So, last post I was doing a little world building for a story that I’m planning to write. The nation of Merethal is ruled by a merchantile oligarchy called the Mediere, and the upper crust of the nation goes by the same name. This is a very materialistic group of people who see wealth as the measure of all things. The population of Merethal is divided into three main classes: the Mediere (again, powerful, wealthy social elites), the Sanguinary [not sure I’m keeping this name, it seems a little too on the nose] (a small middle class made up mostly of soldiers along with a few clerk, scholars, and bureaucrats who glean off the wealth of the Mediere and keep the nation in order), and the Posanieu (the lower class poor and near poor which makes up the great body of the people). I have to admit that I’m drawing some of my model from Richard Niebuhr’s Moral Man and Immoral Society.

The Mediere are made up of the top 2% of the populace of Merethal so, since the current population of Merethal is about 15 million people, the Mediere are made up of about 300,000 extremely wealthy individuals.

The Sanguinary are made up of an additional highly trained 25% of the population, so about 3.75 million people who are highly trained soldiers, scribes, paper-pushers, researchers, etc who serve the Mediere directly and make up a small middle class in the nation.

The Posanieu make up the remaining 73% of the population, about 10.95 million people, and generally range from very low paid servants and day laborers to conscripted peasant levies to beggars and criminals.

Further, the southern parts of the nation are no host to a further 1.5 million refugees fleeing the warfare in Azan. So, the southern portion of Merethal is in chaos at the moment, and the city of Merethal is smack-dab in the middle of it.

After doing a little more thinking (and consideration of actually populations of Europe during an appropriate time period) I’m also changing the demographics of Mathal.

So, the total population of Mathal is 768,000 (approximately). About 1o,000 of these are Mediere (a number of the Mediere have left for the north to avoid the influx of refugees); about 200,000 are Sanguinary, and there are currently over 100,000 trained, professional soldiers in the city working to keep the peace; and there are about 558,000 Posanieu in the city. Add to this a further 300,000 refugees in the city itself (many living on the streets), and even more camped outside and you begin to get the picture. The city is currently under martial law and is heavily patrolled not only by the normal garrison, but also by the additional troops supporting them.

So, in the midst of all of this, I have two main characters that I’m going back and forth between:

Rikard – Rikard is one of the Posanieu, but he is in an even worse position that most Posanieu. Rikard’s parents died when he was young and he’s grown up on the streets. He’s been a guide, a pickpocket, and has been caught for burglary before. If fact, if he’s brought in again, it’s very likely that he will lose a hand (the legal code is kind of a progressing 3-strikes system, the first time you are caught, you are forced to repay [often through service] your victim, the second time you suffer an ‘appropriate’ physical punishment, and the 3rd time you’re brought in you are executed). So, Rikard begs for a living. He would like to work, even as just a cleaner or low-level servant, but the influx of refugees has made it harder than ever to find work, and he has no really ‘marketable’ skills. Rikard has essentially given up on finding a job.

A story about Rikard would probably revolve around another, secondary character. This character would either be a Knight from Fa’ar who grew up in the slums of Merethal and ‘sees himself’ in Rikard, thus taking him on as a squire, or the character would be someone attempting to start a business against the wishes of the Mediere and looking for workers/protection/support.

Sizma Hathar – Sizma is a refugee from Azan. He is in his late thirties and, before being driven out, was one of the best cobblers in his (rather large) city. Sizma has lost everything though. His business is gone, and he has no family to fall back on. Sizma wants to start a business in Merethal, but he needs 1) capital, and 2) permission. He’s attempted to join the cobbler’s guild, but the Mediere strictly control craft and trade. It is impossible to join the guild without the backing of a Mediere merchant, and it is impossible to meet with a Mediere merchant without the backing of the guild (it’s a closed system designed to only allow the apprentices of guild members to become guild members). Beyond this, I’m not entirely sure where to go with this story-line though.

I have considered attempting to combine the two concepts and have Sizma be the person who is trying to start a business from the Rikard concept, but I’m not really sure which way I’m going to take the story at this point.

So, anyone have any thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “Merethal and Mathal

  1. If Rikard has been caught for burglary before, and had to repay through services – who did he have to repay? Was there any compassion there? Perhaps (cliché alert) he had to do service for a merchant, whose daughter/son/partner realised there was something more to Rikard – although couldn’t technically help at that time. Could Rikard have been thrown together with Sizma somehow and the pair of them go back for help? Has Rikard been framed for something and is a fugitive? Framed by one of the Sanguinary who is vying for power within his faction/guild?

    1. Hey NQ. I hadn’t actually thought about that before. Off the top of my head I’m going to have to say that no, there wasn’t any compassion. Although, I think it was a Sanguinary clerk that Rikard stole from, and he served as an indentured slave in the man’s household for six months to pay the debt. I don’t like the idea of the daughter/son/partner, mostly because it does feel cliched and overdone. I am actually leaning towards the idea of Rikard and Sizma somehow working together, not sure how that’s going to work though, but I don’t want Rikard to be a fugitive. I think that would make the idea of them working together more difficult to handle, especially in a short story.

      1. Did he learn anything useful in the clerk’s household, then? About the way things work, perhaps? A reason he would be useful to Sizma, apart from brawn? Who needs to be bribed, who is blackmailing whom, what paperwork is required, who is honest and incorruptible?

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