The Chief Rabbit

The "Chief Rabbit" is official title of the leader of House Lapin.

Qualifications

The Chief Rabbit must be a Wererabbit -- that is, they must have established a tangible connection to the Rabbit totem of the House. They must also be a capable literomancer.

Requirements

The Chief Rabbit must also descend from the hereditary chiefs of a warren. In general, this tends to follow primogeniture, as long as the would-be Chief in question is able to manifest totemic Rabbit powers. However, this is not always the case. The people and banners of House Lapin must also confirm their would-be Chief, and they must pass a series of qualifying tests. In practice, the Chieftainship is just as likely to pass to any of the other immediate family of the previous Chief as it is to pass to their eldest child, and it occasionally jumps between branches of the family.

Appointment

In times past, the ascension of a new Chief Rabbit was an occasion for the gathering of the Lapin House from wherever its members may have dwelled. The would-be Chief was officially confirmed by the literomancers of the House, and then they would prove their right to the Chieftainship by passing a variety of tests; tests of cleverness, tests of Literomancy, tests of their shapeshifting abilities, and tests of leadership.   It is said that Sable Aradia gathered together as many of the surviving Lapins as she could when she received the key to the House's literomantic library, and insisted that they give her all the tests.

Duties

The rank of Chief Rabbit tends to be a much more hands-on position than a traditional monarchy. It is the Chief's duty to lead by example, and where possible, run the risks for the fluffle. The Chief Rabbit cannot ask any member of the fluffle to run any risk that they are not willing to run themself.

Responsibilities

The Chief is the primary decision maker in the House, resolving disputes, deciding on foreign and domestic policy, conducting diplomacy, and brokering treaties. If the warren is at war, the Chief Rabbit is expected to show leadership and inspire morale -- if not on the battlefield directly, then through the Owsla.

Benefits

The main benefit to the Chief Rabbit, once the political and temporal power of the Great Houses had faded, was unrestricted access to the literomantic library that is the carefully-preserved legacy of the House of Lapin.   As of the zombie apocalypse, the Chief Rabbit holds a staggering amount of wealth and power -- or can. In truth, the Mother of Bunnies only exercises that power when she must.  
Giants must be careful where they stomp -- and so must queens.
— Sable Aradia, current Chief Rabbit
  On the other hand, her leadership of the Tome Knights loyal to her House is what one might call "aggressively militaristic." Lapin Tome Knights wear uniforms and drill regularly. The Chief Rabbit has no desire to be caught unawares again by the return of the Undead Horde.

Accoutrements & Equipment

As her "royal regalia," the current Chief Rabbit wears fluffy bunny ears and bunny paws -- although it is debated whether these are an official symbol of office, a partial shapeshift, or simply Sable's sense of humour at play. Traditionally, however, coronation portraits of Chief Rabbits do feature bunny ears, and the current Chief Rabbit's is no exception.   The Chief Rabbit also carries the key to the House's extensive and ancient literomantic library. No one outside of the House has been permitted to browse the collection, but according to rumour, it even includes clay tablets from ancient Sumer.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

The Chief Rabbit either dies or abdicates, with one exception. If the Tome Knights who are loyal to Lapin unanimously refuse to follow their Chief, then the Chief must abdicate the Carrot Throne. If they do not, they say that the spirit of Rabbit will abandon them, and they will lose all powers of shapeshifting.

