Kvigmar system of government
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Rjurik refugees who settled in Hjolvar and then Kvigmar brought with them a vision of recreating a traditional Rjurik society - including government - in these northern vales. That government, which is closest to that of the Stjordvikers has remained remarkably unchanged over the centuries.
At the core of social and political life is the clan. All bondi - freemen - are members of a clan; bondi status is defined by membership and clans are defined by being made up of bondi. Each married bondi man has a single vote in the clan athing, a form of basic parliament. The clan elects a jarl to lead it into battle and represent it in negotiations with other clans, but the athing itself is led by the laghman, the speaker. Conflicts between individuals within a clan are brought to negotiation, either before a clan elder respected by both parties (often the jarl) or to a druid. The druids are also usually present in negotiation between clans and are seen as the upholders of Erik's law.
Capital punishment is forbidden, as is the massacre of Rjurik innocents or those who have surrendered in battle. Most criminals or prisoners of war are instead made into thralls; thralls are property of the clan, though they are typically 'rented' by prosperous bondi who pay a yearly fee to the clan. Some thralls are bound for life while others have temporary sentences. The children of thralls are considered bondi and members of the clan, the bondi who rents their parent has responsibility over their education and development. For the most heinous of crimes, the punishment is typically branding and exile. These desperate individuals usually make their way south from Rjurik lands, often congregating in the isolated corners of Wierech (such as Adlersburg) or Dauren.
Jarls typically serve their clan for six years, after which time they cannot serve for another 12 years. The responsibilities of jarldom include hosting guests of the clan (an expensive proposition), negotiating with other clans, organizing the defense of the clan, capturing accused criminals and sponsoring clan-wide social events. Jarls also collect the clan-wide tax on all bondi and payments for thralls, the jarl and his servants (tax collectors, defense coordinators, entertainers) may draw small stipends from this common fund, though most jarls find themselves considerably poorer (though possessing great respect and authority) after their six years. Many bondi consider jarldom to be a mechanism of social leveling, draining the wealthiest of clansmen in order to serve the clan and maintain equality.
The aaolfers are the remaining position of authority in the clan. Also elected by the athing for six year terms, aaolfers arrange for the clan's trade with the outside world. Every year, the aaolfer arranges for a caravan of goods to be transported to the great midsummer market outside Kvigmar, he or his kinsmen travel to the scattered households of the clan, collecting various trade goods and taking down orders for manufactured materials. The clan then travels to Kvigmar in a great procession to meet members of all of the other clans outside the walls of Kvigmar. Many aaolfers also arrange for periodic markets in clan territory, alerting merchants and clansmen to the coming date, clearing off a field for the event and collecting a small fee from participating merchants.
Servants of Erik, the Skalds are powerful actors within Kvigmaran society. Officially clanless and neutral, the Skalds move between the clanholds, bringing word from distant settlements, passing on news and assisting with negotiations. Key to Rjurik pride is to treat skalds as clansmen, hosting them in grand fashion (while even enemies are subject to the rules of hospitality, clansmen and skalds are given special treatment). Thus, while the skalds are not members of any particular clans' government, they are key to the smoothing functioning of Kvigmaran civil society.
As in most things, the Clan Kvig is a special case when it comes to government. The Kvigs have by far the largest clan government, collecting tribute (both in money and warriors) from smaller clans and from those attending the Midsummer Market. Amongst the Kvigs, the Jarl is elected for life and combines the roles of jarl and aaolfer, controlling the economic and military elements of clan power. He also serves as the primary mediator between clans who swear fealty to him. The athing is thus considerably weaker in Kvigmar, usually acting as a rubberstamp for the Jarl - the only time it is truly powerful is when it comes to picking a new Jarl. The only place where the jarl is weaker in Kvigmar than normally is in the face of the power of the druids to act as mediators between members of different clans; so many clans dwell side-by-side in Kvigmar that the druids who dwell in the city are continually called upon to mediate problems. The druids also have been known to effectively veto the edicts of the Jarl, but only when they are able to unite in disapproval.
, 04-08-2008 at 03:11 AM|
Last edited by , 10-23-2011 at 02:30 PM
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