The Prelacy of Almor began as a fiefdom of the Bishop of Chathold who gained it during the latter part of Overking Ostenbrook’s reign when he cured the Overking’s gout. The fiefdom was ostensibly controlled by the Bishop, however, the peoples of the fiefdom never seemed to notice.
For nearly a hundred years the fiefdom passed from Bishop, to Bishop and remained an ignored and forgotten extension of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. The small fiefdom was of such insignificance that as the Great Kingdom fell into disorder in the latter part of the last century, its nobility worshiping hedonism and giving themselves over to their own passions rather than ruling the once great nation, Almor quietly declared its independence and the Great Kingdom failed to notice the event for fifty years.
It wasn’t until the summer of ’27 that Overking Maxwell discovered that the fiefdom hadn’t paid their taxes for the previous five decades. He summoned the Bishop of Chathold to explain their delinquency. When the Bishop arrived, several months later, the Overking was livid and demanded an answer for the Bishop’s late arrival.
“Nature,” the Bishop of Chathold said, “it’s like, why even? And birds, man. BIRDS!” Having given his answer the Bishop of Chathold left the room.
It’s said that the court watched him then walk out into the courtyard and argue with an apple tree there for three hours before heading back home. After this event it was generally agreed that the Great Kingdom was better off without having to deal with such people. The result of this decision was that the people of the Prelacy went on about their lives much as they had before.
The Prelacy is divided up into eleven towns, each of which may change its name as it sees fit, with a single city, Chathold, that acts as the seat of government when dealing with other nations. The towns of Almor are communal living spaces where the people living within them attempt to live their lives in accordance with their own ideas about spirituality and living in harmony with nature. They tend to believe that as a community each town is able to live in harmony through shared respect and a deep, spiritual connection which gives them an almost telepathic understanding of each other.
The homes in the towns tend to be made of cob with each homeowner decorating their home by sculpting the exterior to reflect their own sensibilities – something they take great pride in doing. Every home is lavishly painted from realistic extensions of the home’s sculptures to fantastic hues designed to titillate the eye. Some of the most famous homes from the region include the Willow (a three-story home sculpted to look like a weeping willow tree), the Calvart (a single-story home sculpted to look like a sleeping giant), and Blueberry Wine (a multi-story home sculpted to look like a gigantic bull’s head, with massive horns).
The majority of people within the Prelacy find employment as either farmers, herdsmen, or foresters (mostly in the north). Each of these occupations are treated with reverence for their place within the ecosystem of the area and for helping maintain the balance of nature. To enter into one of these fields of employment is seen as a great privilege.
While resorting to violence is often seen as a sign of weakness within the Prelacy, militias are nonetheless organized and treated as a sacred duty. The southern towns arm themselves with crossbows and polearms (most often either the fauchard or the glaive). In the north militias arm themselves with long bows and battleaxes. These militias train weekly as it is universally recognized within the Prelacy that while the beliefs and goals of the Prelacy are fine, the outside world does not honor them. In order to continue to live their lives as they like they must be able to defend themselves.
There are four major holidays recognized by the majority of people within the Prelacy:
On this day, usually around the 20th of Wealsun, each town celebrates the longest day of the year by throwing a party with lots of food, good music, and welcoming strangers into their homes. This day is seen as a holy day where the bounties of nature are consumed with relish.
The Marshall’s Day
Marshall’s Day is held each year on the third Thursday of Harvester. On this date each town sends its best archer and fighter to Chathold. There they compete to determine who is the best in slew of competitions. The overall winning town is given the Chalice of Almor (which is said to bring with it a bountiful harvest the following year and a boom in the town’s population).
On the last Sunday of Planting each town selects a newlywed couple and helps them build their home over the course of the following month. This new construction is a basic, cob home designed to give the couple a safe place to live while allowing them to sculpt the exterior to their own sensibilities in the coming decades of living together and growing their own families.
On the first Monday of Patchwall the people of Almor begin creating effigies of their misdeeds from the previous year. Over the course of the next two weeks they finish the effigies and then fill them with their sins. How this is done varies with each community, but it is common that the sins are whispered into the ear of the effigy. On the last Monday of Patchwall the effigies are brought out into the town square and burned while drums are played until the last ember dies. It is believed that if the drumming stops before then that the sins of the community will come back threefold.
The people of the Prelacy tend to hold the following beliefs and traits:
- Conflicts within the community can always be resolved in a nonviolent manner.
- No livestock, fish, or fowl raised in the community is to be slaughtered for meat.
- All beings are one and that to harm another is to harm oneself.
- They are honest and compassionate in all their relationships.
- The planet is a sacred place and should be treated as such.
- They accept personal responsibility for their actions and view each act as a conscious choice made by the individual.
- Vegetarianism is the most common diet.