There are over a thousand parishes in the kingdom of Loskalm, varying from sparsely settled communities in the Nev highlands to the entirety of the great city of Northpoint. Almost anything that could be said about one parish would have exceptions elsewhere, but nonetheless it is possible to draw a picture of a typical rural parish from which details of others can be extrapolated as needs be.
The parish of Haut Ussle is an entirely unremarkable community in the county of Pelmor in southern Easval province. It has a total population of just over three thousand, almost exactly average for Loskalmi parishes. It is centered on the town of the same name, built on a fordable stretch of the South Banswick river, which empties into the Banswick proper about twenty miles downstream to the west.
The parish itself is about eight by six miles across and includes seven smaller villages besides the town itself. The great majority of the population are literally farmers, whose farms are dotted in and around the villages. Altogether, there are well over eight hundred adult men working on the farms in the parish, and a similar number of women. Each of the villages also includes at least a few craftsmen, notably redsmiths, thatchers and millers, but it is only in the town that a full range of crafts is found, and even then specialist professions such as goldsmith and armourer are lacking. Farmers bring their produce along to a weekly market in the town, which provides an opportunity for people from all across the parish to meet.
Haut Ussle parish employs a total of fifteen acolythists, with at least one in each village and five in the town itself, assisting the rector. Likewise, each village has a single squire, and four more are based at the town, helping to run the parish court. A single additional squire has responsibility for the woodland region in the northeast of the parish, helping to keep out poachers and deal with the few isolated woodsmen who make a living there. A couple of dozen members of the farmer class work in other professions, such as scribes, troubadours and servants for the local lord.
There are few soldiers actually living in the parish, just six retired veterans who help drill the militia and act informally to keep order in the town, which is considered too small for a full-time town guard. However, a couple of dozen men and women from the parish are presently serving in the Pelmor county regiment as infantrymen, healers, and the like. They are rarely seen at home, except for their short periods of leave - even then, some prefer to spend their leave time in the more salubrious surroundings of larger settlements.
Seventeen men and one woman from the parish are self-made members of the knight class. Most of them are serving in the Pelmor county regiment, but three are retired and living in local manor houses suitable for their station. The retired knights assist the Mayor at county fairs and other public occasions, and serve as visible exemplars of Loskalmi honor to all those in the parish. Two knights are presently on leave of errantry, righting wrongs and fighting fell beasts in far off regions.
Eight wizards hail from the parish. Most are working at large religious institutions elsewhere in the kingdom, although two serve as Grand Knights in the Army. The only wizard actually resident in the parish is the rector, who lives at the church in Haut Ussle itself. Similarly, while two currently serving nobles originally called the parish home, the only local noble is the Mayor himself.
A typical resident of the parish might know the following people:
The Mayor - Lord Moravis. An elderly but hale man, who formerly served as a canon at Pelmor cathedral. Most folk only see him at ceremonial events or officiating at court, but nonetheless know him as a just and fair man, worthy of respect. His wife, Lady Annabel, accompanies him to most ceremonies and a small entourage of servants also travels with him.
The Rector - Revd Turlin. Even older than the mayor, he has been rector for the last two decades, but was a noted cavalry knight in his youth. He spends most of his time in the town, and is well known to those who live there, but only occasionally officiates at ceremonies in the villages. He is a widower.
A Local Squire - Squire Homas Frunton is the squire of the eastern village of Tempton Mill. Typical of the many squires of the parish, he is a hearty, middle-aged man known for his skill at growing vegetables. Everyone in the villages knows the squire and his family, for they often join in the local festivities, and help arrange the annual parish fair. His younger son is a crossbowman in the county regiment, but his other children are content to remain farmers.
A Local Acolythist - Jelissa Cobar is the Tempton Mill acolythist; a farmer's daughter who taught herself theology and basic literacy. She eventually came to the attention of Revd Turlin, who continued her education and raised her to her present position. She is the spiritual and moral guardian of the village, and leads the weekly worship services. Beautiful and intelligent, but with no desire to join the Army, she has many suitors.
A Drill Sergeant - Sgt Tenk Enterson drills and trains both the Elkridge and Tempton militias, assisted by some of the more experienced militiamen. He is a gruff man, who was in the Army so long that he now has difficulty adjusting to running a less disciplined force.
A Local Tavernkeeper - Borik Umberley runs the Tempton Mill tavern, a favourite meeting place for farmers from the local area, which serves locally produced ale, bread and soup. A social centre rather than an inn, a single room may nonetheless be available to travellers although the service is fairly basic (visitors with any sense will travel on to Haut Ussle, where there is a proper inn). Everyone in the village knows Borik and his family, who work with him to maintain the tavern.
The Local Apothecary - Enid Poronby lives and works in the town, but everyone in the parish knows her because she is their main source of healing herbs and medical care. She is an elderly woman, but her eldest son shows promise as her assistant and looks well able to follow in her footsteps when the time comes.
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This page was last updated 5th October 2003 by Jamie 'Trotsky' Revell