|The Reevery of the Shires of Somery|
|Conventional short name:|
|Data codes:||SM, SOM|
|Other:||Melster, Eamouth, Avonmouth, Bridglea|
The Shires of Somery is situated on the northeastern peninsula of Eras or the Old Continent. Somery was colonised by the Summer Clan from Cruisana which was forced to leave when a new religion, Cruisianism, was introduced, and they called their new homeland the Summery Lands from an ancient myth about the land of Leoma, the sun god of their religion.
Somery has a parliamentary government. The legislative body is The House of Elders or The Eldership, elected by the people by proportional representation. The chairman of the Eldership is the Speaker, who, in accordance with results of the elections, appoints the Reeve, who is the leader of the country and who in turn appoints the Maistership, and Ambassadors. In his temporary abscence the Speaker is deputy Reeve. The inner circle of the administration is called The Maistership.
The local government is maintained by the Shires.
The House of EldersEdit
The House of Elders is the legislative body of Somery. It is elected through proportional representation. This means, in simple terms, that a party that gets e.g. 40% of the votes gets 40% of the seats in the House, although the reality is more complicated than that. The lower limit for a party to enter the House is 4%, to prevent a myriad of small parties in the House. There are 349 seats in the House, 310 of which are distributed according to the population of the constituencies, and 39 extra seats to compensate a possible imbalance. Currently five parties or flocks are represented in the House.
The Maistership is the inner circle of the government led by the Reeve, and consists of the 'maisters' or ministers of the various departments.
Wf. Annideigh Lynne, Reeve of the Shires
Sq. Ronal Lear, Maister of Outlendish Things (Foreign affairs)
Sq. Shon Gaiwyn, Maister of Things of the Shires (Internal affairs)
Sq. Arian Nye, Maister of the Hoard (Finance)
Sq. Raeve Keart, Maister of Right (Justice)
Sq. Holme Lindsey, Maister of Weal (Health)
Sq. Edmund Wight, Maister of Tilth (Agriculture)
Sq. Aubrey Larrier, Maister of Work & Derf (Industry)
Sq. Mark Sedger, Maister of the Warden (Defence)
Sq. Iain Titch, Maister of Wayfore & Fartale (Transport & Communication)
Sq. Lean Athers, Maister of Wit and Lore (Education)
Wf. Maeve Ledgly, Maister of Kirth and Sarrowcraft (Music & Art)
Sq. Alan Whistler, Maister of Cheaping (Trade)
The Political PartiesEdit
The parties or flocks as they are called in this country, that are represented in the House after the latest election in 300, are the following:
Abbreviation: (w) Leader: Wf. Annideigh Lynne
This is the biggest party in the country. Its leader is also the leader of the Mastership and therefore Reeve of Somery.
(w) wants a mixed economy of free enterprise as well as governmental influence. Companies and activities vital to society, like nationwide communications, healthcare, and social security should be in the hands of the State. Full employment, careful use of natural resources, equally distributed prosperity, economical development and social security are important goals. Current number of seats: 157
Abbreviation: (n) Leader: Wf. Mawdlys Awvish
(n) wants less influence from the State, and more autonomy to local government units. Freedom and security in a healthy environment, and a responsibility for coming generations are of importance, as well as equality, solidarity and private ownership.
Current number of seats: 56
Abbreviation: (k) Leader: Sq. Shorill Maisher
Freedom is an important concept for (k), as well as individuality. The family is the institution on which society is built. Free enterprise should exist with as little governmental influence as possible, including healthcare, communications and social security. Taxes should be lowered to a minimum. (k) is also for a common market in an economic union with neighbouring countries, especially those of the former Albion-Merité.
Current number of seats: 31
Abbreviation: (fw) Leader: Wf. Ronys Clowther
(fw) could be described as a more radical version of (w), with more governmental influence, and a development towards complete removal of social classes, through redistribution of wealth and income between classes and between sexes. The initially revolutionary aspect of the changing of the social structure has in the course of time been replaced by one of gradual development.
