Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game. Formal coalitions existed in the chamber, but their membership was always in flux, a senator cooperating with Jaridan one day may be helping the far-right Jol Tan the next. Every move, every vote was carefully taken, not so much for the masses they represented, but for their own personal self-interest and desire for further influence and power amongst their colleagues. There were 300 of these individuals, of both genders, seated in the round Hall of State, at the very heart of the capital. Presiding the Senate was none other than the Praetor, the effective head of state of the Republic. They had near-dictatorial power, such authority was the dream of every senator. Most would never get it as many Praetors were highly popular both with the military and the lower classes and taking action upon them could potentially lead them to political suicide.
Praetors, on the other hand, may have had considerable leverage over the senators, they were not sacrosanct. Two Praetors had been assassinated within a three-year period because of their intended policies had tilted more so in favor of the commoners than the aristocratic Senate was willing to accept. The recently appointed Terix knew his position was tenuous at best. He was secure in the knowledge that he had the support of the military and a slim majority of the chamber to get some of his policies adopted, but it would be folly of him to assume that he absolutely safe. Prior to his appointment, the now-Praetor, he was an Admiral in the Navy. He suspected his appointment to the highest position was merely one of keeping the factions in the Senate in a temporary truce while they evaluated their next moves following the dual assassinations of Praetors Vrax and Gaius.
The Praetor's Palace complex was across the Forum of Caliax from the Hall of State. One of his servants had put on his formal toga of state. He looked out the window and saw that it was another sunny day over the capital, Dartha. Two Praetorian Guards entered the chamber he was dressed in and escorted him to several others waiting for him for the walk across to the Senate meeting. As he descended one of the marble staircases, his advisor and confidant Miral Avelik, stood ready to meet him.
"Daise (foremost), I have been informed that a small majority of senators exists to pass the law on implementing the establishment of a food program for low-income citizens in the capital," he reported as the two exited into the central courtyard of the complex, Praetorians surrounding them.
"Avelik, which senators were the holdouts who finally joined?" he asked while they approached the gates.
"Senators Hexce Amarok, Vaebn Lareth, and Gathan Darok."
The group had now emerged from the Palace and into the buzz of activity that was the forum. It was another day of normalcy in the capital. The walk between the two buildings would take no more than four minutes.
"Darok you say?" he questioned, "he's certainly been very generous lately," he mentioned to his aide.
"Do you want me to get someone to keep an eye on him?"
"Not yet." He said quietly as they approached the steps of the Senate. "Inform the senators that they have my gratitude that they would support this common-sense proposal."
"Yes Daise," he acknowledged and allowed the Praetor and his guards to ascend the steps and through the main door into the round building. Miral would proceed to complete the task given to him. He would enter the building from a side entrance and try and look for them. A bell rang, signaling the start of the Senate session, keeping the aide from doing his job until the conclusion of the session.
Senators began streaming into the chamber, taking their seats. The Praetor took his seat upon the Eagle Chair, eyeing the room.
On the right-hand side, he could see Senator Gathan Darok, the second-richest man in all of Rihan taking his place. Darok's family was not initially aristocratic. Rather, they bought their way to influence. The family possessed many thousands of melakols (acres) of farmland on the Aihai outside Dartha, growing vitally important wheat. His grandfather had invested the wealth generated from it to purchase two profitable iron mines in the D'Kalla Mountains. Between the farms and the mines, he possessed tens of hundreds of slaves. Garthan's father, Kaol, had converted their wealth into power. When Aerv Nanclus passed away, his seat opened up. Kaol would spend hundreds of thousands of Chaks in bribes to several senators with clout over the Continuing Committee to get himself appointed. Just after he was formally confirmed by the committee, he passed away. In recognition for his dedication to the state, the seat was allowed to pass onto his son, Gathan. He was not content with his family's holdings when he became the head of the family and immediately went about gaining another hundred thousand melakols of farmland and more slaves to cultivate the fields. Using the new land, he would curry favor with the military to make him a preferred provider of foodstuffs to the army, giving him a tidy profit. As his fortunes grew, he decided to exchange it for influence. He alongside two others close to him would pool their money into bankrolling much of the Festival of the Republic, including a 15,000-person banquet and five days of entertainment in the Orventis Arena. His decision to back the Praetor's plan to provide food for free to many low-income people in the capital was just another step. The latter ran up against the more 'free' market elements of the Senate, abet 'caring' for the people, the Nej'ahar.
