Rapani

Early History

The lands north of the Brissa River were forested and unsettled in time and so were ignored by his invading generals.  bands hunted the area in the time of the Six Kingdoms but the grounds were not rich. Gornarod from Zelakova Working also hunted in these lands for L’npei to support the Khia trade.  As a result, by time, only a few Wild L’npei bands ranged the area.

South of the Brissa, the land is more open and had been cleared by the .  The Great Road comes across the Doberai Hills at the eastern end of the Brissa Gap and then makes its way to a relatively easy bridging point where the Vari is shallow and slow.  Before the Expulsion, the Wanderers had built a bridge here and had a small commercial settlement.  When generals arrived, they named the place Varitamtala. The L’npei were unable to maintain the bridge across the Vari and after it was no longer usable, they operated a ferry at the crossing point.

Gens Tripura of the Kingdom of D’mak was assigned the low river country south of the Brissa and west of the Vari, but it did not occupy the upland Doberai Hill country immediately east of the Dro Brissa crossing.  Gens Tripura did however, maintain inns all along the Great Road from Brishanor to Varitamtala.

For many centuries, in the north who wished to embrace the Way of E’lani had fled to the rolling countryside at the foot of the Styritsa Mountains.  There, with help from the Gornarod, they precariously survived.  During last campaigns to capture and penetrate the Brissa Gap, these renegade Dumerai fought beside the Gornarod to stop M'Maoulek’s advance. 

Seven times, sent forces across the Vari River to clear these settlements.  Seven times, the settlers burned their homes and crops, slaughtered their livestock and fled to the shelter of the Styritsa foothills.  Seven times, M'Maoulek failed to break the will of these fierce and independent people.  Their rugged hill forts became known as the E’lanirapa (G-d’s Fortress) and these people, the Rapani.  Later, the entire area occupied by the Rapani became known as the .

M'Maoulek’s Wars ended with the defeat of his army at Brishanor and the subsequent revolt of the United Councilate States. The battles for control of the Brissa Gap are described in detail in the history of Korslik.  What is important to the history of the is that M'Maoulek’s first campaign across the Vari resulted in the destruction of Gens Tripura and the establishment of a settlement on the west bank of the Vari at the old Great Road crossing. The colony flourished until the L’npei of Kempelani recaptured the lands and destroyed it.  Many of the survivors fled north across the Brissa to the hill country. 

The refugees were embraced by their Rapani kinfolk and their settlements sustained by contacts with the Gornarod of the Zelakova and Moslovar workings.  Over time, priests of convinced these refugees to abandon their forbidden machines and to follow the Way of E’lani.

 As the wars continued, the lands in the Styritsa foothills also became home to those dissatisfied with the increasingly machine driven and technological life in provinces.  As M'Maoulek’s Wars across the Vari were reaching their climax, the marches of Usak and Artova filled with a hardy population of yeoman farmers and herders.  The priests of introduced the Rapani to the L’npei of western Pundri and brokered an alliance between them and of the Kempelani kingdom.

In the climactic campaign, forces fought a L’npei army at Sarama in the Doberai Hills, along the route of the Great Road.  M'Maoulek’s forces, although shaken, prevailed and drove the L’npei to Brishanor where they regrouped.  Five days later, the combined Rapani and Gornarod armies under the leadership of Gaberowic of Usak crossed the Brissa behind M'Maoulek’s forces and blocked their line of retreat. The L’npei counter-attacked M'Maoulek's army and shattered it upon the anvil of Gaberowic’s army.

The Great Revolt began soon after.  Many , especially those on the frontiers, had found completeness in the Way of E’lani. When they refused to join in the Great Revolt, they were brutally suppressed or expelled. In the north, these families fled to the , where they were welcomed.  They settled the vacant lowlands east of the foothills and, in time these settlements grew into the marches of Selka, Sivas and Tahir

Following the Great Revolt, army hurried south to defend in the Darjevka Mountains.  The United Councilate States' forces established a defensible border on the east bank of the Vari and defended it thinly, in order to focus to the south.  With this respite, the Rapani settlements consolidated the lands in the triangle formed by the Vari and Dunafolda Rivers and the Styritsa Mountains.

Geography and Population

The occupy the area due east of the Brissa Gap on a triangle of land roughly bounded by the Styritsa Mountains to the west, the Dunafolda River to the north and the Vari River to the east.  These lands are commonly referred to as The Elirapa (G-d’s Fortress).The Elirapa is divided into five independent but closely allied Marches. 

The two oldest, Usak and Artova are nestled in the western foothills of the Styritsa Mountains.  East of them lie Sivas and Tahir, which are called the New Marches.  All four of these Marches lie north of the Brissa River.  The newest and largest of the five Marches is Selka, which occupies the lands south of the Brissa and along the Great Road.

The total area of the is 2,547,200 km².  It is about evenly divided between hill country and lowlands, with Usak predominately hills, Artova and Tahir about even and Sivas and Selka predominately lowland.  The Doberai Hills in the western part of Selka occupy about 14% of its total land area.  This region is more rugged than the rest of the hill country and is sparsely settled.

