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Established February 2010
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* Plot Information for Tacea

Tensions are rising in Tacea after the destruction of their Territory Court at the hands of its Queen. Unable to continue their traditional cycle of succession because of accusations of treason, Tacea must find a Queen capable of uniting the land while building bridges to the world outside its borders.
Overview of Tacea
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Author Topic: Former Tacea Territory Petition  (Read 6407 times)

Description: For Reference Purposes (by Vivian)

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Former Tacea Territory Petition
« on: Mar 03, 14, 09:15:25 PM »
This is the petition in its original form, and should be used as reference material to cover any gaps in existing articles.

Character's Name:  {Ruler}.
Character's Caste:  Healer Queen.
Character's Jewels:  Rolled Sapphire - Ebon Gray.
Territory Plot:     
Tacea has long been closed to the Realms since the Purge.  Black Widows, foreseeing the civil war that would tear apart their land in the aftermath of the Witchstorm, moved as one to shield their home from enemies outside their borders.  Surrounded by visions of the future and memories of the Great War with Askavi drove the Coven of Tacea to unite with the remaining strength in the Blood to cloak their land and lock themselves away from the eyes of other Territories.  No sooner had they done so, did civil war between Tacea's powers erupt.   
Two centuries of neglect and chaos in the wake of war have led to ominous signs plaguing the island Territory of Tacea. Sleeping demons wake, and from the peak known as the Black Immortal, smoke rises.  Black Widows across the Territory dream of signs they do not understand. Priestesses sense seeds of shadows being planted in the hearts of common people.  During her annual pilgrimage to the greatest of the now dormant volcanoes to perform the rituals and Craft passed on to her from earlier Dragon Queens (sometimes referred to as Dragon Mothers), Territory Queen {Ruler} has discovered an altar at the base of Black Immortal. Long deserted, the altar's disrepair reveals a maze of tunnels and caverns within--a complex that calls back to the long-ago origins of Tacea.

The Dragon Queen is running out of time to strengthen her grip on the seat of the Island Territory.  Keeping her predecessor as Dowager Queen has eased her transition, a little, and allowed her to reign in fears, uncertainties, and rumors. In the interim, the hardened warriors who are the Geisha have been sharpening their swords, awaiting the day when the newest generation will serve their Queen. But the Dowager's time is ending, and the duties that fall into the hands of the Territory Court of Tacea are many: they must affirm {Ruler}'s seven Daggers, instate their Court, address the growing problem of overpopulation in their Territory, redraw the Province lines, and re-negotiate the lines between lands.

A new balance must be struck, lest disaster fall upon the isolated island Territory.

Succession Plan:
Tacea has since time immemorable operated on a very different balance of power than the rest of the Realms.  What once might have begun as tradition has solidified into law in the countless millenia and in Tacea tradition holds a great deal of weight.  Where the decline of a Territory Queen might mean chaos for other lands, this is not so in Tacea; Tacea holds to an age old system where the Territory Seat cycles through its four great noble houses, said to descend from its first and foremost Queen; a woman of myth and legend known only in songs as Amasterasu.  So while the Kagen, victor of a long and bloody war that erupted following the Purge, are gracefully bowing out, this honored cycle of power continues on.

The rule of Hinata no Kagen has finally come to an end, and her successor has been found in {Ruler}, an Ebon Gray Healer Queen from a branch clan of the Ariake.  {Ruler}’s double caste--she is both a Healer and a Queen--makes her a compelling candidate; her claim to the Seat has been solidified by her spiritual strength, her keen understanding of tradition and history, and a people who tire of war and being led by war leaders. While recent history has led the Tacean people to expect the rule of a Territory Queen (or Dragon Mother) who leads by the sword, some see the ascent of a Healer Dragon Mother as a symbol of hope and rest, for Tacea is a Territory long overdue for healing and rest, while her Jewels are a force for their protection.

