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Is Ivgorod some sort of oppressive theocracy where the elder monks live in mansions and the people live in shacks, and are brutally oppressed, or is it something nicer and more compassionate? To what degree does the government remain responsive to the needs of the people? Is there any lore on this?
No lore talks about it, there’s only a small mention in a conversation between the Templar and the Monk. As far as what Ivgorod is actually like, I have a guess. (Only a guess, again, there’s no lore to back it up.) It might entertain you if you’re willing to read through 537 words.
The Monastery started secluded, separated from humanity, as all the best Priesthoods are. The worship of the many gods and the rigorous rituals and practices that this worship required making the Monks care little about the rest of the world. However, since I imagine the monks are sworn to celibacy (to keep them from being distracted) in order to find new initiates they had to find outsiders to take up the priesthood. This caused a stream of would-be initiates to Ivgorod, and while likely most were unworthy of being accepted, many would be reluctant to leave, since they likely gave up their livelihoods to come to Ivgorod and have nothing to go back to. These people would have set up camp outside the monastery walls, hoping that maybe in a month they’d be worthy. Maybe they needed to been seen fasting to be let inside. So, they stuck around.
Well, these people were obviously not prepared to live for months at the camps, and so were starving. Somewhere down the line, some of the monks probably started helping those outside Ivgorod, healing and feeding the weakened masses that came to the gates. (It seems ridiculous for a holy priesthood not to help people after all.) Soon, word got out, and droves of blind, lame, deaf, and otherwise deformed/injured people flooded to Ivgorod, hoping to be freed of their ailments. These people were still held to a degree of spiritual purity, however one lesser to that of actually being an initiate. Since not all who came would be healed due to this criterion, the rest would, just as before, stick around hoping for another chance.
Eventually, a town would have been founded outside the monastery walls, made up of the hopeful masses and greedy merchants trying to squeeze every last coin out of the former group. As the town grew, so would the crime rate. The town, not part of any nation and too weak to be its own, would have been lawless, were it not for the monks. The Monk warriors were sent to keep the peace, receiving divine inspiration as to the location and the crimes of a given criminal, and the monks would head out to deliver justice. Thus, the town was subjected to the laws of the Monastery. At some point after this, a primitive government would have set itself up there, using volunteer soldiers and would-be initiates to follow the monk’s example and keep the peace. The monks would never declare themselves the rulers of the town, and would keep the town from spreading too close to the monastery, and would instead enlighten the leaders of the primitive state as to what should be done, trying their hardest to remain separate from the town and its disastrous state.
Oppressive theocracy? If you consider expectations of spiritual purity and righteousness oppressive, the answer is yes. Brutally oppressed? Far from it! And technically the Priesthood is not the government of the settlement outside and would not be responsive to the needs of the people at all; except for the service they provide to fulfill the will of the gods. Well, that’s my guess. Enjoy I guess; again, there’s no official lore here; I’m just wasting page-space!
That's an interesting theory, Ellico. I might get back into my monk. I can never decide who my main character is, and now I'm leaning towards the monk again. I'm like that with games: I always want an official character. My monk will need some catch up, since I've been using the WD for a while.
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