Avalon System Society
Life in the Three Systems Era is far from idealistic, feud and politics are the quickest means of change and it occurs on a frequent basis. After three successive Dynasty’s the rule of the Emperor’s has come to an end as Avalonish society has fallen into a neo-feudal state. This system is known as the Caímdáth-t'Ortaor a rule of society set down by the Artur Dynasty in the acts of reform known as the Great Covenant. Also known as the Order of Society (The term itself means “Society’s Order), the order was an attempt to reform an already rotten system which favored the ancient lineages of the Mega Corporations of the early Eras of history.
For this reason, the author of the Ortaor, Empress Gwyn oc Artur, attempted to balanced centuries of hatred between the Empires races, minorities, and religions against the background of the alien invasion. For this very reason, the Ortaor reorganized the myriad of noble families, political factions, and religious institutions along with a common theme to order the chaotic mess that was the Avalon system of society.
- 1 Overview
- 2 The Estates General
- 3 The Government of the Triad
- 4 Political Division and Philosophy
- 5 Economics and Currency
- 6 Law and Order
The Great Covenant is the key set of reforms that forged the chaotic mess that was the House-Senate, and great society at the time. It was penned by Empress Gwyn and then instigated by her daughter Blodwen after she was imprisoned for years by her political enemies and rival Houses. After watching years of secret shadow crusades between the faiths, and the Nobles bicker the young Imperial ruler decided it was time for a change. At the very foundation of her reform was a fundamental shift in how not only the Nobility were seen, but also in how they interacted with the greater parts of Triad culture.
The Estates General
For years, a shambling system of social stratification and division has arisen since the beginning of the nobility under Emperor Baal Aken. No longer were the families well ordered Mega Corporations, but bloated financial institutions that held strict monopolies on resources and power throughout the three Systems of Avalon. Under the Ortaor society was evenly split neatly into the three Estates General.
First Estate - Nobility
- Main article: The Nobility
They were created when the powerful Mega-Corp families wrote the Blood Declaration. This announced their names as the Blood, the Houses of Imperial Grace, and established the foundations of the Noble Houses. When the Ortaor was established in the Great Covenant which changed the ranking of the Houses themselves. Awarding them Fiefs as Tenants-in-Chief to the Ancestor Throne.
A House in Avalon is defined as three different things depending upon who you speak to. To a noble a House is the ruling Clan or a bloodline descended from Imperial Blood (most nobles call themselves the Blood). Their lineages are recorded on the List of Names with there being anywhere from twenty to sixty active Houses at any given time. For this very reason, the Noble families are graded into two primary gradients:
The Magnates of the Realm (The High Blood)
- The Houses Sovereign - Made up of the Three Sovereign Principalities (Systems) of Avalon.
- The Houses Greater - All families who rule a Duchy, a County, a Shire, or a Mark
The Peers of the Realm (The Lesser Blood)
- The Houses Minor - Made up of those who hold either a Barony or a Viscounty.
- The Houses Elector - Made up of the specially compensated democratically elected officials of the designated Prefectures or Trade-Nations, which are overseen by a Prefect (the elected individual).
- The Houses Provincial - Made up of the ruling families of a Baronetcy (National Provinces or Districts), often cadet branches of the ruling family, or families of powerful magistrates.
House Organization and Membership
The Household and membership therein are the root of noble life. At the top of the House is the House Lord or Lady who holds the titles of the family, and directs the Houses political direction. Beside him stands his consort, and his heirs or children. Beyond the rule of a House Lady are the Cadet branches each led by their own Cadet Lord who holds minor titles awarded to the family (usually one step below the rank of the House Lords title). All members of the family bear the House Glyph upon their right necks (also called the Blood Mark).
Beside the nobles themselves are the retainers who serve the family. These individuals would include all non-noble Errants serving the family, all personal Soulgiven of the family, and or any Arashii within the Household. More often than not this can also include concubines, highly strained assassins or even "spy masters". Most families organize their retainers on a personal line with each family member having their own staff.
Second Estate - Clergy
- Main article: Religions of Avalon
Every planet and colony in the Triad have created some form of mythos about the world their ancestors came from. Over time that belief plus the advent of advanced technologies such as the SysNet, the creation of the Synthetic life, and the arrival of the Voidkin. Cults, revelations, and much more have forged wars in the shadows. So powerful at one time was the Silver Silver of the Throne System that it was able to upend the nobility of other systems. After the reforms of the Great Covenant, the power of the Clergy and the ecclesiarchy of the various religions of Avalon were regulated by the Ancestor throne.
