Ussaia Pravda: The Law
Ussurans take the issue of law very seriously, and
those who commit crimes on Ussuran soil are rarely spared. The Pravda, or
laws, of the Ussuran people are simple and straightforward, and are
respected in every city, province and douma of the nation. Although the
five Knias may have additional laws, or provincial governors may add to
this Pravda as in necessary, the basic laws of Ussura are well known, and
do not change.
The Pravda of Ussura began in 570, during the first
years of the tenure of Gaius Konstantin Lev Novgorov, the second Gaius
chosen by Matushka. A stern enforcer of law, he demanded that the five
Knias Douma be brought together under a single, regulated system of
government, and that the laws of the land be enforced throughout Ussura.
The final results of his tenure, and the laws of Ussura today, are known
as the Ussaia Pravda, of the Law of the Land:
If a man kills a man, the brother is to avenge his brother; the son, his
father; or the father, his son; or nephews, their uncles; and if there is
no avenger [the murderer pays] forty grivnas fine; if [the
killed man] is a boyar, or a member of the family of a boyar, the fine
is forty grivnas more. If the [killed man] is a merchant, or a
sheriff, or a servant of the Knias, the fine is thirty grivnas more.
If a man is bleeding or is blue from bruises, and claims to have been
beaten, he does not need an eyewitness to prove his accused is guilty, but
he must produce the weapon so that punishment can be dealt appropriately.
If he has no sign [of injury] he must produce an eyewitness; if he
cannot, the matter ends there. If the abused cannot avenge himself because
of age or infirmity, he is to receive three grivnas, and the physician is
to be paid by the accused.
Weapons must be peace-sheathed while in Ussuran cities. Anyone in
violation of this law who is not provided for by the grant of a Knias (is
not a guardsman or other protective official) will immediately and
permanently surrender the weapon into the treasury of the local Voevod.
If a person strikes another with an unsheathed sword, or with the hilt of
a sword, he pays twelve grivnas for the offense.
If a person accidentally causes the death of a laborer, and that death
will cause the family of that laborer to starve, he must pay the penalty
of one year's labor in grivnas, or he must take the position of that
laborer, and return his wages to the family of the man he killed.
Sorcery will be punished. Those who break the holy laws of Matushka and
practice foreign sorcery within Ussuran cities will be hung in the stocks
for no less than three days, with only bread and water for their fare.
[This article is possibly one of the most commonly ignored in ports
with many foreign visitors, but it is often enforced when the Voevod of
the city has no other reason to take suspicious individuals into custody.]
It is against the law to hold slaves in Ussura. However, slaves of foreign
countries will be respected as the property of their owners. If it is
discovered that an Ussuran has assisted a slave to escape, the Free
Ussuran and the slave will both receive ten lashes in public, and no less
than three grivnas will be given to the owner of the slave in penance for
the offense. Yet, if any slave of a Kosar, Cathayan or Crescent escapes
for three days within Ussuran soil, he is to be considered free.
If anyone rides another's horse without the owner's permission, he has to
pay three grivnas. If anyone steals another's possessions, and the owner
recognizes it within his township, he gets back his property and is paid
three grivnas for the offense. If a horse is stolen, the penalty is death
If a business partner should rightfully demand money from his associate
and the latter should refuse, he must be brought to a court of twelve men;
and if it should be established that he [the associate] cheated,
the partner shall receive his share and three grivnas for the offense.
If a slave should hit a free man and then hide in the house of his master,
the master should be willing to give him up. If he is not, then the slave
may be seized by force and the master must pay twelve grivnas fine; and
the offended free man may beat that slave wherever he finds him.
If anyone should break [someone's] spear, or shield, or damage his
clothes, he must pay for them.
Should a bailiff, guardsman of the local boyar, or servant of the Voevod
of a city be killed deliberately, the killer must pay fifty grivnas fine;
the people are not to pay; and for [the murder of] a Knias's
guardsman or messenger, eighty grivnas.
If a servant of the Gaius, Knias, Voevod of local Boyar is killed in a
highway attack and the people do not search for the killer, the fine will
be paid by that locality where the killed official is found.
If anyone should abduct someone's son or daughter, he has to pay twelve
grivnas for the offense. If the child is killed, the abductor will
likewise be killed, as will a child of his line, if any.
And whoever steals either a horse or an ox, or robs a barn or house that
is not part of a village, if he is alone he has to pay one grivna and
thirty rezanas; if there were as many as eighteen thieves, each pays three
grivnas and thirty rezanas.