Before {Ruler} can ascend, it is imperative that she gather and form the seven men that will become known as the Seven Daggers; they are men that are solely loyal and devoutly committed to their Queen and they occupy a unique position.  Not only are they her weapons and her tools to enact her will, they are her shields, protecting not only their Queen, but ultimately expected to shield Tacea from a Warrior Queen unsheathed.  There is great pressure on any Queen to choose the right men for her service, as these are the men that will be called to stand before her fury should that terrible day ever arise.  It is thus necessary for a Territory Queen to find these men before she can fully step into the seat, for she would be too dangerous otherwise.  The pressure upon her is immense and comes from all directions -- even family.

She is the youngest of four children and her three older brothers, a phenomenon that is common in Tacea due to the matrilineal nature of bloodlines and distaff dominated culture (there is a clear preference for daughters and this is seen in the way many couples continue to give birth until a daughter and heir is born).  One of those brothers has married into a family of merchants, a rising force of wealth in Tacea, and now {Ruler} contends with the veiled suggestions that she take a merchant as one of her Seven Daggers.  This would be a great honor and instantly elevate the social class of the entire family.  Simultaneously, this would no doubt rile conservative nobles and those who were ennobled for their deeds during wartime.  It is a delicate line that must be tread with care. 

{Ruler} has decided to hold a “friendly” tournament that will hopefully drain off some of the rising tension of idle fighters and appease the innate violence of Tacea’s lifelong warriors.  The four great families see this as a golden chance to showcase and lift their family prestige and honor, especially as each of them venerate the secret martial Crafts passed on in their bloodlines.  It is also an opportunity for men and women to make themselves known to the new Queen and draw her attention.  There is a glittering possibility that lies at the end of this event: the incomparable honor of being considered for the position of Master of the Guard or one of the elite Seven Daggers that will serve to consolidate {Ruler}’s rule.  The women who serve in her Court are just as, if not more important, than the men.  The choice of her female Master of the Guard is especially integral to the {Ruler}, as this woman must assuage any doubts the people might have about a Healer Queen taking a role traditionally given to more straightforward Warrior Queens.

Impact on the levels of District/Province/Territory/Realm:
REALM:  At the moment, Tacea has symptoms parallel to those Shalador is facing with the Witchstorm having shaken the seal loose, as it also affects the laval system that overlaps with the volcanoes in Tacea  (there are over 68 small & dormant volcanoes in Tacea!).  {Ruler}’s Ascent will be one of the foremost steps to opening Tacea, as the discovery of the altar at Black Immortal will reveal scrolls and webs left behind and preserved there - possibly even dating back to Tacea’s legendary Queen Amaterasu.  These will yield information that will eventually propel the Territory into the Realm again and it will be up to the Priestesses and Black Widows to make sense of what has been preserved in these caves.  It will also lead to the Priestesses/Black Widows piecing together remnants of knowledge they possess as lore and the knowledge to be found within these caves and the revelation that Tacea’s Queens have a way to bleed off the power of the fire mountains through their bond with the land. 

There is also opportunity for plots regarding the Court of the Blackened Sky, as well as spies later on from other territories who might be curious as to what is going on Tacea upon the Territory’s opening.  Tacea’s Healers and their knowledge (plus the unique magical herbs growing in Tacea - once of an origin with those of Shalador, but mutated over centuries of isolation) will be available to the Realms.  As a Healer, {Ruler} will be a supportive proponent of helping and offering aid to other Territories post-in game opening of borders, propelling her to engage with and interact with other Queens and Healers across the broad.

TERRITORY:  There are several plot lines in play and many will cross paths, perhaps more than once.  The Ascension of a new Dragon Mother necessitates a change of faces in Court, positions of authority, and even in the military.  She must choose the seven geisha that will become her lifetime anchors, her right hand men, and her most deadly of weapons.  There is, quite obviously, a lot of tension and competition among the current ranks of the geisha for the highly coveted honor. 

