In their early history, the Taolisans were the bloodiest pirates in the Eastern Seas. In the year 113LE [10SA], they were invaded and conquered (113 - 128LE [10-25SA]) by the Lemasan Empire. Until the year 206LE [103SA], the Lemasans occupied the island and forcibly civilized it. In the year 206LE [103SA], a violent rebellion against Lemasa began. The rebellion (206 - 241LE [103-138SA]) won Taolisa full rights as a Lemasan kingdom and freed them from direct imperial control.
Under its first kings (241 - 317LE [138-214SA]), Taolisa broke the power of her warlords and became a unified land. When the Lemasan war with Fomoria began, Taolisa stayed out of it. In the year 468LE [365SA], a decade after Lemasa's defeat, Taolisa declared its full independence and expelled all Lemasans, Afterwards (473 - 653LE [370-550SA]) they returned to the old ways and, through raiding and piracy, levied a tribute on Aurisia, Vasa and Kai'Cera. They remained the terror of these lands until the growth of Dawanism turned Taolisa's eyes inward.
From 659 - 801LE [556-698SA] Taolisa persecuted Dawanism. In the year 801LE [698SA], this persecution led to a civil war that only stopped with the ascension of Taol the Bloodless (808LE [705SA]). Taol, secretly a Dawanist, ended the persecutions and granted religious freedom in the land. During his reign (808 - 822LE [705-719SA]), and that of the next two kings (822 - 885LE [719-782SA]) (a period known as the "Dawanese Monarchy") Taolisa's power waned. In the year 885LE [782SA], following the fleet's defeat by the Lemasans, Taol the Hermit, the reigning king, was assassinate by General Am Cho'vak, who usurped the throne.
Am Cho'vak's reign (885 - 912LE [782-809SA]) was marked by religious persecution, civil war, economic stagnation and military growth. He was hated by many. In the year 912LE [809SA], a band of patriots fought their way into the royal palace, killed the usurper and placed the heir of Taol the Hermit (Irwa) on the throne.
The reign of Irwa the Juggler (912 - 937LE [809-834SA]) changed Taolisa. He made the old faith the state religion, granted Dawanism the right to exist as a philosophy for living and allowed those who followed Lemasan gods to pursue their faith, in private, without harassment. Throughout his reign, he maneuvered the various factions of the nation into working together and, by so doing, united the island. In the year 928LE [825SA], his agents stole Lemasan pilot maps and discovered the Eastern Lands. He used this information to buy freedom from Lemasan aggression and open trade routes to the east. When he died at the age of 60, he was mourned by the entire nation. He was succeeded by his son, Sirhva the Lustful, who would be mourned by none.
Sirhva's reign (937 - 943LE [834-840SA]) was a stagnating and decadent period that almost destroyed the progress made by his father. He spent the riches of the nation on his own pleasure, ignored the army and allowed the navy to weaken through disuse. Twice, through foolishness, he almost forced Lemasa into declaring war. In the year 943LE [840SA], he "accidentally" fell off a high balcony while visiting the Marshal of the Army with his wife, the Lady Tsiema. No one questioned his death (he fell on a sword that just happened to be lying point up in the courtyard - a fluke accident indeed).
The Lady Tsiema served as regent (943 - 959LE [840-856SA]) for her son. During her reign, with the aid of the Marshal of the Army, she repaired the damage done by her husband, fostered stable growth and formed close friendships with members of the royal guard. Sirhva the Lawmaker assumed the throne in the year 959LE [856SA]. After his coronation, Tsiema retired to an estate in the country with a select company of guardsmen. She died in the year 966LE [863SA] of consumption.
During Sirhva the Lawmaker's reign (959 - 1000LE [856-897SA]), the Code of the Dutiful became law, the Guard became the most potent force in the land and Taolisa dedicated itself to trade and neutrality above all else. Since his death, Sirhva's descendants have continued to abide by his policies and Taolisa has become strong and peaceful.
The capital of the nation is Taolis (32,000). Its other city is Irwe (20,000), which was renamed in the year 884 in honor of Irwa the Juggler (on the 50th anniversary of his death). The total population of the nation is 360,000.
Taolisa's army has 1,200 elite footmen (the Royal Guard), 2,400 footmen, 4,800 foot reserves (trained militia spearmen) and 9,600 militia. Its total strength is 18,000 men. The Taolisan fleet has 60 warships, 20 trireme size or larger, and 2,000 trained marines (the Sea Guard). The marines are used in naval battles and to guard Taolisa's harbors.
Taolisa is renowned for fine ceramics, clothing and stonework. Its fields produce rice, rare spices and usable drugs. The nation is dedicated to trade and has a large merchant fleet.
