The First House is the national legislature of Bormar. It was created at Bormar’s inception and settled in Ereben, the nation’s capital. Its structure consists of the one-hundred richest nobles of Bormar, one of which is granted executive authority. The First House has the final say on all matters within Bormar’s borders and may unilaterally pass law, command armies, officiate diplomacy and other relevant duties-of-state.
The name ‘First House’ stems from the leadership of ancient Dwarven settlements where all decision-making and discussion would occur in the home of the settlement’s Elder. Since this was the first instrument of young Bormar’s tenuous power, it was titled the "First House" as an honourable gesture to the many Elders who gave up their authority to unify the species. In modern parlance, it’s regularly referred to as "The House".
Nearly all offices, documents or paraphernalia related to the First House is prefaced with "First".
The Nobles[edit | edit source]
Bormar’s noble system has always been directly tied to wealth, this extends to pre-Bormar times where settlements would strive to be the richest within the Mar Mountains. To Dwarves, being rich shows intelligence, competency and determination.
For this reason, the richest Dwarves are appointed to serve in the First House, titled as "First Nobles".
The First Book (seen as the proto-constitution of Bormar) only identifies two criteria to become a Noble within the First House. First, they must be the richest in their holding. Second, they must be a Dwarf. If a currently serving noble dies, is removed, or retires, the First House will assemble and call upon the Office of Noble Registry to provide documentation and research on all of the possible candidates for the position.
Rulin Morju, a retired First Speaker wrote, "While The First House has previously voted for and appointed nobles who were not the richest un-appointed Dwarf, it is common precedent that the richest is appointed."
Originally, a majority vote by The First House on a candidate was all that was required to appoint a new First Noble. But following the discovery of Lord Voman Stoutheart's traitorous actions, the Office of National Investigations is commissioned to investigate the candidate before their appointment. While this step is usually without incident, Lady Ohar Florasu was discovered to have been selling state secrets to the Vingaborda, resulting in her arrest and Lady Maya Thursak to be elected in her stead. Once appointed, the new First Noble must give up their control of their Holding and move to Ereben, relying solely on their own amassed wealth. While greed is not an uncommon emotion of most unascended nobles, First Nobles will usually rise to the call, and diligently use their wealth to better the nation, usually retiring with a much smaller pool of wealth as they spent it on bettering the nation. First Nobles do not lose their title should another unelected Noble surpass their net worth. First Nobles serve for life unless they are voted out, or die.
Legislation[edit | edit source]
The First House’s legislation is called "First Bills" while they are under debate, once passed, they are re-titled to "First Acts". Sentence structure is changed upon the successful adoption of a new Act. First Bills preface each clause with "It shall be", and First Acts change that to "It will be". All legislative documents passed executively by the First Speaker, or circulars released by Offices of Bormar (which hold the same power as passed First House Legislation) are called "First Orders" and are immediately identifiable due to the use of ‘It must be’ before each clause.
Interestingly, First Nobles are constitutionally required to finance the majority of any legislation or proposals they present to the First House. Primarily, this rule exists to stop First Nobles from presenting legislation which is financially unviable or may be otherwise unwanted. Additionally, it means that political rivals cannot allow a First Act to pass, and then refuse to allocate it any funding.
Finally, it means First Nobles can convene and co-sponsor First Acts, massively increasing the available funding for bills. This was used for some of the First House’s largest legislation, like "The First Act of Land Reform" or "The First Act of National Infrastructure".
Any First Noble (save for The First Speaker) may author, co-sponsor, submit, fund, amend and vote on First Bills. Most bills only require a Simple Majority to successfully pass and become a First Act. For bills which amend the First Book, alter domestic or international trade law, add or remove Government Organisations or state or modify the official position of Bormar (statements of denunciation, declaration of war, activation of conscription, etc.) require a supermajority to pass.
Offices of The First House[edit | edit source]
Offices of The First House are special disciplines, roles, or groups of employees which serve specific duties to the building or the institution.
The First House has three groups of offices, Administrative, Internal and Supportive.
The First Speaker[edit | edit source]
The Office of The First Speaker of The First House is the highest elected office in Bormar, it is an Administrative office within The First House. First Speakers can serve for life, but usually serve for a decade due to the stress of the role.
The First Speaker is elected from one of the First Nobles. First Nobles must be nominated by five or more other First Nobles to be permitted to stand for election. It is usual that a dozen or more First Nobles are standing for election.
Voting is done through multiple rounds of single transferable votes, where First Nobles vote for their ideal choice of First Speaker. Throughout the process, the candidate with the least votes in each round is eliminated. When a final candidate remains, they must reach an absolute majority vote before becoming First Speaker.
The First Speaker has executive authority over the administration of Ereben, facilitating the debate of each First House session, signs passed legislation into law and acts as the Chief Executive of any assembled National Military.
The Office of The First Speaker consists of an entourage of nearly 35 aides. This includes accountants, script-writers, security, representatives from Bormar’s Offices, translators, and more.
First Speakers are constitutionally advised to be “impartial in all matters of state, and an unbiased mediator within the First House”. This is usually followed, but First Speakers have, on occasion, used their prestige to sway fellow First Nobles on votes. It was retired First Speaker Morju who wrote, "The First Speaker two before my own was a lovely socialite, save for where he only permitted discussion of topics that interested him. He did not last long in that role."
The First Wardens[edit | edit source]
The First Wardens are the hand-picked, highly-trained private security force operating solely within the First House. They are the only policing force bestowed the power of legal authority within the complex. The First Wardens are sworn to secrecy, as they are granted access to the entirety of the First House.