Terix then turned his gaze to the upper left benches where he could make out the beautiful Liviana Charvanek. She was gorgeous, attracting the attention of many male senators and nobles outside the chamber, attempting to get her attention. The Charvaneks were a noble family, tracing their lineage all the way back to the Arrival. They were the rulers of the city-state of Calanista, the heart of Rihan's wine country. At the conclusion of the Clan Wars, they decided to accept the dissolution of their 'absolute' power over Calanista, and submitted to unification into the rapidly forming Republic in exchange for being given a Senate seat, a seat they've had within the family since their signing of the D'Vatta. Although not as wealthy as Darok, her family did retain control of a substantial vineyard and attached villa on the outskirts of Calanista, as well as a smaller urban villa in Dartha. Over the generations, the Charvaneks would be patrons of the arts and education, sponsoring the construction and eternal endowment of the Beryk Institute, the greatest school in the Republic. Other members of the family over time had been dedicated officers in the military, and every second son in the family had maintained a full career in the service. Liviana did her required duty but serving long was not in her interest. Liviana had lived a pampered life, and due to her family's fortune, she never needed to work. She was given the family Senate seat when her mother Isha decided to step down to enjoy the final years of her life in the countryside and her father decided to not take it as he had just completed his fourth tour in the military, wishing to join her in retirement. Since joining the Senate, she would use her beauty and charisma to get what she wanted. In regards to the proposal on the docket at the day's session, she was fully onboard with it. The Charvaneks had been firm members of the militant Jaridan, the largest coalition, urging for greater expansion of the military for defense and always seeking opportunities to grow the territory of the Republic further. Liviana would bolster her feminine advantages by invoking her family's respected military history when needed.
The Praetor once again turned his attention to the middle of the chamber. Sensing that most of the members were in the room, he motioned his Praetorian to bang the bottom of his Litesh polearm against the floor several times, calling for order. "This session will now come to order," Terix said. He readjusted himself in his seat before continuing. "The matter before the Senate today is for the allocation of monies sufficient for the implementation of a free food program for low-income citizens here in our glorious capital.." For over an hour, senators would generally speak in favor of the motion, including Darok and Charvanek. The Praetor listened to every word they had uttered. The speeches would eventually cease and a division would be called for. It would pass 154-146. Upon hearing the result, Darok was the first to stand and clap, not to be outdone, Charvanek, joined in as did the rest of the individuals supporting the motion. Both gave glances at each other and then at the Praetor as they clapped. They both wanted the Praetorship, by whatever means.
A lunch recess had been called, lasting an hour, before they would return for an afternoon session on matters related to foreign affairs. The Praetor prepared to leave the chamber with his Praetorians, both senators would approach him just as he had reached the door and commended him. He thanked them and continued on his way. Gathan and Liviana looked at each other once more, coldly, before leaving the Senate chamber.
Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game.
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The Rihan Republic/Rheilhhu Rihana
"Valhær i na Afvhama"
Leader: Praetor Mathon Terix Capital: Dartha Type of Government: "Republic" (though in reality, it is an Aristocratic Authoritarian Oligarchy) Population: 22,720,192 National Currency: Chak (Ck) National Langauge: Rihani National Religion: Way of D'era History:
For many generations, the Rihannsu were a tiny minority, numbering no more than a million who resided in the southern reaches of the Tagmatine Empire. They were more or less isolated from the rest of the Imperial citizen, keeping to themselves. They were primarily farmers, warriors, and craftsmen. They maintained a rigid familial and social structure and were largely atheist (abet this was hidden from Imperial authorities who had attempted for over a century to convert them to the Iconoclastic Church). The Rihannsu provided hundreds of men for the Imperial military every year in conjunction with an annual tribute. This modest relationship would come to a complete halt with an act that the Tagmatine authorities would consider seditious. Tellus, a Rihannsu philosopher, had attacked the Imperial Church, saying that praising a single being over the greater strength and duty of the people was a means of oppression. Tagmatine patriarchs reacted severely, both within their congregations and within the Imperial Court.
They would coax the sitting Emperor to make a decision: either eject the entire population from the Empire or far worse, eliminate them outright. Tellus' words of duty to the whole and of disciplined loyalty to each other spread quickly across the Rihannsu populace. The heads of the various Rihannsu clans gathered and unanimously agreed that they must leave the Empire for their own home. Within days of a suspected Tagmatine attack, five massive vessels alongside tens of dozens of smaller boats were filled with everything they could take, and every Rihannsu individual, and departed. As the Rihannsu diaspora crossed the horizon, Tellus turned and faced the Empire and played a striking tune on his string instrument.
