Hrestoli

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@compuserve.com)
Date: Tue 06 Jun 1995 - 09:30:00 EEST



Sandy listed some cultural, religious, social and political reasons why Loskalmic Hrestolism isn't going to degenerate into hereditary feudal patterns (just yet). I think there's another significant factor: these guys are meant to be "Idealists". Most of the high-up folk who run the state probably are imbued with Hrestoli Virtue, Piety, Chivalry, etc. They'll be trying to promote other people who act the same way. I know I'm not the kingdom's greatest admirer, but I'm sure most senior Hrestoli think that they are "good men". (Their priggish self-righteousness is of course one of the things that annoys me about Loskalmi!).

"Hereditary rights are hereditary wrongs!" -- the modern form of Hrestoli
Idealism worshipped in Loskalm is still new enough to be fervently followed throughout most of the kingdom. Some folk still alive today can remember and describe the atrocities that prevailed in the Bad Old Days, before King Siglat reformed the land. As readers of the "Genertela Book" know, the Loskalmi tend to blame anything that's wrong in other lands on their hereditary institutions. So while it's "only human" to want to see your kids do well, doing this in an
"impious" fashion (i.e. trying to buck the system) is going to be recognised as
a sin by the Church, a crime by the State (just as other human failings are). Think about the knightly class, for example: try to speed your progress through it, and your superiors must be turning a blind eye to military incompetence, cowardice and (perhaps) unpatriotic behaviour. They'll do this for you, knowing it's their careers and reputations on the line? And if you're such a damn' good knight, will your superiors want to lose your services just yet? "We're beset by the Kingdom of War, Perfe has fallen, all Junora lies exposed, and you want to leave the Battalion to learn how to pray!? Good sir, I beseech you in Hrestol's name, lead us once more against our foes! Have a thought for your comrades: must they suffer, for the sake of your soul's peace?"

Loskalmi are very socially cohesive, surprising perhaps given the apparent individualism encouraged by their religion. (But remember that the kingdom was the largest unified bloc of people under the Syndics Ban: and that happened before the spread of modern Idealism). But the religious focus is on the story of Prince Hrestol, in which one man chooses to dedicate his life to protecting his people, regardless of the consequences for himself. Not about collecting more toys and skill ticks than your neighbours. I'd be suspicious of anyone who wanted to "sprint for the top" -- wouldn't it be more responsible to want to be a good Knight, doing deeds of derring-do for a while, rather than rushing to pass your Knight School exams and move on upwards a.s.a.p? You can study as a wizard when you're older and calmer, and have already "done your bit" in the ranks for the kingdom...

[NB: The kingdom of Loskalm formalises parts of Hrestol's story in its basic social institutions. Thus, a Farmer who wishes to enlist in the Army must swear the same oath Hrestol took, declaring his readiness to die if necessary to save his people. This is, interestingly enough, very similar to the oath sworn by the Xemelan Healers, an order of black nuns which offers another path upwards through the classes of Loskalmi society, one which does not require the attainment of military rank.]

With all that said, as a "good man" I'm sure jolly old King Gundreken is willing to turn a blind eye to some of the failings of his followers. I'd see him as perhaps like TH White's old King Arthur in "Candle in the Wind", choosing not to notice that his best friend and wife are betraying him. I don't think he's harsh or unreasonable: after all, everyone loves the King! (But some might ask: is he perhaps too *weak* to act in these cases. When they do so, the unseen audience boo and hiss, and look forward to our villains' come-uppance).

More good sources for Loskalmi idealist/virtuous attitudes are the chivalric romances of the Knights of the Round Table, Charlemagne's Paladins, and Michael Moorcock's excellent novel "Gloriana". Sure, there's evil men among the heroes: but they're not all Mordreds, or Ganelons, or Quires. Sure, they can be misled, or mistaken, or corrupted, or blind to their own (and others') shortcomings: but that's where plots and stories come from. Perfection gets boring after a while: just look at Galahad!



Nick


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