Life in the Hearthland

This book, by Saront de Vayenne, is meant to be a travelogue to describe the land of the Avars to the inhabitants of the other kingdoms in the North. The narrative is thin, describing Saront’s wanderings through the city of Miles and the various peoples he encounters.

To understand the land of the Avars one must first understand the classes that live within. The first are the slaves; unlike the slaves of Essad, slaves in Byrne or Meirenia or Thyrnesse are not simply men and women who have been captured and sold (or the children of those men and women). Thyrnessans make no slave-raids. They do not buy slaves from the Reavers. Slavery is one of the lawful punishments meted out by Hierean priests. In addition to fine (the lesser punishment) and death (the greatest), being sold into slavery makes up the juristicial trifecta. In addition, any man may sell himself into slavery to cancel a debt or to seek protection. Slaves always wear about their throats a close-fit collar of black iron links to remind them of their status.

The second class in Avarine society is the peasant. Thyrnesse lives on the peasants sweat. ALl food is grown by peasant farmers (though cotters and landless folk may sometimes arrive for harvests and then move on). Serfdom, or land-bondage, is rare and most peasants own their own strips of land and work in the land of their lords.

Above (or perhaps alongside) the peasantry are the Adventurers. They are not as prestigious as merchants and not as docile as peasants. They sometimes work for the crown and sometimes against it. Most rational folk give them a wide berth, but the singers do love them, and in Thyrnesse in particular they are quite popular.

Then comes the merchant class. They are a kind of peasant, though some have grown wealthy enough to buy lesser titles in the nobility. The sumptuary laws forbid Milean Red from being worn on any of less than noble rank.

The nobles themselves are divided into several major classes that being of the least (landless knights, promoted merchants), the lesser (knights, minor clergy), the moderate (small barons), the upper (counts and other major figures) and the greatest (the Dukes of Thyrnesse). To live in an Avarine society is to live in one fundamentally shaped by the class to which one belongs.

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Life in the Hearthland

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius