Common Social Divisions Within The Unification

Posted by EarthDragon on 16th July 2015.

Within The Unification, there are several strata of social pecking order. At its most basic level, the population of The Unification are either Citizens, Civilians, Slaves, Aliens, or Criminals (in descending order of importance, influence and fundamental rights).

Each of these levels of society (as well as some specific ranks within these levels) are presented below. These various levels of society provide the background for all political and social activity within The Unification.

There are a number of other ranks within the social strata of The Unification, but, in practice, these are essentially positions within one of the structures below. Little more than an understanding of these categories is required to make ones way within The Unification and have a fair understanding of where someone sits within the social pecking order.


Within the social structure of The Unification, there is no position so reviled and hated as the Criminal. A Criminal is a person who has been charged and convicted of a crime. Unlike many other social structures, the Criminal structure is somewhat fluid.

When a crime is committed and a person is convicted, they become a Criminal for the duration of their sentence. Should they serve out their sentence and survive, the Criminal ceases to hold Criminal status and instead returns to the social structure they inahbited prior to conviction, though with much lost prestige and influence.

All really serious crimes within The Unfication carry a death penalty, but this penalty is often commuted. Instead, those convicted of serious crimes are often used to fill out work crews along the border of The Unification, and are subjected to harsh, unremitting labour for the rest of their lives. Such Criminals are also typically abandoned and used as a diversion for The Fallen if the work crew is attacked along the border or at an outpost outside the border. Thus, a commuted sentence is usually a death penalty anyway as such crews are frequently attacked by The Fallen and the military who oversee the crews and maintain the outpost or border station where the crew is assigned generally retreat into the outpost or border station and leave the Criminals outside to slow the advance of The Fallen.

Other crimes within The Unification may be punished with anything from a fine through to imprisonment. In practice, however, Civilians cannot afford the fines they are charged and typically get assigned to work crews within The Unification instead, to serve out a term of hard labour. Likewise, imprisoned Criminals are usually used to pad out work crews at various locations within The Unification. The duration of such labour is determined by either the amount of the fine or the duration of the imprisonment. The danger associated with the work is commensurate with the initial punishment assigned. Even work crews within The Unification are sometimes attacked by The Fallen.

No member of the Slave class or higher will give succour or aid to a Criminal, especially one on the run. After completing their sentence, the Criminal is returned to society, along with any property they had when convicted (which is held in trust while they serve their sentence, or divided amongst one's heirs when the sentence is death or life imprisonment, or where the Criminal dies before completing their sentnce). Such a person has their original social rank restored (save that no Criminal may return to the Voices of the District or Archon ranks, though some do return to the Citizens' Council), though they lose reputation and influence due to the shame of their actions.

Those who are wrongfully convicted are treated in exactly the same way as other ex-Criminals when they are returned to society. Thus, even a wrongful charge of a crime can cost one a great deal of influence and status, especially if the person in question was once a Voice or an Archon. Wrongful convictions are not unheard of, but are regarded as being pretty much the Criminal's own fault for not being able to prove their innocence.

Criminals who have been sentenced to life imprisonment or to death are also sometimes used to round out "troops" raised to push back an incursion of The Fallen. Such "troops" are nothing more than cannon fodder used to distract The Fallen from the true forces rallied to fight them. Fortunately for The Unification, many (though by no means all) Fallen are easily distracted by bait.

Criminals have no rights, other than a right to very basic food (bare minimum nutritional requirement, and certainly not sufficient for their energy expenditure) and a very, very basic right to "shelter". Such shelter is usually a prison cell which is too small to lie down in and which has a hole in one corner for "waste". For those Criminals assigned to work at a border station or outpost, "shelter" usually consists of a rough tarp hung over an area enclosed by stakes and other basic fortifications which is guarded by troops. These "fortifications" are always outside the walls of the border station or outpost, and are the first thing abandoned by the troops when The Fallen attack, which they usually do with predictable regularity.

Criminals have no right to health care of any description and, as they have no property, cannot even purchase health care. Should a Criminal become ill or wounded, they are expected to recover on their own, with little reduction in work load unless the illness or injury makes it impossible to work. Those who are sick enough to be unable to work are typically not given food either, as this is seen as a waste of resources. Very few Criminals who become seriously ill or badly injured survive. Even those with minor injuries typically succumb to infection.

