday causeway. It lacks a lot of room and as such is not used for much day to day government work. It features only three bedrooms for royal use along with a small guards barracks and several other rooms. There are rumours that the castle actually has secret tunnels that run back to the islands mainland to a secret underground Palace but these are unconfirmed.

The day to day the family reside in the capital of Haven at the Port Palace which was constructed in the mid 1800's and as well as functional office space for administering the country it also includes the Royal Families accommodation.




Queen Elisabeth IV

Crown Prince Theodor                             Princess Constance
« Last Edit: August 31, 2023, 07:09:14 PM by Medusalin »

Offline Medusalin

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Re: The Kingdom of Medusalin
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2023, 10:50:09 PM »

GORGONISM

The majority faith of the island is known as Gorgonism. It is thought to be a relatively young religion with its first recorded mention coming at some point in the first century AD. There is however clear indications that the faith merged existing folk religions with mythology created around the idea of the island becoming an island for those cursed with leprosy


Introduction

The faith is one that could be described as polytheistic as the faith worships three Gods but also has the belief that there is a world of spiritual power beyond human comprehension and that this is communicable. The faith is largely confined to the Kingdom of Meudsalin however this is to be expected as many nations of the world refused visitors from Medusalin until more was known about Leprosy. This isolation due to health reasons has also largely meant that there were very little in the way of long term missionaries as they either died and had no consistent long term missionary work or post becoming a Kingdom the faith was used as a way of the monarch controlling the people in some manners and as a result dissenting religious views were at times outlawed but almost always shunned.

Creation Story

In the beginning of time there was just black chaos however swirling in this chaos were the energies of spiritual beings. Over a long period of time three of these beings absorbed the others, took physical form and emerged from the swirling chaos. Once free from this the three sisters, known as the Gorgons named Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale wished to live in a well ordered and structured world and set about creating what we today call the Universe. They were able to literally look into what was left of the swirling chaos now the other spiritual beings had been removed and conjure anything they wished. Initially beautiful and loving the three Gorgons became slightly more twisted and malformed with each act of power they performed, sacrificing their perfection to create the Universe we live in. Eventually their need to keep the living world ordered and balanced caused them to go insane. Texts say that the strongest of the Gorgons, Medusa, even began to be so resentful of losing her beauty and sanity that rather than using her gaze to conjure life she used it to turn people to stone.

Eventually realising that by keeping the world perfect they would be destroyed, and thus bring about the destruction of all creation the three sisters determined that they would hide themselves away until such a time as humanity had created a perfectly ordered world which would restore the Gorgons to their former power.

Holy Texts

The followers of the faith utilise two sacred texts. The Book of Chaos is the stories of the Gorgons creating the Universe and their rules for maintaining order. The Book of Stone is a series of warnings of what awaits if we do not create order in the world. There is the belief that the Book of Chaos was written by Euryale while the Book of Stone was written by Medusa. Both books are relatively short compared to many sacred texts, for example an average KJV Bible contains 1,200 pages both the Book of Chaos and the Book of Stone contain less than 200 pages in total with the Book of Chaos being around 120 of these. There are many examples of adherents of the faith that have actually memorised the whole of both books.

Symbols and Icons

The Triform is the officially recognised symbol of the faith. It features a circle with three female symbols coming off of it. The circle is said to symbolise the chaos while the female symbols represent the three Gorgons who emerged from the chaos. The symbol is traditionally always red to represent the sacrifices made by the three to allow mankind to exist.

Other symbols used often include images of the three Gorgons often shown with snakes as hair.

Rituals and Practices

It is expected that every Friday the faithful gather at a Temple to pray and conduct sacred ceremonies.

Every Friday the faithful with gather inside a circle. There they shall ritualistically wash using salt water and vinegar (thought to be a connection to the times of leprosy). Once pure the faithful make three offerings, food, drink and wealth, to the Gorgons. At this point they begin praying for a world of peace, order and discipline. A priest then gives advice on how the Gorgons can be restored and then the community shares food together.

