- Prehistoric origins
- The Talshan Rapture and Formation of the Veil
- The First Kingdom
- The Restoration: The Second Kingdom
- The Industrial Renaissance
- The Rift Valley Divergence
- The Fall of Outremer Abyssal and the Withdrawal of the Veil
- The Third Kingdom
- First Contact with Amber
- Politics & Religion under Moins I
Rebma has been inhabited for at least 29,000 years. Continuous habitation dates from the end of the last ice age, between 13,000 and 12,000 years before present (BP), when Chalsolithic hunter-gatherers from Talshan began to migrate to the Amber-Rebma Caldera. At that time sea levels were much lower than today, and most parts of what is now Amber bay and Rebma were dry land. The east coast of present day Amber and the now lost lands of Morhall and Courtmuir were connected by the former landmass known as Ghalerland, forming the Caldera Peninsula on the Outremer Mainland. Rebma was free of glacial melt by about 12,250 BP, the warmer climate allowing the area to generate woodlands. The post-glacial rise in sea level separated the Caldera from the Outremer Mainland, Ghalerland was submerged by the Far Sea and, by 10,000 BP, the Caldera Peninsula had become an island. By the beginning of the Periolithic (c. 7,000 BP) sea levels in Amber Bay were still about 133 feet (40 metres) lower than today.
Periolithic colonists integrated with the indigenous tribes, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers about 7,000 BP – the Periolithic Sedentism. They cleared the wooded flats to establish pasture and to cultivate the land, developed new technologies such as ceramics and textile production, and built cromlechs such as, Brwn Cylli Ddu and Parll Cym long cairn between about 6,500 BP and 6,250 BP. By the time of the Talshan Rapture the area of modern Rebma had been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli, Ordovices, Cornovii, Demetar, Silures and Rebhes for centuries.
The Talshan Rapture and Formation of the Veil
The Talshan Rapture is theorised to have been both a seismic event that collapsed much of the dry land protecting the lands of Rebma from incursion of the Far Sea, and an inexplicable racial extinction of several small tribes in the eastern areas of the Amber-Rebma Caldera. It is also held over from early folk stories that at this time, the first eruption of what would become the Seamount occurred and, perhaps not coincidentally, The Veil was formed.
Evidence suggests that the sedentary lifestyle of those remaining within The Veil after this event reverted for some years to chaos and nomadic exploration of their changed environment.
The First Kingdom – Dragon Era
The Rebhes tribe’s conquest of remaining tribal territories in The Veil began between c.130 and c.200 years after the Talshan Rapture, and took c.150 years to complete. King Gwaelod’s rule lasted a documented 340 years from his establishment of year 1 Dragon Era. The campaigns of conquest are the most widely known feature of Rebma during the Dragon Era, because of the spirited, but ultimately unsuccessful, defence of their homelands by two tribes: the Silures and the Ordovices. Rebhes rule in South-Eastern Rebma was a military occupation, as the area lacked the necessary materials in suitable combination, and the kelp forested, mountainous countryside was not amenable to industrialisation. The northern territories had a rich mineral wealth and technologies were developed to extract amounts of gold, copper and lead, as well as modest amounts of some other metals such as zinc and silver. Rebman economic development was concentrated in Western Rebma close to the continental shelf, and no significant industries were located in Rebma proper. Although Rebhesic (an archaic ancestor of modern Rebmanic) became the official language of Rebma, the people tended to continue to speak in their tribal dialects. While total control of Rebma was far from complete, the emerging upper classes of the tribes began to consider themselves Rebhesian, particularly after the ruling of 212DE that granted clemency and Rebhes citizenship to all remaining members of the Silures and Ordovices tribes.
Early historians have noted 340DE as a significant point in Rebman history. Evidence suggests strongly that patrilineal succession was the dominant inheritance model in a majority of the abyssal tribes from prehistoric times. Tribe leaders with no male successors were expected to devolve their inheritance on the next filial male heir. On the death of King Gwaelod without a direct heir in 340DE, a dynastic squabble ensued between the male members of his tribe and several claimants from other tribes with close ties to the king. This would lead to the long running series of succession wars which became known as The Dying Throes.
The Dragon Era is agreed to have ended with the cataclysmic second eruption of the Seamount in DE 420.
Interregnum – Post Dragon Era
The 800 years following the collapse of Rhemes rule is the most difficult to interpret in the history of Rebma. After the succession wars and the second eruption of the Seamount, much of the northern abyssal lowlands of Rebma were devastated by lava overrun, and most of the remaining industrial mining facilities were lost. Before extensive studies of the distribution of R1b Y-DNA subclades, some previously maintained that the northern tribes were entirely eradicated by this event. This idea has been discarded in the face of evidence that the population merely integrated with surrounding tribes, and seemingly forged enclaves for themselves in territories traditionally held by others.