A Criminal may not speak to their betters (i.e. everyone who is not a Criminal) without a direct order to speak, and their answers are largely ignored when they do speak. A Criminal who makes a habit of speaking out of turn usually loses their tongue in punishment, even if they are serving a sentence for a minor crime.

In general, it is impossible to fall lower than a Criminal within society. In spite of the treatment of Criminals and the attitude toward them, The Unification seems to suffer no lack of them, and they are often useful to the Citizens and the military.


Sitting just above the Criminal is the Alien. An Alien is a person who is not native to The Unification, but who has entered The Unification from outside its borders. Common wisdom holds that there are no lands beyond The Unification which enjoy any semblance of order or security, but the existence of Aliens and their stories seems to suggest otherwise.

An Alien is not a Civilian or a Citizen, they are simply a foreigner who has wandered into The Unification, for whatever reason. Aliens are often suspected of being Fallen, and are usually closely watched and monitored. They have only the most basic rights to food, shelter and freedom.

Whilst they have more of a right to food than Criminals, the food they are supplied is usually of low quality or verging on rotten. It is still, however, much better than the food given to Criminals. Food for Aliens is usually distributed at any one of a number of food halls after all the Slaves and Civilians in the area have been served, and is usually the food that would otherwise be thrown away, fed to animals, or left for a few days before being given to Criminals.

Aliens have a very basic right to shelter, though they are never assigned housing in the way that Civilians are. Each town within The Unification usually has one area set aside for Aliens who might be passing through the area. Typically, it is a barn or a cold, empty hall, with little or no bedding. Aliens can sometimes secure more adequate shelter by paying for it, and a number of inns that exist to service the Civilian population will make their space available to Aliens after all the Civilians have been catered for, though at a high premium (usually of the order of three to five hundred percent of the Civilian price). Such places also typically serve food to Aliens, for a price.

Aliens have no right to health care and, if ill, must approach medical personnel directly and pay for any treatment they might receive, again at a high premium.

Aliens also have virtually no property rights. An Alien may possess coin, gems and other items of monetary value, but may not own land or property of a real or tangible nature. Thus, they do not have a right to own shelter or to own any property which might give them a right of control over some other person or thing (such as securities in an organisation which conducts business - such securites would normally give the holder some degree of control over the organisation). However, it is not illegal to sell things to Aliens, even property that they are not permitted to own. The usual result of this is that an ignorant Alien "buys" land or other property, only to learn that, not only have they lost their money, but they also have no right to the property, which remains with the seller.

In spite of this, some Aliens have come to enjoy special privileges awarded to them by influential people within The Unification. An Alien who has valuable skills or information might "own" a house to live in, though the title technically belongs to their sponsor (usually a Citizen). Such favoured Aliens sometimes progress to becoming Civilians. A few have even been made Citizens.


Slaves are considered to be the lowest level of the social strata acceptable to society. Aliens and Criminals are untouchables tainted by their crimes or their association with foreign lands and powers (and, by assumption, with The Fallen). Thus, Aliens and Criminals are "non-people". Slaves, however, are a part of The Unification and are regarded as people.

As such, they have more rights than Aliens or Criminals. A Slave must be provided with adequate food and shelter in order to be able to carry out their duties. This usually means communal quarters with other Slaves (either other Slaves of the same owner, or community Slave halls where Slaves owned by various individuals reside when not working). Food is basic, but of reasonable quality and quantity (in fact, many Slaves eat better than some Civilians), and is always relatively fresh.

Slaves also enjoy a right to basic health care. If a Slave becomes too ill to work, or suffers a severe injury which prevents even light duties, they are taken to a special hospital where they are treated by the staff until they either die or are well enough to return to work. Most Slaves usually recover from most illnesses and injuries that are not outright fatal in themselves. Slaves who are sick or injured, but who can still work, are treated by medical staff attached to the household they belong to, or by staff attached to the communal hall they sleep in. Sick or injured Slaves are usually provided with additional rest breaks to assist in the recovery process.

