Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monmore Society in AZ - an Overview

The Monmore are a third colonizing group in Arizona. They first came to Arizona over two centuries ago, traveling from their homeland around the Great Salt Lake deep in the Great Northern Mountain range. Looking for a homestead along the Colorado River, they were continually uprooted by Giant attacks and forced ever-southward.

Traveling south of Lake Powell, the Giant population thinned considerably (probably due to the greater heat which their large bodies do not process well), and the Monmore eventually settled along a Little Colorado tributary, at the site of present-day Snowflake. Shortly thereafter, a second group of Monmore settlers continued southwards, crossing the Elf-controlled White Mountain range, and settled in the Phoenix desert valley, along the Salt River, in present-day Mesa. The settlement of Mesa was roughly contemporaneous with the settlement of Tempe by the Arya migrants, and the two towns have grown up side by side.

Religion

Monmore society is characterized by a strong religious focus, and their social organization is theocratic. Their god is found high up in one of the stars in the firmament, and they are zealous in the spread of his cult. They take pride in abiding by their god's strict rules, which govern the totality of their society. Thus, all social authority flows through their priests, upward to the First Priest, who is the living mouthpiece of their god and rules with unquestioned authority.

Polygamy and its Effects

Monmore social organization is also unique, stemming from their practice of polygamous marriages, which are commanded by their god. Most Monmore men have two or three wives, and their religious leaders have been known to acquire 20, 30, or more. The shortage of women created by this practice is dealt with rather uniquely: as their young men come of age, they are sent out of their towns on what they call "missions", to spread the worship of their god. They are only allowed re-entry into their town if they demonstrate their "spiritual maturity", which means they bring converts with them, who are usually women, ready to worship the Momore god and take a Monmore man as husband.

Thus, there is a continual stream of young Monmore men proceeding forth from their cities. In times past, this caused great friction between Tempe and Mesa, as the Arya of Tempe viewed the nearby Monmore as trying to steal their women, and war between the neighboring communities almost broke out. However, an accord was reached and war averted, as the Momore agreed to stop proselitizing for their god within Tempe itself, and Monmore missionaries were prohibited from entering the city gates. Oddly enough, Tempe's population level ended up benefiting from this arrangement, as Tempe takes in many former missionaries who have abandoned their missions, moving into Tempe to find safe work and available women for marriage.

Seed Communities

Of course, not all young Monmore missionaries return to their towns of origin with wives or abandon their missions in Tempe. Some persevere in their religious quest for years, and some even find wives yet stay in the mission field. Thus, throughout the state, in many out-of-the way and unexpected locations, Monmore "seed communities" can be found.

Sometimes these communities are just a collection of male missionaries (they are sent out in groups of two, but often form larger groups once out in the wilderness). Sometimes these communities also include women, as they attempt to form the seeds of new Monmore cities like Snowflake or Mesa. In all cases, they follow strict religious discipline, and lay out their streets in orderly rectangles around a central temple, just like their home cities (which are patterned after the heavenly city of their god). Such communities are often known to contain an odd assortment of races (including halfling, elf, orc, even the occasional hobgoblin or giant), as the missionaries spread their cult to everyone available.

Relation to the Arya and Derjuden

It is claimed that the Mormore god is the same as the Heavenly Father of the Arya. This seems possible, as the Monmore god is also known to live in the heavens, but unlikely, as the Arya worship under the sign of the cross while the Monmore do not. However, the two groups do seem to share a racial background, as they are physically indistinguishable and speak the same basic language (although with a difference in accent and some vocabulary). Monmore legend says they came to their northern homeland after a great migration from the east, and the Arya also migrated from the east, so an ancient connection is possible.

Whatever their ancient connection, however, today the two groups are rivals: for land, for trade, for wealth, for power and influence. Both groups view it as their divine right to claim and tame the land for their posterity, and so both groups eye one another wearily. Plots and intrigue are common between Tempe and Mesa, with occasional armed skirmishes in their common border zone.

It does not help their relations that the Monmores of Snowflake cooperate quite closely with the Derjuden of Flagstaff along the northern trade route. While the Arya and Derjuden are not in open warfare, it is accurate to think of them as enemies, and the hostility between them is palpable.

For their part, the Derjuden attempt to cultivate friendship with the Monmores of Mesa. The Derjuden view a connection with Mesa as a a means of expanding their trade empire in central and southern Arizona, especially for access to the lucrative magical trade with A.S.U. Thus far, the Arya have kept the Derjuden locked out of the A.S.U. magical trade, and prevented their access to most of the southern trade route.

The Derjuden look to use the Monmore as a wedge and potential ally, while the Arya view the Monmore as potential backstabbers. It is a volatile mixture at the present time.

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