However, by 200INT, the Rebman territories had divided into a number of Cantrefi under Interregnum rule. The Cantrefi of Gwynedd, Pywls, Dyvd, Sysyllg, Morgannwg and Gwynt emerged as independent Rebman successor states under over all Interregnum rule. Archaeological evidence shows that far from becoming a peaceable people in the aftermath of the eruption and establishment of the Interregnum, Cantrefi frequently skirmished with each other over territory and wealth. Whilst is would appear that the Interregnum government did not condone this behaviour, they appear to have done little to reign it in. Some disparate chroniclers postulate that it was a way for the Interregnum to keep the successor states on an even footing. Notably the Cantrfi of Dyvd, Sysyllg, Morgannwg wrestled with Pywls, Gwynt and Gwynedd to define the frontiers between two alliances that evolved after years of struggle in to inter-tribal skirmishes.
The recent discovery of three records caches dating from the latter third of the Interregnum give detailed insight in to the day to day workings of the government, and shed light on larger events leading up to the Act of Succession.
Surviving records indicate that by 821INT, a formidable alliance of Morgannwg, Pywls, Gwynt and Sysyllg under the leadership of Commote Bloedwella made such a significant incursion in to Gwynedd and Dyvd that the Interregnum was forced to intervene to restore balance. The Cantrefi now began to petition for a return to Monarchy, and the Interregnum began work on the Act of Succession, which would take 33 years to pass. Commemorative Stella were erected at the boundaries of Rebma in 3LE, preserving the date of The Act of Succession as 854INT. Control of the united Rebman state was handed over to the house of Commote Bloedwella, who’s daughters, and grand-daughters in turn, would establish the longest and significantly prosperous age in Rebman history to date.
The Restoration: The Second Kingdom – Lion Era
With the passing of the Act of Succession in 854 INT, Bloedwella, Commote of Gwynt and Sysyllg, was crowned Queen. Along with her allies – the Cemais, the House of Llew, and the House of Rhosy – she progressively unified the Cantrefi and smaller Trefs through wars, alliances and implementation of future dynastic inheritance into the Kingdom of Rebma, which was fully declared in 231LE. Braith tŷ Llew was the first Papess of the Temple Mount, deferential to the Crown, but not bound by its rule. Her period in office lasted from 250LE to 400LE, and she oversaw the amalgamation of the individual and frequently disparate belief systems and semi-recognisable religious sects in to the first coherent and tangible Rebman Religious movement; The Temple of the Three.
The Penylln Crusade was launched in 305LE to eliminate the heretical Baganiadd in the south-western area of modern-day Rebma. By 315LE, the Baganiadd were exterminated and the previously autonomous County of Arwystili was annexed into the Kingdom of Rebma. Later Queens would consolidate their territory, and the royal authority became more and more assertive, centred around a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobility, clergy, and commoners.
Mererid II the Fair died without an heir in 1502LE. Under the Act of Succession the crown of Rebma could not pass to a man nor could the line of Queenship pass through the male line. Accordingly, the crown passed to Ysbail of Cemais, a cousin of Mererid, rather than through the male line to Mererid’s niece, Rohsyn, who would soon become Commote of Rhosy.
Initially Ysbail’s seat on the throne was contested by Rohsyn, and in 1515LE, The Rebman State and the Cantrefi of Rhosy went to war in what would become known as the Scarlet Rhyfeloedd. Alliances and the exact boundaries of land changed greatly with time, but Rhosyn landholdings of the Rebman State remained extensive for decades.
With charismatic leaders, such as Olwen of Dyvd and Nimue of Llew, strong Rebman counterattacks won back Rhosyn held territories throughout 1584LE and 1585LE, and The Tremais Day massacre of 1601LE was the climax of the Scarlet Rhyfeloedd. Eventually the conflict was brought to an end by the Edict of Cydymffurfiaeth (1603LE) granting clemency for the commoners and clerics of Rhosy in exchange for surrender. Rohsyn of Rhosy, all of her lineage, and many of her noble allies were executed by Royal Decree, and her holdings divided amongst allied Commotes in 1609LE, the largest shares awarded to Dyvd and Llew.
During the reign of Ysbail of Cemais, also called The Great, the Rebman monarchy reached the height of its power during the Lion Era.
An adherent of the concept of the divine right of Queens, which advocates the divine origin of monarchical rule, Ysbail continued her predecessors’ work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital. She sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of Rebma and, by turning powerful Commotes and other nobles into courtiers at the newly built seat of power, The Palace Mount, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy. By these means she became one of the most powerful Rebman monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in Rebma that endured until the Rift valley Divergence. In short, Ysbail’s personal power became unchallenged.
