The world according to...

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Questers
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Re: The world according to...

Postby Questers » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:43 pm

This Document is to Certify that;

I, John Smith, of 1, Baker Street, Jesselton, born 25th of November in the Year of our Lord Nineteen hundred and Ninety-nine;

Did solemnly pledge, under witness of an Officer of the Tentera and one other person, and in the presence of my peers, to present myself for military service in the event that the military authority calls its forces to General Array.

And that I did further pledge my life and body in the service of the Tentera, where it is Lawful to do so, for a period of twenty eight months including general and further training.

And that I have read the Articles of War of the Malayan Federation, and become acquainted with them.

And that I took this pledge not before the age of seventeen, with full competency of mind.

And that I took this pledge with the full understanding that it shall bind me for a period not less than, and not more than, twenty years.

I confirm that I have received in cash five Ounces of silver, and I acknowledge that presentation of this document to a military office once per year shall entitle me to receive two Ounces of silver once per year. I confirm that if I perish in the field from having contact with the enemy, my next of kin may present this document with my military death certificate to a military office and receive compensation of five Pounds of silver.

Finally I confirm that I understand that in the course of military service, I may have to engage with the enemy and kill them, with Rifle, Pike or Sabre, and that any conscientious objection I may develop in the course of my life shall not render me liable to evade service, upon having put my signature unto this document.

________________
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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Praetonia
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Re: The world according to...

Postby Praetonia » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:58 pm

Senland Awake!
Commonwealth patriotic song and anthem of the Eastern Association
Anon, 1687 (Glorious Revolution)


Music

Senland awake! Senland awake!
Banners and arms raise high - Senland awake!
Go forth to do or die, shouting our battle cry,
Our voice that speaks no lie: Victory or death!
God mark us every one: Victory or death!

Lord God awake! Lord God awake!
Our trust in peace and war - Lord God awake!
Strike now for truth and Law, fill heathen heart with awe,
Your might around us draw: Justice prevail!
Suffer not wrong to pass: Justice prevail!

Mankind awake! Mankind awake!
Right's is the victory - mankind awake!
God's Kingdom come to be, wrongdoers bend the knee,
Spread over every sea: Truth overcome!
On earth one Law enthrone: Truth overcome!
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)

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Praetonia
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Re: The world according to...

Postby Praetonia » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:24 am

REPORT OF THE SECRET INTELLIGENCE BUREAU

ON

PRAETONIA

Image

5th MARCH 1909, LONDON


INTRODUCTION

Some time has passed since the Country Reports series has been considered complete, but the curious and distant land of PRAETONIA had in fact escaped our attention. The extreme distance and peculiarities of travel render the chances of war, or even significant peaceful intercourse, with this country improbable at the current time, or in any forseeable future; nonetheless, it may be instructive to consider it.

PRAETONIA, as you may be aware, resembles the BRITISH EMPIRE in some respects. It, like us, can claim to possess numerous overseas holdings; or can, if it chooses, claim not to possess them. They will be considered in less detail than the country itself which, like the UNITED KINGDOM, dominates culturally, historically, and in naval power the entire destiny of this group of otherwise quite disparate lands, but some understanding of them is necessary to understand PRAETONIA itself. It, like the BRITISH EMPIRE, shares a world with neighbours and rivals. Space does not permit more than a cursory treatment, and we shall prefer in fact to neglect them entirely; as in our case, the outside world is often forgotten by many inhabitants of the island and even of its distant holdings - as in our case, not always wisely.

The comparisons between PRAETONIA and the UNITED KINGDOM, while admittedly compelling, are also highly misleading. The culture and indeed outlook of the people is different, the structure and organisation is entirely different, and its perception of itself is perhaps unintelligible to any foreigner.

PRAETONIA is an oligarchic - but not autocratic - empire. However, this empire, which may appear to be a simple matter of the metropolitan PRAETONIA dominating the peripheral QUESTERS, NORTH POINT, AXUM, TAIRENDIA, and so forth, for its own purposes or for whatever psychological reasons, is in fact a "Russian doll" of incredible complexity which we are aware we do not fully understand. What is clear is that the inhabitants of PRAETONIA do not perceive it that way and are largely unaware that this structure exists; many within it may be unaware that it exists.

FORCE AND RELIGION

The PRAETONIAN EMPIRE is based on two pillars: force and religion. First, religion. We should properly call its system of "Law" (the capitalised version a stand-in for an untranslatable Sennish word) the SENNISH RELIGION, because it based in a philosophical ideal - that of 'Providence' - and realised through a system of "judges" who claim not to "judge" anything, who appoint their own successors, and who do not possess any direct military force of their own.

