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The Tzardom of Muskovia is one of the most powerful nations on theRealm of Mir, ruled by the iron will of the Tzar.

History

Muskovia's history is long and storied, beginning as small tribes worshiping the Old Gods with war and sacrifices, to uniting under a single mighty banner, and then to conversion to the faith of Teisus.

Muskov, along with Kalgorod, Kiva, and Rinsk, was  one of the first towns to grow out of the tribal lands it now occupies. Trading and making war along the river strengthened it, as well as the Muskovites who ruled the place. Simple conquests and strategic marriages brought many other tribes under Muskov's sway until the chief, now prince, was able to declare himself ruler over a large area.  The other towns similarly grew to prominence, though Kiva harkened back to its Northman roots and Kalgorod fell to its own gender segregation.

Through additional war Muskov and Rinsk came to dominate the central areas of the East, until Vasily, the Prince of Rinsk made a poorly calculated error in war with the Liths to his West.  Weakened by several crushing defeats, he was no match for Prince Aleksander's horde of warriors, who overwhelmed the outer villages and managed to take Rinsk itself while Prince Vasily was still nursing a battlefield wound. Rinsk was forced to kneel to Muskov, and the Prince became Tzar Aleksander the First of Muskovia.

Many wars followed the new unification, to subjugate the other great and growing cities, and to thrust in every direction, to Lithland, Livland, Sibira, and the wild East of Outer Hobgolia.  While some places were subjugated and new settlements established, the Tzar always kept his gaze upon the prizes of Kiva and Kalgorod.  For the first, numerous bargains and fellowships were struck, and while Kiva was never formally annexed, it has more than once come to Muskovia's aid.  Kalgorod was another matter, as the wise Grand Duchess has always outmaneuvered the Tzar politically to ensure that they neither go to war nor surrender to the Tzar, exacting similar yet less definable alliances to those struck with Kiva.

Though farming has always been considered something of a pathetic joke in Muskovia, the nation rose to commercial dominance for the large, well valued fish caught along the Vodya river and the vast array of fine furs obtained by Muskovite hunters as far away as Sibira and Outer Hobgolia, which they sold to Northmen and Liths alike.

When the worship of Teisus arrived in Muskovia it was vehemently resisted at first, seen as abomination to the will of the multiple Gods followed by the locals. But the organization and promises of Teisus' great gifts swiftly gained approval, and Tzar Nikolai II was the first Tzar to officially convert to the Teysuit faith, naming it the official religion of all Muskovia.

More than once in Muskovia's history has it faced rebellion or insurrection of some kind.  This is treated even more harshly than foreign enemies, as the idea of civil war is considered much more insidious than some outsiders attempting to conquer the nation.  There are not mere stories but documented historical accounts, even from after the rise of Teisus in Muskovia, of the brutality the monarchy have exhibited.  The executions of rebel leaders are always public and always bloody, involving dismemberment, quartering, hangings, and in one case immolation.

Government

Muskovia is an absolute monarchy ruled over by the Tzar.  Many government functions are handled by a large group of ministers known as the Duma with varying and often overlapping titles.  Duchies in the Tzardom are ruled by Princes and Dukes.  While most of these titles are hereditary, the Tzar possesses complete authority to rescend the title and replace the noble whenever he sees fit.  Even so, the serfs and peasants of Muskovia have a very high opinion of their Tzar, treating him with almost divine reverence as their great protector against the predations of outsiders and their own landlords.

Military

The army of Muskovia is mighty, and feared all across Mir.  The soldiers of Muskov and the other cities are very well disciplined, though the militias of outlying towns are a bit less so.  This weakness is made up by well trained crossbowmen, swift Yossick mercenaries and the Tzar's powerful Ursine Guard.

Culture

Despite the cold climate of Mir and Muskovia especially, the culture of the Tzardom is warm and friendly, though maybe not as much to outsiders as to eachother.

Life is hard in the cold land of Muskovia, and the vast majority of the peasantry eke out an existence as farmers, hunters, trappers and fishers.

Races

The primary race of Muskovia is Human, of the Rusy ethnicity.  There are also a fair number of Northmen, Liths, Livs, and Lats.  Dwarves are common as well, and many Dwarven fortresses are counted among holdings of Muskovia.  Multiple tribes of Urdi dwell in the Ursal Mountains, and a force of them make up the Tzar's personal Ursine Guard.  Other commonly encountered races include Centaurs of the Yossick ethnicity and Hobgoblins.

Religion

Muskovia officially follows the religion of Teisus, forsaking all others as paganism and witchcraft.  After its conversion a hundred years ago, all the old temples were burned or, in some cases, converted into churches.  Though many ministers point to Teisus worship as the reason for Muskovia's success on the world stage, many feel it constricts their freedom, and also that Muskovia was very strong even before the One God came.

As the Eastern faith of Teisus "officially" denies the existence of fairies, many of the city dwelling people of Muskovia do not believe they exist anymore.  The belief is still alive however in the outer farms and villages, where it is not uncommon for a family to have a Domovoi dwelling in their home, or to meet several other types of Fae present in the region.