She oversaw the first standardisation of the Rebman language and standardised Rebman became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, and literature, and has remained so relatively unchanged to the present day. She encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military, and cultural figures throughout her reign. Rebman explorers paved the way for the expansion of Rebman civilisation into lands abandoned centuries earlier after the Seamount Eruption Crisis, recovering industrial areas that would lead to a redevelopment of mining, smelting and construction industries, and a boom in Rebman productivity and population.
She implemented more efficient taxation to grow the treasury, which had been diminished under her predecessor. The principal taxes included customs duties for transportation of goods between Cantrefi, the tax on salt, and the tax on land. Ysbail also had wide-ranging plans to bolster commerce and trade. She established a mercantilist administration to foster new industries and encouraged manufacturers and inventors, such as the Mostyn silk manufacturers. Rift glassmakers and ironworkers, and the Treharris manufactory, a producer of tapestries.
Reforms in military administration were implemented through Annest of Cynan and her daughter Commander Aures rch Annest. They helped to curb the independent spirit of the nobility, imposing order on them at court and in the army. Gone were the days when commanders protracted skirmishes amongst the Cantrefi while bickering over precedence and ignoring orders from the capital and the larger politico-diplomatic picture. The old military aristocracy “nobility of the sword” ceased to have a monopoly over senior military positions and rank. Aures in particular pledged herself to modernising the army and re-organizing it into a professional, disciplined and well-trained force. She was devoted to the soldiers’ material well-being and morale.
Legal matters did not escape Ysbail’s attention, as is reflected in the numerous “Ordinhadau Gwych” she enacted. Pre-Lion Era Rebma was a patchwork of legal systems, with as many legal customs as there were Trefs, and two co-existing legal traditions – customary law in the north and civil law in the south. “The Trefn y Weithdrefn Sifil” of 1667 LE, was a comprehensive legal code attempting a uniform regulation of civil procedure throughout legally irregular Rebma. Among other things, it prescribed baptismal, hand fasting, and death records in the state’s registers, not the church’s, and also strictly regulated the right of the Parlements to remonstrate. The Code played an important part in Rebman legal history as the basis for the Legal system in use today.
Upon her death just days before her four hundred and tenth birthday, Ysbail was succeeded by her fifteen-year-old great-granddaughter, Angharawd. All of her intermediate heirs predeceased her: her daughter, Bloedwyn, the Grand Argyl; the Argyl’s eldest daughter Bryn of Cemais; and Bryn’s eldest daughter, Sioned of Cemais (the elder sister of Angharawd II).
Ysbail’s line of descendants remained unbroken and prospered well into the Industrial Renaissance. And as the monarchy prospered, it appeared that the Kingdom did likewise.
The Industrial Renaissance – Lion Era
Prior to the Industrial Renaissance, which saw a rapid economic expansion between 1879LE and 1985LE, there were signs of small-scale industries scattered throughout Rebma. These ranged from industries connected to agriculture, such as milling and the manufacture of textiles, through to mining and quarrying. Until the Industrial Renaissance, Rebma had been predominantly reliant on its agricultural output for its wealth and employment and the earliest industrial businesses were small scale and localised in manner. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, and iron production processes, improved efficiency of hydrothermal power, and the development of machine tools. It also included the change from kelp and other bio-fuels to magma mining.
Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Renaissance in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested. Textiles were also the first to use modern production methods. Prior to the Renaissance, spinning and weaving were done in households, for domestic consumption and as a cottage industry under the putting-out system. Occasionally the work was done in the workshop of a master weaver. Under the putting-out system, home-based workers produced under contract to merchant sellers, who often supplied the raw materials. In the off season the men, typically farmers, did the spinning and the women did the weaving. Using the spinning wheel it took anywhere from four to eight spinners to supply one hand loom weaver. With the rapid invention and adoption of larger scale manufacturing processes (the spinning jenny, spinning mule, and water frames) Textile manufacture moved out of the home and in to factory compounds, most notable among them, the Temple Works, just south of the Temple Mount.
The emerging metallurgical industrial period commenced around the development of copper smelting in the Rift Valley area. With access to local magma deposits and flat, easily navigable terrain that could take advantage of small local copper mines and the copper deposits being extracted from the newly discovered copper mine in Northern Rebma, The Rift Valley developed into the Rebma’s major centre for non-ferrous metal smelting in the Lion Era. The second metal industry to expand in Rebma was iron smelting, and iron manufacturing became prevalent in both the north and the south of the Kingdom. In the north of Rebma, Dylan Gedrych’s Ironworks at Cwm Tryweryn was a significant industry, while in the south; a second centre of metallurgy was founded in Merthyr Tydfil, where the four ironworks of Dowlais, Cyfarthfa, Cybfael and Penydarren became the most significant hub of iron manufacture in Rebma.
