Santa Meringia(SM), one of Valente's greater cities. Erected on the sandy beaches of Valente's southern landmass, SM has a history filled with conflict, commerce, and innovation.
Santa Merinigia was founded by the people of the Meringia Bunker, in approximately 120 AH as a small fishing community that enjoyed the bounties of the sea, the ready supply of wood from the local soft woods, and a climate that brought little in the way of bad weather. Commercial success and stability drew other nomadic people to settle in SM, soon swelling it into a proper city. Santa Meringia joined the Valente nation in 300 AH after a short conflict with the city of the same name. Shared language and a similiar culture brought the people together more readily than a family feud could seperate them. For their encouragement of the battle, the family of Luiz De Canard was disbanded. As a result, Santa Meringia has no great family to call its own, though it is home to a great many members of other great houses of Valente. It is said that some descendants of the disbanded family lurk about as miscreants and trouble makers.
Historians have recently (As of 1030 AH) discovered a diary in the old Meringia Shelter, the survivors of which founded the village of Meringia. Their story is related in the Meringia Bunker Log.
Prejudices and Views
Technology is the reward of a fruitful mind. The Valente people beleive that wisdom is the one thing every man is entitled to pursue. It is the reason that Los Universidad de Ramuh is not ruled by any greater house, instead protected by all. It is said that Ramuh was a pioneer and inventor himself in the age long ago that he was mortal. Those who diligently push the envelope of Valentian science are respected and honored for their efforts, despite efforts by Imperials to enforce harsh technological restrictions and regulations. Native scientists are often shielded by the community as a whole when/if the church attempts to prosecute them, resulting in a great many witnesses to speak on the accused's behalf. Foreigners do not benefit from this protection.
Monsters were seen as soul tainted fiends not that long ago, though their lot has improved significantly over the last couple of decades. Monsters are allowed to live within the city and uphold jobs, though none are allowed to 'officially' be a member of any of the great houses. Monsters are often hired by them, however. Monsters, especially those visibly touched by Gaia in 'un natural' ways, are often scape goated when things go wrong. The average man sees 'tamed' monsters are uncivilized and brutish, and is fast to spot any faux-paus they may commit where they may let it go in more normal citizenry. It is, as a result, harder for monstrous citizens to gain honor and prestige and easier for them to gain notoriety.
The great houses make all important decisions. The church advises the community, and the houses, but does not enact new laws. Notable exception, and source of friction, is the imperial-borne laws that came during the recent invasion. There is no king or queen of Santa Meringia. There is, however, a mayor. The mayor is a figure head, to inspire and rally the people. He or she is in charge of attending public functions, awarding public renown and medals, and otherwise being the face for the real decision makers of the city, that being the leaders of the great families. The mayor's role is not to be understated, as he or she is an important link between government and the people and is expected to be a shining example of honor and grace. Mayor's serve for a term of one year, after which a new mayor is elected, though the old mayor can be re-elected with no limit on term length. Rigging this election is one of the great family's most ancient traditions, though the facade of a fair election is always upheld, and the voting day is considered a city wide holiday of festivities.
A person is not guilty of breaking the law until they are challenged on it by someone with authority to do so. Those with such authority include the following:
- Church knights
- Policio(Valentian Police)
- Members of the Great Houses
- The Mayor(Though this privilege is rarely exerted)
- Ranking members of the Valentian Army
Those who do not belong to these groups are forced to petition someone who is, employing favors, charisma, or outright bribes to encourage them to face the would-be outlaw and bring them to justice. If the accused is a man of renown and/or respect, and can be reasonably assumed to not flee, they will be issued a court summons but allowed to continue business until the appointed day. This also gives the accused time to assemble evidence to their defense. Those without honor, or unknowns(Foreigners for example), are arrested bodily and kept within the arresting party's property until the court seeing. It is considered improper to mistreat prisoners before the day of court. On rare occasional, abused prisoners have been declared innocent on sight, if their captors treat them roughly enough to show on trial day. During trial, the accused and the accuser can both present evidence and call witnesses to prove their side of the case. Style is as important as compelling evidence. Witnesses are judged by the respect they have in the community as much as any words they have to share. Lawyers are a rare sight in the proceedings. Lawyers, better known as solicitors, must agree to be honor bound to the accused, thus sharing their fate, for good or ill, including death penalties. Solicitors, as a result, are either extremely close allies of the accused or exorbitantly well paid for their services. Death Penalties are rare. Most houses are just as happy to make the accused suffer, or do labor on their behalf. Community service, or assigned quests are quite common. Some are forcably enlisted into the Valentian army, or set out to slay bothersome monsters. Of course, if the accused dies carrying out such a sentence, this is no fault of the accuser. No more honorable way of death than to do it in the name of justice, after all. Those declared innocent of a crime may never again be accused of that particular instance of the crime, though a new occurrence can be tried as normal. It is common courtesy to pay the accused a small fine if found innocent, for their time, though this courtesy is often waived in cases of foreigners.