The Council of Ten
- After several large incidents regarding lineage within the kingdom, Aldhaven renamed itself to Asarenholm and elected to create a council from the leaders of the 7 strongest houses in Aldhaven (Deitrich, Rocholl, Licorta, Astrine, Hordukka, Rostel and Widmayer) along with the leaders from the 3 other city-states that make up the country. The name translates to mean "Place of Ten". Should one of the house representatives die without heir, it would fall to one of the lesser houses. This creates some contention between the lessers, as each tries to fit into those that qualify for "next in line". The Council of Ten elects which of these lesser houses comes to power.
Letters of Marque
- Any noble of rank marquee or higher who leads their family may grant a single letter of marque which allows the holder to be considered a marqued agent for that family. Marqued agents cannot be directly prosecuted for any criminal acts done in the name of the nobility, as the noble granting it takes full responsibility for any actions taken by the marqued agent.
For those who end up with one, that makes them the next best thing to a law unto themselves. However, the noble who grants it may revoke it at any time to remove this protection if their agent becomes a liability and/or is abusing their position. The other method for removing a marqued agent, if the transgression is severe enough, is to press charges against the noble himself. If convicted of a crime that would be worthy of stripping their title away, the now ex-noble has lost the authority to grant a letter of marque and his agent no longer has any protections.
One major caveat to convicting a former marqued agent whose letter has been revoked is that only crimes currently being prosecuted may be charged against them. Any crimes committed before the letter is revoked that are not being actively charged to the agent at the time the letter is revoked remain under the protection of the noble, even if the link with the agent is discovered afterwords or the crime was not yet under investigation.
The Small Council
- The small council of Aldhaven is an elected body of non-noble men who work to administer Aldhaven on a daily basis.
There are three ranks within the council, Council Chairman, Alderman, and Councillor. There are only ever six Aldermen at any time, one of whom serves as Council Chairman. There are twenty Councillors as well, two representing each district of the city, excluding the slums. Elections are internal only, meaning that the city council elects its own members.
Any land owning citizen may apply to be a Councillor from the district in which he owns land at any time. Elections are held once a year, during which time all members of the city council vote among the incumbents and the applicants to the council. The City Watch Commander also sits on the small council.
Duke/Duchess - The dukes of the nation hold large areas of land, generally with at least one large town or small city serving as the duchy's seat. Though typically smaller than real world historical duchies, they still control vast areas of land and many small villages. Most of the ducal families are descended from the sons of the first king of Aldhaven, and as such are in the line of succession should something dire occur. However, their chances of taking the throne are rather low, as all of the king's male children as well as the archduke and his male children must be exhausted before the dukes have any chance at succession.
Dukes are addressed as "your grace."
Marquis/Marquise - Marquis hold the same position as counts; however, the marquis' lands are on the outer borders of the nation. Therefore, they have higher honors in the nation and stronger legal and military powers in their own lands as they serve as the first line of defense against invasion. Within the noble council, however, they hold the same political power as a count. A marquis' lands usually contain a few baronies, and he has direct command over those barons during times of war though not at other times.
Marquis are addressed as "my lord" or "your lady," never "my lady" unless the speaker is directly and closely related.
Count (Earl)/Countess - Count and Earl are the same title, coming from different original languages. They hold small tracts of hereditary land, generally no more than a single town or collection of villages and surrounding lands. They have limited political power within the noble council, generally requiring a number of them to work together to equal the influence of a duke. The title of count is often hereditary, but this is not guaranteed. The king may, at any time, remove a count's title and lands to bestow them on another.
Counts are addressed as "my lord" or "your lady," never "my lady" unless the speaker is directly and closely related.
Viscount/Viscountess - A viscount usually holds only a very small tract of land, generally a small village or hamlet. They usually function more as a mayor rather than as a lord. Most viscounts have to work with at least a small council of elders in their town to run it effectively, though there is often very little for them to do. Their primary job is to assign tax collectors in their viscounty and forward collected funds to the king.
Viscounts are addressed as "my lord" or "your lady," never "my lady" unless the speaker is directly and closely related.
Baron/Baroness - A baron holds the smallest tract of hereditary land conferred by a noble tile, usually limited to a single fortress or other stronghold and surrounding farmlands. Baron is more of a military title, and he is usually charged with holding a small standing military force of armored knights and other heavy warriors for defense of the nation. They hold very little political power outside of their own estates.
Barons are addressed as "my lord" or "your lady," never "my lady" unless the speaker is directly and closely related.
Knight/Dame - This is a non-hereditary title conferred as an honor by the king (or sometimes archduke with the king's recommendation) on someone who has distinguished himself in service of the crown. A knight is entitled to attend the noble's council but may not vote or even speak out during such. No lands or other benefits are associated with the title.
A knight is addressed as "Sir [name]" or "Dame [name]," never lord or lady.
- Likely the largest guild in the city, it regulates almost all trade. No one is permitted to have a store front without a license or else union thugs show up to show them "the error of their ways."
The Arcane Order
The Blessed Bookkeepers
Guild of Starlight and Shadows
The City Watch
- The City Watch is the overarching organization that enforces law in Aldhaven. The sentinels of the Watch patrol the streets, ever vigilant for signs of unrest. Unfortunately, the City Watch once was riddled with corruption, from the commanding officers down to the patrols. Most of this corruption has been purged over the last twenty years, but there are still a few bad eggs. Due to this purge, the Watch is hard pressed and is attempting to recruit more Watchmen. Aside from the general problems of greed, cowardice, and corruption, the Watch commanders focus their forces on protecting the wealthy and powerful citizens of Aldhaven, as well as keeping order amongst the general population, and most importantly: maintaining the safety of the city from invading armies.
The City Watch is an independent organization that was once seperate from the crown. The Commander of the Watch is on the Small Council, and has as much power as an Alderman (though he is not officially counted as one). It was nearly 150 years ago now that the military was separated from the crown in an attempt to weaken the royal family's power, which apparently was a successful tactic.