Laws of the Iron Ring

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Some of these laws were written by a Politics 5 pledge-smith with what is written here being just an OOC summery(none of us have the ability to actually write up such a code of laws). They will be underlined. If you wish to study or look for loopholes in them you may submit DTA's to that effect. The Politics 5 laws also cover basic legal issues such as "no changing the laws and retroactively charging something that wasn't a crime at the time."

The rest of the laws use exactly the wording shows both in character and out.


Contents

Introduction

These laws have been drafted to address the specific needs to maintain our fae society.  There are crimes and actions not addressed herein.  If an individual performs acts which are considered crimes according to the laws governing the physical location of the freehold, currently Bellingham Washington in the United States of America, the freehold retains the power to address these crimes to a similar degree as the laws of their location.  The Will of the Iron Ring may choose to act, or not act according to these crimes as it deems fit and necessary for living in the mortal location which they inhabit.

Structural Laws of the Iron Ring

Terminology

the Iron Ring - The Freehold of the Iron Ring, sovereign state of Bellingham, and the surrounding areas.

Members of the Iron Ring - Oath-sworn members of the Iron Ring.

Officers of the Iron Ring - Members of the Iron Ring that hold rank and title along with the additional responsibilities and privileges thereof.

Subjects of the Iron Ring - All fae creatures and ensorcelled mortals within the domain of the Iron Ring are subject to its laws and referred to as subjects.

Structure of the Iron Ring

The Iron Ring is formed by the rotation of power between the four seasonal courts. Each court maintains its own structure with members swearing fealty to the monarch of their court. In addition a fifth court, the Courtless Court, holds the oaths of all members of the Iron Ring not belonging to any of the seasons.

Responsibilities of the Courts

Each court is responsible for duties and services within the purview of their season, and may make laws which directly pertain to their responsibilities during any season.

The voice of each court is presumed to be the Monarch of that Season unless otherwise specified (i.e. stewards, assigned court positions, etc).  They speak the will of their season and may arrange laws which address issues pertinent to their court. 

The Court of Summer is responsible for: 

  • Military - The military defenses of the freehold. 
  • Police - The policing of Members and Subjects of the Iron Ring in accordance with the laws.
  • Investigation - Investigation of suspects and crimes pertinent to the Iron Ring.

The Court of Autumn is responsible for: 

  • Knowledge - The gathering and keeping of lore, particularly of matters of the occult and fae nature. 
  • Realms - For the management of the Hedge, Dreams, and other supernatural domains. 
  • Supernatural Relations - Relations with other supernatural entities beyond fae ken.

The Court of Winter is responsible for: 

  • Information - The gathering and maintaining of secrets, and the distribution of information in times of crisis.
  • Safe-houses - Winter court shall be responsible for organizing the building and maintaining of several safe houses for the freehold.  These are known as "winter cottages." 
  • Scouts - On major freehold endeavors, where deemed appropriate by the current reigning Winter monarch, it is Winter Court's responsibility to scout ahead and alert appropriate parties involved of any discovered pitfalls or opportunities they find, to the extent of the court's ability to do so.

The Court of Spring is responsible for: 

  • Mortals - The conducting of mortals affairs.
  • Acclimation - Aid for lost newly returned to this world. 
  • Freehold Relations - Ambassadorial contact with other freeholds.

The Courtless Court is responsible for: 

  • Labor - providing the labor needed by the other courts in the execution of their duty 
  • Maintenance - general maintenance of properties and resources.

Members of the Courtless may be bound into seasonal Courts if they join such. In this case their Seasonal responsibilities supersede all duties and rank they had under the Courtless.

Each Court may make appointments and award station within their Court according to the declarations of the current Monarch of that season.  Members may abdicate a station or appointment awarded to them at any time or refrain from accepting a position granted them.  If a Member changes courts their station is automatically lost.

Oaths and Succession of Power

Within each seasonal court deliberation upon the coming monarch may begin at the height of power of the season prior, the equinox or solstice. The start of each season's official deliberations must be publically announced, to the extent that valid candidates of that seasonal court can be made aware of the date, time, and place of the event. Only those who have been Members of the Iron Ring and Members of the applicable season for over a season prior to the onset of deliberations are valid candidates for the crown of their court. Selection of the monarch takes a form befitting of the court and agreed to by all valid candidates interested in the title. Once deliberation has begun additional valid candidates may join the running unless the majority of valid candidates deny their entry to the race.

