Bur'I

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Bur'I is both the name of a people and a country.

History

Bur'I has one of the longest-recorded histories in the known worlds, with a direct royal line claiming more than 1,000 generations.

Modern Bur'I

Today, Bur'I is a constitutional monarchy consisting of eighteen major star systems and thirty-three minor, including 79 worlds total. A minor, backwater country by inter-stellar standards.

Though officially part of the Alliance, Bur'I is too remote to participate fully. Many of the countries in the surrounding region are not members of the Alliance, having formed more recently and chosen not to join. For its remote location, Bur'I does not receive millitary support from the Alliance and must maintain its own borders.

Therefore Bur'I is perhaps best known for its space navy, whose ten capital-class ships are probably the only active vessels in the verse able to go blow-for-blow with a GS battleship. No other political entity in the region has such large or heavily armed warships.

Bur'I's military owes success to twelve FTL drives, purchased as surplus from the Gudersnipe Foundation during the Third Age. Two of them have since been lost; but the other ten, carefully maintained, serve Bur'I more than 3,000 years later.

Old Bur'I

During the Mage Wars, Bur'I existed as a dramatically smaller nation on one of the flat dimensions. They had inhabited that region since the Age of Darkness, and sometime changed from the old Lion clan to Bur'Ians.

Ancient Bur'I

According to Bur'Ian tradition, their roots can be traced to the Empire of Roads.

Wilderness Areas

Because Bur'I has nearly eight billion inhabitants and a lengthy history of industrialization, there are few natural areas left. Nearly every inch of the planet has, at one time or another, been incorporated.

The government has a long history of buying back public land and saving it for later resale (sometimes holding it for centuries), to regulate prices. These parcels are left untouched and any developments on them allowed to crumble, so these areas (sometimes thousands of aches) often become wilderness for a time.

Several national parks are designated wilderness areas, maintained by a park service and generally kept up by the Bur'Ians themselves. These parks are managed and include trails, campsites, and other recreational facilities, but a general sense of preservation is always maintained. The public in general adheres to notions of 'leave no trace' and takes good care of unspoiled nature.

Hunting and Fishing

Commercial fishing essentially stopped around the mid Second Age, when fish hatcheries proved much more effective and renewable. Recreational fishing continues, as the ocean fish population is very plentiful in a lack of commercial harvesting. Freshwater fishing mostly takes place on recreational lakes, where fish are stocked from commercial hatcheries. Fishing in wilderness is strictly controlled.

Hunting by contrast, is very uncommon. Most wilderness areas are also designated wildlife refuges, and off-limits to hunters. A general lack of undeveloped land leads to a dearth of game animals. Hunting of apex-predators is completely forbidden as they are rare in nature, and even common game animals see very little hunting activity. It is, in general, insupportable.

Stalking

Without available animals to support actual hunting, the practice of stalking has become popular over the years. It consists primarily of animal-tracking and identification, whereafter some stalkers include photography to create a reasonable trophy. Essentially, all of the elements of hunting but the kill.

Monarchy

The Bur'Ian royal line is the oldest in the Known Worlds, unto the Age of Darkness. In fact, Bur'Ian written records are the oldest in the verse, and have been used to set the most modern chronology.

The monarchy is an unbroken bloodline all the way to the edge of Antiquity, and is governed by strict rules of succession. The crown passes through the bloodline only, so that each successive reigning monarch is a direct descendant of the original king.

Rules of Succession

The first recorded monarch was crowned king in his own right; however the monarchy was regarded as equal-opportunity. The succession is from first-born-to-first-born, meaning the first child born to the reigning monarch will be the next monarch. Under Bur'Ian tradition, the heir-apparent is not given a middle-name (only first, and the last name 'Bur'I'). The only time a reigning monarch has a middle name is when crowned later in life.

The Crown

Bur'Ian tradition actually records succession according to the prince or princess. Once the first-born of the reigning monarch reaches adolescence, it is crowned. If a crowned prince had a younger brother, he is a prince, but not the crowned prince. The passing of prince to king (or princess to queen) often goes un-noticed.

This is because, especially in the early days, succession happened only through death. For the prince to become king, his father had to die. According to the law, the crowned prince became king the instant his father died, if himself already crowned. Thus, the celebration of the ascension of a new king would also celebrate the death of the old king.

Instead, the crowning of a new prince or princess gets the fanfare. It is the next monarch celebrated, not the current ruler.

After the Bur'Ian relocation and the end of the Mage Wars, the throne often passed while the old monarch is still alive. The Bur'Ian court tends to favore the "philosopher king" archetype, in which the monarch is a wise and well-spoken leader. Older kings and queens would often pass the throne when they felt they could no longer fulfill this role.

Pages and Squires

The crown of Bur'I has sole ability to appoint and maintain two key positions: that of Royal Page and that of Royal Squire. Both titles descended from the early days of the kingdom but in modern times held very different meanings.

Page

The Royal Page is usually a child of at least ten years of age, often indigent or an outright orphan, selected by the a crowned prince, princess, king, or queen, to serve as an attendant or confidant.

Most Pages would later become Squires; others led normal lives or even held other positions within the government. Having served as a Page is often seen as a highly desirable experience for many industries.

As Bur'I progressed into more modern times and sensabilities about education and child welfare evolved, the practice of Pages fell heavily out of favor. "Part-time" Pages might be appointed from among the servants' children in the palace, but they did not have the roles or responsibilities of the Pages of old.

The practice would come in and out of favor many times over the eons, always in question both in favor and against.

Squire

The position of Squire is significantly more important, and has often been more accurately described as "agent of the crown". Squires report directly to the royal who appointed them and have many roles throughout the kingdom, as observers, agents, and direct atachés to the crown.

