In Spring 379YE, the senators of Wintermark presented the momentous decision of their nation to relinquish Skarsind. Liberated from the Thule orcs in late 377YE, Skarsind was the fourth territory of Wintermark, but the people wanted to offer it to the Imperial Orcs as a homeland in recognition of the friendship between the two nations, and of heroic deeds done on behalf of the threefold people by the orcs - including the orcs' role in the return of the Crown of Three Tears and the ending of the Bane of Tradition that had assailed them.
After scrutiny by the constitutional court, certain additional requirements were met but one remained outstanding - the requirement for a throne to ratify the decision. At the Autumn Equinox 379YE, the Imperial Favour of Empress Britta was used to allow the ratification of this motion in the absence of a Throne. The senate then chose to assign Skarsind to the Imperial Orcs.
The move has not proved universally popular, with naysayers in both Wintermark and among the orcs themselves. Yet with the decisive action of the Senate it seems that the orcs finally have a homeland, the right to elect a Senator to represent them, and the ability to finally participate fully in the business of the Empire.
There is one small element that is unresolved. The assignment of Skarsind took place during the final senate session of the Autumn Equinox, and so the Imperial Synod have a window of opportunity to employ their veto should they wish to do so. But there are some provisos.
The General Assembly has until the start of the first senate session on the Friday night of the Winter Solstice to secure the majority required to wield the veto. The conscience of the Senate would then be responsible for announcing that veto at the session. The opportunity to veto the relinquishment of Skarsind has passed, however, and ratification is not subject to the veto. They would only be able to veto the assignment of the territory to the Imperial Orcs. If they did so, the Senate would be able to raise a motion of assignment again during the Winter Solstice, but there would be no requirement for them to name the Imperial Orcs as the recipient of the territory. Indeed, they could assign it to any other Imperial nation.
Because the motion took place during the Autumn Equniox, this would count as the use of the veto from Autumn, not the use of the Winter Solstice veto. This is significant because the Synod can only veto one motion that is not constitutional each season - and while the relinquishment was constitutional, the assignment is not. However, if the Senate raised the assignment again this season following a successful use of the veto, the Synod would again be able to seek the veto using the ability to do so for this season.
No member of the Synod informed the civil service of their intention to seek the veto during the Autumn Equinox so their assumption is that the motion should proceed without complication. As such, the last three months have seen large numbers of Imperial Orcs moving to Skarsind to begin their new lives. If the motion is vetoed, then further efforts to help the orcs claim the territory will cease until the Senate and Synod are able to reach an accord once more.
The Imperial Orcs now have a territory of their own and are able to lay down roots. This means a number of significant changes to their nation.
Life is Precious
Following the ratification, a great exodus of orcs across the Empire begins. The civil service have spent the last three months helping every Imperial Orc transfer their holdings to Skarsind. Funds carefully collected and hoarded by bonesetters against the day when the orcs had a homeland are brought into play.
We have moved the personal resource of every Imperial Orc character to Skarsind. There is no charge for this to happen, and the Imperial Orcs have not suffered any loss of upgrade. The cost to do so is below the abstraction layer, assumed to have been covered by funds collected over the last fifty years to allow the orcs to claim their homeland. Individual players are welcome to roleplay that they have relocated their resource (even though this would normally not be possible), or had the assistance of the civil service or from claiming a new resource in Skarsind with the same characteristics of their old resource.
If any Imperial Orc player does not want to move their resource to Skarsind, they should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. They will need to name a specific Imperial territory where they want their resource to be from this point onwards. They will suffer the usual penalties for having a personal resource in a another nation's territory, and will not be eligible to vote in any senatorial elections.
The Summer Storm and the Winter Sun still play a significant role in the identity of the nation, and as before every Imperial Orc is expected to belong to one or the other of the armies. The main change we have made is during character creation the choice of which army to belong to is now a background question, rather than taking the place of the territory decision and have combined two existing question together. From the point of view of the setting, this is at least as significant a choice as a Wintermark player's choice of which tradition their character belongs to.
War is in our soul
The Imperial Orcs can now elect a senator to represent them in the Imperial Senate. After consultation with the Imperial Orc egregore, the civil service have determined a constitutionally valid process whereby to elect a senator. The outcome is as follows.
Any Imperial Orc citizen can stand for election as senator. Any Imperial Orc soldier who lives in the territory that is to be appointed can participate in the election. The egregore's decision to restrict the ability to vote to soldiers reflects the fact that the tens of thousands of Imperial Orcs are at heart a militaristic people. Their natural instinct is to fight, and it is something that they feel defines their essential nature.
