This article reflects recent canon updates.
The government of Absalom consists of the Grand Council, which is chaired by the Primarch, a position held by Wynsal Starborn since the disappearance of Lord Gyr of House Gixx several years prior to 4719 AR. Management of the individual city districts is handled by the 12 district councils, which meet within their respective quarters. Absalom's great wealth is driven by trade, so the city's rulers strive to craft policies favorable to commerce (and their own interests), but otherwise take a relatively laissez-faire approach to regulation. Taxes in the city are very light, although Siege Taxes during wartime may be significantly higher. There are no property taxes, although the city charges for access to roads, sanitation, and other public infrastructure. Modest taxes on foreign merchants are generally sufficient to supply the city's needs.
Grand Council of Absalom
The Council has twelve high seats (including the Primarch's) and a variable number of low seats. Attaining a high seat requires nothing more than showing one of twelve magical cornucopias which act as seals of office at an annual meeting. These positions are generally held by powerful merchants, important religious figures, and members of the aristocracy. Seats of the Low Council are decided by High Council vote annually and members of the Low Council typically hold minor or unglamorous bureaucratic positions. Member of the Low Council generally come from prominent families, or are prominent office holders. More notable titles such as Exchequer of the Taxation, Justice of the Courts, Trade Minister and Sea Lord are reserved for High Council members.
The Grand Council as a whole votes on all matters of state except those denoted as "Matters of Note", which are debated and decided by the High Council only. Of course, whether an issue is a Matter of Note is itself a Matter of Note, meaning that the High Council can take over any issue that a majority of them wish to rule on.
Each district is represented in the Low Council by at least one seat and each of Absalom's vassal-cities also receive two seats, appointed by their governments. A number of low seats are also handed out to fill whatever duties the High Council feels need representation. Currently the Absalom Low Council has 49 members making the entire Grand Council a total of 61 seats.
Members of the High Council
Members of the Low Council
- Brythen Blood, Petal District district seat, retired Second Spell Lord
- Lady Darchana of House Madinani, Senior Lesser Councilwoman, Second Spell Lord of Absalom, Archdean of the Arcanamirium
- Darabele Fairwind, Flotsam Graveyard district seat
- Jostlin Ferqyr, Ivy District district seat
- Scion Lord Haimon Hueff of House Mercerene, Eastgate district seat
- Brivit Nae, Wise Quarter district seat, Head Librarian of the Forae Logos and guildmaster of the Scrivener's Guild
- Scion Lord Rogren Sphairo of House Menchemes, Westgate district seat
- Wynsal Starborn, Azlanti Keep district seat, retired Captain of the First Guard (now Acting Primarch; replacement unknown).
- Evigail of House Wycomb, Green Ridge district seat
Primarch of Absalom
- The word primarch redirects here, but it is used as a governmental title in other places as well, such as Galt.
The Primarch has additional privileges unique to the position, granting his considerable power over the Council, and by corollary the City at the Center of the World itself. The position is held for life and a Primarch cannot name a successor. It is within his power to veto any political appointment from a member of the High Council taking a specific position to the creation of a new low seat. He is also the only person capable of calling the High Council to meet and can thus hold the government of the city hostage unless his demands are met.
Traditionally, the Primarch also holds the position of Sea Lord, though this is the decision of the Primarch, and Lord Gyr currently holds the title of First Spell Lord instead. The primarch's official residence is located in the Wise Quarter.
District councils of Absalom
Each district of Absalom is governed by a local council that is headed by a nomarch, except the Petal District council, where the title of "satrap" used. The nomarch is appointed by the Low Council and must be approved by the Primarch. The nomarch of each council also sits on the Low Council of Absalom, but may not sit on the Grand Council due to the Reborn Rebellion of 1464 AR. Each council has its own rules and traditions, influenced by the cultural heritage of the district's residents, and operates independently, although the Grand Council can overrule any local decision.
Military & law enforcement
Absalom is defended by a complicated web of military and law enforcement organizations, each of which has differing mandates. The First Guard serves as Absalom's army. They man the city's walls, gates, and forts and protect it from external threats. The Starwatch is a military, intelligence, and law enforcement organization headquartered at Starwatch Keep outside the city. They enforce the Grand Council's decrees, investigate crimes that cross district lines, and look into misconduct by the city's other military and law enforcement groups. The Absalom navy is the largest of the military branches and protects the city from attacks by sea and also oversees the hippocampus-mounted Wave Riders. Finally, the various district guards or watches investigate crimes committed only within the various districts of the city.
Politics in Absalom is a complicated and sometimes dangerous business, as the primarch, Grand Council, Low Council, and district councils constantly vie for power and control against one another. In addition to the acutal members of government, various factions and noble houses also manipulate how the city is run from deciding who sits on the Low Council to the price of onions. This perpetual conflict is known as the Shadow War, and those who are well versed in its intricacies are aware that every actor in a civil squabble within the city often has countless political or social agendas.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
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