First Wardens are some of the most skilled fighters from Bormar and usually are chosen from molir throughout the country. When the First House announces an open position for a First Warden, molir throughout the country practice and spar internally before officially submitting their application for their best officer.
The First Beadle[edit | edit source]
The First Beadle is responsible for various administrative and house-keeping tasks within the First House. Each First Beadle serves a term of five years, and in the final month of their tenure, they oversee the Beadle Festival where young Dwarves and Paper-pushers alike attempt to secure the position itself, or be chosen as one of the Beadle’s aides.
They chair the First Commission of the House, which is a body of bureaucrats responsible for the up-keep of the House, maintenance and all other assistive duties required for house business, including lamp-lighting, cleaning, printing, clerks, and more. The First Beadle and their team, officially called the First Beadlery, will generally act as clerks and tellers within the First House, and distribute letters, Acts or other paraphernalia wherever it is needed, whenever it is needed.
The First Beedle themself holds the First Hammer, which is used to strike the Deep Iron Ribs of The First House, before loudly announcing the entrance of a First Noble.
Sub-Organisations[edit | edit source]
In 416 BY, the First House voted 89:11 to establish a system of commissions. This system would allow the First Speaker to establish "focus groups" and select its occupants. These groups would then meet regularly to discuss any tabled or passed legislation within its remit, as well as discuss and attempt to resolve any events or business relating to its focus.
The first commission was the First Commission on the House, headed by the First Beadle and occupied by the First Beadlery and the First Speaker. This commission is directly in-charge of all House bureaucracy. Other notable commissions include: The First Commission of Vingi-Borian Relations, The First Commission of Zietal Mar, and The First Commission on the Third Tunnel Through the Koreggi Mountains.
While commissions do not possess enumerated powers, on the House floor, members of Commissions relating to the task at-hand are generally given speaking priority and their speeches are respected, regularly swaying votes on legislation.
When bills that relate to an established Commission are introduced, a short period of debate will be permitted before the First Speaker adjourns the topic, awaiting the decision of the related First Commission before continuing debate. Once the First Commission returns with a verdict, debate is resumed, starting with the commissioners before debate is opened to the floor.
Architecture[edit | edit source]
The First House is renowned across Bormar (and the remainder of the continent) for its uniquely and universally Dwarven architectural style. The entire exterior walls are solid stone, beset with stone statues and carefully inset mosaics of key points of political and Dwarven history.
The building, consisting of 10 overground storeys sits at just over 80 metres, except for the central tower which, at the tip of the flagpole, stands at 120 metres. The roof was one of the first major buildings in Bormar to be tiled. The material the tiles are made from varies occasionally, from slate to marble and occasionally rare metals.
The Central Tower[edit | edit source]
The Central Tower is primarily used as a set-piece. The incredibly tall tower dwarfs everything else in Ereben and is a physical embodiment of the power of The First House.
At the top sits the First Bell, this 200 ton bell is made of Deep Iron and is rung only by the First Beadle, on the order of the First Speaker. To date, it has been rung only five times. The ringing of the First Bell can signify many things, danger, celebration, attention, among others. The sound is noted to be incredibly loud, deep and attention-grabbing. Retired first Speaker Morju wrote that it ‘Resonates with the mind and heart, surging adrenaline through your body’. It can be heard all throughout Ereben, and with favourable winds, can reach nearby towns.
A flagpole rises ten metres above the roof of the tower, its tip being the height metric of the tower. It will be empty unless there is a celebration, tragedy, or meeting of The First House. Flown symbols include the flag of Bormar, the flag of the Molir, and other symbols of notable importance to the occasion in which they were flown.
The Interior[edit | edit source]
The interior of the First House somewhat departs from Bormar style, with wood being more common for flooring, walls and ceilings. The halls and corridors of each storey has a unique pattern on the carpets, with material, colour and weave being chosen and created by holdings throughout Bormar.
Each First Noble is given a bespoke office and complete authority on furnishing and design. First Nobles will regularly commission craftsdwarves of their own holding to design and detail the office.
The First Chamber[edit | edit source]
The First House Chamber is a large hexagonal stone chamber, with tiers of padded wooden benches surrounding several rostra. First Nobles will sit and speak from the benches, which has no designated seating plan. The First Speaker, their aides and House Officers preside, and work from the many rostra.
The First Speaker will preside from the rostrum in the centre of the chamber. It is constructed from three tiers of cylindrical stone, each tipped with Deep Iron. The top tier has a stone and deep-iron chair and rests upon a rotating mechanism that allows The First Speaker to slowly rotate as they speak, or turn to face a specific First Noble to listen or address them. Embedded into the sides of each tier are cavities with relics of Bormar, including the All-Gem.
The chamber itself was carefully re-designed by fifteen architects known as the First Few to have excellent acoustic properties, with the First Speaker’s rostrum being the focal point of all sound. While the names of the First Few have been forgotten, they immortalised themselves in the chamber with fifteen statues. It is unknown what the previous chamber looked like, as records were either not made, lost, or destroyed.
At each wall-joining, a wide spine of Deep Iron stretches from the floor into the ceiling, converging at the centre. This provides structural support, and also acts as an internal bell which is rung by the First Beadle.
Morju wrote, "After my previous colleague actively neglected the chamber, I commissioned the First Few to design a perfect chamber in which us First Nobles could convocate and steer our great nation. I cared not for their names, but for what they could bring to the nation, they delivered the most beautiful room I have seen in my life. I wish I could give them more."
Notable Members[edit | edit source]
- Rulin Morju - Sixth First Speaker
- Onya Strongvoice - Eighty-Fifth First Speaker
- Voman Stoutheart - A disgraced First Lord whose whereabouts are currently unknown