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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:

Article 1
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.

Article 2
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.

Article 3
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.

Article 4
If a person strikes another with an unsheathed sword, or with the hilt of a sword, he pays twelve grivnas for the offense.

Article 5
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.

Article 6
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.]

Article 7
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.

Article 8
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 by hanging.

Article 9
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.

Article 10
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.

Article 11
If anyone should break [someone's] spear, or shield, or damage his clothes, he must pay for them.

Article 12
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.

Article 13
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.

Article 14
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.

Article 15
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.

Article 16
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 the area.

Article 17
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 his superiors.

Article 18
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.

Article 19
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.

Article 20
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.

Article 21
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.

Article 22
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.

Article 23
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.

Article 24
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.]

Article 25
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.

Article 26
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.

Article 27
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.

Article 28
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 soil.

Article 29
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 her people.

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.


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