The kingdom of Seran Caelthas
Seran Caelthas is the largest kingdom in South-Eastern Mernalt and a rising power in the politics and trade of the continent as a whole. Founded by the Caenor Elves after their arrival on the isle of Caeros, Seran Caelthas has since expanded to include the Gwaenor regions on the western shores of the Ailin Bay, the Domravin who inhabit the northwestern shore of the Ailin Bay, and the the Ghine people who live on the Sconieg peninsula. Seran Caelthas also includes numerous lesser human tribes, exiled dwarves and other monstrous humanoids who live within the territory belonging to the Elven King.
Seran Caelthas is a kingdom and is ruled by its high-king Irhaal Nueleth , though all but the highest ranking nobles are expected to use his honorific title_ Aranwe Sairweg _ , the enduring king. Aranwe Sairweg is either the sixth or eighth king of Seran Caelthas, depending on whether you include the two uncrowned Aranwe who ruled briefly but were never formally coronated. Though Sairweg is far from the first Aranwe to rule Seran Caelthas he is by far the most significant, and has ruled over the land for 632 of its 706 years.
Caenor legal culture shuns contracts and views formal limits on the power of authority as a sign of mistrust. The model relationship in Caenor politics is the otorn, which refers to the bond between adoptive father and son. In an otorn a young elf pledges obedience to an older elf whom he wishes to mentor him. Otorne are based on absolute trust, a legal contract does not make sense in an intimate familial bond. The otorn is supported by immense social pressure, an abusive father figure or disobedient son are both shunned.
A male elf becomes a full adult when they adopt their own son, though this does not break their previous relationship and they simultaneously occupy the position of father and son in separate otorn. The condition of having immense power over, and responsibility for, someone at the same time a different person has power over and responsibility towards you, is believed to be the key to proper moral functioning in caenor society. It gives individuals enough power to necessitate responsibility while preventing anyone from being able to exercise power without consequences.
This relationship form the model for the legal structure of the kingdom the Caenor founded, Seran Caelthas. Many elves of high status can trace a chain of otorne from themselves to the King himself, making him in a sense the literal father of the realm. When an elf is left fatherless by death they swear an aratorn to the king or another powerful elf, in order to keep a connection to the king. Gwaenor elves do not have the otorn social structure, as they rely on biological rather than adoptive fatherhood, but the oldest living member of every family is still expected to swear an aratorn to the king or local noble. Theoretically all elves are related to the king either directly through otorne , or indirectly through aratorne, the Caenor word for citizen, caun, is therefore related to their word for prince ( caundo ).
Groups who cannot or do not enter into otorn or aratorn therefore cannot be full citizens of Seran Caelthas. This includes Caenor women, who do not enter into otorn but have their own separate social structures, and non-elves who are rarely if ever adopted by an elven father. Lack of full citizenship does not indicate a complete absence of rights, non-elves and elven women are the only groups that have formal codes of law enshrining basic rights (though these are structured as a personal contract between the King and all members of a specific group). In exchange for those codes they lose the right to own land or rule over others. Legally guaranteed rights violate the perfect trust that constitute an otorn and prevent non-elves and women from achieving the proper moral state for rulership, which can be reached only by simultaneously giving and receiving complete trust and obedience.
Seran Caelthas has no formal constitution, all land technically belongs to the king, and citizens have no rights the throne is bound to respect. Despite the enormous power Aranwe Sairweg formally possesses, he has remained king for so long because he has allowed the growth of customs which produce de-facto delegation of power. Aranwe Sairweg consistently consults with the heads of the leading noble families, and encourages them to consult with their vassals in turn. Though he is under no legal obligation to seek the approval of his vassals for any action, Aranwe Sairweg has always done so and has suppressed conflict within the ruling aristocracy.