Before the rise of Teisus Muskovia followed the might of Perun, his Axe well respected, and all blacksmiths were expected to forge at least one a year, as a holy symbol for the Starets, or local shaman.  Cossag was and still is the respected god of the Yossick Centaurs.

Bathhouses

Every town and village in Muskovia has a bathhouse, or Banya, and every city has several.  Banyas serve an important part of Muskovian culture, not only for cleanliness of the bath but also as a social gathering in the steam bath where grown men and grown women can come together to talk and gossip. As one of the cleanest places in town, it is also common for women to give birth in a Banya.  Many bathhouses are home to Banniks, fairies of cleanliness and the Banya itself. The Bannik is said to aid in the bathing ritual, and part of each day is set aside for the Bannik's personal use, as he is rumored to invite all manner of magical creature to join him.  While many have denied the Bannik's existence after the coming of Teisus, they still act out the respectful rituals, just in case.

Locations

Muskov

The grand capital city for which Muskovia is named is also the first piece of land owned by the ancestors of the modern Tzars. Built on the banks of the Vodya, Muskov grew from tribal lands, to trading hub, to a sprawling metropolis that acts as the center of Muskovia not only in a governmental sense, but also culturally and religiously. The aristocracy of the Tzar and his ministers dwell in resplendent palaces, and the cathedral of Teisus is one of the grandest in all of Mir.

Rinsk

One of the Westernmost cities of Muskovia, Rinsk is responsible both for the defense of Muskovia's Western border and the collection of taxes from the Lithy Baronies.  Rinsk is a fortress, built to withstand attacks from any enemies that may come from West or Northwest.

Mt. Kunski

The greatest Dwarven fortress in all Muskovia is located beneath Mt. Kunski.

Mintutsk

One of the Easternmost settlements of Muskovia, Mintutsk is currently embroiled in long term conflict with a large force of Hobgoblins. As such, the town has become well fortified. It is defended valiantly by Ivan Pecheneg.

Yusopov

A town built on the Vodya, notable as the last trade destination between Muskovia and Kalgorod.

Ursal Mountains

A long chain of cold mountains to the Eastern end of Muskovia, populated by Urdi and Samodivas.

Vodya River

A long, winding river that goes through, and connects the Tzardom of Muskovia.  It is populated not only by river-dwelling humans, but a large amount of Vodyanoy.

Affiliations

Muskovia is allied with the other Teisuit nations of the world, most notably the nearby Malbork Crusader State and Theocracy of Gottland.  Muskovia also commands a loose degree of vassalage from Kiva, the Grand Duchy of Kalgorod, and portions of Lithland, though the last have been conspicuously quiet recently.

Notable Citizens

Tzar Rurik

Rurik is the great Tzar of Muskovia, and therefore the absolute ruler of the nation. His full title is His Imperial Majesty, Tzar Rurik Muskovite, Ruler over All Muskovia and Sibira, Hand of Teisus, and Master of the East.  Though an avowed Teysuit, Rurik secretly harbors dreams of the fabled glory of his forefathers in the name of Perun.  His wife is Tzarina Odessa.

Among Tzar Rurik's many treasures include his family's two-headed eagle, Romav, and a duck that lays fabrege eggs.

Vasilisa the Beautiful

Vasilisa the Beautiful is the court wizard of Tzar Rurik, and lives up to her name fully.  It is rumored that she uses her magic to maintain her beauty, but others believe it is natural.  Another popular rumor is that she learned magic from the Baba Yaga.  She is assisted by a magic, living doll that completes tasks for her.  Many of the religious hierarchy of Muskov would see her removed from the Tzar's side, one way or another.

Anton Streltsy

Second-cousin to the Tzar and Prince of Rinsk, Anton Streltsy watches Muskovia's Western border closely for bandit raids, uppity Kivan warriors, and Malbork Crusaders overstepping their bounds.  His crossbowmen are exceedingly well trained and disciplined, and have defeated many foes in order to protect the Tzar.  He is assisted by his agent, Yuri Sergeiovich Pogrom.

Ivan Pecheneg

Pecheneg.

Pecheneg is a brave and brutal warrior who rose up from simple, tribal beginnings to become the Lord of Mintutsk and Prince of the East, responsible for guarding the borders of Muskovia against all manner of barbarism.  Pecheneg wears a coat made from a wild, feral Urd he defeated in single combat.  He also proudly wears the scar he received from that battle.

Hetman Zaporo

The chief (Hetman) of a band of Yossick Centaurs from the Eastern fringes, Zaporo is loyal more to the Tzar's coin than any sense of national unity, though there is a fair respect as well for the level of violence the Tzar can level against his enemies.

Okhrana

The chief bodyguard and head of security for Tzar Rurik is a female Mountain Dog from Midgard. By means and for reasons unknown, she and her brother fled Midgard, and she arrived on Mir. Though she is fiercely loyal and defensive of her new master, she is fully confident that her brother will locate her one day. It is rumored that she employs a network of spies known as The Okhrana Guard.

See Also

Return to the Realm of Mir.

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