ASimpleLegionnaire Mar 16th, 2018 (edited) 226 Never
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- Misceus is a Monster state founded upon a romanticised view of an empire that stood long ago, before the current human realms existed; the Old Empire, as it is called, united Monsters of many species under it's banner with the goal of unifying all Monsters. Misceus has what records it can find, the oral histories passed down, and the myths and legends that have emerged surrounding the Old Empire - and it attempts to live up to the rose-tinted view that now exists of it: an egalitarian, highly socially mobile, safe and secure Empire, with every Monster living under it's rule. Misceans do allow humans to live under them also - to them, they are simply another species the same as all others.
- It's unknown when Misceus came around; the records have either been lost or were never made by the people that originally founded it. It is thought, however, that several tribes living around the ruins of the Old Empire's city - the city that is now Miscea, capital city of Misceus - came together in support of the idea of living as the Old Empire did, and to uphold it's ideals. From there, several other tribes, individuals and city-states have since become Miscean, and raised Misceus' banner - that of the head of the twin wolves in the stories of the founding of the Old Empire - in allegiance.
- Today, Misceus is the single most powerful Monster civilisation on the continent. It has armies, known as Legions, that use equipment, tactics, and training found in manuscripts of the Old Empire, or as stories passed down about them. These Legions; with their shields the size of their body and armoured cuirasses made of segmented steel, have bought a peace to the regions that Misceus rules - and when Monsters have refused to join the Miscean Empire or fought back against it, they have conquered.
- Of those bought into the Empire, life changes. Whilst they are allowed to keep their religion - indeed, the Miscean Pantheon is made up of various folk heroes whom it's people worship, both those of the Old Empire and some picked up from surrounding tribes during it's formation - they are not free to practise it openly, only within designated places of free worship; this includes wearing identifying religious garb or engaging in religious debate. Religious unrest boils beneath the surface of Miscea - more than once fights have broken out amongst religious sects, or protests have occurred after rulings that specialised places of worship have not been erected for religions not of the Miscean pantheon for all but the largest sects.
- Those living under Miscean rule are subject to a high tax rate and are expected to serve in the Legion if called upon in their lifetime. In exchange, they are given representation within the Miscean legal and political system, daily bread, public and free entertainment, and public works, as well as protection from the Legion. Misceus has built an impressive road network throughout it's Empire, and it's public works include bathouses, aquaducts (as irrigation and sewage), courthouses, and windmills, to list but a few.
- With this level of investment into infrastructure, epidemic disease is rare and quality of living is good - the low birth rates of Monsters prevent slums from becoming a major issue; though several large cities cannot quite keep pace with the influx of urbanisation, and often times there will be residents whom live in a single room or are forced to become live-in servants for the wealthy simply to have a place to live within the city.
- Miscean hospitals, known as Nehushons, are a mix of a traditional place of healing and a place of worship; they are as much about returning to health as maintaining it. Whilst alchemists and doctors will perform healing services for the sick and injured and ask the Miscean folk-hero Nehushtan the Healer, for blessings of recovery for their patients, many healthy people will also come to partake in physical activity in the gardens there, from running to sports to even swimming, or to worship Nehushtan much as the sick do for their continued good health. All doctors and alchemists are required to swear an oath to Nehushtan to be recognised as medical professionals within Misceus; though they may continue to be of a different religion if they so choose.
- The Miscean social structure is organised by how much social clout one holds - those who are worthy of great respect gain power, and those who are not do not. Theoretically, this means that every individual will be judged for their actions, and conforms to the Miscean ideal of egalitarianism and social mobility. Practically, however, this is not the case.
- The higher echelons of Miscean society are dominated by wealthy merchants and successful Legionnaries, for those below the Emperor. Whilst a family name holds no respect in and of itself, nepotism runs rampant, with people of great respect turning in social favours or paying for those close to them by the blood of fraternity of the water of the womb to have greater opportunities to move their way up the social ladder, in addition to having better educations or equipment or the like. The previous 3 Emperors of Miscea (the term Emperor is a gender neutral one to the Misceans) have all been from the Legion.