The PRAETANNICS believe, and do not appear to be mentally capable of questioning, that this system has been ordained by some sort of natural necessity, that it in some sense created itself, and that, should anyone try to uncreate it, it would not only unleash dreadful chaos and destruction on everyone but, in the end, somehow spontaneously re-create itself. This superstition is guarded by a massive body of literature which is lumped by the PRAETANNICS with engineering and the natural sciences and which ranges in actual quality from the exaggerated if basically scientific to outright pseudo-science. Furthermore, their recent history appears to support the story, as two rebellions against the system in the past century have passed the point at which their victory seemed inevitable only to then be quickly and entirely crushed by those who remained orthodox. Their common patriotic statement, "Providence upholds" or "Providence protects" is not taken as a blessing or exhortation but a literal statement of fact.

It is this religion, orchestrated in some sense by the "judges" but in some sense created and reinforced collectively by the whole of society, that gives force to the "judgements" that are not judgements. The military men, who are entirely separate in organisation and training, follow not the "rulings" themselves, which are supposedly not rulings and contain in themselves no special power, but this "Providence", invisible and yet literally existing to the PRAETANNIC mind, whose victory is in any case inevitable, but who spills terror and bloodshed on those who slow or pervert it.

This much is clear, and we do not refer to a "Russian doll" of "courts" which is in fact quite clear and hierarchical in structure. There are "Courts of Record", who are more or less "oracles of Providence", and then there are all the lesser courts, some large and rich, others ad hoc constructions of unpaid jurors meeting on a Sunday on the village green &c., which are all more or less technicians attempting to guess more or less accurate what a "real" court - a "Court of Record" - would rule were this problem sufficiently important to be put before one. In any case, very little of public life outside of Senland is actually administered by this sort of court, instead by arbitration boards which are more or less commercial entities operating for commercial purposes.

And here lies the true mystery of PRAETONIA: its universalist religion and "Law", and the wide expanse of its empire, subsuming dozens of very different races in genuine and often enthusiastic unity of political purpose, actually stems from a very inhomogeneous island. Looking from a long distance, as PRAETONIA'S foreign rivals tend to do, it is easy to conclude that she is but the capital of a world-state, the effective mistress of the globe, merely choosing not to use her strength for unknown and likely perfidious reasons. As one zooms in, however, one finds a terrific jumble of complexity and disunity that continues not only within the PRAETONIAN home island but within specific regions such as SENLAND and perhaps even cities and districts such as HAVERSHAM. Then there are the "international PRAETANNICS", such as the "VIGILANCE COMMITTEE", the secret departments of the "ESTATES-GENERAL", and perhaps others, all pursuing their own policy at odds with one another and sometimes with their own organisations. It is for this reason that we call PRAETONIA an oligarchy and not a theocracy.

SENLAND

The origins lie in history. The first part of the world to worship and follow "Providence" and her "Law" was SENLAND. But even SENLAND did not suddenly and universally convert to this new faith, and certain regions adhered and benefited while others resisted and were, although the system did not permit outright crusades, certainly disadvantaged by their resistance. The residue of these divisions probably continues today, though they are probably not very visible to anyone who was not born in SENLAND and raised there, and then somehow managed to avoid being subsumed in whatever blinkering prejudiced worldview happened to be native to his particular town or district, in which case all he could tell you is that (often inaccurately).

What is clear today is that SENLAND is very distinct from the rest of the PRAETONIAN home island, although this "remainder" (actually, the vast majority of the land mass and a majority of the population) also has some internal structure of its own. For one thing, although SENLAND is very densely populated, it is overwhelmingly populated by descendants of its inhabitants at the time of the Providentialist conversion. It is very difficult for a WEST PRAETANNIC to move to SENLAND, not substantially more difficult for a non-PRAETANNIC from some other part of the empire, but almost impossible for an outright foreigner or "heathen".

Its social structures are incredibly old, and it, alone in PRAETONIAN EMPIRE, actually submits almost all matters of dispute before "judges" of the "Law". This includes matters which may not ordinarily be considered matters of legal consequence at all in other countries; provided there is consent, anything may be judged, and the SENNISH freely give their consent to be "judged" by "courts" which have held sway in their local area usually for centuries. A man who cannot decide which profession to enter may, for instance, submit the matter to binding judgement of his local jurist with a forfeit if he does not follow that judgement; this sort of behaviour would sound as bizarre in most of PRAETONIA as it does to us.

This is no mere curiosity. The stupendous solidarity of SENLAND and its dedication to "Providence" and to the "Law" her worship has spawned has been of historical significance in every century of the PRAETONIAN EMPIRE's existence. Indeed, it more than any other factor built that empire and sustained it to the present day and continues to sustain it. SENLAND is perhaps 30% of the population of the PRAETONIAN island, but provides more like 50% of its armed forces, and these are considered by far the best and most reliable. It is typical for SENLAND regiments to try their returned prisoners of war with the presumption of misconduct; there are many reports that such persons plead guilty and consent to be executed because this is believed to wipe any shame from their families. The SENNISH resemble in this respect less the libertines of and more the yeomen of the ROMAN REPUBLIC, and are entirely different to the majority of the population typically described without qualification as PRAETONIAN.

