Rath Sliabh Dorca
Rath Sliabh Dorca
Ruler: Rose Thorn, the May Queen
Religion: Arin (Maya and Tsunami Specific)
Rath Sliabh Dorca (or simply ‘Rath’) is a small nation that rests between the Shire Lands to the east, Carcassonne to the south, the Shade Mire to the west, and the Northern Wilds to the north. The region is filled with spirits, and is ruled by the May Queen. The nation of Rath Sliabh Dorca is sworn to the Empress of Carcassonne, but is still independent for the most part. Those entering this nation often describe the densely packed woods, the constant dampness in the air, and the quiet that seems to surround them.
The nation is often described as ‘damp’, due to the moisture blowing in from the west, bringing fog and mist inland. Rath Sliabh Dorca is densely wooded, with ancient trees and soft moss underfoot. The land is uneven, and not suitable for farming, but prey is abundant for hunting, and meat and hides are often traded for grains and other supplies.
Rath Sliabh Dorca is a region filled with spirits. With the nation bordering three regions known for the supernatural, the woods of Rath Sliabh Dorca are haunted with spirits, faeries, and ghosts. The natives have many superstitions used to ward against unwanted spirits, and the druids are responsible for keeping the people safe.
Because of the nature of the land, there are no cities within Rath Sliabh Dorca. The nation is divided into tribes who live in villages with perhaps a hundred people at most. Each village is ruled by a High Druid, who then answers to the May Queen. When the May Queen has passed on, her oldest daughter performs a powerful summoning ritual, to contact the Horned Lord and bind him as her king. The presence of the Horned Lord is the symbol of the May Queen’s right to rule, and places her above the High Druids. Most May Queens remain in power for twenty to thirty years, and are often pressured to hand their title to their daughter at that time by the High Druids. This often has the result of allowing the High Druids to have more voice in the ruling of the nation, as an inexperienced ruler is more apt to listen to advice.
Nearly thirty years ago, the current May Queen swore fealty to the Jewel Maiden of Carcassonne, and while Rath Sliabh Dorca has been a vassal nation since then, they have been allowed control of their own affairs. The result of this fealty, however, has resulted in the Carcosa Woods expanding west, as if attacking the Shade Mire, while the spirits of the woods have granted safe passage to the people of the Rath, and have even protected them from the creatures of the Mire and the Northern Wilds. The current May Queen has remained in power, her control over the Horned Lord and her alliance with the Jewel Maiden providing her unprecedented control over the High Druids, who would otherwise have attempted to force her retirement.
The people of the Rath are tribal, living in villages of wood and hide, nestled in among the few clearings that exist within the pervasive woods of this Nation. They are quite superstitious, and each tribe is governed by a High Druid, who helps keep the tribe safe. Each village is led by a chieftain, who sees to the daily routines of the village, and who is advised by a druid, answerable to the High Druid of the tribe.
The nation as a whole is somewhat distrustful of outsiders, and is even more insular than Carcassonne. Outsiders do not know the rituals and traditions important to the survival of the tribes, and there is a constant worry that someone may break one of the many bans oathed to the spirits for the protection of the tribe. As such, those coming into Rath are guarded, and instructed on how to act and what is forbidden within the tribe they are visiting. Visitors are kept under watch, for their protection as well as the protection of the tribe.
Outsiders are met with friendship, but the perceptive notice that nobody from the outside is truly welcome. Outsiders are just that – outsiders, and while the rules of hospitality apply, it is expected that once a visitor is finished with the reason they are in Rath, they will move on.
While misleading, it is accepted that the people of Rath worship the Arin Faith. Specifically, they worship Maya in her incarnation as the mother goddess, and they worship Tsunami in his role as the father god. It is often believed that upon being crowned, the May Queen becomes an incarna of Maya, who then summons the Horned Lord as an aspect of Tsunami. The other gods of the Arin Faith are accepted, but are only worshipped in lesser roles – to the druids of Rath, Maya and Tsunami are the heads of the faith. This belief has caused some conflict with the more militant members of the Arin Faith, but it has never escalated.
The Rath method of naming is complicated, as traditions vary from tribe to tribe. The most common method for naming is for the son to take the father’s name as their surname, prefixed by either ‘mab’, ‘map’, or ‘ap’. Thus, if Bowen was the sun of Dillon, he would have the name ‘Bowen mab Dillon’. In other tribes, it is more suitable to take the father’s name, and add a ‘P’ to it, so that the son’s name would be Bowen Pdillon or Bowen Pillon. Because of the influence of Carcassonne, the family name may evolve into ‘Pilon’ (pronounced pea-loh).
For women, the father’s name is taken as a surname, with fitz preceding it. When the daughter marries into another family, she takes the surname of her father in law. So, Aelwen, daughter of Dillon, would be Aelwen fitz Dillon. If she married someone whose father’s name is Patrick, she becomes Aelwen fitz Patrick.
As might be noticed below, a number of names are gender neutral, or are only slightly modified to be separated between men and women. Naming conventions in Rath Sliabh Dorca do not put much emphasis on whether a name belongs to a man or a woman.
Male: Arawn, Avon, Bowen, Broderick, Caradoc, Ceron, Dillon, Dylan, Emlyn, Evan, Gareth, Gwydion, Harry, Howell, Ilar, Iorwen, Jones, Kent, Kynan, Llewellyn, Lloyd, Maddock, Mervyn, Nye, Owen, Parry, Powell, Reese, Rhoslyn, Taliesin, Tudor, Urian, Wynn, Wynne, Yestin
Female: Aelwen, Arwen, Blodwyn, Branwen, Catrin, Crwys, Dwyn, Dylan, Eirwyn, Emlyn, Gaenor, Gwendolyn, Hafwen, Heulwen, Ilar, Kieve, Lowri, Lunet, Mairwen, Morgana, Nerys, Nia, Olwen, Owena, Parry, Raewyn, Rhianna, Seren, Sian, Talaith, Tegan, Wynn, Wynne
Rath is similar to Celtic Wales, controlled by the druids. The druids are the priests and rulers of the region, providing wisdom and guidance to the peasantry of the region. Beyond this, however, Rath is in line with the typical middle age fantasy setting.