A New Land
The Rihannsu departure from the Tagmatine Empire made them a nomadic, seafaring people for over twenty years, making landfall numerous times as myriad warlords and other nations sought the strength of their warriors. They would serve as mercenaries in dozens of small-scale conflicts, only staying long enough to secure enough resources and wealth to keep their people moving forward. As the years went by, some Rihannsu believed they would never find a home and tensions rose to a point where the people could potentially split. Tellus, urged unity through D'era. It was only the power of his words that kept them together. Eventually, they would come upon the land of Rihan, an unspoiled land. As the diaspora flotilla of ships entered what is known as the Apnex Sea, the Pennon and the Shavokh, two of the largest vessels landed on the shores of the Sherdek River in the area that now makes up the capital and greatest city, Dartha and established the Kingdom of Dartha. Thus the Rihannsu had found a home. As the now four-million-strong people disembarked, they began to spread out, founding numerous city-states, each led a major clan. But the peace would not last long as small disputes would erupt. At first, they were trivial but as they grew in severity, Tellus would intervene. Tellus would pass away at the age of 92. Without their guide as a mediator, the conflict between the clans and their city-states could no longer be held back.
The Clan Wars
The Clan Wars was a century-long conflict between the various city-states, fighting for more territory, greater resources under their control, and ultimately, supreme power over the other cities. Bloody battles raged across the land including the Gilgmamma Massacre, the Battle of Jorani, and the Battle of the Seven Armies outside the city of Dinalla. Great nations had formed, anchored by the largest and most powerful of the cities including Raxna and Dartha, some 'republics' other 'kings' or 'tyrants'. Many notable early leaders had perished in the conflict, as did hundreds of thousands, but it would be L'Deus, the Praetor of Dartha, who would bring an end to the conflict with the birth of the Republic. Over a million would be dead by the end of the war.
The Foundation of the Republic
L'Deus was the Praetor for the tenth King of Dartha, Valkis. He had been known to be an oppressive and arrogant ruler, having little to no allies within Dartha's aristocracy. The Praetor had been conspiring with several high-ranking nobles for several years to create the conditions for the King's removal. The Darthan aristocracy had grown angry with the King and that of his predecessor because they were not involving them in decisions concerning the ongoing Clan Wars. In 5129, having reached a critical point in the nationwide war, the city's aristocracy rallied the common people and incited a revolution, forcing Valkis to flee into exile.
With the King's expulsion, Dartha had entered uncharted territory. The Rihannsu had always been a people led by the strongest, and sometimes most cunning of individuals. Over the course of his meetings with the aristocracy in the final months of the King, L'Deus had worked with them to outline a new form of government to lead all Rihannsu: a Republic made up of a deliberative Senate made up of clan leaders and wise men led by a Praetor, with the Continuing Committee to act as a moderating and oversight body. This framework would forever be known as the D'Vatta or Great Paper. It would be supported by the principles and virtues of D'era, Tellus' philosophy, which would be reintroduced across the land at the conclusion of the Clan Wars.
The aristocracy of Dartha were the first formal signers of the Paper. Though Dartha's internal politics were at peace, the rest of Rihan was still engaged in the Clan Wars. L'Deus would lead the effort to bring calm to the land, going from city-state to city-state, to either bring those respective territories and clans into the fold diplomatically by offering them seats in the Senate or through force of arms by overthrowing recalcitrant clans and replacing them with their rivals who sought their power. This process of unification would last nearly five years and would bring the absolute conclusion of the Clan Wars. The Continuing Committee would formally sit for the first time and appoint the first Praetor of the Republic, Pontilus, a well-respected Darthan aristocrat who could trace his roots indirectly to Tellus. A Statement of Rights for all citizens were attached to the D'Vatta on the first birthday of the Republic. The first decades of the Republic would be seen as a golden age in Rihan history and the first time the people would have seen peace in over nine generations. The economy accelerated and the arts would flourish. The Republic's population would grow at a brisk pace. But the Rihannsu people began to feel urges to expand further. Pontilus, Sartorix, Colius, and Karzan, the first four Praetors, would exploit this to achieve further glory but also direct Rihannsu aggression outwards.
Contact with the Asgeirrians
Rihan was not alone in this pocket of Aurelia: the Asgeirrian people also lived in the general region, on a chain of islands to the south of the mainland. Contact between the two had not occurred in the first century and a half as the Rihannsu were focused on securing their new homeland while dealing with the scarring Clan Wars. The Rihannsu and Asgeirrians would finally meet during the Praetorship of Colius. It was during the proceeding period that the Asgeirrians had slowly begun to build up a chain of territorial possessions up and down the coastline to fuel their budding trade empire. The first contact between the Asgeirrians and Rihannsu was brought about by an Asgeirrian trader who had been blown off course in a storm. Having little choice, the foreigner made for safe harbor in Dartha. He was greeted with the point of a sword by the City Guard. Upon hearing the disturbance, Praetor Colius took matters into his own hands and saw the man for himself. He would invite him and his crew to stay at the Palace. He would use the time to learn as much about the Asgeirrian people as possible. Following the event and working off the information the trader had described during his time in Dartha, the Praetor would send a delegation of traders to Asgeirria. After five years of minimal interaction solely around exchanging goods, the Asgeirrian and Rihannsu leaders would meet face-to-face. This meeting would establish formal relations between the two peoples but it would also prompt the Senate needed to dramatically expand the small navy to keep their neighbors in check.
