Organizations of Lathuria

        Every society has their big groups of beuraucracy-leaden hierarchies.  Every land has their organizations that are rabid with red tape and a lack of proper communication.  Every government has their system of lackies all answerable to each other.  So, whay should Lathuria be any different?  From an intricate military system set up to protect a vast city to a semi-secret organization of knowledge-seekers, the organizations on Lathuria run the gamut.
        Below are listed descriptions of a few of the most important organizations running around and grabbing for power on Lathuria in GA 1005.  Though these are certainly the most powerful, there are other smaller groups out there.  But these are the groups that nearly everyone on Lathuria has heard of at some point in their lives.

The Atoll City Military

     Widely regarded as the greatest Human military force on Lathuria, the Atoll City Guard is well over 800 years old.  Made up of both standard fighters and battle mages, it protects Atoll City from invaders without and patrols the city streets within.  The Guard is divided into several branches.  First, there is the Royal Guard which protects King Herrigarth and his family.  They are mostly found in and around Atoll Palace and answer to the royal family alone.  Next are the Gate Guard who keep watch on the city walls and control entry and exit to the city.  By and large, they are made up of some of the best-trained archers on Lathuria.  The Outrunners venture into the countryside that is the protectorate of Atoll City and have in their ranks many skilled cavalrymen.  Finally, there is the City Patrollers who protect the streets of Atoll City and keep the peace and enforce the law within the city walls.
     The current Captain of the Royal Guard is a battle mage known as Heinrich Felloch.  The Captain of the Gate Guard is an Archer by the name of Serenne Rada, formerly of the adventuring party known as The Magic Howlers.  The Captain of the Outrunners is a mounted knight called Sir Gerith the Gleaming.  And the captain of the City Patrollers is a Shaman named Bhithinka Greensleeves.
    King Herrigarth, serves as the Commander-in-Cheif of the entire Atollean military.  Once each week, he gathers together the four captains in order to keep himself informed.  The entire military can be mustered at a moment's notice through the use of the Tower of Light which stands on the ground of Atoll Castle.  By far the tallest structure in the city, it rises high enough into the sky to be seen for miles.  At its very top, a signal bonfire stands in readiness to be lit by the two Royal Guardsmen on duty there.

The Bardic Circles

     Formed under the direct counseling of the Angels in year 500 of the Golden Age, the Bardic Circles are known as the historians of Lathuria.  They use songs and poetry to keep record of what has gone before and teach it to others.  Members are generally recognized all over Lathuria and are given access to some of the highest ranks of nobility all over the continent.  Bards are encouraged to travel to both learn and teach and seldom does one find a member of the Bardic Circles that has not taken to such a life.
     The organization has divided Lathuria up into numerous areas, called Circles, and on a monthly basis, Bards gather in whatever Circle they happen to be in at the time to exchange songs and stories.  The longest-serving bard at the Circle serves as the meet’s leader and officiates.  The rest of members’ time is spent learning the history of the place they are in from locals and from their adventures.
     The current Master Bard of the Bardic Circles is Beor the Old who, due to his age of 82, has been forced to give up his travels and now resides in Quinlann near the Fable Forest.  He has of late entertained many Elven Bards and has become a voice calling for renewed contact between Humanity and the Elves.  He otherwise has a very hands-off approach to the organization, encouraging Bards to follow their own paths.
    A member of the Bardic Circles is recognized by a distinctive cloak pin.  Made of silver, it is wrought in the shape of an intricate cirlce with a flute bisecting it.  The pins also carry a small amount of White Magic, protecting the wearer from the ravages of cold and heat while traveling.

The Black Knights

    The Human organization of Lathuria that has perhaps the most dubious reputation is the Black Knights.  They are a somewhat loosely associated group of mercenaries who specialize in battle tactics using black magic.  Some of them are old swordhands who happen to have an affinity for battle magic as well.  Others are young black mages looking to prove to the world that they can be just as dangerous as the old swordhands they fight beside.  But nearly all of them share the Demons’ love of destruction.  The organization has existed for nearly 200 years and legend has it that it was founded by a Demon in hiding who wanted to organize Humans who shared the Demon mentality in preparation for their return to the material plain.  However, there is no real proof that the organization is or ever was headed by a Demon.
     Today, the organization works as a clearing house for mercenaries looking for work on the battle field.  Members pay 5% of their earnings to the organization and in exchange are contacted when a job opening presents itself in the area.  Nearly every major city has a hostel run by the Black Knights where members can go for information or to find lodging in a pinch.  If a hostel is well-established, they may even have a library of spell books and Demon lore that members can use to improve their battle magic and make themselves more marketable to potential clients.
     The current head of the Black Knights, a title known as the Black Captain, is a battle mage by the name of Hastarl Gelsson the Hornhelm who takes his epithet from the tri-horned black iron helm he wears in battle.  In the past three years since he has taken power, he has made efforts to consolidate the Black Knights into something that more resembles an army.  Whenever possible, he has grouped members of the organization into squadrons and he has begun construction of a fortress near the city of Maice.  What Hastarl has in mind for all of this is anyone’s guess, but some believe that he may be preparing for a conquest of Maice and a military alliance with the Demons.  Some even think that he may have had contact with several high-level Demons.
    Each hostel has an officer of the Black Knights overseeing its operation.  These Knights, known as Knight-Elders, have only recerntly been given authority to out-right command the Black Knights in their area.  Often times, they may personally lead squadrons of Black Knights on the battlefield.
    Though there is no common uniform for the Black Knights, they are recognizable by a sash of black silk with a sword bathed in magic embroidered in silver and red.

