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The Vritrian Dynasty

Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Vritri shines, and shines, almost alone, a star.
 

Example Clans

The names and heraldry of each royal kshatriya family is based on a phylogenetic family (or subfamily) of birds and translated to one the Yoljan Languages, individual households within a family then get their names from a bird genus within that family. For example the Dvohloṣū (phasianidae) Clan might have, the pheasants, the partridges, the peafowl, the turkeys, the tragopan, the junglefowl, and the quails each as separate houses.  
As things currently stand, there are no pre-set Nagavanṣi in this setting. They will be created as and when needed using the guidelines and questions found in The Clan Burner. All we know so far is that the Phasianidae Clan and the Trochilidae Clan are canon.
 
The six queens tried to comfort him
Folk-Tales of Bengal #238 by Warwick Goble

Structure

Yoljana has a very stratified society. The naga-empress Vīra-Mahātmā Vritri, descended from the Scions of old and prophesied to rule the country, is the absolute monarch. She exerted her influence with the aid of her husbands the Nagas—dragon-gods—to ensure order and safety for the continent and its people. Until very recently she ruled from the city of Vritrapur, but since ascending to the stature of a demigod she has not been seated at the azure throne for almost 5 years.   Intrigue is provided by the courtiers of the various noble families who attend the Nagaraji. There are perhaps hundreds of vaṃśas—dynasts—among the kshatriya scions of Vritri, warrior-princes who's birthright and innate power helps to impose the varna—social caste system—in her realm. When Vritri first conquered the Yoljan lowlands, she united the mortal kings and queens—the original kshatriyas—under her rule by marrying her exalted children to them. Within three centuries, almost the entire royal class of Yoljana had been replaced by Vritri's litter, and every Nagavaṃśa in the country can trace their lineage to her.  
A willingness to sacrifice is the essential quality that defines uprightness. A Kshatriya never declines to duel; and always shows bravery, skill, chivalry, and patience in the face of war. A Kshatriya donates their services to the society and protects it's citizens so they can fulfil their Dharma; for that is itself the Dharma of a Kshatriya.
— १८-४३
  Each royal clan–or vaṃśa–has a slightly different internal structure, usually depending on their original kshatriya traditions. Most of them are still feudal, with a single prince or princess of the blood ruling over a province or state in Yoljana. Others form an elected triumvirate, or an oligarchy, or in some rare instances a parliament formed by meritocracy or theocracy. Regardless of how rule themselves, all Nagavanshi are ultimately subservient to Mother Vritri.   Despite the changes to the kshatriya class brought about by Vritri's reign, the kshatriya clans and their retainers still see to the material protection and the welfare of the people in general, and the rest of the Yoljan varnas were mostly conserved: Spiritual welfare rests in the hands of the pedanda, who are the celibate class of ascetic priests, poets, teachers, and protectors of sacred learning across the generations, and who's population is kept replenished by certain Yoljan traditions (see below). Then there are the vaishya who fulfil traditional roles in agriculture and animal-husbandry, but who may also be landowners, traders, or money-lenders; and the shudras who are theoretically only meant to be labourers and serfs, but who can in reality end up filling almost any other role in Yoljan society, some of whom have even become distinguished savants and warriors.   These other castes have vanṣi too; but they function more simply, like occupational surnames and family units, rather than full organisations in need of their own internal jurisdiction. Though several vanṣi of cotton farmers, weavers, embroiderers, and dyers, may aggregate form a textiles guild—or śreṇi—for example. Such śreṇi need proper approval from the local Kshatriya rulers to be recognised and to gain certain rights and the like, otherwise they are just a group of friendly vanṣi who often do business together.
These secular artisans are one segment of commoners who enjoy privileges and respect above other merchants and labourers. By making the construction of every day things—like the implements of war, or fashion, or theatre and music productions—into a high art form, the śreṇi have earned the protection and patronage of the Kshatriyas.   Below even the the shudras are the dalit (lit. 'broken / scattered' ones) who have lost most of their legal rights in Yoljana. Dalits may be taken as slaves, or killed by a Yoljan citizen without recompense. (Citizen of Yoljana are normally protected from slavery unless they are first disenfranchised likes this). And though a pedanda is allowed to reinstate a dalit as a shudra, few do because of the legal hurdles involved. Many dalits try to leave the continent or take up banditry in the remote countryside. Finally, since the advent of seafaring across the Urobos Sea, there is also a disparate class of foreigners in Yoljana; but gaining rights of residency is almost as difficult for a foreigner as it is for a dalit, unless they are a Scion and get adopted into the Nagavaṃśa.
The camel-driver alighted tied the camel to a tree on the spot and began smoking
Folk-Tales of Bengal #170 by Warwick Goble

