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    Postfest V, Part II: Wroth Silver
    Posted on Mon, August 08, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "The western extent of the Duchy of Urnst is cattle country. Yeoman herders make up the majority of the population, rather than the more typical peasants toiling in the field. By ancient tradition, the yeoman swear allegience to the Duke each year, drinking his health, after Wroth Silver has been paid.

    Wroth Silver
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung

    Date: 27th Harvester
    Location: Seltaren, Duchy of Urnst
    Type: Local/Civic

    Every 27th of Harvester, the yeoman farmers of the southern and western extents of the Duchy of Urnst meet in Seltaren. Before noon, each must present himself to the duly appointed agent of the Duke and offer up wroth silver, a sum between 1 and 3 silver pieces. Payment of the wroth silver absolves the freemen from having to “watch and ward” the Duke’s lands during the year and grants them the right to drive their cattle across his lands and pasture cattle in those lands of the Duke not marked off or otherwise forbidden. After the payment of wroth silver, the assemblage proceeds by tradition to the Inn of the Dun Cow where they are bought lunch by the Duke’s man. The first order of business is to drink the Duke’s health.

    The origin of Wroth Silver dates back to the time of the formation of House Maure. Western and southwestern portions of the Duchy of Urnst have always been cattle country, particularly the famous Maure cattle, notable for their ability to thrive even during extreme heat and drought. Wroth Silver was a tax on the thriving cattle raising of the freemen who settled the area, often without formal permission of the Duke, who is titular landlord of the entirety of the duchy. The amount fixed was kept intentionally low and is more a formality, acknowledging the Duke’s sovereignty, than an actual attempt at extracting meaningful revenue. Practically speaking, in the early years of the Duchy when the practice of Wroth Silver was instituted, the Duke could do little to enforce a greater payment and feared losing the freemen to the lands east of Hardby or Greyhawk. Wroth Silver affirmed the Duke’s rights but did not discomfit the freemen.

    On those occasions when Wroth Silver was not paid, the Duke would look to confiscate the herds of the offender. While more trouble than it was really worth, this show of force made the point. Wroth Silver was a small price to pay to be essentially let alone and one got a free luncheon in the bargain. Today, the Duke’s writ is secure throughout the Duchy. Wroth Silver continues as a tradition among the freemen in the west of the Duchy of Urnst, who form the majority of the population and who zealously guard their traditions. Wroth Silver is observed now as before but is usually accompanied with a general market day and cattle auction. Seltaren benefits as Wroth Silver takes on the trappings of a market or trade fair.

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