Current number of seats: 21
Abbreviation: (f) Leader: Sq. Loryn Cairlowe
A free economy with responsibility for the weak and poor, equality between the sexes, and the importance of freedom and equal rights for all are central ideas for (f). Political solutions should be flexible in accordance with the problems involved.
Current number of seats: 84
Somery is divided into 24 shires, each having a certain degree of autonomy, mostly when it comes to economy. Below you will find a list of the shires.
(*)The shires of Ledgwickshire and Suthershire were during a few years (306-7) united to form an independent Free State under the name of Sutherfold, but rejoined Somery after experienceing economic problems. Since 312 the two shire are however once again an independent entity under the name Free State of the Fold.
Boroughs & HundredsEdit
The shires are divided into a total of 308 administrative units of which 264 are hundreds, and 44 are boroughs. The hundreds are in their turn divided into towns and sokes, and the boroughs into wards.
One day, almost 8,000 years ago, someone decided to leave a mark to posterity, and thus giving us a view of the way the world was looked upon, and a glimpse of the way of life all those centuries ago. In a cave near the hamlet of Edrannashan, in Hd Highmond, Suthershire this someone covered the walls with very vivid paintings of people, animals and symbols, possibly religious, revealing an imagination of amazing depth. This is so far the oldest sign that has been found of human activity on the northwestern peninsula of the Old Continent. Seeing that all other antiquities are of a later date it's probable that the land was occupied by people coming from the south, over the Angel mountains, making Edrannashan one of the first stops on the way. If these people were the Estron or if they came later to dominate an earlier settlement of people is something we will probably never know. What we with some certainty do know is that the Estron were in full control of the land about 1,800 years ago, when the Somerish arrived from Mystgallia . We can only speculate, basing our guesses on the artefacts, mounds, stone circles and other traces of human inhabitation and activities found all over the peninsula. Written sources from the period before that are very few, and to the most part limited to stone carvings of which some still defy interpretation, and most texts describing its history in more detail have been written down centuries later.
The Great DepartureEdit
Some time around 1400 BP there was a dramatic change in the religious climate in Mystgallia, present day Cruisana. Cruis, a founder of a new religion demanding the unconditional abandonment of all other gods, had begun his teachings and this in such an convincing way that soon an overwhelming number of people on the island had embraced this new faith. With the number of followers increasing an equally increasing pressure was put upon those who wished to remain within the ancient religious framework of their forefathers. The most significant group of these opponents to the new religion was the so called Summer clan, sometimes referred to as the Fifth clan of Mystgallia. Worshipping the sun god Leoma as their singular deity they were the odd man out among the clans, and were to become even more so as the new religion won an ever greater part of the population. Eventually there was too great a pressure on the clan to convert, which left them, basically, with two options, staying and converting, or leaving. A small number chose to give in to the demands and to accept the new faith, while the majority, under the leadership of its legendary charismatic leader, Begimend Sunnanwine, decided to search for new lands where they could freely follow their old traditions. According to old Summer clan legends there was a mythical continent, known as the Summer Lands, beyond the eastern seas, the home of their god, the sun, which he left every morning to watch over his creation. In their exposed situation people of the clan began considering the events a sign to search for that land, to find what they increasingly felt was their true home.
The Great VoyageEdit
Although some legends may tell you differently the great migration of the Summer clan probably wasn't one singular event, a voyage including all the members of the clan. It's more likely that it happened in waves, as told in Aewil Arweorðlic's "History of the Somerish people", starting with a group, possibly guided by the supposedly divinely inspired leader Begimend Sunnanwine, who, when new land was indeed found, sent a message back telling the good news, inspiring other groups to follow, until eventually practically all the people belonging to the clan had left Mystgallia, at least those who were faithful to their old ways. A multitude of legends are connected with this voyage, and most of them have some kind of supernatural ingredient. Among the most popular ones we find the story of the evil ocean spirits or seafivels trying, with various tricks, to prevent the seafarers from reaching their destination, the battle with the sea monster Wælgenga, and the speaking dolphins sent by the sun god to guide the seafarers on their perilous quest.
