Law and Order
Terms of Reference
Common Court, or Common Law, means a crime has been committed that involve two or more people, the offender and the victim or a local community, the latter of which has brought charges against the former for a jury or their peers to decide. A decision is often reached by the local head of law enforcment, though if the decision is contested the offender must then make their case to a jury of peers (who in turn elect a speaker) for them to decide on guilt and punishment. A victim or representative may make a suggestion for the jury to consider, which need not be taken into account or accepted in the final in the final decision by the jury.
High Court or High Law means a crime has been committed that either A) involves a mumber of Nobility in some form as in Common Law, B) involves a victim that is deceased either through murder or manslaughter who can no longer defend themselves in Common Law, or C) involves a crime against the Crown or High Kingdom. The highest ranking Official in the High Kingdom will typically preside over the case either with the sole executive decision-making power, or share executive power by appointing a cabinet and/or including a steward, seneschal (etc) to preside. The offender will then make a case to the High Court. Representatives of the victim may be appointed if they are family, from the same community, or a member of any law enforcement body. The accused may also be taken to High Court if part of common folk if A) They were a registered member of a Noble's Household (staff, servant, householdguard etc) or B) a Noble decides to take the case on as their patron/liege/suzerin/Lord. In the event of the latter the Lord must be the de jure (appropriate) Liege of the accused and may become subject to monetary reparations depending on the sentence.
The Pillars of Order
- Possession of another sentient-being in the form of slavery is illegal and immoral. Service to another is permitted, so long as the servant is sufficiently paid and provided for.
- To be too drunk and/or disorderly is a crime against the community and therefore is punishable. Anyone to be seen drunk and disorderly can be reported.
- Theft, banditry, piracy or intent to steal/cheat, is a crime against the community and therefore is punishable. It should be noted that as of the first era, the High Kingdom reseves the right to investigate so-called "heroes of the sea", their business, their estates for any hint of piracy. It should also be noted the unapproved looting of bodies and graves is not permitted.
- Unprovoked or unjustified assault, injury or maiming is a more serious offense than disorderly behaviour. This includes kidnapping or unlawful/unjust imprisonment. Self defence, or defence of one's property, home, community or family is permitted.
- Murder or manslaughter, attempted or otherwise, is the extinguishing of sacred life, a dominion that only the Goddess presides over. This is a heinous crime.*
- The breaking of oaths, such as business contracts, Treason against Lords, High Treason against the Queendom and Crown (breaking oaths of service), and desertion or misuse of power (breaking an oath of office) can be reported appropriately.
- Religious freedom is encouraged, but worship or reverance of unapproved and dangerous cults are not permitted.
- Any unregulated use of Black Magic, Blood Magic, Necromancy, Demonic Magic or any forms of Magicks of a dark and/or nefarious nature as deemed by the Crown is punishable by imprisonement and/or execution.
- Protection of the High Kingdom, in that only members of the High Kingdom are subject to the laws of the High Kingdom, except those nation in which have signed the Silver-Gold accord (Kurasian Empire), and all other outside nations are subject to the law of the wild, which means to say that they are not protected by or subject to High Kingdom Law.
*Imperial Ammendment 1 of the First Era, case of The Murder of Ragnar the Brave - murder of individuals by the Wildwood, whom have ventured too far into the Ancient and sacred Wildwood forests/stray too far from the Highway, or disrespect the sacred grounds of the Wildwood cannot bring a legal case against them.
A trial usually involves an Executive Body (Jury, High Court Representative, Cabinet), a representative for the offender, a representer for the victim, and a member of Law Enforcement. Members of the Common Folk are entitled to attend, speak as witnesses, give evidence or give their opinion for consideration only at the discretion of whoever is presiding. Nobility may also attend and are entitled to give their opinion regardless or the presiding powers approval ecept in the situation where the presiding power has superiority.