History

Some time during The Age of Kings in the current era, it is said that Vritri was guided by divine hands as a young shaman on the Balram-Aham steppes in Yoljana. Her people were some of the only surviving Human Scions from the reclamation era; sheltered up there from most great calamities. She was supposedly granted a vision by Loke Herself, and thence made pilgrimage to the seven dragon-shrines that border those mountain-ranges. At each shine she met with one of Loke's avatars—the great naga kings—and they gave her a quest: Yoljana is littered with ancient ruins and artefacts of forgotten power, and the soon-to-be 'Dynast-Queen' liberated many such things from the dust and took their power all for herself. She was tasked with travelling all of Yoljana to learn of the peoples in the lowlands and know their plights under constantly warring states. One task supposedly even sent her to Heaven, to requisition divine favour from the gods themselves. Her seventh task was to unify the disparate peoples of the highlands under her singular rule. Her reward for completing each task was marriage to the dragon. Thus, with the seven prime aspects of Loke as her husbands, Vritri's final task was the unify the whole of Yoljana and to re-instate an ancient naga dynasty—as prophesied by the Priestess of Bahamootbali in the Ahrishastras—thus she is also by the title 'The Husbander of Dragons'.   Vritri rose from obscurity, united the nomadic people of the steppes, and then invaded the lowlands of Yoljana. With high-quality iron tools and armour, the magic of her Great Soul, lost artefacts from the golden ages, the blessing of heaven, the guiding hand of the naga kings, and her new pure-blooded Scions, she was almost unrivalled as subjugated the old kshatriya monarchs. Each bowed to her in allegiance; agreeing that she should be their Queen. With such overwhelming favour, Vritri's conquest of Yoljana did not often involve battle, or in some cases the battles were only a formality with few casualties. Indeed, many of the earlier nomadic wars that she waged on her own people were bloodier, as many refused her claims and potentially had the power to stop her. There were some kshatriyas who tried to stop her in the lowlands too though, usually those with cities built on ruins from the mythic eras, who also had access to powerful artefacts, or who were ruled by disparate Incarnates: And so Vritri was forced to lay siege to them, and slay them if they still refused to bow to her after she annexed their towns.   Yoljana is a gigantic continent though, so in total it took her well over a hundred years to unify the entire country. Particularly since she was always careful to legally secure her victory in each locale before continuing to the next: Following the laws of the varna she'd learned in her previous travels, she would marry one or two of her children off to each of the kings or queens that she conquered, and then stay in their palaces for a a year or two, getting to know them while her armies recouped; and also giving her time to produce more offspring for future invasions. This tactic would in-turn reintroduce a pure Naga blood-line back into the kshatriya vanṣi who would remain loyal to her long after the original mortal rulers of each locale had passed on.   Towards the end of her campaign, more and more of the remaining old kshatriya clans cottoned onto Vritri's plan, and some then began to refuse her marriage proposals or ask for greater recompense. In many of these instances she would find another local popular vaṃśa who was more favourable to her, and organise with them a coup against the current rulers. Or in rare instances she would just use overwhelming force to take over the province and then give the land directly to one of her own children. These later tactics were seen by some as being more crude and dishonourable, and they occasionally still cited to this day to call into questioning the legitimacy of certain kshatriya's right to rulership.   Then she manufactures the pillars of her edicts (see right), and in the centuries that followed saw the counties collective quality of life and standard of living dramatically raise above the rest of the world. The central continent now enjoys its greatest continuous period of peace and prosperity. Nowadays they can produce crucible steel and white jade and other metallurgies, they can harness the forces of electricity, and have even rediscovered some of the secrets of flight; they've built works of art and architecture of such grandeur that perhaps even the ancients could not have dreamed; and most importantly, they caught the trade-winds, learned to sail the sea and skies, and made accord with the nations who skirt the Urobos Sea.   Unfortunately, such great splendour may not last. At the turn of this last decade, Vritri become so powerful and so beloved that she was granted the gift of ascension. She then became the Nagaraji or 'Dragon-Empress', a true demi-god. Supposedly she is now the goddess and supreme ruler of the central empire, but she has not been seen or heard from directly for almost four years. Civil unrest is brewing on the dragon isles; and things may come to a head with a succession war that threatens to shatter the kingdoms once more.

