Tag Archive | bear empire

Teamwork in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: An Inn in the Bear Empire

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A movement somewhere outside her window woke her in the middle of the night.

It’s the storm, she told herself, but Carrone had woken, too.  The noise from the storm had settled down to a quiet rainfall. There was very little wind at all, no sounds of sleet – but something had scratched across their wall.

The walls were more secure than they had been, but it wouldn’t stop someone from –

She rolled to one side of the bed and off as Carrone did the same on the other side.  The wrong side, too close to the wall. Just as they rolled, a dart went flying over the bed – it would have hit Carrone in the neck, if he hadn’t moved. Continue reading

World Building June Day 13 – A Diagram?

In the post I did yesterday, I mentioned a Jackal house, a “very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive,” in the Bear Empire, reserved for those who are taking advantage of the charity/kindness of others.

If you’ve been following on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/aldersprig/posts?tag=boom), you may have noticed that I’ve been drawing little maps and floor plans in Excel and Paint.

So when I was like “tiny building, bare necessities….”

Of course I had to draw it.

And I might have mentioned that I’ve been taking all-day Administrative Excellence classes on Wednesdays.

This leads to a lot of doodling and drawing.

So uh.  There’s a reason I draw these things in Excel usually, and below you’ll see both versions.

A “Jackal House” in the Bear Empire, as it might look.  Fire is a required necessity for survival.  Windows are not.

As the sketch shows, a stack of firewood outside the house on the windward side provides more firewood and also insulation.  The high-pitched roofline provides protection. 

 

 

World Building June Day 13 – Money and Mooches

It’so June WorldBuilding So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

(mostly Bear Empire now, though I’ll make sure I at least post everything I wrote on the Ezra IV Colonies)

13- What type of economic structures do they follow?

As a whole, the Bear Empire works on a mostly-capitalist structure; that is, people sell goods and services for currency to buy other goods and services.

The exceptions to this are as follows:

* There are still large portions of the Empire (mind you, not lovely portions or anything, but portions) where land is free.  As long as you have four adults or more willing to agree to live there for at least five years, the local governor will build you a house and a barn and give you up to 200 acres (although in many cases measuring those acres is complicated.  Ever measure horizontal land up the side of a mountain?).

* Taxes to the Shire, the [governor-area] and the Empire cover first and primarily infrastructure, but a portion is put aside every year for the following:

– relief for areas stricken by famine or disaster (inside the borders or, to a lesser degree, outside of them)

– Aid for the poor

– basic reading, writing, and religious education for all children from weaning to prepubescence.

This last one is new and still controversial, since it did require a raise in taxes across the board.  

* Within any town or shire, if someone has come upon hard times, there is a “10% rule.”  That is, rather than tithes to the church, people put aside 10% of their goods and harvests as they can, and will give, generally, 1/3 of that to any they encounter who have come on hard times

(on the other hand, if someone is known to abuse that charity, there is a thing called the Jackal House, a very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive. If you find yourself escorted the Jackal House, you can know that you have tried the patience of a town and stretched their 10% further than they are willing to accept.

The primary manner one gets out of the Jackal House, save from moving to another town, is by performing some act of service for every member of the town. )


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

An Inn in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Prey in the Bear Empire

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The town was a little closer than Deline had estimated – in part because they struck a rather quick pace, not trusting the clouds hovering over the mountains, and in part because they took advantage of two wagon-rides offered to them.

The first one didn’t take a large amount of distance off of their trip, but it was almost all uphill, and they were both glad to let the big draft horses to the climbing.  The farmer, a quiet woman with a distant look in her eye, didn’t ask many questions and didn’t provide much information – but as she was pulling the wagon to a stop, she told them, “if you’re going Ghomau way, Ewdin there might be running the wagon into town.”  She peered up at the sun. “You make a good pace here to there, you might catch him. He’ll talk your ear off, but he likes the company.”