The member of Law Enforcement is often the court crier, and acts as a font of knowledge on legal matters. The participants of court must stand for any presiding powers and/or nobles and must remain stood until the presiding powers have been introduced and are seated. The order of declaration is:
- Nobility, by rank, if present
- The Presiding Power
- The Law Enforcer
- The Victim/Representative
- The Offender/Representative
- The issue being discussed at Court
- The election of a Speaker for the Presiding Powers if necessary
- Court begins
All foreigner not of the High Kingdom are permitted the right of voluntary exile on pain of imprisonment and/or death. Whilst Foreigners have the same rights as commoners of the High Kingdom, as per the Silver-Gold Accord between the High Kingdom and The Kurasian Empire any foreigners not of the High Kingodm have the right to choose exile rather than judgement by High Kingdom authorities - they will be permanently branded as an exile of the High Kingdom, and barred from entry into their lands whilst forfeiting all future rights if caught within the High Kingdom after their exile. Punishment for returning after exile is dependent on the crimse committed prior - though with their rights forfeited they often have no choice as to the judgement of their captor.
Taking the Red
Taking the Red is every Commoner’s of the High Kingdom’s right when charges are brought against them. At any stage during the trial except after a sentence is delivered, the accused can volunteer to Take the Red and offer to join The Brotherhood - this is an immediate admission of guilt and acceptance of the potential death sentence the Brotherhood trials may inflict on the accused. The accused cannot withdraw their offer to Take the Red, and The Brotherhood may refuse to take unworthy candidates. If the offer to Take the Red is refused, the presiding body may then deliver a sentence appropriate to the crime committed. It is also possible for the presiding body to force the accused to Take the Red as a punishment, and depending on the authority of the presiding body, force The Brotherhood to accept the appointment.
All Nobles are permitted the same rights as commoners, in addition to the following rights.
Trial by Combat
In-keeping with the High Kingdom’s martial history and tradition, any Nobility, low to high, Knight to Duke, are entitled to Trial by Combat in the event they are brought before a tribunal of their peers. It is up to the Tribunal if they wish to accept, and there are circumstances that merit refusal (repeated offenses by the accused that they have escaped justice for before by Trial by Combat), but it is generally considered a denial of one’s Noble rights to refuse such a request. Those who exercise this right can opt to nominate a Champion to fight on their behalf, and it is up to the Tribunal to provide a Champion to fight on behalf of them. If in the event the accused cannot provide a Champion or will not fight for themself, the presiding body can continue the tribunal as normal. If the Tribunal cannot provide a Champion, then the case is dropped. If the accused is the victor of the trial, the case is dropped and cannot be used to sully their name again on pain of legal action.
All Elves, Half-Elves and certified Elfblooded Dynasties in the service of the High Kingdom, except in the event of a Blood Stain (exile, treason, etc) are entitled to the same rights as Nobles of any of the High Kingdom’s Nations. Any bloodlines that have proven and certified connection to the Royal Dynasty of Aridia are immune to legal prosecution by any one other than a member of High Kingdom Royal Family whilst presided over by the Sisterhood. A certified Elfblood Dynasty are those that have sufficient proof of their lineage to Elven ancestors that are acknowledged (were never a bastard or were a bastard but were later acknowledged by Royalty), and have official certification that their proof is accepted, usually by the Sisterhood.
This law/caveat was an integral point of contention and later diplomatic demand from the Queendom of Aridia to accept the proposed High Kingdom Law prior to the High Kingdom’s official formation - the majority of High Kingdom Law was spearheaded by the Kingdom of Avalon, who did not agree with the Aridian concept of equality for all.
This law is controversial - many Elves consider this to be the one diplomatic caveat allowed to the High Queen to treat all of her kind equally, as was the case before the formation of the High Kingdom and adoption of High Law, whilst many other folk call it the Elven Supremacy Law.*
*Imperial Amendment 2 of the First Era, case Lord Byron the Lesser vs Lord Byron the Greater - public declaration of this law as the ‘Elven Supremacy Law’ may be brought to trial if overheard by Elves of the High Kingdom, and will be treated as defamation of character of all Elven Kind.
Death sentences can only be issued:
- By trial.
- During Martial Law.
- By The High Queen or the High King, the Hand of the High Queen, the Hand of the High King, by right of rule, for treason against the High Kingdom or its peers.
- By The Brotherhood in defense of the High Queen and High King.*
- Upon an individual that has no rights within the High Kingdom, such as exiles, Blood stains, outlaws, pirates and bandits.
*Imperial Amendment 3 of the First Era, case Captain [REDACTED] of The Brotherhood vs Public outcry over the slaughter of 50 protestors in Lotherwyn - All such sentences enacted by The Brotherhood will be subject to review and action by The Sisterhood, in which disciplinary action may be applied.
