|Alternate names:||Frederica Fluday|
|Date of birth:||At least 2057, generally thought to be earlier|
|Date of death:||July 1st, 2112|
Licca is the deified persona of an important historical figure best known as the founder of the city of Park Hills in the Ozark Republic. Her early life and actions have been formative for the culture of Ozark, particularly in the east and south, where her teachings have resulted in the rebirth of a culture of small-scale, artisanal metallurgy.
Separating the historical Licca from the highly deified form the people of Park Hills worship is difficult. The Fluday family itself is comprised entirely of her direct descendants or those of her immediate family; their transcribed records of oral accounts from the era are considered accurate for a "broad strokes" representation of her life.
However, the earliest written materials that are attributed to Licca herself were typically written and signed using the name 'Frederica': every single poem attributed to her, in particular, are signed using the name Frederica. Stylistic similarities, in terms of both composition and handwriting, to works signed by Licca using her common name, like some of the early edicts defining Park Hills' law, are the linking factor.
The oral tradition of the Ozark region is comprised of stories from near and far, with many going back many years, centuries; even prewar myth and legend are kept alive in the form of 'bonfire stories'. However, in the east and south particularly, there are many stories oriented around Licca which have been passed down by generation. The list of these stories, many of which have been adopted as canon parts of Licca's life, is very long; most of them are of dubious origins, thought to be a conflation of Licca with other historical figures.
In any case, the picture they build is almost perfectly parallel to that of the canon Licca. The same traits -- sharp wit, calmness, discipline, and loyalty -- are all established in the oral tradition, just as it is in literary tradition.
Life and Times
The Fluday family keeps a 'canonized' account of Licca's life and times, which serves as one of the central books of Fludayist theology. Its informal name is simply Life and Times and it chronicles, in a format reminiscent of some early accounts of Christ, the middle and later periods of the woman's life, beginning almost immediately after the Great War. Each segment is one of a number of distinct types: myth, journal, and account. Myths are the stories passed down verbally, and are distinct from accounts in that they are notably more divided from the events. Journals are stories that were purportedly written by Licca herself, and are written in the first person. Accounts are stories written by her companions, typically later in life.
From the City of the Saint
Life and Times begins in what is presumably Saint Louis. It begins with, as is the case with all other 'principle' divisions in the book, a poem that is purportedly written by the woman herself. Each one contains an underlying lesson of varying levels of straightforwardness, ranging from a lambasting of prewar society to cryptic messages directed toward unknown parties.
The first segment, a myth-style story, chronicles the very earliest days of the postwar world. Licca stays in the outskirts of the "City of the Saint" for some time, with a survivor community of unnamed companions. A tragedy of unknown description is written of, which "scarred the earth and destroyed what had already been broken"; Licca then begins moving north on her own.
The Affliction of the Heat
The first and most famous journal of Life and Times is The Affliction of the Heat -- a short, viscerally detailed journal describing how, in Licca's own words, she became a "demon".
It begins with a poem discussing her desire for a "knight", somebody who can save her from death.
Set between the 'tragedy' described in the opening segment and the climax of her journey north, Affliction describes the incredible pain and suffering of the "Heat". It is understood to be some form of radiation sickness, which neither kills nor ghoulifies the woman but leaves an indelible mark on her DNA. Her hair slowly adopts a violet hue, during which she goes blind for several days as a result of an inexplicable eightball fracture of the eye. When she heals and resumes writing, her eyes have turned a permanent bright violet.
Toward the Promised Land
The second half of her journey to what would become Park Hills is another myth. It is prefaced with a poem lamenting those who search the world for what is missing, when what is missing has been with them the entire time. The narrative is split into a series of smaller snippets describing, in particular, her travels through northern Louisiana, and through Mississippi and Arkansas. Each one is typically taken as espousing a particular moral or lesson.
As she travels, new companions gather around her and before long she has a huge retinue of people from all walks of lives. Most of them are thought to either be Great War survivors or first-generation postwar Americans.
The story of Park Hills is a series of accounts. Each one was recorded from older denizens of Park Hills circa 2120. It casts full image of the birth of Park Hills from virtually nothing to a living city of hundreds of people. However, while many of these accounts are also recorded in the Histories, a book of compiled accounts published much later, the stories included within Life and Times universally involve Licca herself in some way.
In one case she serves as a teacher, who instructs the early settlers on how to seek out and mine useful minerals. In another, she establishes the first clay furnace. In another, she teaches young children the basics of ethics.
This is the longest single section in Life and Times and is often viewed as one of the most important because it is where the bulk of the teachings of Licca are recorded.