They made it to Ewdin in time to help him load straw into his wagon and ride up with him.  Deline had been a little worried about what they would tell him, what they could tell him, but it turned out to have  been a vain worry. Continue reading

World Building June Day 11-12 – Language, Creatures, Government

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Still going on the catch-up!

11. What’s language like in your world?

The language of the Empire of the Bear is technically three related languages that have many similarities but are not always mutually comprehensible.  (And three others which are used in very small sections, one of which nobody can understand)

The language family as a whole of the five larger languages is a liquid tongue with a lot of vowels and active tongue use, a popping plosive, and tonal mood shifts and sometimes meaning shifts.  The Lynx language tends to drop initial and final consonant sounds and sometimes repeat vowels; the Fox language involves repetition and a lot more popping sounds, as well as some trills. The Cat people have a lot more trills in their language as well as a whistle-sound.  And the Elk people, only one word in twenty is recognizable between their dialect and the others. Theirs tends towards complicated vowel combinations and often seems to require hand gestures. Continue reading

World Building June Day 10 & 11 – Holidays and Governments

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Still going on the catch-up!

10. What holidays & traditions are observed in your world?

Major holidays in the Bear Empire include:

* A major feast near the end of autumn

* a day called the “day of sleep” after the first major frost.  

* A spring-thaw celebration

(these three above together are referred to as the Hibernation festivals) Continue reading

World Building June Day 9 & 21 – Religions and Bear Necessities

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Here’s two posts this week!

9. What are the religions and cosmology of your world?

Within the Bear Empire and in several of the nations surrounding it, the primary religion – and the one that is supported by/considered part of/supporting the state – is a totemic faith of sorts.  The nation of the Bear considered Mother Bear to be their guardsmen, protector, and guide; the Lynx people still consider Sister Lynx as theirs, and so on.

It is the belief or at least a tenet of this faith that the Bear is the ancestor of the Bear people, the Fox of the Fox people, and so on.  This sits in the realm of pre-history with the story that the totems came here because their prior land was too crowded.

I mention  Priests of Axes and temple of Axes in my story.  So, let’s see.

The options are: Axes is the name of the Bear in a certain aspect.

Axes was meant to be Axis, and it refers to the pole.

Axes are the weapons of choice of the Priesthood of the Bear, and so the casual name for them is the Priesthood of Axes.

I like that third one the best.


Cal Questions

SOCIETY/CULTURE

21- What do people in the society consider basic necessities? What resources do they take for granted?

Stone.  Stone is definitely taken for granted.

Granite, even.

Stone, and wood, and water – clean water – and the very thin underlying force of magic which powers things most people don’t even think about (like the Bear-stone bracelets and other Bear-stone items).  All those things are in abundance in the Empire of the Bear. As is, ah, natural refrigeration.

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Basic necessities include: Shelter-and-heat, bread-and-salt, mittens-and-boots. In some parts of the country, it is considered a grievous sin to deny anyone who asks any of these things; in others, it’s considered an equally grievous sin to ask.  In both places, if you ask and it is given, or if it is given freely without asking, a bond has been formed that neither can break.  In three seasons out of four, lack of any of them can kill you, and in the fourth, lack of the bread and salt might still kill you.

Close behind in necessity: The support of your totem.  The knowledge of your kin-group. Knowing who has your back in a fight and having at least two people who will.

This is one reason marriages are often tripartite.


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

World Building June Day 8/18 – Running and Running Around

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  After I exhaust the answers I’ve written, I might just default to Inspector Caracal’s questions.

Well, I’m still posting.  Sometimes.

8. How is your world run? Who’s in power?

The Bear Empire is, as it sounds, an Empire. It is not the largest Empire.  It’s not even the largest Empire I’ve written.

It is ruled by a Emperor or Empress, a role which is chosen from a small pool of available candidates – these include governors of areas or of subject matter (the governor of trade, of foreign relations with Dekleg, with Halor, etc), the children, spouses, and family of the last emperor, especially those who have been given a position of authority or responsibility along with their title-of-relation, and generally three people picked from the population as potential candidates, usually by those listed earlier in the list.  

