3 Aug 2017

gridlore: The Imperial Sunburst from the Traveller role-playing game (Gaming - Sunburst)
(Sorry if this is choppy, my case manager called in the middle of writing it.)

The Great Hall of the Moot has been described as one of the most impressive spaces in known space. Under a soaring 50 meter dome featuring an Imperial Sunburst crafted from the remains of a First Imperium warship, lay the desks and benches of the nobles of the Moot, each a work of art celebrating the home County of the noble. At the center is the pure black marble of speaker's dais, and opposite the great main doors to the chamber is the raised throne of the Lord President of the Imperial Moot. An impressive sight, with banners for each of the 300-odd noble houses hanging from the ceiling, the trophies and relics in niches around the viewers' gallery. Not to be missed.

It's also almost empty most of the time. The full Moot only meets sporadically, usually to vote on measures and packages to be presented to the Emperor. The true work of the Moot happens in hearing chambers and offices.

But who are the nobles who serve in the Spire? Currently, there are 347 members of the Moot, each one either an Elector or representing an Elector. The vast majority of seats are held by Counts-Elector, with 12 Baron-Electors and one Duke-Elector. Only a fraction of the actual title-holders serves on Capital. Time and distance combined with the responsibilities of holding an Imperial title force many Counts-Elector to remain at their county capitals.

Various Imperial Orders have, over the years, refined who can serve in the Moot. All Electors are required to maintain a presence on Capital. As the Imperium grew, that presence was allowed to fall into the hands of family members "of appropriate rank." Which means that a Count-Elector's representative must be drawn from the immediate family. This is often a duty given to favored cousins, and one eagerly accepted, as the social whirl on Captial is unsurpassed anywhere in known space. For many noble families, a stop at Capital is de rigueur on a young noble's grand tour. A chance to learn the ins and outs of the Imperial bureaucracy and make important contacts for the future.

Such noble stand-ins are granted a limited Imperial Patent naming them Viscount [County name] for the duration of their tour in the Moot. This patent can be revoked by both the Emperor and the actual Elector. While serving as Viscount, the noble has all the powers of the elector but is expected to keep his lord well-briefed and obey any commands issued.

The day to day business of the Moot is advocacy. Each and every member sitting in the Great Hall is there to get the best for their homes. More money for defense, increased allocation of assets, subtle cloakroom maneuvering to solidify power in the home sector. The hallways of the Moot Spire are always filled with intrigue and secrets. Much of the open work is done in the Standing Committees. These ad hoc groups are formed with the permission of the Lord President, and some have endured for centuries. The Standing Committee on the K'kree Issue, for example, is made up of nobles from Gateway and advocates of a larger navy. They exist to convince the rest of the Moot and the Emperor that the K'kree are the greatest threat to the Imperium and that naval building and deployment should reflect that fact.

There are dozens of such committees that meet daily, drawing on the advice of the hordes of experts that descend on Capital every year. Every committee and faction chimes in on the many reports and proposals that get forwarded to the Emperor. Generally, a majority of the Moot must sign off on any document destined for the Palace, but this is not a hard rule. Minority reports are politically risky, as offended factions within the Moot can call for a new Lord President or work to sabotage rivals and their agendas.

There are two days when the full Moot meets in all their glory and finery. Holiday, when the Moot is formally opened for the new year, and the Emperor's Birthday, where the assembled nobles receive an Imperial address and renew their vows to the Imperium and to the Emperor.

The Loyal and Honorable Nobles of the Imperial Moot live in either spacious estates for the older, wealthier noble houses, or in luxury apartments in the Palace Districts. Most have large retinues of servants and advisors as well as personal house troops guarding their estates. The social circle of parties and receptions is seen as being just as important as the hearing rooms of the Spire for getting business done.

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gridlore

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