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Ascalon

From YPPedia

Ascalon at a Glance
Emerald Ocean
Monarch Pishkirlin of Blades of Ascalon
Member crew(s) Blades of Ascalon, The Wisdom
Founded 21 July, 2007
Allies None
Wars None
Last updated on 28 September, 2016
Favicon.png Flag Info

Ascalon is currently a dormant flag on the Emerald Ocean formerly of Sage. It was founded on July 21, 2007.

Contents

Heritage

Etymology

Ascalon is the sword that Saint George used to slay the dragon, so whimsically named by Richard Johnson (1573-1659?) after the city Ashkelon. The etymology of the name of the city is probably Western Semitic and may be derived from the root (shkl; "to weigh"), indicating a commercial or financial center.

The Founding Myth

The necromancer Mortesecca

At the beginning of the XVIII century, the necromancer Mortesecca, Master of the Arcane, proffered the prophecy:

The Crown of a nation will be forged from the iron of Saint George's sword

Rumors, that the legendary sword with which the Saint slayed the dragon had been brought to Sage by the pirate Waterbug, spread like wildfire. The place where the relic was hidden being unknown, all attempts to find the sword seemed to be in vain. One by one, all of the searchers gave up the hunt as a wild goose chase; all except Prince Pishkirlin of the Fearless Privateers, Grand-Master of the Sacred Military Order of Saint George. Unwilling to abandon his dream of finding the sword, he persisted in his efforts to that purpose. After an accurate research on the Saint's apocryphal hagiographies, he discovered that the book "The Illustrious and Renown'd History of the Seven Famous Champions of Christendom" contained precious information about the relic and that the last copy of the book supposedly belonged to Vargas the Mad.

On July 2007, the infamous Brigand King took over Kasidim Island and set up his headquarter there, but soon after was attacked by the Army Of Darkness. Taking advantage of the mayhem caused by the blockade, Pishkirlin managed to sneak in Masada Palace before it was occupied by the attackers and come into possession of the book. Among its pages could be read:

thy sword which is called Ascalon is framed of such excellent mettle by the curious workmanship of the Ciclops, that it will separate and cut the hardest flint, and hew in sunder the strongest steele, for in the pummell lies such pretious vertue, that neyther treason, witchcrafts, nor any violence can bee proffered thee, so long as thou wearest it

—Richard Johnson, The Illustrious and Renown'd History of the Seven Famous Champions of Christendom

revealing along with the name of the sword, its most likely location: Ashkelon Arch Island.

Pishkirlin set sail to Tern Archipelago and once at the Island, he found Mortesecca waiting for him, and handing him the sacred sword, he offered the Prince the Crown of Ascalon.

Interpretation of the Myth

Behind the seemingly fanciful legend of Ascalon lie historical facts, which the historians of Sage have tried to clarify each according to his or her own interpretation of Mortesecca's prophecy. For the aforesaid prophecy, other than the symbolic importance of the legend itself, two different explanations come to the forefront, neither incompatible with the other.

The "iron" of Saint George's sword could be construed as the iron of the island which bears the same name as the saint's sword: Ashkelon Arch, which is, in fact, rich in that same mineral. The crown of Pishkirlin could therefore have been forged from the iron originating from the island of Ashkelon.

If, however, we interpret "iron" as a metonymy for the sword and thus the blade, then the pirate crew Blades of Ascalon comes immediately to mind; the selfsame crew of which Mortesecca was the first Captain. Thus the necromancer's suggestion to Pishkirlin to unite their crews under one flag when handing him the sword was tantamount to offering Pishkirlin the crown of the kingdom.

Symbols

Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Ascalon
The personal Coat of Arms of the Monarch is also The Greater Coat of Arms of Ascalon and it is used by Royalty to symbolize the Crown. Its blazon is the following: "Quarterly, the first and the fourth quarter Argent, Gules a cross; second quarter Gules Saint George killing the dragon all proper; third quarter Gules, in pale a sword proper over a vol Or." Motto: VERTU DEMEURE DANS MOI (Virtue dwells within myself).

