Recent Findings about the hinterlands

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Recent Findings about the hinterlands

Postby Jesse Heinig » Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:50 pm

A pair of exciting new pieces of research work recently came across the desks of the Institute, and they provided enough material that they might very well from the basis of an entire book of additional information about the ven!

Inventories for Malagol Castle: This document languished in storage in a box at the Gujarat National Law University in Gandhinagar until recently, when it was unearthed as part of an inquest for an estate auction. Since the notations appeared to be a form of inventory or accounting book but much of the writing was illegible, some of the documents were scanned in and sent to various other universities for translation, which eventually led to the materials arriving in the hands of our research team. Once we confirmed the authenticity of the original documents - which itself presented some difficulty, because the cribbed writing and the dialect were both somewhat unusual for ven penmanship - we knew that we had a very important piece of ven history on our hands, and we spared no expense to acquire the remainder of the book from the estate auction.
Tests have shown that these documents are written on some sort of preserved vellum, possibly from a gazelle or similar creature. The original documents have shown wear from their extreme age, and also use certain turns of phrase that seem out-of-place compared to the usual stylized ven writing. In order to preserve the important historical pieces, we have used infrared interferometry to make copies of the text in a digital form for translation.
The translation process itself has proven painstaking. Even the title of the text was a hurdle: "Malagol" is not a ven word. Based on the pieces translated so far, this document appears to be a lengthy seasonal inventory of a castle in the far hinterlands of the Republic, one that was captured from orks and then settled by members of an as-yet unknown House. Each seasonal inventory also includes a curt summary of certain major happenings at the castle and surroudning territories. Based on these summaries as well as the various inventory contents, we have been able to discern certain facts about the day-to-day life in the castle, the unusual provinces that surround it (the castle seems to be built on a mountain that is part of a volcanic range in an otherwise arid waste), and the House that lived in such curious circumstances. The inventories have also mentioned various special goods and substances that the owners collected from their provinces, many of which have heretofore been unknown in ven society.
The materials in the inventories have proven surprisingly rich both in direct knowledge of life in a distant part of the Republic, and in the inferences that can be drawn from the various requests, trades, and stockpiles. The inclusion of this material into the Shanri Research Institute's base will likely provide a comprehensive addition to ven lore.

Compact of the Red Summer: Apparently this document was not considered terribly important by its original owners, because the original is long lost. A copy was filed with one of the parties involved, which then served as a template for other similar contracts - few of which are known to have survived, and none of which have been found as yet (although evidence suggests that they do exist). The Compact was saved by an unblooded scribe for use as a reference, then copied at least twice. The final copy was later translated into classical Greek at some time probably around 400 B.C. This document languished as a curiosity until it was translated from Greek to Arabic and a copy kept on hand in Medina. This copy came to the attention of the Institute as a result of a partially-redacted Federal security document that referenced it as some sort of "terrorist cell organizational contract." Once a duplicate arrived at the Shanri Research Institute, the process of painstaking back-translation revealed that it was something else entirely. The Compact of the Red Summer is a contract between a blooded noble and a group of unblooded ven of various capabilities. Each of the unblooded are given certain levels of roadman-like authority to pursue criminals, quell trouble, and suppress orks within the provinces of the noble. In return, they must carry the banner of the noble's house and perform such tasks as might be delegated to them. In essence, this is a contract to form a chartered adventuring company - a group of unblooded who work on behalf of a noble and gain certain benefits from noble patronage and authority. The notion of such a company explodes the idea that roadmen were largely boring, unexceptional individuals who simply carried swords in the pursuit of quelling unrest in a province, and instead gives a clear picture of unblooded ven as people just as varied and ambitious in temperament as their noble patrons. Based on certain privileges and trades, it seems clear that some unblooded had a goal of rising in station to become titled vassals to a blooded House. It is equally clear that the notion of serving in a chartered adventuring company was something undertaken only by the foolhardy, the desperate, the criminal, or the highly skilled. Though it seems clear that nobles avoided this sort of "rambling, unsettled lifestyle of rustic chaos," a clause in the contract does provide that the noble or designated agents might choose to accompany the group should the occasion arise, so it is entirely possible that a bored and dissolute noble might have been found in such a group, though likely only for a short time (since it also seems clear that fraternizing with the unblooded and living in a tent would be far too "common" and quite scandalous).
Based on this contract, it seems that ven nobles started to respond to the agitation and demands for social advancement among the unblooded by exploiting them as a resource. Promising the consideration for vassalage, combined with very limited levels of responsibility, in exchange for a group of skilled roadmen quelling trouble in the name of their noble patron - it was a formula for easy resolution to local problems. Unfortunately it also seems likely that this may have backfired in some cases, if a criminal group or a company involved in scandalous activities cast a shadow on the patron's name, but in such a case the contracted adventurers were still unblooded and could simply be executed (assuming that they could be caught).
Inclusion of the Compact in the Research Institute's documents provides a new opportunity to explore the activities of ven who found themselves caught up in the midst of the actual events that most noble ven simply lumped together as abstract "trouble."
Jesse Heinig
 
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Re: Recent Findings about the hinterlands

Postby JohnWick » Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:57 pm

Approved by the Shanri Research Institute.
The Reverend John Wick, PhD, D.M., KoAL, G.M., ST, Narr., G.A.M.E.R., Master Mason
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JohnWick
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Re: Recent Findings about the hinterlands

Postby Jesse Heinig » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:33 am

Recent breakthroughs in translation of some of these materials have given us some new insight into how the ven dealt with some of the vagaries of the hinterlands, including the resources that they managed to harvest (and war over!) in the desert islands of the west and the taiga of the north, as well as the House most invested in these locales. Stay tuned!
Jesse Heinig
 
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