The First Age of Expansion
For over a period of over 300 years, the Republic would experience a golden age: expanding to acquire more land to accommodate its growing population and obtain new caches of resources to fuel its burgeoning economy. This period also marks centuries of 'friendly' competition with the neighboring Asgeirrians who were also expanding, opening new land holdings to increase the strength of its trading empire. Seeing as they could not compete with them at sea, the Senate decided to expand into the interior of Aurelia, using the territory they would gain as a means to compete with their maritime counterparts. As they grew, the Rihannsu would found new cities to maintain their claims: such cities as Hlarek, Villera, and Torven were established. Rich new fertile river valleys, wide open plains, and abundant mountains full of mineral wealth unlocked by the legions of men would create untold wealth for the still young Republic. This period of unrivaled prosperity was led by Praetors Colius and Karzan.
Though many native peoples would capitulate to the superior arms of the Rihannsu and accept dominion by them, others would not: the Areshi, the Sakethans, and the Zelvorians. The three had resided in their particular lands for hundreds of years before the Rihannsu had begun to encroach on their areas. The Areshi lived at the foot of the D'Kalla Mountains, the Zelvorians lived on the plains named after them and the Sakethans lived at the top of the Ganser River Valley in the lands known as Saketha. Rihannsu diplomats and politicians would at first attempt to bring them into the fold peacefully, offering them client state status and near-autonomy in exchange for dominion. These discussions ultimately fell apart. Tahn, the Praetor who had succeeded Karzan, decided that there was no other choice than to forcibly take the land. He would force the three peoples into a war with a series of devious false-flag operations. The conflict between the Republic and the three would last for over fifty years, only ending when the Sakethans surrendered at the Battle of Makar.
All three would be enslaved by the Republic, forced to work in the new large farms owned by the aristocracy in the fertile lands, others were to suffer horribly in the new mines to extract the rich ore beneath the surface. The justification for their enslavement would emerge from the virtues of D'era, their guiding principles set by their father, Tellus, stating that through hard dedication and firm obedience to their masters and the state, would they see their freedom. However, the increasing use of slaves for many jobs in the Republic would not only make the economy unproductive but leave many lower class citizens without work. This, along with other issues that would crop up over time would lead to a serious crisis in Rihan.
The urge to expand had not died but slowed as the Republic would spend many decades consolidating their gains under Varus, Decius, Mrian, and Taris. In due course, there would be calls for new territory. This time, the gaze of Rihannsu aggression would turn to the lands of Enolia to the southeast.
The Enolian-Rihannsu War
Aftermath, Isolationism, and The Iumnelai
In the aftermath of the devastating war with the Enolians, Praetor Morror Kassus resigned in disgrace and the Senate unanimously voted to remove Rihan from the world stage for a period of time in order for it to recover from the devastation the war had brought. The Asgeirrians were exempted from the order due to the vital trade relationship it held with the Republic. Praetors would come and go over much of the early part of this period including Toqel, Hloal, Merrok, and Thrax, but most would hold office for no longer than three years. The war had exposed many of the underlying issues of the state that were fomenting during the latter years of the expansionist period. This included income inequality, the extent of slavery within the economy and resulting unemployment of many lower class citizens, and escalating tensions between the common citizenry and the aristocracy. There had always been tension between the two classes but these were largely subdued under the premise of D'era's call for Rihan manifest destiny but the Enolian War had depressed that illusion considerably. Though Rihannsu politics had always been a dangerous game since the Republic's founding, the level of blackmail, bribery, and rapid leadership changes had reached a new level of concern over the stability of the Republic.
The D'Vatta, the constitution of the Republic, had been legally binding for over 500 years to this point. It had firmly stated that the Senate led by the Praetor held supreme authority. The regular citizen had never had a major role in the Republican government besides petitioning their individual senators. The combination of events that had unfolded in the aftermath of the Enolian War and a slow economic recovery had emboldened some to challenge the government. Protests would begin spreading across the state including in several places throughout the capital. Thrax, a hardline aristocrat, had become Praetor by appointment (largely through blackmail) of the Continuing Committee. He was a member of the Jol Tan coalition, both he and his fellow senators did not care about the petty concerns of the commoners other than that loyalty to the state was paramount and that all seditious activity would be brutally repressed by the military. His tenure would be short-lived, no more than a year, as the commoners would not wait anymore him to act on his own, and they would rise up and engage in a general strike. All of Rihan would be put in chaos.