- This is, however, not entirely unintentional. Any citizen of Misceus can join the Legion, so theoretically it is open to any and all to prove themselves. The most promised thing, besides pay, to a Miscean Legionnaire is a level of social respect. Those who have served in the Legion adopt the middle name "Militum" after their service, usually affixed with the suffix of the name of the Legion they served in - for example, Militum-Gemina for one whom served in the Gemina Legion. This name, unlike the one for one's family, does carry a level of respect, and a substantial one at that. Becoming an Officer of the Legion is by far the quickest path to achieving a high social status.
- It is, however, far from the only way. Other methods of gaining social status would include becoming a scholar of any field, and demonstrating your knowledge of a topic publicly or assisting in research for any subject; becoming a medical practitioner, and treating Miscean citizens (with additional respect gained from treating difficult conditions); being a wealthy and successful trader, especially if one commits a greater portion of their earnings to Misceus' treasury; being a diplomat, either for Misceus' internal political structure or one whom talks to the other powers in the world, both organised and disorganised - a great deal of respect will come to one who assists in convincing a tribe or city to join with Misceus; being a priest, of any religion - spiritual guidance is not limited by following the Miscean pantheon; and finally, any form of employment or a display of individual prowess. A farmer who's work on the field is good and consistent will slowly gain respect for it, for example - as would the mason who's work is consistent and of a good quality; one who saves a life or catches a criminal, as a civilian, would also be given a great deal of respect.
- This all culminates into the 5 distinct social classes - 3 Plebian, and 2 Patrician.
- Plebian: "Novus", held by those who are newly born, learning, or otherwise have not had a chance to prove themselves; "Verus", held by those who have made an honest, if unremarkable, living; and "Dignitas", held by those who have done something to make themselves stand above the rank and file of other Plebians.
- Patrician: "Ammimor", held by those who have proven themselves exceptional within society; and "Reverentia", held by those scant few who are unparalleled in their field or have accomplished more in years than most do in a lifetime.
- Once a year, every citizen is required to submit their yearly deeds with either evidence or confirmation from an employer. It is then deemed by an elected council of one's current social class and the one above them whether these deeds warrant a moving up to the next social class. No name is attached to an individuals list of deeds during this process, though a list of one's deeds is kept under their name in the nearest place of legal holding, in the name of impartiality. Notably, every Miscean citizen starts as the lowest social class - whether born a citizen or having become one later through immigration or integration of one's previous home; those who become citizens as adults may, however, list deeds committed whilst not a citizen of Miscea, provided they have evidence or confirmation of an employer.
- These deeds are not necessarily good - if one is a criminal such as a thief or embezzler, for example, then when found guilty they will have their crime recorded on their list of deeds and their social class reviewed there and then - often with the result of them moving down the social ladder in addition to whatever punishment is served. No class exists for those whose negative deeds outweigh their positive ones in scope or magnitude - such people are exiled from Miscean lands, to be killed should they return. Some crimes, such as murder, are enough to warrant exile with no further review.
- To move down a social class is to be marked as untrustworthy - something one will carry with them until such a time as they are considered trustworthy again through consistent good deeds. Those who fall from social grace fall far indeed.
- One's social class is also incorporated into their name as a suffix to their forename - though this is only done for official documents and the such. In the case of those who have been moved down a social class it is used as a prefix.
- The Miscean Pantheon is one of hero worship. Each hero of the Miscean Pantheon is referred to by their name, and what they are a hero for. So, for example, Caerostris of the Harvest is the drider folk-hero famous for saving the Old Empire from starvation; Nehushton the Healer is the lamia folk-hero famous for curing an epidemic during the days of the Old Empire. Whilst nearly all folk-heroes are from the days of the Old Empire, some are adopted from local folk heroes of more relatively recent times, such as Lycaona of the Hunt, a Monster of an unknown canine-like species, who was the folk hero to a village adopted in the early days of Misceus' founding. Theoretically, it is possible for any person to become a hero and be adopted into the Miscean Pantheon if there is enough support for them - the Emperor of Miscea, if they are popular enough and their reign significant enough, is made a hero after their death. The most recent addition to the Miscean pantheon is Phabini of the Messengers, a Harpy famous for her deliveries of crucial messages through incredibly harsh conditions in both peacetime and in war, whom died in living memory.