The pool is chosen by the pool in a voting process which can last months.  In one situation, the pool is known to have lasted five years, during which a woman not part of the pool (the down-spouse of the former Empress’ equals-spouse) ruled the country.  A governor from the Lynx territory is credited with finally nominating her into the pool, at which point she became the first laundress to become Empress (as known, at least) and the first unanimous vote of the Imperial Conclave.

Ruling the empire is a group affair.  The Emperor has a privy council, a voting council, and a speaking council.


Cal Questions

GOVERNMENT/ECONOMY

18- What kind of transportation and communication do people have access to? What is its range and speed?

The Bear Empire is still primarily on foot- and horse-based travel.  While riding on horseback is common during the summer month, during the winter time, carriages, stagecoaches, and other such enclosed conveyances are more common.

The Empire has two competing empire-wide stagecoach companies which will take you just about anywhere in the Empire; in addition, there are several smaller companies that focus on a single area.  There are also two lines that only handle border crossings, taking either the one bridge or the most-established ferry across the wide river between Dekleg and the Empire.

When your feet/hooves are tired, river and coastal boats are common for both freight and passengers, with boats travelling the three long lakes (“the Scars”), the major and minor rivers within the nation, and the coast from the glacial wall to the northern edge of Dekleg.

The Lynx Mountains also have a series of carts, something akin to a ski lift, which lift people up a large mountain and then back down into the middle of the mountains, generally on rails and run by steam and magic.


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

Prey in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Arrows in the Bear Empire

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Deline counted down on her fingers.  Three, two-

“Oy, you in the old Pattane house!  Come out with your hands up. I know you’re trespassing there, and I’ve every right to shoot you, but if you move slowly and ain’t try nothing, I shan’t but warn you on.”

“That….” Deline whispered quietly, “is not a Deklegion bounty hunter, or if she is, she is very good at mid-Fox-lands dialect.”

“Ain’t try nothing?” Carrone muttered.  “Want to shoot him anyway?”

Deline stood up, to a chorus of swearing from Carrone.  “No harm meant,” she called. “The storm lit on us something fierce,” oh, it had been a long time since she’d tried this dialect.  “an’ nothing but our little tent to keep us from the cold. We ‘bout to take ourselves on to somewhere else, we were, when your arrow said hello.” Continue reading

World Building June Day 6-7 – Plants, Animals, Sex, and the Economy

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  After I exhaust the answers I’ve written, I might just default to Inspector Caracal’s questions.

Starting to catch up from a long weekend of – (checks dates) a *cough* week of not posting. 

Bear Empire
(The setting for Carrone and Deline, Chased in the Bear Empire)

6. How does gender & sexuality work in your world?

I don’t know!  In re. gender roles, I believe some things are gender-specific, but I don’t know which things yet.

There MIGHT be 2 sets of gender roles within each gender (sort of like butch/femme) but I’m still chewing on that.

Marriage can either be an unequal or equal pairing, and one person can be married to: more than one person below them, up to two people equal to them, only one person above them — and generally one does not enter into a marriage of equals while pursuing a power marriage or within one.  Note: If the highest-status person is very high-status, this can lead to a many-staged marriage higher-to-lower.

(No, I haven’t quite figured out status yet, except the Emperor).  

Sex is considered in three ways: Procreative, emotional, and physical-pleasure.  The former is meant to happen only with in a marriage. The middle, it is considered rude to engage in with someone you cannot or will not marry, but is often engaged in as a prelude to marriage.  The final is … fine and acceptable, as long as it does not lead to the other two.

Marriage will involve procreation and the protection and raising of the young, but it is acceptable to take into a marriage a procreation-partner, as long as that partner is treated properly.

Sex with someone of the same sex and/or gender as you is not stigmatized, especially not pleasure-sex, and neither is marriage, especially unequal marriages, as long as, as above, procreation is taken care of within the marriage line.

