The new Palatinate is a unique blend of monarchy, republic, and hegemony. It is at times an absolute monarchy, at others, an anarchic mixture of at least a dozen small states turned into a nation state by name only. All of this is based in the legacy of the Palatine, the capital of the world. In the ancient era the Palatine was either constructed (or discovered) by the Elline Palla. In that era, it was a meeting place where all disputes could be solved on neutral ground by officials that we would now call Palatines. Any man could become one and the status was considered that of an official instead of a warrior. The building was the center of a small city, named Pallas (meaning “Wisdom” in the local tongue).
According to local myth, the original citizens of the Palatine were the children of the goddess Pallas. They claimed that they were a kingdom many times, and powerful, influential ones. But they were a people bound to the whims of the Crownmaker and the Kingbreaker, caught in an eternal dance. And so, Pallas took them into the south and built a Palace fit for the greatest king in the world. But she looked upon the people and decreed that no man could sit enthroned in this palace and gave unto the people a code of laws that would free them for the tyranny of the two gods. And according to myth, the Palatines of Pallas commanded the whole of the west (or even the whole world according to some legends) through their wisdom and power, but kept falling. For all mortals fall prey to the whims of the Crownmaker and the Kingbreaker.
That was before it was conquered by Tarë fleeing across the continent. The Tarë revived the city-state into a regional power and adopted the customs and roles of those who owned the Palatine previously. When their fellow Vamatar and Saumatar brothers came to conquer the region, the Palatine served as the meeting place from which the southern city-states gathered and after the long war, the Palatine served as the arbiter of the deal.
The Council of the Palatines ruled the city for generations and acted as arbiters between nations. The Palatines of ancient times were led by an elected “First Palatine” who oversaw the whole league. This position eventually became the title of Répalatine (falsely translated as Emperor). This man would be given the authority to determine the results of an unclear vote. He also is considered the figurehead for the city of Pallas. The Répalatine had to be a charismatic and intelligent individual, capable of furthering his own interests without the other palatines seeing or believing that he was doing so. The Répalatines of Pallas of various different kingdoms
Pallas became the unofficial capital of a hegemonic league and though it owned nothing, the local city-states respected the Palatines greatly. At times, the Répalatine’s influence caused their allies to joke that they were the avatars of the Crownmaker and their rivals accused them of being the incarnations of the Kingbreaker.
The original state became a regional power through a successful business model. The Elline Palla would expand by strategic diplomacy and an inclusive and fluid government, that assure protection and independence from the many rising and falling empires. They could send officials, named Palatines, to the famous structure, where they would be allowed to directly influence the governance of the city and protect their interests on the Council of Palatines.
These Palatines served as a neutral judiciary system where no nation was allowed to interfere. The Palatines were initially a chosen group. However, over the centuries, the Palatine positions became more and more hereditary, as the same families were elected over and over to administrate the cities. These families would become the Palatine Houses and in years to comes, these families would take on very aristocratic attitudes. The Palatines became the de facto rulers of their city-states.
The Palatine itself changed hands many times. In third incarnation of the Empire, when the Palatines were conquered by the Rëlines, their King ascended the Palatine and built a throne of laurel wood, beginning “The Empire of the Laurel King.” The Palatines ceased to be a council and the title came to mean a regional warlord, which became the word: Paladin. The Rëlines were eventually driven into the far north, where the Emperors-in-exile dwelt. A series of successor dynasties continued the legacy. But the hegemony had long collapsed and the title became the ruler of a city-state. The last Palatine Répalatine died childless, and the Palatines were called to elect the successor. Just as the death came, news of a conquering king was heard. One had an army and could subdue the rebellious city-states and the Tarë. No one knows what happened during this period, but one Palatine, Pethenon the Devout, was moved by the Godhead and he did the unthinkable and offered Valén kingship over Pallas.
The Saint-Emperor Valén was stunned and amazed. He immediately rode to the city and cast out the Palatines and prepared to proclaim himself king. But he soon found that the people of Pallas identified completely with their Palatine. He set to reconquering all of the former city-states, placing his own men as the new Paladins. He then held an election and the Paladins elected Valén as the Répalatine and Reya of Pallas. Soon after, he was proclaimed by the Ecclesiarch and his vassals to be Répalatine of the West. He “cast off” the title of Reya to become a mere citizen and ruled the Palatine.
The Palatinate is a “league” of city-states and kingdoms that all have Paladins to advise the Répalatine. These nations vary from being the puppets of the Répalatine to autonomy, and even to effectively ruling the entire Palatinate. This has been the case for millennium as the Répalatine only has as much authority as the other states believe it has. A charismatic Répalatine with a strong power base could potentially upend the whole balance of power in the entirety of the west. The new Palatinate is incredibly powerful as a group but also incredibly unstable. All of the states within the Palatinate have a Laurë Palatine. The whole system was designed to promote the interests of the Répalatine Valén and keep the Laurë in power. This has translated to his successors with very mixed results, ranging from autocrats to puppets in no predictable order. For though the Paladins are more warlike than ever, their authority comes from their own personal charisma and ability to create a powerbase. For the title is not one of ownership but of consultation. The Répalatine is not inherently a king and Palatines are not inherently lords…they most likely will have some kind of power base but there have been many recent Répalatines who were Répalatines alone. Most of these rulers were weak but some were the most powerful in the world.