The travels portion of the book are an assorted series of accounts of the post-Park Hills actions of Licca. This is the longest segment in the book. Of particular notes are accounts of her dealings with a "wild mountain tribe" which modern historical analysis identifies as the group who would later found Twain; how she taught them many of the same skills as Park Hills before moving on.
It is also where many of the moral teachings ascribed to Licca are testified to. Emphasis is often placed on some particular stories which reinforce the Dogma's interpretation of Licca's teachings, including transience, reciprocal behavior, forgiveness, and the Key Rules of Life; all of which establish the basis for Park Hills' underlying moral foundation.
Death and Deification
This portion of the book details Licca's death, and is written as a single account by Licca's own daughter, Erica Fluday. This particular story is colored by the extreme range of emotions Erica feels as she recounts her mother's systematic torture and death by usurpers who aimed to erase Licca's sway over Park Hills.
Licca shows her captors immense patience and respect in spite of the fact that they don't reciprocate those very same traits, having known them -- a group of families she brought to Park Hills in the first place -- since they were young children. According to Erica, Licca never once loses her temper or shows any kind of ill will toward the very people threatening to kill her; she refuses to leave, and shows only a fear that the betrayers' actions will leave some permanent mental harm, guilt, within them for being so cruel.
When she is eventually killed -- thrown into a flooded mine with lead weights tied to her limbs -- Erica recounts the fear and hate she felt for the people doing this. While she waited outside of the mine for days, she was protected by a young man named Aedelward Rotell, whose descendants would eventually become one of the Seven Families. After several weeks of this, she admits that she had thoughts of revenge, but was stopped from ever carrying them out by a visitation from a spirit, that of her mother. She spoke to Erica of forgiveness and the importance of transience, as well as many other things, which coincided with the preexisting moral teachings that Licca had set out for the people of Park Hills in her life.
With Rotell as a witness, and with several others (some of whom would also eventually become the Seven Families' progenitors) claiming to have seen a 'great violet light in the sky, which persisted for days' around the same time, the mouth of the mine was converted into a place of congregation, and the place where the captors would seek forgiveness.
This marks the shift in the perception of Licca from a human to a Goddess, but Erica never once calls her that, instead calling her 'the Spirit' or more simply 'Mother'. The extent of early deification of Licca is also not particularly detailed, and it was not until some time later that the more formal Dogma was developed in a recognizable form.
Physical evidence and other accounts
Strands of her hair are one of the most common objects of worship in Park Hills. Verification of these kinds of relics is nearly impossible, so the official stance from the Fluday family is that too many are fabrications to make it feasible or reasonable to confirm the authenticity of the minority that are genuine.
The exact depth of the mine into which Licca was cast is unknown, but the shrine that was erected by Erica is still in existence and is protected by members of the Royal Honor Guard of Park Hills. Though some archaeologists from the Fortress have requested special permission to examine the mine, access to the 'inner sanctum' is forbidden to anybody but the Princess herself. And even the Princess must get unanimous permission from the Seven Families to enter, making it entirely impossible because several families, including the Rotell family, have a standing refusal policy for entrance to the Fluday Mine.
The Fortress' Pathfinders of the era in which Licca lived kept meticulous records of their excursions. Although the Fortress hadn't properly formed at the time, the Pathfinders unofficially maintained relations with their neighbors from the moment they began their ventures into the new world. While its reports are mostly classified, the Pathfinders did eventually choose to release the single known image of Licca when she was alive, distributing copies to Park Hills in the mid 2200s, while maintaining the originals in the Fortress' sanctum. The image was accompanied by a brief excerpt from the accompanying report, describing Licca as follows:
- "I have been asked by the High Command to more fully flesh out the precise nature of the peoples with whom we have had contact, so I shall begin with the current largest settlement we know of, Park Hills. The matriarch of the nascent society that has been growing within Park Hills is an elderly woman, certainly predating the Great War, yet is still spritely; under her direction, and that of her children, the city has been making great strides in the realm of metallurgy. Her skills in argumentation are remarkable, and she can keep even the most dissident voices in line with little more than a word. They call her Licca, but as of this writing she has yet to self-identify. I have not had the opportunity to speak to her directly for more than a few minutes at a time -- statebuilding is a very busy process, to be certain -- but her accent would indicate a foreign or extremely exotic origin."