The Guild of Wizards

     A Human organization that stretches across Lathuria heedless of political boarders and prejudices, the Guild of Wizards is made up of the most skilled spell casters on Lathuria.  They seek any and all knowledge of the magical arts and count among their members adventurers and scholars alike.  As they seek all there is to know about all magics, they are of necessity a Human-exclusive organization as all other races are restricted in the types of magic they can cast.  They are not, however, above working with the other races, though they tend to have little use and patience for races outside the Races of Power.
     The current head of the Guild of Wizards is an old man by the name of Kerrugan the Hale, who resides in the riverside city of Xellas.  He is a conservative man who has opted to steer the Guild on a straight and narrow road of neutrality.  As a result, members of the guild are restricted from acting as military mages in any political conflict.
    Today, the Guild's numbers are dwindling.  Many mages are of late being attracted to other organizations.  The Black Knights actively recruit Guild members who grow impatient with Kerrugan's policy of neutrality.  The Order of the Lamp promises a much more active role in Lathurian politices, giving the hope that collected knowledge may actually be used rather than stored in a dusty old library.  And the cries for help from Maice and the White Clerics fall upon the ears of Guild members who cannot bear the strife there and wish to act.  The Guild of Wizards was once a place for fellowship between mages.  But now, it is seemingly on the verge of collapse.
    A Guild member is recognized by a book she carries.  Bound in cobalt blue leather and gilt with a silver quill and staff, it serves as a spell book and a repository for any knowledge a member may collect.  When the Guild member passes, her book is placed in honor in the Guild library in Xellas.

The Order of the Lamp

     Perhaps the youngest of the major organizations of Lathuria at only five years old, the Order of the Lamp is a group of self-proclaimed truth-seekers.  Their stated mission is to learn all the lore they can about the creation of the world and the races in it, including any information that may exist concerning the Lord of Worlds and her motivations for ordering the world as she has.  To this end, the Order is made up of many scholars, ruin exploring adventurers, and any and all who call themselves seekers of the truth.  In fact, many disillusioned members of the Guild of Wizards have resigned in favor of joining the Order of the Lamp.
     The actual activities of the Order of the Lamp tend to deviate from their stated mission, however.  Members blatantly stick their noses into political affairs, offering up their services as arbitrators and aligning against rogue nations bent on ruthless conquest (although, their definition of this seems somewhat nebulous).
    The Order divides the continent into four quadrants.  Each quadrant has an overall leader known as a Master Lamplighter.  Beneath them, there are six regional leaders known as Lamplighters.  They are in charge of all of the members, known as Lampflints, in their areas.  At the very head of the entire organization, then, is the Master Lampwright to whom the four Master Lamplighters answer and who runs the House of the Ever-Lit Lamp in Zephilia.
     The current leaders of the Order are both former members of the adventuring party known as The Magic Howlers and currently reside in the coastal city of Zephilia.  Lyssa Greymalkin, the Master Lampwright, is a mage renowned all over Lathuria for having been the first mage to successfully cast the black magic of Demon Princess Selket in a thousand years.  Her partner, Gumanis Wyndifer the Master Lamplighter of the South-West, is a swordsman famous for actually winning a duel with the Angel Knight Quonus, though he guards the secret of how he did it very closely.  Together, they formed the Order of the Lamp after the abrupt disillusion of The Magic Howlers and have kept the Order on a strangely neutral footing ever since.  Another member of note, the Master Lamplighter of the North-West, is Feldan Hardrefen.  He is perhaps most famous for a series of travel guides he wrote while traveling Lathuria as a member of the Guild of Wizards.  He currently resides in Atoll City.
    The numbers of the Order of the Lamp are currently small but are growing quickly.  They count somewhere around 500 members in GA 1005, but most of those joined only since GA 1003.  They are most often found near the cities of Zephilia, Atoll City, and Maice, but are spreading further east every day.
    Lampflints are recognized by a silver pin they wear, wrought in the shape of a blazing lantern.  These pins carry a spell which allows a Lampflint to call for a messenger once per day.  What form that messenger will take tends to vary.  Lamplighters wear a similar pin that has an extra ring of silver surrounding the lantern.  The pins of the Master Lamplighters have a second ring of gold surrounding the silver one.  And the pin of the Master Lampwright has a third ring of orihalcum surrounding that.

