A Brave New World
The many “kings” of Brittany banned together to oust the Romans from their isles beginning in 1466 AUC with coordinated attack on all the Roman outposts and military holdings. This was easier for Fergal mac Maele Duin in Ireland and Nechtan in the Highlands of Scotland, however, south of Hadrian’s Wall battle was hard going and killed a good amount of Anglo-Saxons. When the Romans crossed the channel with a centuria to investigate the lack of reports, they were fired upon by cannons. A month after that, in early summer, the war over Brittany’s future began in earnest. Nearly a decade later, the many rulers of the British Isles were free to rule as they saw fit.
Imperial Brittany began as a small set of islands trapped between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, however it has grown. The British have colonized huge swaths of land in southern Africa, India, China, Australia, and the Atlantic coast of the New World. The British Navy is becoming massive and strong, becoming a threat to even the Viking Clans.
The current Tudor dynasty rose to power out of the Welsh countryside in 2268 AUC. Under their rule, all of the isles have be united for the first time since their rebellion eight hundred years before. Empress Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen, is in her 68th year of life and has long since adopted her nephew, once removed, James. James Stuart is currently the regent ruling the Scottish provinces and is destined to rule England and Ireland once Elizabeth passes into the fade.
Women and Class System
In the past few decades, Imperial Brittany has entered an boom in industry and colonial expansion, providing huge amounts of wealth to British families of all classes. The current reigning monarch, Elizabeth I, has provided a destiny to her Empire. She wishes the world to see Brittany as the epitome of success and decorum.
The British family is upheld and nurtured by the fairer female sex. The women of Imperial Brittany are not allowed to earn funds through their own work, however they can gain property inherited from their maiden family (provided there are no brothers or first cousins to dispute the inheritance), property given through legal means to them from their husband, or funds gained in widowhood (provided there was no male issue from the husband). British families are encourages to educate their daughters in basic mathematics, geography, literature, and technology. This education is not meant for the benefit of the female, rather for her future husband and children. A British woman is expected to support and entertain her husband, run a household, and educate the younger children of the home (before the males are sent to prep schools and females begin cotillion where they learn manners and household management).
British life includes the adherence to a rigid caste system. Wealth is not necessarily the basis of the newly evolved Elizabethan class system. It is more a way of knowing who associates with whom, if marriage between two people will be possible or if other arrangements should be made, and to a lesser extent, how much money to pay someone for their services. A woman always adopts the social standing of her husband or father, otherwise she is classless, and untouchable. The classless are not acknowledged openly by anyone. They are assassins, prostitutes with no pimp and no “house”, hangmen and torturers, those that no one want to admit exist.
At the base of the system are the body laborers. These are those that provide for their families with their bodies, such as dockworkers, field hands, prostitutes that have a “house,” drovers, etc. Laborers usually have a supervisor that associates with those higher up the class chain. This group of middle men are a class of their own. It includes those that can associate freely with all classes, in a working relationship that is. They include upper servants, such as butlers and head housekeepers, supervisors and directors of laborers, etc. The group that is above body laborers in the grand pyramid of social class are the skilled workers. These workers are carpenters, stonemasons, blacksmiths, shipwrights, house-servants, etc. Slightly above the skilled workers are shop owners, since they own inventory and interact, though in a very minor way, with all classes. Lateral to shop owners, and sometimes grouped with them, are those who provide a service, such as barbers, seamstresses, clothing makers, etc. Above the shop owners and service group are the educated professionals: doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc.
Even higher than the educated professionals are the gentry, the landed families that do not have title or only minor title. They often associate socially with the aristocracy and are generally involved in multiple businesses above and beyond their lands. Sometimes this makes them more wealthy than some of the Aristocracy. The final tiers have rules of their own: the Aristocracy, those titled nobles of old family with a coat of arms, and the Royal Family which includes the ducal family (dukes, grand dukes, princes). And of course above all others in the Empress Elizabeth I.
The majority of the British peoples are Ascendants. The Church of the Empire Ascendant was created by the first ruling Tudor, Elizabeth’s grandfather, as a means of bringing all of Brittany in unification in more ways than just leadership. It is a strange chimera of Christianity and the old gods, where a single God is supreme assisted by a myriad of angels that are the gods of old. Jesus is accepted as the son of the Lord Above, but unlike the Roman trinity, is a separate being much like the angels, though more powerful.
Many females also adhere to a Cult of Mary, who is a being nearly as divine as her son. It is under her province that woman are more excepting of their lot in life, even allowing an outlet to frustration and violence. A woman who protects, nurtures, and teaches her children in the ways of God, will ultimately find herself in Heaven. She is to be the epitome of selflessness and purity, as well as strength and fierce devotion to her family. Mary is often flanked by the many feminine angels that assist women in childbirth, protection, and strength.
Though the Ascendant religion is accepting of many of the old rites, such as the celebration of the Winter Solstice, there are some communities in Ireland and the highlands of Scotland that are resistant to any influence of Christianity. They continue to adhere to the old gods and even maintain a few druid circles. It is places such as these that much technology has been rejected and pockets of magical influence still exist, much like the Reaches in the Carolingian Empire.