Names (people and places) in Mawr draw themselves from 2 modern Celtic Languages: Irish and Welsh.
Welsh is the ‘common’ tongue of the kingdoms Cuhál and Tuhál and is considered easy or intimate.
Irish is the ‘high’ language of the High Kingdom of Foraoise and is considered formal.
You may or may not care about pronunciation.
The name Mawr is a corruption of the original name for the Island, which was in the Foraoise tongue. The new name, “Mawr” means “big” in the language of Tuhál/Cahál. Ironically, the names of those kingdoms remain the Foraoise-style names of the two founding brothers.
A History of Humans
The human peoples of Mawr came to the great island nation from over the Tower Sea, to the east. They settled in the quiet fields and forests and began to make quite a bit of trouble.
Five great brothers divided the island and established kingdoms with their clans. They brought mighty works of sorcery with them from beyond the sea. They incorporated the pale structures of the long-lost Builders into their Kingdoms.
By the time the P’ntri and the Vulfin (the races native to Mawr) realized their collective peril, it was too late. The gods of Mawr: the Dragon and the Serpent had already become accustomed to this new people. After a brief but terrible war, the P’ntri retreated beyond the mountains of Cuhál into their deep forests, laying curses and dooms behind them like flower petals. The Vulfin’s magic was not timely, not made for war, and they were devastated, their culture destroyed, and they were left to serve or to wander in the unprofitable plains of the south in bands, like animals.
The kingdoms flourished, disagreed, warred, divided. The great magics of Foraoise faded, and with them many of the comforts and wonders of their civilization.
Those That Came With
The Five Kingdoms brought their gods with them: the Day House, the Night Lodge, and Those Who Stand Apart. They tinker – mostly unseen – in the affairs of the world on their own terms, though sometimes the paeans or the acts of bright people attract their attention.
With the god-like beings of Mawr, the Five Kingdoms made bargains as they could to be let alone. The Dragon, the Serpent and the Mist proved too inscrutable for the Five Kings to profit from or manipulate into their service.
The Five (human) Kingdoms
The 5 kingdoms are mostly wild still, and the twin gods of wild paths provide a great bounty to those who respect their domains. There are many small holdfasts – just as many empty as there are occupied in the country where people live close to the mud and the green, green grass of Mawr.
Along the cowpaths and ways of the Kingdoms are the traditional Safe Halls called Dúns where little lords (Tiarna) hold the Kingdom’s peace and keep the traditions of hospitality alive to honor the goddess of hospitality, Macháin, and her peace.
There are the few towns of the kingdoms, mostly organized around the great fortresses built in the first wave of colonization.
There is no legion or common army in Mawr. Each Tiárna (lord) is responsible for training and maintaining a set of able-bodied men who can fight (fíanna). Each of the ruling Families (Tywys) keeps a small standing army and some Arwr (Heroes) to help run their lands and manage house and kingdom relationships.
Magic is treated with caution in Faroaise, and public unlicensed use of it is illegal.
In Ternyn and Cahál, magic is forbidden but heads are turned, especially for those with a license from one of the Scóillai of magic, who brand their graduates.
Tuhál formally abhors magic. Any with marks or known talent are encouraged to depart Tuhál unless they have been enslaved or bonded to one of the great Families.
Foraoise (“for-EE-shuh” ; previously: Arddbyn “ARTH-bin”)
Once the High Seat of the 5 Lands of Mórlaetht (now called Mawr), the Kingdom of Foraoise is home to the only gathering of buildings deserving the appellation ‘city’ in Mawr.
There is a beautiful Builder structure called The White Tower that forms the heart of Ionad (“YO-nud”), the capitol city. Many buildings of concrete and pale brick and massive stone blocks were built in harmony with the Tower, spreading away from the tower in whorls like a seashell.
The High King (Ardrí) rules from the Bone See, so called because all around the open-air throne room (heated by thermal vents) are views of the burial tombs and monuments of the Crossing and the Invasion and the War of Brothers that divided the Kingdoms almost as soon as they were formed.
The dark river Ión runs out of the forest of Pinefrost, and little tributaries run in Builder canals through Iónad, gracing the city with water and transport to the Sea. The Great Trade Road runs out from Ionad and into the other kingdoms. Its byways are well patrolled and protected within the High Kingdom, and many public houses, each with an honored Fila ancestry dot the trade routes, providing welcome and good fortune for travelers and traders. All culture seems to flow from Iónad.
