Friday, 22 April 2011

S is for Sigmarsheim

Tucked away in an anonymous fiefdom at the edge of the Forest of Arden in Lyonesse, Bretonnia is Sigmarsheim. Established some 50 years ago (on the Imperial Calendar) by a Knight Errant, it is a settlement of Imperial expatriates that followed the Knight on his return from the Empire following a forgotten Errantry War.

Bretonnian feudal law makes it difficult to actually reproduce the Imperial "freedoms" found in the Empire, not to mention the rather oppressive laws regarding women across all of Bretonnia. As expatriates, the inhabitants of Sigmarsheim were settled by the Knight as peasants and thus the simulacrum is supported by waivers to extensive Bretonnian sumptuary laws as well as local laws created by the Lord himself (where they don't conflict with royal law). All of this amounts to about a close as living in the Empire as is possible without a diplomatic writ of sovereignty on the fiefdom by the Empire.

Sigmarsheim is dominated by a large temple to Sigmar in the center common, built in stone (an example of a waiver to sumptuary laws forbidding peasants to build with stone).

Many of the original settlers of Sigmarsheim have embraced Morr (which is to say they are dead). The children of the original settlers are permitted travel to the Empire at the age of 16, the stay not to exceed a calendar year, to find a wife (or husband) and return. In the two generations since, only one girl did not return. It is said the girl died in Bretonnia of a fever on the trip, not that she stayed in the Empire finding it much more to her liking. It is not known what sort of enforcement, or threats, exist that finds so many returning from the "peasant's errantry."

The Lord's castle looms over the settlement and it is well defended by both the Lord and the settlers. As the Lord bestows much largess on Sigmarsheim, trade is limited and outsiders, especially Lyonesse peasants, have limited exposure to the "freedoms" enjoyed by the settlers. The Sigmar temple stays informed of Cult development and politics in the Empire through a visiting priest annually invited by the Lord. The Cult of Sigmar encourages young priests to the post and uses the travel and time in Sigmarsheim as a "window into Bretonnia." The cult is careful not to call it espionage. However, the returning priest has been known to be given audience with the Emperor and questioned about all that he experienced.

As the Lord is advanced in age, there is some concern as to what will happen to Sigmarsheim when he dies and his sons inherit the fiefdom. The Lord has encouraged all his sons to find reason to travel to the Empire so that Sigmarsheim will remain true to the Lord's original design.
Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10