The end of the Dowager Dragon’s four years and her subsequent retirement from ruling entirely means that province lines must be redrawn amongst the Kagen, Izayoi, Ariake, and Shingetsu houses.  Amongst these four great noble houses, they possess their own issues; within, the Shingetsu see their blood in {Ruler} and some are not satisfied for Ariake to stake sole claim on the one who will soon become the ruling power in the Territory.  On the outside, even they are feeling the societal impermanence of their influence as mercantile families are rising in wealth, marrying into lesser nobility and raising their status, and the abilities they have honed for generations suddenly find little exposure in a time without war.  This has led to some level of unresolved energy and those who have opted not to enlist in the military or in some way undergo a discipline/apprenticeship are growing in number.  These youth are spoiling for something to do, for fights to pick. 

The military is composed women and men and there is no preference between the two genders.  Women are just as deadly as their male counterparts, but a large percentage remain male precisely because women tend to have more sustainable and socially acceptable options available to them.  Working with the military is something of a default choice for Warlords and Princes and in the peacetime of the last few years, these men have grown restless.  Warlords make up the rank and file and compared to the Prince counterparts are less likely to advance as far, but military experience bolsters them in the eyes of others.  With military experience, it becomes much easier to later on work as an escort, or even as something as simple as a temple guard.

Temples are spiritual places and many Priestesses live in the temples they watch over.  They have worked closely with the Territory Court and although they are individually removed from politics, their temples and labors have often coincided with Tacea’s Queens.  In the past, education and lessons in letters and numbers have been provided at temples for young children and due to the prolific nature of temples, they are often chosen as points of distribution of Territory wide festival gifts.  While not a Priestess Queen, the respect {Ruler} has shown for Tacea’s spiritual and religious needs has gained her their good will. The Priestesses have been flourishing in peacetime as more and more people turn to them now that war isn’t keeping them away on a battlefield, but both the Priestesses and Black Widows will have to work together to decipher and unravel the mysteries of what lays in the caverns {Ruler} stumbled onto at Black Immortal.  The Black Widows must also contend with the dreams and visions they are having, the foreshadowing of a Realm-wide threat, actualize, realize, and understand them.

Black Widows are not a passive in Tacea.  They are dangerous and feral and answer only to Queens, and, like Queens, are deeply restricted in their actions by Protocol and honor.  This need for action coupled with their training and insight often see them placed in high ranking positions within the military.  They are expected to be objective and uphold a strict code of honor that works well in their capacities as military advisers to Queens, often occupying positions as generals, lieutenants, and more.  Few can advance in the military ranks without the support and sponsorship of such a commander and many of them are Widows.  However, this is not the only way in which Tacea values and cherishes the Daughters of the Coven.  Tacea is an Island Territory and a large majority of its water supply, while plentiful, is seawater or ocean water.  In general, it is undrinkable and not suitable for consumption -- Widows in Tacea have since developed the unique ability to purify the water and strip it of any poisons or sediments.  This craft is not particularly caste specific, but Black Widows are predominantly the most successful with it, barring a Queen with unusually strong connections to the land. 

Healers have been on the rise for a while now and having a Healer Queen as the Dragon Mother is an understandably exciting time for them.  They are troubled as in the past few years they have been struggling with the impressive population Tacea is supporting.  The growing population density and crowding of people has led to lower quality of water and cleanliness in the Landen villages, many of which Healers visit even though the Blood and Landen structures do their best to retain a harmonious and distant relationship.  Healers, as much of the Blood of Tacea, take their duties very, very seriously, and the lack of space means that Blood and Landens alike have less and less distance between them - making them easy pickings for epidemics and illnesses.  Healers often manage to gather two or three males in their service, especially if they are ruling a village.  If there is no Queen to serve, a village or town will just as often go to a Healer rather than a Black Widow. 

It is important to note that whereas other cultures perceive the imperative to protect females and Queens as the strongest and most prevalent in Warlord Princes, Tacea has embraced this on a gender wide level, to the point where even Landens have begun to take up similar social structures.  As such all Blood males see the right to escort and protect as a privilege.

Warlords are more likely to see action on the battle than the other male castes, and make up the rank and file of the armies, but also expected to guard and protect, and thus are often found in the service of guarding temples, altars, and Healers.  Princes have the best shot of climbing the military ladder - their temper, coupled with their intellectual bent makes them choices that female commanders are more likely to support and sponsor, as without the sponsorship of a female superior, males are unlikely to advance to the higher levels of authority. 

