A Rookeri Supplement
For five years before the arrival of The Avatar a satellite, orbiting New Earth, had amassed data on climate, geology, flora and fauna and quality of water. It had scrutinised and photographed every inch of the planet’s surface. Upon this data, The Avatar based its several decisions.
Of prime importance was to determine the best place for landing, criterion being the least damage to indigenous life. Selection of region or regions for colonisation was next in importance for, while the sleepers slowly were waking, The Avatar was seeding these areas with the hardiest of the brought Earth-side food-plants to ensure that life-stock had fodder and the Founders at least had grain.
The Avatar shared only the minimum of information with her passengers. She printed out maps to ensure the settlers gained the regions for colonisation with least time wasted. On these maps were printed the names of Rothi against a fertile plain north of a long high ridge, and of Luban against an extensive strip of forested land squeezed between that same ridge and a notably wide river. Next to the names of Rothi and Luban were listed the names of the Founders who were to settle at each, these randomly selected by The Avatar. It was as they had agreed it, back on Old Earth. But this now caused the first dissent, before they had yet left the Mother Ship.
The Avatar asked, “What is the number of dissenters?”
Diaspora Commander Royan answered. “Fifty-eight.”
The Avatar said, “This exceeds the third. What is your complaint?”
Royan looked at the other Founders, but they agreed he should talk.
“These places, Rothi and Luban. It is clear that they have different soils and climates.”
“They are not so extreme,” The Avatar said.
“Yet amongst us are those who were used to a hot and wet climate, and those more used to dry and cold. We will have sufficient problems to test our first days without adding the unnecessary unknowns of climate.”
“What is your suggestion?” asked The Avatar.
“That you re-select us, based upon our past histories,” answered Commander Royan.
And so it was done, and The Avatar printed maps afresh.
It might have been helpful if The Avatar had she shared additional information about this planet, the New Earth – such as the fact the indigenous life was poisonous to her human passengers. Not in its living – except for the goblins and their like – but in its death. The Avatar didn’t even tell them that here the amphibs were the highest animal life-form. Evolved from small Insertivores, they had yet to grow to mega-size – else the loss of life amongst the first settlers would have been yet greater.
Equipped with their tools and seeds, herbs and livestock, the Founders set off in their groups of twelve.
The Founding Ethos was low-technology, not nil-technology. Thus amongst them – and grouped by The Avatar to ensure each had access to what they had agreed were essentials – were craftsmen skilled in all aspects of metallurgy, in finding, mining, smelting and processing; in glass-manufacture, in brick making and building. There were farmers, and food processors able to make cheeses, butter and yoghurts, and those who knew how to slaughter and joint. There were herbalists – for this would be their only medicine. There were leather-workers, and weavers and spinners. It was agreed, the technology was to be kept to pre 20th century levels: No radio; no tele-anythings; no nuclear nothings; no mass-production; no electricity – though they allowed themselves methane. To ensure they adhered to this level of technology they brought with them an etymology dictionary dated to 1849. If it was not in The Book, it was an abomination.
They settled, 12 Founders to each townstead; the townstead divided to twelve even-sized gords.
Raselstad at Foundation
To this day, in Luban these townsteads with their gords remain, though many new townsteads have arisen, their numbers multiplied many times over. The Lubanthan live in peace, with acknowledged equality.
But on Rothi Plain they developed differently.
First arose no more than a handful of dissatisfied men. Yet those few harassed the many, marauding instead of working. Amongst the gord-holders were some burly fighters. They offered to defend their neighbours. Their offer accepted, a payment was set. That’s how the Armsmen begin.
But the Armsmen lacked discipline. They lacked tolerance for the routine collection of annual charges. And neither could they decide how to distribute their income fairly and yet have resources sufficient to renew weapons and armour. Their eventual solution was to elect the most intelligent and strongest gord-holder amongst them, who also had a brother with a head for business. “You collect the payment,” they said, “and your brother can administer it.” The payment collector became the Legere, the administrator was the Begator. But, though in the early days these always were brothers, they have not continued always to be so.
Now they had been handed permission to dominate, the Legeren, with puffed up chests, accumulated wealth and subjugated their people, even their own families. And who was to stop them. With the Lafarden Legeren to rule the land the former Armsmen had been forgotten. The Lafarden built around their former gords,high stone walls and called them citadels, castle-states. They took wives only from their own. This inbreeding amongst the castle-families has further widened the north-south divide. Some say the yorks and the lafarden no longer share blood. They say they even look different.