The town of Crest lies at the other end of the Ión River. Protected by high cliffs overlooking a deep harbor, it serves as a safe harbor and port for trading with Ternyn and lands afar. It also features the peculiar Builder structure called the Bridge to Nowhere, an enormous arch of the blue-white builder stone emerging from the cliffs and arching out high over the sea.
Alae is called the “fallen kingdom” because it is more like a collection of homesteaders. Alae has its own heroes (Arwr) and trades with the Vulfen and the Salkai and the Meren. But it is a wild place where each person carries their own law or lack of it.
Tuhál is the Southern Kingdom, standing between Foraoise and the wild lands of ruined Alae. On its borders are also the dark bulk of the Teinwood, and the empty lands of the Great Swamp.
The Tuhál, the Founders, hold court from the great fortress of Caer Cuval. Their symbol is the eagle, great and proud and their lord is Cerhyn of middle years. They have held the peace in the kingdom for many years.
Magic is forbidden in Tuhál, and any who hold the power of it do so in secret, and in fear for their lives.
Tuhal is bordered by the southern plains of the Vulfen (where the grass turns to heath).
Otherwise, it is bordered by rivers: Afon Mwr (big river) to the East, Afon Cil (white river) to the west and Nain Mwr (the Great Dwarf ) to the north. Technically, Tuhál extends all the way through the Teinwood, but they don’t dare cross the Nain Mwr, as the P’ntri are … unwelcoming.
The great capitol city of Tuhál is Caer Cuval, ruled by the Tuhál family itself, descended from the ancient sorceror King. Their Lord is Old Cerhyn, and their symbol is the eagle with blue tailfeathers.
Clan Braedd, neighbors to the east. Of small holdings they rule with great prestige from Caer Braedd. Their symbol is the stag, swift and deadly. Their rules is Lady Yrhan, unmarried 10 years since the death of her husband.
Following are the Faen of Caer Faen in the south. Their lord is young and untried in battle. Some say he is sly and cunning. Others that he will fall some day for his lack of experience. His family are the Horse clan.
Finally of the great houses are the Cyrdaen, ruling from mighty Tar Tranwyn, second only to Caer Cuval in age and strength. The Cyrdaen keep the North and East borders of Tuhál by the shores of Lake Mwrost, which is split in the center with Foraoise. Many are the wars fought on this border and great the casualties. Were it not for the Badger of Cyrdaen, Tuhál would be less than she is.
Most recently, the great northern family of Cyrdaen suffered a great loss of prestige when their only son was found to not only possess the gift of magic, but went on a quest to pursue its power – never to return. The curse that befell that family is clear, as the Builder structure at the heart of their clan lands has rejected them.
The smaller houses are the Bear, the Wolf and the Boar.
Ternyn guards the northern shores of Mawr, standing between the kingdoms of Cahál to the West and Foraoise to the East. She is a kingdom of the seas, and her might is in her ships and mastery of the waves. While the Meren rule underwaves, the great lords of Ternyn master the trackless surfaces of the changing sea.
The capitol of Ternyn stood atop Ynys Mawr, which the Serpent recently devoured.
The new capitols are vying for influence: the coastal city of Ynys Drwd, trying to be a new Ynys Mawr on the coast, and Hynlleth, the walled town at the center of the country.
7 High Lords rule Ternyn, one from each of the great Families. One High Lord throne stands empty, anticipating the return of Ternyn from the waves.
4 Wave Marshals secure the seas:
- Landless High Marshal: Pensaren – Sirin
The Continental Marshals:
- Agyrr – Shark
- Gwendun – Manta
- Rhys – Dolphin
The three continental Wave Marshal families keep trained beasts of their family name.
- Particle ‘an’ shows house membership.
- Particle ‘ap’ shows lineage
E.G. : Gwain ap Gwair an Agyrr
Only the High Lords, the Marshals and the Houses may use the particle ‘an’.
The kingdom of Cahál was ruled from its ‘new Capitol’ (many centuries old) on Ynys Mawr, an island off the north coast of Ternyn. With the loss of the shared island capitols, Cahál has named the Tower City, Caer Ubh as its capitol.
There are no other formal towns in Cahál, though there are many craggy dúns and forts and towers, many not entirely of this world….
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