Of those who enter into grueling and disciplined geisha training with the ultimate goal of serving the Dragon Queen, a slight majority of them are Warlord Princes, as the ideals of serving a Queen align deeply with the innate call to service a Warlord Prince experiences and it is understood that their tempers and personalities require they be tended to by a Queen.  Any unattached and unoccupied Warlord Prince will often find himself asked to perform some sort of duty or task for the local Queen or even ruling Healer.

Males are also finding that opportunities are beginning to open up for them in the arts, a sphere that was previously exclusive to women, with few exceptions.  While some level of sexism still exists, the arts are a world that welcomes talent and innovation and is the most willing to overlook gender.   In recent years, kabuki dances have burst onto the scene, a male-exclusive art that is generally praised as a difficult and challenging discipline that is both mental and physical.  Talented kabuki dancers are at times recruited into training as a geisha.

PROVINCE:  As previously noted, the passing of the Territory Seat implies a redrawing of Province Lines, so a few formal province borders are up for debate.  The end of the Dowager Dragon and retirement from ruling entirely means that province lines must be redrawn amongst the Kagen, Izayoi, Ariake, and Shingetsu houses.  This is largely done at the discretion of the Province leaders and ultimately by the new Territory Queen; it is an extremely delicate process, as the shifting of lines usually means that villages and sometimes, in rare cases, entire districts are shifted into another house’s purview.  This is a crucial time for inter-house deals, negotiations, and currying of favor at the Territory Court level for the houses.  There are ways to assure that some lands will remain untouched – generally speaking, the hearts out of which Clans are based are not tampered with, but smaller, outside towns that do fall into grey areas are acquired through a mix of factors.  There have been times when a Territory Queen might award certain lands to a Clan as a boon after a heroic deed on their part; typically ones does not strip away the claims to lands unless she feels the Clan has not been properly caring for it.  Some Clans will thus try to assert that they would be better caretakers if they are aiming to gain certain towns.
It is important to note that even if a border town is moved into the purview of another Province (and thus Clan), other Clans can and do still retain all the assets in the area.

Each Province is also eager to put the finishing touches on the geisha they are training.  While each Province Queen recruits her own forces, each Province (and thus Clan) also work in collaboration with  Territory Okiya (the houses, training grounds, and communal spaces of geisha) to which they contribute and provide.  It is considered a great mark of honor to the associated family for the Dragon Queen to pick geisha from their Provincial Okiya.  The best of the best are recruited and oftentimes members of the great houses will elect to train toward becoming a geisha for this chance.  There is no denying the place of influence one holds as one of the select men that serve as the Dragon Queen’s Daggers.

DISTRICT:  The Black Immortal has always been considered its own district, outside of any province and answerable directly to the Territory Court.  Queens who might rule here must forego family fealty, achieve a level of proficiency with the Priestesses, if not complete the training, and is charged with keeping watch over the great fire mountain, as well as caring for the haven and retreat it serves as.  As a destination, it is popular as a spiritual point of interest, and holds cultural and spiritual importance.  Every year, the Territory Queen journeys there for Spring, holds Court there for three moons, and Priestess convene to celebrate a season of new life.  The discovery of an altar at the base of the mountain has caused an explosion of interest and rumor surrounding the district, but both the District Queen and Territory Queens have agreed that it is best to keep people away from the caverns until they have been assessed as safe.  The District Queen of Black Immortal is traditionally a role solely and completely devoted to the Territory Queen.  If a Queen does not rule, the High Priestess will serve as well.

It is on across the district level that the issues that Tacea is facing are the most stark.  Landen and Blood communities have been, by necessity, growing closer in recent years and while most have struck up amicable, if at times uneasy relations, there have been occasions of strife between the two.  Priestesses and Healers are the foremost of the Blood working between the two peoples, specifically with Healers striking out to provide their services to Landens, in part hoping to stem any epidemics that may start with the Landens and spread to the Blood.