While Slaves cannot own property in their own right, they can be assigned property by their owners, which is considered theirs for their use. This is typically done where a Slave has been in the family for a long time and is honoured and liked, or where a Slave is under a temporary period of Slavery before returning to life as a Civilian. The propert owned by Slaves prior to becoming a Slave remains the property of that Slave, but is held in trust for them by their owner until such time as the Slave is freed (either by manumission or by expiry of their term of indenture), or dies (in which case it passes to the Slave's family). Slaves are also entitled to draw a minor pay for the work that they do. As Slaves, they cannot own this money, but it can be held for them by their owner to be released either when the Slave is freed, or when the Slave dies (in which case it passes to their family).

Civilians enter slavery fairly often, usually as a result of an inability to pay some debt, or in an effort to secure resources for themselves and their family to improve their lot. Most such indenture is temporary, and expires when a set time has passed or when a debt is deemed satisfied by the value of the work provided by the Slave (in this case, the pay "earned" by the Slave is used to offset the debt, thus providing the Slave with a means of paying a debt, but without jeopardising their family's assets).

It is rarer for a Citizen to enter slavery, but not unheard of. A Citizen who becomes a slave is stripped of Citizenship and, on expiry of any term of indenture, is returned to society as a Civilian, even if the rest of their family are still Citizens. In practice, Citizens are only forced into slavery in the most shaming of circumstances, and typically take the whole family with them due to the magnitude and nature of their shame.

When Slaves have children, the status of the child is determined by some fairly complex rules and customs. If the Slave was previously a free Civilian or Citizen, then their offspring are deemed free Civilians unless the Slave is indentured for life. If the Slave is indentured for life, their progeny are always Slaves, unless the other parent of the child is a Citizen, in which case the child becomes a Civilian. If a Slave is only indentured for a set period, then their child is always a free Citizen, Such children are given to the Slave's family to care for, unless the family are also Slaves, in which case the Slave's owner takes care of the child until either their majority (25 years of age), or until the Slave is freed. If the Slave dies before they are freed, the property held in trust for them goes to the child, who usually remains with the household that owned the Slave to begin with. Such children are usually treated well and given honoured places in the household.


Civilians are the backbone of The Unification. They are the lowest level of free men and women, and they make up the bulk of the population. In spite of this, they are not citizens of the land they serve, they are merely inhabitants. Only Citizens are truly citizens of The Unification.

Civilians enjoy much greater recognition under the law, and have many more rights than those below them on the social ladder. They also have avenues available to them which can, eventually, gain them Citizenship.

A Civilian enjoys a right to decent food in adequate amounts for their health and needs. This food is typically provided through community food halls throughout The Unification. The fare there is fairly bland, but nutritionally adequate and is in quantities sufficient for health and fitness. Civilians can also purchase food directly and prepare it themselves, if they wish to and can afford it. Even those who choose to pay for food, however, are still entitled to decent free food for their needs. Civilians often choose to pay for food because it is generally tastier and better quality than the free food, and they prefer to "pay their own way", rather than relying on the welfare of the state.

Civilians are also entitled to housing, provided by The Unification. Such housing varies depending on the requirements of the Civilians. Familes of Civilians generally live in large appartment buildings with many families located in the same building, but with adequate space within the dwelling for the number of members of the household. Single Civilians without any family are housed in different appartment blocks in which the appartments are designed for one or, at most, two people. The furniture and decoration is basic, and fairly standard across the board. Again, Civilians may choose to purchase their own housing, usually living in cottages or small houses near the area they work in.

Civilians are provided with free health care. This gives them basic access to medications and healers, and basic accomodation in a hospital if they need to be hospitalised for some reason. This care is basic and does not include some types of medication or treatment, but covers most people for all the typical ailments that might face them. Once again, Civilians may choose to pay for their own health care, securing private rooms in special hospitals or access to the latest and greatest in medical treatment, or even magical cures or potions.

Civilians are provided with basic education. Such education covers basic literacy and numeracy, history, very basic sciences and an introduction to very basic magical or psionic principles. Religion is also taught at all Civilian schools. Civlians who want a better education for themselves or their children may attend privately run schools that have paid places, and which are regarded as providing a more complete education than the public schools. All Civilians who meet the entrance requirements may also enter The University for further education, military training, schooling in the mental and magical arts, or advanced divine lore.