The first land that was sighted, according to the legend, was Enys Melyn, i.e. the Isle of Milne, where the clan for the first time met the Estron. They were greeted in a friendly way, and symbolic gifts were exchanged. The clan became aware that this people also worshipped the sun, and this convinced them that they had found what they were looking for. The island was at that time part of the Estron kingdom of Deullew, whose name still lives on in the lathe of Daylowe. Its main settlement was Tregwellt which was situated near what is now Strawton, where the possible traces of the foundations can still be seen. Here the newcomers were greeted and welcomed by king Ierll and his court. They were shown much hospitality, but when the king became aware of their intentions to settle down in his land, he was worried, and spoke of fairer lands which they would find if they travelled to Avillion, and Trefwyn Uchel, the seat of the High King Brennan. They were told through sign language, and similar ways, how to get there, and as they travelled north to pass Breightlith Gore a messenger was sent back to Mystgallia to tell their kin about what they had found.
The ships passed through the Orcadion Archipelago and followed the coast where it turned south, here and there watched by the curious eyes of the local people. Several days passed and some people started talking about having been fooled by the king, and wanted to go ashore at the next suitable place, and settle there, but Begimend urged them on, himself wanting to see what Ierll had been telling him about. Finally they reached what is now Sibury Firth and here they were met by a ship whose captain, after learning their business, welcomed them and offered to guide them to Trefwyn Uchel (today's Trevenill, near Bridglea), which Begimend and his people accepted. They followed the Estron ship up the river until they reached the king's city, probably near what is now Bridglea. Begimend and his closest men were brought to the king who welcomed them. When he heard the reason for their arrival he and the people of Trefwyn Uchel showed them hospitality, as brothers in the worship of the sun, and took them into their homes, awaiting a decision of the king's council.
After a few days of discussion the council decided to provide the newcomers with help and guidance as to where they could settle down further up the river and they also agreed that there would be room also for the expected clan members arriving from Mystgallia. After a month or two more of the clan ships with eager new settlers started arriving, and all were welcomed. The Estron and the Summer clan lived side by side in harmony and peace for a long time.
The main cause of what was to come could probably partly be blamed on the difference in birth rate between the two peoples. Traditionally the Clan had big families, while the Estron had considerably smaller ones. As time passed it came to a point where the Clan all but outnumbered the Estron in Avillion, and this caused distress among some groups who complained to the king, who disregarded this as a point of less importance, and reassured the people that this was not a problem.This did not satisfy them, and soon unfounded rumours of the Clan started spreading among the Estron. Tension started rising, and now groups within the Clan starting spreading rumours in their turn. Fights between extremists became more and more common. Time passed and the old king died, leaving a weak son to take over the increasingly inflamed situation. His younger brother, hungry for power, soon conspired against him and had him murdered, blaming the killing on the Clan wanting to weaken the Estron. This was the spark that set the whole built-up tension on fire, and war broke out between the peoples with many casualties on both sides.
