The Speaker of the Highborn Assembly is an old title that fell into disuse some time ago. Historically, the Speaker for the Highborn Assembly served in a manner very similar to a cardinal of virtue, guiding the assembly and ensuring its traditions were upheld. With the formation of the Synod in the early years of the Empire, however, the title fell out of fashion and was eventually abrogated during the reign of Empress Varkula, allegedly at the request of the Assembly of the Nine (over the bitter protests of the Highborn Assembly). The actual role never really went away, however, although it rose and fell in prominence as the politics of the Highborn ebbed and flowed.
The Speaker of the Highborn Assembly guides the Highborn National assembly, ensuring its traditions are upheld. The Speaker has responsibility for chairing the meetings of the National assembly, encouraging the priests of Highguard to vote on judgements of the Synod and express the will of their congregations, organising the Day of the Dead memorial, and serving as custodian of the Basilica of Seven Doors.
Bounty of Liao
The pilgrims and priests visiting the Basilica served as an additional congregation, meaning the Speaker receives 10 doses of liao each season, to be used as they see fit.
Voice in the Synod
As custodian of the Basilica of Seven Doors, and the pilgrims who visit it, the speaker receives 20 votes in the Imperial Synod. They may use these votes in any appropriate assembly, following the normal rules for votes provided by a Sinecure.
Traditionally, the appointment of the Speaker takes place the morning after the annual Day of the Dead celebration, at the start of the Highborn new year, and there have been requests that this custom be maintained if possible - although there is no legal requirement for this to be the case.
Basilica of Seven Doors
The old meeting halls of the original Highborn assembly, the Basilica of Seven Doors are as beautiful and majestic as they were when they were first completed. Seven chapels, one dedicated to each of the virtues, form an outer ring around a single great hall beneath a white marble dome. The great cathedral stands at the heart of a public park through which seven wide avenues extend, serving as the "spokes" around which the rest of the city was originally arranged. The Highborn still use the Basilica of Seven Doors for important festivities.
The Basilica was built explicitly for the use of the original Highborn Assembly in the years following the end of the civil war. It was constructed long before the foundation of the Empire, and long before the Way spread to other nations. At one point, it was perhaps the most significant building in Highguard - the centre of both spiritual and secular power, guiding the chapters and building a new nation on foundations of virtue and faith.
The Basilica is old, and while it is well maintained, it was built at an earlier time when there were fewer priests. In order to serve as the new heart of the Highborn assembly, it required some refurbishment. Following some discussion with Lev the Unbound, the Custodes Clavium suggested that the building could be expanded without harming its unique history, and they were more than willing to oversee these refurbishments themselves. All they required was the permission of the Senate, and the support of the Highborn assembly. Gaining support to refurbish the Basilica took time; it was eventually granted during the Spring Equinox 383YE. Once secured, the actual work was quickly completed with the work finished shortly before the Summer Solstice.
For many years the duty of overseeing the citadel and its grounds fell to the Custodes Clavium - a Highborn chapter named for the ring of keys they notionally hold, each one used to secure one of the gates to the citadel. In the Summer 383YE, following the completion of extensive refurbishments, the Speaker of the Highborn Assembly took over custodianship of the Basilica.