Civilians pay taxes, though not as much as Citizens do, in order for The Unification to pay for the services provided to them (food, housing and medical care). Other items, such as clothing, are not paid for by The Unification, and must be purchased out of the Civilian's own pocket.

Civilians may own Slaves, but only through a person becoming indentured to them through non-payment of a debt. Such an acquisition of a slave must be awarded by a Magistrate, at the least, and the Civilian may never sell or transfer the slave to another.

Perhaps most important, Civilians may earn the right to become Citizens. Military service guarantees Citizenship, if the Civilian survives their twenty year tour of duty. Military service includes not only service as a warrior, but also service as a user of magical, divine, sorcerous, psionic or channeled power. Certain studies within The University also provide a path to Citzenship, as does wealth.

Civilians who are successful and wealthy may, in effect, buy a writ of Citizenship from a sponsoring Citizen (though, in reality, the Civilian is sponsoring the Citizen, who usually has more power and influence than sense or money). Such a writ must be sponsored by a Citizen directly and ratified by a Justiciar or higher. In practice, the purchase price of Citizenship is in the vicinity of millions of pieces of gold. Only truly successful, wealthy and wily Civilians become Citizens this way. Having said that, historically, a good 15% of Citizen families rose to Citizenship through financial acumen and outright purchase of a writ of Citizenship.

Military service, as mentioned, covers all manner of activity in the service of The Unification military forces, not just the activities of a standard warrior. In fact, in order for a patrol to survive along the border or outside the boundaries of The Unification, a strong and diverse mix of skills and powers is essential. In order to become a Citizen, a Civilian must serve a tour of duty of twenty years of active service. This means twenty years in which the Civilian was at risk of death from facing The Fallen for the majority of each year for a period of twenty years. Transfer from the front lines to an internal post within The Unification is not "active" service unless The Fallen break through and harrass the position for the majority of a single year. Thus, most Civilians require closer to forty years of service to get the required "active" service. In practice, most Civilians do not survive twenty years of "active" service.

There are other means of being elevated to Citizenship, most involving the awarding of a writ of Citizenship to a Civilian for some extraordinary or exemplary service to The Unification. Such a writ may be issued by the Citizens' Council, the Voices of the District, a House of Protectors, or a panel of five Archons. Such appointments are relatively rare, but not unheard of.


Citizens are among the highest ranked members of The Unification. All other social rankings (save Magistrate, see below) are drawn from the ranks of Citizens. They enjoy full legal recognition within The Unification, and have certain rights and privileges not enjoyed by those lower in the social pecking order.

First, all Citizens are entitled to free housing. This housing is of a much higher standard than that provided to Civilians, and is generally in exclusive areas within a given town, city or District. Like Civilians, Citizens may pay for housing to get something better than that assigned to them by the state, however, what is assigned is usually sufficient as assignments are based on rank and prestige. A wealthy Citizen of only modest accomplishment may decide to pay for a more opulent home, but this is regarded as posturing by those Citizens of higher achievement (who are assigned quarters of much greater opulence as a matter of course). A Citizen who moves through layers of society is often reassigned to different quarters as they progress up the ladder.

Like for Civilians, food is provided for Citizens for free, though again it is of a much higher standard than that issued to Civilians. If they wsh to, Citizens can pay for their own food, but generally gain no advantage for doing so, as the quality and nature of the food provided for free is adequate for all but the most discriminating tastes.

All forms of health care are free for Citizens, including magical cures and potions. All care requiring hospitalisation is undertaken in private rooms in a Citizen-only hospital (unlike Civilian hospitals that can sometimes provide care for Slaves or Aliens who pay, or who also provide emergency medical care for Citizens). Routine health screens are carried out free of charge, though not all Citizens avail themselves of this service. Once again, money has little influence on the care received (unless a Citizen is trying to buy a lack of care for a rival).

Citizens may own property, whether it be real property such as land, buildings and fixtures, or intangible assets such as stock options and shares. Citizens also pay for their own clothing, furnishings and jewellery. Citizens may also own, buy, sell, or transfer Slaves.

