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12 August 2011 @ 06:22 pm
Fictional Facts of the Phoenix Empire Part one - Jurisdiction  
To give some more information on the Phoenix Empire my lovely wife an I are currently writing in, I will occasionaly post pieces of 'fictional non-fiction', explaining the background mechanics of the Empire for those who are interested. I'm beginning with 'jusrisdiction' as it'll probably get cross-referenced rather often in the coming installments. 

So, please enjoy, and please don't hesitate to ask if I overlooked something or didn't explain properly! 

Fictional Facts of the Phoenix Empire, Part one - Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction in the Phoenix empire is not based on written laws.

In an absolutist monarchy, those would be a waste of paper, anyway. But there is a set of historically grown rules that are treated as laws by everyone, and they are the groundwork for any legal discourse.

But to understand the laws of the Empire, the social structure with the three distinct strata of nobles, commoners and slaves has to be mentioned.

A noble within his domain rules absolute, and is only accountable to his liege lord. His House and basically all other nobles will support him if ever his superiority appears to be threatened.

Slaves are owned directly by a noble or a commoner and are not considered people, but items. Thus, they cannot hold any property of their own, nor can they be hurt or killed, only be damaged or broken. (Serfs are a special class of slaves belonging to a piece of land that belongs to a noble. For the purpose of this text, serfs are technically considered slaves.)

Commoners have no more legal protection against nobles to begin with than slaves. But unlike slaves, they don’t belong to any particular person or place and thus can move freely. Most commoners are affiliated with a guild, and nobles will think twice about angering a guild whose services they might depend upon one day.

Noble interests always supersede commoner interests;
commoner interests always supersede slave interests.

Consequentially, every case falls apart in nine possible situations depending on whether the perpetrator and the victim is a noble/commoner/slave.

I have set up a chart of the most common crimes and their ‘standard punishments’ for each nine versions to give a feel of how steep the power slope in the Phoenix Empire is. The chart notes only the most common punishment someone can force upon the perpetrator if convicted. Due to the enormous cultural differences between the the noble houses and the planets they rule, those punishments can vary wildly from location to location in shape, though usually not in severity.

(please click to enlarge)

Whether a case is brought to prosecution is highly variable depending on the location and people involved. The judge will always be the ‘next higher Lord’ above the parties involved. This makes justice a highly subjective matter, but on the other hand proceedings are usually extremely swift. Also, if Nobles are concerned, a crime is more a matter of honor than property damage, and usually they take care of that personally, creatively and very bloody.

As mentioned in the chart, under certain circumstances affiliation with the church bestows some protection against prosecution. These rights come out of historic circumstances and are generally considered means to curb the nobles’ power over the workings of the church. Some famous legal exceptions for the members of the church are:
  • For Temple Belligra priests, the 'actus reus' of trespassing, assault or murder 2nd does not exist.
  • For Temple Verata Priests, the 'actus reus' of trespassing, theft and espionage does not exist.
  • Temple Aroona Priests, little surprise here, can not be accused of adultery. Also, the ‘actus reus’ of harmful negligence does not exist for them.