The war lasted for years until one day a mighty battle was fought near Cerrig yn Stefyll (Kirstwall). We will leave it to Aewil the Venerable to tell the story:
"On the third day of the battle the unrightfully ascended King of the Estron and the Clan's Headman suddenly stood face to face. Around them the battle went on and raged back and forth, and each of the leaders were protected by their warriors leaving them to concentrate on each other, and all the people around them saw this moment as the crucial epicentre of the war. They fought for what seemed like hours, moving back and forth, attacking, parrying, attacking again. Then suddenly a small mistake made the Clan's Headman lose control of his sword, and at the same time slip on the mixture of mud and blood that was once a green meadow. The King aimed his sword at Headman's heart, the people around them paralyzed as if turned to stone. The King cried with a loud voice, asking for the Sun Lord's blessing in an extatic sense of victory. His words had but left his lips when a sudden darkness fell over the battlefield and the warriors upon it, as if night had fallen on them in an instant, and a deafening silence brought an almost painful sensation to the ears of every man on the field, as all action stopped like cut off with a knife. After a few seconds it was like each and every soldier simultaneously drew his breath, and then the cries of agony from wounded soldiers filled the air and the metallic sounds of swords and shields being dropped could be heard like a short but hard rain storm. Minute followed upon minute, each age-long. Eyes were raised to the sky and where once the sun had shone was now a gaping hole, within a ring of fire, threating to devour the world. Fear struck each and every man's heart at this sight of what they believed was the rage of the Sun Lord, showing his contempt for man's madness in meaningless conflict. One by one the soldiers started crying out loud their prayers for mercy, and forgiveness. Many men truly believed this was the end of the world, when a glimpse of light at the edge of the black emptiness grew ever stronger, and slowly but surely the sun unveiled his face. In the growing light the King was seen lying on his back, lifeless, without any apparent wounds, with a wild expression in his now seemingly frozen face, and his eyes fixed at where the firy mouth in the sky had been. He was dead."
This marked the end of war. The Clan's Headman, in the eyes of the Estron chosen by the Sun Lord, thereby named Leomancoren, 'chosen by Leoma', was elected king over both peoples, and the peaceful time that followed was to last for many many years, under Leomancoren and his descendants, the Corningas.
Leomancoren, as the new king of the two united peoples, temporarily made Trevenill his capital, but planned and built a new city on the border between the lands of the Estron and the Clan. When completed legend says he himself named it Corningseld, "the hall of the Corningas", which is doubtful since that denomination of the dynasty probably was not established until after his death. After the battle of Kirstwall the rumour of the Sun Lord's favourite spread like wildfire to the people in the neighbouring lands.The leaders of the various duchies and thanedoms felt they had to keep in with the new king and after a few years the region paying tribute to Corningseld, and the king and high thane of what at this time was becoming commonly known as Sumorige (the same word as 'Somery', Hafaidd in the Estron tongue), reached the river Ewe to the north, Michelweald to the west, and the Eafrum Liths and Angel Mountatins to the south and east. As time passed and the structure of the region became more clear, the royal dynasty of Sumorige strengthened their power through agreements with the local clan leaders and soon the area had the look of a genuine kingdom. As the population grew so did the kingdom, and one by one surrounding areas also came under the crown, as dependencies. Those worth mentioning include Elferige, Sutherfold, Troy-om-Hills, Northerewland, Lynneset, and The Deans. Contemporary Estron kingdoms include Tir Leth, Tir Dwfr, Deullew, and Marlad. The area now known as Suther Troy, then carrying the name of Troed Gweision consisted of a number of 'earldoms' or swyddi gweision, from time to time showing a loose federal structure. Among the earldoms we find Swyndôl, Tywold, Aeres, Creidôl, Bryniog et.al.
The Shires of Somery occupy the northwestern peninsula of the Old Continent, i.e. the land west of longitude 15° E and north of latitude 27° N with the exception of the land east of the ridge of what in Somery is known as the Angel Mts. What is now the independent state of Somery was during a thirteen year interval a part of the province of Wesmeria of Merité. The country borders to the south on the Principality of Cimera, formerly a part of Eichensehria, and to the east on the part of the former province of Wesmeria which, after having been under Christianan administration, is now the independent state of Wesmerite; and Terra Extremis which is administered by the Directorate of Draconia. The longest distance from east to west is 1350 km (839 mi), and from north to south 1585 km (985 mi).
Topographically Somery has a rather varied landscape, e.g. the mountainous borderlands of the Angel Mountains to the southeast; the wide valleys of rivers like Elven and Avon; the partly forested Weald, where Michelweald is the largest continuous woodland; the rolling Lynnest Wolds with quaint little dales; the hilly regions of Rimn Hills and Branmoor Hills; the beautifully set lakes of the Shirdover Lakeland; the moorlands of Willset; the wetlands of Shireddin; the coastal lowlands of Crownburyshire; the flatlands of Wednesbury Emnet, and Holbury Emnet; and the stretches of iron-bound coastlines of the West coast.