Weddings within the faith can only take place with the approval of three priests. Once a wedding has been approved the couple pick a temple and arrange the ceremony. The ceremony sees the symbol of the faith drawn on the temple floor by the couple. Once the symbol has been drawn the guests can enter and sit in a circle around the symbol. The bride and groom then ritually wash the feet of their partners parents (if the parents are dead or otherwise unable to attend then that person nominates a stand in). Once this has been done the priest has two lengths of rope, one red the other white. The priest begins by joining the ropes with a reef knot. The couple then take it in turns taking oaths to each other. While there are traditional oaths a couple may take any oaths they wish so long as their are six in total. With each oath the rope is twisted around itself so by the time all six are done a kind of braid has been made. The priest then asks the couple a final time whether they wish to marry and if they both say yes he completed the braid by tying another reef knot. The length of now braided rope is handed to the bride who wears it as belt. The ceremony then finishes with the parents whose feet were washed at the beginning washing the feet of their new family member.

When a child is born it is expected to be taken to Temple on the forth Friday after its birth. Here it is given its first ceremonial wash by a Priest and given a name by the Priest based on omens, traditions and any other factor. This name is then written down on a piece of cloth which is kept by the family who will add a name of their own choosing. As such each child has two names. Usually after the ceremony it is tradition the family host a party to celebrate the birth.

When a person reaches the age of 12 a coming of age ceremony takes place. The cloth they were given at birth is brought to the Temple and at the end of that weeks service the child is asked to pick which of the two names on the cloth they wish to carry for the rest of their lives. The cloth is then cut, the one with the name they rejected is burnt while the one they choose to keep is soaked in vinegar and salt water to purify it before being tied to a tree outside the temple.

When a person dies they are expected to whenever possible have a funeral before the next sunset. This practice is thought largely to have begun as a way of controlling disease. The family gather wood and various other fuels and on a rocky outcrop next to the sea the body is burnt as Priests say prayers for the persons soul to find its path to return to the swirling chaos. Once the funeral pyre is out the ashes are collected, mixed with vinegar and salt water and poured into the sea. If possible the scrap of cloth with the persons name on it is buried in the Temple's garden as a way of ensuring that a persons journey to the afterlife has a definite start and end point so the soul can not get lost.

Leaders

The religion utilises a system a little like an army in terms of organisation. There is a clear chain of authority. At the top is the monarch who as well as having the title King or Queen also holds the title Keeper of the Triform. In this role they are the ultimate authority on matters of religious doctrine. They are also responsible for overseeing the "College of the Three" which is where all priests within the faith train.

Priests may be male or female and no distinction is made between their roles. Once graduation from the College takes place a person becomes a Guardian of the Dead for 12 months. It is their responsibility to ensure those who have died over the previous 12 months are memorialised and remembered. On the completion of this year they become a fully fledged Priest and the faith assign them to a Temple. Usually they serve in a role supporting a more experienced priest for the next five years. After this they are often dispatched to less populated areas which may require them travelling to tend to the spiritual needs. After at least seven years in the faith a person may apply for any of the vacant positions of "Speaker for the Gorgons" these are Priests who in many ways could be considered managers of Temples. After completing this task for at least two years a Priest may apply for a vacancy as a "Bringer of Order" which is responsible for the oversight of several Temples. Finally there are three "Voice of the Gorgons" who act as chief advisers to the monarch on spiritual matters. All promotions to Voice of the Gorgons are made by the monarch.


