The Chronicles of a Dead Empire
Local Laws and Customs
The laws and customs of the races on the Mathojan Peninsula both are similar and quite different. Among the three races murder is a capital offense, resulting in the the death of the murderer. Theft is a different case. The Wuld have a deep intolerance for thieves, and its considered a capital offense to steal even the smallest item, while Sidhe society is very transparent and mobile to the point that theft is pointless. Both Mathojans and Grumald assign detention time to culprits caught stealing, usually commiserate to the amount they stole. The difference is that Mathojans bide their time in a jail or dungeon, whereas the offending Grumald serve their sentence by working for their victims and reporting to jail in the evenings.
Sidhe society is open, and has many deeply embedded social and religious customs. They have very few laws that govern what they do as a people. The only two capital laws are no killing of your fellow clan/tribe/nation members without just cause and no desecration of the forest or nature (no cutting down live trees, or hunting for sport). The rest of Sidhe life is strongly bound by custom, and revolves around the words of the Druids.
In either case of capital offense, the Sidhe binds the criminal to a sacred tree that is reserved for the purpose, cuts him or her in several places to encourage bleeding, and the Tribal Druid casts a summon spell to attract predators. After the murderer is torn apart, the bones are left where they fall, thus trapping the spirit. If the crime is heinous enough, the Druid may opt to curse the bones too. Also known as the Sacred Tree of Death, it is avoided by the Sidhe and treated as a cursed and haunted place.
As for custom, the Sidhe live by it. Most customs are of a religious nature and reinforced by the druids. The major customs of the Sidhe are:
- Druids are the care-takers and retainers of the laws.
- The strong and able hunt, the less able provide, and the crippled fend for themselves.
- Burn the remains of anything that has died to release its spirit.
- Hunt only prescribed prey, hunting anything else is considered for sport.
- Only kill a predator or other Sidhe in self defense, unless at war.
- Welcome the wounded and weary to rest until they can move on.
Wuld society is heavily structured, and has sophisticated laws that are meant to keep the peace between the various families, and keep the Wuld an industrious and intelligent people. The Wuld have a singular book of law that is tied closely to their religious texts. Although they are a happy race, stepping outside the tenants of the law can have very serious ramifications. They apply their laws to all who live or even trod on their lands.
Wuld are not hesitant about doling out fatal justice. Murder and theft being the two ways that earn criminals a sure path to the gallows or to the strangulation tree, if you’re Sidhe or Mathojan. Fortunately, all travelers are usually forewarned about the Wuldfeld and the smart ones watch their step.
Some of the laws that characters would know to heed are:
- The word of a Wuld is taken above all others, unless evidence points to the contrary.
- No killing, stealing, destruction or despoiling of the Wuld or Wuld property.
- Wearing of arms and armor in the Wuldfeld is unlawful, unless in times of war. The exceptions are the militia and town constables.
- Only the faithful step into the temples.
- Once a word is given in front of witnesses, it is a solid contract.
Customs that the Wuld adhere to are also dictated by their religion. Since theft is a capital offense and a deeply ingrained social taboo, their views on privacy are a little less stringent than those of other races, except maybe for the Sidhe. They do not trust the other races, but are willing to give them a bit of grace as far as customs go.
Some of the more common Wuld customs are:
- Wuld come first, and other races are kept apart as much as possible. (The only exception to this is the town of Het. Wuld, Grumald and Mathojae all built and live in this town, and even then, the Wuld tend to have their own quarter.)
- Any Wuld can enter the front room of any other Wuld’s dwelling, but no further. If carrying a weapon, this is deemed as an affront and the master of the dwelling may drive the offending Wuld out. It is customary to announce yourself when you have entered.
Mathojans have relatively complex laws that are distantly related to religious texts. Mathojan laws dictate many facets of their lives, including the criminal and the civil aspects. A traveler need not know them all, but it is good to know the most important.
Common Mathojan laws are:
- If you attack someone in an unprovoked (and therefore unlawful) manner, then you will be punished in kind. Murderers die, thieves are stripped of all their belongings and jailed and rapists are tortured to death. Traitors are also tortured to death, but slowly.