At the midpoint between equinox and solstice or as soon thereafter as possible, the transfer of power from former season to new season and from the previous year's monarch to the new monarch occurs, so soon as the coming season has chosen their monarch to accept the crown and leadership of the Iron Ring. If a decision for the monarch cannot be reached within a week of the passage of the appropriate time, the Wyrd chooses the monarch of the season and subsequently the freehold as it sees fit. With the transfer of power the new monarch accepts the oaths of fealty of their court from that day until the following instatement the following year. Each and every member of a seasonal Court in the Iron Ring swears their membership upon the courtly emblems that bind them while the monarch also places their very life upon their service. They are sworn to uphold the laws of the freehold and accept sanctions as dictated in the same manner as every Member of the Iron Ring. The Courtless bind themselves to the Iron Ring with a simple Vow.

The Courtless Court chooses their leader by vote of all interested members of the Courtless Court on the Eve of the New Year and, upon the counting of the votes on the new day, swear fealty for a year and a day.

If a monarch is killed or otherwise rendered incapable of doing their duty then deliberation and/or vote for that court begins in order to find a[/u] steward [u]for the court. If no steward has been selected within a week the Wyrd will choose who shall garner the court.

(In the event that no Monarch may be selected for the current season the freehold becomes a putrid dying mass which requires immediate evacuation of the city due to the subsequent opening of every gate within the city and the Hunt ravaging all mortal souls who fail to leave before the aforementioned oncoming apocalypse.*****)

Will of the Iron Ring

Where the will, decision, desecration, or choice of the Iron Ring is referenced the authority is granted to the reigning monarch, the monarch of the season whose domain covers the area in question, and finally members of the Iron Ring who have been delegated such power [/u]by their corresponding Monarch[u] in order.

The will of the Iron Ring may amend, remove, or add laws and rulings as the times demand.

A Current Reigning Monarch can be voted out of their position by a two thirds majority Vote of No Confidence by all Members of the Freehold of the Iron Ring.

Member Amendment Clause

The current reigning monarch may make, amend, remove, or add laws and rulings as the times demand.  If any member who does not have a current conflict of interests (is not currently be tried or punished for a violation of the law and/or section in question) they may challenge the law.  Once a law is challenged a hearing must be had within a fortnight of all monarchs being made aware of the case. Any monarch can set a hearing date. Any current member of the Iron Ring may speak at this deliberation; however, only the council of five may vote.  This hearing may not go on for more than one full day before the monarchs are allowed to cast their votes.  If a tie is reached because not all of the members of the council of five can be assembled then the current reigning monarch receives an extra “tie-breaking” vote which they may cast as they deem appropriate at whatever time they can be reached.

Judicial System

Any subject of the Iron Ring accused of violating the laws or rulings of the Iron Ring may accept the punishment dictated by their Court Monarch as the first stage of the judicial process of the Iron Ring, investigations of suspected crimes are organized by Summer. The next mediator after the appropriate seasonal monarch is the Monarch of the Courtless and the final stage is the Council of Five, composed of all of the seasonal monarchs as well as the Courtless monarch. The accused retains the right to challenge both/either the accusation and/or punishment. 

Challenging Clause

In the circumstance of a challenge of the initial verdict laid down by that person’s Monarch the case must be brought before the Monarch of the Courtless who presides as judge.  The accused may request the statements of witnesses to the case if appropriate and the Monarch of the Courtless may make the statements mandatory by the law of the Iron Ring.  After these statements have been heard the Monarch of the Courtless may pronounce their verdict upon the accused. It is the responsibility of the Courtless Monarch to ensure these statements are recorded and given to the Council of Five if the accused challenges once more.

If at any stage a subject challenges their accusation or punishment, they must accept to be oath-bound by the officer, monarch, or an attending member of the police to ensure their presence in court. This pledge may also include that they cease their unlawful behavior until the Council or Courtless Monarch is assembled and verdict is reached, and is added to the oath at the officer’s discretion.

Terminology: The below pledge of arrest is assumed by default unless otherwise specified. This pledge may be referenced simply as "the Pledge of Arrest" when making an arrest, with the agreements therein assumed. Pledge of Arrest: You, the arrestee, shall cease the behavior for which you are being arrested, and cause no physical harm to me. By accepting this pledge, you agree to appear in court for your hearing to present your case. This pledge shall stay in effect until judgment is passed and accepted or until 5 weeks have passed, whichever is lesser. I, the arrestor, shall report this arrest to the monarch issuing the arrest, or if that is myself, report the challenge to other monarchs.

In the event that the the verdict of the Courtless Monarch is also challenged, a tribunal of all monarchs must accept the case and cast a final judgment upon it. This judgment is final and cannot be changed or revoked except by an appeal of one of the Council of Five in the presence of new evidence.  The Council of Five may mandate the statements of any person within the freehold that they deem appropriate to the nature of the case.  

