Rights and Mandates

Sasha decides

What grants a right to rule?

Sasha sat cleaning his sword. False dawn had given enough light that he could see the crack leading into the barrow as a black strip against the gray of the hill. Under the light, it would turn back to browns and greens, but the crack would remain. What manner of lord had lain there? Who was he and who were the men who were buried with him? What caused them to rise in anger at intrusion? The mosaics gave no hint of Taldan origin, so perhaps they were something even older – some other would-be ruler of these bountiful, yet dangerous lands.

A right to rule cannot come from a crown, for a crown can fit on several heads. It cannot come from an army, for then the right is truly invested in the army, and that is a tyranny of arms.

The setting moon glinted off of the sword’s polished steel. Sasha knew his swordsmanship was improving. He had long fretted that he would only ever be of use to his people as a swordsman. As he considered what they had faced and what they had heard lurked in the darkness ahead of them, he began to understand – a swordsman was what they needed. Most men didn’t need someone to tell them how to get on with their lives; however, they did need someone to create that space wherein they could get on with their lives.

A clever tongue cannot grant a right to rule, or Asmodeus would rule over all. The will of the people is the will of the mob. If all the world minus one were of one opinion and that one were of a contrary opinion, the number does not make that one man wrong. All the world minus one would have no more right to silence that one man than that one man would have the right, had he the power, to silence the world.

The others began to stir as the sun’s first light blazed across the Kamelands. The hills (how many were barrows, Sasha wondered.) diminished his line of sight, but the dawn always filled him with renewed hope. He said a short prayer of thanks to Sarenrae, asking her to illuminate their path and to stand with Iomedae in defense of their tiny realm. From Tatzlford to this lonely little barrow, Sasha had begun to append a new adjective to these varied and sprawling lands: Mine.

The right to rule, then, must come from those Gods who seek the good for mankind. It is in them that we must trust and in them that the authority to govern is invested. The good and just ruler will see his realm blessed and his people prosperous. The ruler who loses his way will be beset by turmoil and his land crumbling. See how the rise of the House of Thrune brought low the Empire of Cheliax and how, even now, the impious rule of Noleski Surtova pulls the realm of Brevoy apart. Once the Mandate is lost, the will of Heaven towards a successor will only be known by the working out of the imponderable force of events in human history.

This I believe,

Aleksandr Rastilov


kitsuki Bookkeeper

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