RE: Re: Womens in Loskalm

From: Nick Brooke <Nick_Brooke_at_...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 22:50:17 +0100

Here's our female Hrestoli Cardinal from "How the West was One" --

Cardinal of Norans

Age: 55
Disposition: aggrieved, critical, passionate Religious Affiliation: New Hrestoli Idealist Church Political Affiliation: Kingdom of Loskalm

Council Votes: one

SIEGLINDE'S BACKGROUND You are the Cardinal of Norans, head of the Hrestoli Idealist Church in the most prosperous and advanced of the eight Principalities of Loskalm, and the first woman ever to have attained such a rank. You are a crusading champion for the New Hrestoli Idealist sect of Malkionism, the most progressive and modern sect of the archaic Malkioni religion.

Born in 1580, the daughter of a wizard of Morain, you rejected the traditional Loskalmi woman's route to high status through a good marriage, and instead dedicated yourself to the fulfilling task of making your own upward progress through the classes of Hrestoli society. At every stage you faced opposition from bigoted, small-minded men, who sought only to oppose your advancement and strait-jacketed you into "traditional" female roles. Worse than this was the well-meaning condescension of others, who by patronising your Idealist quest for fulfilment revealed the inequality that persists at the heart of Loskalmi society.

In your knightly training, you had to serve as a messenger while others fought. As a wizard, you were assigned to the hospitals as a healer-surgeon, and not permitted to study high theology as you would have wished. Fortunately, your resolute strength of purpose ensured that in every station you were able to study subjects far outside the restrictions of your appointed career. You achieved victories in all the contests and examinations required for upward progression, but these were awarded grudgingly. You faced abuse and belittling comments from fellow-competitors, but you endured their mockery and continued, not wavering from your course.

You proved yourself to be a true Knight by requesting a traditional year's Leave of Errantry from your commander. (He leered, and asked if you'd be marrying the child's father. The pig!). You quested through Loskalm and the strange lands beyond, concealing your sex within a finely-wrought suit of plate armour. Following the old traditions of knight-errantry, you bore a blank white shield and disguised your name, claiming to be "Sir Lindegaise". In far-off forests you fought with monsters, rescued maidens (who were very surprised to remain in that state: so much for Chivalry!), and upheld the fine and noble Hrestoli Ideals wherever you tarried, supporting Justice and laying low the proud.

In those years the Syndics Ban was slowly retreating from Fronela; you were one of the first explorers to penetrate into the mysterious realm of Zoria and its enchanted City of Love. This magical place was ruled by a mighty enchantress known as the Queen of the Kiss, who could enslave men through her mastery of feminine wiles. Many fine knights had come to grief and shame in the various chambers of her palace before your arrival. Not knowing the secret of your identity, the witch-queen attempted wantonly to seduce you from your virtuous questing: you indignantly rebuffed her, proclaiming that all True Knights of Loskalm would place their noble Ideals above their carnal Desires.

Your elevation to Cardinal came two years ago; this was well-deserved (and somewhat overdue) recognition of your incisive excellence. At times, you wonder how the other members of the High Council, mostly male, came to select you. It would be intolerable if you were chosen only to be a "token woman", though of course your appointment would nevertheless remain a great victory for your cause.

The Grand Tournament

So as to demonstrate the unity of all Malkioni (not just the Wizard class in charge of promulgating church doctrine), at past Ecclesiastical Councils there have always been voting representatives from each of the other three classes: a Lord, a Knight and a Farmer. When people were shackled to their 'castes' by birth in the Bad Old Days, these positions were awarded on the discredited basis of heredity. (At the erroneous Sixth Ecclesiastical Council, the Rokari heretics won the right to appoint their own Symbolic Representatives on this basis). Now we are enlightened by Hrestol's Idealism, they can be earned by anyone who has progressed far enough through the class structure of the Loskalmi State.

One member of the Hrestoli delegation will be chosen by Gaiseron the Mystic to represent the Knightly class of Loskalm. And, you have discovered, as a de facto Knight they will be eligible to compete in the Grand Tournament! If you were to be awarded this honour, you could vindicate female knighthood everywhere by becoming the Knight Defender of Malkionism!

Womens' Committee

Give it to them straight: no "special cases," no "separate structures," none of that antiquated sexist twaddle. Women are human, too. You must work hard before this sub-committee to make sure that you ensure a majority will support the notion that women do have souls, and do have a role in the Church.


  1. Ensure that New Hrestoli Idealist Church's creed is adopted at the Council.
  2. Full Equality Now! No if's, no but's, no quibbling. It's long overdue!
  3. Womens' Rites. You are sure that the female members of other churches attending the Council will have many experiences in common with your own. It would be worth getting together and comparing notes. Perhaps a feminine ecumenical consensus could be arranged, in counterpoint to the rigid, masculine hierarchy of imposed conformity within each sect? An exchange of ideas and information would certainly be worthwhile.
  4. Someone in the Church must make sure that all of the Cardinal's toe the party line. Gaiseron seems incapable of doing this with his foolishly extreme adherence to the notion of "free speech". Yes, free debate is fine, but the will of the majority must be followed by all! If Gaiseron can't do this then you must step in and see that it is done.


