the imperium, the weald
he Divine Imperium, or ad Imperium Devine, is an oligarchic Empire comprised of the various territories of what is collectively known as Mercia. Historically, the empire has been ruled by the Veturii family, the only family afforded the status of nobiles
in the entirety of the Imperium. There right to rule is a mixture of that earned by brute military force and a divine right. They use this powerful combination to oversee the territories and their governors.
These governors, along with the other patricia
that make up the bureaucratic bodies and military generals of the Imperium and its territories, are appointed by the Imperator and act in his stead, expected to carry out his will throughout his land. The majority of the government, these patricia are highly influential throughout Mercia, and the balance between them and the Imperator is a delicate one.
The Imperium is almost exclusively consisted of gentry, with the highest positions filled, in part, by relatives of the Imperator. It is realistic to expect gentry to rise through the government and attain notable and powerful positions if they are savvy enough to. It is also possible for the private sector citizens, the plebs
to find their way into the government via appointment, raising their status to a higher citizenship strata.
Current State of the Imperium
With war and civil unrest plaguing the Imperium, the Veturii find their power dwindling. What was once a choke hold on the entirety of their empire is now control over its heartland and nothing more. The Imperium is divided, three heads emerging to crown themselves the new Imperator of the whole. Two prominent military families have united several territories under their banners and now march on one another, on the Veturii, and on the foreign nations, they share borders with.
Stretched thin, any one power is currently unable to take too much from the others without the risk of losing another significant front. For nearly six years the Imperium has been without a single Imperator and with each passing day, each coalition of territories grows more independent.
Degrees of Crime
1st Degree: Falsification & Forgery
Fraudulent information given to government officials are punishable by the First and Second Orders depending on the severity of the falsehood. Anyone besides the government damaged by the convicted are compensated by the convicted. If the First or Second Orders can’t be met, criminals are subject the Third Order.
2nd Degree: Theft, Robbery & Counterfeit
Petty crime is subject to punishments from the First and Second Orders in relative value to the amount stolen. Victims of petty crime are also compensated by the defendant at twice the value of what was stolen. If the convicted hasn’t the assets to comply with the First or Second Orders, their punishment becomes of the Third Order.
3rd Degree: Veneficia/Witchcraft
The practice of magic outside the Augury is subject to a special case in the Third Order, stating that they must join the Augury. Any Imperial official has authority over such a case, not just arbiters. Resistance is considered an act of treason, which makes the convict subject to the Fifth Order: execution.
4th Degree: Assault & Rape
Physical harm short of murder is subject to punishments from the Second, Third and Fourth Orders. Those who suffered at the hands of the convicted are offered special citizenship status for themselves and their relatives. If the convicted hasn’t the assets to pay the Second Order, then their Third Order punishment is extended.
5th Degree: Murder, Treason & Desertion
Crimes of the greatest magnitude are punishable by the Fifth Order. Any victims are given special citizenship status, and might receive additional compensation as decided by the presiding arbiter. All crimes in this category are to be given Fifth Order punishment without exception.
Any citizen of the Imperium can levy accusations against a fellow citizen, bringing their complaints to the local arbiter whose escort holds the accused. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, who must present all evidence during the three days the trial takes place, during which the accused remains in holding. Once three days have passed, the arbiter passes a verdict and the accused is either released or forced to face punishment for their crimes. Magistrates can only be accused of a crime by those holding an Imperial office, and arbiters can only be accused by fellow arbiters. In either case, only those in the capital may preside over a case against an Imperial officer, and should the initial evidence be compelling then the accused will be recalled and stand trial in the capital itself.
Trial By Combat
- If a criminal is sentenced to death, they may invoke the ancient Mercian tradition of trial by combat and face a champion of the state instead of its headsman. Whether the duel take place in an arena as part of the blood sports or in the training yard of a military encampment, the rules are the same: one weapon, no armor, to the death. Should the criminal survive, the crime that carried the sentence of death is absolved.
orders of punishment
When the accused is found guilty by an arbiter, the punishments they receive fall into some of five Orders depending on the crimes they committed. Severity of the sentence for the most part is determined by the presiding arbiter, but some Orders are completely codified and out of their hands. Meting out justice is also done by the arbiter and his escort unless they receive special instructions.
There are exceptions to these Orders. For example, those with special citizenship are immune to punishments from the Third Order, and are instead incarcerated for their allotted time. Foreign convicts may or may not be exempt from various or all Orders depending on the treaty between their homeland and the Imperium, but all are subject to deportation regardless. Certain officials or nobles may receive leniency from the presiding arbiter depending on their relationship, being subject to far lighter sentences than total strangers. However, convicted Imperial officials are investigated for any abuses of power in their criminal conduct, and if found guilty of this as well they permanently lose the right to hold government posts.
Fines are paid to both the plaintiff and the state in relative amount to the value of what was taken or cheated. The damage done to both the plaintiff and the state is evaluated by the presiding arbiter, giving them large influence over the size of the fines.
Property is seized by the state in accordance with the crime committed, and can range from as little as stolen goods to as much as entire estates. While there are some codified punishments in this Order, the arbiter still evaluates and decides the damage done.
Servitude to the Imperium has a minimum sentence of six months, with additional time added in accordance with the severity of the crime committed. Unlike the lower Orders, the arbiter's evaluation has less of an impact when deciding the length of servitude.
Ritual mutilation is used to communicate to the rest of the Imperium the crimes committed by the guilty, such castration for rape and removing the hand for assault. The arbiter has no say in what form of mutilation take place, sentencing only what's codified.
Execution by beheading is a rarely used form of punishment performed unilaterally for certain crimes. Any misconduct befitting the Fifth Order is a capital crime, with only one punishment that the arbiter is responsible for carrying out as soon as possible.
The Mercian military is rigidly structured into armies of roughly equivalent size called legions, with a strict chain of command for each further division of soldiers. Legionnaires are a mixture of volunteer recruits and levied conscripts that come from across Mercia, commanded mostly by battlefield veterans, although the highest military ranks have a greater number of trained officers from the patrician families. The intense training regimen of the legions and Mercia’s constant wars have created a ruthlessly effective war machine, especially when under effective leadership.
Each tribune commands a cohort, a combined arms unit that is the largest subdivision of soldiers within a legion. Most tribunes are of patrician families having finished their training and in their first post within the legion, although many are centurions who’ve successfully demonstrated their capacity for battlefield strategy.
Every legion will have a legate at its head in command, whether or not it’s assigned to a praetor or a governor. It’s rare for even the most prominent patrician families to have a member enter the legions at legate rank, given the scope of strategy required to be competent and the amount of combined arms experience preferred.
A praetor commands multiple legions assigned to them by the Imperator, and are typically responsible for the grand strategy of an entire campaign. Only veteran legates are ever eligible for this position, given that they are the most powerful and culpable officers in the legions, and they are few in number overall.