The clan matrons are the true rulers of the Liranequois. Many philosophers from Japethe classify the Liranequois a matriarchy because of the extent of the clan matrons' control over the lives of their people and the sachems. The clan matrons are the head of each of the clans in the towns. The position is held by the oldest living woman in the clan and is hereditary. Every clan matron is descended from the original progenitor of the clan when the Great Law of Peace was adopted.
The clan matrons wield a soft power. They are the faithkeepers of the clan, maintaining the traditions and performing the ceremonies. When a child is born, the clan matron anoints them and welcomes them into the clan. When the child comes of age, she administers the naming vigil. When the now-adult falls in love, she performs the wedding. When a clan member dies, she buries them and conducts the funeral that ushers them into the afterlife. The clan matrons appoint the sachems, who lead the clan in trade, war, and diplomacy. They also have the power to remove a sachem and appoint another. As a consequence, a wise sachem seeks advice from the clan matron before making any major decision.
A sachem, sometimes spelled (and pronounced) sakom, is the leader who represents a clan at the Great Council at White Tree. A vast majority of the time, sachems are male, but a female sachem is not unheard of. The Clan Matrons appoint the sachems, and they take the selection of their representatives very seriously. In times of peace, they appoint those who are influential, eloquent, and skilled in the art of consensus building. Having a slow temper and a thick skin are also desired traits as council meetings can get heated. In times of strife, the Clan Matrons select young warriors who are bold, intelligent, and resourceful. The Clan Matrons are able to "unappoint" their sachem, but this rarely happens. If the Clan Matrons are unhappy with their representative, the sachem will voluntarily resign. The Matrons do not change sachems lightly, as it calls their decision making into question.
Membership on the council offers no actual political power. Instead, the sachem's influence relies on reputation, deeds, and the backing of the Clan Matrons. When away from council, the sachems act as leaders of their clans and nations in war, trade, and diplomacy. All three of these activities are seen as closely linked to the Liranequois. They either trade with others or war with them. Diplomacy determines which of the two is utilized. Sachems are expected to lead war parties or trading parties. When emissaries from outsiders arrive, the sachems represent the interests of the clans and thereby the nation.
Among the Liranequois, there are a number of healers who have knowledge of herbs and poultices to aid those ill and injured. The greatest of these healers are the Wisdoms. These individuals are paragons of their art and have command of powerful medicine. Medicine in this instance means the secrets of the world. It involves understanding spirits, nature, and - most importantly - people. Wisdom is a title that is bestowed upon a healer by the rest of the clan. The surest way to never become a Wisdom is to proclaim yourself one. While most Wisdoms are female, they can be either gender. They are all uniformly older, as decades of practice are needed to gain the skills and reputation to be lifted to this honor.
A Wisdom's greatest strengths are her influence over the spirits and understanding of the spirit world. A Wisdom knows how to entreat manitou, mastering the appropriate dances, learning their nuances and predilections, and gaining their favor. In addition, a Wisdom knows the healing arts to a degree that their success seems almost magical. Lastly, a Wisdom understands people, acting as a counselor and teacher. This is perhaps the most difficult part of the Wisdom's role, as humans are complex and constantly changing. A Wisdom's knowledge can be used for selfish and cruel reasons, granting such fell powers as crippling curses, tormenting spirits, and strange illnesses. However, using medicine in this manner can poison the healer, as it is a perversion of nature and not the role of a healer, and cause physical deformity and insanity in the Wisdom.« Return to the Almanac Index