Terre d'Ange, translated as "The Land of Angels," is the main country in which the series takes place. The people are known as D'Angelines. It is the equivalent of France, including the language spoken. The flag consists of a lily and eight stars symbolizing Blessed Elua and his Companions, gold on green.
Terre d'Ange was founded by Blessed Elua and his Companions (Azza, Anael, Camael, Cassiel, Eisheth, Kushiel, Naamah and Shemhazai). Prior to their arrival, it had been part of the Tiberian Empire but had little history to speak of. Elua and his Companions arrived after many years of wandering and the people welcomed them. They lived among them and had many children. Thus, the people of Terre d'Ange are literally descended from fallen angels. They gave many gifts to the people, most prominently incredible beauty.
It is unknown how long Elua and his Companions stayed in Terre d'Ange, but by the time of the series they have been gone approximately a thousand years.
The geography of Terre d'Ange is much like that of France. It shares borders with Skaldia, the Flatlands, Caerdicca Unitas, Aragonia and Euskerria. Alba is located just across the straits. High mountains are located in the east and south of the country. The center is known for fertile fields and rolling hills. The west has a rocky coastline but a fertile interior. Major rivers include the Aviline, Lusande, Rhenus and River Naamah. The City of Elua is the capital. Another important city is Marsilikos, a major port on the southern coast.
Terre d'Ange is divided into seven provinces. All of Elua's Companions, save Cassiel, claimed a province for their own. Blessed Elua claimed no territory other than the City of Elua, for it was the only place he ever lingered during his travels.
- Azzalle- Located on the northern coast, founded by Azza, ruled by House Trevalion
- Camlach- Located in the east, on the border with Skaldia, founded by Camael, ruled by House Aiglemort
- Eisande- Located on the southern coast, smallest province, founded by Eisheth, ruled by House Mereliot
- Kusheth- Located on the western coast, founded by Kushiel, ruled by House Morhban
- L'Agnace- Located in the center of Terre d'Ange, City of Elua is there, founded by Anael, ruled by House Chalasse, later House Somerville
- Namarre- Located in the center of Terre d'Ange, founded by Naamah, ruled by House L'Envers
- Siovale- Located in the south, on the border with Aragonia and Euskerria, founded by Shemhazai, ruling house unknown
Terre d'Ange is ruled by a monarchy. The royal family is House Courcel, descended directly from Blessed Elua. Both men and women may inherit the throne. The heir is called the Dauphin(e).
There is a legislature, in the form of Parliament. There are seventy seats, ten for each province, and one each for the monarch and their heir. The seats are hereditary. If the monarch does not have an heir of age, they are given two votes. A majority is needed for things to pass- in the event of a tie, the monarch casts the deciding vote. The entire Parliament is rarely filled, unless something very important is being decided. Nobles accused of crimes may be tried before Parliament, as seen with House Trevalion. During the events of Kushiel's Mercy, the Parliament is marginally expanded. This expanded Parliament continues at least until the events of Naamah's Blessing.
Terre d'Ange has a court system that is similar to modern-day judicial systems. Appeals may be brought directly to the monarch, who may choose to hear the case or decide that the previous judgement was appropriate and refuse to. Torture of prisoners is not practiced, and prisons usually have humane conditions. However, public floggings may be given as a punishment. The death penalty is the sentence for high crimes such as treason, though convicts may be given a choice of how they wish to die. These choices include poison or falling on their sword.
Each province has its own feudal hierarchy, and is ruled by a sovereign Duc or Duchese. The ruling noble houses of the provinces are called the Great Houses.
List of D'Angeline Monarchs
- Ganelon de la Courcel
- Ysandre de la Courcel
- Sidonie de la Courcel
- Anielle de la Courcel
- Josephine de la Courcel
- Daniel de la Courcel
- Thierry de la Courcel
Terre d'Ange has a standing army, referred to as the Royal Army. It is commanded by the Royal Commander, who is appointed by the monarch. The three Royal Commanders seen in the series are Percy de Somerville, Barquiel L'Envers and Ghislain de Somerville. No Camaeline has been named Royal Commander for six hundred years, due to their tendency to go to war for honor rather than only when absolutely necessary.
The Royal Army headquarters is located at Champs-le-Guerre. They are trained there. Membership in the army is voluntary and it appears that drafts are not used.
The Royal Fleet is commanded by the Royal Admiral. The admiral is Quintilius Rousse during the series. The fleet consists of about forty ships. It is based out of Marsilikos, but it may winter elsewhere. Azzalle and Kusheth have fleets of their own, but these are not considered part of the Royal Fleet.
D'Angelines worship Blessed Elua and his Companions. Blessed Elua can be considered the supreme deity. He gave his followers only one precept: Love as Thou Wilt. This statement forms the basis of D'Angeline religion and society.
The Eluine Cycle
The Eluine Cycle is a sacred scripture that tells of the travels of Elua and his Companions and their eventual coming to Terre d'Ange.
Blessed Elua was born from the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the One God, mixed with the tears of the Magdalene and nurtured in the womb of the earth. The One God was mourning the loss of his son at the time, and ignored his grandson. Elua took to wandering but he did not find welcome anywhere. Eventually he ended up in Persis, where the King imprisoned him.