Flag portrait

Commissioned by King Pishkirlin in 2008, the flag portrait depicts the Greek goddess Arete and the personification of Ascalon.

Arete was the goddess or daimona of virtue, excellence, goodness and valour. She was depicted as a fair woman dressed in white. Ascalon is depicted as a warrior, holding a longsword (representing knighthood) and wearing a winged helmet as a reference to the coat of arms of the flag, where the sword appears over a vol.

Flag statement

Written by Rastaban of Shiraz, the prose poem chosen as a flag statement symbolizes the quest for virtue.

By land and sea have I sought thee, Ascalon. Oh thou, sacred blade of invincible mettle! Many a knight hath failed the selfsame quest. Shall I be perchance the one to finde thee? What art thou, Ascalon? Strength, hope or merely a dream? I feel the dragon's breathe drawing near. My courage has gone from me and I tremble. Yet agayn have I fallen into sin. Now that I no longer in saving grace am found, who shalt guide my hand? I shall redeem my fault putting sail to sea, I shall brave the storm to come and seek thee! So thought I. But the roads I roamed bore me to many barren lands and longe was the tyme of myn roving biforen finding thee, Ascalon, deep within myselven.

Government and politics

Ascalon is a thalassocracy with a King as a head of state, who, by virtue of his official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate titles of nobility and orders of chivalry to other persons.

The Royal Court

King Pishkirlin of Ascalon
The Royal Court of Ascalon is formed by the Monarch, the royalty as well as the titled members of the realm. Its current composition is the following:

Icon monarch.png Monarch

  • His Majesty King Pishkirlin

Icon royalty.png Royalty

Icon titled.png Titled Members

  • The Most Honourable the Marquise Mmiimmii
  • The Most Honourable the Marquis Azeitona
  • The Right Honourable the Count Piratus
  • The Right Honourable the Baroness Sparkywolf
  • The Right Honourable the Baron Acerin

The College of Arms

Sangreazul

The College of Arms measures the so-called sangreazul of the citizens of Ascalon in order to grant them a title. Sangre azul is a Spanish idiom for noble birth or descent, translated in English as blue blood. The sangreazul can thus be considered the basic unit of nobility in the realm of Ascalon and it is designed to represent 1/100 of liter of blood.

Commendation ceremony

When a new peer is made, he enters into a feudal relationship with the King and they undergo a ceremony known as commendation ceremony.

Before performing the ceremony, the new peer must have previously inscribed a maroon scroll swearing fealty to the Crown of Ascalon. The attendant must be also dressed in maroon and white, wear a hat that will be removed in the presence of the King and have with him both sword and bludgeon that will be handed to a herald.

The King clasps the new peer’s hands and asks him to swear fealty to the Crown. The previously inscribed scroll is traded between the two and the King recognize him as a Lord, affirming his sole and exclusive right to bear the Arms granted by the College of Arms.
Coats of Arms of Pishkirlin, Pirilina, Safebet, Blackseagull, Mmiimmii and Azeitona

Coat of Arms

At the end of the commendation ceremony, the King grants an armorial bearing to the Lord/Lady who has sworn an oath of fealty to the Crown.

Foreign policy

Ascalon is committed to maintaining its neutrality and wish to avoid any political entanglements such as war, alliance and blockades, as well as job support for other flags in such.

The public statement of the flag quotes a chapter from Mortesecca's masterpiece, 'The Prince', that is considered the ultimate guideline of Ascalonese foreign policy:

It now remains for us to consider what ought to be the conduct and bearing of a Prince in relation to alliances and job support for blockades.

Relationships with other Princedoms ought to be cultivated over the time. A wise Prince should never rest idle in times of peace, but seek to establish new bonds and tighten existing ones so not to be caught off guard in the event of a declaration of war. For most monarchs regard begging for support in the run-up of a blockade as an offense given both to their Princedoms and to postulant's dignity. As to this, much could be said about the proper manner in which a Prince should address to his peers, but since I know that many have written on this subject, I shall here omit all discussion on protocol and courtesy.