In this case, the civil service recognises as a soldier any Imperial Orc who has the will to face the enemies of the Empire. If any orc wishes to question the right of another to claim the title of soldier, the egregore will arrange for them to show their will to fight in the fighting pit against an opponent of the egregores choosing. Once mettle has been proven, no further challenges will be accepted that summit.
Once the candidates have made themselves known, each in turn is invited to present an item of worth and explain its significance to the candidate or the nation. The egregore has recommended this method because the Orcs need to be represented by someone who can hold their own in an arena where debate and the ability to express oneself are key.
After each candidate has spoken, those orcs eligible to vote can place a weapon in front of the speaker they support. Once every orc has had their chance, the number of weapons is counted and the orc that has received the most becomes the new senator.
- Anyone can stand as senator
- Only people who are from the territory can vote
- voting is "any soldier of the Imperial Orcs" - if in doubt the egregore will arrange a pit fight
- They make a speech about an item of worth
- The voters place a weapon before their chosen candidate.
- Majority support takes the seat
Loyal to the core
Prior to the ratification, the Imperial Orcs had no senator to appoint their generals. The Imperial Constitution says that "The Senate will appoint a general for each army, but only where the will of the nation in this matter is not clear". With all other nations, the will of the nation was interpreted as the unanimous decision of the senators. Without any senators, a stop-gap method was used to present that will. Now that the Imperial Orcs have the ability to elect a senator, the constitutional court views the temporary resolution whereby the orcs fought for the right to be general is at an end.
From this point forward, all Imperial Orcs generals will be appointed by unanimous decision of the senators of the nation.
For the last five decades, the appointment of the Imperial Orc generals was determined by competition between warbands. Tradition is a powerful force, and it may be that the Imperial Orc nation wishes to continue the practice of fighting in the pit to identify who the best candidates for the title of general may be. However, it is important to realize that there is no legal requirement for the senator to accept this mechanism if they do not wish to do so. It is also possible for the senator to appoint a general who is not a member of the appropriate army (that is, a Summer Storm soldier could be general of the Winter Sun), though such an action might cause morale issues for the army.
The general of the Summer Storm will serve until their term ends (in Summer), they step down, die, or are revoked.The Winter Sun general is the same but is appointed annually at the Winter Solstice.
As with several things about the Imperial Orcs, the previous situation was an artifact of the unique position of possessing no territory of their own. Now that the orcs have a senator, this situation has obviously changed. We discussed extensively the idea that the senator would be appointed by the generals, but in the end we discarded the idea as unsatisfying. It would perpetuate a special situation for the Imperial Orcs, meaning they would continue to be an unconstitutional mess. A single senator appointing two generals may be peculiar, but it is entirely supported by other parts of the game and setting.
We are citizens
During Winter 376YE, the Imperial senate created the imperial title of Advisor on Orc Affairs. As a national Senate title, the responsibility for naming the advisor falls to unanimous decision of the Imperial Orcs senators.
While the title is obviously a little less relevant with an actual senator, it represents significant additional presence in the Senate for the Imperial Orcs. The ability to serve as a member of the senate and the right of address are in no way altered by the existence of an Imperial Orc senator. They still have the responsibility to advise the senate on matters relating to orcs - both Imperial and barbarian (although at present the Senate have not given the advisor the authority to negotiate with orc foreigners and barbarians on their behalf).
As with the generals, the current advisor on orc affairs will continue to serve until they step down, die, are revoked, or their tenure expires (at the Spring Equinox 380YE). From this time the new method of appointment will apply.
As with the generals, the situation where the generals were appointing the advisor on orc affairs was an aberration. With the ability to appoint a senator, the appointment of the advisor defaults to that senator.
We are building a nation
When Skarsind was liberated from the Thule, the Brilliant Shore was allocated as a national resource. This status has not been changed by the decision to relinquish and re-allocate Skarsind. The Brilliant Shore is now an Imperial Orc national seat on the Imperial Bourse. However, the steinr Joakim was assigned the resource in Summer 379YE. The civil service intends to raise an administrative motion with the Senate to determine whether they wish the Brilliant Shore to default to the Imperial Orcs immediately, or whether the Wintermark incumbent should continue to control the seat until it would next be assigned in Summer 380YE (or if they die or step down).
Once the seat is available for appointment again, whenever that takes place, the decision about who controls the Brilliant Shore will be made by the Imperial Orc captains of military units.
The offices of the Steel Fist have been relocated from Crown's Quay to Torfast in Southpine but the bourse seat is otherwise unaffected. It will continue to be assigned by the captains of military units who support the Imperial armies, as before. The Sarcophan Delves merchants responsible for delivering the bounty of ilium the seat receives have not taken the news that they will now be required to trek across the entire Empire to the "bevroren strontgat van niets" particularly well but have no alternative unless they wish to break or renegotiate their deal with the Empire