Also as mentioned in the chart, noble houses with their strong beliefs have various ‘laws’ and exceptions that sometimes even extend outside intra-house matters:
  • Any Dracon may freely attack and / or harm the Dracon one or more steps ahead of him in line of succession.
  • Any Jehanni woman is considered a slave towards her father / husband / commanding officer.
  • Any Cournicova man is considered not culpable in any circumstance, his mother / wife will be prosecuted instead.
  • Intra-House cases of theft, fraud and espionage are not considered crimes for House van der Meer.
  • Castella women are never culpable of adultery.
  • If a noble has an oath-bound sword-brother, the sword-brother can take any punishment upon himself instead of said noble.
Current Mood: excited
BerthaBlueberthablue on August 13th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
This was very helpful! Amazing to see how the whole social structure is set up - it gives a lot of insight into the development of the world!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 14th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC)
Thanks, Bertha! We've been 'living' in this world for about ten years by now, and there's quite a lot of stuff we couldn't possibly fit into any story without it becoming a boring lecture. All the more I am happy to see that there is other people interested in those things and helping us finding those holes we may still have left.
Charis: faun with panpipescharisstoma on August 13th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
Are slaves then neutered? I see no mention on the chart for if a slave becomes pregnant, though there is possible acknowledgement of a child born from a commoner's rape. Is that child then noble and removed from the mother?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 14th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
Good question.
A) Usually, any child is born with the status of his or her mother.
B) Both commoners and nobles can officially adopt slave or commoner children, raising them to their status.
C) Only nobles can acknowledge illegitimate offspring, which doesn't change their status unless they are the last living relatives, in which case they are entitled to claim their heritage as if they had been born noble.
D) Usually, adopted children are raised in the adopting household. If their mother moves in with them depends on the generosity of the adopting parents, but this is a rare thing to happen. Illegitimate offspring is usually raised in the household of their birthmother, though if granted appanage, this will be a rather well-off household and treated as commoners even if slaves.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 15th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, completely overlooked that one - no, slaves are not neutered, that would make them a non-replenishing resource.^^
littlenilittleni on August 15th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Aften ten years you have indeed created a very thorough justice systmn with all its black, white and grey areas. I am still trying to apply it to some of the stories you have created so far and I look forward to useing it as a means of reference for the future. Congratulations, this is a very impressive piece or reference for your 'verse.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 15th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the flowers, Leni!
All the details just happened to accumulate over the years. I don't think much of what I have written above has already found a way into the individual stories, but it is the framework they all exist in.

I think it helps a lot to understand why it was so extraordinary that Wesley was merely sold instead of disemboweled after what happened to his Duke. Or how unusual the trusting relationship between Leesha and his parents is.

Anyway, I am really bouncy happy that there is other people enjoying our universe as well, and all your comments and questions are highly appreciated.
aneiaikoukaaneiaikouka on August 15th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
All right - starting at the beginning. When you say that there is no system of written laws and then go on to list crimes and exceptions, do you mean that they have a sort of unofficial code like England does - England does have laws, but bear with me for a bit - where they don't have a governmental constitution but they have a long history of recorded judicial proceedings and all judgments are based on that record, or do you mean that there is literally no written record of normal responses and your chart is based purely on "what usually happens"? I ask because if there's no record and no way of enforcing these codes then there is every possibility that they'll be rather instable. So in generations when nobles are more fearful of slave uprisings or commoner neglect you could end up with much harsher (or alternatively much more lenient) punishments becoming the norm and the chart will probably fluctuate a lot, with different "crimes" being added and removed depending on the current mood of the society. I mean, you can see that sort of record even in countries with set constitutions etc. Look at the eugenics laws passed in Britain and America and their repeal around the second world war. Heck, look at the laws on slavery.

Are these crimes that you talk about in your chart as the most common crimes the fundamental "we have records of our ancestors doing this for hundreds of years and if you don't follow convention we your peers will come down on you like a load of bricks" rules while everything else fluctuates? I notice that you mention adultery in your list of exceptions but not in your main chart, for instance. Is that one of those things which sometimes is and sometimes is not considered a crime or has it recently been removed from the unofficial list as a crime (as it has been in England where it used to be that men were legally 'allowed' to beat their wives to death for the crime of adultery) or is it one of the tenants and you wrote the chart about major criminal law to give us a sense of how things work?

And what happens if people ignore these laws? If a noble doesn't feel like being judge and enforcer or he or she dislikes the victim and chooses to ignore the crime, or the noble dislikes the perpetrator and orders, say, death by public torture as a penalty for stealing? Is there a social backlash? A 'legal' one? Can the victim take their problem to a higher 'court of appeal' and ask the person next up on the hierarchy? And what about the places that have been cut off and are only just starting to be reintegrated into the main system of the empire? Are these same rules in force there and if so how? (Also, how much of the known world is contained in the Empire? Does it have competing empires? I know that the Youh'Kai were mentioned as former rebels who hadn't wanted to be part of the empire, but it wasn't clear whether they are just one little planet of people among many or whether they were an empire themselves, or what kind of political system is going on - though I suppose that's really a topic for another post.)