- ―Lt.C. Jacob Mannerheim
The development of Fludayism was not instigated by Licca herself. In fact, the Pathfinders' report on her indicate that she was for all intents and purposes a fairly non-spiritual person, although this aspect is often quieted in public discourse because of how influential and important she and the rest of the Fluday family is to the Dogma. Regardless, Fludayism is the development primarily of Licca's daughter, Erica, and her friend Aedelward Rotell. They were the ones who established the first shrine, developed the 'canon' books, and had a major hand in directing the compilation of Life and Times around the turn of the 22nd century.
Licca's role as a mother (and later Goddess) figure to the early survivors is likely a major influence on the interpretation of her words and actions. In the Park Hills and Travels segments of Life and Times, in particular, her role as a teacher is often taken as divinely inspired, even by Americanists. She confers basic messages which are generally assumed to be part of an overarching narrative of gradual enlightenment of the people she is teaching.
The central tenets of Fludayism can be broken down into two parts: intention and action. It is taught that one should not only have good intentions, but also follow through with good action in line with those intentions. No person should knowingly take negative or hostile action against any other person, and inversely no person should take positive action if the intention is not similarly moral.
Despite this, she recognizes the necessity of self defense, and implores her students to "defend with every fiber" any person who is attacked. Licca herself was not a soldier or a tactician, but Park Hills has, with the guidance of former servicemen who survived the war, developed a significant defensive force with the express intent of defending anybody who is being unjustly accosted. Power projection is discouraged, but is limited as a result of a lack of motorization in the first place.
A strong work ethic is one of the key parts of Fludayism, though secondary to good intention and good action. As part of a community, which Licca insists is a family, it is important for everybody to put their whole effort into whatever needs to be done. In the case of Park Hills, this is typically mining and artisan work, but it applies to every aspect of community life as a Fludayist.
- "...if there is something worth doing, it is worth committing to with your fullest effort. Don't take half steps, don't procrastinate; these are the hallmarks of lazy people and a weak community."
Licca also emphasizes the necessity of being ready to drop everything. While modern Fludayists assert this is because everybody will die, and physical possessions can't go with the dead, it is thought that Licca was more literally referring to leaving everything behind and fleeing. Shaped by her experiences in the immediate post-war world, which included having to flee from her home when things got too rough, she recognized that threats exist in all forms -- famine, disease, as well as raiders and hostile forces. She states that it is more important to maintain one's morals than it is to "cling to the fleeting". This is interpreted as a discouraging of attachment.
While many more lessons are taught throughout Life and Times, these are the principle teachings that have had the longest-lasting impact on the Fludayist followers.
Licca came at a point in history where humanity was at its most desperate and depraved. And she was no different from anybody else, suffering and changing greatly as a result of humankind's greatest mistake. Her death at the hands of the very city that she raised from nothing was the shining light that broke through the dark hearts of Park Hills' people, and contributes to the tense relationship with Twain. The teachings she left behind, from practical knowledge to the moral system she and the other Fluday family members embody, have left an indelible mark on the region's populace.
Park Hills is now one of the key cities the quadrimunicipal government of the Republic of Ozark. The understanding of metallurgy which Licca was key in establishing has made it one of the most powerful of the four key cities, with one of the largest territories and populations despite a relative lack of arable land. Its government is formally headed by the Fluday family in a constitutional monarchy, whose eldest daughter is universally seen as living representative of Licca and is bestowed the title of Princess upon accession. Younger daughters are known as duchesses.
Twain, whose populace also reveres Licca, is also one of the four principle cities of the Republic. Despite this, differences in interpretation of Licca's actions as well as controversy in Twain about the death of Licca at the hands of Park Hills' own people contributes to an uneasiness between the two cities. Even the fact that Licca taught Twain's people metallurgy is a point of contention with Park Hills on its own, but it has also developed into a neverending competition between the two primary metalworking societies in the Republic.
Her teachings have also bled into 'traditional' Americanism practiced by the Fortress and Sullivan. In these regions, she is often seen as some agent of God (particularly in Sullivan) but her deification is frowned upon by most Americanist priests. The Head Bishop of the Americanists in 2270, Bishop Jackson, wrote a missive on the status of Licca entitled The Adoration of Frederica, which directly addressed the subject.
- "While... [Licca] should be held as an influential, inspirational person, whose suffering reminds us of Christ when he was betrayed and ultimately killed by those closest to Him, we must remember that she was human... though she may have had some divine impetus from the Lord, we cannot place her on the same platform as Him. To do so would be an affront to the Lord's perfection."
- ―Bishop Jackson
It is also thought that she was instrumental in establishing several other small settlements throughout the Ozark region and the immediate surroundings, though many of those early survivor settlements have long-since disappeared. Nevertheless, her influence has had long-ranging consequences for Ozark.