The Taipii Council is a democratic government formed in Lynnar by the Lupan God Naumayus, which clams jurisdiction over most Taipii cities.
While the Council claims jurisdiction over all of Taipii regardless of location, in practice the Council has very limited presence and thus authority in any of the Taipii cities besides Lynnar. The Council enforces it's decrees via the Council Guard, which patrol Lynnar, Eastern Alenfay, and all country roads leading to Lynnar.
Buildings and Locations
The Council meets at the Council Hall, which is sometimes also referred to as the "Rose Garden Hall" due to the distinctive architecture of the large central hearing chamber, the "Kosei Taurii". The sides of the building appear tent-like, and spiral slightly as they curve inward to form the roof - giving a loose impression of a twisted rose bud pushing up out of the ground. In addition to a large central hearing chamber are several outbuildings containing smaller hearing chambers and offices. These buildings are connected above ground by covered walkways and below via underground passages. The blocks surrounding the Kosei Taurii became known as the "Rose Garden District". Buildings in the district began a tradition of planting colorful flower gardens in open areas, window planters, and on rooftops as a symbol of prosperity free from the Taipii Houses.
Directly behind the Kosei Taurii is a long "c"-shaped building known formally as the "Thagul Taurii" or informally as The Guard Hall. This building serves the Taipii Guard, from which they organize the enforcement of Council decrees.
The council is organized with the following roles:
The Steward of the Council
The Steward of the Council is a member of the Circle (typically Naumayus) who is responsible for reserving chambers and scheduling hearings. The Steward does not sit on the Circle, but is free to pass from chamber to chamber and ensure order is kept.
In any session or hearing a member of the present Circle will be appointed as the Chair for that session. They will speak on behalf of the Circle, calling for order and presenting verdicts. The chair is selected by the circle members present for each hearing, or occasionally by request of the Steward.
The Circle act as judges in hearings and must agree on final decisions. For any change in law or project which is proposed the Circle is expected to call forth a vote from Council and head their voice. If the Circle has serious concerns about a matter they can vote to delay a matter for additional hearings or in some cases outright veto a measure even if the Council votes in favor of it. Such vetoes are rare, and in cases where the Circle acts against the vote of the Council a formal Objection must be presented to the Council informing the public why the measure was dismissed.
Council members become eligible to be elected to the Council by taking research and debate assignments and collecting commendations for being diligent in their representative work. Arguments to promote a council member to the circle or demote a circle member are made in open hearings.
The Council is comprised of elected representatives from Lynnar Districts, outlying villages, and guilds. Any organized group of Taipii which meets a list of requirements can choose a representative and propose their inclusion in the Council at an Open Hearing.
The Council is frequently called to vote on propositions in hearings and to participate in Debate Hearings before a project or law goes into effect.
The Speaker refers to whomever is currently invited to address the Council.
Audience of Witnesses
Members of the public can request to be a part of a general audience for hearings which concern them. This role does not participate in decision making, but to witness the proceedings.
Every session or hearing must have at least two Recorders. The Recorders are trained to write Taipiiscript quickly, and each is expected to write a complete record of exactly what is spoken at each hearing. If a recorder falls behind what is being spoken, they may raise their non-writing hand to indicate to the Chair they need time to catch up. They will then lower their hand when ready.
A small number of Attendants are present at all council hearings. Members of the Circle or Council may wave at an attendant to summon them, and then request stationary for taking notes and/or refreshments. It is generally considered slightly rude for a member of the Audience of Witnesses to request an Attendant, however Attendants are instructed to comply with reasonable requests from the audience so long as no Council or Circle member is summoning them.
The consumption of refreshments while Council is in session follows a tradition started in the Palace of the Gods in Lantros. It was reasoned that individuals making critical decisions for the well-being of the Taipii should be free from distraction including a desire to resolve matters quickly in order to resolve issues of hunger or thirst. Council and Circle members are of course expected to refrain from eating or drinking while they are about to speak out of respect.
The Council Hall has a kitchen with chefs who prepare light snacks and a variety of beverages whenever the Hall is in session.
The Council has five types of sessions:
Recognized members of the public can present proposals to the Council during open hearings. In these hearings members of the public and guild leaders can communicate concerns, propose council projects, and/or changes to law. Open Hearings always take place in the Kosei Taurii, where at least 3 members of the Circle must be present for a verdict. The council has time allocated for open hearings on most days, typically in the morning.
In response to each hearing the Circle members present may call for a recess while they deliberate or quickly render a decision after briefly speaking between themselves in a lowered voice. Each hearing is granted one of the following verdicts from the Circle:
- Heard and Reprimanded - In rare cases the Circle may reprimand the speaker for wasting the Councils time on a matter which is petty or otherwise undeserving of the Council's attention. After a reprimand the speaker may not be granted an invitation to speak on the floor again for some time, regardless of the severity of their complaint, and may need to find someone else to speak on their behalf on future matters.
- Heard and Dismissed - If the Circle responds with "Heard and Dismissed", then the Circle acknowledges the complaint or proposal, but does not plan to take any immediate action. This response is common in the case of complaints where the Circle does not think the matter requires immediate attention, but the matter was worthy of their attention and may warrant action in the future.
- Heard and Forming Inquiry - If the Circle is concerned by a matter but is unsure about what action could be taken in response, this verdict may be rendered. It indicates that the Council intends to gather more information before deciding if a proposal should be drafted. The Speaker can expect future correspondence requesting there presence at a second hearing or a letter of dismissal.