In the late 1940’sLE, slate quarrying began to expand rapidly, most notably in northern Rebma. The most notable site, opened in 1943LE by Trefor Hywel, was Penrhyn Quarry which, by 1946LE, was employing 15,000 quarriers, and along with Dinorwic Quarry, it dominated the Rebman slate trade. Although slate quarrying has been described as ‘the most Rebmanic of Rebman industries’, it is mining which became the single industry synonymous with Rebma and its people at the time. Initially, magma seams and vents were exploited to provide energy for local metal industries but, with the opening of canal systems, and later vent mining, Rebman Hydrothermal dispersion saw a boom in its demand. As the Rift Valley magma field was exploited, mainly in the upland valleys around Aberdare and later the Rhondda, the Cantrefi of Llew, Pywls, and later Gwynt, financed the building of large stations for hydrothermal dispersion and, with them, came a population boom. As well as in South Rebma, there was also a smaller scale magma field in the north of the Kingdom, particularly around Llanrhystud.
The Industrial Renaissance marked a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some economists, such as Florrie rch Arwyn, argue that the real impact of the Industrial Renaissance was that “for the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth … Nothing remotely like this economic behaviour is mentioned by the classical economists, even as a theoretical possibility.”
Others, however, argue that while growth of the economy’s overall productive powers was unprecedented during the Industrial Renaissance, living standards for the majority of the population did not grow meaningfully until the late Lion Era, and that in many ways workers’ living standards declined under early industrialism: for instance, studies have shown that real wages in Rebma only increased 15% between the 1880sLE and 1950sLE.
The precise start and end of the Industrial Renaissance is debated among historians. Callwen II rch Bryncan held that it ‘broke out’ in Rebma in the 1870s LE and was not fully felt until the 1930sLE or 1940sLE, while Dwysil rch Dwynwen held that it occurred roughly between 1860LE and 1930LE.
Some modern historians such as Eirianedd yr Amddifad, have argued that the economic and social changes occurred gradually. This is still a subject of debate among historians. GDP per capita was broadly stable before the Industrial Renaissance, which then began an era of per-capita economic growth.
The Rift Valley Divergence
The Divergence struck without warning on Aibreánday, 26th day of Geimhreadh, 3425LE, in the mid-afternoon, and lasted approximately 20 minutes. The epicentre of the megathrust divergence was in the middle of the Rift Valley magma fields, at a depth of approximately 30 km (19 miles), and was felt to a greater or lesser degree throughout Southern Rebma.
The degree and extent of damage caused by the Divergence was enormous. Autochrome footage of the industrial areas and towns that were worst affected shows little more than piles of rubble, with almost no parts of any structures left standing. Estimates of the cost of the damage ranged well into the tens of millions of Wye. Before-and-after images of the devastated regions showed immense damage, and surveys indicate that up to 45,700 buildings were destroyed and 144,300 were damaged. Three hundred hospitals with 20 beds or more were damaged by the disaster, with 11 being completely destroyed. The Divergence created an estimated 12 – 15 million tons of rubble and debris.
All of Rebma’s industrial areas were briefly shut down after the divergence, though the ones in Northern and Eastern Rebma soon re-opened. Fifteen industrial areas were located in the disaster zone, ten of which were utterly destroyed. The five remaining industrial areas were rebuilt and brought back on line briefly before the fall of Outremer Abyssal and the Withdrawal of the Veil put them completely beyond reach.
The aftermath of the Divergence included both a humanitarian crisis and a major economic impact. The disaster resulted in 15,889 deaths and 340,000 displaced people in the Rift Valley region, and shortages of food, shelter, medicine and fuel for survivors. Reports indicate that as many as 100,000 children were uprooted from their homes, some of whom were separated from their families because the Divergence occurred during the school day.
In response Queen Tagwen II mobilised the Queen’s and Argyl’s Guard Corps while many of the unaffected Cantrefi sent search and rescue teams to help search for survivors. Aid organisations across the Kingdom also responded. The economic impact included both immediate problems, with industrial production suspended in many factories, and the longer term issue of the cost of rebuilding. In comparison to the Seamount Eruption Crisis, The Rift Valley Divergence brought serious damage to a much wider and more densely populated range.
The Divergence proved to be a major wake-up call for Rebman disaster prevention authorities. Rebma rebuilt buildings further apart to prevent collateral damage. The Crown changed its disaster response policies in the wake of the divergence, and the initial response to the Outremer Abyssal crisis was significantly faster and more effective in terms of lives saved. The Queen’s and Argyl’s Guard Corps were given automatic authority to respond to future events. Control over first responders was likewise handed over from local departments to a central command bases at The Temple Mount and The Palace Mount.
