We present the following not as a matter of law, to be debated by a council of lords or ignored by a monarch, but as a matter of truth: the rights enumerated here are not granted by government or ratification. They are intrinsic to every man, ever person, be they born on Druth soil, traveled from the far edges of the world, or dragged to our shores in chains. They are immutable, given to any infant from the moment breath is drawn. They cannot be denied or removed or decreed away, either by the whim of nobility, or by the tyranny of popular ignorance.Preamble to “Rights of Man”Geophry Haltom, Maradaine, 1011
In my first pass of the history of Druthal, I establish 1009 as a key year, equivalent to 1776 or 1066 in terms of critical importance– but at that point, I didn’t give it significant details. The set-up was that, for three centuries, Druthal had shattered into many separate kingdoms, and the whole area was plagued with war, inquisition and tyrrany. By the beginning of the eleventh century, things were at their darkest. A conqueror known only as The Black Mage* swept across the petty kingdoms, eventually marching on Maradaine in 1009. He immediately executes the elderly king (Maradaine IX), placing Maradaine X on the throne as his puppet. For two months of brutal oppression, the Black Mage held the city, until he was finally ousted by a combined effort of rebellion. With Maradaine X also dead by the end of this period, his young son was named Maradaine XI, and with the help of his various advisers, he reunified Druthal as a Parliamentary Monarchy.
That was the rough draft; “various advisers” was something I needed to flesh out. You can give an elementary school understanding of the American Revolution with just the Declaration of Independence, 1776 and George Washington, and that was pretty much the level of detail I had worked out. But that wasn’t going to be enough for what I needed.
I needed to rebuild Druthal, and of course that wasn’t something that could just happen with the snap of someone’s fingers in 1009. Changing from a handful of weak monarchies to an elected body in conjunction with a monarchy would require great minds, and not a small amount of painful midwifing. Messy and real.
This is where Geophry Haltom comes in: a city alderman who raised up a rebellion within the city to throw off the Black Mage’s occupation, and then encouraged the newly enthroned King Maradaine XI to form the Parliament, to ensure that the rights of the people would stay in the hands of the people. In addition, he wrote “The Rights of Man”, as noted in the preamble above.
Now, I know that I don’t write with the eloquence of, say, a Jefferson, Hamilton or Madison: but in any worldbuilding one does, it’s important to realize that beyond just the kings and wars, history is made by the thinkers, philosophers and scientists.
Since Way of the Shield is a political thriller, knowing those details about not only Druthal’s politics, but its political origins is crucial. Druthal didn’t have Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson or Madison. It did have Mikarum, Haltom, Jethiah and Inton, though. It doesn’t have the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, but it does have the Rights of Man and the Articles of Reunification. Understanding what those are, and more importantly, what those mean to the Druth people, gives me insight into the Druth political character.
*- A name I’m kind of torn on now. On one hand, I like the simplicity of it; on the other, it’s kind of on-the-nose Evil Overlord. I’m open to changing it.