Citizens enjoy free education in special schools designed only for Citizens. These schools teach a range of topics, and each offers a somewhat unique and selective curriculum. Which school a Citizen attends depends on what their interests are, and what their family traditions are. All of the basic education provided to Civilians is covered, along with a range of specialist skills that vary from school to school.

University is free for Citizens, and they have the right to enter certain classes that are either exclusively for Citizens, or that are free for Citizens, but charged at a high cost for Civilians. Such training typically prepares a Citizen for one of the more esoteric professions or careers within the military (such as leaning magic or psionics to a higher level than Civilians do).

To pay for all of this, Citizens pay taxes, high taxes. The level of tax they pay is much higher than what Civilians of comparable wealth pay. Many Civilians are, as a result, wealthier than Citizens, though they have to spend much of their income to enjoy anything close to the honoured position held by Citizens. Most Citizens do not resent these taxes, and do not even mind their taxes being higher than those paid by Civilians, after all, they are a different class of people and enjoy more benefits in return for their taxes.

The most important right enjoyed by Citizens (other than social mobility) is the right to vote. Whilst Civilians can vote in elections for the Voices of the District, this voting right is very limited in scope (since the candidates for the Voices are selected by influential Citizens who can, thus, somewhat manipulate the vote). By comparison, Citizens can stand for any position (except for a Civilian position on the House of Protectors), and may (and, indeed must, since voting is compulsory) vote for all other positions other than a Voice. Thus, Citizens have a direct influence on the governance of The Unification.

A Citizen may also hold almost any position within the government of The Unification, and competition for many positions is fierce and intense. Political parties formed around different idealogical positions form and reform constantly within The Unification, and the influence of any given party waxes and wanes fairly frequently. The right to vote is closely held and highly regarded by Citizens, most Citizens even resent the fact that only Civilians can vote for Voices of the District, though the candidates are usually so carefully selected that such a vote is little more than a rubber stamp on an approved candidate.

The only Citizens who cannot vote in general elections (at any level of government), are Voices, Councillors and Archons. They are unable to vote because they are, by definition, the government, and it is considered bad form for the government to vote for itself. Voices, Councillors and Archons, however, exercise their voting prerogatives within their respective governing bodies. Protectors may vote in elections affecting the District or Unification levels of government, but may not vote in Protectorate elections.

Criminals who return to Citizen status lose a lot of respect, honour, and reputation. They may, over time, slowly claw this back, but rarely rise as high as they were before they fell.

Civilians who become Citizens are looked down upon somewhat when they first join the ranks of Citizens. After they have had time to establish their credentials and reputation, the level of respect and regard they are held in varies with their accomplishments and nature. Generally, those who bought a writ of Citizenship are held in lower regard than those who earned it, and this impression can take generations to dispel.


A Magistrate is much what the name implies in any society in which laws govern the actions and lives of its members. That is, Magistrates are judges, learned in the law, and experienced and qualified enough to wade through the confusion and obfuscation of even the sharpest legal argument and to sift the facts from the biased presentations provided by the various parties to a case. All Magistrates have trained in law at The University (though the campus varies), and has served as a litigator or defender for at least several years.

Like only a small percentage of positions of influence within The Unification, a Magistrate may be a Civilian, though this is fairly unusual. Typically, a Magistrate is a Citizen by birth who has trained for many years. Somewhat less frequently, but common enough to not be of note, Magistrates may be Citizens who were elevated from the class of Civilians. Whilst this makes up the majority of Magistrates, it is not unheard of for a Civilian to meet the qualifications of the office and be selected by the Archons of their Protectorate for elevation to Magistrate.

In order to qualify as a Magistrate, the person pursuing the position must have studied law and passed in the top third of their year, they must have served as a defender (public or private) for at least five years, and as a litigator (again, public or private) for another five years. This is considered to be the minimum level of experience required. Some Districts also require the would-be Magistrate to undertake a further three years of study, but this requirement is by no means universal.

A Magistrate is selected to represent a District, and may only hear cases in which one of the parties falls within their District. In the event of a case which straddles multiple Districts, a panel of Magistrates made up of one Magistrate per District serve as the court of hearing. A Magistrate may, in some instances, be selected to represent more than one District.