Interesting that you can't do anything at all to slaves that's actually considered a crime and there doesn't seem to be any social stigma to killing or injuring them. I expect that's not quite true of the lower levels of society. If people like Jim can get sold into slavery to pay off their debts, then others of the same strata would be aware of their own danger of the same and much more likely to view slaves as people.
aneiaikoukaaneiaikouka on August 15th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
Part 2

I'm really interested in your "never happens" in the chart. Nobles are never defrauded by slaves, never kidnapped by slaves, and never raped at all. Is this a matter of these crimes being considered to demeaning to be reported? Because I certainly can't imagine that these acts never occur – not in a society as widespread as the empire seems to be, spread over multiple planets and smaller cultural sets. Perhaps we can say that the majority of nobles are too haughty to listen to and be defrauded by a slave, or too well-guarded to be kidnapped or raped by slaves or commoners, although even so I'm sure there are exceptions, but your own story “His First Assignment” includes a noble boy being raped by his father. So if it is “impossible” for nobles to be victimized in this way, does that mean that it is equally impossible for them to have justice for these crimes? Or would these account for some of the apparently meaningless crimes where the noble simply never gives an explanation for their behavior?

How much care do nobles and guilds take of their own people? And where do nobles go when someone has acted against one of “their” commoners and they want justice? Would they take it to their overlord, or would they go to the other noble?

Are there/ have there been uprisings of commoners against nobles, slaves against everyone, and nobles against the emperor? I know you've mentioned that the Dracon weren't always in the Empire's seat, but did they gain that position through scheming behind the scenes, being lucky and marrying in, or some sort of obvious coup? How tumultuous is this society? The laws and social divisions certainly seem to lend themselves to a really unequal society that balances itself through people taking the law into their own hands rather than a calm stable society where people can trust in justice.

(Also, I think you meant "when a case is brought to prosecution" not "when a case is brought to persecution".)
osirisbrackhaus: Lecturingosirisbrackhaus on August 15th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2
OMG, I love you! *manly squee*

This is an awesome lot of questions, but all of them are totally justified and I am positively thrilled to answer them. It'll just take a few moments. Well, maybe a day or two.

But thanks so much already for giving me (us) an opportunity to see our universe through new eyes again!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 16th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2
I’ve tried to stick to the order of your questions, but some of them required a combined answer. So, I have joined some answers, I hope it makes sense.

- No written Law -
First of all, kudos for coming up with the reference to the English legal system. Yes, it is indeed a little like that, only that in the Phoenix Empire, the referential cases are not from court proceedings, but from recorded history and common lore.
There is a wide consent on what constitutes a crime and how it ought to be punished. Even if culture and current events might change the momentary feeling about those things, the ‘standard procedure’ is pretty well cemented after centuries of noble rule.
The text above and the chart reflect the overall standard, and are pretty much what a citizen of the Empire would write down if asked to pin down the divergent rules of the Empire on a single page.

- Stability I and social or legal Backlash for Deviations -
Yes, a system like this could be unstable, but it is not in this case.
I probably have not stressed enough within his fief, a noble’s rule is absolute. He can meet out any punishment or pardon whoever he pleases. The text above and the chart deal with the minimum punishment a victim can theoretically force on the perpetrator by legal means. (see also legal and social consequences below.)
And while this absolutism is an awfully unjust system, it makes for a perverse kind of legal stability and foreseeability - Your Lord’s word is Law, no appeal, no interpretations.

The social structure of three very distinct layers also creates some kind of internal control mechanism.
Commoners will always watch carefully how things among the slaves are settled, as they are the ones profiting directly from the cheap slave labour. Anything threatening the system would be quenched instantly by the commoners.
Nobles carefully watch how commoners settle things, both to ensure the slaves stay down and to keep the commoners from attaining any real power.
The constant backstabbing and jostling for status among the nobility is what keeps the nobles checking on each other - everyone not adhering to the well-known rules will be impeachable, considered weak or risking an uprising and will soon see himself under constant attack from his enemies who will try to gain from his situation.

- Adultery -
The crimes listed in the chart are the ‘important’ ones that I thought of instantly and those I had to add later on to explain some connections, like ‘harmful neglect’ for an owner whose slave attacks a commoner. And while I think it contains all the important points of reference, it is far from comprehensive.
I only stumbled across adultery while I was adding the exceptions for church and nobles, and I probably should add it to the chart. But it is not easy to make it fit in, as no one cares about what slaves do in their free time (Your slaves have spare time? You’re growing lax!), commoners are too secular to call it a crime (They’ll either sort things out within their relationship or have a contract sorting this out.), and the views of nobles on the subject spread across all the possible options. A Dracon noble is basically expected to be promiscuous or at least lecherous, whereas a Jehanni woman will be whipped for showing her ankles in public and stoned for showing her breasts.