In response to the widespread damage to transportation infrastructure, and the resulting effect on emergency response times in the disaster area, the Department of Land, Infrastructure and Transport began designating special disaster prevention routes and reinforcing the canals and surrounding buildings so as to keep them as intact as possible in the event of another Divergence. The Crown invested thousands of wye in the years following the divergence to build divergence-proof shelters and supplies in public parks.
The Fall of Outremer Abyssal and the Withdrawal of the Veil
Historian Ionawr Morgan described Rebma on the eve of the The Fall of Outremer Abyssal as a “relatively placid, self-confident and successful kingdom”.
The fall of the Abyssal and subsequent Withdrawal of the Veil would signal a rather ignoble end to the Lion Era.
Geologists and Hydrothermal specialists began to document concerning anomalies in the thermal stations in both southern and northern Rebma in the early 3500’s LE. Hydrothermal stations in the Northern areas had expanded as the population of Rebma continued to grow throughout the late Lion Era, and by the time of the fall of the Outremer Abyssal, Northern Rebma rivalled the south in their production.
In 3762LE, Geologist Siwan rch Tanwen was the first to publish work expressing concern that a collapse of the magma fields may be an imminent event. In the decade following, debate over the continued high use of the magma fields raged fiercely across academia and was on more than one occasion brought to the attention of the Crown. Due to predicted impact on the economy, and the standard of living across the Rebma, decisions concerning the regulation of Hydrothermal output were delayed and ultimately became a moot point.
In 3821LE, early in the morning of Mí na Nollagday, 37th day of Samhradh, several large explosions hit the hydrothermic plants in the southern areas of the Outremer Abyssal, lasting about half an hour, which generated pyroclastic flows extending up to 4 km (2.5 mi) further north in to the larger magma fields. Fourteen hours later, a 15-minute divergence opened large fissures in the sides of the Seamount extending a great distance in to the Abyssal Spur. Friction from the divergence generated abundant tidal currents that reached as far as the Tyrwin district, 3km from central Rebma.
A third large explosion began before dawn on the 39th day of Samhradh, after an intense swarm of small divergences over the previous two hours. It lasted about five minutes, and an eruption column pushed out of the central region of Outremer Abyssal, reaching up to heights of 24 km (15mi). After three hours of quiet, seismic activity began again. Fissures from the Seamount that had extended in to the Abyssal Spur began to meet up with newer cracks emanating from the caldera formed in the Abyssal Plains. The divergences grew more and more intense over the next 24 hours, until a three-minute eruption generated a 21 km (13 mi) high eruption column in the mid afternoon of the 40th day of Samhradh
Tephra flotsam from these four large eruptions was extensive to the southwest of the Abyssal. Two hours after the last of these four explosions, a series of eruptions began which lasted for the next 24 hours, and which saw the production of much larger pyroclastic flows and surges which travelled several kilometres in to the Abyssal Spur and Plains. Small scale evacuations of the northern areas of Rebma progressed, and with the arrival of the Queen’s Guard a systematic and large scale evacuation of all persons located laterally north of the Temple Mount.
3 hours later, in the Rift Valley Hydrothermal fields of Southern Rebma, a divergence resulted in a large fissure in the field and caused the entire north face of the valley to slide away creating a massive landslide. This suddenly exposed the partly molten, gas- and magma-rich rock in the Rift to lower pressure. The rock responded by exploding a mix of magma and pulverized older rock toward Merthyr Tydfil so fast that it overtook the avalanching north face. Over the next 13 hours, a gradually building divergence swarm saturated the area, and mass evacuations of Southern Rebma began.
Late in the morning of the 50th day of Samhradh, the most current recorded eruption of the previously dormant Seamount occurred. The explosion of the Seamount Caldera was felt and heard across the entirety of Rebma, and the resulting dramatic change in water pressure created a sub-marine shock wave of massive proportions. The wave hit the Veil within minutes of the explosion, and with such power that is was forced to withdraw from the outer reaches of Northern Rebma. At the same time, the magma field of the Abyssal Plains and Spur collapsed, creating great lakes of exposed magma flow, and decimating all remaining built up areas north of the Temple Mount.
South of Rebma, a second large divergence hit the Rift Valley, causing the southern slopes to collapse in to the Caerphilly trench, extending the trench north to the position it occupies today. The Veil here suffered an insurmountable uprush of water pressure from the newly formed void and wavered significantly upon dispersal before retracting well north of the trench, to its current boarder just outside the district of Dinefwr, 20km from the Capital.
Twelve days after the first magmatic eruptions, marine pressure waves had decreased to the pre-eruption levels. The Veil in Northern Rebma, however, continued to withdraw for some weeks, causing widespread hysteria as populations north and east of the capital evacuated further in to the city, or made for the continental shelf and shore line. Many who took the later route were lost as The Veil retreated from the western shoreline, with only one passage remaining safe. This was to be the genesis of the faielle-Bionin.