- Heard and of Concern - If the Circle is concerned enough by a matter or proposal this verdict indicates that the speaker should be ready for a second hearing in the near future. The Council will gather more information, draft a proposal, and identify Council Members with relevant support and objections for a future hearing.
- Heard and of Great Concern - If the Circle is greatly concerned on a matter they may render this verdict to indicate that the Steward must immediately organize an Emergency Hearing with additional Circle and Council members. An Emergency Hearing typically begins within hours on the same day.
Second Hearings / Debate Hearings
In a Second or "Debate" Hearing members of the Council will be invited to speak on and present information related to a matter in consideration. Second Hearings tend to have only a few topics for consideration per day, and do not typically involve a call to vote or verdict. These hearings are an opportunity for Circle members to become familiar with information and testimony as it is gathered, and a chance for Council members to draw up questions and proposals for future hearings and an eventual Grand Hearing.
Judiciary hearings are typically held in the secondary chambers outside of the Kosei Taurii. These hearings are used to organize information and gather testimony of a judicial nature. For Judicial Hearings the Audience of Witnesses is typically limited to those directly affected in the matter.
At the Steward's discretion a time or day may be reserved for Grand Hearings. Each of these Hearings is related to an "actionable item" - a project proposal or change to current law.
These hearings have several acts:
- An introduction of the proposal,
- A summary of debate (typically with a representative of each position having a short time to present their case or objections),
- A call for questions and clarification from the Council,
- A recess for consideration,
- A Council vote,
- A recess while the Circle deliberates their final decision,
- The Circle's Verdict.
The Circle can vote one of two ways:
- Considered and Dismissed - The Circle will not adopt the proposed measure.
- Considered and Adopted - The Circle will immediately adopt the law or allocate resources to pursue the project.
An emergency session operates similarly to a Grand Hearing, but with the notable difference that there typically has not been time before the session to collect debate information and propose solutions.
An emergency hearing proceeds in this manner:
- An introduction of the concern,
- A summary of existing information,
- A timed recess for Council and Circle members to discuss and draft proposals,
- A call for proposals.
If the Circle agrees that a reasonable proposal has been made, they may call for a Council vote followed by a verdict. If the Circle is not satisfied with the current proposals they may call for another recess followed by more proposals and/or debate.
The purpose of an Emergency Session is always to adopt a course of action. The session will continue drafting proposals until the Circle is satisfied that appropriate measures have been taken to address the Concern.
When speaking in a Council Hearing, Ceremonial Language is expected to be used as a sign of respect toward the Council.
Start of Session or Hearing
At the start of a session or hearing, the attendants enter the room and arrange themselves around the perimeter of the room. The Chair will then enter the room, ring a bell or gong, and make the following decree:
"Your attention please, order is called in the Chamber."
The attendants are instructed to then repeat aloud "Order has been called!" from where they are standing on the outskirts of the room. At this time the Chair and the circle will enter the room and stand at their seats. When the Chair is satisfied that the room is in order (they may call for order again), they will continue with the following:
"On this "morning", "afternoon", or "eve" of the current date, an "open hearing", "second hearing", "judiciary", "grand session", or "emergency session" will now commence. The Circle members present include a formal title for Circle Member, and I, formal title of the Chair as Chair. The Circle invites you to now be seated."
Calling a Speaker
To call a speaker the Chair will invite them thusly:
"The Circle calls upon person to speak as Speaker."
Introductions by the Speaker
After being called, the Speaker is expected to introduce themselves with the "brief" introduction as follows:
"Members of this Council, on behalf of guild, business, district, etc., I request audience for a "complaint" or "proposal" regarding topic"
When introducing oneself in a Grand Hearing, a "full" introduction is customary:
"Members of this Council, distinguished members of the Circle, his Majesty Naumayus da'Orliia (only if Naumayus is present in the room. Any additional gods or goddess who are present should be similarly acknowledged even if they are in the Audience of Witnesses), on behalf of guild, business, district, etc. I request audience for a "complaint" or "proposal" regarding topic."
If a Speaker omits their introduction the Chair may interrupt them to ask the Speaker their name and who they represent for the record before allowing them to continue.
When a Circle member presents the verdict on a matter, the following language is customary:
"Thank you speaker's name. The Circle has heard and duly considered this "complaint" or "proposal". The Circle's decision is to "reprimand", "dismiss", "form inquiry", "concern ourselves", "take emergency action" in regards to the matter of topic."
The formal verdict is typically followed up with a brief summary of why the Circle has decided the way it did.
When a hearing or session has concluded, the following customary dismissal is spoken to indicate the session has ended. The Chair is encouraged to create their own farewell invitation to the council and audience, spoken thusly:
"Order. This "hearing" or "session" is now concluded. The Circle bids you peace and safety as you travel to your homes. The Council is dismissed."
As a formality the attendants then repeat "The Council has been Dismissed".
The Council Guard
The Council Guard (not to be confused with the Taipii Guard in Lantros) is organized from The Guard Hall or "Thagul Taurii" building. The Council Guard has additional outposts in Chalei, Eastern Alenfay, on the outskirts of Ariiel, and along roads leading to Lynnar. The Council Guard has a declining presence in Chalei as mages from the Darau au'Lii receive an increasing number or requests from city residents.
The purpose of the Council Guard is to enforce the laws of the Council and to patrol the streets keeping Taipii safe from thieves and hostile creatures.