|El Dominio de la Corriente Lenta|
|Location:||The Papal States, Tamaulipas|
The core of the Duchy was formed before the Papal States, with the area originally ruled by a large band of Comancheros. They used the rolling terrain as a place to rest their horses as they plotted their raids on the nearby communities. This continued on until 2166, when a large militia formed from these communities that drove the Comancheros off. The communities then sent several farmers from each to farm the pastures, to help feed the area. The next decade was idyllic and peaceful for the farming community, the various families intermarried, combining most of the farms together.
This would prove a great rallier as one of the parent settlements came under attack by a large group of rad-scorpions. Though they got there the next day, most of the village was destroyed, leaving few survivors. Those that did live were brought back, and settled among the farms. Two more villages were destroyed by 2200, leaving only two standing. The farms had formed a small town in the center of the area, complete with a small trading post. The mayor at the time, Jesus Malverde, was able to form a small militia with the extra money they had, and paid travelers and mercenaries to train it. With this small force Malverde started to expand the town's borders.
Having cleared out several nests of rad-scorpions and one of Comancheros, the amount of farmland they had was enough to feed their town eight times over. The question still remained as to who would farm it, as no one was either willing or able. The issue was settled the next year in 2201, when one of the nearby villages suffered a severe drought, and not having a deep well, were forced to move onto the available farmland. This brought not only new faces, but also a government, as Malverde was defeated in a close election by Javier Gallo, a newcomer from the refugees. While relatively unknown, his platform of expanded trade and security appealed to many who felt that Malverde had a more agricultural focus for the town. After making agreements with local caravanners to visit the town, Gallo went to work on security. He first sent out word with the far-traveling caravans about guard work for good gun-hands.
The second part of his plan was to invest in his current militia by purchasing a dozen rifles and several hundred rounds of ammo for them, and hiring several local teens to construct a target range. With the militia having a permanent place to practice, they were able to defend the growing town a little easier now. Two weeks after those first caravan's left, a few gunfighters started to wander into town for the guard position. Gallo personally conducted the interviews, turning away those only interested in the money or power and hired only three in as many months.
Gallo watched the town grow and expand from the trade, and the farmers feeling secure from the enlarged and trained militia. Next, Gallo began to import wood and stone to build a new city center. At first the people were in an uproar at the cost, but after soothing them with a speech about the benefits, and how most of the price was swapped for excess food, they calmed.
Duchy of the Stream
It was in 2202 that the people of the town and surrounding farms found themselves visited by a Representative from the Pope in Soto La Marina. The messenger was only passing through the town, but when questioned on the Pope and his goals, the people were intrigued. After holding a meeting in the town hall, it was decided to send a group to see this pope. They returned two months after setting out, telling stories of the grandeur of the town with its churches and spires. More interesting to the great majority of the townspeople, however was what they said about the Pope. A kindly, devout man who could whip the crowd into a frenzy at Mass, they said he seemed to indeed be the successor of Peter here on earth.
Devout Catholics, the people knew they must help this man, So Gallo told them he would personally venture to the city to pledge their support. Arriving after a month of hard traveling, he went to the cathedral at the center of town for midday Mass. After the service, which had moved him to tears, Gallo waited patiently with the other petitioners for the old man's time. After everyone else had finished, Gallo made way to the Pope. Speaking quietly, he told the man about his town and how the people were hard-working, simple folk who valued god above everything. The Father smiled at this, and said he was pleased, to which Gallo asked if they could help him at all.
The man told him that they could, if they swore their loyalty to him and God and would work towards the betterment of all, to which Gallo quickly agreed. The pope told him to meet him there tomorrow to make it official, which Gallo did, and was made Duque. Returning to his him with an escort of Papal Guard, he told the people of what happened, which caused spontaneous celebration. After everyone calmed down, he explained to them the laws that they would be expected to follow, but that everything else would be the same. For the following two decades the duchy was peaceful, rich and happy.
Javier Gallo would pass in 2223, and succeeded by his son Raul, who was loved by the people despite his weak will. His rule was marked by a plateau of economic growth and stability, though most attribute this to his cardinal, who "suggested" policies that might please God. Still, life continued about the same, until 2255, when they would both die tragically in a fire. His successor was his second son, Alberto (his eldest also died in the fire trying to save him). Alberto proved to the level-headed visionary his grandfather was, and soon worked out trade agreements with many groups, as well as bring many baronies under his banner. Peace would in 2266 however, as The Pope declared a great crusade against the pagan tribes of The Saltlands.
Doing his Duties, Gallo gathered a host of soldiers and mercenaries, numbering over a hundred, and sent them to meet up with the groups from other realms. This would be the first of many troop raisings during the 'Tribal Wars' as the conflict would come to be known amongst the people. It would also claim dozen of lives, and wound many more before the fighting faded off in late 2276. Now at peace again, the Duchy began to send out caravans farther to spread the word of God, and the gold of trade.
The Duchy is ruled by Duque Alberto Gallo and his chosen staff of nobles, who delegate tasks through a bureaucracy of petty nobles and paisanos.
Taxes are collected by Paisanos with a noble present, who presents it to a higher noble, who records the amount before sending it to the Duque's treasury.
Slavery is illegal in the Duchy, but serfdom is not. If a paisano or a noble owed money and couldn't pay it back to a noble or the Duque-owned bank, you were sentenced to serfdom. You could be released from it, however, as you are able to sell what you grow, in effect becoming a form of indentured servitude.
The duchy is a realm of trade, from farmers selling crops at market to caravans bringing in far-off goods, to nobles selling land. As such, most money that makes its way into the treasury is by a 5% flat tax on what you make every month, with both nobles and paisanos, having to pay. The rest of the money is from the Duque's monopoly on all aviaries, producing both wax and honey.
The culture is one of class, whether it is the dances and events at the Duque's castle, or some of the paisanos talking about wine they had imported from another Barony, the people here like the finer things in life. They also like the fun things, such as boxing matches, cockfights, loud music, and tequila. Come Sunday, however, every church and chapel in town are packed full and there is nary a soul to be found on the streets.