Territories

Yoljana cover
This is a heightmap of Yoljana. The paler the hue the higher the area. Water is coloured black, despite the fact that most of the lakes are above sea-level. Yoljana literally translates to "The Realm of Lakes". At the centre is The Heavenspear, which rises well above any other mountain on the island, but any mountain range with white spots is about 5-km above sea-level.   The red ring around this map is centred on the spear and is 360-yoj in diameter. Each pixel of this map is 2-kos², so 2 pixels is about a day's travel walking on flat land. The surface area of this circle is approximately 15 million square kilometers (so the Yoljan continent itself is about the size of Antarctica).   The capital city of Vritrapur is somewhere in the central bay, on a river, on the coast, on the low-lands side, which has a climate similar to the Mediterranean. The rest of the Vritran lowlands are temperate farmlands, with some jungles in the South and North-East. The highlands are drier, and semi-tropical, and there are some small areas of desert where the bauxite for white jade is found. The Western slopes are heavily forested. The mountains are rich in minerals.

Religion

Vritri herself came from an animistic religious background that taught that one should respect the souls of all things, but in-turn seek to emulate the greatest of all souls—the nagas themselves—to be assertive in life, and to in-turn find peace of mind in death. But she also saw merit within the teachings of the varied pantheons and religions that she found while travelling the lowlands. She knew that attempting to completely co-opt their way of life and especially their religious beliefs would likely cause rebellion, so she tried to emphasise the same principles through native philosophies.   Her emphasis on the virtues of ahimsa—respect to all religious teachers, equal respect for and study of each other's scriptures, and rational faith—explains why centuries later, the Yoljanian people are still very devout: Where an overall respect for the nagas and their scions has precipitated out to the top; but individual gods, beliefs, and rituals are still worshipped, shared, and practised; and so the actual ways of life have been able to evolve naturally rather than being usurped entirely. It helped that a lot of Yoljan religions have their roots tied in some form or another to the four puruṣārtha, particularly to Dharma (duty, truth, and right way of living) because of the physical presence of the The Heavenspear on Yoljana and it's patron Lord Atala, the god of Dharma.
 
Legacy
The pillars marked a turning point in history, and the Yoljan people quickly came to favour the empress's reign because of them. That favour turned to love and adoration in the decades and centuries that followed; as she delivered on almost all of the promises made in the edicts, and then some. Quality of life has significantly improved for all residents on the isles (even for those considered to be in poverty, like the Shudras and the Dalit), and [by their own standards] Yoljana is considered to be the wealthiest and most populous nation in the known world.

