Theocracy of the Pale
The Pale, properly known as the Theocracy of the Pale, is a political state situated in the Old Aerdy West region of the Flanaess, west of the Rakers.
At the height of the Great Kingdom, the Head of the Church of Pholtus was given the title of Holy Censor, which brought duties of oversight of the court system. Later Overkings turned against the church and removed this title, prompting many Pholtus worshippers to begin feeling persecuted and flee to the area which now is the Pale. Fighting with the early settlers was Ceril the Relentless, who founded the Council of the Nine. In 342 CY, the first Theocrat of the Pale was chosen by the Council, though the land remained theoretically under Great Kingdom rule. But in 356 CY, Nyrond declared independence, claiming the Pale, which then tried to seize its own independence, but failed, remaining under Nyrondian rule.
In 450 CY, the leaders of the cult of Pholtus convinced the King of Nyrond to grant them independence in return for promises of mutual aid and assistance. This proved a hollow assurance, as the Pale’s government has largely followed a policy of leaving its neighbors to be killed and then trying to bully them into handing over lands to it. It thus remained neutral in the Greyhawk wars. In 588 CY, the Pale’s forces invaded and seized eastern Tenh.
A land of moderate size, the Pale is bordered by the Rakers, the Phostwood, and the Gamboge. The Pale is divided into nine archdioceses.
It is said the Pale has only two seasons, the unbearable winter and the barely bearable summer, when crops can, with difficulty, be grown.
The native folk of the Theocracy of the Pale are primarily Flan/Oeridian hybrids, and are considered particularly handsome by folk from all corners of the Flanaess. Those with significant Flan heritage are considered lowborn by the Aerdi upper class, and intermarriage between the two groups is rare. Oddly, those with Flan heritage are considered more attractive than the purebred Aerdi. The Flan-descended Palish tend to stick to the countrysides, working as farmers and day laborers, and they tend to stick close to the “pagan” faiths persecuted by the Pholtus-worshiping Oeridians. A few Palish families contain half-elves, especially in the south.
The Pale’s society has been relatively closed and stagnant since Nyrond first invaded the country more than two centuries ago, and has been living under an inquisition since that time.
The Pale boasts a total population of 395,000, 96% of which are human. The others include a very small number of halflings and elves.
The faith of Pholtus, god of Light, Resolution, and Law, is the official religion of the the Pale. Religious intolerance exists within the Pale, with all religions suppressed except for that of Pholtus. A servant of Pholtus, Saint Ceril, is the Pale’s patron saint.
All non-Pholtus-worshipping states and peoples of the Flanaess are considered pagans or heretics, and thus minor enemies of the state. Wizards are always suspected of heresy. The hierarchy of the Pale is particularly hostile to religions with criminal or evil aspects.
In secret, however, many leave offerings to Beory, the Oeridian agricultural gods, Phyton, and Wee Jas.
Monasteries near the western woods and the eastern foothills of the Rakers have some of the most impressive libraries and respected philosophers around.
As a former province of the Great Kingdom, Common is a very common language in the Pale. The Flan spoken in neighboring Tenh is also spoken in the nation.
The Pale is a theocracy administered in the name of Pholtus. All government offices are held by Pholtan clerics. The Pale is ruled from Wintershiven by a religious bureaucracy with command over the military, law enforcement, economics, trade, and nearly every aspect of life.
The Pale is divided into nine archdioceses, which are in turn divided into twenty-seven city wards and low dioceses.
The Theocrat is selected from the Council of the Nine, and believed to be chosen by Pholtus himself to rule from the Throne of the Sun for the rest of his life.
The term “legislative branch” would be best used to describe the Council of the Nine, which assembles four times a year in Wintershiven to advise the Theocrat. However, the Theocrat’s power is absolute, and all power to make laws ultimately rests in him.
The judges of the Pale, like every other government official, are priests of Pholtus.
The Pale’s coat of arms is blazoned thus: Purpure, a pale ermine between an increscent dexter and a mullet of six points sinister or.
Much of the Pale’s food comes from herd animals who feed on the tough vegetation, and much food is imported from other realms. The Pale’s mines yield copper and gems.
The Pale’s coinage includes the Bright (platinum pieces), gold glory, silver sun, silver moon, and basic (copper pieces).
The Templars of the Church Militant work within the religious and military hierarchies, and are charged with conducting the Inquisition. The roaming High Legates are particularly feared for their ability to put those they meet to the Question. The soldiery of the Pale boasts some of the best training in the Flanaess, and the nation’s borders are well patrolled and defended. Travel within the Pale is more peaceful than in most lands although the Troll Fens remain deadly.