As regards alliances, these ought to be pondered carefully. A Prince should look for establishing bonds with Princedoms that have similar objectives and perspectives on alliances, warfare and island administration. And since in the event of a blockade, no support is given without eventually having to repay for it, Princedoms that are in the habit of attacking islands ought to be preferred, being easier to negotiate the terms of mutual support. Nevertheless, it greatly profits a Prince in establishing alliances, to embroil Princedoms with no interest in blockades on the condition that he can offer them something in exchange, which could namely be the command of a ship during the hostilities, the governorship of a lesser possession or merely a fair amount of shinies.

A Prince, therefore, ought to inquire about his allies, theirs past actions and future aspirations, and read attentively the statement of their Princedoms in order not to lower himself to beg for a support he otherwise won't most likely get.

— Mortesecca, The Prince

Missions

On July 2008, a few days after the celebrations for the first anniversary of the nation, King Pishkirlin announced a new deal, setting new goals for the flag in step with the unique Ascalonese identity. Special tasks and challenges with background stories known as missions were thus conceived. Missions are the major blue-blood points source and taking part into them is the path knights must follow in order to earn lordship.

First mission: The Privy Purse

Leoric in disguise challenging Tilinka
For a long time, the King of Ascalon had been looking to find a solution for an age-old issue: building a strongbox for the Privy Purse. He wished that all subjects could be able to donate and check how much gold it contained, allowing only one to withdraw from it.

So he made an announcement, asking the craftsmen of the realm to submit their projects. However no blacksmith was able to build such a thing. One day a shipbuilder asked for an audience with the King, proposing to build a sloop instead so that everyone will be able to see it and donate to Ascalon's cause.

Leoric and Piraatmaaike successfully accomplished the mission and as a reward they were appointed as managers in Acerin's stall where the sloop was built.

The night before its christening, the sloop went stolen by a mysterious thief who got Mortesecca drunk and came in possession of the deed. After a deep investigation, the knights retrieved from Mnemosyne Mortesecca's foggy memory, finding out the identity of the robber: Tilinka of the Perilous Puppets. Dressing themselves in guise of puppets, they managed to challenge her to several duels, wagering a bundle of magenta cloth before Mmiimmii could finally win and bring back the deed to Ascalon.

The sloop was eventually renamed as Strong Box and put into port at Admiral Island.

Second mission: Hoist the Colours!

The King of Ascalon wanted to give new uniforms to the flag. Although his passion for the navy cloth was well known, he was still not sure of what colour best matched the design of a captain's jacket. Moreover, being known as a quite pretentious sovereign, he demanded cloth from Caravanserai, the only island on Sage where weavers from Damascus work. As for the iron, it must have come from Ashkelon Arch.

So on October the 30th, he announced a new mission for his brave knights: he would have paid three times the price of the cloth on Admiral Island to the first knight who would have brought to him the precious cloth from Caravanserai.

Five days after a team formed by Fatuzza, Frame, Leoric, Ortyka and Scrondo managed to deliver to Admiral Island a cargo of maroon cloth. Maroon and white became the official colour scheme of Ascalon.

Third mission: The Fallen Knight

After commissioning a new flag portrait depicting the Greek goddess Arete and the personification of Ascalon, Pishkirlin received an anonymous message demanding to turn over Arete. Blackseagull found out that author of the message was Arete's sister Kakia, goddess of vice and moral badness. Pishkirlin refused to agree to the deal and received another message where he was told to prepare to die.

The day after he had a dream in which Azarbad was standing between Arete and Kakia at a crossroad. They spoke to him like they did to Heracles, but Azarbad chose to follow Kakia's path while a mysterious green man, subsequently recognized as Mortesecca, was watching the whole scene with a smirk.