Thus, the Second Estate was given the “Ban of Gwyn:
- The Faithful are barred from raising large militias, from planning assassinations, or owning Chevaliers.
- The Faithful may not form secondary organizations or unduly influence a Noble.
- The Faithful may only defend themselves they may not make war on other faiths.
The Houses Faithful are thus categorized along the following lines:
- Faithful Major - The recognized majority religions in the Triad.
- The Silver Creed - The primary faith of Throne, and a major religion found in Rook, even Sentinel.
- Deuxianity (Church of the Deux) - A primary techno-religious faith that uses expanded technology to
- Faithful Minor - The recognized native and minority religions.
- Jade Path - An ascetic religion found in the Rook, and Sentinel Systems.
- The Thousandfold - Generic category for the variety of animist and pantheistic faiths across the various worlds.
- Faithful Excommunicate - The marked faiths, philosophical movements, or ideological movements that prove a danger or may become dangerous.
- The Spider Cults - The Cults created by the Gwagaruh to control the Faerin populace.
- The Infernal Houses - Houses who have a deal with the Devilkin for power and support.
Third Estate - Commoners
- Main article: Commoners in Avalon
Commoners are the backbone and the lifeblood of Triad society. From lowly Synthetic laborers to the farmers that work the fields of a local settlement, everyone plays their part in the greater scope. Society in the Triad is only slightly universal, with the Third Estate being quite different across each planet, and nation that exists within the Avalon Systems. This in part has led to a confusing array of social classes from the powerful semi-Noble landed gentry to near communist systems exist in some of the Trade-Nations.
A basic breakdown of social classes within the Third Estate can be summarized as followed:
- The Soldier - A class that rose to prominence in the Third Dynasty, the Soldier Class represents the professional fighters and warriors that often support Errant class in battle.
- The Artisan - The Feudal State has not diminished the need for highly scholars and builders. Many of the greatest Meisters and Wrights of the modern Era began as lowly students training in a given art.
- The Merchant - Perhaps one of the most questionable classes the Third Estate, the Merchant class deemed necessary for Trade although many of the rising Merchant families irk the nobility.
- The Worker - From industrial workers to serfs serving on the large estates of the most ferocious nobility.
Fourth Estate - The Foreigner and Criminal
- Main article: Foreign Nations
A strange thing to have Foreigners, but they do in fact exist within the Empire. Years ago when the First Expansion Era brought about the foundation of the Starborn peoples many fled away from the Triad and out into the Marches. Then during the discovering of the North and Southern Reaches even more colonial foreign polities came into existence. For this reason, the Great Covenant of Empress Gwyn was amended in her son's rule to include a series of embassies and recognizing the powerful factions outside of the Triad.
Foreign powers are not legally recognized as political forces within the realm of the Three Systems. They are however recognized for their relationship to the ruling Nobility and to the Clergy.
Continuing with the “Household System” of the Nobility the political powers of the Fourth estate are the following:
- Houses Foreigner - The major non-Triad powers located in the Marches or the Reach territories. Often equal at least to one of the Houses Major.
- Houses Colonial - The minor non-Triad powers equal to the Houses Minor.
- Houses Privateer - The recognized semi-noble Corsair states that the various members of the Nobility and Clergy do business with.
Another foreign or internal power exists and those are the “Pretender Houses” a grouping of former Noble bloodlines or criminal enterprises that play at being Nobility.
The Corsairs and “Pretenders”
- Main article: Criminals in Avalon
For years if not millennia there have existed the so-called “Pretender Barons” who ruled portions of the Triad. These individuals were far from legitimate nobility or even elected officials. They were not even Oligarchs, but criminals who had risen to power through various underhanded means. Most if not all of these individuals are stereotypically Starborn or those who dwell in the Space Colonies. Truth is that most of the Pretender Houses control silent networks or Cartels of illegal trade and crime across the Triad.
The Corsairs, on the other hand, are Shipborn (those who dwell on ships alone) who have carved up independent fleets and pirate havens in the Marcher zones. Most of the Corsairs are notorious for being vicious and skilled in navigating the dangerous vast asteroid fields of the Marches. The skill in ship combat is perhaps the greatest skill of the Corsairs as many of them show almost a prescient ability to predict the flow of the Star Winds and the movement of gravitational forces.
Most Corsair and Pretender “Houses” are organized in a similar fashion to the Noble Houses of the Triad even with Retainers and a ruling bloodline. Chevaliers are rare among the Criminal elements of the Triad unless they are in league with a standing Noble House or a Nation of the Triad itself who can afford to field a Chevalier in battle.