The SENNISH, while largely excluding aliens from their homeland, in turn have colonised the entire PRAETONIAN EMPIRE. They fill important roles in most places, including those where there are otherwise few inhabitants of the PRAETANNIC race. Although they nowhere explicitly exclude non-SENNISH, often in fact welcome them, and very rarely dominate numerically where another race is native, they in effect form a state-within-a-state which is constantly checking the non-SENNISH around them, passively or actively, for loyalty and conformity with the will of "Providence". Where divergence is detected, it is first tenderly treated as error to be helpfully corrected. Thereafter, it may be treated as evidence of treason, and SENNISH social networks quickly rally force - intellectual, legal, or military - to address the insurrection.

ESTATES-GENERAL

As has been alluded to, regions of the PRAETONIAN island possess independent military bodies; SENLAND possesses two of importance - the EASTERN ASSOCIATION and the COMMITTEE FOR PARKS' MAINTENANCE - which probably intrigue among one another in byzantine ways no foreigner is admitted to spectate, but which are viewed by outsiders as almost the same thing, save for the fact that the EASTERN ASSOCIATION deigns to intercourse directly with foreigners whereas the COMMITTEE FOR PARKS' MAINTENANCE merely serves as a sort of silent "Praetorian Guard" of especially fanatical troops.

All of these military associations in the PRAETONIAN island, and there are hundreds albeit only about twenty of so of any real importance, are organised in the ESTATES-GENERAL, which is at the same time an autocratic organisation of immense global significance and power, and a piece of paper resting on a meeting hall of little practical relevance at all. The ESTATES-GENERAL is not a state, and it is not even a military association itself. It does not possess any troops. It cannot levy variable taxes. It cannot call up the forces of individual military associations on demand. The circumstances in which it can do so are complicated and potentially different for every individual association, which has a separate and bespoke contract of membership. On the other hand, it possesses a navy, it possesses a commander-in-chief who reigns for life, and it possesses a "political service" with a variety of functions and capabilities.

The ESTATES-GENERAL, therefore, coordinates the external relations of the PRAETONIAN island, and does so with a very long time horizon. To perform any action with initiative, it must conduct complex and perhaps lengthy internal negotiations. On the other hand, it has time. Possessed of secure if modest revenues, a powerful fleet that can be used to some extent without oversight, and a well-funded intelligence network spread through the PRAETONIAN EMPIRE and the world, the ESTATES-GENERAL is at the same time the congress of the associations and a largely independent military organisation - the most independent and active of the PRAETONIAN island.

The extent to which this mysterious organisation influences the course of the world known to PRAETONIA is unclear. It will often move its ships far from its own shores, presumably with some purpose of persuasion or intimidation in mind. These actions are not forces by short term considerations but are shaped by a long term plan, presumably to convert the world to the "path of Providence". The effect of its agents of influence, who are practically omnipotent within the PRAETONIAN EMPIRE and perhaps widespread outside it, on the course of history can only be guessed at.

Its principal stated purpose, however, is to fight a "great war", implicitly of defence, although such distinctions can become confused after war breaks out. If its certain triggers are fired, the ESTATES-GENERAL can suddenly assume command of all the association forces, in addition to its navy and its agents, and levy large taxes ("contributions", as they are in some sense voluntary payments) on them, thereby taking command of a considerably fraction of the total economic resources of the island. Overnight then, with a click of the fingers, the ESTATES-GENERAL can be transformed into a great power with the ability to make total war with the resources of one of the world's mightiest countries. Intrigue to exercise this power - or to prevent its being exercised - is constant within PRAETONIA, and the peculiarities of every town and district, of SENLAND, of the west, and of the west's own subdivisions, interact in ways within these struggles that foreigners can scarcely comprehend.

OVERSEAS POSSESSIONS

To the PRAETANNIC, "Providence" is not a national or tribal god, but a force of nature - the nature that created us all and of which we are all part. The spread of her religion, her religious and legal institutions, and her military institutions, to other countries is therefore not viewed as an "empire" in the sense that the BRITISH EMPIRE frankly admits its domination of other lands is the rule of one people by another. To some extent, they are correct. There is certainly no race prejudice as basic as ours, that some positions of power and of honour are reserved exclusively for the PRAETANNICS as they are in our empire for the BRITISH. And yet the effect is often somewhat similar, and as we have already established the SENNISH exercise a power and influence out of proportion to their numbers in the overseas possessions just as they do within PRAETONIA.

