The Church of LuxorEdit
The Church seized power in 3899, seizing power from the Emperor and quickly started to establish themselves as a power base independent from the nobility. The nobility of Arameia, at the time, had a well deserved reputation for being corrupt and taking advantage of the populace. The Church were greeted as saviours from a corrupt system, but it did not take long before the Church became just as corrupt as the system it replaced. The Church of Luxor is the ruling body of Arameia and is generally in charge of everything in it. It roughly follows a five tier system reminiscent of nobility in other fiefdoms. At the top is the Prelate and at the bottom are the Priests. As with most governments in Adylheim the Church is at its most powerful in Aram and the central cities, with relatively little impact in the smaller and more remote villages where people for the most part do as they always have and have little connection with the outside world, save the occasional visit from the tax collector and passing trade caravans.
The Prelate is the Sovereign of Arameia, the Protector of the Crown, the Glorious Hand of Luxor. He presides in the palatial temple to Luxor in Aram. As the head of the Church he has full authority to start wars with other fiefdoms, apply policies as he likes and appoint Bishops. The Prelate commands the Paladins of Luxor and can alter the law.
A Bishop is the equivalent to a Duke, there is a total of 13 Bishops in Arameia, with Bishops of particularly important dioceses known as Archbishops. Together the Bishops form the Immaculate Conclave, although the Bishop of the Arameian Highlands is generally excused from attending meetings as the Highlands are isolated from the Heartlands during large parts of the year.
A Vicar is technically the same rank as a Rector, but serves as the Bishop's right hand man. During meetings of the Immaculate Conclave, or other times when the Bishop is absent or incapacitated the Vicars serve in the Bishop's stead and ensure that the Diocese is run according to the will of the Bishop. The Vicar is also responsible for running services, as the Bishops generally do not have the time for much by the way of religious responsibilities.
The Rector, while technically the same rank as a Vicar, generally has less prestige attached to his post. They are generally seen as the equivalent of a Baron, attending to the spiritual and administrative needs of small towns and large villages.
A Deacon is the equivalent of an aide de camp for the most part. The prestige of their position depends greatly on if they are assigned to the Prelate or a Rector, though you will find them most everywhere in Arameia, working away to ensure the bureaucracy of the Church tics along nicely.
Priests head up small local churches and deliver blessings to congregations. In some regards they have a station similar to that of the Deacons, however they are more concerned with the spiritual side of the Church than the administrative. Priests sometimes run their own small churches in small villages and sometimes roam from town to town, delivering blessings to places too small and remote to have their own church.
Church law rules Arameia, there is no getting away from it. Only the most remote places of Arameia doesn't feel the touch of Church law. Even among other fiefdoms the laws of Arameia are known for being extremely convoluted and hard to understand, based, as they are, on centuries of legal precedents, ancient lore, Church preaching and similar. There are not many who know the full extent of just how convoluted Church Law is, as part of Church Law expressly forbids non-clergy from studying Church Law at all. Those members of the Church who specifically study law are known as the Catellus, because they are required to have the Book of Law manacled to their arm for the duration of any court proceedings. The criminal courts serve as a decent source of income for the Church as most charges can be settled with fines, among the few exceptions can be found High Treason and Murdering Clergy. Many peasants and otherwise poor inhabitants of Arameia who cannot afford to pay the fines may find themselves sold into slavery to pay off their debts to the Church. In addition, since the only way to study law is to be among the Clergy, hiring someone to defend oneself at criminal hearings can be obscenely expensive and is outside the financial reach of most. Among the civil court cases, it's mainly a case of adjudicating between two sides and little legal knowledge is generally required, although a Catella can be called in to settle particularly difficult disputes. Even here though, the cost of trying a case before a Rector or Bishop can tend to have a high costs associated with it.
Factions and Orders within the ChurchEdit
The Catellus are a specialised order of priests who study Church Law at the Temple of Luxor in Capport. The Doge of Capport is generally seen as being the protector and patron of the Law School. The Catellus can be found all across Arameia, practising law. The seniority and skill of a Catella can generally be seen by the silver or gold rings they have in the chain which connects them to their Law Book.
Paladins of LuxorEdit
The Paladins of Luxor are a force of soldiers who answer only to the Prelate. Their appointments are highly political, and as such, only sons of high ranking members of the clergy are generally chosen for the task. The Paladins don't number any more than 70 and new additions to the force are always the subject of a great deal of political scheming among the clergy.
The Immaculate ConclaveEdit
The Immaculate Conclave is a gathering of all 13 bishops, it rarely convenes, except to elect a new Prelate from its ranks or to denounce a Prelate. The Bishop of the Arameian Highlands is often excused from the meeting as the Highlands are isolated from the Heartland large parts of the year.
Power Structures Outside the ChurchEdit
While the nobility as a mass lost their right to rule with the Golden Proclamation. However the nobility has found a variety of ways to survive. The upper levels of the Church are almost exclusively staffed by members of the old noble families. Their aptitude and training for leadership has proved useful to the Church, however they retain little of their old rights. Nobility have found other ways to stay relevant though, through creating the Loyal, a massive network of nobles and otherwise powerful men. Extensive tax farming among the bishops have also allowed them to go beyond being simple land owners. It should be noted that the noble families of Arameia are interrelated on a level which exceeds any other fiefdom. The disuse of the more feudal system of governance enjoyed during the imperial days has led to no new noble families being introduced, as they have in other fiefdoms, and the noble families have had no choice but to choose to constantly interwed between each other.
The Border Lords were part of an agreement the Church made with a segment of the nobility when they were seizing power in Arameia. As part of the agreement the Border Lords would continue to secure the border with Starkwater, while the Church prepared to take over when the border was finally secured and peaceful. As this has not happened yet, and with the Church not being willing to allow an exchange of power to weaken their presence on the border, the Border Lords retain the power to gather armies and defend the border.
The Doge of CapportEdit
The Doge of Capport is technically a subordinate of the Archbishop of the Diocese, but is generally allowed to rule the city without conferring with the Archbishop. Part of this can be seen as a product of the rather large sum the Doge pays the Archbishop annually to look the other way, part of it is tradition. It is nevertheless true that Capport is one of those places where Elron rules more firmly than Luxor.
The King of GallowhornEdit
The King of Gallowhorn is the head of an old noble family who maintain and tax the one road that goes through the Old Woods and retains the right to raise an army should the fairies ever decide to rise up. The only reason the King is allowed to keep this right is because the likelihood of this happening is relatively remote and no one has ever got around to removing the clause in Church Law which allows him to keep his rights.
The Imperial LegionEdit
Stationed at Fort Resolve are the last remnants of the once vast Imperial Legions. As a standing army it retains its own courts and law for its soldiers, it also has rich holdings in the nearby area, where retired Legionnaires make their home. The Imperial Legion is technically answerable to the local Bishop, but is generally left to its own devices and has more than once acted contrary to the wishes of the Church.