Ethics

Marriage & Relationships

After a legitimate non-daivavara marriage (see below), the groom joins the bride's household and social caste and they stay together with her family until they can afford to branch out and raise raise their own family. During this time, the new husband is also expected takes on the role of a guru—teacher or governor—helping to raise some of their family in-law's children (either by taking on apprentices, or by helping out with general education and child-rearing). Or if the marriage was between a mortal and a scion then the mortal takes on the role as guru instead, regardless of gender. In a legitimate non-religious marriage the child always takes on the varna of it's mother, in a daivavara relationship the children are always born pedandas.   Children are treated with great respect in Yoljan society, especially the children of the Nagavanshi who all have the potential to become Scions. The parents should raise their children themselves once they move to their own household (at least until their own children start getting married and moving in, and then the cycle continues), so occupational nannies and babysitters are very rare. A married mortal couple is expected to have at least 2 children in their lifetime, whereas an immortal pair are expected to have 2 or more children each century, so long as they can to raise afford them and pay their dowries. Having more children than you can afford to raise is considered a great vice and deemed unfair on the child. Children should be raised under the same, or better, conditions than their parents; this way always leads to self-improvement. If that can't be done then the child should be fostered to an older, richer, couple on either side of the family, or taken to a religious orphanage.  
On Adoption
Different families in The Vritrian Dynasty have different policies on adoption. Among the Nagavanshi, adoption can occur if the child turns out to be a Scion, and child who was previously considered an illegitimate outcaste might suddenly be welcomed back to the family. The practice of adopting foreign Scions into the dynasty is also gaining popularity among certain kshatriya clans; though some still frown on this behaviours, preferring to keep their pedigrees 'pure'. Formal adoption can be done in two ways: Legitimising a marriage, or getting the blessing of a qualified pedanda to change a person's varna. Either way, you must prove that you will be afford to pay them a dowrie. If they are already married, then they can no longer be adopted or change varna. (A Scion from any class can always become a pedanda though, simply by taking the proper oaths and having another pedanda witness, and any child who stays in an orphanage past puberty also joins the pedanda class).
On Fertility & Womanhood
Human women of The Vritrian Dynasty seem to experience a seasonal estrous cycle, rather than a monthly menstrual cycle. It is thought that is is something to do with the mix between mammalian and reptilian blood in their systems. This means that they have extended fertile periods several times per year. Hence, over time, it has become a traditional to hold various fertility festivals in towns and villages across the country at least once per season, and especially in the spring, to celebrate this fact. Also because Loke is strongly associated with fertility, being the Cosmic-Mothers Herself, it is thought that this also explains why the transference of the Incarnates power happens via reproduction rather than reincarnation, and why Scion women do not experience menopause. All of this combines to make Yoljanian society incline more towards forming matriarchies, though some vanshi remain patriarchal.
 

Wedding Traditions

Compared to other places in the world, marriage in the Yoljana is generally viewed as more of a secular institute. In Yoljana there are traditionally seven types of marriage. Four of them are considered to be 'legitimate', and three types are 'illegitimate'. More than anything else this is a legal technicality that mostly relates to whether or not the bride and groom receive their dowries; though the bastard of an illegitimate marriage is also considered a dalit unless their parents legitimise the marriage later. From this point of view there are no children produced 'out of wedlock', rather, the act of conceiving a child with someone you're not already married to is just an illegitimate type of marriage ritual (usually legally considered to be a rakshavivāh if it was just consensual sex that leads to impregnation).
Legitimate Rituals
Kamavivāh
Also known as a svayaṃvara or lovely-wedding. In these types of weddings, typically, the bride picks her groom from a line-up of suitors (though it can also be the other way around). The bride will have the suitors compete in some fashion, or she may just choose based on appearance or reputation, or perhaps based on some other condition.
A kamavivah must be publicly announced to the local region, so that the potential suitors of the same social varna have a chance to come to the event and meet the bride. Sometimes the bride and her paramour may pre-arrange that she will choose him regardless of the competition, so this is the closest to "marriage for love" that it gets in the realm of lakes. Once chosen, the groom is garlanded with blue silk. This type of marriage is considered the most romantic type of marriage, but they are a little uncommon because of their relative unpredictability (i.e. they do not strictly require the parent's permission, and since calling a svayaṃvara must result in a suitor being chosen from the line-up, if no-one shows up then you must have a daivavara instead). So it's generally thought that marriage is better used to secure business contract between. The final ceremony takes place outside at midnight, preferably during a full moon.
 
