Gaia Volume IV
Silothreni government can be loosely defined as an aristocratic theocracy. The supreme leader of the Silothreni is a religious monarch known as The Divine. He is the supreme authority over the Silothreni. The Divine is assisted in temporal matters by a military and civic leader known as [[The Shield|The Shield of The Divine] or more simply The Shield. The power of these leaders is maintained through support of the Noble Houses who have sworn fealty to them.
Both The Divine and The Shield are appointed from the Nobility of a Noble House. They are allowed to appoint their own successors, and as such, these positions do not changed houses often. If the successor is also dead, then the Patriarchs from each house meet together to elect a new Divine or Shield.
Noble Houses: Noble Houses are the basic unit of Silothreni government. All Silothreni are members of a Noble house. Individuals who are not affiliated with a house are not tolerated within Silothreni borders and are either forced to leave Silothreni land or killed. Each House is led by a Patriarch, who, with the aid of his Heir or Vice-Lord manages the affairs of the house. The Houses sustain their government by providing military personnel to The Shield for use in protecting their country and enforcing the word of The Divine.
An average Noble House is composed of 200 – 300 Nobles with 3 – 4 servants per Noble and several Wyred. Some houses has have as many as 1200 nobles in a single house. If the number of nobles becomes too great the house will typically divide into two houses. Regardless of their size, each house is treated equally, however, smaller Houses have a smaller obligation for troops as well as less influence at court. There are about 30 major Silothreni Houses and dozens of minor ones.
Each Noble House has a large holding or fief which they oversee from a large defensible compound or keep. The compounds are typically large enough to hold all members of a House including servants. Nobles of a House rarely live outside their House compound except as punishment or for military/government obligations. The appearance and construction of these compounds can vary dramatically from region to region depending on the native materials available. The region surrounding a compound is used for farming, mining and other labors necessary to life. Most houses are self sufficient and only need to trade for luxury goods.
A diagram illustrating the structure of the Silothreni government and its accompanying explanation is shown below (people are out of date).
Praetorians, High Praetorians & The Praetorian Commander: Since the early days of the empire, The Shield has been prohibited from deploying troops within and near the Divine City. This was done to prevent a renegade commander from ever trying to take over the empire by force. The Praetorians are a military force loyal only to The Divine. They are responsible for protecting The Divine and the Divine City from all threats, and for carrying out the will of The Divine. The Praetorian Commander is hand picked by The Divine and answers directly to him. Praetorians typically serve for as long as they are able, retiring only when age or disability prevents them from meeting the demands of the job. Sometimes a Praetorian may step down (with permission) to assume the Patriarchy of his house when the opportunity presents itself. The Praetorian Commander may do so as well, however none in the history of the empire have yet chosen to do so.
Prelates: These are responsible for seeing to the needs of the various Priests and for carrying out the will of The Divine. Prelates are recruited from the large body of Priests and typically serve for life.
Priests: Every noble house has priests assigned to it that sees to its spiritual needs. They also serve as part of an intelligence network to inform the Prelates and The Divine of events within their assigned house. Priests are recruited from wherever the Prelates or Divine sees fit, including the Servant caste. They typically serve for life.
Acolytes: These are priests in training. They are typically selected by Priests who then use them as working apprentices until they have learned the necessary facets of the job to become full Priests.
Guardians & Guardian Commanders: This is the military arm of The Shield. Guardians are trained soldiers assigned by their house to serve The Shield. They are always nobles. They are responsible for protecting the empire from all threats and for carrying out the will of The Shield. They guard the borders of the empire and serve as officers in the army. Every house is required to provide a number (based on the size and standing of the house) of trained soldiers to The Shield to serve as Guardians. Houses that are looking to improve their standing will often provide more than the required number of Guardians. It is quite common for potential patriarchal heirs to serve as Guardians and Guardian Commanders prior to taking up the Patriarchy. Many Guardians and Guardian Commanders serve for as long as they are able. However, some step down (with permission) to assume positions within their own house. There is no dishonor associated with stepping down to assume a position with ones house.
The Divine regularly cherry-picks the best Guardians for his Praetorian Guard using his priests to observe and make recommendations. This has resulted in a certain amount of animosity between guardian commanders and priests.
The Staff & the Wyred – The Wyred are the magic using caste of Silothreni society. The Staff is their elected leader. The Staff answers to The Shield on behalf of The Wyred. The Staff typically serves for life. Wyred remain Wyred for life.
Additional Leadership: There are several additional groups that occasionally participate in government. However, their role is usually more of an advisory one, although if they are united they can wield significant influence. They are listed below.
The Divine Assembly – This consists of all of the Prelates as well as the Arch-Praetor ( Praetorian Commander). They meet annually for several weeks (although it is rare for all personnel to attend) to council with The Divine and discuss issues of spiritual importance to the empire.
Patriarchal Council (also The Council of Lords) – This body is composed of all the Patriarchs in the empire. They typically meet biannually for two weeks to discuss the state of the empire. They can wield significant influence over national policy when united however they are usually to disorganized and divided to do so. There is usually a lot of drinking and feasting involved.
The Council of Elders – This is a body that exists in some form or another in most noble houses. It is composed of senior tradesmen and respected individuals of the servant caste and formally or informally provides council to the house patriarch on local issues. In more open houses this may be a formal body that meets on a regular basis. However in restrictive houses it may simply be an “old-boys” network of friends and ideas.