The line of succession was a lengthy one for the Lionsgold and they ruled for the longest time one after the other. However in the mid 1200’s the Lionsgolds fell into a series of catastrophic events: They lost the battles of Twelve Days and The Last Ghurrahl Crown which saw them lose control of key nodal points along with the loss of huge numbers of innocents. At the same time they lost contact, through no fault of their own, with the Orsai Bank for nearly three years, and refused to swell Basanic coffers leading to huge levels of poverty and starvation.
They were in reign as the Churches split and the “Dark Churches” formed through the will of the Devourer. They fell directly under the control of the Blackwoods and the Lions Pride, a stain that would last for many years, and during this time were discovered to be taking part in blood ritual and sacrifice. There was a bloody revolution that lasted almost three months in which several minor families were put to death after blame was shunted onto them but enough time was given for the Lionsgold to abdicate with some grace and direct fire at others.
It was during this time of turmoil that the Golden Table was called upon to elect a Prime Minister, a leading member of the guildic community, who would run the country. This was unheard of, the aristocracy had fallen so low that there was no-one among their ranks that would step in to take up the reigns. The chalice was poisoned and would remain so for many centuries to come and no-one was ready to drink from it. This process lasted almost five years but led to intense tension between the Guildsfolk and the nobility, whilst it would have seemed that the aristocracy were willing to let another organisation control the country in this time of crisis they had not expected them to be competent.
The Guilders controlled a lot of power and popularity and they had a level of wealth that wasn’t usually seen in the Basin. They were also largely fair and looked far more to the people. However they were split by their beliefs and the fact that they were not used to such power nor the diplomacy that came with the role. Equally many nobles sat among their number and were less than willing to listen to the “Prime Minister”. The Nobles controlled land, tradition, labour and their own wealth: They held armies that were loyal to them and only a third of them represented the Lionsgold. They were not keen for a guildic led government and actively lobbied against it.
With Civil War looming votes were taken by the small folk, the nobles and the guilds which led to a situation whereby the governance of the Royal Basin would flow along the lines of: The Ruling Family or Monarchy would be allowed to hold a degree of power and be responsible for organising and running the Golden Table and the Nobles Council holding ultimate responsibility for the ruling of the Land. This includes leading the armed forces, diplomatic envoys, appointing senior positions and of course, maintaining impartiality between the guilds, the nobles etc.
The Primeminister and the Tables would fall just beneath them with each Table being represented by a Minister at the Golden Table, including the Mercantile groups. The Prime Minister became responsible for organising the Guilds and Merchants and all of the various factions of the Royal Basin. They answer only to the Monarch and are on a parallel with the Aristocracy of the land who themselves are the heads of various families supporting the heads of their bigger families and eventually the Heads of Houses who organise land management, taxation and the maintenance of armies. They are incredibly powerful and command respect through the tradition of their families. They answer only to the Monarch and are on a parallel with the Primeminister and the Tables.
The Colleges and The Churches were always the holders of the reigns of magical power in the land and often at political war with each other. The Colleges Guard the World from supernatural threats in a way that the Churches never could and control and regulate the flow of power across the land. The Churches were responsible for the souls of the people and their position in the hereafter as well as interpreting the will of the Deities who represent the living and changing face of The Royal Basin. These two powerhouses are known to have the direct ear of many monarchs of the past and have had heavy influence over both the Golden Table and the Aristocracy. However they technically fall between the Table/Aristocracy and the Guild folks.
The Guilds – This sprawling community were generally considered to be a law unto themselves: Roaming the land and dispensing justice without fear or consequence to their action. This changed in 2012 when Quinn Shadowreaver introduced the Charters and introduced all guilds as representatives to the Tables of the Royal Basin. Since then the Guilders have become a more organised force for chaos in the world and begun to understand how powerful they truly are. They are the enforcers of the laws, spoken and unspoken, that all those in positions of power around them must obey. Heavens forbid that they perceive that power is being abused or wrongs done against the people of the land because if they did the guilds would rise as one and that would spell the end for the perpetrator. They are considered, standardly, on a par with the Mercantile folk of the world.
One of the largest surprises of the day was the sudden and immediate rise of the power of the Mercantile houses and factions. It quickly surfaced that the sponsorship of the guilds was behind the strengthening of both of their positions and that a marriage between the two had been formed in ignorance of the Aristocracy. Accusations flew surrounding a planned coup by the aristocracy and the Torakaylin were quick to point to corruption, through wealth, of many guilds. There were raids against prominent Guildic families by the smaller noble families, blood was shed and the cry of “murder” heard in the streets. It was clear that the aristocracy were moving to remove the strength that the pairing had found but they failed and despite the deaths going, openly, unanswered, the Merchant Houses found their position ratified.