Dharmavivāh
Also known as a smritivara or truthful-wedding. This type is most common among the kshatriyas and vaishyas. The suitors are picked by their families when they are still young, usually during private-invite events where both family's children show off their talents to the guests, and then the adults discuss trade-deals. Any marriage contracts drawn up at these events are made effective as soon as they're finalised and signed; making the two children fiancées for many years. Once both suitors are considered to be 'of age', which is once they've both completed their student-hood (usually about 15-20), the contract will be re-assessed by both families and if it gets ratified then the marriage will go ahead, and plans for the formal ceremony can commence. The final wedding ritual is performed inside at dusk, preferably somewhere high up.
 
Arthavivāh
Also known as a karyavara or wealthy-wedding. These are less common, but typically occur if the opportunity to organise a dharmavivah was missed, or if the deal falls-though before final ratification. This is considered the next best thing by some. In this case a so-called "late contract" is made by both families who want to do business and have children that are currently of age to secure the deal with. Usually, the suitors are chaperoned by an uncle or aunt while their families draw up the contracts. These typically involve much more aggressive bargaining, as one side is generally more desperate than the other, especially if the bride is a mortal in her late twenties. Large shares or promises of positions of power are common. The wedding ceremony takes place outside at midday, preferably with a local noble person or soldier present as witness.
 
Mokshavivāh
Also known as a daivavara or religious-wedding. These weddings only really happen if neither a smritivara or karyavara were possible, or if a svayaṃvara fails to bring any suitors. This is a wedding to a local pedanda, priests who took oaths of celibacy. This type of wedding is the only exception to their oath; and so this also helps to maintain the ascetic class, all of their children will also be pedandas from birth. This is considered a high honour and the most virtuous type of wedding; but since it also effectively disowns them and their children from their original vamza, some people have misgivings about religious-weddings. These rituals are officiated by the priest in question and take place indoors at dawn, preferably at sea level or by a lake-shore.
 
Ilegitimate Rituals
Asuravivāh
Here, the groom or bride gives presents and money to their partner's family to get their approval, but these 'gifts' are often little more than a thinly veiled price-tag on their hand in marriage. This kind of marriage often occurs when the bride and groom are not of the same social stature. The typical price for a shudra to marry a vaishya, for example, is a bull and two cows. Because this type of marriage feels more like a transaction, and especially if there's a difference in vanṣi, the partners are not often treated equally in the relationship.
 
Rakshavivāh
This is essentially marriage by abduction. In this case, both partners are of age and ready to marry, but one or both families are against the marriage. One partner 'kidnaps' the other and takes them back to their home to marry them instead. This act is meant to be part of the ritual, but some families treat it more like a pantomime, others take it more seriously which can result in bloodshed. It is essential that both partners are willing, otherwise this is treated as a type of paishavivāh instead.
 
Paishavivāh
This type of marriage is now outlawed in most provinces. In this marriage, one or both partners are intoxicated, possessed, unconscious, tricked, or otherwise unwilling when being married and are thus being married without proper consent. In the places it's outlawed this is legally treated the same as rape, with consequent cosmic vengeance and retribution according to certain scriptures, even if no sexual contact is ever made between the partners.
 

