Apr 24

Skycouriers

Skycouriers ride skyhorses, winged white stallions which they capture in their native mountains by gradually taming them with apples. They use a form of mindmagic to bond to the skyhorses and communicate with them in a relationship of trust and collaboration more than mastery. The skyhorses are young males driven out of the herds by their fathers, and are more curious and intelligent than non-winged horses.

All skycouriers are women of the White clan of Montanus. They wear white flying suits and helmets with goggles, and sheepskin vests with the wool on the inside and feathers from their horses' wings on the outside. Attached to the back of the helmet is a scarf, which the courier wraps around her face while in flight.

Named skycouriers: Thorn White, based at Gulfport, whose horse is The Zephyr.

In Lakeside Koslin, at least, their arrival is announced by a horn.

The skycouriers rapidly experience technological obsolescence following the spread of farspeakers and skyboats. However, they were always used mainly by the wealthy and powerful, and retain a ceremonial role.

Apr 24

Political Parties

Prior to the creation of the Assembly, political parties were more like lobby groups. The most prominent were the Realm Benefit Party, which was the political face of Human Purity, largely active in Denning; the Tried and True party, a conservative, anti-Victory party which aligned behind the son of Realmgold Glorious and agitated for a return to Glorious's ways; and the Averi Group, a pro-Victory party, smaller and quieter than the Tried and Trues but engaged in a continual propaganda war with them, largely through the newspapers.

The Realm Benefit Party was proscribed as an illegal organisation after Unification.

Once the Assembly was created, the following parties formed and fielded candidates:

- Tried and True Party, seeking a return to the policies of Glorious;
- Unification Party, a pro-Realmgolds, pro-Unification party with widespread support among the gnomes, many humans in former Koskant and some in former Denning (Bucket and Briar Heathlake join this party in Mister Bucket for Assembly);
- Gnome Party, a party of more radical gnomes wanting further self-determination, among whom Bucket's ex-crush Plait is prominent;
- Reversionist Party, a rump of those members of the RBP who managed to escape prosecution or at least conviction for treason, supplemented with some more radical Tried and Trues, arguing for a return to the pre-Unification, pre-Gnome Day status;
- Dwarven Justice Party, a (small) party campaigning for compensation for the dwarves for the "confiscation" of gnomeservice. Victory is, of course, implacably opposed to this, since it would inherently acknowledge that the dwarves had owned the gnomes' service legitimately in the first place;
- New Dwarf Party, made up of New Dwarves who, by and large, accept the changes of Gnome Day, but want to protect dwarven interests;
- Workers' Party, a Copper party interested mainly in advancing Coppers, willing to work with the Unificationists for the most part and in opposition to the Tried and Trues, but with ties to the Workers' Co-op Association and thus to organised crime;
- Equal Wealth Party, based mainly in former Denning but with support from outlying areas of former Koskant, seeks acceleration of the development of these poorer regions to come up to the same level as the Koskander heartland.

Apr 24

Loyalty Vow

Determined offered his Golds two choices leading up to the Unification War: swear, and swear their troops, to a loyalty vow and put those troops effectively under realm command, or be attainted from their positions.

The vow specified acting to keep the peace in defence of gnomes, dwarves or any other speaking being just as they would for humans, and not accepting orders that originated from anyone other than the legitimate government of the Realm of Denning.

The vow was bound to, and detectable from, military armrings.

Apr 24

Head Clerks

Jubilation Carpenter (Gnome Affairs)
Courteous (Dwarf Relations)
(Announcements)
Peacefulness (Realmgold’s Agents) - swishing noise as she walks and her thighs rub together.
Gracious (Deputy Chief Clerk) - M

Apr 23

Centaurs

Inhabitants of the Plains of Coriant, and formidable fighters. They handily produced victory in the "Incident" between Coriant and Denning during Constance's youth.

Named centaurs: Tree Stonecircle

They often act as caravan guards for the dwarves. Centaur caravan guards are all called "Muscles", regardless of their given names.

Following Unification, Koslin is in talks with the centaurs towards a peace treaty similar to the one that formerly existed between Denning and Koskant, though with an additional "military assistance if requested" clause.

Apr 23

Vigilance Soldier

Denninger general. She supports Determined and accompanies him into exile in the Tussocklands. "An iron-haired, steel-spined, brass-throated woman with a reputation for fierce precision." Her family have served in the Denninger military for generations.

After Unification, she becomes part of the Inner Council.

Apr 23

Tussocklands

A large area of wasteland across the Koslin River from Denning. They are unfarmable, with poor rainfall, no drinkable water, a thick covering of tough, brown tussock on which livestock do not thrive, and rocky, infertile soil. They are unclaimed territory, because nobody wants them.

Determined and his fellow refugees from the Siege of Lakeside Koslin camped there for a short but unpleasant period.

They are infested with brownish-black tussock flies, which feed off the mottled brown tussock birds, which feed off the dark brown tussock. Brown lizards living under the tussock eat the flies, but there aren't nearly enough lizards.

Apr 23

Tried and True Party

The Tried and True Party are an anti-Victory group, consisting largely of Golds and wealthy Silvers who benefited from the policies and patronage of Realmgold Glorious. They oppose Victory's reforms and changes and want to return to the "good old days" of Glorious.

The leader of the Tried and Trues is Glorious's son Magnanimous, Provincegold of Gulfhead, who has never got over a) being taken to task by the younger Victory at their mutual school for bullying and b) the fact that by tradition he could not succeed his father.

Tried and Trues typically dress in the highly ornamented manner affected by Glorious, in contrast to the simpler style of Victory.

With the advent of the Assembly, the Tried and Trues transition from a pressure group of discontented magnates to a true political party, though many of their leaders, as Golds who hold demesnes, are not qualified to stand for election. They use their influence through the newspapers - the Gulfport Herald, the Dawn Declarer and the Lantern of Koskant - to drum up support, mainly among the urban Coppers and the lower end of the Silver class. They make a certain amount of common cause with the Reversionist Party, a rump of the Denninger Realm Benefit Party which wants a return to the pre-Unification, pre-Gnome Day status.

Apr 23

Tree Stonecircle

A centaur caravan guard for Pack of Sevenhills. Armed with a bow and a broadsword, and competent at using them. Ex-military. Gives clear reports and is quick-thinking and cool in a crisis (potentially saved Constance from a bombing attempt).

Trained Pack's mules to fight (by kicking) on command.

Took some pains not to kill his human attackers.

He has a powerful tenor voice. While working as a licensed caravan guard, he wears leather barding, but his "civilian" clothing is neat, a grey tunic long at the front and short at the back, and a light-blue outer garment that starts as a cloak and finishes as a horse-blanket.