Although large in size, it is important to note that Felmar's strength comes from the kingdoms, cities, islands, and protectorates that actually abide the primary ruler's ways.
Despite being a beautiful, healthy territory abundant in resources, it was once heavily scarred from series of wars that took place hundreds of years ago, the result of royal families vying for a primary say in a theoretical, united Felmar. Some say the blood feuds from those wars still exist today in certain areas. There are plenty of angry beasts waiting to remove the Winder's from their role as primary rulers. Like any conflict, there are two sides, and on the one, there are just as many Felmarians perfectly content with the status quo.
On a miscellaneous note: roughly 90% of beasts from Felmar possess some sort of accent. Since Tamaria Winder's experiences in what was once considered foreign territory, as well as her acquaintances with other foreigners, it has been known to be a practice of royal families and the wealthy to keep their Felmarian accent and even tongue when dealing with citizens, but it is common practice to move away from their accent in the international community. As much as Tamaria loved her land, family, and revenge, she was infatuated with foreigner's accents or, in her opinion, lack thereof. Some believe the practice is kept to honor her. Others believe it a symbol of education to be able to speak "properly" as the rest of the world does, despite such an analysis being flawed.
It is hard to think otherwise in a nearly brainwashed country.
Way of LifeEdit
It is important to understand that while Felmarians are ruled by royal warrior classes, nobles, and those wealthy enough to run a city and form a government to the Winder's approval, not all of Felmar is as meant for war as they would like to think. In fact, one downside is that for as large as Felmar and its army is, comparitively speaking, the amount of beasts that are considered even basic soldiers is small.
The largest class is made up of unskilled laborers who farm and are bound to the land their nobles/officials/lord's own, much like a Feudal system. Just as pathetic as their lives can be, is the fact that many Felmarians willingly accept their role. If they believe in Aurorianism, it is because they will never be able to make it to the warrior afterlife, Infinite, and they know that if they try to advance and fail, they are doomed to suffer in the Wake rather than exist as a spirit in nature, to help the remaining warriors and beasts live on. If they are not a proponent of Aurorianism, there is little hope for advancement anyway.
Classical Aurorianist priests live in closed societies where they learn to be warriors in the traditional sense, but live a life of devotion to cultivating the land around them and praying to their old Gods until they die by another's blade, a reason why it is believed a Felmarian should always die by the blade of those who bested them. This belief is hardly ideal anymore, and the classical beliefs are dying. Many beasts who believe in Aurorianism believe because they are taught it is why who's in charge is in charge, and that if you die fighting honorably your soul has a better chance of staying out of the wake. Or, it has evolved completely for some beasts into an honor code: you protect yourself, the ones you love, your land, and your thoughts, and your soul is more pure than any coward's.
Either way, Aurorianism or the honor system that stems from it does little to help laborers.
Then, you have skilled laborers and merchants. As technology boomed thanks to trade with foreign parties and developments of the eastern Felmarian isles, so did Felmar's mainland. They don't really have a place in the mind of a classical Aurorianist, but they serve their purpose and help the land live on. Unclaimed cities and governments have grown. They obviously pledge their loyalty to Felmar, but their existence has become so vital that the Winder or any royal family can hardly stop them without causing nationwide war.
Not to mention it is because there are some middle-class beasts with wealth that there is the arts, literature, and music outside of what the nobles, royalty, and priests are privy to. Outside sources brought in many of the instruments Felmar has today (they once were big advocates of the 'drum', as playing drums and singing was all they needed). Additionally, the same can be said of different styles of art. The tone of art and music still reflects their warrior lifestyle and Felmarian pride, as well as the love of their beautiful mainland, but again, it wouldn't even be considered modern if it wasn't for outside influence.
Respecting your elders is not really a thing in Felmar. In some circles and regions, primarily the south and the isles, this expression can be heard, but on the mainland in in the royal houses, respect comes from a beast's capabilities. Age doesn't always merit strength of mind or power—hence why a Felmarian can assume the throne or their role in a government far before an older beast needs to leave their position. One example is a Felmarian prince who's adviser trained him so well, that the thirteen year old prince defeated his lazy uncle and exiled the beast. Said prince was also the adviser's figurehead, but that is a different story for a different day.
Most artists, musicians, and performers either do their hobbies as just that: a hobby. The true successes are hired to work with royalty, nobles, or upper class. Otherwise, they are entertainment for a bored warrior, and have no place outside of their primary role. Royalty, especially the Winder family, has come to learn to respect artists and beasts skilled in various crafts, but that is only because they have the means to do so. Typical warriors and beasts of only have time to accept what is presented to them.