Praetor Thrax resigned himself to the countryside for failing to prevent the strike from occurring. Aratenik was hastily appointed as Praetor as a consensus candidate by the committee. Prior to his rise to the Praetorship, he was a well-regarded scholar of literature, having only been appointed to the Senate during the final year of Merrok's rule. He would bluntly confront his Senate colleagues stating in no uncertain terms that if the crisis were not to be resolved, the Republic would be destroyed. With great reluctance, he was empowered by the Senate to come to a compromise with the masses. Aratenik would summon representatives of the commoners to meet with him and the Continuing Committee. At their first meeting, the commoners demanded a greater role in the Republican government, more employment opportunities, and a better quality of life in exchange for an end to the strike. The deliberations over a compromise would last a week until both sides had given it their blessing.
The Iumnelai, as the compromise would be known as, formally incorporated a People's Assembly (ætheaa) into the D'Vatta. Its membership would consist of the entirety of the lower classes. They could appoint their own presiding magistrates to moderate sessions of the Assembly and the votes taken by the body would be by secret ballot. The Assembly had the right to petition the Senate on a broad range of matters provided that those motions had received majority consent. Additionally, all slaves eighth generation and above would be emancipated, but not given formal citizenship, and the jobs they would then vacate would be available for commoners to take for themselves, for a wage. The commoners would also see modest increases in the quality of life over the next decade. The Senate would proceed to unanimously approve it. Aratenik's popularity with the commoners skyrocketed, and with that came a host of enemies within the Senate. On the surface, the various coalitions vowed that Aratenik's Praetorship would be one of unified cooperation and for five years this held true - the economy had started growing at a reasonable pace, the military had seen significant improvement, and harvests started returning to pre-war levels. For the Praetor, it seemed as if stability had finally come to the Republic. Alas, this was not to be for the 'peace' between the coalitions was a mirage, plots were being designed in the shadows.
Aratenik was killed at his countryside villa one evening five years after cementing the Iumnelai. Though his murderer could not be identified, rumors at the time suggested that several aristocrats had bribed the Praetorian Guard to eliminate him. With Aratenik's death, the supposed stability of the Republic was shattered once more. In the proceeding three years, the Praetorship would be held by two Suketh senators, Vrax and Gaius, Aratenik's closest supporters in the Senate. Both had managed to get the position as the Continuing Committee did not want to risk a constitutional crisis. However, their appointments in hindsight were nothing more than expediency. They would both be assassinated by colleagues for their populist policies including proposals to curtail the amount of land an aristocrat could hold, the introduction of a free food distribution program for Dartha's poorest (ironically, this would come to pass under Terix), and making motions passed by the Assembly into formal law. The stability of the Republic was in jeopardy, the threat of constitutional crisis was near the point of nationwide violence as the lower classes had seen the Suketh assassinations as an attack upon their quality of life. To avoid the fallout, the Continuing Committee met and appointed the politically neutral and well-respected Admiral, Terix to the position of Praetor. Upon his ascension to office, his first order would be to call to an end of the Republic's isolation from the world and call for the beginning of a new era of stability and continued economic growth.
Terix knows that while he has tremendous popularity with the military and with many segments of the lower classes because of his military career, he knows his relationship with the Senate is tenuous at best. He knows that his appointment is was solely one of political expediency. The Praetor finds himself unofficially in partnership with the militant Jaridan, the largest faction, and the Nej'ahar, made up of the wealthiest members in the entire Republic to get much of his political agenda approved but Terix knows that such cooperation could imperil his chance on moving the Republic forward, even through modest if not slightly liberal, reforms. Although he has not been in the position for long, Senators are already scheming quietly in the shadows. At least two Senators have their eyes set upon the Praetorship and are willing to get it by whatever means.
The land of Rihan is lush, humid, and full of abundant vegetation. The capital, Dartha, lies at the mouth of the Sherdek River and the Apnex Sea. The river valleys are fertile for agriculture which is dominated upon the Aihai, the flat plains between Dartha and Raxna. The Sherdek has the Jendraax and Vrekess rivers as tributaries. The two other most important rivers are the Dorvek and the Ganser (with the Balsanra and Nelrek as tributaries). While much of the land is either made up of humid forests or calm flatland, there is a single mountain chain that crosses the land from northeast to the west: the D'Kalla, of which Mount Al'kathel is both its highest peak and that of the entire country. During the hot summer months, the Praetor retreats to his residence in the cooler Valley of Chula as do many aristocrats. The Forest of Allerash is covered in thick, strong urukan trees. Other major cities in Rihan include Dinalla, Rateg, Calanista, Chaladra, Tephren, Peldrad, Vendras, Bareldek, Kromtal, Dorvek, Hlarek, Villera, and Torven; all of which dot the landscape.