As a Magistrate advances in experience, they may eventually become one of the highest ranked Magistrates in the District and may thus be elevated to the Magisters' Council. Again, a particular Magistrate may, rarely, be a member of more than one Magisters' Council, depending on how many Districts they represent.

A Magister is simply the highest ranked Magistrate within a District, and is thus the head of the Magisters' Council. It is technically possible for a Civilian to become Magister, but it has not happened in the last half a millenia of recorded history within The Unification. Records prior to that time are clouded by the fact that they are incomplete, and also by the fact that many social institutions and laws were vastly different in times before the last five hundred years.


As the Magistrate is to the District, so the Justiciar is to the Protectorate. Essentially the judges of the Protectorate-level courts, Justiciars must meet the same training and experience requirements as a Magistrate, but must also undergo special training for two years in matters relating to the Protectorate level of government.

A Justiciar is almost always a Citizen, though they may be either a Citizen by birth, or elevated to the Citizenship from the Civilian ranks. Very, very rarely, a Justiciar may be a Civilian, though it is more typical for any Civilian being considered for the role of Justiciar to be offered Citizenship before being appointed to the role. There have been perhaps a hundred Justiciars over the last five hundred years who were Civilians across the whole of The Unification.

Whilst Justiciars serve at the Protectorate level, there are always as many Justiciars as the number of Districts within a Protectorate, plus an additional Justiciar who ranks higher than the others. Justiciars sometimes hear appeals from District court decisions, but mostly restrict themselves to cases involving the laws of a Protectorate. An initial trial is always held by the Justiciar who serves the District to which a case relates, or which has the closest connection to the matter being heard. Appeals are to a panel of any three Justiciars other than the one who heard the initial trial. Further appeals may be heard by the most senior Justiciar in the Protectorate. Any further appeals are referred to the Archons' Court.

Justiciars are also ranked based on experience and knowledge and form a hierarchy within the Protectorate. Howver, they enjoy no special position within the government of any level of The Unification. A Justiciar may, eventually, be considered for elevation to Archon (also known in some areas as a Senior Justiciar), but this is a privilege offered only by the Archons' Court, and is by no means guaranteed since all nominees must be voted on prior to elevation.


Protectors, as one might construe from the name, are the rulers of a Protectorate. How they came to be named Protectors is a matter of scholarly debate, with the most popular theory being that it was derived from an ancient culture that joined The Unification some three quarters of a millenium ago. According to the story, the rulers of the particular nation were called "Protectors" (or, rather, their equivalent in the now-dead local language) because they were believed to intercede with the gods on behalf of the populace, thus protecting them from the wrath of the gods. However, the same scholars who pursue this somewhat romantic view also hasten to point out that the protectors were usually sacrificed to the gods to appease them in the event that anything really serious went wrong in the day-to-day operation of the small nation.

Fortunately for modern Protectors, no such tradition of sacrifice exists in The Unification, and the tendency to quietly assassinate a rival, or to call down someone in the House and murder them in session, is somewhat more rare at the Protectorate level than it is at the level of the Citizens' Council. This is not to say that it does not happen, but it is considerably rarer at this level of government.

The House of Protectors is the legislative governing body that runs the day-to-day life of a Protectorate. Because power is divided into three tiers within The Unification, with the House of Protectors occupying a middle layer between the Citizens' Council and the Magisters' Council, the power of the House of Protectors is somewhat diluted, when compared to the other two levels. There has been some talk in the past of moving to a two-layer system of government within The Unification, but this has been violently opposed by the various Houses of Protectors. Most of the resistance comes from the fact that, given the current split of power, it is probably more logical to dispose with the Protectorates than the Districts, though the various Houses of Protectors have been slowly clawing back power from the other two levels.

Protectors are, for the most part, Citizens. However, there is a constitutional requirement that a quarter (rounded up if necessary) of all Protectors within a House of Protectors be Civilians. This Civilian involvement in government has made the Citizens' Council consider abolishing the protectorates altogether on more than one occasion. However, the Voices of the District serve as the house of review for all of the Houses of Protectors, and have resisted attempts by the Citizens' Council to dispand the Houses, as the involvement of The Voices at this level of government gives The Voices more power than they would normally have. Besides, the majority of Civilians elected to the Houses are carefully chosen by Citizens to support their various plots and political ploys and enjoy little real, independant power themselves. Even voting as a bloc, the Civilians simply do not have the numbers to seriously impede Citizens' efforts to direct the work of government as any attempt to unite the Civilians to that degree would cause the Citizens to close ranks and impeach the offending Civilians and elect a new batch.