- Miscea itself harbours a temple with large marble carvings of each hero, though several smaller cities may hold smaller shrines to those of local preference and depictions in art of many others, and those without such resources will often hold merely all-purpose shrines for worship to any hero, or simply one for the twin Wolf-founders of the Old Empire, whom are considered patron heroes of all Misceus, with the belief that worship to them is enough to resonate through Misceus to reach whatever hero is relevant to the practitioner.
- Those who wish to religiously serve often do so by joining cults (though without the often negative modern connotations of the word) dedicated to their chosen hero; they dedicate themselves to following in the example of that hero and aiding those who need guidance in that field. Very rarely is this a full time job, but for those whom it is, they often wander the land to retell the tale of how their patron came to be considered a hero, to teach rituals associated with their patron, and to administer blessings on behalf of their patrons and maintain their shrines. It is through these people that the stories of the heroes are kept alive to the populace, for only Miscea's library and the largest temples holds written copies of all the heroes' origins - though the advent of the printing press means that written copies are steadily becoming more and more common.
- The origins of heroes are rooted in some kind of real event, near as historians can tell - though, the extent of what they did, especially for those of the Old Empire, may well have been exaggerated by time. How much so is a matter of scholarly and theological debate.
- Common rituals for heroes include leaving an offering relevant to them, burning incense at an altar to them, or ritual fasting for hours during prayer or meditation as a form of communion.
- Misceus has a highly advanced lumber and masonry industry for it's time period, especially when compared to humanity. Though they did not develop machinery, the abilities of many monsters to bear heavy loads, fly, climb walls and use much simpler tools for much harder jobs owing to some Monster's sheer mass or size has left them able to shape stone and wood with speed and efficiency. The buildings of Miscean architecture are taller than those seen in human settlements, some having floors that can only be reached by a creature that can fly, climb or otherwise reach such a height; a harpy's home may be an entire floor of a building, with the only door leading to a small balcony with no other way in, for example. Whilst methods are available - temporary constructions such as ladders, and small spiral staircases on the inside - most land-dwelling Monsters keep on the ground, while those who need not live on the ground often don't.
- Miscean quarries are a sight to behold. An Ogre hefting a block of stone the size of a small dwelling, and cutting it down to acceptable size with only their might and steel. Carts pulled by strong Monsters, supported by the tough silk some Monsters can spin, all working in tandem to let even mighty beasts pull more than their own weight. These can be baked in great furnaces maintained by those with a natural fire, like Salamanders; and for those along the coast, water-bound Monsters create arteries of movement for all manner of trade goods, not needing to rely on the enormous ships humans and other land-based creatures do. A similar situation would be found in a lumber yard; what would take humans alone the better part of hours can take a well-trained team of Monsters a fraction of the time.
- Misceus considers such an example to be a vision of it's society at it's best: every Monster using it's unique abilities in tandem to create something greater than any of them could alone. It is this function that contributes to Misceus' cities of finely cut stone, marble for the most expensive areas, and structurally sound housing reaching higher than steeples. Glass, while still an expensive rarity, is becoming more and more common as refinement techniques and sources are becoming more well-researched and well-defined.
- Overall, the image of a Miscean city from the ground level requires one to crane their neck to see the activity above them. Their greatest buildings are of the smooth finish of marble, while others have a wooden support to an otherwise stone - or even brickwork - dwelling. Even among the districts without the funding for such resources, one can find wooden homes that betray Misceus' need to keep an ever-urbanising population in acceptable conditions.
- Miscean naming structure betrays many things besides identification. Misceans start out with two names - a forename for personal identification, and a surname to denote their family through blood or marriage, similar to some human societies. For example, a Monster may be born as "Julia Vatinius". From there, their social class is added as a suffix to their forename (unless they have been moved down a social class, in which case it is a prefix). Every citizen begins as the lowest social class: Novus. So, when born, one's name may be "Julia-Novus Vatinius". From there, a middle name can be taken for certain professions - a scholar would take the name "Euridito", a Legionnaire the name "Militum", and so on. These names can then be attached with some further meaning to elaborate; a scholar of the Humanities would be "Euridito-Humanititas", a Legionnaire who served in the Gemina Legion would be "Militum-Gemina". Not every profession has such names, but those that do are often considered fields worthy of greater than normal respect by Miscean society. So, if Julia became a Historian and moved to the first of the Patrician classes, "Ammiror", she would be known officially as "Julia-Ammiror Euridito-Historia Vatinius"; though, for most conversation and non-legal documents, simply "Julia" or "Julia Vatinius" would suffice.