Flora and Fauna
Rihan is home to a rich ecosystem that is largely hostile and predatory. The Eagle, the symbol of the Republic, is based upon the predatory raptor-like bird, the Mogai. Other birds include Ratar, Kalabam, Deletham, and Tliss. In the woodlands, the Raal (a type of bear), the Thrai (a type of wolf) dominate. Meanwhile, Hlai can be found in bountiful quanities on the plains. In the Apnex Sea, Veruul and Osol fish can be found in abundance. The predominant domestic animals of labor are the Travit and the Drabhik. Nobles who own villas in the countryside maintain stables filled with stoic Fvai and Kerosh (horses). On farms, growers cultivate three variants of wheat known as oliva, kheh, and vareet; along with maintaining groves of fig and citrus fruit trees. Some plantations cultivate tivish, a type of cotton, used in textiles.
Rihan's government is structured upon the quintessential concept of a Republic, though not in the sense generally recognized around the world. All power lies within the Senate (Deihuit), made up of 300 Senators (Deihu), all of whom are either well-versed in military skill, in possession of vast wealth, or harken from aristocratic families. The most powerful assignment for a senator is a coveted seat on the Continuing Committee. It is made up of ten individuals (with only the Praetor being guaranteed a seat) empowered to regulate elevation to the various levels of government (including the Lakhræmdæsnen, Bærhiedæsnen, and Temiætidæsnen) and military. It is the members of the Committee who are responsible for confirming the ascent of an individual to the position of Praetor and have the sole authority to expel senators. There are numerous political coalitions that exist within the chamber including Jardian (Conservative), Jol Tan (Far-Right), Suketh (Moderates), and Nej'ahar (Focused on the Economy and the General Welfare), representing the spectrum of political opinion in the country. Membership within the coalitions are constantly in flux and a member siding with one group on a specific matter may not be with them on another.
While the Constitution (D'Vatta) states that the Senate is the undisputed and sole authority of the Republic, it is the Praetor (Fvillha) who ultimately wields broad power that can be borderline dictatorial. He or she is the Republic's Head of State. The Praetor presides over all Senate sessions, the supreme military commander of the Republic's forces, the highest judicial official with the power to inflict the death penalty, and the authority to interpret and enforce laws passed by the Senate. A Praetor is considered the very embodiment of the Rihan ideals of honor, accomplishment, discipline, and most importantly, the virtues of D'era. Due to the extreme danger that is Rihan politics, it is not uncommon for Praetors to suffer abbreviated terms of office in comparison to other heads of government. To guard their person, the Praetor is protected by the Praetorian Guard (Morairi ih'Fvillha). The Praetor is the only individual allowed to hold the Teral'n, the trident scepter representing the firm talon of the Eagle. A Praetor can only be legally removed by a three-fourths vote of the Senate. In the entire lifespan of the Republic, this has never happened.
As the ultimate power in the Republic is in the hand of a small oligarchy of wealthy and powerful aristocrats, the lower classes have very little control over the day-to-day decisions of state. However, they do a mechanism to petition and coax the Senate into addressing their concerns through the Assembly (ætheaa), which was established after the Iumnelai. Its membership consists of all regular citizens who vote directly by secret ballot. Petitions that receive a majority are elevated to the Senate for their consideration, though more than 90% of such attempts are ignored from those above the citizenry-at-large.
The High Tribunal is the highest judicial court in the Republic consisting of twelve Tribunes confirmed by the Senate. For those unfortunate to break the law, punishments can range from years in a dark prison cell to the death sentence or enslavement. For those condemned to death, they are publically executed but the individual is given the right to make a statement before they are killed. The system of justice assumes the individual charged is guilty of the crime unless proven otherwise. Many procure the services of well-skilled intercessors (lawyers) to represent them in the courtroom.
All citizens of the Republic have the following basic honorable freedoms as outlined in the Statement of Rights: The right of procreation; the right to own property and to manage it as necessary (this includes the right of slavery and the owner's right to discipline); the right to commit honorable suicide; the right to commerce, subject to the needs of the Republic; the right to present a defense in a publicly recorded trial, aside a public defender, before the courts; the right to apprehend and charge as a private citizen, any criminal or enemy of the Republic, and the right to bear arms, for defense or sign of status, in public and in private. Citizens are not permitted to undertake any action deemed to be against the interest of the Republic and the People. The prohibitions are not outlined and this has given the Senate and the courts tremendous leverage in interpreting an action on a broad spectrum.