The Languages of Avalon
- Main article: Languages of Avalon
The peoples of Avalon are varied and diverse leading to a variety of languages or tongues are spoken across the vastness of the Triad. Even though mass inter-communication exists with the existence of the SysNet, there are still native languages, and minority languages are widely spoken across the Triad. For this reason, correspondence and documentation within the Triad are conducted in a series of “Official” languages dependent upon System and Estate of the groups in question.
In totality over a dozen languages are spoken in the Triad and its respectful territories. Many that are also unaccounted by the great Archives of Star-Crown or Aru. For this reason, terminology and occupations across the Triad are affected by the following tongues:
- Elder Tongue - A scholarly language is spoken by the ancestors it now exists as a language of Noble terminology, debate, and the religious scripture of the major faiths.
- High Avalonic - The language of the entire Noble Class at large and is used for their communication alone. Its lesser dialect, common Avalonic is the home language of Throne. Common Avalonic is the lesser cousins of High Avalonic and is the major trade language of the Triad.
- Duza - The primary tongue of Duzakh and a distant relative of the languages of Aru, Duza is now the current reigning language of science throughout the Triad. The mongrel Low Duza language is high used among the Commons and Criminals of the Rook system.
- Reigo - The primacy of House Amaterasu over House Arawn of Awn led to a plethora of Yomijin culture spreading across the Triad. Strangely enough, it is the tongue of the Jade Dragon Masters, Bou’a which has led to the current terminology for combat and swordsmanship across the Triad. It also competes strongly with the language of Mag Mell (Mellish) for the most prominent trade tongue in Sentinel.
Translation and Multi-Linguilism
Most nobility and clergy speak at least two languages when traversing off the world. In the case of commoners, however, it is far more rare to know more than their local language, or perhaps the major language of the system in general. Translation is not easy, but live-action language translators do exist but are often expensive and rarely get everything right. For this reason, it is still not uncommon for people to even in a time of mass communication, to speak their native tongue. Houses in turn often encourage the local languages as a means of nationalism and to enforce loyalty to their ruling bloodlines.
The Government of the Triad
- See also: Imperial Government and Bureaucracy
The Triad is a complex multi-layered bureaucracy of nations, planets and colonies. For this very reason the Houses developed the feudal system of Fiefs and before that organize the rule of all the various nations and colonial realms throughout the Triads.
Charters and Writss
- Main article: Imperial Charters and Writs
The power of nations can be a bit convoluted on some levels, with entire planets existing in a multitude of varieties a strange system of categories has sprung up. These are based upon a series of official designations known as Charters. A Charter is an age old document seal and often kept with near sacred relevance as the basis of Colonial settlement. These Charters have over time been altered as new governments arose throughout the Triad. This means that Charters are often edited and updated digitally over time and are then maintained with Sovereign records.
The writ on the otherhand is an official policy set forth by House Senate and changes or establishes a new force of Imperial Law. Writs can also include a variety of things, but generally are something that is to be enforce. Whereas a Charter grants a right or privilege in respect to an existing policy.
- Main article: The Sénann
Above the individual rule of nations and spaceborne polities is that of the House-Senate, or as it is typically known as, the Sénann. Founded upon the ideals of the House Council of the First Imperial Era, the eventual evolution of the House-Senate occurred during the Shattered era following the collapse of the Aken Empire. Now in the time of the Three Systems Era, and the Great Covenant, the Ortaor has caused a transformation of the traditional power of the Sénann.
In ages past the executive authority of the Sénann was held by the Emperor or Empress of the reigning dynasty who sat upon the Ancestor Throne. Ever since the death of Emperor Llewyn oc Artur the power of the of the Ancestor throne passed to the three ruling lords of the Triad, the Sovereign Princes.
The Upper and Lower Houses
There are two legislative Houses that formulate the Sénann. The Systems Triumvirate (the Upper House) is made of the Three Sovereign Princes themselves who hold the rank of Triumvir in legislative sessions. Below the Triumvirate stands the Systems Tribunate which holds the collective Lords of the Great Houses. The Minor Houses, in this case, do not have a vote in the Tribunate, but may elect two Popular Tribunes to sit among the representatives of the Great Houses.
Political Division and Philosophy
- See also: The Ententes
The power of the Sénann resides squarely the voting coalitions or blocs, some made up of ruling related bloodlines, others through families with similar adherences to the various High Orders or philosophies of rules. The ever-shifting alliances often give a sense of chess among the various factions, and yet there are several strong beliefs among the representatives of the Senate that drive political belief. The strongest of these caucuses are known as the Ententes and are often provide the strongest sense of how the votes may tally.