Most Taolisans worship the old gods, Elder Gods of War and the Sea. A sizable minority is Dawanist. There is also a group who worship the Lemasan gods.
Most Taolisans have a suave and cultured veneer that thinly veils the ruthless cruelty of their past. The majority of the population (66%) follows the Old Faith. These people tend to be decent, kind and lusty people with a hidden streak of ruthlessness. They can be courageous, sadistic and vicious.
About 25% of the population are Dawanists. They have the basic personality above with much grater self - control. They try to avoid violent situations, for fear that they will be unable to restrain themselves and will do unholy damage to their enemy. These Taolisans are quiet, introspective and passive.
The remainder of the population (9%) retains their faith in Lemasa's religion. These people are completely evil, amoral and deadly. They combine the cunning, greed and amorality of Lemasa with the cruelty and ruthlessness of Taolisa's past. More than 80% of the criminals, pirates and slavers in Taolisa come from this small segment of the population. Their presence is felt in Taolisan society.
The King is the absolute ruler of Taolisa. His will is enforced by the Royal Guard. The guardsmen serve as an elite force in war, governors of the island, enforcers of the nation's laws and a noble elite. The Sea Guard has the same authority in coastal areas, maritime affairs and the operation of the fleet. After the King, the most powerful person in the kingdom is the Grand Marshal of the Combined Guard, who is supreme commander of the Royal and Sea Guard, Governor of Taolis and commander of the nation's army.
Taolisan trials are held before a panel of four judges. Each trial board has one judge from each of Taolisa's major religions, each with one vote, and a Royal Judge or guardsman with two votes. Three votes are required to convict or acquit a suspect.
Penalties in Taolisa have not changed since before the arrival of the Lemasans. They are severe. In all cases, the penalty fits the crime in some ironic way and insures that the felon can never commit the crime again. For example, cutpurses lose both hands, rapists are blinded and castrated, murderers are killed in the same way that they killed their victim, etc.
Taolisa has good relations with the Kingdom of the East, especially their governor at Lemdan. They trade with Lemasa, Dawana, Chunrey, the Duchy of Musdao in Katai and a nation in the Eastern Lands that is unknown to the world at large.
Sword, Daggers, Polearms
Taolisans are kin to the Lemasans but are much larger with heavier builds. Other than this, their appearance is identical.
Special Note - The Guard
Any citizen may compete for a position in the Guard when a vacancy exists. Applicants must pass test of their literacy, knowledge of etiquette and military competence. Those that pass the first battery of tests are set five tasks that they must accomplish before they can be considered for membership. If they complete these tasks, and the judges feel that they accomplished them in an efficient and imaginative manner, they are accepted.
NOTE - To pass the initial testing, applicants must have at least Basic Conversation with Taolisan, Familiarity with High Society, OCV 5 with swords and bows and at least three civilian professional skills).
Members of the Guard are a social elite who are immune to prosecution by any civil authority. Only the King or the Grand Marshal can judge them. Members of the Royal Guard have a station of 6, members of the Sea Guard have a station of 4. All guardsmen must provide their own equipment. For the Royal Guard, the minimum equipment required is platemail, a broadsword, a full helm, a dirk, a bow and a warhorse. Members of the Sea Guard need scalemail, a sword, a dirk, a bow and a metal helmet. (Among the wealthy, it is considered to be an honor to loan a guardsman money for his equipment, especially if he is filling a position in the local area. Rich trading families sometimes help new members of the Sea Guard, but they rarely loan them money for equipment.)
Guardsmen have the authority to intervene in any situation that they feel requires their attention. Non - nobles are required to bow when guardsmen pass and address them as "noble sir." Nobles are required to nod their head. Only nobles of the royal blood may show no deference to a passing guardsman.
Guardsmen who abuse their authority are severely punished. They are publicly blinded, hamstrung and stripped of all rank. After this humiliation, they are released to spend their days as beggars in the streets. As a rule, guardsmen are honest and incorruptible.
The Code Of The Dutiful
This explicit code details the rights, obligations and privileges of the various social classes. Any violation of the laws that govern a given class is criminal. An example of this code can be seen in the excerpt that follows:
"And so, when the ignorant come among us, they are granted the right to live and the right to shelter themselves from the cold. And, for the sake of their ignorance, they shall be privileged to violate the rights of others if they make amends when their error is made clear to them.
And, to repay our kindness, they shall be obliged to show deference to all citizens of the land, from the lowest to the highest of all, and, when they have learned the way, they shall be required to obey the Code in all things and refrain from noisome assaults on public harmony and social decorum. . . "
NOTE - The section of the code that is cited above applies to ALL foreigners in Taolisa.