Further Cultural Notes on Tacea:  Since Tacea is operating on a social and cultural structure where males are the subservient gender, in addition to the existence of geisha, the roles of castes, and the unique system in play where rulership circulates between the four main descendant clans of a legend are singular to Tacea.  Centuries of being a closed territory has also yielded its own consequences.  Subsequently, I have provided a sketch of these elements below:
  • There is a strong sense of honor and duty, so females deeply abide by the belief that service and loyalty demands sheltering, protection, and care in turn.  The distaff gender is the stronger one, for all their inherent moments of vulnerability - they are the bedrock of the Blood society and the role they play in tending and caring for males is very real on every level.  

  • Isolation from the rest of the realm and being of a short lived race means that Tacea has developed advanced irrigation systems, iron making, and traditions (and philosophies) obviously not seen elsewhere, such as complicated tea ceremonies and a belief in the awareness of all things.  This awareness translates to an understanding and acceptance of impermanence that is pervasive, leading to their value of “balance.”  

  • Tacea runs on a system not unlike a feudal period, with strict power structures, although the ties and bindings of fealty are convoluted.  For example, one owes familial loyalties, but also loyalties between a martial Craft mistress/master and student, as well as fealty to one’s Queen.  There are other debts that exist of course, such as life debts, honor debts, and, in extreme cases, debts of death that can be passed on from parent to child.

  • Clans/family structures are central to Tacea’s culture and they place significance on venerating ancestors and preserving family arts and legacies, as well as family honor.  There are four great clans in Tacea - Shingestu, Izayoi, Kagen, and Ariake.  The four provinces of the Territory also correspond with these clans and every 24 years province lines are redrawn to maintain and encourage balance between the clans.  The only exception is with the rise of a new Dragon Mother - this event will be delayed until she has fully ascended, should she choose to rule with the previous Territory Queen as a Dowager Dragon to her Sleeping Dragon (as it is so called when a Territory Queen is chosen, but has yet to fully ascend the Territory seat).  The Territory Seat passes between these four clans in a prescribed order and each Queen may rule up to 60 years, though many choose to step down for stronger and younger Queens well before then.  

  • The geisha occupy a unique place on the Territory stage; they are an elite cadre of men who serve the Territory Queen and typically begin training at a young age, although very few of them manage to achieve and stay the brutal and demanding course.  Some may choose to leave midway for a myriad of reasons, and many who become First Escorts to ruling Queens come from those who began and completed geisha training.  Geisha are raised from a tender age and psychologically conditioned to completely and utterly serve and protect the Queen; to begin training any later than 18 is rare.  The best of the geisha are chosen to serve the Dragon Mother and are subsequently “bought” (parallel to the signing of contracts elsewhere) from their okiya (the offer must be accepted by the geisha in question, which is usually a non-issue as ALL geisha are trained with the goal of eventually serving - and serving the Territory Queen is considered the pinnacle of their path).  Seven are named as the Dragon Mother’s Daggers, forming an ELITE CLASS even among the geisha.  They are unreservedly loyal.

  • The female castes in Tacea have a few marked distinction:

    • All witches, regardless of whether they have a caste, are considered to be precious by the male Blood.  Women are also the merchants and businesswomen; men are not often seen in this sphere, with the exception of the geisha and okiya.

    • Queens are considered to be dragon-witches, their queen caste a warrior, a dragon-ghost.  They serve ceremonious, ritualistic, and religious roles in the ruling setting.  Their word IS LAW and they are held more strongly to Blood Law and protocol far beyond any other caste.  Tacea is in game used to young queens because it will be coming off from a time of war (first with Askavi and then the Warring Dragons period) and in wartime witches tended to bear children young since one never knows when they are going to die.

  • As for male castes, notable information outside of what is in the petition follows:

    • Whereas other cultures perceive the imperative to protect females and Queens as the strongest and most prevalent in Warlord Princes, Tacea has embraced this on a gender wide level, to the point where even Landens have begun to take up similar social structures.  As such Blood males see the right to escort and protect as a privilege, but as they are without caste they are also the first of the gender to break into the arts.

    • Princes are also quite prominent in the arts, such as music, dance, and even in traditional settings of cookery.  Although uncommon, in the literary arts they are becoming more and more prevalent.

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