Yeltharan has a complex government that does its best to represent the people and regions of the continent with equal capability and zeal. Yeltharan has a Constitutional Monarchy ruled over by The Empress. Each of the major geographical regions has a Governor, who is responsible for the day to day operations within his or her region. Every major city is governed by a Mayor, who manages the city’s needs. Smaller towns and locales can have any number of appointed magistrates/keepers/supervisors as appointed by the Governor. Let’s take a closer look at each level of Government, and work our way down.
The Empress (The top of the pyramid)
The Empress is a member of the Yeltharan family and can draw a direct lineage to Yeltha herself. The Empress (On occasion a male member of the family has stood as regent for a niece or a sister, but none of them claim the title of Empress) holds the vested authority of the Yeltharan people in 3 key areas.
She can appoint (and replace) regional governors, military commanders, and judges. Her power in this regard comes from the original Oath of Service that Yeltha drafted during her twilight years. It grants the Yeltharan family the authority to look after the common good of the people.
She has the power to tax the citizens of Yeltharan (with a review by both the Royal Court and the Council of Governors) in order to fund infrastructure projects, support the economy and in times of crisis, arm and equip a militia.
She has the power to create or change the law (again, subject to review by the Royal Court and the Council of Governors). This practice is usually handled by the Royal Court and the High Chamberlain with input from the Empress. Included in this authority is the power to strip or grant noble titles and land grants to exemplary members of the Yeltharan People.
With these broad powers, the Empress has the authority to create responses to crises that may grip Yeltharan. To date, no Empress has ever abused these powers, (though at least one regent had to be replaced). At this level, there are three important bodies to also consider.
The Royal Court
Comprised of seventeen surviving noble families that have supported the Empress since the earliest days of Yeltharan (and six that were raised to nobility for their valor), The Royal Court is a social platform for various Noble families to advise the Empress and support the population of Yeltharan. Most of the noble houses appoint a single member to the Court, (with a younger cousin or sibling to act as a page) who represents the family in Courtly matters.
The Council of Governors
Each Region of Yeltharan has an appointed Governor chosen by the Empress to oversee all of its needs. Together these Governors form a council that stands for the people of Yeltharan, and they act to ensure that the needs of the people are met, and that the Empress’s policies aren’t misdirected. Each governor has the authority to give proxy voting authority to one person (usually a close friend or sibling) who operates in the Imperial Palace and casts day to day votes in their stead (If a proxy is uncertain of the Governor’s wishes, magical communication is available, and is often requested by the Empress to verify the Governor’s wishes for critical votes on military or economic policies).
The High Chamberlain
The High Chamberlain is the Gedra for the Yeltha family. It advises the Empress on social policy and brings legal issues and challenges to her attention. The High Chamberlain is also the last redress for the citizenry. Should a law be unfair, or a governor’s decision be challenged by the people, the High Chamberlain takes petitions on the behalf of the citizens to investigate the issues and redress their grievances.
(The Noble Families)
The Empress appoints a Governor for each of the regions within Yeltharan. A Governor is responsible for three key areas, but once those obligations are met, the Governor has the authority to do many things within her or his own borders. A Governor must ensure that any taxes assessed to the citizens within her or his region are accounted for and paid to the treasury. A Governor is also responsible for seeing to the common defense of her or his region and the people within it. A Governor is responsible for serving as a check on the Empress’s own power. She or he are responsible for making sure that the government doesn’t overstep its authority and oppress the citizens.
The Governor’s reach
Each Governor is expected to appoint a body of citizens to serve as local leaders and emissaries to the communities and outlying citizens. Some Governors choose their own people to enter these positions, while others allow their citizens to elect their own leaders and emissaries. So long as the taxation mandates are met, and the peace is kept, many of the Governors are willing to take a hands off approach and allow the people to rule themselves.
The other important body that the Governor is responsible for maintaining are the militias. Each Governor is required by law to establish an armed constabulary of able-bodied citizens to enforce the laws and see to the common good. Each Governor sets the size and quality of their own militia, and any expenses that exceeds his or her budget from the Empress are met by the Governor’s own coffers. Some actively collect donations from their citizens while others have instituted a fee for repeated usages of the militia. Each Militia is broken up into smaller banners, each of which has an area assigned to it. Each banner is responsible for patrolling its area, seeing to civil defense, and providing law enforcement for the common good. Each Banner is led by a Marshal, who is a direct appointee of the Governor.
Between these two bodies, most of the needs of the citizenry can be met, but exceptional circumstances may require additional personnel or interactions between other groups and individuals.
Every major city in Yeltharan (that would be a city with at least 100,000 residents) has a Mayor who is elected from within the city itself. Smaller settlements have a leader appointed by that region’s Governor. Every four years, the Mayoral office is up for election, and a Mayor can be elected as many times as desired. The Mayor is responsible for ensuring the common safety of her or his citizens, promoting trade, and keeping the peace within the city. They are able to levy a small tax to ensure that the city itself has its own militia (so as to not overtax the Governor and their ability to provide for the common good) and to maintain order and trade.
Crises that require military commanders are exceedingly rare, but should a situation arise, the Empress can grant authority over all militia assets in a given area (this is vague to give the Empress flexibility when assigning command). This general is empowered by the Empress to use whatever resources are needed to handle the military crisis to its conclusion. Power is then returned to the Empress and the General returns to their previous position (or becomes a private citizen again).
The Empress appoints two primary types of Judges for Yeltharan. The Magistrates, who are the ultimate decisionmakers for criminal and civil law, and the Judges, who handle matters of a professional nature. Between these two groups, almost all disputes can be handled by the court system.
Magistrates are appointed by the Empress and each region has two dozen operational Magistrates that work differing territories, and a High Magistrate who serves as a final tie breaker and central hub for the operations of all of the Magistrates working in the region. Magistrates are only involved in legal cases that require deliberation and a judgment. In other cases of smaller infractions or when guilt has been determined, the territorial Marshal can hand out sentences (usually imprisonment or fines) subject to the review of a that area’s Magistrate.
Judges are masters of a specific, technical area, like metallurgy or agriculture. They ensure the quality of products being made, certifying professional capability and handling disputes within their area of expertise. In most cases these are experts drawn from a variety of experts, but there are a couple of exceptions, (The Yeltharan Council appoints a judge to handle matters of Arcana, and the Techs appoint one of the professors from a university on a case by case basis to handle their own matters) and of course the Royal Court has its own judge for matters concerning the nobility and infractions of their own honor code.