Centered on the eponymous trade hub, The Serene Duchy of Aeldrum is one of the major trade and military powers of the cosmos. The political elite of Aeldrum are heavily entangled with the affairs of the Aeldrum Trade Company, and the Duchy's Serene Parliament has a formal stake in the company.
Serene Doge and Parliament Edit
The Serene Duchy is ruled by a Serene Doge, who holds the sole power to introduce most legislation. The Doge can act unilaterally with respect to tariffs, most domestic policy and all diplomatic policy except for military action. To commit military or police acts, the Doge must receive a two-thirds majority vote of support from the Serene Parliament, which formally controls all armed forces. Military or police action is also the only act that the Parliament can commit unilaterally.
Only High Elves may stand for Parliament or the office of Serene Doge.
In all cases, the Doge can be deposed and a snap election called by a two-thirds vote of the Serene Parliament. A plurality of the Parliament can call for such a vote, whereupon all parliament members are ordered to participate on pain of arrest by the Parliamentary Guard.
The Serene Doge rules for a term of ten years, and he is voted into power by the Serene Parliament. The Doge may never be elected twice in a row, but he may hold the office an indefinite number of consecutive times.
A deposed Doge may never run again. The Parliament, in turn, is elected by the citizens of Aeldrum, though only High Elves can stand for office. Members of parliament hold their positions for ten years and can be re-elected indefinitely.
The Spire Doges Edit
Colonies and Protectorates (The "Greater Aeldman Commonwealth") Edit
A number of nearby dimensions are direct colonies of Aeldrum. These are generally governed under even more despotic rule than Aeldrum itself. Depending on the manner in which the planet was conquered, control of the planet may be handed to a military official or a governor appointed by the ATC. Military government generally leads to the enforcement of a more privileged version of the laws on Aeldrum itself. Slavery, long term indenture, debtor's prison, and similar practices frowned upon by the more enlightened gentry on Aeldrum itself are practiced widely in the military colonies. ATC colonies are at once more and less exploitative than their military counterparts. While their slave populations are vastly larger, in order to support the mineral extraction and plantation farming, the upper classes in the colonies are far less stratified. The newly wealthy and powerful among the lesser Elves and Humans often move to the colonies and purchase shares in the local government, giving them a far greater say in policy than they could accomplish in the home country.
The most noteworthy and troublesome of the direct colonies is Ireland, which is known for its periodic revolts and history of independence movements. Despite this, Ireland has produced some of the most famed soldiers in the Aeldman service - when the Irish populace are not fighting for independence or greater civil liberties.
Aeldrum's army and police forces are organized predominantly around a policy of careful balance, meant to prevent a coup.
Aeldrum Dragoons Edit
- Main article: The Aeldrum Dragoons
The Aeldrum Dragoons are the elite forces of the Serene Duchy.
Parliamentary Guard Edit
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The Parliamentary Guard is a force of
The Serene Duchy has a socially as well as legally significant racial hierarchy, presented here in descending order:
High Elves Edit
High Elves are those who can legally prove their pure elvish ancestry to the third generation and who have at least one demonstrable ancestor among the original elvish exiles who settled the Aeldrum Spire. They make up approximately half of the elvish population, or ten percent of the total population.
There exists a separate criminal and civil code for the high elves, guaranteeing them a jury of other high elves (as opposed to the typical magisterial courts) for all crimes, and standards of evidence for testimony by non-high elves against members of this caste are extremely rigorous. Likewise, they have the option to settle most criminal matters with a civil payment.
- Purebred High Elves: High Elves who can directly trace their lineage to the first exiles patrilineally as well as matrilineally. The Purebred High Elves are eligible for titles of nobility and hereditary seats in the Serene Parliament. The Serene Doge must be Purebred, and all other spires except Galthad have the same requirements for their doges.
- Basebred High Elves: High elves who meet the racial requirements for the status and have at least one exile ancestor but cannot draw a direct line back to the first settlers through both parents.
- Historically, some elves of lower castes have been awarded this status by a formal decree asserting that they are descended from a particular exile, usually the ancestor of a significant dynasty (and usually the dynasty backing the decree). This process often amounted to a political adoption, and it was a means of caste ascension for wealthy merchants (many of them minted in the early days of the Aeldrum Trade Company). This technique became highly controversial, however, and it has fallen into disuse in the last half-century over fears of "dilution."
- Though Basebred High Elves do not have the right to hold political office, any children between a basebred and a purebred will fit the definition of purebred once more. Likewise, any elf born of a basebred high elf and a lower caste elf is considered basebred.
Elves who cannot prove any ancestral ties to the exiles are not legally entitled to the protections of the High Code, but they do receive certain privileges. Elves may own property in restricted communities within the Spires, they may openly carry long blades and pistols, they may hold restricted trade licenses and bid in state mercantile auctions and crimes against them are punished more severely.
Elves can prove their racial status by demonstrating that they are at least a century old and still "youthful" (within the judgment of a magistrate) or that both of their parents had elvish status.
Half-Elves and Humans Edit
Half-Elves and humans are the lowest caste permitted to hold the title of "Aeldman," meaning a formal citizen of the Duchy. Aeldmen are given the right to trial and legal representation (though this representation is not subsidized by the state) and bankruptcy protection (as opposed to indentured servitude), and they are also permitted to vote in parliamentary elections, own weapons and hold military positions.
Dwarves, Orcs, Others Edit
Non-elves and non-humans do not have any political or legal rights; in colonial states, they can be held as slaves. This has produced no shortage of criticism from other great powers.