History

In medieval times, the title of Chief Rabbit usually came with considerable political and financial power, conferring rulership over large areas of land that roughly equated to a county or duchy, depending on the period and its politics. As Literomancy declined in the Renaissance, the temporal power of House Lapin and the Chieftainship diminished significantly.   Eventually, most of the nations of the world went after the literomantic houses in the same way they went after their other nobility; through the imposition of taxes. In particular, taxes on private libraries were burdensome. Over time, literomantic houses became impoverished and eventually were forced to forfeit their titles and claims due to failure to pay those taxes. Many of these houses sold off their assets to pay those debts and disappeared.   As the number of literomantic houses diminished, Literomancy itself fell into further disrepute. Throughout most of the world, literomancers also suffered significant losses during the various witch hunts, Inquisitions, and other pogroms that plagued opposing religions, artists and scholars through history, from the early Renaissance to McCarthyism in the United States in the mid-twentieth century.   Academics debate why these methods were so effective against a class of people who could literally re-write reality, but those who study The Iron Tome theorize that a literomancer must have used the Iron Tome to deliberately minimize the effectiveness of literomancy in the early Renaissance, for reasons lost to history.   A controversial biography of Leonardo Da Vinci, The Unpoet, claimed that he was the literomancer in question, and that his reasons were to prevent drastic changes to the world at large. The book suggests he viewed literomancers as a threat to the common people, and technology as the solution to stabilizing reality. This, of course, is hotly debated.   House Lapin were one of the earliest literomantic houses to go into hiding. In the collapse of the golden age of Jewish culture in Iberia, they fled initially to the Middle East, then into Eastern Europe and the evolving Poland-Lithuania state following the Reconquista. Less than a decade after the development of the printing press in Krakow, House Lapin was printing books and investing their dwindling capital into the development of the printing press as a source of literature. Being Jewish themselves, they blended in with the local Ashkenazi population.   Subsequently, they flourished in the religious tolerance and scholarship that was part of Polish-Lithuanian culture at the time under its bicameral Parliamentary system. Over time, Lapin descendants spread out over the globe, either sparking, or capitalizing on, legends of shapeshifting or trickster rabbits and hares where they could.   The main branch of the family, however, remained in Poland. With some exceptions due to shifting socio-political climates, such as Russian rule, they maintained a mostly quiet and stable existence for a couple of centuries. Perhaps they were able to survive so long because they were one of the first to give up political titles.   At the beginning of World War II, Sable Aradia's grandmother, then Chief Rabbit, left Poland for Canada, for reasons unknown. Since a trace of Fiver's Insight is said to run through the Lapin family line, it is possible she simply Had a Bad Feeling About This.   Whatever the reason, once she was in Canada, she concealed her Jewish roots and had a relationship with a Canadian soldier, resulting in the birth of Sable's father. She soon disappeared again. It wasn't until Sable's father, William (or Bill, as he preferred to be called) did research into his family tree through a genetics testing service that her fate was discovered; she had moved to California, taken a new name, married, and produced a number of half-aunts and half-uncles that Sable knew of, but hardly knew.   However, none of them were literomancers, so when her grandmother had passed on, Sable became the Chief Rabbit almost by default. The title had little remaining to it but access to a family literomantic library that had been carefully smuggled into Canada by her grandmother, which is how Sable received her training in Literomancy.   After the First Word War and the concurrent zombie apocalypse, the literomantic houses held society together. While most of the G8 countries survived, they, or parts of them, began to give their allegiance to the Great Houses again, and in greater numbers than ever before. Perhaps ironically, the position of Chief Rabbit now comes with more temporal power than it ever has, effectively making its holder the ruler of an empire.

Cultural Significance

When people have been aware of the existence of the Chief Rabbit, they have associated the bearer of the title with their local and cultural rabbit or hare legends. Present in almost every culture that developed where lagomorphs exist, they are typically ascribed the varying degrees of wisdom (or lack thereof) or benevolence that would be associated with the mythic figure. It is common practice for the Chief Rabbit to claim such figures as relatives or ancestors (again, Sable-rah being no exception), although whether there is any truth to those claims remains a matter of some debate.   In the present, Sable Aradia seems to have consciously styled the culture of House Lapin itself after the popular novel Watership Down, including a claim that she follows Lord Frith and her erstwhile mythic ancestor El-ahrairah , as well as having named her security force her Owsla. The Chief Rabbit, however, claims that these cultural details were always a part of her House, and Richard Adams clearly knew this, although she admits she can't prove he was a member of the House himself.
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
 
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.

House Lapin by Dani Adventures

Type
Nobility, Hereditary
Status
Restored
Creation
There is no official document certifying the creation of the rank of Chief Rabbit. It is believed to be an ancient tradition that is intrinsic to House Lapin culture.
Form of Address
Chief, [Firstname-rah] (ie. "Sable-rah")
Equates to
  • The Big Kahuna
  • The Cosmic Kraken
  • The Great Badger
  • The Queen of Bats
  • The Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Source of Authority
    The people of House Lapin, and those who give their allegiance to them
    Length of Term
    Lifetime, or until abdication
    Current Holders
    Related Locations
    Related Organizations

    Sable Bunny Form-portrait.png

    Sable Aradia - Half-Bunny Form by HeroForge

    The Chief Rabbit must be a Wererabbit. They must also be a capable literomancer.

    A woman typing frantically on a glowing keyboard, implying magic

    The Mother of Bunnies casting combat literomancy by Siobhan the Writer


    Winner: Title Special Category - World Ember 2021



    Cover image: Iron Tome by Misades

    Comments

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    16 Dec, 2021 00:10

    Nice article! Can I ask why you chose to make Trotsky one of the former leaders of House Lapin?

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    17 Dec, 2021 17:48

    I knew somebody would ask :) He was Jewish, Eastern European, and a prolific writer with a traceable historical legacy. :D

    Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
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    E. Christopher Clark
    20 Dec, 2021 12:08

    I love all the detail you worked into the history section. Nicely done!

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    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    2 Jan, 2022 22:53

    That's a really cool history for House Lapin (and your family I presume)! I've been wanting to learn more about Poland-!Lithuania Commonwealth for a while, it seems to have been a very interesting country.   My father's family was in Poland until the mid 1920s when they left for France, so that makes sense that we were part of House Lapin until then, and then that I would have joined back when the first zombies appeared!

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    3 Jan, 2022 17:02

    You're right that there is indeed some actual family history interwoven into this. I can't trace family history past my grandmother at the moment; but then, I haven't made a detailed study of it yet.   I agree that the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth is interesting, isn't it? I've just been learning about that period. Ahead of its time in many ways!   And that's neat, that your family came from Poland in the 1920s! Yes, it makes perfect sense that you came back to House Lapin! Welcome home, cousin!

    Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
    16 Jan, 2022 07:10

    A Nicely done articles and the history surrounding it is quite fascinating to say the least.

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