I did not get this blog post pre-written & scheduled, sadly. And I’ve been distracted watching the weather through the window this morning as well, because WTF we have a tornado warning in JANUARY? Tornadoes may be normal in Oklahoma . . . but not until April.
It still hasn’t started raining yet. Need rain, please, clouds! Damp soil needed for garden prep . . . please work with me on this!
WHOOT! NVM, as soon as I finished typing that sentence, it started raining!
Day 2 – History & Politics
Okay, history and politics today . . .
We’re going to start with a mini-interview with one of my secondary-in-book-one characters that will become a main character in book 2.
So everyone, meet Zareja. Those of you who have followed me for a while will remember what a PAIN she was back in February/March as I was coming up with the plot & outline for Undoing.
She has since become a force to be reckoned with . . .
*Rebekah dons interview suit, sets out two cups of jirn (Zareja’s favorite morning drink), and smiles at Zareja before flipping through bio and questions.*
Rebekah: Good morning, Lady Zareja!
Zareja: *gives a subdued smile while reaching for the steaming drink* Good morning.
R: So it says here in my paperwork that you are fort-
*Zareja gives a scathing glare.*
R: No ages, got it. Moving along . . . so, you’re married to the Rashan Taphim, the head judge of the Kashtophim. The two of you have three grown sons, also judges. You’ve recently discovered he’s been having an affair – with a Rishka woman, no less. There are some sordid details in your own past as well – a late daughter Taphim still doesn’t know about, and an affair of your own.
R: You are planning an uprising, and according to the preliminary questions, you are avoiding calling it a revolution for now in an attempt to keep things peaceful as long as possible. What is your goal with this uprising?
Z: To expose the truth and corruption of the Kashtophim Empire to its citizens. The Rishka annihilation was only the first step – any sane person could see that when looking at our history. If we wait until the Empire has subdued all the other lands and peoples, we will be too late to stop our own subjection.
R: Are you going to overthrow the Kashlin and install a new government or is there something else you’re reaching for?
Z: The Kashlin will have to be overthrown, there is no choice. All of the nobles – but especially him – are too dependent on the shilaken elixirs. That is my personal goal – the elixirs are my burden of guilt, like the Rishka have become Taphim’s . . . though his appointment as Rashan was my own manuevering, as well. But ultimately, the source of both the shilaken and the Rishka annihilation was the greed and lack of self-discipline of all the Kashtophim. The very foundation of our society must be re-made for any change to be realized.
R: Who will play key roles, and what will those roles be?
Z: It is my greatest hope that Taphim will stand by my side through all this. I think . . . after he has finished grieving for the Rishka woman – I don’t know her name. I don’t know if I could handle knowing her name right now. – that he will. He has just as much reason to see this uprising through as I do.
Otherwise, I’m not sure yet, but I think I have the protection of Kashlinez Sarana. I have also worked extensively the past several years to set up my own informants throughout the land. I have approximately a third of the noble houses on my said, waiting my signal for action.
I also have spies and informants in place throughout Lyzen, Anellic, In’la, and Eroiam, and I have several mercenaries and influential officials from those countries who have agreed to ally themselves with my goals. My next task is starting negotiations with the Sconnelans. My vassal, Taxen, will be in charge of those proceedings.
R: Why Taxen?
Z: Because he is Sconnelan.
*Rebekah’s imaginary assistant interrupts the interview, bringing a message for Zareja, who reads it quietly.*
Z: I am sorry, but I must end the interview here. There is a matter requiring my attention.
R: Of course. Thank you for your time, Lady Zareja!
Rishka – The race the Kashtophim descended from. The Rishka did not die out, but rather were hunted to extinction by the Kashtophim.
Kashlin – The ruler of the Kashtophim Empire.
Kashlinez – The Kashlin’s wife.
Basic overview of the Kashtophim Empire:
It was established almost 4,000 years ago, after the first battle with the Rishka.
It encompasses, at the current time, about 21,000 square miles of territory. It was larger in the past, before the Sconnelan rebellion.
The government is split up into three areas: the Nobility, the Judiciary, and the Military.
The Kashlin is the direct descendant of Kash, the man who incited the anti-Rishka movement. If that line dies out, the next in line is the most powerful noble house. The Kashlinez has some political power, but it is very limited.
The nobility are direct descendants of Kash’s sons and daughters. Some lines have died out, over time, but there are currently 17 nobles of inherited rank. Rank goes to the firstborn child, regardless of gender. Their spouse does not inherit that rank if the noble dies, it follows the nearest of kin. (Unless, of course, the person on inherited rank married their nearest kin . . . which is not an issue we’re going to deal with here.)
When one marries higher than their rank, they gain the privileges of that rank, but not the authority.
The Judiciary is in charge of all the law-making, punishment and control of criminals, and for working with the military, especially in times of war.
The Rashan has almost as much power as the Kashlin – mainly because he holds the authority to execute judgments of life or death over every Kashtophim citizen, including the Kashlin in some cases.
Besides the Rashan, there are ten other minor judges making up the structure of the judiciary. The Rashan appoints his own successor from among them, dependent on the approval of the Kashlin.
During times of war, the Rashan is the one in command of the military. The Kashans (generals, essentially) answer to the Rashan, and the Rashan answers to the Kashlin. The minor judges are also required to serve in war, usually starting with a rank of Kalan (more info below).
The military keeps a standing army of at least 4,000 men at all times, with the power to conscript soldiers whenever it is necessary. Normally, they would have a larger force, but they are still recovering from the beating they took about 15 years ago in the Sconnelan rebellion.
Basic structure of the military is:
The Kashlin, who is in charge of all.
The Rashan, who answers only to the Kashlin during times of war. During times of peace, he is merely a consultant to the Kashans.
The Kashans are the ones who are really in charge – they are career officers, essentially, who have worked their way up through the ranks and know the ins and outs of what is going on with the enlisted men. There are always five Kashans. This amount is non-negotiable.
Each Kashan has two Kazash (we’re just going to pretend this word is plural, to make it easier to read) that answer to him. This number can change, depending on how many enlisted/conscripted men there are. But the minimum is two.
Every Kazash has four Kalan answering to him. Each Kalan has a 1st Kashten, a 2nd Kashten, and 50 non-promoted Kashten reporting to them.
Kashten is the basic rank that every soldier begins at.
The Kashten are the ones who make up the royal guard, and the dungeon guards. Only the Kashlin and his family, and the Rashan and the minor judges get a royal guard. The nobles are responsible for acquiring their own guards.
The “police” force is also outside the military, though in situations involving the military they must answer to the commanding officer. They would be the last to be conscripted in war times, since they maintain peace within the borders.
Have I made your head burst yet?
Don’t worry, you’ll find out more info about the shilaken and jirn later in the week.