The Governing bodies of Riftwood consist of the Central Government, which is the Monarch from House Aerbax, who presides over the entirety of the Realm; the Dukes and Duchesses, who govern individual Duchies; the Nobility, who govern the Counties within each Duchy; and the local governments, managed by Minor Noble Houses, that draw authority from the County and Duchy levels.
The Central Government
The Ruling House of Riftwood for the past century has been House Aerbax. The Crown of Riftwood oversees the large-scale operations of the Realm; The Crown manages everything from the international trade agreements, declarations of war and peace, Kingdomwide infrastructure, Kingdomwide law and order, the allocation and rates of the Crown’s taxes, and other high-echelon affairs.
The Steward of Riftwood is a Duke or Duchess who has been selected by the Crown to manage the affairs of Riftwood in the King or Queen’s absence. During these times, the Steward has full authority from the Crown, though may not give excessive favorable action to his or her Duchy. The Ducal Council may convene and intervene on the Crown’s behalf in such situations. Currently, the Steward of Riftwood is Bardas from House Thrax.
The Crown employs five advisers who each hold a seat within the Council of Corvus and assist in the management of the Crown’s affairs.
When matters which will have great impact on the Realm emerge, the Ducal Council convenes to advise the Crown to give perspective at the Duchy level. The Ducal Council also sits on the Council of Corvus when the Council convenes.
The Crown maintains a Military consisting of four Orders, who make up the remaining third of the Council of Corvus. The Masters of each Order advise the Crown on military matters, as well as manage their individual Order. The Orders primarily garrison within Myrkir, with their headquarters in Aurielle City, but forces may deploy to various outposts throughout Riftwood.
Dukes and Duchesses are rulers of their Duchies in their own right, though final authority rests with the Crown. Each Duchy has its own culture and local laws which citizens are expected to abide by while within its borders, though Duchy Law cannot supersede or contradict Kingdom Law.
Dukes and Duchesses govern their Duchy and oversee Counts within their Duchy. Dukes and Duchesses may maintain a Military, set Duchy tax rates, establish infrastructure, and see to the governance of all matters within Duchy borders.
The Noble Houses are charged with the governance of Counties within Riftwood. Counts are able to form County Law, though it must remain within the confines of both Duchy and Kingdom Law. A Count or Countess may establish infrastructural programs, collect taxes, and oversee the Guilds within its borders.
Local governments are managed by the Minor Noble Houses in Baronies, and by Mayors in Cities and Towns.
A Baron or Baroness manages operates military infrastructure for the Duke or Duchess and may garrison soldiers within his or her City. The logistics and financial aspects are settled between the Duke or Duchess and the Baron or Baroness.
Roles and Responsibilities
Each Duchy and Organization within Riftwood may have its own unique titles and roles to fill, though the Crown recognizes its own specific hierarchy of roles and titles that fit within certain stations of society.
Those who rule at the Duchy and Kingdom level are considered Royalty and rule by right. The King or Queen rules the Realm through his or her support by the Dukes and Duchesses.
Those of Noble birth, whose family lineage has demonstrated loyalty and integrity, have been granted governance of a County. The authority to govern is granted by a Duke or Duchess.
A Minor Noble House, whose lineage has demonstrated great honor and loyalty, is granted the authority to manage a Barony, City, or powerful Organization within Riftwood’s government. Barons, Masters, and even some Mayors are heads of Minor Noble Houses.
The Aristocracy are elite members of society. Citizens at the Aristocrat level are charged with a duty of managing key estates, organizations, or positions within Riftwood. Aristocrats are extremely influential figures in Riftwood society.
The Gentry are often wealthy landowners, businessmen, military officers, or local political figures. A member of the Gentry Class may be very influential in a local region.
The Professional Class are the workers, business owners and operators, soldiers, and professionals of Riftwood. A rather large class of Citizens, the Professionals fill many niches within society and have a great amount of room and many avenues for social mobility.
Those who reside in Riftwod who are laborers, non-landowners, orphans, and unemployed are considered members of the Peasantry. Riftwood offers many pathways to social mobility in its system. A great starting point is applying for Citizenship.
A Knight in Riftwood is someone who either by birthright or through great deeds carries enough credence to be considered an influential figure within Society. A Warrior on the battlefield who has performed honorably, despite great personal risk, may be Knighted. A Citizen who performs noble deeds during a foreign invasion may be eligible for Knighthood.
A King, Queen, Duke, or Duchess is granted Knighthood once he or she comes of age. The premise is that this figure is required to uphold the values of Riftwood and is expected to lead by example at all times. Only a member of the Royalty may Knight a person.
Certain roles within Riftwood must be filled by a Knight. A Baron, a Master of an Order, an Executor or person of similar rank, and all members of the Order of the Virindi Guard must be a knight prior to attaining their station. Though all Citizens of Riftwood may be Knighted, Holdmasters and Battlemasters are roles which are actively being groomed for Knighthood.