This caught the attention of heaven. Eight of the One God's angels took pity on him and came to earth to free him. Naamah offered herself to the King in exchange for Elua's freedom. He accepted. Each house of the Night Court has its own interpretation of why she did this. The next morning, when the door to Elua's cell was opened, they found it filled with flowers. The King, however, went back on their bargain. Fearing Elua and the angels, he gave them strong wine and put them on out to sea in a boat with no sails.
The boat came to shore in Bhodistan. The people did not wish to turn away from their many gods, but they saw the divinity in Elua and did not harm him. Naamah lay with strangers in the streets so that Elua could eat. They moved gradually west. When they entered Skaldia, the tribes shouted and shook their weapons, calling on their gods who savored iron and blood. But the ravens and wolves were their friends, so Elua and His Companions continued on. Not finding a place to call home, until they arrived in what would become Terre d'Ange. The people welcomed them with open arms and they fell in love with the land. Each of the Companions claimed a province for their own, freely intermingling with the people, except Cassiel, who chose to remain by Elua's side forever.
Many years after their arrival, the One God finished his grieving and noticed what Elua and his Companions were doing. He sent his leader of hosts to summon Elua, but he came back empty-handed. The One God then sent his arch-herald, asking forgiveness and offering him a place in heaven. Elua borrowed Cassiel's dagger and cut his palm. He refused the offer, saying:
- "My grandfather's Heaven is bloodless and I am not. Let him offer a better place, where we may love and sing and grow as we are wont, where our children and our children's children may join us, and I will go."
The One God answered that such a place did not exist. Then Mother Earth spoke to her once-husband, the One God, and they created such a place together:
- "Thus was the creation of the true Terre d'Ange that lies beyond mortal perception, and Blessed Elua and his Companions went willingly into it, passing not through the dark gate of death, but straightway through the bright gate. And alone among them, only Cassiel gazed backward in sorrow."
It is referred to as the Terre-d'Ange-that-lies-beyond and D'Angelines believe that they go there when they die.
"Love as Thou Wilt" forms the basis of D'Angeline religious belief. Because of this, D'Angelines are quite accepting of all types of romantic relationships, be they heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Sharper pleasures (BDSM) are accepted as well. Rape is not only a crime, it is also heresy because it violates this precept. Because of this, rape is very rare in Terre d'Ange. Laws about consent are very strict- sex with minors under age sixteen is prohibited.
Because of Naamah's experiences, prostitution is highly revered in Terre d'Ange and considered sacred. Prostitutes are referred to as Naamah's Servants. The most elite of these are the courtesans of the Night Court.
Elua and his Companions, save Cassiel, each have their own temples and clergy. Offerings may be made in the temple, often involving incense or other sacred items. There do not appear to be any religious services.
Rites and Rituals
The most important holiday is the Longest Night. This tradition predates Elua and his Companions, but Elua liked the custom so much he kept it going. D'Angelines typically celebrate the Longest Night with masked balls. They traditionally drink glasses of a clear liquor called joie at the celebrations.
D'Angeline marriage ceremonies are carried out by priests of Elua and Naamah. The ceremony begins with the priest of Elua touching the earth and embracing the sky. They then annoint the foreheads of the couple with holy oil. The annointing is repeated by the priest of Naamah. Vows are exchanged. They are always the same for the man and woman. The priest of Elua then holds out their hands in an embrace and asks the couple to seal their union with a kiss. The priest of Elua says, "Let it be done," concluding the ceremony. Sometimes couples do readings from scripture during the ceremony, but this is not a requirement.
The most prominent religious minority is the Yeshuites. They are tolerated more in Terre d'Ange than elsewhere because of Elua being the son of Yeshua. The whole D'Angeline religion stemmed from the Yeshuite tradition. Angel names of Habiru origin are common in Terre d'Ange, such as Anafiel, Barquiel, etc... But despite this, Yeshuites do still face some prejudice and discrimination.
Society and Culture
Because of their religious beliefs, Terre d'Ange is an extremely sex-positive culture. All forms of sexual relationships between consenting adults are welcomed. The concept of infidelity is virtually non-existent and it is not at all uncommon for someone to have a consort and lovers in addition to a spouse. A consort is an officially-recognized partner. They do not have the legal status of a spouse, but they do have some standing.
Marriage seems to be done primarily for alliances and having children. It is not considered to be the ideal romantic relationship or better than other relationships. However some find merit and happiness in devoting oneself to a single individual. And while gay marriage is not typically practiced, permanent same sex relationships do happen. Forced marriages do not happen because they would be heresy, but love may not always be the primary factor in a union among the nobility. Even so, no D'Angeline will remain in a loveless marriage. Divorce is not seen in the series, though it seems unlikely that it would be prohibited. D'Angeline women typically light a candle to Eisheth and pray for her to open their wombs when they get married. A D'Angeline woman cannot conceive until she does this.
Many D'Angelines think quite highly of themselves and have a tendency to be snobby and isolationist toward other peoples. They are exceptionally beautiful due to their angelic lineage. Even the men have a certain delicacy to their features and they do not have any facial hair. Their self appreciation is not seen so heavily in the common folk, or the Priests and Priestesses of the Temples.
The culture of Terre d'Ange is largely egalitarian, though women do not fight. Men and women both inherit and descent is reckoned through both parents.