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Taifa IuliarcEdit

Taifa Iuliarc is the regional hegemon of the Taific League - series of coastal emirates loosely associated in a trade alliance. The Taific League is the wreckage of a failed Crown, which balkanized into civil war, never to be reconstituted into a strong central regime.

The Emir of Taifa Iuliarc is the official Imperial Magnate of the Crown, but operates as more as an Imperial Legate representing imperial interests and playing the other Taifas against each other.

The Taifas each maintain their semi-independence with large corps of a special breed of Free Company. The Gallowglass makes up the backbone of the Taific mercenary companies. The Gallowglass is a harden clansmen from southern Transcymoria (the northern most Crown in Empire). The Gallowglass, originally were a tribal population of Northmen who culturally assimilated with the northernmost tribes of Alamastran Celdsi. These populations were largely deported by the High King during the early settlement of Transcymoria, sold off as slaves to the Taific Emirs, who were all to eager to pay for their large battleaxes and massive swords.

The Gallowglass, themselves, have an interesting status and society all their own. They are legally slaves and wards of the Emirate Houses. However they are also bear a similar roll to that of a Housecarl in the Northern Jaddess coast - comprising a band of culturally distinct warriors surrounding the Taific Emirs as a personal bodyguard. Strikingly, they also have a social stigma of the Celdsi surrounding them. They have also formed their own warrior societies to cope with the trauma of their exile: The Headsmen, Hangmen and Gallowmen (drawn from their early association as the jailors and executioners of the Emirs. Each society is responsible for the warrior education, welfare and burial of its members. As a result each society has its own sacred rites, traditions, values and martial arts (such as the Headsmen being proficient with the GreatAxe or the Gallowmen with the Flamberge). Interestingly, these societies are pan-Taific phenomenon with members of all three societies permeating all Gallowglass Guard Corps within the Taific League. This creates a confusing array of political calculations which must be undertaken before committing these troops to battle, as warriors may not bare steel against members of their society.

The Taific League bears its own religion unique to the region. It centers on a singular, unseen, omnipresent deity, who in time will consume all other false deities. This is a religion with no formal priestly caste. Instead it is a grassroots religion promoted by renowned clerics trained from the Seminary in Taifa Iuliarc. These clerics are teachers and pastors within various parishes and neighborhoods throughout the Taifas, running local places of study, known as Houses of Learning. These operate as community centers and schools and hospitals for the neighborhoods their serve.

At war, the Taifa are noted for the lethargy of their conflicts, with most conflict ongoing at low intensity for perpetuity. The crusading zeal has never combined military with religious zeal as in the neighboring Crown to the North, Cymoria. The Taific Crown a proud client kingdom of the Alamastran Empire to the North, but rebelled upon the conversion of the Emir of Taifa Iuliarc to the new religion. Various crusading orders of Cymorian Knights were dispatched southward to quell the rebellion and crush the religion. After two agonizing centuries of war. The Military orders had largely torn away the most agriculturally productive hinterlands of the Crown, to be resdistributed among the Cymorian nobility. The High King had also demobilized and disbanded the crusading orders, or otherwise sent them eastward against the restless horsemen of Harun Maren. This left the current Taifas clinging to the coast - essentially a collapsed Crown (the state it is found in today).

Many second sons and knights errant from Cymoria continue to venture south and take up service in the Emirs' service. These knights are largely pressed into the various Taific mercenary corps and tend to see little action.

Rivalry between the Taifas is more pronounced in economic, cultural and artistic output. Three of the Empire's best centers of learning are located within the Taific League. One in Taifa Iuliarc is the Sols Seminary, the a major for religious study and scholarship, not just for the new Taific Relgion, but for all world religions because of its serious scholarly attempt to catalogue them before their become extinct. The other great Houses of Learning are known as the Qus Seminary and the Phas Seminary.

Qus is noted for its study of law, carefully codifying the laws of the Alamasteran Empire and reconciling differences between feudal, clan, communal, Crown and Imperial laws. Qus Seminary's interpretation of the law is deeply rooted in the religious texts of the Taifas and is widely respected for its principles of justice, equality, equity and reciprocity. The Qus Seminary also has one of the largest and most ancient libraries in all of Ghalistre tracing its linage back two millennia to the days when the Simeonites ruled from Eishen. The collections stretches far before that including treaties signed by Noldari Elves with inhabitants of the Jadess Coast and even an original copy of the Code of Solaren - reputed to have been written by Solaren himself. The collection is entirely focused on writing down, organizing and codifying the laws of all nations. For this reason, this is the most frequented attraction in the Taific Kingdoms with legalists from every corner of the world coming to research in its archives and merchants coming to sell new texts. The Qus Seminary is completely independent and self-funded through its international activities (a relatively recent development). The Amyran Empire has an extensive relationship with the Seminary hiring its scholar's expertise to codify the laws of the lands it conquers and integrate them into the complex legal system of the Amyran Federation.

The Phas Seminary is as much a religious community as it is a scholarly one. It is actually outside the city wall walls of Taifa Iuliarc, because it was originally founded as a Leper Colony. It was then converted into a hospital for the sick, dying and indolent ran by society of Taific monks. Over time, it evolved into a Seminary focused on medical training and the study and formalization of medicine. It is one of the most renowned non-magic-based houses of healing in Alamastre.