The White Clerics

    One of the most respected organizations on Lathuria, the White Clerics have existed since the War of the Young.  Known has healers of nearly miraculous skill, in their early days they were taught by Paslar the Angel Knight of Healing herself.  White Clerics can be found all over the continent and in every city and town.  If one has a bad hurt, one need only make it to the nearest village for skilled healing.  The organization is not interested in profit, only in service.  Members have truly answered a calling to serve as a White Cleric.  The order does not prohibit members from becoming wealthy, though, and only asks that they use their magic for healing whenever they are asked.  Though it is not required, it is generally understood that members who are financially better off will contribute to a fund to help members who are not.
    The White Clerics have their seat of power in Maice, the City of White Magic.  It was from this city that the White Clerics first came and it is here that the organization maintains the greatest hospital on Lathuria, the Temple of the Angel's Hand.  A staff of twenty White Clerics, known as the Clerics Hospitlar, run the temple and heal the hurts of all who come.
    The head of the White Clerics resides in and rules Maice and is known as the White Bishop.  Currently, this is a White Mage named Hastika Gilsdottir.  Beneath her is a series of regional heads known as the Doves.  There are currently seventeen Doves posted in major cities all over Lathuria.  The rest of the White Clerics answer to them.  The Clerics Hospitlar lie somewhat outside the regular heirarchy of the White Clerics, answering only to the Dove of Maice and the White Bishop.  The current Dove of Maice is Xolegun Shieldweilder, a former member of the adventuring group known as the Magic Howlers.
    Members of the White Clerics can be recognized by a simple, unblazoned, shield-shaped pin.  Regular members have one of iron.  Doves wear one of silver.  Clerics Hospitlar wear one of gold.  And the White Bishop wears one of orihalcum.

The Zephilian Senate

    The culmination of several generations of political trial and error, the Zephilian Senate is the most powerful, most stable, and longest-lasting experiment in representation of the people.  Established in GA 546, it followed the popular ousting and defeat of a series of warlords who had squabled over the territories of Zephilia for nearly two-hundred years.
    Today, the Senate consists of twenty Senators elected by popular vote of the people of Zephilia.  In order to vote in the elections or hold the office of Senator, a person must be an adult by their race's standards and have lived peaceably in Zephilia for at least two years.  Candidates are allowed to campaign for office for a period of one month prior to the elections.  Before that time, no one is allowed to announce their candidacy or even tell anyone outside their immediate family that they are running.
    The Senate oversees the day-to-day running of Zephilia with numerous commitees and boards for nearly every aspect of governance and trade.  Many of the twenty Senators sit on three or four commitees based on their various skills and former professions.  A Senator holds his or her office for three years before new elections must be held.  Senators are not term-limited, however, and may run for office as many times in a row as they wish.
    Though personal interests are not supposed to play a part in the proceedings of the Senate, it is hard to separate a Senator from his interests and beliefs.  Though things tend to get done fairly well for the first two years of a term, the Senators often spend the third year trying to convince their constituents that they have done the things they were voted into office to do.  Consequently, little work of any relevence tends to get done in that third year.  GA 1005 is an election year, so the Senate is currently in one of those doldrums.
    At the beginning of every other term, the first order of buissness for the Senate is to elect a Prince who will serve for six years.  The Prince holds the right to cast any tie-breaking votes that are neccesary in the Senate and serves as the commander-in-chief of the Zephilian military.  He is also part diplomat and part moral leader by extension, though those roles are not actually outlined in the city charter.  The current Prince of Zephilia, Scolatian, was elected by the Senate in GA 1002.  At the time, the Senate believed he would be a very hands-off Prince, allowing the Senate to do whatever it pleased.  However, Scolatian has grabbed his opportunity by the horns and has used his office as a soapbox, advocating improved monitoring of Senate proceedings.  Traditionally, Senate proceedings have been conducted behind closed doors, the theory being that the Senators could vote in such a way as to get things done rather than what their contituency feels they promised them.  However, of late the Senators have been using this as a shield to conduct mud-slinging campaigns and perpetuate lies.  Scolatian has given voice to the people who want to know what sorts of voting records the Senators have rather than just trusting in what they tell them.  This has resulted in popular support for Scolatian, but a bitter enmity from the Senate.  The Senate has thus far resisted the proposed changes, but with the upcoming election month, the winds of change are very much against them.

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