- New Planets coming into the Fold -
Newly conquered (or liberated) planets joining the Empire are supposed to follow exactly the same rules as everybody else. But it is usually left in the hands of the ruling Duke to decide how fast those rules have to be implemented as not to risk an uprising by an alienated population.
The top ranks of the Empire rather think in generations than in years, and their plans reflect that attitude.

- Size of the Empire -
The Phoenix Empire contains most of the known worlds, say, 80% or roughly 200 worlds. There are other Realms on the fringe, but so far they all appear to be smaller than the Phoenix Empire.
The Youh’Kai had a single planet and a few colonies before they were annexed, but as your rightly guessed, this will be subject for another post entirely.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 16th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
- Slaves and crime -
Of course one can commit a crime to a slave. But slaves are items, legally, not people. So you can damage a slave, but not harm him. You can use, but not rape him, or destroy but not kill him. So the criminal act is still there, it is just completely shifted down in severity.
You are right in suggesting that commoners will more likely see slaves as people, but you should not forget the cultural and educational differences between them. Even if commoners know they could well end up being a slave one day, they will rarely feel a ‘slave’ could be one of them.

- ‘never happens’ -
Once again, you rightly guessed that these crimes are way too demeaning for a noble to make public in any sort of trial. Of course this happens, but rape and fraud imply weakness or gullibility, respectively, nothing any noble would admit to.
So there is no legal way to have justice for those crimes. But most nobles consider themselves best qualified for the job anyway, and take matters into their own hands. Vigilantism is rampant among the nobility.
Many ‘meaningless crimes’ can be traced to some dark secret, but just as often, they are merely the symptoms of a bad case of ‘L’etat, c’est moi!’.

- Taking care of their own -
Guilds can be thought of as cartels, and while not actually cozy internally, they always present neatly closed ranks once one of their own is threatened; as that strength in numbers is their only real means of protection.
Nobles on the other hand rarely care what another noble does. House and family ties can make a difference, but usually, as long as the trouble stays within the noble’s fief, no one will bat an eyelash. But as soon as any kind of trouble threatens to grow out of control (that is, to spill over into another noble’s domain), the strictly hierarchic world of nobles closes ranks with clockwork precision. Needing outside help is usually a death-knell for a noble’s power, but that ouside help will arrive swiftly and massively in the best sense of ‘shock and awe’, leaving no doubt where the real power lies in the empire.

- Uprisings -
The commoners actually are rather happy, in a ‘panem et circensis’ kind of way. They form a stable middle class and would be hard pressed to see any reason to do anything radical against the existing system.
Slave revolts, unfortunately, happen on a daily basis everywhere in the empire. But those revolts are tiny compared to the overall number of slaves, and are immediately crushed (see ‘taking care of their own’). The fact that neither slaves nor commoners have access to personal communication, it is tremendously hard to form any kind of organizes resistance. The fact that the social strata each have distinct tech levels at their disposal also creates an ensured superiority order among the castes.

- Crowning the first Dragon and Stability II -
Swift history lesson:
Long war of feuding houses ended with the First Emperor being crowned. First time that humanity is united since the dark ages.
First Emperor rules for a few years, then disappears inexplicably, leaving his mother and a good friend from another house fighting over his succession, both with credible claims. Feud grows into Second Succession War (SW II), that ignites the whole Empire and sees two noble houses hunted down to extinction.
In the end, Hyperion I of House Dracon was crowned Emperor, with his son Gregorius ruling in the time of ‘How to start a household’.

Since SW II, humanity has seen an unprecedented time of internal piece and prosperity. Though most of the Empire is still busy mending the scars of the last succession war, science, economy and the arts thrive, and things seem stable enough.
A little comparable to ancient China right after the end of the feuding realms period, the Phoenix Empire is still drying its wings, hoping to take flight before it is crushed.

- Prosecution / Persecution -
You’re right, I have fixed it in the text above. English isn’t my first language, so if two words with similar sounds have neighbouring meanings, I might not always pick the right one initially.
Thanks for pointing this out, very much appreciated.
aneiaikoukaaneiaikouka on August 16th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
Have I mentioned how awesome it is that you answer my questions so instantly and thoroughly. It's instant gratification of a type very unusual with written works.

