The Orphans of Cathorna
The council of Cathorna
Cathorna’s council was originally established in 1610, with Palanto, Seela, Roric, Old Keeper Nedley (Altraam’s grandad) and Groot Eider, elected by popular vote. While inaugurated to counter Palanto’s dictatorial (though benevolent) rule, it was still largely a rubber stamp committee, doing little more than approving or modifying his plans. Dwarven and elven members were added on arrival of the two races (1620 and 1630 respectively), though again few people opposed anything Palanto decreed. Only when he insisted on comprehensive militia training after Third Cathorna did the council become a genuine democratic body; they refused to agree to his plan until he agreed to bring all matters before the council, and to allow a vote on anything they wished.
Membership has changed several times; Groot didn’t last, Kotlas briefly got a guernsey, Turk got in and stayed in once his dairy herd became productive (and he showed his prowess with a mace), Durgan’s been there since arrival, and Bran did a brief stint but refused to stand again.
Elections are held no more than once per year. Following the summer harvest, the militia spend a full day drilling, during which Palanto decides who and how many people will form the annual Long Patrol. At the end of the day, everyone is given a smooth white river pebble, engraved with a unique symbol (no two are alike). On filing into the barracks to return weapons, everyone drops their pebble in one of two earthen pots. One pot is marked simply ‘No’, the other ‘Yes’. If more than half the stones are placed in the Yes pot, an election is held the following week.
All active members of the militia are allowed to vote, as are people who have retired from militia duty.
If an election is called in a given year, candidates announce their candidacy by scribing their name with a brand on a piece of wood and placing it on a board outside the gates to the redoubt. Nominations close a week after the election call. Two weeks after nominations close, the election is held. Small wooden barrels with each candidate’s name are placed outside the barracks. The village is called by militia ranks to vote by placing a single stone in a barrel. Stones are uniquely marked, and the stone given to each villager is noted as it is handed out just prior to voting (Tomas usually handles this). Once everyone has voted, the stones are counted by Palanto and two others (usually Devon and Durgan). The five candidates with the most votes are given a place on the council with Palanto.
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