"Countess Justine is a good woman, I know her. We probably won't have any problems trying to talk to her... Unlike that pig in Blackbourne..."
For every one of the most important settlements in the Kingdom of Archana
there is a Count/Countess
, the ruler of the city in question and every other nearby village. They have a certain level of freedom in their rule, but must always act in accordance with the King/Queen
For a role of such importance, a candidate for count/countess must be well studied in some of the same subjects as a King/Queen, such as Diplomacy, Leadership - Motivation & Inspiration, Foreign Languages, Trade & Economy, Introduction to Magic, and Religion.
Only a member of the nobility may be chosen for the job, as it is believed that only they have the social structure necessary to provide the studies required for this important role. Not only that, but while there is no hard line, it is expected that the candidate is not of a young age, as they need to be experient about the hardships of the settlements they will rule over.
The King/Queen chooses a new count/countess for each region every 5 years among the available candidates, though more often than not the current rulers are chosen to stay in the role rather than leaving for another to take place. There are no special ceremonies, at least officially, since sometimes the people have celebrations when they are happy with the next count/countess.
The count/countess is expected to help the city/town they rule to thrive through any means allowed by the King/Queen. If the people are poor and unhappy, the count/countess is to blame.
Every responsibility the ruler of the kingdom carries, a count/countess carries inside their land. They are the administrative heads of the city/town they rule and the surrounding area, and are responsible for the resolution of any and every problem that occurs, while also having to find ways through which they can help their domain grow wealthier and stronger.
Every count/countess is allowed to live in the Keep of their respective cities, and they also receive a share of the taxes collected locally.
While it is rare to occur, a count/countess may be stripped from their role if they turn against the will of the King/Queen or if they are responsible for the downfall of their land. In those cases, or when the subject dies, a new candidate is chosen to take place until the 5-year cycle comes to a close.
This title was created together with the kingdom, in 307 AE. There haven't been many major changes to it since then, and only a couple counts have been stripped of their role, in Blackbourne
The counts are seen as representatives of the King/Queen inside their holds, handpicked rulers that seek to improve the life of the people. They are often trusted by the people, the exception being in Blackbourne due to all its controversies.