Savage Earth: Cold Moon
Tir Na Nog
Tir na nOg is technically everything too far North of The Eastern Empire to be comfortable to the saurians, including the Arctic circle. Here the Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and Humans population exist in a variety of tribal domains with only an occasional infrastructure. To the East the borders between Mongolia and Tir nan Nog are somewhat undefined and often disputed, however tribes from both nations have often formed alliances against The Dragon Kingdoms.
Tir na nOg is divided into tribal kingdoms (túath) usually with a population between 3000 and 7000 persons under the rule of a king. The land is governed by the rule of Brehon law, the Anglicised version of ‘_breitheamh_’, the Irish word for judge. A law in which it is up to the injured party or his kin (derbfine i.e. the clan down to the fourth generation) to bring a legal action against an offender. There are no juries and compensation is proportional to the status of the injured party.
Status is central to the kingdom of Tir na nOg and society is tribal, rural, hierarchical and familiar (i.e. based on the family as a unit rather than the individual)”. The concept of the rights of the individual did not exist and how the law treated one depended on one’s status. Distinctions were made between those who were considered privileged (nemed) such as kings (rí), lords (flaith), clerics and poets (file) and those who were not; and between those who were free (sóer) and those who were unfree (dóer).
Because of her missionary priests, Nahathbel is a prominent foreign Goddessand known as Senchas Már (‘The Great Learning’). Of seconday importance is Issn under the name of Déin Chécht (Pysician or Leech) and Veardech under the local name of ‘Cró’ (“blood or gore”).
Di Ércib Fola (Fines for Bloodshed)
The person who assaults another unlawfully was liable not only to pay a fine (éric or corpdíre) for the injury but also to provide sick maintenance (othrus), i.e. to look after the person until they had recovered completely from the injury. Legally inflicted injuries (e.g. in self-defence, during sport or by a physician) were not liable for othrus and were referred to as fuil slán (free blood). For example, it is stated that for fracturing a bone, two ounces of silver are the penalty, one for the injured man and one for the physician!
In contrast to other systems of law which seem to demand blood, in Brehen law almost any crime can be atoned for by paying a fine which has to paid within a few days of the judgment. If the guilty person or his family can not or will not pay the fine then the relatives of the victim, in the case of murder, may kill him with impunity or, alternatively, sell him into slavery. Public execution is reserved for traitors or those who show cowardice in battle. Hanging (crucifigi) is the preferred form of execution, but allowing one to die of starvation in an exposed pit (góla) and slaying with a sword (guin) are also used.
A great deal of Tir na nOg policy and societal conflicts are settled by the duel. Land rights and ascension to the throne, guilt which cannot be proved by usual means or fatherhood of an infant are all left to the result of a duel which was conducted before witnesses and the winner was deemed to have justice on his side. Such duels are usually fought until Fola Forsa mbruinnet (blood springs forth) or first blood.
For a more complete look at the Brehon laws see this article