On History

I think your brief history lesson really provided the information which makes all the rest make sense. It's really a very young empire, which means that the traditions of the peoples are still strong and whatever abuses there are have not yet irritated the people into actually doing anything about them. For some reason I was seeing it as an older empire - I think because of the level of decadence and the really loose Dracon morals, which seem to be a symptom of the decline of great empires. But the extremely different cultures of different parts of the empire explain that too.

On Nobility
The idea of having a single person in charge of an entire planet is rather boggling. You can certainly see why they'd have to have a huge and well-trained staff to take on their physical needs, and why many planets would have a secondary hierarchy of dukes (and probably some sort of village magistrate system whether official or just a matter of the best-liked person in the village taking on the duty of peacemaking). Is there a sort of 'second-class' system among the nobility where these dukes are considered lower order or second tier (again, like England had Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron, etc.) or are these nobles considered equal? Again, are those positions usually hereditary, or are they the sort of thing you 'apply' for - sending off younger sons so that they don't cause too much trouble? Your nobles seem to backstab each other often enough that they'd need to either have a way of packing off surplus children or a really good survival rate so you didn't accidentally lose an entire house because the heir had killed off all other contestants and then went and got himself killed.
osirisbrackhaus: Lecturingosirisbrackhaus on August 16th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
Well, nothing easier than talking about something that I really like, especially if there's smart questions to answer. You're absolutely welcome.

Really glad that the history brief was what made things clearer, and it is exactly those moments when we realize what's been missing so far. So, more eyes on broader context in the stories we will be writing from now on.

- on nobles -
Basic noble hierarchy in the Empire goes Squire - Knight - Baronet - Baron - Count - Duke - Emperor. You can assume one Duke per planet, five Counts per Duke, five Barons per Count, etc, one Squire per Knight.
Different Houses have different names for the ranks but overall this is pretty realiable all through the Empire.

Officially, ranks among nobles are equal. But (of course) differences are being made whether the noble is landed (owning some land) or not. Landed nobles have a steady income through their property, others only have what they inherit or are being given as appanage.
Also, and just as naturally, the importance of the fief makes one hell of a difference. So while the Dukes of P2 and Triticum are officially equal, no one would make the mistake and treat them as such.

Noble titles are hereditary, usually to the first surviving child and their offspring. Again, heritage is sorted out differently from house to house, famously at gunpoint in House Dracon. Each Noble knows very well where he stands, and actually can tell exactly where he or she currently ranks in line to the Phoenix throne and probable dozens of other titles that may or may not be in reach. Genealogy is a very profitable profession in the Phoenix Empire.

Well, there is just enough backstabbing to keep the noble population as small as needed. And yes, we actually did loose two major houses in SW II, both were hunted down and killed to the last child by their enemies. It was a seriously messy business, but in times of war, there is no shortage of faithful followers to reward with some title and a speck of land.
So, while indeed noble lines can vanish overnight in a feud, there is no shortage at all of people more than willing to replace them, be it other families, houses or newly minted vassals.
(Anonymous) on August 16th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
And so, if my calculations are right, we have 625 Knights per planet (an approximate, of course, and mostly assuming one planet per duke which I'm sure is not always correct) which is probably quite adequate to maintain a fairly well-adjusted system of order as long as the population is relatively low - the bigger the city the more unrest and the more knights you'd need.

I wonder how much the emperor (and down the levels of nobility) more or less subtly encourages such skirmishes to keep their nobles under control so that they're too busy jockeying with each other to try to wrest more power from the people above them. Or is the empire young enough still that the emperor, at least, can rely on his people's awe and goodwill?

"Dukes of P2 and Triticum are officially equal" - now you've made me curious. I suppose the different major places etc will be explained in a later post, and I love that you can pull up examples from your world like that. It shows just how much you've thought about and how the stories I can see are just the tip of the iceberg.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 17th, 2011 09:39 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
Well, I've made some rough calculations, too, and there are close to 10.000 nobles average on each planet, as each one holding a title comes with a family.

Population density is generally very low. Remember that slaves (or rather serfs) make up more than 90% of the population and can't sustain dense settlements with their medieval technology. Of course, bigger cities have commoner guards working as police for the nobility. (Actually, the story I am currently working on will center around a police officer working in Imperial City. ^^)

A certain amount of infighting is surely encouraged, if only to weed out the weakest elements. The emperors so far have had very distinct styles of government, but that's also something for another post.