Recent years and contact with the outside world has led many Felmarians to question the status quo. Things have been inequal far too long, and with the troubles the Winder family is having internationally, beasts wonder when a true cultural revolution will occur. For now, major movements are under way to help skilled laborers even more, allow farmers to escape their ties to the land, and view artists as contributing members to society, but the warrior aristocracy and their figurehead officials may squash such movements. Time will tell ...
Felmarians eat a lot of fish served up from the harbor or local rivers and ponds. They also, until recent years, were primarily dependent on farms that produced grains and vegetables, but trade has given them access to fruits and newer vegetables.
"Let it be known, my faithful subjects, that no land shall ever hear such things as a prideless Felmarian." — Hurrian Cloode, southern Felmarian noble and lord.
Felmarians are known to be proud. Stubbornness runs in their veins, perhaps intolerably so. Old wives' tales and childhood stories are filled with examples of Felmarian pride, ranging from headstrong heroes who vanquish mystical creatures to every day acts of stubbornness and hubris like, The Merchant's Daughter, in which two Felmarian merchants argue for days about the one's daughter and why she should marry his son to prevent either family from becoming dependent on a lord's land, as many Felmarians are bound to the land they live on. Meanwhile, the daughter's own pride sets in and she finds a beast after he own heart.
"The Felmarian Plague"Edit
It isn't a literal plague, moreso it is what many outside analysts would view as wrong with Felmar. Felmarians, as their history suggests, are very used to bloodshed. Although many territories have experienced their own forms of peace thanks to either subjection to the Supreme Royal Family, the Winders, or they miraculously stayed out of the conflict(s) until they were settled.
Felmar's warrior and sometimes theocratic based aristocracy where the strongest survive and being a warrior can be considered a "formal" affair, provides a massive gap in power. Not everyone is born to be a warrior, but it is a known fact that Felmarians who cannot protect themselves are automatically viewed as lower. It also allows Felmarians to view themselves as superior. Hardened by war and influenced by the warrior culture and religion that persisted through the years, they use this superiority to extremes, going as far as saying "War is where civilians go to die." This thought is what leads to their brutish fighting styles and horrible war-time measures when dealing with mass combat. If Felmarians have a reason to believe they have been wronged spiritually, personally, or as a nation, they can very well find an excuse to destroy their foes without a drop of guilt.
The Eight Rules of the GodsentEdit
History of FelmarEdit
The Felmarian Isles (380-430)Edit
Very few beasts know this, but Felmar, although strongest on mainland and believed to have its roots seated in the maindland, can actually trace its original origins to a group of three isles positioned just to the left of Felmar. There are two Felmarian scrolls (hardly preserved) that speak of this origin. Both belong to the Winder family and only five beasts in Felmar are known to be able to read the "dead" tongue. One of them is Oustus Winder's adviser, Luvick Ahearn.
As such, very little is known about this period. In certain circles--thanks to the few scholars who can read ancient Felmarian--there are theories thrown around to support this fact. In a town or two, this is treated as common knowledge, but without sufficient evidence, these "truths" are lost, forever labeled as rumors and legends.
What is assumed to have happened, according to Luvick, based on his studies of not only the text, but Felmarian history, is that like always: Felmarians fought. His personal theory is that those on the isle came to the mainland for resources and maybe even experimented in early colonization, only to die out in time to the mainland's superior numbers. These superior numbers used their newfound knowledge to their advantage, and those who didn't assimilate, were killed. Over time, the mainland progressed enough to start keeping up with the isles.
The rest, is as they say, history.
Mainland Invasion/Exploration (450-750)Edit
This period is not as the name entirely implies. There were arrivals from the isles. With them, they brought the tools, ideas, and methods for growing civilization, and the ancient Felmarian tongue, but they were merely the seeds of a bigger idea. Although recorded history predating 640 is almost, gone, estimates have it that 450 is when the Felmarian mainland began to really grow from warrior tribes to civilized beasts, starting in Thural's Pass. This is entirely based on the buried relics found there.
Thural's pass was home to a colony/expedition that many believed to have died out after it was sent southward, and the beasts from the "Felmarian Isles" no longer heard from their fellow conquerors and explorers. Instead, it is where assimilation and hybridization really started. It was there, that one of the presumably largest civilizations occured. Their ideas and superiority spread rapidly. Soon, most of the mainland was beginning to evolve. What wasn't forgotten, however, was the brutal honor system that the mainland natives possessed and adapted into their growing civilizations.
Although it wasn't named Thural's Pass until 702, when Thural successfully left the main colony to see what lay in the snowy wastes to the south, it has since then been considered an honorary marker of Felmar's proud past. To Thural's surprise, there were more beasts and more, albeit icy, land to discover through the pass.