Rivers include Lynne, 499 km; Omma, 457 km; Avon, 381 km; Weden, 362 km; Elven, 327 km; Cam, 285 km. The largest lake is Mitchelmere, Erset, 302 sq.km. Others include Lake Linneigh, Cornantshire, 165 sq.km; Coywater, Emmerset, 165 sq.km; Blackmere, Erset, 161 sq.km; Lake Ishill, Cornantshire, 152 sq.km; and Brillwater, Ombridgeshire, 141 sq.km. Isle of Milne, Sireset, is the biggest island, covering 1,027 sq.km. The Orchid Islands include Isle of Inwirth, 753 sq.km, Isle of Ennowe, 394 sq.km, and Isle of Inglas, 325 sq.km.
Talking about the ethnicity of the people of Somery is futile. Over the centuries any people who has migrated here have soon found themselves assimilated to the native population. If you ask Somes about their ethnic background they will look at you, amused, and ask what on earth that has to do with anything. Maybe they will quote the old Somerish saying "Folks been o' tweyn kins, friends thu' knowst, an' friends thu'st yet ta meet".
Seriously, the Somerish culture is a mainly a mix of the Estron, being the legendary original people living on the peninsula, and the Summer Clan from Cruisana, who first colonized the Somerish peninsula about 1,500 years ago, and whose language was taken over by the Estron, adding their own spice to it, intermarrying with the Cruisanan settlers, mixing their own culture with theirs, until out of that mixture came a new culture, which could be categorized as nothing else than Somerish.
Music is possibly the essential part of life for the Somerish. You could easily say that music is the glue that keeps the Somerish society together. The so called kirthfairs, i.e. music festivals, are frequent and big events and during the Whitfair holiday people from all over the country come to Sibury to join in the biggest celebration of the year to music, The Allsomerish Whit Kirthfair.
is the core of the Somerish music. Virtually every kind of music written and performed in Somery has traces of the ancient musical tradition of the peninsula, going all the way back to before the first Cruisanan settlers arrived. The most popular instruments in Somerish folk music are flute, cithern (a lute-like instrument not to be confused with 'zither'), harp (also known as gammonwood), cruit (a kind of violin, also called fithel) and olderd (double bass). The music is mainly pentatonic, often with a sadness woven into the gaiety of the tune and the dance tunes can be very captivating. Both pop and classical music in Somery owe a lot to the music that has its roots deeply buried in the folk tradition.
of Somerish origin is wellknown and several groups and artists are working towards international breakthrough. Somery's currently biggest pop/rock act is The Mirth. This group, based in Melster, plays a wellcrafted mix of electrified rock and folk music with classical influences, of which the latter can be clearly seen by the fact that the set includes two celli, a violin, and flute/oboe, beside the traditional guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. A couple of concerts have been given with the Melster Philharmonic. A more traditional set is represented by Strawtonian group Derwent Dunyon whose music is mainly guitarbased, with impressive singing in parts. Among the solo artists of the singer/songwriter tradition the brightest star right now (301) is Annideigh Carra, born in Milltree, Morentwyshire, who had her big breakthrough at the Whit Kirthfair in Sibury 300. With an soft, quite intimate voice, backed by her own guitar, double bass and light drums, maybe a string quartet or a piano, her songs have a personal touch that apparently appeals to a lot of people in this country. Gray Slawke from Curwich near Sibury could be considered her male equivalent although his music is more electrified. His lyrics are more down to earth, and more about broken hearts and disappointments in life. Men in Plaid from Eamouth represent the more humorous side of music, but with lots of talent and musicianship.
