Head of State: Reya Courë an’Arrazëan
Founder: Reya Aleran an’Laurë
Government: Bastard Feudal Monarchy
Religion: Crespien Ecclesia, Aman Ecclesia, Saint Cults (Saint Laurë, Saint Aleran, Saint Valén)
Description: Sitting in the far south-western peninsula, the Laurë are the basis for modern civilization. This land of intense faith and powerful, ambitious nobles. The bastard child of the Reliné Empire long ago eclipsed its father empire. The Laurë clan is famed for its intense politics, with the powerful “Princes of the Blood” controlling vast reaches and fighting each over control of the Reya in Arraz. In addition, the Ecclesia, dominant in other lands, is forced to compete with the cult of Saint Crespien, whose teachings allow the high castes to have unparalleled control over their subjects. It is a clan in decline but it is a colorful decline, made even more so by the fact that the kingdom is currently without a Reya.
History: The Laurë Clan after the reign of the Saint Emperor was thought to be the envy of the world. Given to the second son of Valén, Aleran an’Arrazëan (named for the first Reya of the Laurë) the clan has since been the most consistently powerful and relatively stable of the great clans. Once more, the second son of the Arrazëans proved the most ambitious and authoritarian of his brood. The Réya in Arraz controls the families who had sworn allegiance to Alerán of old.
To this day however, the Arrazëans maintain that they are the rightful masters of all Laurëa.
The first great succession was a traumatic conclusion. The Arrazëans inherited a divided land, with the thousands of cadet houses of Laurë, all much more ancient than their masters. Aleran I found himself in the midst of an ocean of political madness. This chaos reached its height in the years after as the traditional Laurë land was broken even more. By the third succession, the Laurë was as divided as the nations of the north.
It was the Arrazëan Réya Salan III who saw the near collapse of their Kingdom and saw the rise of the new Kingdom under his son, Courë I. The Arrazëans took control of their nation back by making a precarious balance of power. He gathered all of his kingdom under a single banner and declared that he would bring the entirety of Laurëa under his reign. Courë forced the allegiance of the Rëline branch of House Laurë and crowned himself the Rëline Palatine and claimed the title of Repalatine. The Valérë of the Repalatine objected to this obviously, and the War of the Two Repalatines ravaged both countries, and though it eventually ended in the collapse of the short lived Second Rëline Palatinate, the Laurëans ultimately left the savage war with riches beyond counting, after sacking the city of Pallas itself.
However, after the death of Courë, he left only a single daughter. The House of Arraz found itself rudderless and weak. They were forced to choose a new Reya from the family. But Amellen an’Mallanë, the Reya of the North, claimed the throne through his mother and through his wife. The Laurëan nobility elected Pelenon in his place, refusing to acknowledge the claim of a woman. Amellen invaded the kingdom and for a hundred years, the Laurë monarchy collapsed under the weight, before gathering a huge coalition to crush the upstart Mallanë. Victory was won but at great cost, as an entire generation noble caste was slaughtered.
In the century that has passed, the Reya Laurë has consolidated and rebuilt the clan, attempting to centralize control. The Reya Valanon attempted to make a second bid for the title of Repalatine, claiming the title, Repalatine of Laurëa and founding a new capital. He has a vision of a new autocratic Laurëa. Instead, he was deposed by the increasingly powerful nobility and left as Repalatine of a single city. There is currently no Reya of the Laurë, as the heir apparent is not yet of age. The nobility currently control the clan, with the Great Princes of the Blood controlling huge swathes of royal land. The regent is Deya Lacelon an’Laurë, and the heir is Deya Courë. However, the old Reya still lives and seethes at the treatment of the royal house at the hands of the nobility, scheming to reclaim the title of Reya. The stage is set for a new order to be born in Laurë.
Culture: Laurë’s capital has been moved in the last century, to a new capital called Valanna. But Arraz remains the cultural capital of the land, and the greatest influence Their culture is the mightiest force in Laurëa and they have developed a culture of refinement and martial prowess. The country Arrazëan nobles live in fortress villas drinking wine made from the vineyards and orchards. They wear long robes and great, intricately patterned surcoats.
The castes of Laurë are more rigid than in other places, but the nobility is less hierarchical. At the top, the Reya rules as a first amongst equals, with the Deya Caste right below him. The Red-headed Deya of the Laurë are called “Princes of the Blood” and act as Reya in all but name. They own vast swathes of land and in addition have an important, and unique, role in Laurë society.
In Laurë society, the Ecclesia, while important, is entrenched in a silent war with the royal cult that Aleran of old supported and cultivated before the conversion. The Cult of Saint Crespien holds most of the same beliefs as the Ecclesia but sees the secular rulers as the spiritual leaders of a nation. As a result, the nobility are also the functioning Ecclesians of their region. It is this approach to religion that produced the Saint Emperor, who is still honored as the royal patron.
This approach leaves the common people highly disempowered. The lower castes are highly divorced from the world of the nobility. In addition, since the rise of Valén, females of the upper caste have been discriminated against and barred from inheritance and from the royal court. This has cultivated a culture of repression but also a secondary court, where women scheme in private with lower caste servants.
Sexuality in their culture is relatively free compared to most, with mistress and extra-marital affairs being almost expected among members of a caste. But inter-caste relations is considered a taboo, especially if a bastard is born. Homosexuality is accepted but not encouraged and is usually concealed.
Life in the Laurë clan is colorful and the merchant and occupational castes are well supplied with work. The farmer castes, meanwhile, maintain their old ways, and many of the ancient ways of ancestor worship still survive in the far countryside. Throughout the Laurë clan, Saint Cults are common. There are hundreds of holidays, most of which are celebrated only in a local area.
Music in the clan is known for being vibrant and light, with woodwind instruments. Bards are not well-respected in their society however, with the lower classes seeing them as vagabonds and vagrants. They are often considered unsightly for nobility. There are exceptions however, as the nobility prefer poetry, particularly clever allegory in recent times. The most popular songs tend to be of a religious nature (such as The Hymn of Crepsian) or of a martial nature (such as The Death of Relen).