Haven Central Temple
While this is the largest Temple in the nation it is inspired by many older designs that feature a columned structure held aloft with statues of the three Gorgons on the top

Offline Medusalin

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Re: The Kingdom of Medusalin
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2023, 09:29:58 AM »
MAPS OF MEDUSALIN

Basic Outline


Offline Medusalin

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Re: The Kingdom of Medusalin
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2023, 03:51:26 PM »
CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

Language

The main language spoken on the island is Medusalin. Its a language that has roots similar to Morelandish but has a large variety of words that can be seen as coming from other languages. There are two dialects of Medusalin spoken, High Medusalin is a more complex language that was traditionally spoken by the nobility meanwhile Low Medusalin was used by everyone else on the island. Today the vast majority of daily communication is done in Low Medusalin with the High dialect being reserved for formal state occasions or use in mediums such as poetry. The majority of the public could understand both dialects however may find themselves having to utilise a dictionary at times.

Art

The art of Medusalin is heavily influenced by the Gorgonsism religion. The three Gorgons are often depicted in art, often with snakes for hair. Other common motifs include the Triform, the symbol of the Gorgonsism religion. Art is also used to tell stories and histories. Many paintings and sculptures depict important events in the history of Medusalin, such as the founding of the kingdom or the suffering of people during the time of the island largely being a leper colony. As a result it is often said that Medusalin art tends to be rather dark and sad. Many artists have used their work to explore themes of love, loss, and the harsh conditions of the islands past. The art of Medusalin has also occasionally mirrored that of regions who utilised the island as a leper colony. Art historians can see changes in styles based on whether there was an influx of newcomers from a particular nation or region.


Collection of various artworks from the nations artists.From left to right Reimund Straub(1580-1622), Hendrik Fromm (1783-1807), Hänsel Mein (1409-1456), Heino Grünberg (1937-2003)

Music

The island lacked large scale performance venues until relatively recently. As communities were mainly small and many lacked any form of musical education. Occasionally either missionaries or infected musicians would arrive and there would have been a brief emergence of musical development. What music that was historically present tended to be individualistic and utilised things such as lutes and later guitars. While many nations have a rich folk music heritage this is lacking on Medusalin as often it was unable to passed from person to person.

Since the nation became more stable in a post-leprosy world music has been influenced by the folk traditions of places like East Moreland and other nations situated on the Mhorish. Since the 1800's nobles in particular saw the encouragement of musical entertainment as an easy way to gain prestige and influence with the general public by hosting musical events.


The Tolbruck Hall, a music venue constructed in 1877 with support of the Bayer Family who are now the current Royal Family. It is typical of how families have tried to contribute to supporting the arts and in particular music. The Tolbruck Hall hosts concerts every Friday after Temple service with every second Friday of the month featuring a free concert organised by the Bayer Family Trust which distributes tickets through local schools. On other days of the week the hall, with a capacity for 2,500 people, is available for booking by other event organisers.

Food

With the island being formed through various volcanic activities it has created a series of relatively fertile areas of the island. The volcanic ash that has settled over millenia has seen its nutrients washed into the soil by rainfall and then its acidity diluted making the island great for growing a large variety of fruit and vegetables. One of the problems historically though was that until the arrival of slavery only small scale gardens existed and large scale agriculture meant people relied more on charitable supplies sent with new arrivals or scavenging from nature. There was a wide variety of seafood eaten and historical evidence of early attempts at fish farms and trap fishing seem to have taken place.

One of the most popular dishes on the island is Seafood Stew, this dish is a hearty stew made with seafood, vegetables, and spices. The seafood is typically octopus and two types of fish, and the vegetables are typically tomatoes, onions, and peppers. The spices are typically garlic, ginger, and chili peppers. The stew is cooked slowly over a low heat until the flavors are fully developed. Other favourites include Crab Soup. This soup is made with crab meat, potatoes, onions, and spices. The crab meat is typically cooked in a broth made from the crab shells. The potatoes and onions are typically cooked separately and then added to the soup. The spices are typically salt, pepper, and bay leaves. The soup is typically served hot.


Seafood Stew and Crab Soup

Festivals

During the period of the Isle's history where it was still experiencing leprosy there were no real mass festivals that were not focused on religion. Since then though there have begun to be a wide variety of annual events that take place across the island, some where the whole islands population celebrate but others connected to just individual villages. Some of the major ones are included below.