In the aftermath of the event, famine and disease decimated the remaining population. Having lost over 60% of useable land under the Veil, the surviving population of approximately 700,000 were crammed in to an area only sustainable for a quarter of that number. Hydrothermic power was practically non-existent, and the land available for agriculture could not provide the sustenance required to endure such demand. Historians estimate that up to 349,000 Rebmans died between 3821LE and 3824LE from post-eruption famine and epidemic diseases, including several high ranking members of the royal household.
Frequent intermittent divergences from outside the newly withdrawn veil created an environment of fear and violence for those who remained, and once a safe path to the surface was discovered, an exodus of approximately half the surviving population left Rebma for the uncertain safety of the world beyond.
Much of what occurred in the time period between the Abyssal and Veil Crisis and the declaration of the new Horse Era remains muddy. Royal family members of House Cemais are known to have stormed the Palace Mount in this interim period to rout interlopers from Gwynt, and the current Royal line was established through a regency from members of House Llew as the claimant from House Cemais was not yet of age.
Queen Prydwen I ascended the throne upon her majority in circa 3901LE. Horse Era was established by the Crown some four years later, to commemorate the start of re-establishing Rebma out of chaos.
The Third Kingdom – Horse Era
In 3901 LE Prydwen I came in to her majority and ascended to the throne of Rebma. In her first speech to the court, she made a vow to rule by good counsel*, and at the outset, she depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, a number of which had overseen the Regency in her formative years. She is universally acknowledged as a charismatic leader and a dogged survivor in an era when government and society initially struggled to reform itself out of chaos. Prydwen’s reign became idealised as a time when Crown, Temple and Council had worked in balance.
The establishment of the Third Kingdom and the Horse Era, provided welcome stability for the kingdom, a period of peace, prosperity, refining of sensibilities and helped to re-forge a sense of national identity in Rebma. Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and political concerns to the passage of the Diwygio Act of 29 HE.
Culturally there was a transition away from the rationalism of the late Lion Era and toward romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts. In internal relations, after a tumultuous beginning, the era has been mostly typified as a long period of peace, economic and industrial consolidation, temporarily disrupted by first contact with Amber and the Succession Scuffle of 2209HE. Throughout her reign, Prydwn I’s agenda became increasingly liberal with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform, industrial reform and the widening of the privy and general councils.
Rebma learned it’s lessons from the Lion Era, in which rapid economic and population growth combined with resource expansion at a slower pace; eventually reaching a crisis which in turn reduced the population to a sustainable size.
In the first 100 years of her reign, Prydwen I and her councils, led predominantly by astute political and economic minds from Houses Llew, Cemais and Pywlls, established a managed industrial reformation to allow for a positive impact on living standards; therefore making a population plateau/increase sustainable.
Fertility rates increased slowly from 53 HE onwards, when the rates started evening out. There are several reasons for the increase in birth rates, but primarily from a biological perspective, with improving living standards, the percentage of women who were able to have children, and men able to provide children increased.
Mortality rates in Rebma decreased greatly as environmental and health standards rose throughout Horse Era. Sewage works were reestablished, and the quality of drinking water improved. With a healthier environment, diseases were caught less easily and did not spread as much. Medical and industrial technologies were also rediscovered and re-established leading to increasing and stabilising quality of life. The exploration of re-establishing hydrothermic power took a number of years, and significant research before the first experimental stations were brought online in 76HE
As society began to re-establish itself, creative and artistic endeavors also began to re-emerge. Dragon Era Revival architecture became increasingly significant during the early Horse Era, leading to the battle of styles between Drakōn and Nerysian ideals.
DE Revival was supported by critics, who argued that it epitomised communal and inclusive social values, as opposed to Neryscism, which they considered to epitomise mechanical standardisation.
By 170 HE, the styles had converged to create the neo-romantic architectural style common in modern Rebma
Industrial reform brought with it a significant effect on the social strata; cultural norms, lifestyle, values and morality. Identifiable characteristics came to define the Rebman lower and middle class home. In the Horse Era, family life increasingly became compartmentalised, the home a self-contained structure housing a family extended according to need and circumstance to include blood relations. The concept of “privacy” became a hallmark of the middle class life; the cult of domesticity matched by a cult of privacy. Bourgeois existence was a world of interior space, heavily curtained off and wary of intrusion, and opened only by invitation for viewing on occasions such as parties or teas. The essential, unknowability of each individual, and society’s collaboration in the maintenance of a façade behind which lurked innumerable mysteries, were the themes which preoccupies many Horse Era novelists.
By the end of her short reign, Prydwen I and her councils had established a stable and sustainable Rebman Kingdom, consolidated the Monarchy and brought peace and prosperity to the Rebman public.