And oh yes, it is just the very tip of the iceberg.
Wait until we show you the chrystal caverns of Del'Morad, the vineyards of Shiraz, the beachfront restaurants of Malicorne, the endless wheat fields of Triticum, mysterious religious festivals in the caves of the Youh'Kai homeworld, or the snail farmers of Leichnam! And I haven't even started of the adventures of the Phoenix Knights! The exploration of alien and demonic Empires! Breakfast with the Emperor! Monsters under the opera! Kebab Shacks! Secret gardens! *breaks down with foam on his mouth*

Err... Sorry.
But I guess you can tell how much I am / we are looking forward to show you SO MUCH MORE!

osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on August 17th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2 - reply part two
Goodness, now that you've got me thinking, I can hardly stop.

How could I forget the singing sands of Finisterre?
Or the windmines of Bora Bora?
The golf-courses of Espen?
The towering jungles of Styx?
The Necropolis of Kismet?
The carnivorous forests of Serin?
Guild Central, the planet turned space station?
The deadly snowflakes of Pandora?
The mysterious Pyramids of Armana?
The junkyard-spacestation of Rostock?
The hollow planet of Cradan?

triptyxtriptyx on September 13th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
WOW!!! I am trying to catch up on my reading and this is fabulous! I will be coming back to this many times while reading your stories! Thank you!

When a slave tries to commit suicide and fails, was he trying to steal from his owner? :S

And reading 'The Cruel Bride' I am trying to think just how have noble houses not become extinguished? How do you marry to have heirs, when its politically correct in the example of Thomar and Lady Jelena, that the Lady Jelena assassinates him after marrying? O_o We have Leeshas parents that actually seem to have warm, nurturing feelings for his son!!! It would seem that its more conductive to further your own house if you dont foment backstabbing inside your family? :S
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 14th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
First of all, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! It's already real fun for me to write all this down, and you're making it even better.

Yes, a suicidal slave is trying to steal from his owner. It is an unfortunately well-known practise to whip (or flog, or whatever) the corpse of a slave who took his own life just to make a point.

On the 'healthy' amount of competition among the nobles of a house there are about as many opinions as there are houses, plus a few more. House Dracon is renowned (notorious) for its no-holds-barred approach to the subject, other houses are much more restrained in this regard. House Cournicova might be called supportive, even. Leesha's immediate family is a big exception in the game, and much more dangerous than many people think.
Within House Dracon, though, it is assumed to be the best for the house if only the strongest, most cunning leaders survive, and each one below them has a fair shot at supplanting them. This attitude killed a lot of Dracon, but it also made them the ruling House of the Empire.

As I mentioned elsewhere - while the average slave has a life expectancy of a little below 30 years, the average commoner will live up to 80 years, more or less. And even though some Nobles are known to have lived for several centuries, the average noble lifespan is about 65 years only. Politics is a deadly game in the Phoenix Empire. ^^
triptyxtriptyx on September 15th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you!

Mhh, but even if its savage and disgusting, is that 'punishment' really a deterrent to suicide? :S Because, well you are dead... I was thinking of the threat the Duchess made to Wes in 'His First Assignment', I really wouldnt care, the whole guild can go hang themselves from the ~shame~, but I would be out of years of torture. Seeing now what Robert suffered, and the 'promise' of Lady Jelena, when Robert would be hers, to allow him to heal, just to break him again? :S :S Thats my idea what happened to Wes for YEARS?!! :S O_O I know there is our underlining wish to live and humans have proven to be good at going through hell with the slightest of hope, but...

I remember you calling the Emperor and his Consort a 'bag of worms' you are trying to avoid, but I look forward to seeing more of them, they do sound interesting! :D

I also never answered when I was asking if Thomar and Robert would meet Leesha and Wes and you pointed out the timeline! I then realized that 26 years of difference! O_o Sorry, I had not paid as much attention as I should have to the timeline, but now I see that apart of the fact that the Duke of Aylian meeting with what in those years could be the Emperor is a little bit improbable (even though with Thomar I dont know if something doesnt happen just because its against the probabilities, he is Duke even being the youngest son given to demons!) and well the fact that Wes even being Leeshas slave would be VERY much above the life expectancy which makes me fear that maybe he isnt around anymore! And that the whole setting is full of spoilers that you dont wish to disclose, but we will hopefully learn about in more stories! :)

Well I rambled a lot! And it all reduces to more stories please! :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 16th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
No, it's absolutely no deterrant, for exactly the reason you stated. It's cruel and only inciting more troubles from other slaves, but that still doesn't keep it from happening.

