In a Chaosian mood today.

In a Chaosian mood today. So I decided to dust off and revise a document sitting on my hard drive for a while.

A Seminar on Chaosian Politics, in House Hendrake

“My dear young one. Some beverage, perhaps?”
“Excellent. Let us begin. We have much to cover before the sky turns. I promised Belissa to help get you up to speed. Of course no one in Chaos, not even the Emperor, understands the enormity of what happens. But let us confine ourselves to the major events of the here and now, shall we?”
“You know of course the basic social institutions of this, our world. The Emperor, Merlin the First, the House Sawall now House Royal as a result. A weak king, and thus responsible, by that weakness for the fractuous nature of our political landscape.”
“Treason and treachery? I hardly think my words constitute THAT, young diplomat to be. I merely describe the obvious. In times of strong Rulers in Thelbane, the energies of the Houses are less directed at each other, and are usually channeled more productively. However, with a King admittedly both new and unschooled in Politics, it is certain that there will be those who take advantage of the deficiencies.”
“Then, there is the Diet. Thirteen Great Houses and a rotating crew of six Lesser ones. Currently, its considered weak, for it has not actively tried to exercise its power in the wake of the new Emperor. However, much of the politics of the Courts revolves around that august body. For, as you well know, it is only from the Thirteen that a new Emperor or Empress is ever chosen.”
“For as long as there has been a system of Great and Lesser Houses, the Lesser have sought to become the Greater, and the Greater scheme with each other for power and status.”
“Now, attend. The order of the line of succession is complex and requires continual calculation to determine one’s rank and order. The order of Houses is relatively stable, but it does change, especially because of and in terms of the strength of the Great Houses. It would not do, of course, to have a weak House be on the top of the succession. And yet, no one House can dominate the succession, either, that is why the heirs filter through all of the Great Houses cyclically. But that is a lesson in and of itself, and aye, more than a single one.”
“But let me list the Great Houses nevertheless.”
“House Sawall is the House Royal. The House of our Emperor-King, Merlin, and the Heir, Despil Gramble Sawall. The second in succession is none other than their brother Jurt Gramble Sawall. Sawall’s strengths lie in the fact that Suhuy is of the House, and his influence over matters of the Logrus weigh heavily on the Courts.”
“The second House in line is ours, House Hendrake. Yes, our beloved Duchess Belissa, the head of our House, is next in the line in succession after the Grambles. Our House’s traditions you know well…honor, martial prowess, loyalty. We are one of the larger Houses, by the way, in terms of actual numbers.”
A pause. “We also have a high rate of the Final Death, alas, as well.”
“After us comes a House that couldn’t be more different…Helgram. The House of Sorcery and Magics. It is said that the Helgram have lost and forgotten more spells than any other Houses knows in toto. However, as Sorcerers, they are often cowardly, retiring and treacherous. Deal with their diplomats with this in mind.”
“The House Minobee are Traders, and this is far beyond the simple aspects of money. Trade can take any form, and can be of anything. A Minobee will never give you, young Diplomat, what they can sell to you. They are always looking for the margin to profit.”
“Aricline…Ariclines are the Youngest of the Thirteen, diplomat to be. They are still finding their way in the Chaos world. It would do to watch them and theirs.”
“Amblerash, of course, is the House of the Serpent. The ranks of the priesthood come exclusively from their number. Were you, young diplomat, find that you have a calling, you would first have to be adopted into their House before you could take the Vows. Their politics are predictably conservative and tradition bound.”
“Baccaran? Baccaran you have to watch for. They aren’t called the Golden Tongued for nothing. They will ply you will grandiose and subtle plans for alliance and partnership, and make it seem that it was your idea all along. They have ambition to match their persuasive skills.”
“Draynell is a House that we have a love and hate relationship with. They are Expansionistic and Imperialistic, always seeking to expand the fortunes of their House, and of the Courts in general. Of course you will realize that such expansion often comes on the blades of our House, young diplomat.”
“Vangrast is a most unassuming House, until you realize that their specialty is the art of Trump. Trumps, you know, are often as dangerous as they are useful, and the Vangrast know all about them. Be wary of accepting a friendly trump call…or even a card, from one of their number.”
“Cultivate friendship with Elvina, if you can. The Elvina, aside from our exiled cousins, are the best at the healing of the body and of the power of shifting. They are far, far, more honorable than the treacherous Lessimans, cursed be their name. Their politics are always in support of the King. They dare not deviate otherwise. They keep their heads in the sand as a Karagh might.”
“Wererathe is another fairly new House, not very noteworthy except for their ongoing feud with Chanicut, which I will mention in a few moments, my pupil. They are fairly competent at Ways construction, and in fact constructed your own. The bulk of the Shadowmaster’s Guild is of their House.”
“Chanicut is a shell of the Great House they once were. They suffered, and suffered badly in the War, and also in the Succession. Once known for extensive tracts in the Black Zone, they now hover on the edge of viability. There, young diplomat is the flashpoint, for there are Houses who would not shed a tear to see Chanicut lose its last shred of status…and minor Houses bucking to supplant it in the thirteen.”
“Jesby is even more ambitious than Draynell, who often allies with them on many matters. Jesby has a penchant for trying to assimilate small minor Houses with talents they want into their own body, swallowing them whole. They have even, in the past tried to do to one of the Houses under our aegis. Their attempts to do so make them not very loved, young diplomat.”
“More wine? Excellent. Now, in two turnings, I will discuss more of these matters. Reflect on what I have said. Fare thee well.”