Further investigation revealed that Kakia and Azarbad were partners in crime and they were also on Mortesecca's trail. The Master of the Arcane had in fact disappeared a few days before. Inspecting his shack the Knights discovered a door trap leading to a secret dungeon the layout of which was the same as Saint George's interfaith shrine in Lod. Here they found a scroll that was diclosing the truth about Mortesecca's identity and Azarbad's involvement in Kakia's plot:

The scroll

Many rulers have reigned over this land, all bringing with them their beliefs. This sacred place has had many different names and several times it has been destroyed and rebuilt, until one day the saint we worship appeared in a dream to two of his most devoted believers. Christian was one, Muslim the other. He entrusted them with the keys of the temples so that everyone who wanted to make a pilgrimage to his shrine would find the door open. Thus the Order of Saint George and the futuwa of Al-Khader were born.

One day, the saint wanted to put one of the brotherhood to the test. So he sent a herald to a member of the futuwa, letting him choose between two paths: a long one, within the brotherhood, on which he would experience many troubles; and a short one, that would make him a King. Blinded by power, the Persian knight chose the latter, becoming slave of vice.

Not only was he not satisfied with becoming a Brigand King, but when he realised that he had failed the test of Al-Khadir, he even wanted to challenge him.

He waited until the Order of Saint George was without a Grand-Master, then drove the knights out of the church and set it ablaze. But before the temple was destroyed by the flames, one of the knights escaped taking with him the sacred sword Ascalon and hid it in an unidentified place.

The Saint, in order to help the knights re-establish their order, then sent another emissary to the earth: he who you are now looking for.

During the exploration of the dungeon, the paladins found two ancient items: a book of prayers and a key. Since in order to enter the crypt, which supposedly was the ultimate destination of the mission, the chosen knight needed both items, Mortesecca approached the two finders and gave them a false item proposing them to cheat one another in order to be the first one who would have entered the crypt. Blackseagull, who was one of them, refused the deal and gave the true book to her companion.

Shortly after Mortesecca confirmed that he was the emissary sent by Al-Khader and the reason why Azarbad was on his trail was the fact that he considered him responsible for his own fall. Mortesecca revealed also that in the past he had helped Pishkirlin rebuilding the Order of Saint George and finding Ascalon, but the time to put the Knights of Saint George to the test, like he did with Azarbad, had come as well. So he recreated the temple of Lod with this purpose, letting the knights choose between Arete or Kakia's path. Fortunately Blackseagull passed the test and thanks to her, the order would have been blessed by its patron saint.

Then he resigned his position as a leader of the flag, promising to come back one day, but since then no one has ever seen him again.

Fourth mission: Hic Sunt Dracones

On the 8th day of May of the year of grace 2009, a mysterious seafarer joined Ascalon. He was recognized as Olaus Magnus, a Swedish ecclesiastic and writer, best remembered as the author of Carta Marina, a nautical map of Northern Europe.

As soon as Olaus joined the flag he posted on its bulletin board a cryptic poem entitled Tile, where art thou?:

Cold rays in

A dusk lain

On a fir hold stars.

The poem was a riddle secreting the location where the knights should have looked for Tile. Those lines were in fact the anagrams of the islands in the Puffin archipelago (Cryo Island, Auk Island, Hoarfrost Island). Once the riddle was solved, Olaus explained that he wanted to render his services as a cartographer to the Crown. He asked in exchange to help him mapping all the hidden locations in the Puffin archipelago. The knights started combing every atoll on that area, discovering important information about atolls such as the list of known atoll words.

Two weeks later the knights are contacted by Tiram, a girl from Oyster Island looking for her missing father, who left Midnight to seek his fortune on Sage when she was a child. At the beginning the crew thinks Tiram's father was no one but the famous Old Man from Oyster Island, but by the end of October a man called Zurga claims to have news about the missing person. He manages to deliver to Lady Blackseagull an enormous pearl that hides a mysterious message in a secret compartment. The piece of paper on which the message was written looked like one of the so called Skeleton Journals found on Auk Island one year before. Zurga revealed that the journal belonged to one of the members of an expedition organized several years ago by a mysterious brotherhood. He had a list of members noted by the captain in the form of word search puzzle, on which one could read the names of Vargas, Waterbug, Mortesecca, Olaus, Roscovan, Rastaban, Eltanin, Swesvempa, Swedempa and Sprockett. Mortesecca eventually announced that the latter was Tiram's father.

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