The Republican military is made up of the Army (Draao), the Navy (Galæ), Air Force (Ralaarihsein), the Special Forces (Krannsu), and the Praetorian Guard (Morairi ih'Fvillha). The various military branches are supported by the military intelligence (Tal Diann) and logistics (Tal Shava) divisions. Over 550,000 Rihannsu are active in the military at any one time. As stated in the constitution of the Republic, the D'Vatta, the Praetor wields supreme military command of all Rihannsu forces. All citizens are obligated to serve in the military upon receiving their formal citizenship (Plyanazi) at the age of 20 for a term of five years. Following their term, some choose to remain in the forces. Many of the nation's finest generals and admirals have risen through the ranks from lowly legionaries or seamen. Service in the armed forces is viewed with Rihannsu culture as a high honor and fulfilling one's duty as dictated by the virtues of D'era. The Shining Star (Ranam Valassa) medal is the highest award a soldier can attain. An awardee is well-respected both within their family and throughout their community.
The Rihan economy has never been as productive as others in the world due to the use of slaves in place of freemen, though this has changed somewhat since the implementation of the Iumnelai compromise under Praetor Aratenik. Over 60% of the economy is heavily controlled by the aristocratic and mercantile families, both its wealth and means of production. The main segments of the economy consist of agriculture and fishing, mining and metallurgy, industrial and consumer goods manufacturing, and financial services. There is a slew of small businesses and farms run by commoners but these are at a major disadvantage against those own by the aristocrats. The state, under the pretense of D'era, does have an obligation to ensure all citizens are afforded a minimum standard of living. Under Praetor Terix, a long-fought policy of implementing a free food distribution program was passed by the Senate, allowing two-hundred thousand of Dartha's poorest to receive a daily ration of foodstuffs. All trade between the Republic and the wider world is only sanctioned by order of the Senate and operated through the RTC.
Transport and Infrastructure
All public transportation, including buses, trains, and river ferries, is handled by the state-controlled Yhfillain while road infrastructure is maintained by Rheilhhu Eyhon. The national airline, Havraær, is based at Dartha's Cliperian International Airport (Ihanv). While the capital is a major seaport, so is the Port of Levaeri to the southeast. Energy is largely provided by clean solar generators scattered across the Republic, though there are few fossil-fuel plants still in operation. Power distribution is handled by Cælis'cæri. Every settled area of the Republic has access to clean water either by maintained wells or through sophisticated aqueducts, reservoirs, and plumbing by Aekhhwi'rhoi.
Society and Culture:
The Rihannsu are highly xenophobic and see themselves as superior to others. They were not originally like this but following their forced departure from Adaptus and the Tagmatine Empire due to religious differences, they've come to trust, but only after a very long period of time. Rihannsu are very emotional, war-like, and absolutely dedicated to the virtues that define the way of D'era, a strict code of discipline, duty, and honor. Their culture follows a hard line of social and physical Darwinism. They have a spartan regard toward those that are not physically able or are mentally deficient. They will kill children that do not match the physical model of perfection. In spite of their cold outer shell, they are ardent supporters of family. The first virtue, devotion, is primarily one of family. Citizens of all class levels are given many incentives both economical and social to produce and cherish large families. Rihannsu indeed cherish their families. They are as capable of love as any other people.
For recreation, most play games such as D'elo, a game of sticks and stones that can be traced back to days prior to the Departure from the Tagmatine Empire. The people are fond of arena games where athletes of both genders show their prowess with weapons and fighting techniques. Blood sports, like Ke`veshrek (a form of boxing) or Tyr’llryanniha (football) are extremely popular and are often broadcasted across the Republic. The Orventis Arena is the grandest of them all, located in Dartha; it can seat nearly 100,000 people. The Rihannsu are major players of tactical and logic-based games including Latrunculo, Masaharis, Parmen Chess, Voraant, Trayatik (dice game), Villrillu (cards), or Khariat (like Jenga). In the same vein, solving puzzles of all forms are popular. Though people may engage in simulated chess and similar games, people desire real opponents, and thus simulation is far less popular in Rihan. S'darha is one of the most important recreational activities the aristocracy partake in. It is an extremely intellectual game that involved the recitation of stanzas from great literature in order to support a given argument or statement. It is a combination of debating, rhetoric, declamation and trivia games. Many of the best S'darha masters have become the most influential Praetors in the Republic as it has helped them in dealing with the dangerous politics of the Senate.
Artistic abilities show the softer side of the Rihannsu personality, balancing a fierce warrior ethic with the sensitivity of an artist. Sculpting, pottery, and carving are the most popular media — Rihannsu prefer to work in 3-dimensional forms. The artist Raban Gedroe is a notable 3D painter. In addition to the visual arts, there is writing, literature, poetry, drama and Lhi, a game of wits and riddles. Rihannsu also relish nature and enjoy the beauty of it — most are avid hikers, riders, or mountaineers. While less common, scroll painting (a mix of calligraphic writing and light painting) has a long tradition in the Rihannsu culture. Some of the most important literary works include Amarcan's Axioms, the Contemplations of Landar the Elder, the Taer'thaiemenh by V. Raiuhes Ahaefvthe, and Na Temhsah'urri by Reanas.