March

Area

Selka

1,156,800

Artova

588,800

Sivas

334,400

Usak

324,800

Tahir

542,400

The total population of the is 6,314,000, of which almost half, or 2,874,000 live in Selka.  The overwhelming majority of the Rapani live in the countryside as farmers or ranchers.  There are a scattering of market towns and a small capital in each March.

March

Population

Selka

2,169,000

Tahir

847,500

Sivas

835,000

Artova

295,000

Usak

105,000

Three elements dominate the topography of .  To the north lie the Rabkona Hills; the Doberai Hills are in the south; and the broad valley of the Brissa River separates them in the center.  The Rabkona Hills extend from the eastern front of the Styritsa Mountains, parallel to the Dunafolda River for almost 1340 km.  The land is rugged and broken in the west but becomes more rolling as it descends to the Dunafolda and Vari River valleys.  In the center of the hills is a high outcrop that was fortified by the Rapani in the early days of their settlement.  This is the present day site of the town of Taglari.  Further east, a large broken upland area dominates the tip of the Rabkona Hills.  Much of the forest that covered the Rabkona has been logged, although large stands still exist between Tahir and Sivas and along the mountain edge.

The Doberai Hills are a northern extension of the Schodni Mountains, continuing northeasterly for 920 km beyond Mt. Zatow.  The Doberai Hills are higher than the Rabkonas and are broken by steep ravines and hillsides to the north and south.  The center of the Doberai is an area of lower relief, with a gentle climb from Selka City to the ridgeline and an equally easy descent to the Brissa Gap.  The Great Road traverses the Doberai Hills through this country.  These hills were logged in times for many km either side of the Great Road.  Forests still blanket the northern sector of the Doberai.  In the south, isolated stands gradually merge to form the thick growth of the Banakur Forest, on the southern edge of Selka.

is bounded, shaped, defended and nurtured by its rivers.  The Dunafolda marks its northern boundary.  The river is difficult to cross to the west of the Vari, and it serves as Elirapa’s northern moat.  It flows 2040 km from the Kolshod Gorge to the point where the Vari joins it. A ferry crossing exists at Koskivere, on the Kirtoa River.

To the east of lies the Vari, another great river.  The Vari begins deep in the Banakur Forest and travels 2120 km north to the Dunafolda.  The Vari is easily crossed along most of its length, with the best crossing point across from Selka City, where the Great Road bridge once stood.

The Brissa travels easterly across , bisecting it and dividing Selka from the other Marches.  Its tributary, the Brae pours out of the Styritsa Mountains and cuts a narrow valley across western Elirapa, marking the eastern boundary and ancient moat of Usak.  The Brissa is difficult to bridge, with its main crossing point at Inigol, one additional point far upstream and the other about 180 km from the Vari.

Each March maintains an administrative capital that is the primary town of the March.  Of them, only Taglari and Selka exceed 10,000 inhabitants.  Taglari owes its size to its central location and position on the trade route from Korslik to Pundri and to its role as the main commercial center of the north and ancient capital before Selka March was settled.

City

Population

Artiven (Artova)

        4,720

Sivanica (Sivas)

        9,610

Selka (Selka)

      28,739

Inigol (Selka)

6,507

Taglari (Tahir)

      13,560

Zamegaber  (Usak)

        6,510

Selka is the largest Rapani town, located on the Great Road where it crosses the Vari.  Although the bridge is long gone, in peaceful times Selka maintains a ferry service across the river and barges travel from Selka to Kotrath and Kyla, in the Kyla Councilate.

The chartered city of Inigol, located in Selka on the south bank of the Brissa, is a commercial center for the central Brissa valley.  It is also a transshipment point for goods moving by water on the Brissa or by land to Taglari or Selka City.

There are also 95 free towns in the .

There are two main road systems in the .  The Great Road runs east to west, from Korslik to Selka City, connecting Korslik to the United Councilate States.  The Pundri Trade Route runs north from Selka City to Inigol, then across the Brissa to Tahir and from Tahir to Koskivere on the north bank of the Dunafolda.

Secondary roads connect Sivanica, Artiven and Zamegaber to Taglari.  A military road runs from Zamegaber to the Styritsa Workings via the Tarka Gate on the upper Brae River.  A second mountain trail connects Artiven to Zelakova via the Zlada Pass.

Political Structure

Each of the Marches is an independent state within a loose confederation formed to meet the threat posed by the . Selka is by far the largest and is the dominant member of the confederation.

Each March is ruled by a Duke, who is advised by a council comprised of the Rhyde Masters and the Free Town Eschals.

The economic and social life of the countryside is dominated by military organizations known as . The basic purpose of the Rhyde is to raise, equip and train soldiers for the defense of .  All of its ancillary economic and social functions are directed to that end.

