Articles of War
The Avalonian Imperial Navy Code of Law
The Articles of War are a set of rules, and punishable offenses, that were established to govern conduct within the Avalonian Imperial Navy while at war. It is the Navy code of law. The Articles of War on board an Avalonian Navy ship have the gravity of holy writ. Every ship carries a paper copy of the Articles on board, inscribed in the hand of the Captain or the Ship's Skald. A copy is preserved at Star Command in magical crystal as well.
The Articles of War were created to codify and standardize crime and punishment aboard Avalonian Navy ships. Prior to its adoption, punishments were carried out at the sole discretion of ship and fleet commanders, according to the traditions of spacers and of the seafarers who predated them. They are, at first glance, harsh, but Their Imperial Majesties believed they were necessary to ensure military behaviour among diverse peoples that valued freedom and personal choice above all else.
The Articles of War are laid out in a series of 35 clauses, each detailing an offense and its subsequent punishment, and under what conditions each applies.
A spacer or soldier swears to uphold the Articles of War upon commission or enlistment in the Avalonian Imperial Navy, and they apply as long as a spacer or soldier continues to serve. The Articles of War are read publicly at the commissioning of new ships, at least once a month aboardships, when an offender's punishment warrant is read to the ship's company, and at timely intervals by the Captain to the ship's company. When a disciplinary offence is committed by a member of the ship's company and is serious enough to warrant more severe punishment than the Captain is authorized to assign, notice of the offense is forwarded to the Admiralty. A "Warrant Punishment" is subsequently initiated and then sent back to the ship or naval installation for reading and sentencing. Warrant punishments are read publicly while the offender stands to attention in front of the formally mustered ship's company, or if received on board at an unusual hour in front of the fallen in Duty Watch.
The Articles of War are linked to, but not part of, Their Majesties' Regulations and Orders.
Paper copies of the Articles of War are kept by every ship, station, base or outpost in the Navy's jurisdiction. Often they are framed and kept under glass for anyone to read.
The Articles were proclaimed as an official decree of the Imperial Monarchs of the Avalonian Empire, and continue to receive sanction by Star Command and The Admiralty of the Navy.
The Articles of War were signed into naval law at the onset of the Succession Wars to codify behaviour on board Navy ships, especially when elven ships faced off against one other. Their Imperial Majesties needed for rebel factions to be dealt with quickly and without hesitation, but they didn't want any mistreatment of elven prisoners. Nor did they want any factions disloyal to the Crown conspiring with any Crown loyalists.
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