Unlike with Magistrates and other levels of power within The Unification, there is no need for a Civilian to be elevated to Citizen rank before becoming a Protector, unless there are already enough Civilian Protectors in the House. Many Civilians with political aspirations, however, choose not to be Protectors and, instead, focus their efforts on achieving Citizenship before entering the political arena. Civilian Protectors are just too limited in what they can achieve to be really serious politicians. Further, once a Civilian is a Protector, they tend to find it harder to rise to Citizen rank unless they are well-favoured by sponsors. Which usually means giving in to the slightest hint of the merest thought of a suggestion from a sponsor or patron, leaving them with little power and even less chance of being noticed in any favourable measure.


One of the highest positions that a person may attain is that of Councillor on the Citizens' Council. These Citizens are the real movers and shakers of the world. The Council is rife with political chicanery, murder, espionage and double (or even triple or more) dealing. It is a murky environment, and one that the average rogue or assassin would feel right at home in. Integrity is little more than a whisper on the wind when it comes to the Councillors getting what they want out of life.

Obviously, given the name of the Council, all Councillors must be Citizens, though they may be elevated to such a rank from Civilian status. Turnover in the Council is relatively high, some retire after long careers, some resign after being embarassed politically, and others die, usually of mysterious symptoms and in suspicious circumstances. In spite of this, it is possible to serve on the Council for a long time (the record being two hundred years, held by an elf named Kethuil), as there are many, many Councillors.

The Citizens' Council is made up of Citizens representing "seats" or "divisions" within The Unification. Each District has at least one seat, with a Citizen from the protectorate in which the District falls filling that seat. A number of Districts have as many as 12 seats, though 8 is more usual. The number of seats is determined by a complex interaction between the population of the seat (that being the population of Citizens and Civilians, never aliens, slaves or criminals) and the amount of wealth concentrated in the seat. The more Citizens or Civilians in a District, or the more gold concentrated in a District, the more seats there are. There is even one District with 23 seats, and another with 17, though these are unusual exceptions. Because of the high numbers of seats, and the complex way in which they are allocated, the numbers in the Citizens' Council are usually between two hundred and three hundred Councillors.

Voice of the District

Another high position which a Citizen can aspire to is that of Voice of the District. Voices are all Citizens, by law, and may be made up of hereditary Citizens and newly elevated Citizens. The number of seats within the Voices of the District is much more limited than in the Citizens' Council. Each District has three Seats, regardless of the wealth or population of the District. Thus, the Voices of the District is much, much smaller than the Citizens' Council.

Politics among the Voices is, however, even more murky than in the Citizens' Council, if that is possible. Whilst they have less overt murders and assassinations than the Council, the Voices do have a lot of back room deals and corruption. Votes in the Voices are usually for sale, to the highest bidder, and often sold more than once, to people with different views, goals and intentions. The fact that the Voices can, under appropriate circumstances, disband any level of government gives them considerable power and leverage. Whilst the circumstances in which the Voices can replace an existing government are limited, the Voices are surprisingly skilled in creating such situations if they find themselves dealing with a hostile Council. Given that the Voices have their own standing army provided to them by auspice of the Constitution, and the fact that this army is the largest in The Unification, as well as the best trained, they tend to get their way when they vacate a government body such as the Citizens' Council, or a House of Protectors. Fortunately, it is possible for a Citizens' Council with enough warning to buy enough votes to earn a stay of execution unless the Voices are particularly determined to remove them.

