Postfest V, Part II: Beating the Bounds
Date: Tue, August 09, 2005
Topic: Peoples & Culture

A civic holiday throughout much of the Flanaess, Beating the Bounds serves the useful function of establishing property boundaries. It is also the excuse for an unofficial parade.

Beating the Bounds
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Date: 4th of Wealsun
Location: Furyondy, Nyrond, Urnst States, Aerdi
Type: Civic

Accurate surveys of land with mathematical precision are almost unknown in the Flanaess. Instead, property lines and demarcations are established using a system of “metes and bounds.” This system uses prominent natural landforms, and set stone markers where prominent natural landforms are absent, to establish property boundaries - who owns which parcels or acres of land. Of course, this is an inexact method of establishing property rights. Natural occurrences, the actions of animals, man or monsters or simply time may alter or obscure otherwise well-established metes and bounds. It is therefore necessary to periodically ensure that land boundaries remain understood.

Beating the bounds is the annual rite whereby property divisions and rights are reaffirmed by walking the borders of one’s land. Not simply a walk, Beating the Bounds is a procession. The property owner, or his or her surrogate - a reeve or bailiff in the case of the nobility - along with a clergy person or local druid or ranger and a body of men-at-arms will “beat the bounds.” The men-at-arms are along to ensure that, if a property line has been encroached upon, it may be put back right without opposition or in the face of opposition.

Except in wilder or frontier areas, Beating the Bounds is usually uneventful and has taken on the character of a parade. Locals will turn out. Children will tag along. It is an excuse to alleviate the monotony of everyday drudgery in the fields. For rangers, however, the Beating of the Bounds may provide an opportunity to pick up a quick bit of silver. Clerics, druids or rangers always accompany the lord or his or her surrogate to ensure that no metes or bounds are wrongfully disturbed. A visiting ranger may then be offered the opportunity to officiate in such a manner. Itinerant clerics or druids are less likely to receive an invitation, as they are deemed less trustworthy by virtue of their wandering. A ranger could certainly bring along any companions and might well gain introduction to local landowners, particularly in the nobility, that he or she might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.

Beating the Bounds is typically not practiced only in Keoland. The Keolanders establish property lines using a sophisticated astrological system inherited from the old Suloise Empire. Astrologers determine land boundaries within Keoland, with a special Star Chamber handling disputes that may often drag on for years as a reading is taken only on a certain day and time that will not repeat until the following year. For nearly the remainder of the nations of the Flanaess, Beating the Bounds is an annual event.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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