In all cases the process of justice must begin at least within a half moon of the Monarch(s) being made aware of the case.

Threats on the Iron Ring

Monarchs may order individuals known to be threats to the freedom and wellbeing of the subjects and citizens of the Iron Ring to be brought in for judgment.  If in the process of retrieval that individual resists and threatens the persons sent to retrieve them than that individual may be brought in by force and lethal force on the part of the accused may be met with lethal force on the part of the Iron Ring.    In addition, any individual engaged to handle such situations is viewed as acting on behalf of the current reigning Monarch to carry out the will of the Iron Ring.  If in the process of bringing the threatening individual in their death occurs and is considered unjust by a Member of the Iron Ring an appeal may be made by the members of the Iron Ring and a hearing conducted.  The Monarch in question may not vote on their behalf and the current reigning monarch retains two votes in the event of a tie.  If the current reigning monarch is the monarch in question then the Courtless Monarch casts two votes in the event of a tie.

Self Defense Clause:  No member of the freehold shall threaten the life, person or liberty of another member, unless it be the will of the Iron Ring.  If a member or mechanisms of a member should threaten the life, or liberty of another, any harm they cause their attacker in the act of self defense shall be forgiven.  This is also true in the case of persons acting on behalf of the defender.

In times of need the Current Reigning Monarch may conscript any and all Subjects and Members of the Iron Ring to aid in the defense or improvement of the Freehold.  This conscription may only be revoked by a minimum of three of the Council of Five who agree that the conscription is unnecessary. Any other Monarch may initiate a conscription outside of their time of power within their seasonal purview, it is revoked in the same method.

Forgiveness of the Iron Ring

The Current Reigning Monarch may choose to forgive an individual who was previously banished from the Court of the Iron Ring in light of significant aid or evidence that the offending actions of the banished individual will no longer negatively affect the Iron Ring. This process may be as simple as a verbal affirmation, written document or more complicated wherein a Monarch who is not the Current Reigning Monarch may petition on behalf of the individual to the Council of Five, a pledge to ensure good behavior may be initiated but can only be done at the time the forgiveness is issued.

((OOC: This reversal of banishment is a legal section of Iron Ring law and dose not revoke the Pledge Sanction of Banishment if it is in effect.))

Checks on Power

Any member of the Iron Ring may challenge laws, unless they have an active conflict of interest (ie. Are currently being punished or tried under the law(s) in question), and speak at Amendment hearings.  Any member of the Iron Ring may challenge the verdicts placed upon them up to the final verdict of the Council of Five.  Monarchs are required to uphold the laws of the Iron Ring when they accept their position backed by the power of a pledge on their lives.

Personal Laws of the Iron Ring

The laws regarding Members and subjects of the Iron Ring are broken into blessings, endeavors, forbiddances, and sanctions. As in pledge-craft these are considered to be of lesser, medial, or greater rank. Two lesser ranks equal a medial and two medial equal a greater. The laws may be applied to any fae creature or ensorcelled mortal within the territory of the Iron Ring or to individuals for actions taken outside the territory that negatively impact the Iron Ring. Laws violated unknowingly or accidentally are considered one level less severe. All crimes are still considered crimes when committed intentionally even if executed indirectly. All attempted crimes are still crimes, and may be charged as such. Failure to report greater crimes against the Iron Ring within three days or three days of re-establishing contact with the Iron Ring is considered breach of the freehold oath.

Blessings are those privileges granted members of the Iron Ring while endeavors and forbiddances are expected of members and subjects alike. Sanctions may be leveled upon members and subjects in response to broken laws.  These sanctions may be carried out by the police, by the subject’s court, or by the judicial system. The severity of the sanctions inflicted will not exceed the severity of the offense.

Blessings of the Iron Ring

  • Members are granted access to the hollow of the Iron Ring - medial
  • Members are granted access to mortal and magical resources made generally available - medial
  • Members are granted specialized training provided by the courts – lesser
  • Subjects and Members are granted Cold Iron equipment to protect themselves from fae and Fae threats – lesser for subjects, medial for members
  • Appointed Officers are granted the authority to speak the will of the Iron Ring per their assignment- medial
  • Officers are provided privileged access to the hollow and other resources as needed for their position - medial
  • Members are provided protection from the True Fae and other great threats - greater

