Breimú

The Breimúlisten (Thelirein for "the Speaker") is the head of the Canárlia, the central religious, military, and governing body of the Bláthaofa Kingdom. Originally merely a religious official, the position has accumulated power and influence over the centuries to become one of the most powerful and influential individuals in the entirety of the Sora.  

History

The title of Breimú has its roots in the early years of the Bláthaofa Kingdom, nearly 8000 years ago. At the time, the Canárlia was a loose network of druids and auspices who taught primal magic, tended to sacred groves, preached the words of the gods, and provided spiritual guidance. Though the druid who tended to the Sacred Tree was treated with some deference and respect from the others, there was no single leader or even central organizational structure.   This changed in 7356 AC, when the Kingdom went to war for the first time. The King of Trees charged the Canárlia with leading the offensive, using their druidic magic to minimize casualties on both sides. The Canárlia knew that to effectively organize the war that they would need a single leader to direct operations. They selected the druid of the Sacred Tree, as the most respected of the druids, to speak for them. The druid, Ilulgid, became the first Breimú.   At first, the Breimú served merely as the head of the military, continuing to hold a position as equal with the rest of the druids. As the Kingdom expanded and conquered more of their neighbors, druids and archdruids were assigned to govern, convert, and protect the locals. Though they were assigned by the King of Trees, the Breimú held an important position by recommending them. Over the centuries, as the Kingdom grew and even greater organization was required, the Breimú gained more and more subordinates, thus acquiring even greater influence.   When the Kingdom expanded into the Sora, the organizational structure of the Canárlia proved perfect for administering new colonies and annexed realms. The Breimú's authority grew along with the Kingdom, slowly accumulating more temporal powers. In 320 AC, the Breimú assumed responsibility for nominating new archdruids to the King, who could only approve or reject them, never choose their own. A mere decade later, the King's approval became merely ceremonial. Powers continued to transition from the King to the Breimú over the following years, until by 417 PC, the Breimú had effectively assumed all official powers of the King of Trees.  

Role and Powers

The Breimú serves as the combined head of the Bláthaofa Kingdom's religion, military, and government. They are primarily viewed by the Bláthoans are a religious official, maintaining the Kingdom's respect and reverence for nature. It is from this status that all other temporal powers derive. Respect for nature is such a central part of the Bláthoan way of life that laws must be written, cities governed, and even wars fought with it in mind.   As the primate of the Canárlia, the Breimú is the ultimate authority on all aspects of the Bláthoan faith. They act as an intermediary between the Theliren gods and the people of the Kingdom, providing their direct voice to the masses. They interpret the Roots, Branches, and Leaves (the holy texts of the for the Canárlia) for the modern world, as well as deliver formal declarations of morality and ethics. As the source of authority for the faith, they are solely responsible for appointing archdruids. They also hold the position as the Archdruid of Thelire and the druid of the Sacred Tree. Thus they preside over the most important rituals at the heart of the Kingdom, a task which is watched closely by people and can greatly affect how public perceptions of the Kingdom.   The Breimú also serves as the commander-in-chief of the Kingdom's military. This dual role as religious and military head has meant the Kingdom uses its military to advance its religious goals extensively. The Breimú has authority to launch, direct, and supervise military actions, including declaring war against other nations, send soldiers to realms, and form military treaties with other political entities. The amount of strategic involvement a sitting Breimú has with the military varies greatly; most delegate the tasks to a subordinate archdruid, as other duties require their time, but some have been extremely involved in the military stance.   As the head of government, the Breimú enforces laws and controls taxation. In theory, the King of Trees makes the actual laws, but the Breimú has discretion on how and when to enforce them. This has, over the past century, led to the Breimú creating actual laws, in coordination with the archdruids, which the King merely approves on a ceremonial basis. By tradition, the Breimú makes no laws that directly contradict those enacted by their predecessor, helping to maintain stability following times of transition. Punishment for breaking the law is typically determined by the druid or archdruid who oversees the jurisdiction the crime occurred in, but the Breimú establishes the acceptable range of penalty. Theoretically, the Breimú also acts as the supreme judicial authority in the Kingdom. However, all legal cases are first heard by auspices and appeals rarely reach the Breimú's level. The last legal case heard by the Breimú was in 376 PC.   Finally, the Breimú also sets and collects all forms of taxes and tariffs. Unlike laws, taxes change frequently, even within a single Breimú's reign. The Breimú relies on lower ranks of the Canárlia to collect the taxes. These taxes go directly to the treasury of the Kingdom, with the Breimú delegating funds to different realms, whose archdruids then further divvy it up to various municipalities.  

Succession

Breimú are selected through a secret ballot held among all archdruids, which convenes at the Sacred Tree on Thelire. At the beginning of the convention, all who wish to contend for the seat put themselves forward. They require at least one other person to second their nomination. Each archdruid has a single ballot which they cast by placing a slip of paper in a sealed box. The box is then opened and the ballots are tallied by three Theliren druids who are chosen for the credibility of their neutrality. If one candidate has at least 2/3rds of the votes, they are elected as the new Breimú. This rarely happens on the first try, so the candidates once again nominate themselves or second their favorites then voting proceeds again. Usually, those who received only a few votes either drop out willingly or do not have anyone to second them. This process continues again and again until finally one candidate has two-thirds of the votes.   Only once in the nearly 8000 year history of the post has the election only a single round of voting. More frequent is reaching a deadlock, where there are three candidates left, none of whom have enough votes to win, but all of whom have enough votes that should another resign, they would have a real chance of becoming victorious. In such cases, the stalemate is usually resolved by politicking, with one of the candidates either picking up enough votes from the others to give them the two-thirds majority they need or through one of the candidates withdrawing and throwing their support behind one of the remaining. However, if thirteen rounds of voting pass with no one resigning or winning, the election is declared "so ching ga" (can not decide).   At this point, the remaining candidates go to the Sacred Tree and sit beneath it in prayer. They wait there until a piece of fruit falls from the tree and strikes a candidate. That candidate is considered to have been chosen by the gods and named Breimú. Most elections are relatively smooth, however, and relatively uncontroversial. The previous Breimú often names a favored successor, who usually receives a non-winning majority of votes in the first round. As other candidates drop out, their votes are usually switched to the chosen successor, typically giving them enough votes by the fourth or fifth round of voting.   After the election, the Breimú-elect travels to the Evergreen Palace, the residence of the King of Trees, which requires them to cross the city of Séchlao. By tradition, they make this journey on foot. Upon reaching the Palace, they kneel on the bottom step and wait for the king to emerge and confirm them. In eras past, this was a tense moment, as the king could reject the Breimú by refusing to emerge for thirteen days. The Breimú-elect is not permitted to leave the steps, nor accept any food or drink other than water during their wait, making extended waits extremely difficult. In modern times, the power of the King of Trees has waned to the point where refusing to confirm the election, or even delaying it for too long, would be extremely politically dangerous. Some kings have used this period to wield what little power they have left, making the Breimú-elect wait several hours before they emerge.   Breimú typically serve for life, though they are permitted to step down in the event of poor health or advanced age. The longest reign was Triagathua, who was elected when she was only 83 and lived to the age of 306. The shortest was Coisuícríl, who died in an accident after only 36 days.


Cover image: by Denis Khusainov

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