The power plays, and ongoing ebb and flow of politics within the confines of the Imperial Captial of Star-Crown is known as the Sovereign Game. Ententes provide a background for the Game as the High Orders themselves influence the philosophy of rule applied to a House Lord's reign.
Economics and Currency
- Main article: Imperial Central Bank
The core of the economies of Avalon is the exchange of the Avalonic Imperial Torc (ATI, or simply Torcs). Torcs are a nigh impossible to hack, or counterfeit a feature which the Imperial Central Bank (ICB) has maintained for several centuries. Those who have been able to subtly disappear, or suddenly become employed by the Bank. "All for the good of the Empire," is the saying in the bank when it comes to protecting the integrity of the Avalonic Economy. Torcs are rarely seen physically as they are more often exchanged digitally between the personal VN of a user's account (physically often marked by the usage of a Cred-Chit). Some, however, require physical currency and thus require the exchange of the physical form of the Torc, small golden half rings inscribed with the word 'Athélann' or Avalon in Elder Tongue.
The physical payment of currency is generally only reserved for those who dwell on agrarian or more "primitive worlds". Or in other cases, the more ritualistic or traditionalist types will quite regularly require such payments as a means of showing honor.
- Main article: The Guilds
The power of economy lies mostly in the grasp of the Nobility who control key resources, and production facilities. However, there exists levels of occupation that can only be learned at the discretion of the Guilds, powerful multi-House corporations that keep tight monopolies on specific technologies. The most prominent of these are the Alchemists, Meisters, and Wrights make up the three primary Guilds. Another, the Reivers act as a primary force of against the threat of stranger aspects of the Avalon Cluster. In all several technologies are only open to the power of the Guilds. Each is run by a highly respected individual known as the Grandmaster who oversees the independent nature of their order.
Guilds are often highly chaotic, and far from united. Membership is a means of training personally with an established member. Those who undergo their journeymanship then are able to attain the rank of Master and found their own independent practice.
Law and Order
- Main article: Rule of Law
The working of law within the Triad is conducted along varying levels of bureaucratic complexity and at times can seem quite insane. Above all rests the law laid out by the Sénann, or the Imperial Law. Below the Imperial Law is the law created for each of the three Systems of Avalon. Further below then rests the Law of individual planets or sectors, and then the lesser polities even further.
Which leads to the following levels
- Imperial Law - The Law created through decrees, acts, and agreements laid out by the Upper and Lower houses of the House-Senate.
- System’s Law - The Laws created by the Sovereigns and usually agreed upon by the local councils of the Houses Greater of a particular System. Often there is some difference between the laws of the Empire and that of the systems.
- Planetary or Sector Law - This is the Law applied by the ruler of a Great House.
- National Law - The Law applied to the regions ruled by a House Minor or Elector.
The Basics of Imperial Law
As Imperial Law can be quite, complicated, usually only the basics are covered with far more advanced forms of law being laid out in the Grand Covenant itself. For this reason the Ortaor laws out the simplest foundations of the Imperial Known as the “Grand Tenets” or the keystone aspects of Law which establish aspects of the Feudal Society of the Three Systems Era.
The simplest explanation of the Grand Genets are as follows:
- Laws of War - The Laws of War established that two Houses may go to war with proper declaration within the Sénann. Once a Writ of Feud is given the two forces may conduct battle as they see fit. The mass killing of civilian populations and the destruction of arable land is in general forbidden.
- Laws of Blood - These are the Laws laid out in the Ortaor that discuss the rights and restrictions of the Nobility. They include the establishment of the Mark system and the means a House is able to gain power, and usurp that of others through political gaming.
- Laws of Faith - The Laws of Faith are part of the greater tenets laid out in the Ban of Gwyn. These include the limitations of arms that the Houses Faithful may carry, and also the establishment of the Clerical-Charters.
- Law of Commons - The basic law of all and establishes the rights and abilities of the Commoner Class.
Enforcing the Law
The power to judge and enforce the law resides within the court of the ruling feudal lord In some nations this can be quite different and the lord in question assigns a series of independent judiciaries to judge the actions of someone as innocent or guilty. The actual enforcement therefore of a crime is decidedly based upon the fief or mesne in which it occurs. A crime committed within the Sector of Marsadie will be far different than a crime committed in the Empire of Sutārei on the planet of Yomi.
In either case, it is a House appointed police or who will then be appointed to act as the enforcers of the in a given region. Imprisonment itself is generally quite simple albeit some planets are far more brutal in how a criminal or an accused is punished. The ideal of innocent till proven guilty is often rare in many states, and even then the accused if they are connected can at times even circumvent a judge if they know or are a member of a more powerful House.