A Pause for Imperialism [19 Hivvem 4261]
Me:"You're a whole emperor?"
Me:"That means you outrank Prince Nestrune?"
Jrakh:"Technically, yes. In practice, I'm with the low-grade barons, here, except when exotic counts for something."
Thelvion:"And you're married to three primes of three different species?"
Mintiet:"How does that work?"
The actual conversation was pretty confused and boggled. Here's how it works.
- Dlesty is an empire, which is to say, five (in this case) city-states, all of them conquered by the single city-state of Dlesty Mene.
- Dlesty Mene is a republic, with occasional democratic tendencies. It has a four-chambered senate which has most of the power, one chamber for each of the four populous species. Gormoror vote with Cani (which makes no difference). The one Zi Ri can visit any chamber any time zie wants, and harangue people, which zie does about once a decade. Sleeth and Khtsoyis don't get any votes. The other countries that Dlesty has conquered don't get to vote, though two of them have advisory powers to the senate.
- Dlesty's figurehead-of-state is a four-person sacred marriage, heiros gamos, of one person of each of the four populous species. Jrakh is the Rassimel one. A heiros gamos rules as long as all four members live. When one dies, the next generation gets married and assumes power ... well ... powerlessness. Jrakh has been Emperor for six years, though she's only performed her actual imperial duties once year.
Those imperial duties are:
- Jrakh accepts tribute from the subject states. Not taxes -- one of her spouses is nominally in charge of taxes. Every year there's a ceremony in which the dukes of the conquered states humble themselves in front of Jrakh, and present her with great riches. Which she then donates to the citizens of Dlesty.
- She is the tiebreaking vote in the Rassimal Senate.
- If Dlesty conquers another city-state, she will ceremonially kill the duke of that state as part of the ceremonies of humiliation. After which, of course, the duke will be healed back to life and given a new title as subject duke. She expects to do this twice in the next decade or so. "And that's not giving away any state secrets. My Cani wife is nominally the Commander-In-Chief, but she doesn't have any more to do with the military than I do with the government. I just know what I read in the broadsheets."
- She and/or her spouses show up ceremonially at a variety of events; e.g., the start of most big sporting events, and the groundbreaking for civic buildings, and such as that.
- She and her spouses ceremonially open each year of the senate. In a way that really works a lot better if they're married.
Whiskey:"So ... you screw a Herethroy, a Cani, and an Orren in front of the most important people in your country?"
Jrakh:"yes" She sounded hideously embarrassed, not that I blame her.
Whiskey cheered and bounced around on the tables. "Yay, the kingdom entirely entirely ruled by traff!"
Jrakh:"No, you've got more of that in Vheshrame than we ever did."
Jrakh:"Well, most of the upper classes at least flirt with everyone, and some have flings. With us it's just the heiros gamos -- anyone else doing it would be considered to be undemocratic. To be acting like the imperial family. It's absolutely not done."
Jrakh:"Well, it's absolutely kept secret, maybe. There'd never be a club like this."
Esory:"Jrakh? If you don't mind a very personal question..."
Jrakh:"Not at all."
Esory:"How do you feel about your spouses?"
Jrakh:"Dear. Very dear. I know what you're asking, though: am I really transaffectionate, or just a heirogamist? I don't really know. Loving them can be a lot of work, just like any arranged marriage."
We did our best to understand and sympathize, for a whole ninth of an hour, until Whiskey decided that this petty little emperor who wasn't him had been the center of attention for too long.