The threat that Duchess Ornella used worked *only* because Wes was indeed an A-Class courtesan. He was picked for his dedication to his job, and his will to excel in any task assigned. Nobody else might have cared, but shaming their guild for a courtesan like Wes is indeed worse than what happened to him. There is a reason Lady Ornella paid a literal King's ransom for him.

Emperor Gregorius and his Consort are, well, special. Don't know if we'll ever get to see them in a story, but they are very close to my heart.

About Wes and Robert meeting, I can only say that they definitely will meet, and we'll be live on site when it happens. ^^ It might not be the most auspicious reason for them meeting, but never the less it's something we can all look forward to.

And about Wes' age - as you rightly noted, the life expectancy of 30 years is for *average* slaves. But as we all know, Wes is way beyond average, I'd even go so far as to say he is a class of his own. Don't worry. Only a little bit.^^
triptyxtriptyx on September 20th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
Ahh OK, because I would have found it strange if all slaves had that kind of dedication to his job like Wes! Because I insist, after reading what can happen in one day at the hands of a noble like Lady Jelena, who likes to break the slaves just to put them through it again and again :S :S :S

Heee I so look forward to that meeting! :D And I was going over 'The Pleasure Cruise' and began thinking if the Prince that is anxious that he couldnt find his slave and Beryll explained he is the 'artist' of the family and his mother gave him that slave because he is an empath and can "balance" him, well is he brother to Leesha or the emperor of Leeshas time? >:D I know, totally spoilery question, no need to answer, its just when I was really conscious of the time gap between Leesha and Thomar, and the fact as that the Prince is just mentioned as 'the brother of the Emperor' and the fact that we see Leesha's mother uncommonly invested in the wellbeing of her son(s?) and them having proper slaves... >:D ;)

And keeping on in bombarding you with questions: How does the earring code really work, because even if its considered vandalism against the owner, I cant see that it can be a real deterrent for nobles like Lady Jelena to just rape or torture a slave, even if the earring says "dont touch" loud and clear. They can always say 'oops I broke your toy, how much do I owe you'? So the absolute faith Robert, and Wes also, put in being marked as dont touch is for me a lot of faith! We saw (heard, imagined) what happened to the demon lord with the tentacles, but someone another noble, would he have suffered that kind of retribution also?

Sorry again for inundating you with questions! Thanks!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 21st, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
First of all - I (we) LOVE your questions! It gives us the opportunity to talk about one of our pet subjects and improve our stories at the same time. So, by all means, never hold back.

The Emperor's brother is full of spoilers, honey.

Earring code
That's why each slave gets two earrings, one depicting his level of availability and the other one the rank of his owner. So everyone can decide if angering that owner is worth the trouble. If the slave's owner is below you in rank, it means a 'vandalizing' noble would have nothing to fear except another minor noble angry at him. Across houses, there would be already the danger of souring the climate to a point that vendettas erupt, with a lot of dead people on both sides, and usually that is a sufficient deterrent.

In the case of Thomar and Lady Elena, it would have helped greatly if she had harmed Robert without Thomar's consent - then he would have been able to chop her head off with no fear of repercussion. But the solution they chose in the end was much more elegant and a neat deterrent to all other potential gold diggers out there.

In the case of Wesley, who is 'under the claw of the Dragon', as his status is also called, things are very simple - you just don't anger the Emperor. If, for example, a duke were to harm Wesley, he would have disobeyed a direct order of the Emperor. ('Don't touch' as stated through the clear earring.) Even if the Emperor didn't personally care for Wes, he would have to hit back hard merely to not appear weak or indulging - and the wrath of an Emperor is a nasty thing. This might include killing the offending dukes family, selling his property (which is a whole planet, mind you), selling the duke to slavery and buying him himself to torture him for the next decade. Or something else a little more creative.

So, while harming a slave is no big business legally, ignoring an order of another noble can have consequences of truly apocalyptic proportions.