  1. Loskalm is an Idealistic nation. It must not allow these Ideals to become tarnished. While you were questing as a knight errant, you learned how Loskalmi virtues could become an example to the rest of the world. This is why your colleagues must doggedly resist the temptation to change. Siglat's Dream showed us a perfected State, its Orders and Officers in harmonious array. Tearing this structure down in order more efficiently to make war would be a betrayal of everything Hrestolism should stand for. If we must change our ways in order to defeat the Kingdom of War, then they have already won.
  2. Win the Council Tournament and become the first female Knight Champion of Malkion.
  3. Solve the problem of your loan from the Vadeli (see below). Perhaps you should start a campaign against usury (the charging on interest on loans). You actually only owe 100 crowns, the other 200 crowns is interest.
  4. Find out why the spell you used for your Graduation test has not been released for general use (see below).

WHO YOU KNOW Abdelcar, the Vadeli Observer at the Council: Unfortunately, early on in your career you required money to equip yourself as a knight, and then to buy all of the various scrolls and ingredients to be a wizard. You borrowed the money you needed from this Vadeli and now he wants the money back, with interest. In total it all adds up to 300 crowns. How are you going to get that much money?

Gaiseron the Mystic, Cardinal of Southpoint and Ecclesiarch of the Malkioni Faith: a sweet old man: you are sure he means well, but he probably cannot help but display the outdated attitudes of his generation - and most other members of that generation are a century or more dead.

You are also worried that he is not going to exercise his authority and insist that the various Hrestoli representatives on the sub-committees vote in accordance with the official Church views on each subject. Not to do so will cause rampant confusion across the whole of Loskalm. It appears that Gaiseron really has very little control over his own church and seems willing to allow also sorts of patent nonsense, lies, and (it has to be said) heresies to be promulgated in the name of "free speech". It must stop!

Galleron, Cardinal of Pomona: a died-in-the-wool sexist, he displays chauvinistic and patriarchal attitudes that should have died out in the Ice Age. You despise this petty, manipulative little schemer. Unfortunately, he is also on the Womens' Committee, and he is sure to vote against the rights of women. Some way must be found to force him to vote for the Hrestoli position. This is a perfect example of the lack of co-ordination and non-use of authority by Gaiseron.

Judge Grudd, Mayor of Sog City: a macho, posturing fool. He is the law around Sog City.

Guntram, Cardinal of Morain: this earnest fellow is likely to be sympathetic to your cause; you know him to be a broad-minded and innovative thinker.

Gundreken, King of Loskalm: the head of the Loskalmi State, your wise and beloved monarch is the embodiment of all you hold most dear. God Save the King! He has not been seen in public for many seasons now, and they say he is in Southpoint with Gaiseron preparing an important ritual.

Jurgen Merriman, Head of the Watchdog Council: a bachelor academic who appears insufficiently decisive to make a go of his role.

Sir Meriatan, Grand Knight of the Order of the Swallow: the heroic leader of the famous order of Knights pledged to destroy the Kingdom of War and reclaim the ancient lands of Loskalm.

Malgrin, Cardinal of Modrimouth: a Cardinal who has risen all of the way from the peasant class. He is a bit rustic for you, but you do share many common experiences of prejudice.

Minadoras, Cardinal of Easval: the youngest member of the current College of Cardinals, Minadoras strikes you as something of a fanatic, even among the upper circles of Loskalm's Idealists.

Nesselina, Queen of the Kiss: this witch-whore looks unchanged, for all that it is a quarter-century since your first fateful meeting!

Sulfraginis, Cardinal of Bregsburg: an elderly wizard only recently raised to the rank of Lord and the office of Cardinal. Sulfraginis is a taciturn, and quietly-spoken man of few words. Some years ago now he became a missionary and traveled to Pamaltela.

Vadalon, Prince of Tawars: the man seems to have no sense of Chivalry or Idealism: his suggestions for waging war on the enemy seem practical enough, but they would be completely out of keeping with the noble and inspiring traditions of our great nation. Loskalm cannot truly win if it is prepared to sink to the same depths as its enemies.

Varnaro, High Priestess of Riverjoin: you met this Arrolian Priestess during your time of errantry. You found her a fascinating person, and a strong supporter of women's rights. She would be a valuable ally for the vote of Women.

RELIGIOUS ATTITUDES Perfecti: although they are denounced (by men) as stinking heretics, this movement seems to share your belief that it is hard to achieve worthwhile changes by working within the institutions of society. There is another side to persons, events, and magic, one that cannot be fulfilled by public ritual and open displays but needs to be developed secretly, in private contemplation.