7. How does the economy work? What sorts of currencies do they use?

Dekleg, the Bear Empire, Halor, & Carrup  all use a currency based on rare metals, which for purposes of translation simplicity we will call “silver” and “gold.”  They have slightly different currencies, but most border places know the exchange rates fairly well.

The Bear currency all has an interesting swirl running through it of a slightly-darker metal, which is considered by the other nations to be a manufacturing defect, but is in fact an additive of something most often simply called Bear-stone.

The exact properties of Bear-stone can be handwaved for the moment.  For this article, the important part is this: It makes the coins much more difficult to debase via clipping or sweating, and almost impossible to counterfeit.

Trade between nations occurs, but the Bear Empire is on much better terms with more distant neighbors than those close up; most of its profitable trade occurs via shipping routes, not over land.  The Empire has mutual trade taxes and tarrifs set up with all three of the other named nations , making trade sometimes expensive and sometimes prohibitive.


 

Cal Questions, Bear Empire

ENVIRONMENT

6- What kinds of wild and domesticated plants grow there? Are there many types or only a few?

Domesticated plants include: two sorts of cold-hardy cereal grains (kosa makes a sturdy bread that is rather rough; genka makes a  smoother flour but has less structure), a very cold-hardy hemplike fiber plant, a number of staples similar to the brassica family, and three very durable root vegetables which overwinter well.  There are also a couple cold-tolerant fruit trees (apple, pear) and some low-lying berry bushes (raspberry, boysenberry) that do well in the harsh climate.

(Durable and hardy are words used a lot in this section for a reason!)

In addition, food-based plants that grow wild include: onion-like things, thistles which can be used as fodder and can be, with some difficulty, eaten by humans, nut trees of several varieties, including one aptly-named bitternut which provides a great deal of nutrition and fillingness, but at the price of tasting like the pith of an orange.

There is a wild grain-like thing that can be used in a pinch but is usually used for fodder, as well; it is very labor-intensive to get the seed heads off and hulled, and easier to just let livestock eat the whole thing.

And there are vast forests in a combination of conifers and deciduous trees, including the Point Trees, which are said to reach down into the heart of the Bear and the Lynx, the Wolf and The Fox, and all those smaller spirits who once had people devoted to them.

Those trees are not quite a tree and not quite a being, usually no taller than the surrounding trees but wider, and they seem to glow.  The area around them is always warmer than the surrounding area, and generally damper and more lush with greenery as well.

7- What kind of wild and domesticated animals live there? Are there many types or only a few?

Domesticated animals include dogs, cats, domesticated foxes, cattle (bison), sheep, pigs, and horses.  

The cats come in a wider size variety than earth housecats, coming up to the size of a lynx and down to something about 4 lbs in size when fully grown.  They work as ratters, lap-warmers, hunting companions, and sometimes in battle. Dogs, on the other hand, are generally Big Dogs, Labrador retriever size and up.

People have also tamed several bird types – predators for hunting aid, long-flying birds for messages – and in a few cases have used some magery or sorcery to make the bird brighter, bigger, more durable, or stronger.

(The same is said to have been done for the dogs, who otherwise might not have been so tractable, or the  larger cat breeds).

The only badgers left are in captivity; the Badger tribe, too, has suffered a similar fate.

Wild animals are those that can sustain themselves in cold weather – elk and reindeer, boars and another member of the Suidae-like family called water-pigs, and the rhoidae, something that bears some resemblance to a moose, only sharper, spotted, and angry.  There are also rodents, mostly large ones or ones made mainly of fur, including a mouse variant known as the puff that is often trapped for its fur, albeit for rather small applications.

There is a wide diversity of animals in the Bear Empire: the wide mountain ranges and deep rivers make travel between areas rather tricky for most such creatures. In many cases five or six varieties of the same animal will exist, depending on where in the Empire they have developed.  


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!