mastery rune Clan Elections man rune

When a thane retires, dies, or is removed by the Ring, his steward governs for one season. At the end of this time, all free men and women of the clan assemble at the hillfort and vote. Everyone has one vote, but in practice, clients usually vote according to the wishes of their patron.

To be eligible, a candidate must be patrilineally related to a thane within four generations. Women can become thane, but this seldom happens, since they marry outside the clan. A potential thane must be “initiated into the clan secrets of Orlanth, and sound in body. He must have the ancestral magic. He must own two good horses, a metal helmet and byrnie, and three fine weapons. Furthermore, three clan folk vouch for him, and relate deeds of honor, judgment and courage which they have seen.”

There are no formal rules for an election -- candidates simply show up with their supporters. Bribery, warfare, and allegiances with rival clans are all part of the show. Since the candidates are all related, it would be kin-slaying to kill another candidate, but disqualifying a would-be thane by laming or blinding him, technically no more than battery, is an easy way to clear a path to the throne.

If no candidate has a majority of the votes, customarily the person with the least drops out, always an occasion for intense politicking. Occasionally a candidate will refuse to withdraw from the election, which almost always ends up with the clan fragmenting. Once in a while a new candidate will be drafted.

The new thane celebrates by holding a feast, is symbolically married to Er-Ralia, queen of the land, and receives pledges of loyalty from the spirits of the clan.

Copyright ©1997 David Dunham. Last updated 2 Nov 97.

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