Since the Ark is such a small community, there is no single official center of power.
The following NPCs make up the Ark's governing council:
The Gatehouse Crew (led by Captain Brukal, mostly made up of warriors and ex-Lakeland Army soldiers, is the military authority of the Ark, in charge of defense and the local peace. They maintain a jail under the gatehouse for both locals and outsiders that need to be incarcerated.
Brother Fiorian (the army priest) is the other notable figure among them. On occasion, Fiorian is called upon for his knowledge of Akadazian common law.
Elan leads the Greystone Guard and Militia, on the other side of the Well (the portal in the middle of the Ark). His second in command there is Scout-Corporal Anayra.
Sausau, (now deceased) half-elven cook, was the head of life in the Keep, the kitchen, and the food stores. He mediates any minor disputes between the people living there, including the newer refugees from Nix. He also keeps copies of written contracts, as well as acting as a witness for verbal contracts, and people generally go to him when there is a question about such matters. He was killed by the "cloudkill" spell. The Ark has yet to replace him.
Skrags, (now deceased) human druid, acts as a spiritual/ecological advisor. She doesn't concern herself much with social matters, but more with things like food supplies, housing, energy needs, water, livestock, relations with local wildlife/fey/etc.
The Ark currently has no written code of law, but the people go by Akadazian common law (and expect the newcomers to abide by the law, though they may give them some leeway at first.) The details were passed down orally, often through the priests. Due to the precarious existence of the Ark, the enforcement and punishments have changed, sometimes becoming harsher. The Ark community as a whole compensates the victim(s) of a crime if the criminal is unable to.
Serious crimes result in execution or outlawry (and on the Ark, the two amount to the same, due to the Curse that prevents people from leaving alive.) Serious crimes include murder, rape, and mind-altering spells (considered morally equivalent to rape --- i.e., taking away someone's will or volition), and creating undead. (OOC note: if someone wants to make a necromancer character, you are free to do so, and get the laws changed ICly.)
For less serious crimes (theft, breach of contract, manslaughter, assault, slander, adultery, forgery, counterfeiting, etc.) punishments run towards fines, indentured servitude, public shaming in the stocks, flogging, and community service.
Magic is legal, unless used for criminal activities. Detection and divination magic is considered lawful (though possibly rude, depending on the circumstances.) Any magic may be used against any target that may be lawfully killed (e.g. monsters attacking the Ark, etc.) Magic (including mind-affecting enchantments) may be used on prisoners and war captives (as an alternative to other methods of interrogation), usually under the supervision of the Gatehouse crew (and sometimes Hyan Luize).
Slavery: Technically, true slavery is illegal. But people can legally be indentured servants. On the Ark, the length of the contract has been limited to seven years. Indentured servants may own property (but not real estate), and may marry, but they may only have children with their owner's permission. They are permitted to buy out their own contracts (maximum three times what they were bought for.) Children of 'slaves' are considered the property of their mother. Most indentured servants are either captives from the surface world or criminals whose crime was not quite serious enough to result in execution. In practice, usually it is Captain Vera, Hyan Luize, or Maria who takes charge of them.
Marriage: since most of the original Ark refugees were commoners of the poorer classes, monogamy has become the rule. "One person, one mate," as the saying goes. Anything else is deemed unfair. People pay neither bride-prices nor dowries, though an exchange of gifts between the families is customary. Divorce is recognized as a right, and can be initiated by either party.
Duels and feuds are discouraged as a rule. It was the custom in Lakeland for the nobles to duel over matters of honor, but not the commoners. Adventurers were also known and expected to take matters into their own hands (as they were accustomed to being "in the field", far away from any outside law enforcement.)
All the (sentient) residents of the Ark are considered full citizens, and Ark law applies mainly to interactions between citizens. Minors (under age 16 for humans) lack full rights, but may marry with their guardians' permission at age 14. Outlanders (i.e. surface dwellers in whatever plane the Ark visits) are given some allowance for ignorance in Ark law when they visit the Ark. On the surface, Ark citizens are expected to respect both local law and Ark law (but this is not as strictly enforced as between citizens aboard the Ark). The Curse is seen by the citizens as a mitigating circumstance in some cases (Ark citizens die if kept away from the Ark too long.)
Copyright © December 11, 2005, Celeste Chang --- Revised ---
December 12, 2005
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