The Folkdeed of Greatvale

The Greatvale Folkdeed is the only republic in all of the Sunrise Lands.   Occupying the lands surrounding the breakwater of the Great Tidewater, the Folkdeed is an anomaly in the cultures of the continent.

Governance

Seal of the Folkdeed of Greatvale: “The Ealdormoot and Folk of Greatvale: Justice, Truth, Equality”

Seal of the Folkdeed of Greatvale: “The Ealdormoot and Folk of Greatvale: Justice, Truth, Equality”

The Folkdeed is governed by an Ealdormoot, consisting of Ealdormen and Ealdorwomen elected by the people of Greatvale to serve for a term of four years. The Ealdormoot is assisted in its work by a series of lower houses known as the Gaderungs responsible largely for defining the regulations and the parameters of the laws promulgated by the Ealdormoot.  Each region of the Folkdeed has its own Gaderung, which elects an Ealdorman or Ealdorwoman to serve in the Ealdormoot. There are also a number of Gaderungs-at-Large, responsible for the oversight and administration of particular areas, such as food, resources, medicine, and education. Each Gaderung-at-Large elects its own Ealdorman or Ealdorwoman to the Ealdormoot. Every two years, the Ealdormoot elects two Rædgivers who serve essentially as head of state and head of government, though the divisions are not clear and are fluid, depending on the working relationship of the two Rædgivers.  In addition, the two often function effectively as War Chief and Peace Chief, one responsible for foreign and military affairs, the other for domestic and economic affairs. In times of crisis, the Ealdormoot may choose to elect essentially two war chiefs or two peace chiefs, depending on whether the crisis is foreign or domestic.  Together, the Rædgivers may exercise a veto over legislation passed by the Ealdormoot. If one Rædgiver vetoes a bill, the Ealdormoot may override the veto by a two-thirds majority.  If both Rædgivers veto the bill, the Ealdormoot may override the veto by a three-fourths majority.

In addition, the Gaderungs, in conclave together, elect the Witeger, which loosely translates as “prophet.” The role of the Witeger is to serve as ombudsman and critic of the government.  The Witeger serves for a period of nine years and can only be removed from office by evidence of corruption or other serious crimes.  The Witeger has no formal veto power but their opinion carries significant weight with the people and may inform subsequent elections.  The position is considered sacrosanct by the traditions of the Folkdeed and Rædgivers who ignore that fact do so at their peril.  (See, the story of Eadlin Lahwita.)

Social Equality

The people of Greatvale have a strong distaste for the social stratification of the other realms in the Sunrise Lands.  They show no respect for lords and ladies and have even less for those who rule by inheritance or bloodlines.  They respect accomplishment and will offer respect (albeit grudgingly) to hereditary rulers who govern well and actually accomplish things even if by definition such rulers would be accounted tyrants by the people of Greatvale. Greatvalers are often proud to boast their common origins as this demonstrates that whatever accomplishments they have are earned through labor and hard work, as opposed to inheritance.  Wealthy Greatvalers will often ceremonially disinherit their children at the age of seventeen so as to give them the honor of earning their own wealth and making their own accomplishments. Those who are of able mind and body who choose to subsist off of inherited wealth are treated with scorn and derision by the great majority of Greatvalers. The people of Greatvale respect hard work and believe that work should be rewarded and appreciated.  Therefore, they find the practice of slavery extremely distasteful for both humanitarian and philosophical reasons.  Indentured servitude is sometimes permitted within the boundaries of the Folkdeed, but only as punishment for serious crimes, usually involving theft or breach of the public trust.

Citizenship

The Greatvale population is divided into two classes: Boroughsetters and Boroughræders, which translate roughly as “residents” and “citizens”.  All Greatvalers, whether Boroughsetters or Boroughræders are entitled to basic fundamental rights: freedom of conscience, personal autonomy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and other civil rights.  Only Boroughræders, however, may vote and hold elective office.  All Greatvalers are born as Boroughsetters and at the age of seventeen become eligible to seek Boroughræden, or citizenship.  Citizenship may be attained through study, military service, or other national service. The final requirement of citizenship is to take the Oath, in which each Boroughræder pledges to support the Folkdeed in times of crisis through military service, the sciences (this is broadly understood and includes things like economics or language), or other service.  About half of the population of Greatvale are Boroughræders.  A Boroughsetter can apply for citizenship at any time during his or her lifetime.  In rare cases, an individual can lose the rights of citizenship (usually as the result of serious crimes), but rarely loses the rights of nationality.

Defense

The Folkdeed has no standing army, but the national defense is made up of ordinary residents seeking to fulfill their service obligations or citizens who seek to use military service as their fulfillment of their Oath.  Surprisingly, only a bare majority of those who defend the Folkdeed in times of crisis earned their citizenship through military service, a significant portion of the defenders of Greatvale being drawn from those who had earned their citizenship through study or other service. The armies of the Folkdeed, while not professionals, are exceptionally well-trained and have in the past defeated forces of far greater numbers, usually through highly disciplined tactics using close formations, shield walls, and spear phalanxes.

Relations with outsiders

The people of the Greatvale Folkdeed are treated with wariness by the peoples of the surrounding realms.  While generally admired for their cultural, economic, and military prowess, their politics make them objects of suspicion.  Greatvalers traveling through other realms will often find themselves harassed by agents of the realm who fear that the Greatvalers are there to sow dissension among the people and spread their repulsive doctrine.  Greatvalers are also viewed by many as smug and self-righteous, especially when it comes to issues of wealth or politics.  There are numerous anecdotes of Greatvalers being injured or even killed in altercations wherein they had insulted some lord or lady as being lazy and worthless.

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  1. Pingback: The Folkhamlär of Greatvale | The Lands Under the Sun

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