Polyamory and Sexuality

Typically, a person in Yoljana only takes one spouse. But Mahātma Vritri herself is a prime example of a polyandrous woman; famously taking seven legitimate husbands—the dragons themselves—as well as one mortal husband during the 4th century—the so-called 'court hummingbird'—and three royal wives from separate foreign scion kingdoms. She also allegedly had numerous illegitimate paramours and concubines. In a sense, this is a legal loop-hole, but it's recognised and celebrated as the proper way to take multiple partners: Yoljanians receive their dowries from their first legitimate marriage only. Afterwards, they may illegitimately marry anyone they choose. Then they may legitimise that new marriage by re-marrying again, but this time via a kamavivāh. If a man takes two wives for example, though, that doesn't mean that his wives are automatically married to each other as well, though they could be via a separate wedding. All these weddings can get quite expensive, so this is why it's also generally only the kshatriyas who can afford to engage in polyamory.   Further to this, sexual conduct out of wedlock and homosexual relationships are not a particularly frowned upon, so long as no children are produced illegitimately. In fact, a homosexual partner is sometimes even preferred as a romantic pursuit because there's no natural chance of offspring. However, because children are so important the the Vritrian dynasty, in the case that a same-sex couple wants to legitimately marry, they either need to already have children with another legitimate partner, or they need to prove they will be capable of producing fertile offspring using magic or other means. Thus, it could even be argued that bisexuality is the assumed norm, at least among the Nagavanshi.  
Divorcees and Widowhood
Widowed mortals are not expected to re-marry, unless they have no legitimate children or are still relatively young. Being functionally immortal, widowed Scions are expected to remarry within 20 or 30 years. The customary grievance period is until the next Tenebrosity. Both the death of a partner or a divorce means that any contracts made as part of the marriage are reassessed and have to be re-ratified by both families. Divorces in Yoljana are somewhat rare, and only really occur officially if the two families break their contracts and get in a row, or if things start getting abusive or violent between the couple. Divorce was more common in the days before Vritri's reign. The term "sutured couple" is used as an insult to refer to people who are surreptitiously only still together because of their contractual obligations, who no longer love each other (or perhaps never did), but don't want to get divorced. This is another reason why polyamory might occur. Or alternately, if a pair has gained a reputation as a sutured couple, they might have a kamavivāh second-marriage just to shake their reputation and cut the gossip.  
Avoiding Marriage
Shudras and vaishyas who want to avoid marriage can do so quite easily, but if a Nagavamza wants to remain a bachelor they really only have two options: The best way—that is, the right honourable method—is to become an ascetic, go through the rituals, and eventually take the oaths to become a fully-fledged pedanda, and then simply avoid attending any mokshavivāhs. The bad way is to delay, avoid the topic, decline all offers, blank any suitors, or to deliberately sabotage the contract if you're in a pre-arranged marriage; this behaviour will surely draw the ire of both families, and will give you bad reputation, but may be successful. Either way, a Vritrian Scion who avoids marriage will never receive their dowry.
At dawn he used to cull flowers in the forest
Folk-Tales of Bengal #181 by Warwick Goble
The jackal opened his bundle of betel-leaves put some into his mouth and began chewing them
Folk-Tales of Bengal #218 by Warwick Goble
 

The Dowry

The second most important reason to get married (and arguably the reason why these complex traditions are so well honoured) is because the bride and groom both receive their dowries on their first legitimate wedding day. That is, their inheritance: Money, heirlooms, land, animals, and other resources. In a world where the noble classes can live for centuries, waiting for the death of a parent to get a share of the dynasty is simply impractical. From this, we see how marriage is seen by the kshatriyas as the final a step into adulthood; whereby one finally starts to take life seriously, so thence takes control of their resources to cultivate and grow into an investment than can be divided into the next generation.   There is also no legal concept of a last will and testament: When a parent does die, their resources first go evenly to their spouses, and then to be split among their offspring as a sort of stipend if no spouses remain. We now see then, how the idea of a hereditary position of power (such as the azure throne) is somewhat unheard of; and so this is where a big part of the central tension surrounding Vritri's ascension stems from, having named no successor when granting her children any of their dowries, and since she's not technically dead anyway, and neither are any of her husbands... Everyone is very confused.
Founding Date
82 CE (the year of Vritri's birth)
0 VA in the Yoljan calendar
Type
Political, Family
Alternative Names
Scions of the Dragon-Empress
Demonym
Nagavaṃśa (pl. Nagavanṣi)
Government System
Monarchy, Absolute
Power Structure
Feudal state
Economic System
Traditional
Currency
Iron and Amala Mintage
(The 'White Jade' Standard)
Notable Members