In the months before her passing, Prydwen complained infrequently of feeling “weak and unwell”. The week of her death, “drowsy … dazed, [and] confused”. She died on Sádwrnday, 26th day of Samhradh 211HE at the relatively young age of 231. Her daughter and successor Argyll Moins rch Prydwen, and her son, Aleyn ap Prydwen were at her deathbed.
In 200 HE, Prydwen had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier’s daughter and the head of the army, and white instead of green. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family, friends and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request, by her doctor and dressers. Her funeral was held in the recently refurbished New Temple, after two days of lying-in-state. Her bones were interred beside other Monarchs of Rebma in the Palace Mount Mausoleum.
As she was laid to rest, a great susseration echoed throughout the streets, alleys, yards, parks and open spaces of the Kingdom, and the barest hint of divergence was felt in the grounds and floors of the Palace Mount. The romanticists maintain that with Prydwen’s passing came the Pattern to Rebma, a tale that has passed in to common usage despite the apocryphal nature of the story. The exact moment of the appearance of the Pattern in Rebma is still subject to much debate, and the currently accepted time frame is anywhere between the Rift Valley Divergence and the date of discovery in 239HE
Prydwen I left Rebma her three children; Argyll Moins rch Prydwen, Commote Mabyn rch Prydwen of Cemais and Aleyn ap Prydwen. The Kingdom inherited by her daughter, so different from the chaos in to which her monarchy was born, was a remarkable achievement for one generation; and a period of stability that prepared Rebman society for the significant events that were to occur during the reigns of Moins I and Moire I.
* “I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.” Prydwen’s first speech as Branyn, The Palace Mount, 35th day of Earrach, 3901 LE
First Contact with Amber – Horse Era
Moins I was the first Rebman Monarch to make contact with outside lands since the withdrawal of The Veil, and is the longest-ruling leader of Rebma to date, reigning for 1998 years; from 211HE until her death in 2209HE at the age of 2029.
Early Horse Era bathymetry projects, sponsored by private enterprise in conjunction with government rehousing and arable land reclamation departments, explored remote areas within the veil to establish quantifiable boundaries and draft accurate maps of the livable area of Rebma. This research program was initially ill resourced and made small progress. Exploration teams with limited funds were forced to employ unreliable drone vehicles, many of which were lost beyond The Veil.
The first accurate maps of the post Lion Age landscape confirmed reports that safely usable land area was significantly reduced, and would not be able to support a population for more than 200,000, a far cry from Rebma’s population hey-day in the mid Lion Era. Conversion of hanging pleasure gardens to environmentally sustainable market gardens for population support could stretch that number to 250, 000, but not measurably higher; and would require the reclamation of all extant platform gardens for the purpose, as well as significant construction of more. In light of this, the Crown under Moins I set aside significant funds for the establishment of a Agricultural Academy with the sole purpose of researching and developing crops that could be farmed at high pressures in arable land beyond the veil, expanding research in to artifact powered stations for harvesting of ocean livestock, making more available for consumption and to sponsor exploratory expeditions in to the outlands of western Rebma, where pre-divergence coastlines were once indicated to have existed.
Several attempts to locate and broach coast lines failed, some spectacularly so with loss of life, until the route now known as fialle bionin was discovered by Tgwen rch Myf in 220HE. Mapping of this route was completed over a period of years, owing to the complexity of the path and the dangers inherent in the exercise. A Safety in Bathymetry sub committee was quickly established to oversee regulation of the various mapping projects once it became clear that self regulation was not an effective model, with several “cowboy” bathymetry operations running insurance scams to shore up funding of their reckless, and high casualty rate operations.
The first recorded Rebman sighting of the Amber mainland, and the first recorded Rebman landfall, are attributed to bathymytrist Nia rch Bryn. She sighted the coast in early 253HE, and made landfall on the 12th day of Earrach, 255HE near where the modern town of প্রথম now exists. The team charted a significant portion of the southern coastline and named the area “New Rebma”.
Blodeuwedd rch Blodeuyn, a Rebman explorer and privateer, pioneered woman driven high pressure bathymetry vehicles for exploration beyond the veil and landed an expedition on the far north-east coast of New Rebma in 321HE, and again in 350HE on a return trip. In 370HE a government sponsored expedition under the command of Delfryn rch Rhosyn mapped the north coast of New Rebma, with the prospect of discovering new areas for settlement. The expedition reported several suitable sites and a bay area, but no temporary settlements were established.
First contact with the indigenous residents of New Rebma was recorded in 485HE by the Rebman Mapping Project exploration team out of Llewod University led by Dôn rch Caerys of Aures. After establishing a research settlement from which to base further inland exploration, the team came across a small, well established (if archaic by Rebman standards) village.
