The Ashen Kingdom
Politics of the Ashen Kingdom
The politics and policies of the Ashen Kingdom are theoretically governed by a sovereign head of state: the king. However, the king is often limited by legal precedent and the political and economic power of his vassals. All citizens of the Kingdom are bound by the Law Code, a small document outlining basic human rights. The nobility has some influence over any aspect of society, but squabbling between noble houses has done much to maintain an uneasy stalemate. The king is strongest politically during and just after a War. Thus, many nobles are reticent to fully commit to the War for fear of an overly powerful king.
The nobility is composed of a rigid hierarchy. The king stands at the top of the pyramid. He is served by seven barons. If the king does not produce a viable heir, the next king is chosen from the seven barons. The barons themselves appoint guardians, military heads of small battalions and border communities. Within the palisade, the baron appoints mayors to govern villages that grow too large for governing by a single sheriff, himself simply a decorated soldier. Barons extract taxes from the guardians, mayors, and sheriffs. Mayors are chosen for political reasons, and are often bastard children of the barons or legitimate children who don’t have a birthright claim.
The priesthood is an exception as priests stand apart from most social classes. The priesthood is highly decentralized. Each church, no matter how small, can be considered a separate entity. However, at ecumenical meetings, larger churches and better connected priests have a greater voice and can heavily influence church decisions. Within each church, there is a Steward who wields some authority over the other priests in his care. He is not an absolute authority, but generally older and better educated and thus respected. All priests, of any rank, are generally welcome in a noble’s home. Nobles often purchase the services of priests so they always have access to his magic and knowledge.
Craftsmen and Mages
Respected craftsmen and powerful mages are respected enough to be treated like minor nobles, but they technically have no standing. If they are invited to join a noble at his table or to offer advice, it is simply a courtesy. Legally they have no more authority than any other common citizen of the Kingdom.