The Pillars of Society

Between 232 and 268 CE, after the vast majority of the Yoljan continet had come under her rule, the Dynast-Queen commissioned the construction of 60 heptagonal 10-foot marble pillars with a list of major edicts engraved on each face in a different language, which were transported to and erected in major cities and crossroads across the country. In the years that followed, in hundreds other locations the same edicts were put on city walls as plaques or reproduced as steles, and a group of itinerant monks even went around carving them into cave mouths or large roadside boulders. Minor edicts were also distributed to town-centres on stone tablets; and about a century later a book entitled 'One Thousand Correct Edicts: The Pillars of Great Society' containing updated versions of all of the edicts, plus many new ones, was published in several languages and many were placed in public libraries. These edicts formed the first writings in the collective works now called the Vritrishastras.   The major edicts, found on the pillars themselves, detailed important information to the common people. They first explain Vritri's origin and give a brief history of the events leading up to her rulership, and then list some of her deeds that the people can be grateful for: One of which is the placement of these very pillars. They go on to explain that she will use her power to try to make life better for her people, and that that task will be made easier if the people themselves know how to best live their lives. The content of the pillars then turns to a religious context, appealing to a freedom of expression by way of the puruṣārthas—objects of human pursuit.
Thus the glory of Dharma will increase throughout the world, and it will be endorsed in the form of mercy, charity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness, and virtue.
— Part of Major Pillar Edict No.7
Because of her own religious background, two of the major edicts speak highly of the dragons and give advice on how one can emulate them if one so chooses. And one of the edicts speaks of animism—the attribution of a living soul to all things—and how one can show proper respect for all things, especially animals and other people. This edict is expounded upon in greater detail by the minor edicts and in Vritri's later writings; describing how all reptiles, including birds, are especially sacred—since they are direct creations of the Cosmic Mothers Herself—and so none should be killed or sacrificed.
Those cows, ewes, and sows which are either with young or in milk, are inviolable, and also those of their young ones which are less than six months old. Cocks must not be caponed (de-spurred and castrated). Indeed, no living being should ever be neutered or otherwise mutilated. Husks containing living animals must not be burnt. And forests must not be burnt either uselessly or in order to destroy living beings.
— Part of Major Pillar Edict No.5
The major edicts also express a concern for fairness in the exercise of justice, caution and tolerance in the application of sentences, and the advocation of proper pardoning for those who obtain freedom via the proper channels. They also speak of morality, proper ethics, and instructions on how to conduct a fair trial if no-one of a higher authority is able to be present.
But it is desirable that there should be uniformity in judicial procedure and punishment. This is my instruction from now on. Men who are imprisoned or sentenced to death are to be given three days respite. Thus their relations may plead for their lives, or, if there is no one to plead for them, they may make donations or undertake a fast for a better rebirth in the next life. For it is my wish that they should gain the next world.
— Part of Major Pillar Edict No.4
According to the edicts, Vritri promised to take great care of the welfare of her subjects (human and animal), and those beyond her borders as well, spreading the use of medicinal treatments, improving roadside facilities for more comfortable travel, and establishing "officers of the faith" throughout the territories to survey the welfare of the population and the propagation of Dharma and good living. The king 'Yona' (of the faun-like deer people whose ancestral home is now the Yonavana forest near the central highlands of the continent and who worship their progenitor god Atala) is named as a recipient of Vritri's generosity, together with the triumvirate of Agartha (the Oreades known as 'Prajapathia', 'Veruna', and 'Yamdev') who make their home beneath the land on which the Yoljanians make theirs.   Lastly, the major edicts issue a full pardon to anyone who still bears a grudge against her while she conquered their land, saying that they are no longer enemies and so all is forgiven. Then they offer to eventually repay three-fold to cost to any peasant family whose land she requisitioned for her army's use during her campaign. The final edict issues a formal apology to the families of the souls of those she was forced to slay in pursuit of her own Dharma, especially those atrocities committed in the highlands; she expressed regret for having done what she did and hopes that they will fin it in themselves to forgive her in their next life once they see what great good she has brought to the land since.  

