Conquest of the New World
Just south of Avalon, just north of Castille, just west of Eisen – in other words: at the centre of the world – is Montaigne. This beautiful land is ruled by the Empereur of the West, Léon Alexandre du Montaigne, the most powerful monarch in Euros. Tall, beautiful and elegant, he is the heart of high culture – just ask him.
For decades, if not centuries, Montaigne has been considered the pinnacle of civilization, famous for its incredible wealth, cruel Empereur, and devotion to all things of beauty. In little more than a year, it has all began to crumble. A long war with Castille, followed by a disastrous attempted invasion of Ussura, has weakened the nobility and led to unrest amongst the peasants. Cries for reform and revolution grow by the day, sometimes leading to small battles in the streets between the forces of change and the established order.
The peasants of Montaigne are simple people. They have minimal education, produce large families, and live quietly respectable lives. Young men of 15 years are conscripted into the military to serve l’Empereur for a minimum of 5 years, although with recent wars, this number has become much higher.
It used to be the custom to hold all weddings in the springtime, but war with Castille and then Ussura has given rise to a new tradition. In the winter, with fighting at its slowest, many young men would be granted leave, married quickly to their sweethearts, and encouraged to procreate as rapidly as possible.
By contrast, the practice among most noble houses is to have no more than two or three children. Their reasons are as practical as those of their lower-born neighbors. In Montaigne, the eldest offspring inherits the land, title and wealth. Younger siblings are tolerated at the elder’s discretion. Although the heir may choose to employ a brother or sister as Marquis, in most cases they are sent out to fend for themselves. This unleashes a herd of hangers-on onto the various courts, or a tide of entitled young men and women looking to make their own name and fortune to support their comfortable lifestyle.