That Document I have on Bur'I

Bur’I is… a land of contradictions.

As the only known monarchy to antedate the Mage Wars with a completely unbroken line, the kingdom of Bur’I is somewhat famous throughout the known worlds. However, lacking a GATE hub and being fairly distant, they don’t get a lot of tourism.

Bur’I is a constitutional monarchy; the throne has no actual political power but is a very important symbol for the Bur’Ian people. Most of Bur’I’s people love their king, and will cheer and shout and throw flowers when the royal family goes on parade. Some of the less loving citizens… throw grenades.

While the king has no actual power, he plays a very important ceremonial role in the government by opening and closing sessions and appearing before the public. When he speaks on a certain issue, at the very least he will be heard.

Additionally, there are many positions of prominence over which the democratic government has no control. Specifically the offices of Royal Page and Royal Squire. When Kime the Great was queen and Bur’I truly came into its own as a nation, she retained a squire as her trusted confidant, who delivered messages and personally oversaw tasks which the queen had deemed important. Similarly, Kime retained a page as personal companion and friend.

Squires are traditionally in their mid-to-late twenties but can maintain the position for a lifetime. It is rare that older people are appointed as squires, but not unheard of. Squires are the eyes and ears of the crown, serving the direct interests of the crown.

Unlike the position of squire, pages begin usually in their early teens. Also unlike a squire, a page will not retain position past the age of twenty. It is not uncommon for pages to later be appointed as squires, but it is not guaranteed. A page is usually appointed by, and loyal to, the king, queen, or a crowned prince or princess. Other members of the royal family may not appoint pages or squires. The duties of the page include doing ‘go-fer’ work for the royal they serve: 'Go for this; go for that', usually within the palace proper. They also provide companionship; a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. They also help the royal obtain a different perspective on a situation. Since pages are often beside the royal they serve, they see everything from an objective standpoint.

Interestingly enough, pages are fairly uncommon compared to squires. Every king or queen will have at least a dozen squires (the squires have to travel to other planets within the kingdom to open and close sessions of the senate on the king’s behalf) but it is not uncommon for the position of page to go unfilled for several generations. The squires are very necessary to the proper running of the kingdom, but the position of page is mostly auxiliary, left over from the time of Kime but not removed from the constitution because it is one of Kime’s laws. And the people do so love Kime.

Often pages are named simply as a royal favor to the families of wealthy people. They carry out no actual duties and often never even meet the king. This practice is frowned on, however, because it disrespects a very important position.

The Bur’Ian line is governed by a very strict rule of succession. The crown is passed from first born to first born. Since the time of Kime, women in Bur’I have enjoyed equal status with men, and thus the queen is considered fully equal to the king. Bur’Ian’s love their pageants, and have many intricate customs and ceremonies regarding the royalty. The members of the royal family (and those closely associated with them) understand that the Bur’Ian people don’t want to see their monarchs as human, but as the idealized beings they have been made out to be for millennia. As such, being a member of the royal family is less like leading a nation, and more like playing a part on a sitcom. Carefully staged ‘events’ are often arranged to allow members of the royal family to look good, all to enhance the public opinion of them.

As part of the rule of succession, the name of Bur’I is always maintained. When a woman becomes the heir, her spouse must take her name. The current king is Caleb Bur’I, who took the name when he married Princess Tadashe Bur’I, the 998th crowned heir to the throne. She died giving birth to Jason Bur’I, the 999th crowned heir.

Caleb Bur’I described being king as ‘about a two hour a day desk job’. He is in his early fifties and spends much of his time on leisure activities, namely reading. He is very well read, having spent pretty much the last 20 years reading and a good chunk of his life before that. He is knowledgeable and articulate in philosophy, science, history, economics and similar subjects, but tends to freeze up whenever anyone tries to get him to make a real decision. He is not crazy or even a little bit strange; he is just a quiet, even-tempered old man.

Nita Bur’I is the current queen, Caleb’s second wife. Nit is the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and her family has been ‘friends of the crown’ for many generations. She was once Tadashe Bur’I’s best friend. Now she is quite an unpleasant individual, ‘taking up the strain’ (as she describes it) for her husband’s lack of leadership. Nitta’s role as queen seems to be mostly geared towards her own interests, as well as the interests of the aristocracy.

She has two children of a previous marriage, Dora and Laden. Both are completely spoiled. Caleb secretly hates both of them, but is too nice to show it openly; but would never prevent someone else being mean to them. Dora is a mean-spirited, pudgy girl concerned primarily with getting her own way. Laden is a bit more fit than his sister, though two years younger, and firmly believes that he should be the crowned prince. Though according to Bur’Ian law, neither of them has any official standing, they are often identified as prince and princess. Jason, who spent much of his childhood terrorizing them, is not above quoting exact passages from the legal code, explaining in great detail why neither of them can be royalty.

On Bur’I things are an awkward mix of technological advancement and regression. Millennia ago the Bur’Ian people possessed great scientists who made many advanced discoveries. These discoveries eventually led to Bur’I making contact with other technologically advanced cultures who were often willing to sell these advancements at a price. As a result, Bur’I posses several technologies which they did not invent, and no matter how long you study some things, without earning the knowledge yourself it is impossible to fully understand them.

Bur’I’s military fleet of capitol-class ships have been using the same FTL drives for thousands of years; not the same technology, but the same physical drives. Bur’I possesses the means to service and maintain this technology, but lacks the means to build large-scale FTL drives.

Further still, the FTL technology used in Bur’I and the regions around it is incredibly archaic. The entire kingdom is only a few dozen light years across, yet takes a ship six weeks from one end to the other.