The army that serves the Voices, known only as The Hands of The Unification, also serves to provide bodyguards for individual Voices. Such units are usually very loyal to the Voice that they serve, but some have been known to have a price at which they can be persuaded to look the other way and arrive late. Voices rarely buy each other's units of bodyguards, largely because this would set a bad precedent and make them even more paranoid about the only ones they are supposed to be able to trust. However, it has happened on at least two occasions that a unit was bought by another Voice, and then executed by that Voice for "looking the other way" as they were paid to. The Hands who serve as bodyguards are all quite well paid and looked after, and often have very expensive tastes and lifestyles. This tends to come from being extremely well paid by the Voices as a whole (since their salaries are all the same, based on rank, and are paid from the coffers of the Voices of the District collectively, not from the personal funds of individual Voices). This means that other Citizens (such as Councillors) attempting to buy them must be armed with a very large sum of money and a plausible reason why they might have legitimately been elsewhere when things go wrong for the Voice that they protect.

The Hands of the Unification are never sent to fight The Fallen on the border or at outposts in the wilderness, they only fight The Fallen either in training, or if they manage to penetrate into the borders of The Unification. In spite of this, they are extremely well trained, heavily armed, and quite deadly. The Hands also serve to protect government buildings such as the Hall of the Citizens' Council and the Chamber of Voices. They also usually protect the various Halls of the Houses throughout The Unification, and the Offices of the Magisters' Councils in each District. Their presence in these locations, and their loyalty to The Voices as a whole, tends to make others somewhat wary of crossing them in these places. More than one House of Protectors has been killed in session by The Hands on the orders of The Voices of the District for some perceived transgression against the laws of The Unification. The Hands will never involve themselves in any sort of conflict outside the areas that they protect, unless directly ordered to by a Voice. Their role is to protect the instruments of government from all, and they will quite happily stand by while The Fallen destroy a town or city, so long as they stay away from the government establishments they exist to protect. All of The Hands are also Citizens; Civilians are never considered for their ranks.

Archon/Senior Justiciar

The rank of Archon (called a Senior Justiciar in some Districts) is considered to be the highest pinnacle that a Citizen may rise to, save only for the position of Chief Archon. However, in order to become an Archon, one must first have been a Magistrate, then a Jusiticar, and finally an Archon. All Archons have an extensive background in the law and legal process. It takes many years of experience, and a reputation for a keen sense of the law and what it truly means to become an Archon. Only one in five hundred Magistrates might be lucky enough to become an Archon.

In spite of this, there is one Archon for each District, and together, they make up the Archons' Court. Unlike other positions within The Unification, the position of Archon is generally very secure, and most who become Archons serve in that capacity until they die, and they typically enjoy fairly long lives. There also tends to be something of a racial bias in the ranks of the Archons. For some reason, a good 60% of Archons are elves, and thus lead very long lives indeed.

As such, positions as Archon come up fairly infrequently and, since they are not involved in the same type of politics as the various other ranks in power, they tend to be left alone by the assassins and murderers who make such a career of working for the Citizens' Council and the Voices of the District. The Archons' Court is the only body that can disband The Voices of the District, though they can also disband any other level of government as well. However, the Archons' Court will only do so if there are valid and clear legal reasons for doing so. Unfortunately, endemic corruption and murder do not constitute valid reasons based in law.

The vast majority of Archons have all been Citizens, only a very, very rare few have been Civilians at the time they were invited to become Archons. In the last thousand years, only 3 Civilians have been invited to become Archons, and one of them is still serving now (an elven fellow named Aerillon who is close to four hundred years old). It is more typical for a Civilian candidate for an Archon position to be offered Citizenship some time before being selected as an Archon.

The Archons' Court is very strongly focused on the letter and the spirit of the law, and debates over legal precedent and interpretation can grow quite heated. However, such debates normally occur in private and, when sitting in judgement, Archons normally take their role very seriously and can be quite dour. Rank within the Archons' Court is based on experience and knowledge, with reputation also playing a part. The rank of Chief Archon is only awarded by vote of the Archons' Court, and only upon the death of the previous Chief Archon (who always serves for life). Other Archons typically retire after a long career, and do not necessarily hold the rank for life, though since so many are elves, they often hold the rank for several human life times.

Election of Chief Archon is a highly democratic process, as is the election and elevation of new Archons to replace an Archon who has retired or died. Candidates are named, considered, and voted upon before informing the candidate of their possible consideration for the role. Only those who are selected by the Court from a limited pool are actually even told that they were candidates.