The possession most similar to PRAETONIA is NORTH POINT, but, being founded as a commercial endeavour on relatively pristine land, it lacks much of the inhomogeneity and complexity of the PRAETONIAN island. It is peaceful, stable and happy, and also relatively predictable. It does not attempt to subvert PRAETONIA and in turn is largely looked upon with benign approval by SENLAND: it is a colony that can govern itself. QUESTERS is another matter, and much of the energy of the outward looking and active fraction of the PRAETANNIC race has been dedicated since its discovery to the pacification and conversion of QUESTERS. Even before it conquered the western part of its own island, SENLAND had been disgorging itself in the hundreds of thousands into the subcontinent. Unlike our INDIAN EMPIRE, they have established a large and growing colonial settlement - NEW SENLAND - which shares much in common with the old, while adding its own jungle of local complexities, and absorbing some favoured complexities from the locals.

The SIKH, in particular, is well regarded by the SEN, while the MALAY is regarded with at best a paternal condescension and often with disgust and contempt. Nonetheless, it is the MALAY who has best adapted itself among the natives to contend with the SEN and with the PRAETANNIC in general for power in his native land. Armed with a religion at the same time compatible with the "Providence" of SENLAND and the continued existence and effectiveness of his native social institutions, the MALAY has constructed a powerful society in the south of the country, while the east exists in a state of near-vacuum, aligned with the "Courts of Record" wherever (rarely) the spotlight is shined upon them, largely defaulting to native customs otherwise, and in some sense in play between the influence of NEW SENLAND and the MALAYLAND.

NORTH POINT and QUESTERS can be the most securely described as "possessions" of PRAETONIA, although even in these cases we can immediately see that the description is somewhat inaccurate. TAIRENDIA and AXUM surely cannot, although they are now heavily within the influence of the ESTATES-GENERAL, the VIGILANCE COMMITTEE, and others, with large "Providentialist" columns in their own lands drawn from among the natives. Only time can tell what fate has in store for these countries, and what effect they in turn may have on the existing core empire of PRAETONIA.

OTHER ORGANISATIONS

In addition to its official military organisations, its courts, and its religion, the PRAETONIAN world is held together by seemingly unrelated organisations. The most obvious, which we have mentioned and will treat only briefly, is the VIGILANCE COMMITTEE. This organisation is a military organisation of sorts, but it operates covertly, and engages primarily in subversive activities and espionage. It is known to assassinate problematic individuals as defined by the "Providentialist" faction but, like the ESTATES-GENERAL, appears to patiently follow a subtle long term plan. It is very unclear to what extent these organisations share common goals, let alone a common membership. Although in some instances their collusion appears almost certain, in others it appears they are pursuing very different objectives. We may never know.

Aside from this more or less military organisation, however, there are the financial and cultural organisations. One of the biggest advantages of the SEN has been his unshakable reputation for honest dealing which has made him a reputable broker across the world and, thus, rich and hated in other ways. PRAETONIA uses the world's most dependable currencies - several of them - and all issued by banks originated in SENLAND. The ORYONTIC DOLLAR is used, at least in some sense, even by its enemies. Meanwhile, the insurance companies of PRAETONIA and particularly SENLAND are renowned throughout the world for continuing to pay out even during wars and to people who discovered entitlement to claims after several generations.

Although none of this would appear to be of much strategic importance, it is vital in the context of the PRAETONIAN "Providentialist" theory of history. The dominance of PRAETONIAN institutions, though their superior conformity with the long term destiny of the universe, is proof of the correctness of this philosophy and therefore of its inevitable victory in the legal and military spheres. This narrative in turn is broadcast and amplified everywhere in the world it is permitted (or, at least, not too vigorously suppressed). The unshakable belief of the PRAETANNIC in the correctness of his philosophy and his right to "rule" (he may not phrase it in this way) is essentially the whole construction of a disjointed and inhomogeneous society that nonetheless rules and to some extent acts as a single homogeneous empire. It is also essentially to the policy of conversion - from above, or from below - of other peoples through the world. Through the social institutions of the PRAETONIAN EMPIRE and its press, the world must either give in to this theory of history or construct, with similar resolve and plausibility, an alternative.

ASSESSMENT

The peculiar difficulties involved in travelling to this curious part of the world, and its reciprocal difficulties in travelling to ours, make PRAETONIA and its neighbours of little immediate strategic relevance to the BRITISH EMPIRE. But it is an intriguing example of a civilisation very different from ours, and yet no less complex and perhaps no less powerful in its own sphere. Were God to have located such a country in EUROPE, we should have to turn much greater attention to our philosophical and religious defences, as much as to our naval defences.
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)


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