The Declaration of Distances

The pillars themselves also became a symbol of Vritri beginning to keep her promises and bring peace, because the pillars themselves were also each tool for the Yoljan people. First, because they were written in seven languages, they were used to be able to translate and communicate with people on the other side of the known world. And secondly, as an inscription near the bottom of each 121-inch pillar explained:
The stone of this pillar was commissioned to be exactly one 'imperial ashoka' in height, and exactly one-tenth of that height for the width of each face. Know that one-thirtieth of an ashoka, shall hereby be equivalent to a 'hasta' (hand), and so the face of this prism is one 'pada' (foot) in width. Know too that an ashoka is exactly one one-thousandth of an 'imperial kosh', and to four kosh make a 'yojan'. Finally know that all of this land which I now know as my dominion is defined to be three-hundred-and-sixty yojana in width between it's end-most points.
— From the bottom of the major pillars
The inscription then goes on to explain that a yojan is the optimal distance a man should have to walk in a day, giving a bespoke example based on the distances between the local towns so that a common person can learn to judge distances for themselves; so this implicitly explains why the previously mentioned 'improved roadside facilities' will be spaced approximately one yojan apart. This inscription basically standardised the imperial measurements that the entire continent now uses; and by giving distances in yojana, a man can know roughly how many days he will have to travel in order to trade with other towns.  
They approached a magnificent pile of buildings
Folk-Tales of Bengal #259 by Warwick Goble

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Articles under The Vritrian Dynasty



Cover image: Old French Fairytales by Virginia Frances Sterrett
Character flag image: Vira-Mahatma Vritri by @SeraaronArt

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Author's Notes

My main inspiration for the Vritrian dynasty stems generally from the real world history of the Mongol dynasties (particularly in relation to their conquest of almost all of Eurasia), and specifically from Ashoka of the Indian Maurya dynasty for Vritri herself. The some of the mythology surrounding Vritri and Yoljana can also trace their origins to stories from the Mahābhārata. On the whole, I'd say that Yoljana as a continent is largely inspired by Indian culture and history. Certainly my most common naming scheme for things in Yoljana is based on Sanskrit. I want it to be a vastly diverse place when you look at the details, but I also want for the people to have a relatively unified cultural identity when seen in aggregate.


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iyo
Iyo Nishiura
29 Jan, 2019 21:08

This is a great article. It's very dense and so thorough (I'm a fan) and I love me some subcontinental fantasy! (Also cool to see someone else taking inspiration from the Mongols :D) I’m curious to know a bit more about the internal structure of the dynasty/Vritri’s line. There are lots of terms and names for roles within the dynasty (scion, naga kings, clans) and I was wondering what the relationship between them all is? (Sorry, big question!)

3 Feb, 2019 17:51

I can certainly feel your inspirations from the Mongul dynasties in this amazing article! I especially enjoyed your delve into the love aspect of the dynasty and how marriages and like happen. Great art sourcing, and I enjoyed the height map! Some sections like the History I feel could have benefited from being broken up a bit farther to help them be digestable but otherwise you cover a lot of ground in relatively short time. Great job!


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