Money and the power of supply and demand is at the beck and call of the many Merchant factions that sprawl across the Royal Basin. Originally this was a Basin only club but bizarrely, given their general jingoism, the many operations now include setups from across Daer Akmir and even further. The mercantile function is to organise and distribute the flow of wealth and goods across the Royal Basin and to ensure that smooth and easy trade flows across borders under a unified market model which means consistent taxation of goods and so forth. Whilst they may not command the physical and magical might of the guilds they have the ability to bring commerce and therefore the country to its knees should they choose to although this would be at considerable risk to their own powerbase.
This situation worked and became the model that is still used today between the six Duchies even though the alliance of the Aristocracy and the Tables is often an uneasy one. The Lionsgold were deposed and fell into obscurity of a sorts: They still maintained the holdings of their lands and power over their lesser lines but their power at court and the like was destroyed and whilst they would rebuild it that process would take some long time. During this time the Torakaylins had some success at Court and the installation of leadership but it was not to last long. The decision was made by the aristocracy to install a system of voting to decide which family would be made the monarchs and also that whoever was made so would renege their right to draw power from their land and their followers during their tenure.
This favoured the Lionsgold as was and had their mark all over it because it allowed them to circumnavigate their unofficial exile from court. This ruling opened the way for ANY family that held ANY claim to the aristocracy to assume the Throne in a move that would allow the North family, some years later to assume the role of Monarch. This led to the creation of the North family as a major noble family and even though Dazak was deposed (the first time) on account of being born outside of the Basin his deeds and his nature meant that the family remained and he became a Duke. So after a long stranglehold of power the Lionsgolds were directly out of power and no longer held the strength that they once did, at least openly.
Their presence was summed up by the Historian Fenalik as follows: “They had been embedded, like a tick, at the top of the tree for a long, long time sucking on the lifeblood of the Basin.” Whilst that may or may not be true what can certainly be said is that in order to gain position in the world, for twelve hundred or so years, any family had to go through the Lionsgold which meant favour. Some of those markers had been called in which left some families free and out of debt and others, specifically from the Natheron family tree, had no such interest and refused the leg up the ladder. Equally the Torakaylin related families often didn’t care or were better at playing the manipulation game than the Lionsgold which led to situations like the Lionspride and the Blackwood family.
When they were overthrown and the world around them was reordered that was a blow to the system, unprecedented in fact. They had expected the people that owed them to support them. That’s not to say that they didn’t but the current regime, at that time, of Lionsgold had grown so complacent, decadent and reliant on lesser houses to do their dirty work that they dropped the ball and lost their power. To such an extent that they couldn’t immediately regain it and that even their markers vs. the state that they had left the Basin in meant that the incumbent debtors would have rather faced their ire than the riots in the street.Equally their veneer of power was stripped away enough that a lot of houses could see the weakness and rot at their core enough that the fear of the house that they once had vanished.
Families like: Dasmamacas, Ataxis and Hertisan along with all those that owed fealty to them made decisions to break faith with the Lionsgold: The markers that were held over them were neither scandalous nor monetary and despite the handshakes and the power given they chose to step away from the Lionsgold and make alliances elsewhere. The concept of the three Great Houses, rather than three families served by two lesser ones, was born here. Despite the Lionsgold over-family being served by the Natheron and the Torakaylin due to their wealth and land ownership. This is the time that the lines were drawn and houses that were bound to the Lionsgold strengthened their ties to other houses and different Duchies became strongholds of different families.
It is specifically why the different fiefdoms that belong to different Houses are scattered across the Basin: They were all once allied to the Lionsgold and now spread their power elsewhere. With all that said and standing they still had enough power to influence the world around them and as has been stated a number of other families were burnt to keep the Lionsgold out of the fire: Hallik, Castarmatar and Thorn were all put to death to assuage the population in their name. This was enough that families like Dasmamacas and Shadowmane all had tenures of leadership, monarchy, which many knew, was the will of the Lionsgold but equally served to enhance the reputation and power levels of those families.
These changes led to the action that we all know and love in and around the Golden Council, the leaders of the country and the rise and fall of several powers.
More information can be found in The Future of the Aristocracy.