- A sole exception to this exists within the Emperor, who takes on a new family name when they become Emperor; this name, specifically, indicates an Emperor's approval of someone, and carries a deal of weight unlike other family names if one has it.
- Miscean government is organised by a representative council of each social class, elected by their peers, totalling at 100 for the Plebian classes, 50 for the Ammiror, and 3 for the Reverentia. Every settlement, based on it's population, is represented by a percentage of the total number of delegates - so a settlement holding 2% of the population of Misceus' Verus would have 2 representatives. This, needless to say, imbalances power into major urban centres; though delegates do their best to keep the more rural settlements happy and their infrastructure connected, lest they suffer revolt. This divide is clearly visible, however - whilst a rural area will almost certainly have the basics of an aqueduct and a bathhouse, they may find their structures pale in comparison to the streets of a city. These representatives are those who have earned the most respect in their social class; though any individual may choose to step down if they so wish, though representing one's own class is considered worthy of respect in itself.
- The Reverentia are an exception to this rule; they have 3 representatives: the Emperor, and 2 Consuls, collectively known as the Triumvirate. The Emperor is selected by the previous Emperor, with that election being confirmed by the Senate (a mostly symbolic process); one Consul is selected by the Emperor, while the other is selected by the Patrician class. Both Consul and Emperor can only be from the Reverentia, meaning the list of potential candidates at any given time is rather small.
- These 353 people are, collectively, known as The Senate, and are the ones who pass, repeal and modify all laws through-out Misceus.
- The process of law making, and politicking in general, is somewhat complicated. The Emperor can pass, repeal, or modify any law they so wish - and their word is law. There are two exceptions to this - the first is if the two Consuls unanimously disagree, while the other is if there are over 300 votes in opposition in the Senate.
- One individual Consul does not hold any more or less power than any other Senator - in this capacity they are representatives of the Reverentia, advisers to the Emperor, and well-respected voices in the Senate generally. If the two Consuls are in agreement on something however, they are theoretically the most powerful people in Misceus; only opposition by 300 Senators can stop a Consular Declaration.
- Theoretically, of course, this means the Senate itself holds absolute power, not any one individual - practically, however, the requirements are stringent enough that only something truly abhorrent or massively unpopular would ever be truly opposed.
- The Senate itself requires a majority vote to amend, create or repeal a law; the Emperor notably abstains from Senatorial affairs, except in those cases where a majority cannot be reached after much debate and 3 votes, in which case they hold a deciding vote. The majority is not representative of the overall Senate, but instead of each class: Novus and Verus require a mere 50, with "Dignitas" requiring 60, and the Patricians overall requiring 25. ALL these must be reached; if not, the law fails, and must be amended or thrown out. Every iteration of a law is allowed 3 votes, with debate happening between each one, in which the best orators in support or opposition to the law may argue their case to sway the Senate. If there is not enough support OR opposition, the Emperor decides if the law is to be passed, thrown out or amended; this, naturally, leads to the Emperor signing off on a majority of laws. Theoretically, if both Consuls oppose the Emperor's decision on a Senatorial tie-breaker, they can over-rule it; however, they can only do so once, after which they must step down and new Consuls are to be chosen. This does not apply to them over-ruling the Emperor's direct decrees, however.
- [Author's Note: It is exceptionally important to remember that classes are not representative of wealth in Miscean society, and that their culture organises themselves based upon respect earned, so those of higher social status are not necessarily wealthier but their words may be more well respected by those of lower social standing. To forget this would be disastrous to one's interpretation of Misceus; that is not to say it's system is by any means idyllic, nor that it does not have it's turmoils from those who have abused it or from the grinding gears of bureaucracy such systems have, merely that it is different in a major way from similar systems we have in reality.]
- The Emperor maintains a line of Imperial succession not through blood, but adoption. When a new Emperor is appointed, they take on a new family name and a new family altogether; this family does not have bonds by blood, but by choice. An Emperor can adopt any number of people into their family as siblings or descendants as a sign that they are in line to become Emperor when the current one dies or steps down; and, when a new Emperor reigns they take on a new family name and the process begins anew. To be adopted into the Emperor's family is a sign that they believe you will make a worthy successor and good ruler to Misceus.