Maps were made. Territory lines were drawn. Expansion occured. Felmar was beginning to be mapped out. Beasts may have crossed lines thanks to a lack of communication, but those were all solutions that could be written in the blood that made the Six Kingdoms of Felmar.
Six Kingdoms (950-1234)Edit
The years leading to 950 were bloody. Trees and fields were burnt. Entire towns were lost in the fight for territorial lines and resulting blood feuds. Whereas the isles that provided the stepping stones to the mainland were becoming entirely different and were viewed as isolationist lands, the mainland was caught in war after war. Familes rose and fell just as the sun and moon swapped crowns for king of the sky.
Many wondered when the wars would end. A majestic land was drenched in blood and ash for little reason. Original colonies were buried under the violence and bones of their descendants.
Six of the most established families and kingdoms, however, saw an opportunity. By sheer virtue of their own alliance, they outnumbered any faction that didn't have allies to call their own. In secret, their representatives drew their own property lines for their kings and queens. With united armies, they unfairly carved up their land and named it Felmar, a combination of the six kingdoms first letters:
- Aedh (it's no coincidence that Aedh Winder is named after the former kingdom)
Their tongue became known as Felmarian, too, however, it had lost it's ancient roots a few hundred years before this occurence. It is of note that the first recorded royal Winder was at this time. The Winder's ruled the Aedh kingdom until 1220 when the family was executed and sole heir, an eight year old girl, was exiled.
Another thing of importance is that the Felmarian Religion, Aurorianism was gaining momentum during the Six Kingdoms period. The ruler's believed it was their right to rule as "Godsent" beasts. Any who opposed their rule was destined to die and suffer in the Wake for eternity.
Of course, Felmar is a large land. Even as the isolated isles began to reach out to the mainland, beasts wondered how long such a behemoth sized mass could be held by six families. There were too many cities and other supposed royal families for this to last long.
One by one the alliance fell apart. The first to fall was Aedh, when the Winder family declared the Erinaid kingdom as an unfit entity, as a distant cousin of the ruler had ascended to the throne. Aurorianism was only used as a way to springboard a warrior's religion into their politics, saying that the Godsent were the greatest of warriors and therefore, fit to rule. As such, a distant cousin hardly classified as a Godsent, letalone an excuse to keep a certain family from losing their kingdom. Aedh challenged Erinaid to Honorren Fru Soul, a holy duel (in present day it is more looked at as a honor duel) with strict rules as to how one must end its opponent, less they suffer a curse to their soul, and the souls of their descendants.
Long story short, the Winder patriarch lost Honorren Fru Soul. Little did he and his family know that they Honorren Fru Soul was only accepted as a way to savagely kill the Winder family. The other kingdoms had decided to carve up Aedh's land, for fear of their hostile claims being applied to all of them, and what better way to do it than butchering the family?
The lone daughter was spared by the supposed kindness of the Erinaid kingdom, and as a way to 'honor' Honorren Fru Soul, despite the ritualistic duel's name already being tainted. Some believe this duel was the mark of Aurorianism's fall, as such a fall in faith is the only way one would have risked their souls in such a gamble. In the end, karma came back around to the other six kingdoms. To this day, none of the original kingdoms exist. A plague had swept Felmar from 1220-1234, effectively wiping out the ruling class.
Superstitious beasts believed it to be a sign, and since then, Honorren Fru Soul has always been abided. Aurorianism still existed, but the plague also wiped out many beast's faith in it. Wealthy landowners and distant royalty began to fill the holes the six kingdoms left behind ... but Felmar was far from united.
Lost Crusades (1245-1265)Edit
Tamaria Winder didn't like seeing her family be butchered.
Not. One. Bit.
As a proponent of Aurorianism, her arrival in exile to the isles, specifically, the northern and eastern most of Felmar, Calispar, was met with zealous vigor. She gained and grew up under the kind and protective care of a scholarly couple. They saw to it that she was very well educated. Before long, her Aurorianism got the better of her and she boldly told many beasts of her history and how she was wrongly stripped from her title as ruler, as was her father and family.
Beasts who wondered over to the mainland from the various isles had returned the story, and before long, Tamaria's story was met with truth. Those who were converted eagerly joined her cause. Many beasts who weren't converted still joined her cause for the love of this idealistic, motivated girl who wanted nothing more than to avenge her family.
With a sizable army, Tamaria and her lover, Lukan, made their way to where Aedh was once seated. Although the ruling classes that had wronged her had all but died out, she saw to her revenge. From the moment she established a stronghold in 1245, to her death in 1265, she strengthened her rule in the northern peninsula of Felmar, taking over almost all of it, and going on a crusade to slay any beast who didn't believe in Aurorianism--even some of the beasts that had brought her to power.
Many of the details of this crusade are lost. Exact death tolls were burned in the same fires that anti-Aurorianist texts and heathens were.