Dialogue with the group was painstakingly established over time, and trade of sorts began to occur between the two groups. Exchanges of goods for information led to a more accurate picture of the surrounding area. Reported outcomes indicated that this land that was locally known as Amber, was a sparsely settled, but well established land under the rule of a King from an inland city to the north, overlooking a bay.
King Oberon of Amber was received by Queen Moins in 577HE (367AT)*. This visit was to set the foundations for the Treaty of Concord and Commerce between the Kingdoms of Rebma and Amber, ratified in 598HE (388AT) with the establishment of the first Rebman Embassy in Amber. Ambassadors from Amber did not take up residence in Rebma until 600HE (390AT).
*It is to be noted that Amber Time and Horse Era correlations are tenuous at best, owing to the uncertainty surrounding the time period elapse between the founding year of Amber and the establishment of any substantive system of record. It appears that during the disputed time period, records of Amber are non-existent, and chroniclers only have King Oberon’s estimation of elapsed time to work from.
Politics & Religion under Moins I- Horse Era
Prydwen I was a pious and devout Queen, who saw herself as the protector of the Temple of the Three and the people of Rebma. She made her devotions daily regardless of where she was and following the liturgical calendar regularly. During her reign, the Elwynery was elevated to a position of power that it had not enjoyed since the very early days of the Lion Era. Her privy council was made up of several key advisors from the major houses and the Temple, with whom she took counsel on a daily basis regarding the governance of Rebma. Many have speculated that as a hold over of the Regency years, prior to her majority, Prydwen frequently allowed her privy council to make important decisions with her tacit consent. During her reign, this proved to be an effective strategy for governing a Kingdom that craved peace and stability, with strong advisors close to the throne sharing a common vision for the re-establishment of civilised culture in Rebma.
Moins I however, despite being raised to follow her mother’s example, was a far more pragmatic, determined and robust leader when it came to matters concerning The Temple and Government. Records of this time indicate that many scholars compared her style, decisions and reign as a significant throwback to Ysbail the Great, as she took full control of the Monarchy and government with a desire to re-forge Rebma from a stable, yet still tentative civilisation in to a strong, noble, future oriented nation.
She called together a Grand Commission—almost a consultative parliament—composed of 27 members of all classes (officials, nobles and commoners). The Commission had to consider the needs of Rebma and the means of satisfying them, embodied in codes to address the modernisation trends dictated by Moins I in the “Instructions for the Guidance of the Assembly”
The Statue for the Administration of the Districts of Rebma was decreed by the Crown very early in the Queen’s reign. The statute sought to efficiently govern Rebma by redefining district boundaries and reviewing local government infrastructure, coupled with the Charter to the Nobility which swiftly followed. Nobles in each district elected a Marshal of the Nobility, who spoke on their behalf to the monarch on issues of concern to them. In the same year, she also issued the Charter of the Towns, which distributed all people into six groups as a way to limit the power of the Nobility and consolidate a middle estate. A return to governmental structures that had dominated Lion Era politics and religion was welcomed by the majority of the crown councils and departments, however, those who had gained most in the closed councils and power structures of Prydwen’s reign, were more reluctant to accept Moin’s sweeping changes.
Moins expanded her Privy Councils, replacing recalcitrant and sycophantic advisors with those she trusted, were better qualified for the positions, or with expansive and unique expertise.
The influence of the Elwynery waned in the political arena with the initiation of the Reformation of the Temple, bringing religion back under the auspices of the sovereign’s supremacy. This brought her initially into dispute with the Elwynery, headed by Elwyn Bredha of Cemais . But because her principal argument was with Temple authority, rather than with doctrinal matters, she remained a believer in core Temple theological teachings despite her fracas with the hierarchy and administration. Her personal rivalry with Bredha of Cemais came to a close with the death of the ancient Elwyn in 356 HE at the astonishing age of 821. Rumors of foul play briefly arose, but given the Elwyn’s age, were generally ignored or derided, even within the Temple. The appointment of her successor was undertaken in closed session between the Queen and members of the Temple administration, again a throw back to early Lion Era policy rather than the evolved tradition of the Elwyn naming of the heir. Carrad rch Aifios of Llew emerged as Elwyn designate after five days of closed discussion. A candidate that the Temple and the Crown were both willing to accord respect.
Whilst many of Moins I political aims inspired enthusiams and excitement amongst court, populace and temple alike, there were also significant threads of discord, that had the potential to derail progress towards the animal of governing that the sovereign was attempting to tame. Such discord was significantly ameliorated when first contact with Amber, and the implications of a strongly governed civilisation outside of the realm of Rebma became a reality for many of the power movers within the establishment. Moins I found many dissenting voices willing to fall in to line in the wake of the Court and Crown’s first encounter with the monarch of this dry-land realm, and the full expression of the Queen’s person as supreme sovereign of an ancient and proud people.