The kingdoms are an amalgam of nine great nations (there were only 7 nations in the original treatise – the West Kingdom has since split into two kingdoms, North and South, and Cymbryll later joined in the 3rd Century YS). These great nations came together in a time of strife, fourteen centuries ago during the Nokol invasion and the subsequent War of The Standard (named for the singular banner that all eight countries adopted, and were victorious under). The alliance nearly disbanded in the years after the war, and were it not for the aggressive Phthyan Empire and their militant expansion for territory. In the subsequent centuries, the Free Kingdoms have expanded slightly, securing borders against the Imperial occupied territories of Boeotia and Io, who currently pose no threat and are struggling to free themselves from Imperial occupation.
The Free Kingdoms each have their own ruler, and most are hereditary monarchies. Each of the individual nations’ leaders present one High Councilor, usually a wizard, to serve on the High Council. Religious leaders are prohibited from holding council seats. The High Council is led by the High King, an appointed position. The High King is chosen from among the Noble Houses from one of the individual nations, and may reign no longer than five years. The High Council, by tradition, is responsible for the election of the High King, and the current tradition is to ballot amongst themselves, winner by majority vote. In case of ties (due to absences or abstentions), the outgoing High King holds the deciding vote, thought he does not get an initial vote. A particular individual may not succeed himself, but it has been known for certain High Kings to become re-elected in alternating reigns. The longest reign was held by High King Charles the Just, who served four non-consecutive, five year terms.
In case of the death of the preceding High King, a special election is held within one week of his death, and the High Council deliberates, choosing a replacement to carry out the current term.
The High King’s seat of power is located in Castle Montaigne, City of Montaigne, Province of the Four Corners, a city located in a deep valley where the boundaries of four of the nations intersect. The City of Montaigne is a sovereign state, and officially forms the tenth great nation of the Free Kingdoms.
The High Council members usually reside at their own homes, serving their Lieges, and travel to Castle Montaigne for regular council sessions, when summoned by the High King for advice, and in time of emergency. Each palace of every King in the realm contains a Gateroom, a heavily defended chamber which contains magical portals, allowing the men and women of the High Council near instantaneous access to travel. These gates are always two way, and lead to the Royal Gateroom in Castle Montaigne. Individual gaterooms have portals leading to other locales as well. These portals are expensive to maintain, so often the Kings restrict their usage. Many portals require activation, and some require magical keys attuned to them in order to function.
Standard of the Free Kingdoms
“While We Breathe, We Shall Defend”