Some of the most beautiful classical music in Vexillium originates in Somery. Of the most prominent Somerish composers the following could be worth mentioning, along with some of their most appreciated works: Ennan Wildale (25 BC - 41 AP) (The Months Suite); Shon Frewde (15 BC - 50 AP) (The Cairveryn Concertos); Ennan Caurtner (141 - 204) (Avillion Suite; Overseas Symphony); Shorill Stanwade (152 - 224) (Marrish Symphonies; Summer Rhapsodies); Raeve Waugham (172 - 258) ('Roshyn Wyn' for orchestra and voices; 'Meadow Birdsong' for violin & orchestra)
There are several symphony orchestras in Somery, but the most respected ones are The Sibury Symphonia, currently led by the Hon. Erryl Osprey, and The Melster Philharmonic Orchestra, led by the Hon. Ean Gossish. Every Spring around the Evenlight Holiday there is a big festival of Classical music, Ver Musicae, alternatively taking place in Sibury and Melster.
Freeform or 'Cotshirt' probably has nothing to do with cotton shirts, but more likely with the phrase "cut short", as in syncopate. It probably started developing at the turn of the last century in the late night music clubs in the Sibury region. It's the most complex music style performed in Somery. Popular intruments used include double bass, drums, guitar, piano, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and flute. There are several variations of the style.
Arts & CraftsEdit
Another almost equally essential part of the Somerish society is art of all kinds. The most important art museum is the Ealin Gallery in Sibury, which has the biggest collection of Somerish and foreign art in the country. Other museums worth mentioning are the Calla Museum of Art in Melster, and Cairdry Hall in Strawton.
The most significant features of the folk handicraft are the "love keys", that young men used to carve in wood and present to a possible life partner, as a token of their affection and will to pursue her. Nowadays these lovekeys are also given as gifts to close friends of both sexes, parents, children, or anyone else that you feel close to. The latest trend is to bring a lovekey and a small posy of flowers the first time you are invited into someone's home. They are also popular souvenirs among foreign tourists.
If there is such a thing as a national stage of Somery it would probably be the Quairdy Boards in Sibury, where many of the actors who have later gone on to work with TV and film have made their debut. This is the oldest theatre stage in the country, and it is the dream of many a playwright to get their work performed here, just like it is a dream come true for any actor to tread these boards. There is quite a number of other stages in Sibury, too, not to mention the Wieldsword Playhouse in Melster, which is considered almost as respectable as the Quairdy.
Like the words of a language, place names change over the centuries, as if they were polished through usage. A place name like e.g. Dawvellis was once known as Dawfeglwys. Through the study of early records you may find explanations to the meaning of a name where the original meaning is no longer obvious, or has even been distorted, or misunderstood. Sometimes this research still does not clarify the meaning, maybe because the name had already been "polished" before it was written down for the first time. Many of the Somerish place names have Estron origin, so even if the language is no longer commonly spoken, its presence is noticeable through the rich inheritance of names of towns and regions.
Somery has a freedom of religion, but faith is very much a personal matter. There are buildings that were once built for religious purposes but many of these are now used as town halls, hundred courts, concert halls, museums or similar secular activities. The government is completely secular and in no way affected by religious beliefs, and groups with marked religious purposes are not as such allowed to form political parties. Marriage through religious ceremonies is a traditional custom only, with no legal binding, which has to be confirmed before witnesses by an authorized governmental official. Burial ceremonies are likewise performed by officials appointed by the government. There are no official statistics on religious affiliation. If music were a religion it would, without a doubt, have the largest number of followers in the country.
Cruisans in Somery: Since the Shires of Somery is a secular state, and the matter of personal beliefs is just that, personal, there are no official statistics as to who belongs to which religions. There is a Cruistian bishop in Sibury, though, independent of any foreign influence, being the leader of a group of Cruistians, most of them concentrated to the Siburyshire and Two Avonshires area.
Bramleighshire - Campshire - Cornantshire - Crownburyshire - Dellswyshire - Elvery
Emmerset - Erset - Ewst - Farnset & Orchid Is - Ledgwickshire - Lynnestshire - Marthenshire
Melstershire - Morentwyshire - Nether Avonshire - Ombridgeshire - Siburyshire - Sireset
Suthershire - Upper Avonshire - Washfordshire - Willowburyshire - Willset - Winstershire