Endeavors of the Iron Ring

  • All members of the freehold must maintain the hollow and other properties based upon their rank - lesser (mechanically everyone must commit 1 hollow dot per dot of rank in the freehold)
  • All members must complete at least a greater endeavor for the Iron Ring each season - lesser
  • All members may be compelled to submit themselves to annual mental and physical screening including rigorous tests against Fae incursion upon those most suspect -lesser
  • All members must attend each seasons lessons provided by the court in power consisting of a weekend of training in the courts methods as needed by all freehold members - lesser
  • All members must report greater crimes against the Iron Ring within three days or three days of regaining contact with the Iron Ring - lesser
  • Officers must complete their duties even where this may require greater effort than a greater endeavor each season - medial
  • In times of need any and all freehold members and subjects may be conscripted according to their abilities for the purposes of protection or improvement of the Iron Ring  - medial for subjects, greater for members

Forbiddances of the Iron Ring

  • Providing aid to or serving the True Fae or their direct servants - greater
  • Murdering a member of the Iron Ring – greater
  • Murdering a human - greater 
  • Murdering a Changeling - greater 
  • Betrayal of the Iron Ring in a time of need - greater
  • Selling or taking sentient beings into slavery - greater
  • Betrayal of the Iron Ring in a time of peace - medial
  • Stealing from the Iron Ring - medial
  • Drawing attention to the Iron Ring from the Fae or from non-fae organizations - medial or greater depending on severity
  • Revealing fae nature to mortals without permission from the will of the Iron Ring - lesser, medial, or greater depending on severity
  • Exposing humans to the thorns of the hedge -  medial
  • Causing a human or Changeling to be lost to Arcadia - medial
  • Misrepresenting oneself to be a member of the freehold when one is not a member of the freehold, or misrepresenting oneself to be a specific member of the freehold with malicious intent - lesser, medial, greater depending
  • Assault or battery on a member of the Iron Ring - lesser or medial depending on severity
  • Theft or destruction of property on a member of the Iron Ring - lesser or medial depending on severity
  • Malicious use of magics upon a member of the Iron Ring - lesser or medial depending on severity
  • Creating hedge gates without permission – lesser
  • Aiding or abetting suspects or criminals under the laws of the Iron Ring – lesser, medial or greater depending on the crimes of the other involved.

Sanctions of the Iron Ring

  • Revocation of blessings - lesser, medial, or greater depending on the blessing
  • A greater endeavor or equivalent performed as community service - lesser
  • A single beating - lesser
  • Taxation including contribution to the hollow or other assets of the Iron Ring - lesser
  • Demotion - lesser
  • Stripped of all rank - medial
  • Multiple beatings - medial
  • Temporary mutilation - medial
  • Temporary banishment - medial
  • Permanent mutilation - greater
  • Forced servitude - greater
  • Permanent banishment - greater 
  • Imprisonment – greater (This punishment may only be determined by a majority of the Council of Five.)
  • Death – greater (This punishment may only be determined by a majority of the Council of Five.)



Notes

( ***** This is a joke and not actually a part of the laws.  I was just checking to see if you were all paying attention!  : )


The Fealty Oaths may resemble this:

I, <Iron Monarch Name>, do swear upon my <Court Emblem> and my life that I shall uphold and be accountable to the laws, endeavors, forbiddances, boons, and sanctions of the Iron Ring as <Iron king/queen/preferred title> to the <Season*> until <Season**> ascends to power once more.

• Courtless version: "foreign courts and countless"

And in response:

I, ________, do swear upon <Courtly Emblem> and upon pain of banishment to uphold and be accountable to the laws, endeavors, forbiddances, boons, and sanctions of the Iron Ring as a member of the <Season*> until <Season**> ascends to power once more.

The Oaths are simple and direct involving Fealty, Vassalage, Banishment (or Death), last for the designated amount, and are sworn upon a Courtly Emblem. The oaths are sworn as soon as a new monarch is selected. Said monarch is free to work in Adroitnesses, Blessings, and Sanctions to balance the extra blessings. The above oaths will be assumed unless a different version is submitted to staff.

Courtly Emblems are things of your character court that are important to them and the emblem being invoked must be present. Summer Courtiers often swear upon their weapons, the summer sun, or the noonday heat. Spring Courtiers often swear upon blooming flowers, gentle rains, and new growth. Autumn Courtiers often swear upon fruit ready for harvest, tokens/magic items, and spooky stuff like spider webs. Winter Courtiers often swear upon snow or ice, the long night, or memorabilia of lost loves ones. Only one oath can be sworn upon one's court and if that oath is broken the character is forsaken by the court (they lose their court and mantle).

The Courtless Court drops the Courtly Emblem and swears a simple vow.

The Forbiddances, Endeavors, Blessings, and Sanctions of the Iron Ring are subject to the justice system of the Iron Ring and the freehold pledge is only considered broken if one refuses to accept that justice. Laws outside these elements are the bedrock of the freehold and as such the freehold oath is immediately broken if these laws are violated.

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