The Empire of the Brethren of Awn'Kor

The Empire is a bit of an enigma. They have not had an Emperor in nearly 600 years, since the death of the Last Emperor at the hands of Gwynned Bal. For that time, the Brethren of Awn'Kor have refused to sign a peace treaty with Gan Loren, while the Regicide Gwynned Bal lived. 

However, the state of war was largely a formality, and trade and diplomatic relations, while strained, rarely boiled over into outright conflict. Members of the Brethren even sent some of their fledgling spellcasters to train at the Unseen Tower, notably Ambassador Thyssyk.

Law is harsh in the Empire, with only two penalties for most crimes, indentured servitude, or death. The length of servitude and the conditions thereof, however bear mentioning, and are changed to reflect the crime. A man convicted of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, for instance, is generally sentenced to 6 months to a year of indentured servitude at a semiskilled pursuit, so that at the end of the sentence, he has a skill with which to afford bread for his family. Additionally, his family would be paid in food out of what would have been his wages.

Some nobles will choose death rather than suffer the dishonor of servitude, but generally death for small offenses is solely at the discretion of the accused. There is still a trial, and if choosing death, the option of a trial by combat.

More serious crimes, such as rape or murder, only allow the option of servitude if the family of the deceased offers it. (And in cases where the family is the accused, this clause is, of course, nullified).

The most heinous crimes require both death and servitude, with the convicted being executed and then raised for a set period of time as undead. In some isolated cases, servitude comes first, and then execution unless their period of servitude is judged to have sufficiently wiped the slate clean.

The legal system itself enshrines the belief that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, but courts and trials are not generally open to the public, so whether more than lip service to this ideal are paid is unknown. Some form of servitude is usually imposed on any accused, though in many cases this takes similar form to modern day community service and there is little impingement on the convict's physical freedom of movement or action.

Vagrancy or homelessness are usually punished with a day's work and a hot meal. Vagrancy due to illness is punished with a visit to the healer, and then a day's work and a hot meal.

Outsiders often consider the Empire to be a harsh place, however, those who live in the Empire see it as only logical and just, and shudder at the lawlessness and rampant homelessness and poverty witnessed in other nation states.

In times of war, the Empire can be either a gracious or a terrible foe. Prohibitions against killing and mistreating civilians, or looting supplies are generally left in place, however, some commanders choose to lift them. In such cases the soldiers are never prosecuted. Their commanders however are generally held to be responsible for all atrocities by soldiers under their command. One general in particular was sentenced to 1000 years service after his execution for letting his soldiers sack and burn a city.

The Empire of the Brethren of Awn'Kor

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