April 27 - Nationwide celebration of "Freedom Day" - This is not actually commemorating freedom in the traditional sense. On this date in 1873 a scientist discovered the true cause of leprosy and as a result much of the stigma and concern about the disease and also the island of Medusalin began to ease. On this date wreaths are laid on the memorial stones near the coast that mark places where the ashes of the deceased have been put into the sea. It is also a day where doctors and nurses are often given gifts by the local community.

June 20th - The Dorme Mile - Set up in 1977 the Dorme Mile is considered one of the nations premier sporting events and is often considered the most challenging running race in the nation. Despite its actual name the race does not cover a mile and has no set distance. A one mile circular course around the forest just outside Dorme is marked. The course contains a significant amount of up and down hill running. Those entering the race have 16 minutes to complete the circuit, anyone failing to do so for any reason is withdrawn from the race which continues until only one person remains.

October 15th - Start of Crab Season - While crab can be found all year round the best time of year for crab fishing is October to January. To mark this occasion crab fisherman ranging from those who hunt in rock pools to professional fleets try to foster good luck for the year ahead. This means most coastal settlements experience festivals and parades. Competitions take place to make the best crab themed float and prizes are given. Competitions are held for the best Crab soup and priests go round blessing crab traps and boats. In the days leading up to the festival crews will often paint their boats ready for the year ahead. The first crab of the year someone catches traditionally has a red Triform painted on its back and is released, should it be recaptured, even by another fisherman it is supposed to be bad luck not to release it.

4th September - The Cleaning of the Banks Ritual - During the time of the island being a leper colony there was the tradition of communities not on the island, merchants and even pirates trading with the people of Medusalin. To enable this a series of large stone boxes were established around the coast. These had a small pluggable hole in the bottom. They would be filled with vinegar and salt water and precious items left in them by the islanders. When traders arrived they would pull the plug and allow the liquid to drain before taking the items which were considered disease free. They would then replace the plug and leave the items traded for in the box which would then be taken away by the islanders. As such it was possible to have contact free deliveries. Since they have fallen out of use they have become historic landmarks and there are attempts to maintain them as an important national heritage monument. On the 4th September groups will gather to clean the stone boxes and repair any if needed. They are ceremonially flushed out and then the community tend to eat a traditional meal of fish and chips with a liberal application of salt and vinegar.


An example of a Vinegar Bank

Offline Medusalin

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Re: The Kingdom of Medusalin
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2023, 04:07:16 PM »

Medusalin Defence Force

The Medusalin Defence Force (MDF) was formed in its current guise in 1933. Previously the military had been split into four defence forces, North, East, South and West, with each being managed by a Duke. These had fallen under the command of a central administration in 1827 but remained as four separate forces almost militia like in design. There was no central training programme or procurement.

Today the military is open to any individual who has lived in Medusalin for five years. Any foreign born individual who has resided on the island for five years and then serves two years in the military is given citizenship. The military is all volunteer however upon reaching your 18th birthday every citizen is issued a green ID, this is an official ID Card that must be carried in public (at age 12 all citizens are issued a blue ID). On the Green ID is a six digit number and two letters which can be used in the event of a draft in wartime. Until 1999 men could only be drafted into the military while women could be drafted into "other" work. Now however full gender equality exists and "other" work is only an option to people considered not "Grade 1" in terms of fitness or education.

The MDF is split into four branches

Land Service: 15,000 Soldiers
Naval Service: 2,000 sailors
Air Service: 2,500 airmen
Coast Guard: 1,000  staff

Stock of Equipment

20 Light Tanks
10 IFV's
15 APC's
300 Mobility Vehicles
150 Light Mobility Vehicles
5 Self Propelled Howitzer
10 x Towed Howitzer
5 x Tacticl Helicopter
3 x Medium Helicopter
5 x Attack Helicopter
10 x Multi-Role Fighters
5 x Transport Planes
10 x Attack Aircraft
3 x Corvette
6 x Patrol Boat