The Lands of Yore: The Bortola Chronicles
Lombardia lies to the east of Bortola. At one time they were part of the same empire, and even after separating they maintained good relations. However, in recent years tension have run high. Some of this may be explained by the conversion of the Lombardian aristocracy to Luddism, when they once were Solars as much as Bortolians. The Luddism present in Lombardia is particularly fanatical and very different from that developed by Luddisms founders. Originally, Luddism was an introspective and mystical religion, but Lombardian Luddism has taken metaphors from the original Luddite texts and proclaimed them to be actual entities and realities.
One of the basic tenets of early Luddism, was the “apocalypse”, which meant an end to the self, and thus “the end of the world”. Lombardians, however, have developed a strong belief in a coming apocalypse, where all will be judge for their “sins”. They see their purpose as to convert as many people as they possibly can, before the coming of this worldwide apocalypse.
Their missionaries have been particularly active in the colonies of Bortola, to the west. This has led to several uprising among the colonials, who want to separate from Bortola, which they see as a pagan nation, and set up their own independent Luddite nation. These feelings in the colonies are not universal, but those who do rebel are given aid by Lombardia through supplies and arms. This of course has led to poor relations between Lombardia and Bortola. The Lombardian aid to the colonial rebels is seen as an indirect attack on Bortola itself.
Lombardian Luddite missionaries may also be found in Bortola itself, where they preach in market squares or where ever they can find a crowd to preach to. On the whole, Bortola is fairly accepting of those of various faiths, but there have been lynchings, with such “prophets” beaten or hung upside down from trees.
Part of the tension between the nations also comes from the fact that both countries’ upper classes, and increasing the lower classes also, have become accustomed to the luxuries obtained from their colonies. They are competing in other parts of the world to expand their empires, and at the same time are becoming more and more dependent on the produce of these colonies. The old social orders of feudalism are breaking down, and more and more people are moving into the cities, and becoming to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. The aristocracy still has power, but more and more power is going into the hands of the merchant classes.
In Bortola in particular, where once there was the strong belief that the line of kings were actually blood descendants of a sun god, the old ways are being dismissed and there has been talk of revolution, or at least discussions of the merits of introducing some form of democracy.
In Lombardia, however, the introduction of the Luddite faith has served to reaffirm the authority of the Lombardia royalty, who proclaim they have been appointed by Ehowa himself to their positions. Ferdinand III, the king of Bortola, has noted this, and his new Lombardian wife has urged her husband to convert to Luddism, both to save his soul, and to regain authority.