Hundred Years Blood (1314-1414)Edit
Tamaria's legacy lived on. Despite her horrendous abuse of loyalty, she paved the way for the Winder's way to power. The only thing that was left was an assurance of that power, a growth to their former glory, if not more.
Lukan, the sad widower, spoke of this urge, and that urge was passed down to Demias Winder, an albino who believed his time had come to bring them to that glory. At the young age of 17, in 1314, Demias took the royal army and began to pave the way Aedh's former glory. He succeed.
And his son succeeded where he couldn't.
And so did his granddaughter.
Four a hundred years, blood was spilled, promoting the Winder's right to rule based on the ancient rule of "Godsent" of Aurorianism. They were the self professed greatest warriors, and they did what it took to prove it. Travelers from the isles knew to pay their respects if they visited land that was absorbed by the Winders. If they were in kingdoms and lands that had not been claimed, they knew to be brief. Resources were not worth getting caught in a blood feud, because clearly, Winders never forget.
Those who didn't pledge loyalty to the Winders were fought in war, Honorren Fru Soul, or bribed/threatened. Those who assimilated to their rule found a much easier time adjusting. The Winder family had been drafting laws and regulations based of Tamaria's goals--with modification to help beasts feel safe under the Winder rule.
By 1477, everything save for the isles and the south belonged to the Winders. Felmar was slowly becoming united as it once was before.
Royal Cleansing Movement (1503-1654)Edit
Although the Winders ruled what was rapidly becoming Felmar, there was far too much land for them to control by themselves. Naturally, the other kingdoms and cities had to be free to govern themselves provided they were aligned with the supreme royal family and abided their rules as they set their own.
As contact increased with the outside world and the isles, beasts became lest likely to rebel. Years of blood and chaos stained the soil of their beautiful land for far too long.
For the Winders, however, there was one final thing that needed to be done. They needed proof, some way to know that no one would reject their claim and vision of a united Felmar. The land had been mapped out for years now; they just needed to solidify it. So, any family, any powerful patriarch or matriarch that couldn't be trusted was replaced with puppet figureheads to rule new kingdoms. It took years and was considered a bloodless affair--as many simply did not want to quarrel with the angry family. They had enough governments comfortable with Winder rule that a fight would be suicide.
And, those who didn't abide the Winder's vision of a united Felmar, disappeared.
This very same attitude was applied to the isles. Any isles who would adopt their currency and Felmarian rule, was officially a Felmarian, save for a few choice isles who were spared thanks to international relations. Still pertrubed by the situation the Winder in power in 1654, made a proposal to adopt those isles as their protectorates, and signed treaties to prevent forceful invasions on the grounds that they do not interfere with Felmarian business with other isles or the mainland. Naturally, the few "independent" isles obliged. In Felmar's eyes, they belong to Felmar, and many Felmarians inhabit them. To those native to those few choice isles (see Menetetty(sp?) and Calispar), they are independent.
"United" Felmar (1657-Present Day)Edit
Much of Felmar is unaware of the savagery that took place to get to a United Felmar. Texts and stories inside the mainland usually depict the Winder family as victims. The problem is that it is hard to believe such texts when those in the isles have much easier access to outside ideas/views/resources, whereas the mainland ports are heavily surpervised. Additionally, for as united as Felmar became in 1657 (the year when the final part of the icy Southlands were assimilated), they haven't stayed very united.
In order to prevent wars, a council of the major ruling kingdoms and cities was formed. While the Winders lead said councils, there has been tension over the years. Many have begun to question why the Winders are still the supreme power and considered the "ultimate voice of Felmar", but others are too afraid to actively oppose them. After all, as long as tributes are made to the Winders, trade routes are honored, and contact is kept, places are welcome to govern themselves, making Felmar at least appear united.
There have been one or two small wars involving the Winders since 1657, the most recent being only a couple years ago thanks to exiled prince, Kaden M. Winder's brash actions. Otherwise, there have been disputes between other established entities, but they were never about ruining Felmar, only about ruining each other. That in mind, typically the Winders stayed out or offered assistance to the potential winner.
Since Felmar has been at the height of its growth for over a hundred years, it has finally taken a role internationally. Save for the few skilled ships it has (mainly due to the isles), it offers its dedicated and vicious soldiers to causes in exchange for wealth. Also the recent generations of Winder family has been kind enough to allow the council to weigh in on international trade. However, since most of the council is still made up of Winder puppets, their choices are usually in line with whatever the Winder family wants.
Aurorianism to the point of zealotry has mostly died out. The Winder family still honors its traditions, and some of the family is still quite religious, but throughout Felmar, Aurorianism is remembered for its afterlife and the importance of one's soul, especially the soul of a warrior.