Politics And Government
King Kaliban Thalastur Doh Lurdani, High King by Right over the Western Humaniti, is a very powerful feudal landholder (as his Demesne), and is the ultimate liege lord of all landholders. He receives certain money from the Public Purse that is automatically granted to him as the feudal landlord of the Kingdom (in theory -- in practice his under-lords often quibble over details); and also recieves cash for his Privy Purse from many Benefices. There are also certain customary taxes and duties (including some that you wouldn’t think about, like 'Blessing Day' -- where the King and Covenant obtain a bunch of Magic Points…) that flow to the King 'automatically' on a yearly basis (subject to certain oversight power of the Grand Senate). Finally, the King can obtain special taxes and duties by approaching the LandsHouse (if it's a property tax), the Grand Senate (if it's being paid by the general population of TyrNai), or the even the 'ssocios (if it's an increase in the Associations' Tax). The Associations' Tax is a tithe of whatever non-feudal organizations collect from their membership by way of dues (if the organization meets a certain minimal threshold in dues or membership size). The Grand Senate can veto that source of money on a bulk yearly basis by a 7/8ths majority vote. Who's the Queen, and the notable heir(s)?
Consists of three houses:
The Council of Peers Also known as the 'House of Peers', or simply 'the Peers'. Representatives to this body are drawn from among the most powerful Noble-race/ Noble houses in the Kingdom. Literally 'peers' of the King, or the 'Peerage'. Technically, they have nothing but advisory power …but it is a foolish king who fails to take their counsel very seriously in making general policy (technically they are not supposed to meddle in details), and few Kings have survived for long against the combined force of their power. There is no fixed number of members or qualifications for entry -- members can be nominated by the Peers or the King, and gain admission by a 2/3rds majority vote (but a formal challenge backed by steel can often blackball a candidate). The Council has the power to expel newer members from time to time. Members of the Council may not also hold membership in any other Parliamentary body. Ken, can we get an idea of how many members there currently are; and if small, who they are? Also, where and when can and do they meet?
The LandsHouse Sometimes called the 'House of Lords'. Each noble House holding land (as a Demesne or Fief), as well as each chartered City sends a primary and back-up representative (the 'Proxies'). Usually baronial estates or better to attend (and a few of the poorer and more remote Baronies actually will forego their seats from time to time), but some knighthoods with prestige carry a hereditary seat as well. Being a representative in the LandsHouse requires that the representative be oath-bound to the Holder, and you cannot sit on other houses of Parliament at the same time. Final approval on major decisions, especially on raising property taxes.Ditto.
The Grand SenateElected at large by all members in good standing of the TyrNai population. General oversight power on raising general taxes.Ditto.
Other Arms of Government
The 'sscciosThis consists of the Eacumen (all the religions of note that pay the Associations' Tax and agree to abide by the Covenant), the Convocation of Honest Professions (Guilds and Guild-like organizations that pay the Associations' Tax and agree to abide by the Covenant), and the Miscellany (organizations that otherwise don't fit into the other sorts of associations, and which pay at least the minimum threshold of Associations' Taxes consistently over a five year period, and agree to abide by the Covenant). The 'ssoccios gets a say in how those funds are spent. Basically, each association decides internally how to choose their representatives (each gets two). The Grand Senate can veto that source of money on a bulk yearly basis by a 7/8ths majority vote. For example, if E Clampus Vitus or the Shriners existed in the Kingdom (and they got rich enough) they might end up sending representatives to the Miscellany of the 'ssoccios.
The ArchonsGenerally they oversee the 'worthiness' and 'legitimacy' of nobles, and administer the Honor Courts. Real power lies in two areas: the power to declare any heir to the Dragon Throne fit or unfit when nominated, or even to declare a sitting King to be unfit/illegitimate/unworthy of the Mandate of Heaven (such a decision must be proposed by two of the houses of Parliament). Also, during (but usually after) a King's reign, the Archons will give him or her a Name for History. Not technically part of Parliament, and traditionally most of the members are old noble-folk, often from the Great Bard Caste.
The Honor Courts
Review duels (provocation sufficiency, behavior of participants), but only have jurisdiction over noble-race folks. These tribunals have a courts-martial feel to their proceedings; they also review nobles' use of their power over peasants. Normally the Honor Courts have limited power to punish except for publicity and moral authority, but in extreme cases can execute, declare outlaw, sterilize, or exile a noble. Under the control of the Archons. In regards to the Honor Courts:
Dueling -- Historical dueling in Europe was based upon a perceived insult to the personal honor of the injured party (or their friends or family). The TyrNai would call that a 'Private Quarrel', and would frown on killing over that. If it was really silly, or the proper procedure wasn't followed, it would result in an unfavorable judgment from an Honor Court (if one or more noble-race persons were involved). At minimum, you could expect a public reprimand, a money fine, weregeld to the family and overlord. However, remember that death can be less permanent here, and a temporary death is not considered quite as serious a matter. More interesting is the 'Public Quarrel' -- in this case, it is not the honor of the challenger that is at stake, but the fitness (worthiness or honorableness) of the challenged. The idea is that a certain person is not fit to rule, or breed, or breathe -- not a fit member of the TyrNai race -- someone who brings dishonor to their race or class.
'TyrNai Business' -- A warning that the Kafyah should not intrude, or "we may just chop off your head". While the Shepard Race folk have a great deal of discretion in dealing with common folk, there are legal, social and practical considerations that make this more an implied threat than a common action.
Haerth Index Page