- A spouse or children, if the Emperor has one, do not take on this new name; they remain with the Emperor's original name, as would any of their children they have during their reign.
- The Emperor is guarded by a host of warriors known as the Varangian Guard. When Misceus takes a tribe, city or similar into their rule, by force or otherwise, the strongest warrior they have (or leader of some sort, such as the next in royal line or a chieftain's daughter) will become adopted into the Varangian Guard.
- The reasons for this are many. It means that not only is the Emperor guarded by the strongest warriors they can find, with all the various experiences and styles unique to those peoples Misceus has taken into it's fold, but it means that smaller tribes or similar have a way to talk to the Emperor about their people's desires with a voice they might well not have in the senate. Being a prestigious position, the people of a Guard may well see the Misceans in a better light that even one newly adopted can be given such a lofty position based upon their feats. Culturally, it also demonstrates what Misceus holds closest - every culture and people bought to serve under one banner. The Varangian Guard is entirely that - the arms and armour, styles and peoples, all working with their individual traits, under the Miscean banner for the Miscean cause. A powerful symbolic image indeed.
- Entertainment in Misceus is an important part of day to day life. Members of the Patrician class, the Senate, or even the Emperor themselves may hold public festivals, games, races, plays or debates.
- Games can be sports as we might recognise them today, with organised teams from all over the Empire competing in various colosseums through-out the Empire; they also, however, include combat. Sometimes this combat is real, seeing one or several combatants duel, spar or the like; sometimes it is staged, as Gladiatrixal games often are more for entertainment than anything else, with the participants being half actors, half fighters; other times it may be a recreation of a historical battle, exaggerated to up it's entertainment value, with kernals of truth here and there. One particular favourite is a recreation of the Battle of Surokesh, in which a single Miscean legion held out against the onslaught of a coalition of five tribes for several weeks until reinforcements could arrive.
- Races are as one might imagine - though the biology of Monsters means these aren't limited merely to a track. "Sky Races" for those that fly sometimes take place across an entire city or more. Obstacles to be flown past or through, or otherwise overcome, are common; and extend to more than simple hurdles, a lot of the time.
- Plays are a past time of Miscean tradition due to the absence of the printing press in their society meaning recorded history is at a premium - more often than not these plays are living records of history, memorised and told by narrators and actors who learn their parts by memory and pass it down in an oral tradition. These can cover a variety of topics, from exciting legal cases and trials, to stories told of the Old Empire, to stories of political conspiracy and how they were resolved. Fictional plays also exist, of course - a romance with a moral message, a comedy involving the exploits of a travelling acting troupe - but these are much rarer than in human society. The Miscean view would seem to very much be "Why invent stories of intrigue and greatness when you can tell those that happened in history, or make real ones of your own that will be told forever?". This view is a microcosm of Miscean culture - a great respect, almost reverence, for the past; and a desire to build a future through action.
- Debates are, as one might imagine, a discussion between to members of society with competing ideas. While private debates among the Senate are held regarding political issues, open debates can also be organised - notably, however, only by members of the Patrician class. These can be debates on historical validity, on the political issues of the day, to even the most taboo of all topics in Misceus - religion. Organised, formal debates, held in open-air amphitheatres, are one of the very few times religious discussion can be held openly in all of Misceus. Theoretically, anything can be debated, providing the parties agree to it and have enough time. Unlike many activities, there is never any form of payment required for the attendance of a debate. The debate is considered to be a well-loved past times by Patricians who appreciate the art of oration, the back-and-forth of evidence provided, and the stimulation of having their views challenged (well, theoretically at least - in reality, much like humans, people will often cling to their beliefs in spite of these challenges to them). Plebians can enjoy these things too, but the stereotype of a Plebian as being relatively uneducated next to a Patrician persists.
- These activities are often provided for free to citizens by wealthy benefactors on special occasions; it can be an attempt to ingratiate oneself to the populace, a show of good-will, or simply a way to gain a little respect by putting one's own hard earned money back into Misceus in the form of one of two things it considers every citizen to need: "bread and circuses". Other times the events will require a price of admission, with the organiser (often the Senate) hoping to make their money back on these events and stimulate the economy with the business that surrounds high-publicity events.
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