And if anyone should torture a muzhik without the prince's order, three
grivnas for the offense. The muzhik may also choose to inflict the torture
that he was given, under the watch of the Knias's guard and the bailiff of
Whoever should plough over the property line or destroy a property mark,
twelve grivnas for the offense. Only the Voevod of the area, his Knias, or
the Gaius himself may adjust property lines. Only an official of the town
or city may rightfully mark property lines, or adjust them as commanded by
If anyone should kill a thief in his own yard, or at the barn, or at the
stable, he is [justly] killed; if, however, anyone detains the thief till
daylight, he must bring him to the prince's court; and should he [the
thief] be killed, and should people see that the thief was bound, the
killer must pay for him.
Whoever should apprehend a thief receives ten rezanas; and a sheriff
receives fifteen kunas from three grivnas [of fines collected];
fifteen kunas go to the Church] as tithe; and the prince receives three
grivnas. And from twelve grivnas of theft, the apprehender of the thief
will receive seventy kunas; [the Church] two grivnas as tithe; and
the prince ten grivnas.
If anyone should unlawfully cut wood in the Azov or Gallenian forests,
they must pay a fine of nine kunas, and must further plant one tree for
each cord of wood removed from the forest.
If a merchant falsely sells wares that are stolen; sells wares that are
useless or lies about the quality of his wares,. he must refund the money
he has taken, and an additional three grivnas. Further, any merchant who
falsely sells items that claim to be of Cathayan origin and are not will
be lashed three marks for each offense.
The following is the tax collecting custom: the collectors [during their
journey] should receive seven buckets of malt, a ram or some other meat or
two nogatas; and on Wednesday one rezana or cheese; the same on Redi and
as much bread and millet as they can eat; and two chickens per day; and
shelter for four of their horses and feed for them, as much as they can
eat; the collectors should [collect] sixty grivnas, ten rezanas,
twelve veveritsas, and a grivna in advance; and during Thundermas,
collectors should receive fish and should get seven rezanas for fish;
during a week they should receive fifteen kunas and food as much as they
can eat; tax collectors should complete their task in one week; such is
the lawful decree.
No animal with Pyeryem eyes shall be hunted, trapped or killed. To do so
is punishable by a torturous death at the hands of the local Voevod.
Any foreign ambassador on Ussuran soil will abide by the laws of the
Pravda, and will obey the customs of the Orthodox Church. Those who fail
to recognize the supremity of the First Prophet and of Matushka's immortal
divinity while upon Ussuran soil will be immediately exiled from Ussura
unless given leave by the Gaius to remain.
[Typically, fanatical foreign missionaries are targeted by this
article; foreign ambassadors are not, and are allowed to remain in the
courts of the Knias with a writ from the Gaius. Such a writ is fairly
easily obtained by the Knias; more difficult to obtain by a Voevod or
local authority. However, typically, no muzhik will ask your religion
unless you are showing flagrant signs of disrespect toward the Orthodox
Church, so travel through Ussura is rarely disrupted by this article.]
All Knias will support the rule of the True Gaius. All Voevod will support
the rule of the Knias, and through them , the True Gaius. All Boyar shall
support the Voevod, and through them, the Voevod, and thorough them, the
Knias, and the True Gaius. All Bogatyr shall support the Boyar, and
through them, the Voevod, and thorough them, the True Gaius. All muzhik
shall serve the land, and through the land, Matushka and the True Gaius,
not forgetting the rule of the Boyar, Voevod, and Knias Douma.
All Ussurans, both muzhik and boyar, shall be given opportunity to learn
to read and scribe, and all Ussurans shall study the Holy Canon of the
First Prophet, that his words shall bless our nation and that Matushka
will be well pleased with her faithful children.
In times of war, all command and taxation shall be placed at the direct
command of the Gaius, overruling even the Douma of the Knias. When peace
is obtained, this command shall immediately revert to the Knias Douma and
their rightful councilor.
It shall be illegal for any muzik to move his family outside his douma,
save with the permission of the Knias to whom he owes allegiance. The
Knias must be petitioned personally for a muzhik to gain permission to
permanently move abroad.
Likewise, large quantities of gold or other precious metals must be
approved for transfer by the Gaius before they may be removed from Ussuran
All offenses of rape, treason, and sacrilege shall be punished by a
torturous death in fire or by consuming hot coals. Matushka's law defends
the faith, trust, and security of the nation, and will not be forgotten by
Thus reads the law of Ussura, written and sealed
upon Rurik land, and enacted at a meeting of Gaius Konstantin Lev Novgorov,
with Princes Iziaslav v'Novgorov, Vsevolod v'Riasanova, Iaroslav
Vladimirovich, Salya v'Pscov the Tabularius and Koshchei Pietrov, and
their noble boyar and bogatyr advisors Kosniachko, Pereneg, Nikifor of
Siev, Chudin and Mikula.