All land outside of the towns is owned by the .  The land owned by a particular Rhyde is not contiguous but consists of farms spread throughout the March.  Farms are assigned to members of the Rhyde who have completed military service.  The proprietor has tenure to the land for life.  In return, the proprietors provide the Rhyde with food and agriculture products to support the Rhyde’s military obligations.

 Each fall, all 18 year old males gather outside the march capital for a recruiting fair held by the .  Each Rhyde is obliged to fill a 1,200 man with 18 year olds and any 18 year old who wishes to have a future must either join a Rhyde or seek his fortune in a town. 

The towns and cities operate independently of the Rhyde structure.  By custom, the control the sale of agricultural products within the towns and cities.  All other town occupations are open to all citizens.  Towns permit their citizens to buy and sell property freely and they are exempt from military service.  Instead, each town maintains a town militia that performs policing and garrison responsibilities in peacetime and joins the regular army in wartime.

Military Structure

The Rapani follow the Way of E’lani and their fight in alliance with Gornarod or L’npei.  Their soldiers fight predominantly as infantry with pikes, short chopping swords, and longbows.  These fighters do not use either rifles or power armor.  Rapani armies include Taikahir Bringers.

The basic operational unit of the is called a .  Each Rhyde raises one Battle each year.  The Battle serves together for 10 years and then it is disbanded.  A small proportion of the men will be identified as officer candidates and, depending upon their success and skill, will serve for up to 27 years.

Upon induction a consists of 1,200 recruits.  For its first two years, the Battle spends its time in full time training.  It may see active service, but usually only during the last six months of the training period.

After the training period, the settles into a cycle of three months of active service, six months agricultural labor on farms owned by members of the and three months of large unit training in the fall.  This cycle lasts for three years.

Upon completion of the three year cycle, the enters its final, five year cycle.  It serves two months on active duty, eight months in agricultural labor and two months training with the other Battles.

Upon the completion of ten years of service, the soldiers of the retire and are assigned farms owned by the .  Some will return to family farms that they will inherit as their fathers age.  Others will be assigned to farms that are unassigned or that are held by elderly proprietors.

The Master of the Rhyde appoints the two senior officers of each and they serve at his sufferance, although typically they serve for the full ten year life of the Battle.  The Master of the Rhyde is appointed by the March Commander, however the active and retired Battle commanders of the Rhyde can vote “no confidence” in the Master of the Rhyde and remove him. The March Commander also appoints all brigade and army commanders. The March Commander is an elected officer and he serves a single term of twelve years.  In each March, other than Selka, the Rhyde Masters elect the March Commander.

In Selka, the procedure is slightly different.  There, the Duke selects three contenders from among the Rhyde Masters.  Each Rhyde Master can vote for or against the slate.  If the slate gets a majority of the votes, a second round of elections is held to select the March Commander from among the three candidates proposed.  If the slate fails to get a majority of the votes, the Duke must propose a new slate.  This process continues until a March Commander is elected.  In wartime, the Duke of Selka, together with the Council of Rhyde Masters can remove a March Commander and replace him with a temporary wartime commander.

In operations involving from more than one March, the Selka March Commander takes command.

The of the Marches are almost exclusively infantry.  They are organized along two forms.  The older form, the Usak Battle has Prides of pikes,swordsmen and archers.  The newer Selka Battle has Prides of swordsmen and archers. 

Selka also has one that raises of cavalry that have Prides of lancers and archers.  The Duke of Selka is attended by a cavalry Battle of nine Prides. Five Prides are manned from the Rhydes (one from each of the Marches), one Pride is from the Selka City, one from the towns of the New Marches, one from the towns of the Old Marches and one from the towns of Selka.  The men of these Prides are 28-38 years old and frequently go on to become senior commanders and Rhyde Masters.  All nine Prides are lancers.

Sivas and Selka shoulder most of the burden of defending the Vari River border.  Every three months, one Selka Rhyde garrisons the 24 river watchtowers with a mixed force of 100 warriors per tower.  A second garrisons Fort Inogau, at the mouth of the Brissa River. The Fifth Rhyde patrols the Banakur ForestSelka City is fortified and heavily garrisoned with a town guard of 3,000, the Capital regiment and the Lily Rhyde.  The other fifteen Rhydes occupy five training camps: Doberai Hills, Great Road, Inigol, Vari and Selka.

Sivas divides its six between three camps: Sivanica Castle, Dunafolda and Varinde. The Varinde Camp is responsible for the garrison of Fort Varinde and the four watchtowers along the river.  A town guard of 1,000 garrisons Sivanica Castle.

Usak has two camps, the North Camp and the South Camp. North Camp is near the capital of Zamegaber and South Camp is located in the long southern tail of Usak, on the west bank of the Brissa. Zamegaber has a garrison of 700.   

Tahir has one large camp in the Rabkona Hills and a guard of 1,400 in the capital of Taglari

Artova has one camp along the Brae River and a guard of 500 in the capital of Artiven.