Like so many of the southern Free Cities, the history and culture of Morya
has been greatly influenced by the Rirorni horse tribes. Founded some three
hundred years ago by colonists from Lapur, the city was little more than a
collection of shacks surrounding a small riverside fort. The colony did not
prosper, some said because Lapur did not want to foster a city which might
compete with it for the lucrative river trade. Some two centuries ago, a wave of
Rirorni horse-raiders swept up from the southern deserts, and after several
years of raid and counter-raid, wrested the city from Lapurian control. The
raiders renamed their clan and their new city "Morya," or "victorious."
With their new, permanent base, the Moryans spent the next fifty years
developing the fearsome Moryan war-chariot and strengthening their hold on the
plains. For generations thereafter, Morya was the scourge of the eastern plains,
raiding near and far for goods and slaves. At last, about fifty years ago, Morya
attempted to conquer Lapur itself. The Lapurians, though lacking military might,
were rich in both gold and guile. The city's noble families, aided by Dullens
and Khalani, who had also suffered under the Moryan lash, hired a huge mercenary
army and retreated to the nearby forest, where the Moryans' chariots and cavalry
could not follow. In their pride, the Moryan army followed anyway--and, dealt a
crushing defeat, Morya was forced into signing the Charter Of Mutual Defense.
The treaty forbade aggression between the four cities and pledged them to come
to the aid of any of the others should an outside force attack. The Charter also
grants the cities of the Quinumvirate favored status in matters of trade and
In recent years Morya has gone from a grudging acceptance of the Charter to a
fierce defense of it. Proud of their position as the military leader of the
Quinumvirate, the Moryans have retained much of the savage culture of their
ancestors. They are by far the most warlike of the "Charter Cities" and provide
most of the military muscle when one of the cities is threatened.
While slavery is illegal in Dullens and frowned upon in Lapur and Khalani,
Morya encourages the slave trade and many of the warriors sent to the arena are
slaves. Morya is ruled by a warrior caste, the Equites (historically, those
warriors wealthy enough to own a warhorse). The main classes of Morya are the
Equites, the serfs (descendants of slaves with some native Moryan blood;
technically free citizens, but so low in wealth and status that most of them
must attach themselves to a noble house to survive) and slaves. The Equites
control all commerce, government and religion in the city. The slaves work the
fields and do all the scut-work such as street cleaning. The serfs usually hold
positions such as clerks, merchants, physicians, scribes and so forth--they are
generally far better educated and cultured than their noble masters, who scorn
any art not related to war or farming. (Many Moryan nobles are illiterate and
proud of it.) In recent years, due to the difficulty in mounting slave-raids,
the serf population has been growing in size and influence. A widespread
movement rose in the year 503 among the gladiators to free the slaves. Equestor
Valarrian Kiyle agreed to listen to their proposals--in the end, agreeing that
slavery was on the way out, promised to abolish all slavery at the end of three
years. This has never been strictly enforced, but there is much less in the way
of regular slave trade in Morya now.
Lacking the fertile soil and agricultural magics known to the Andorian
kingdoms, Moryan landholders own immense tracts of plains, making up for quality
with quantity. In Morya, land is status, and the nobles continually struggle to
own as much as possible. Moryans are actually very capable farmers. It was they
who discovered and introduced the concept of crop rotation to the south of
Alastari. Despite the poorness of the land, they manage to export wheat, corn,
barley and other grains at prices low enough to compete favorably with the
imported Convincian produce. Morya also produces several varieties of cheap,
moderately palatable wine. By far their most famous product is the exquisite
toys made by Shendell and Co., a fellowship of former soldiers from another
dimension, who came to Morya to invade, and ended up settling there in peace.
Morya exports at reduced prices to the other Charter Cities, receiving in return
beef and salt from Dullens, horses from Khalani and manufactured goods from
Lapur. Though Moryan Equites control the finances of their businesses the actual
trade is handled by serfs, as it is beneath the dignity of a noble to haggle.
The Moryan charioteers are still a feared and respected army on the plains,
though ineffective in rough or forested terrain, and the army retains its edge
with frequent raids. Unlike the tribes of Rocanis, who take captives mainly for
honor and ransom, Moryans use their captives to swell the huge slave population
needed to farm their vast fields. Since the Charter put an end to their raids on
the cities nearest them, Morya has had to range further afield. Raids have
become lengthy and expensive propositions. The most frequent targets have been
Rocanis, Jhans and Sibikhas, Needless to say, this has not endeared Morya to the
Delarquan Federation, nor has it endeared the Charter Cities to Rocanis.
Relations with Sibikhas have recently improved, however, due to a recent spate
of intermarriages and visits back and forth.
Though many Moryans look down on Dullens and Lapur, where the ancient noble
classes have fallen into poverty and disrepair, they are wise enough to realize
that having buffer cities between them and the objects of their raids is a good
idea. Moryans get on better socially with the Vehan Khalani, who have maintained
more of the old horse-culture in their modern society.
The arena in Morya began as a series of private slave-fights held between
bored nobles and gradually grew to its present state. Free-born gladiators are a
fairly recent phenomenon (in fact, one of the common rewards for warrior-slaves
who achieved the Duelmastership was promotion to serf status).
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