Rihannsu cuisine focuses on assorted breads and pastries (baked from grains cultivated on the Aihai), strews like Plou'mek, a range of vegetables including gresh, fish (Osol and Veruul), and meat from Hlai. Soldiers in the military typically consume a mixed stew called Viinerine. A delicacy amongst the aristocracy is Aafvun'in'hhui (mollusk soup). Aristocrats can also obtain aged Travit steaks. To wash down their food, most commoners consume Tarka or a bitter vareet. The more well-to-do consume Kavit, a native variant of wine, that is in high demand outside the Republic.
The emblem of the Republic is 'the Eagle.' It is a symbol of military might and honor, displayed everywhere, symbolizes civilian pride in the state. All Rihannsu swear oaths upon the Eagle, and defacing the symbol is a serious offense. The inspiration for the emblem comes from the predator avian that flies over the Rihannsu' adopted home. This bird is known to carry its eggs in its talons, which artists represented as the Senate and the People. The bird itself is spread in an aggressive posture of display, representing the glory and majesty of the Republic.
The Way of D'era is the official 'religion' of the Republic. It's not as much a spiritual calling as much as it is one of duty to the Republic. The Way was formulated during the final days of the Rihannsu living the Tagmatine Empire when its founder, Tellus, seditiously condemned the Iconoclastic Orthodox Church and said that adherence to one god over the overarching strength and duty to the people was unjust. D'era calls upon all Rihannsu to follow the teachings of obedience, discipline, and loyalty. The center of D'era is in Dartha's Central Septum where a statue of Tellus stands for all to reflect upon his words. The Way is led by the Pontix, Lucian Tamok, and various councilors across the Republic. D'era priests are paid by the state. Septums of D'era are located in every Rihan community.
Praxani: The Rites of Life
Rihannsu progress through their lives under a structure of rites that related to the four virtues of D'era. These are:
D'navassa - The Great Beginning Nimaz - Naming D'sora - 5th Birthday Phi'lasasam - The Education Plyanazi - Formal Citizenship Serona - Mandatory Military Service (5 years) So'rdaz - Marriage Union Charozzah - Passing Latta - Death (upper class individuals are buried in family tombs in the Rikolet [the Great Graveyard] while lower-class individuals are mostly cremated) Dartha, The Capital of the Republic
Dartha is the largest city in Rihan with a population exceeding 3 million. It is the first and oldest settlement, the center of politics, trade, and activity that involves the outside world. The city lies at the mouth of the Sherdek River and the Apnex Sea. The Forum of Caliax is the beating heart of the capital where the Hall of State, the Central Septum, the Praetor's Palace, and the Arc of D'deridex can be found. In front of the Hall of State is a statue of L'Deus, author of the D'Vatta. The Markets of Relevek are just off the Forum. The Forum is abuzz with trade activity and the rostrum at the middle is always active with Senators speaking the gathered crowds, and even sometimes, the Praetor.
A few blocks down towards the Sea is Victory Square where there are regular military parades and ceremonies. The Library of Alavhet is on the Via Karzan. The Via Colius is a major thoroughfare that runs east to west through the capital, running past the largest park, the Cor'Lavet. The Via Chula leads out of the capital to the east and towards the Valley of Chula, its namesake. Numerous academic institutions are located in Dartha. On the shores of the Apnex Sea is the Harbor of Oreta. The High Tribunal, administered under the auspices of the Praetor, is near the forum. The Orventis Arena also present.
Many wealthy aristocrats live in large villas on the outskirts of Dartha, distancing themselves from the cramped, smaller dwellings that make up the majority of housing in the capital. The old walls, the Honn, still encircles the core of the city when it was first founded by Tellus. Amongst the tight shared housing of the lower classes, there are some larger townhouses on the Via Renak owned by the higher classes, offering better proximity to the Senate and the Forum. The neighbors in and around the Renak have exclusive tailors, theatres, and bathhouses (including the most notable Bath of Reldek the Great) are frequented by the political and wealthy peoples of the Republic.
Under Republic law, all armed military personnel, except for Dartha's City Guard (Morairi ih'Sivas) and the Praetorian Guard (Morairi ih'Fvillha) must remain outside the capital. This was instituted to reduce the risk of a military coup during the early days of the Republic. It remains on the books to this day.
The Rihannsu Calendar:
Z'at • D'ruh • Brax • Khuti • Krat • Tasmeen • Havreen • Sharveen • Lior • Irhheen • Ailat • Khaidev
Eitreih'orheika (Festival of the Ancestors): 21-23rd of Brax • Eitreih'Avilh (Festival of Earth): 1-3rd of Krat • Eitreih'vauthil ch'Rheihhu (Festival of the Republic): 15-20th of Sharveen • Eitreih'hveinn (Farmer's Festival): 10-15th of Ailat