Castle Coast Chivalry: the "Chivalry" of this land places women on a pedestal, denying them the opportunity to be any more than prizes for muscle-bound males! Out on it!

Rokari: a twisted creed for self-torturing misogynists. The Rokari Church of Seshnela has no female bishops, and prefers to lock its women away in nunneries. How much better it would be if this unnatural confinement were overturned!

Syanorans: this Church has female bishops and priestesses,

Arrolians: the Arrolian Lunar Church seems an admirable model: a predominantly female priestesshood, and a creed that emphasises the natural cycles of life and the importance of the feminine perspective. In fact, you have heard that their church can scarcely be called "pagan": they are said to worship the Invisible God just as your own Church does, taking the Moon as a symbol. It would be worth finding out more about this belief.

Zorians: the Zorian Church of Free Love is one of those things that brings womens' involvement in religion into disrepute. From personal experience, you know their ruler to be a seductress and a destroyer of good knights.


Tapping is evil and must be stamped out wherever it is found. You must ensure that the Hrestoli sub-committee representatives follow this view.


There are four castes: Farmer, Knight, Wizard and Lord. Mobility between these should be based on merit and merit alone. You must ensure that the Hrestoli sub-committee representatives follow this view.


  1. A servant told you that Portin Dunbar's female helper at the Council is a frustrated wannabe knight.
  2. A wizard told you that Minadoras has very peculiar views on the Caste system.
  3. A merchant told you that the Bishop of Borin, Count Darmangon of Borin, is a Borist. These are people who rampantly tap chaotic creatures (like those abominations found in the Dilis Swamp) to gain their disgusting powers. The Borist sect is outlawed by every decent religion and government in the West. What is he doing here?


SPECIAL SKILLS/MAGIC Convert (Ability: one-use). This allows you to convert a cleric of another religion who has had a crisis of faith.

Damsel in Distress (Ability: one-use). You can use your femininity to call upon aid from Knights and other good souls. (You would, however, despise yourself for acting in such a stereotypical manner.)

Hot Gossip (Ability: one-use). You have a tattling tongue which allows you to extract opinions from other people.

Joust (Ability : one-use). Helps you to win rounds of jousting.

Proselytise (Ability: one-use). Your strong faith allows you to win most arguments.

Refute (Ability: one-use). You are able to think quickly on your feet and head off an opponent's winning argument.

Weaponmaster (Ability: one-use). Helps you win the hand-to-hand section of the tournament.

OTHER The High Council of Loskalm

The King of Loskalm appoints five other Hrestoli Lords, both Secular and Spiritual, to advise him as members of the High Council of Loskalm. This august body determines matters of key importance to the State: it formulates foreign policy, decides on matters of war and peace, and is also responsible for the appointment and rotation of Princes and Cardinals to the eight Principalities and Sees of the Kingdom.

The members of the High Council in 1625 are:

	Gundreken, King of Loskalm
	Bersules, Cardinal of Valsburg, Chancellor
	Gaiseron, Cardinal of Southpoint, Ecclesiarch
	Meriatan, Grand Knight, First Knight of the Order of the Swallow
	Vadalon, Prince of Tawars

There is one vacant place, which was created by the formal abdication of Perion Rudd, former Head of the Watchdog Council, earlier this year. No successor has yet been appointed.


In Loskalm, upwards progress between the classes is attained by success at various tests. These are conducted in more or less formal settings, from country fairs and tournaments to interviews, quests and vigils. The final stage in a Wizard's graduation into the Lordly class is formally examined in the Universities of Loskalm. The candidate must present and demonstrate to the examiners an original work of sorcery, be it a prayer, an enchantment, or an unusual application of known principles. Every Prince and Cardinal of Loskalm has passed this rigorous examination. Your Graduation Piece was entitled: Sympathetic Correspondence. This allowed the sharing of emotions between the caster and the recipient of the spell thus aiding communication of ideas and feelings.

You are surprised that this has yet to be released by the Watchdog Council for general use by Wizards. Is there something wrong? Is there some accusation of plagiarism hanging over it? You must ask Jurgen Merriman in case it threatens your current position.

REFEREE'S NOTES Crisis of Faith Card:

I never really had a chance, did I? After all, every Malkioni Church shares the same rule-book, and that was written by men, for men. Malkion, Hrestol, Talor, Siglat: none of them, not one of them, had a woman's understanding of Religion and Society. They could have made a fairer, gentler, kinder way, not this constricting, confining, unequal Law. Well, I've had it up to here with all the hypocrisy, all the subtle patronising sneers and Who's-a-clever-girl's and Didn't-she-do-well's. Stuff you lot, I'm off to find a modern religion, one that understands.

(Convert, but only to a non-mainstream sect, i.e. not Hrestoli (either type), Rokari, or Syanoran).

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