**Imperial Amendment 4 of the Second Era, case High Kingdom vs Dread Pirate Harrow - additional acknowledgement of ‘Heroes of the Sea’ are also without rights in the event in which their actions are provably piracy in nature.
The religion of The One True Goddess is the monotheistic sanctioned religion of the High Kingdom with the High Queen as its figure head. This is Terra’s most popular religion having most people within the High Kingdom as Followers of The One. However, it is not ruled that anyone must follow The One, and non-believers are not persecuted. Whilst all nations within the High Kingdom subscribe to the religion of The One each has their own slightly differentiated take on it that combines some of the older elements of religions within each nation.
There is no one unified text that preaches the belief system of this religion, with all knowledge being passed word of mouth from generation to generation. Followers of The One believe in the One True Goddess that rules the land of Terra and that she is all that is Light in the world, with devout believers being practiced in the way of Light magic to feel a deeper connection. The Goddess is also never without her sworn warrior, some see this bond as familial while others will argue that it is romantic in nature. Despite the disagreement between Followers, it is universally agreed that the Warrior provides physical protection and is devoted to his sworn oath to never let any harm come to her. Stories of how the Warrior has slain beasts of the Dark before his Goddess’ feet are some of the favourites of bards across the nations. This differentiation between Light and Dark is core of any believer in The One, all things Dark are evil whereas all things Light are to be worshipped. Avoidance of the Dark is what any Follower strives with the belief that if they lead a life in the Light they will one day be embraced in their beloved Goddess’ arms.
The head of the religion is believed unanimously to be the High Queen, as many years ago in her rise to power it was her that brought the religion to the masses. Her miracles of magic lead many to believe she is the closest connection they will ever have with the Goddess with many believing the Goddess speaks through her. Some even go as far as believe she is the physical embodiment of the Goddess.
Just as the true Goddess herself, the High Queen will choose one worthy of becoming her sworn Warrior and the High King. The High Queen rules with her High King by her side offering over martial decisions to her oath bound Warrior.
Below the High Queen and High King are the Chapters of the Sisterhood and Brotherhood. Under the jurisdiction of the High Priestess, who answers directly to the High Queen, all Priestesses of the Sisterhood preach the word of the Goddess and the power of Light. The Sisterhood’s protection comes in the form of the Brotherhood, an elite and exclusive fighting force.
The church of the One is headed by Priestesses from the Sisterhood, who are a common sight across Terra, although less concentrated outside the High Kingdom. Priestesses are known for their Light Spiritual magic focused on healing and other protection spells. They will often be seen doing charitable work, healings and blessings of the Goddess.
All Priestesses are distinguishable not just by their plain, white robes but also by their distinctive tattoo of a half sun over their left eye. Allowing the world to know who they are and that they can always be turned to for aid.
To become a Priestess of the Sisterhood is the biggest honour that the High Kingdom can bestow on any family; one cannot simply choose to train as a Priestess. Priestesses are chosen by the age of five, young girls are screened for potential. Inherent magical ability for healing or protection draws adult Priestesses to their would-be young trainees. When a young girl is approached by the Sisterhood, it is with the highest honour that a family will release their daughter to training. Once chosen, girls are expected to forget who they once were and forsake all familial ties and their previous culture, for they join a new family. The young Priestesses are then trained at one of the many sites across the High Kingdom known as Sanctuaries until they come of age. They are expected to live a life of virtue in every sense, be diplomatic and educated.
Sanctuaries are sites across the High Kingdom where training of new Priestesses occur. Despite the general public having knowledge they exist, none knows where they are and to everyone’s knowledge no one have ever stumbled upon one. It is rumoured that the Sanctuaries are built on places of magic and that is why none have ever found them.
Not much is known about the Brotherhood other than they follow the model of Goddess and sworn Warrior, being the warriors of the Sisterhood. As with the Priestesses, new Brothers are chosen to join the ranks. The Brotherhood is known to suggest that notable fighters 'take the red' to put themselves forward as new member. The Brotherhood are a force to be reckoned with, choosing only the most formidable fighters. There is however one way to flag your interest in joining the Brotherhood and that is “Taking the Red”. When someone stands accused, they are able to choose to take the red volunteering themselves to join the Brotherhood ranks.