History and Description of the Council
The Royal Council was established in the year 61, when the kingdom started to become more united and complex, and the king realized he needed an array of advisors to help him rule over all the provinces. The provinces themselves were quarrulous between each other and internally, their affairs were too much to handle by one man. And also, it has become the king's instrument to reward certain province lords, and even their bannermen.
For the first Royal Council, the king called to the province lords to send two noblemen each for the purpose of choosing six among themselves to take up posts. He stressed out, that none of these men should be a banner lord, for he may be delayed in the capital and unable to rule his lands. The Authority of Protection emerged from the already existing five Horns, and the Authority of Religion was adopted later. It became immediately a complicated matter, as some province lords took longer to send their two choices, and when the ten were assembled, debates dragged on over the choices. Nobody wanted to be left unchosen and return home disgraced. Finally the king himself stepped in and appointed the Authorities himself, forming a precedent.
The Authorities were initially supposed to work for one year before another assembly would replace them, however that proved too short a time to make the new council work. The terms were first prolonged to five years, then to a lifetime. When it became clear that the council would be a permanent thing, manors were erected for every authority except Protection. Also, every councillor receives a salary, but individual salaries are decided by the king, so the monarch has a way of showing a councilor his displeasure or favor.
Another problem arose when one of the first councilors, from Vestermark, died. Vestermark argued, that another man of Vestermark should be chosen in his place. The other provinces opposed. Again the King intervened, ruling that no post on the council shall be reserved for any specific province, but every province needs to hold at least one post on the council. From then on, when a councilor dies, the royal court sends a pigeon to every province lord, asking to write back with two names for proposed successors. The King chooses one from the whole of ten names proposed. Cautious kings tended to choose so that provinces had a roughly equal number of councilors, but it's not a rule. An ambitious and political king can marginalize some provinces by giving them only one councillor, and raise others to a larger number of councilors.
When a province has only one councilor, and that councilor dies, it is not certain that another of this province will take his place. Instead, if the king choses otherwise, a special "honorary advisor" is co-opted to the council to make sure that the province has a representation on the council. This advisor is chosen by the province lord, although he still needs to present his credentials before the king. The honorary advisor serves until the next councilor of his province emerges, and it is a custom that this advisor is one of his province lord's candidates when a spot on the council opens. Once the province has at least one regular councilor, the honorary advisor is relieved. While the councilors often treat an honorary advisor as lesser then them, an advisor who has served several years in the council becomes quite experienced in the politics of the court, and may indeed become a power to be reckoned with. If, after ten years, a province still does not have a man on the council, the next opening will automatically be assigned to a man from that province.
The councilors mediate in the matters that fall under their jurisdiction. They make recommendations, however decisions in important matters must pass to the King who makes the law. The vague definition of "important matters" means that an individual councilor's power depends on his influence among the council, and strength of the current king. The councilors also attend the king in the council chamber once a week, to discuss matters of the kingdom. The king calls emergency meetings as he sees fit.
The last great shake and position of controversy in the council is the participation of women. The majority of councilors are men, however, in 147 the first woman was chosen to the post of the Authority of Protection, much to the dismay of her fellow councilors. She came from Lacharn. From then on it was allowed that the province lords could propose a woman to the council, albeit their second choice must be a man. Over the last century a handful of women were chosen to the council, always hailing from Lacharn. They never accumulated much power however, isolated by the seven men around them.
The royal council is a good place to stick in the younger sons in. Also it grows the prestige of the house when they have a councilor in their ranks. While the province lord sends the names to the king, it's typical of the banner lords to try convince him to include a member of their house as one or even both candidates. The province lord is welcome to make any choice, but if he continuously proposes his own kin, or disregards some banner houses, he may make enemies inside his own province. On the other hand, proposing some banenr lord's kinsman can start a real friendship between the province lord and that banner.
The style of each councilor is Authority of ______, Lord Full Name of Province. Eg. Authority of Castle Matters, Lord Duncan Montrose of Arbrecht.
Description of Duties
Authority of War - Duties are to advise the King on all matters of war, keep tabs on the forces and communicate with the Lords/commanders of each force.
Authority of Welfare - Duties are the care and concern of the people of the kingdom, especially as it grows. Do crops need to be shared or spread? Does a lord need help dealing with bandits or other crime? Are the people being treated fairly? Did we really get rid of this plague?
Authority of Coin - Responsible for the royal treasury, the account of taxing, and the distribution of funds.
Authority of Protection - Captain of the Royal Guard and the Five Horns, sworn to protect the King. The Five Horns are always knights from each of the five kingdoms. When the knight from one kingdom dies, he is replaced with a man from the same kingdom. One is always chosen as Captain of the Guard. When the Captain dies, the best of the remaining four is chosen to replace him.
Authority of Diplomacy - Responsible for collecting information via contacts around the kingdom, and communicating with those contacts in such a way to aid the crown. Appoints and communicates with ambassadors to other nations.
Authority of Knowledge - House Scholar - Responsible for providing the council and king with the knowledge gained through study of the works in the library and is keeper of the House Histories.
Authority of Castle Matters - Seneschal - Responsible for maintaining the castle, supervising feasts, organizing ceremonies and dispensing of justice. Also responsible for documenting the council meetings and ensuring paper work matters are taking care of.
Authority of Religion - Keeper of the Five - House Fontenot brought their religion to their isle when they were crowned. The Keeper of the Five is a member of the council and advises the King both on the state of his religion and others worshiped in the kingdom. He is expected to keep contact with the heads of other religions as well.