The Venerated Republic of Decus, or “The Republic” for short, is a theocratic-oligarchical nation of hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people. Due to the overwhelming population that is purported by the Republic, living conditions and an average life experience within the nation is dependent on a myriad of qualifiers and conditions. With such a booming population, this broad spectrum can range from luxurious lifestyles to grueling livelihoods of manual labor and exploitation. There are, however, concrete quantifiers that can, with a confident amount of accuracy, determine the general living conditions a given member of the Republic may find themselves within. These include, but are not limited to: upward mobility into the Citizen caste (verses remaining within the Civilian caste), relationship with and involvement within the Ecclesial Authority, and verifiable heritable linkage to the Prelacy.
One of the most basic and common quantifiers of living condition within the Republic is that of the idea of Citizenship. Within the Republic, a bright-line distinction exists between two castes of society; that of the Citizen (High Decusian: civis), and that of the Civilian (High Decusian: paganus). In terms of social hierarchy, a Citizen of the Republic is more valued and revered. Consequently, a Citizen also enjoys a substantially higher standard of living than that of their Civilian equivalents. The Decusian concept of Citizenry and Civilian-hood is an ancient one, of which evidently existed prior to that of the Reclamation, and is based upon the concept of Divine Officium; known otherwise as “Divine Service”. The concept of Divine Service is quite simple – within the theocratic-oligarchical nation of the Republic, service to the state is not only considered a societal honor and a prestigious station, but is further understood to be an act of reverence to the divine itself. Thusly, those whom serve the Republic in a formal capacity are by societal norms considered to be the more devout and zealous members of the nation.
It should come as no surprise that within the theocratic-oligarchical society of the Republic, those whom can display reverence to the One True Faith with more zeal and devotion than their peers – or benefit from having heritable linkage to the Prelacy or to the Ecclesial Authority – benefit from a higher standard of life. The state’s reward for this comes in the form of Citizenship. Citizens within the Republic are afforded rights and privileges (known collectively as the Beneficium) Civilians are not. While there are literally hundreds of points and concepts that collectively make up the Beneficium, the most revered of these privileges are represented by three rights of considerable importance: The Right of Dissent, the Right of Dominion, and the Right of Lethality.
The Right of Dissent, the most prominent of Beneficium privileges, allows Citizens to express their disagreement with the state – of which is more formally referred to as the Ecclesial Authority – as well as their fellow Citizen and Civilian without fear of criminal or civil charge from the Adjudicatory. In regards to dissent against the state, this “expression” is relegated solely to the privilege of being allowed to cast their vote in for representatives – known as Vicars – within the Republic Senate, the deliberative (not legislative, of which is limited solely to the Authority) governing body of the Republic. Vicars are elected to life-time positions within the Senate based upon the size of the Municipality or other incorporated territory they represent, and are only elected by Citizens through the Right of Dissent. Actual, public dissent against the state through communications or actions is considered an illegal act, ranging from being classified as malum prohibitum (wrong by statute) to mala in se (evil in of itself), depending on the infraction.
It should come as no surprise that within the theocratic-oligarchical nation of the Republic, those whom can display reverence to the One True Faith with more zeal and devotion than their peers - or benefit from having heritable linkage to the Prelacy or to the Ecclesial Authority – benefit from a higher standard of life.
The secondary benefit of the Right of Dissent is the privilege of having legal standing to express disagreement against one’s fellow citizenry, or civilians, through the act of providing legally-binding testimony to the Republic Adjudicatory for further legal action. This exercising of one’s Right to Dissent is normally conducted in the pursuit of seeking restitution for real or perceived wrongs, the breaching of contracts and other binding agreements, and other legal issues classified as malum prohibitum. As one may deduce, the right to utilize the Adjudicatory for any legal assistance is limited solely to that of the Citizen caste of the Republic; while Civilians are protected under all Clerical and Republic law as equally as their Citizen counterparts, they are unable to initiate any sort of legal proceedings against their fellow Decusians in absences of Citizen status. This inequality often times leads to the disenfranchisement of Civilian caste as it relates to faith within the Adjudicatory, though public displays of it – such as protests or riots – are met with swift and decisive force of the most prejudicial nature.
The second of the core Beneficium ideals, the Right of Dominion, is one of the least convoluted concepts of Citizen rights, and consists of two key points. First, Citizens are bestowed the right of land and building ownership within the Republic and a majority of its territories and colonies. This is not to say that every Citizen owns land – or even buildings – within the Republic, as most land and building ownership is entrusted to the Ecclesial Authority or that of the Prelacy caste. Regardless, the act of owning land within the Republic is considered a privilege and not a sovereign birthright, and one that is entrusted only to those of the Citizen caste. The Right of Dominion often leads to the largest difference in wealth equality between the two castes of the Republic, with Citizens having the potential of being able to produce more wealth from owned land and real estate than those of the Civilian caste. This becomes a quantifying factor of living conditions, as Citizens can more easily and comfortably pay their Municipal or territorial taxes, their Clerical Tithes, and any other monetary obligations required to the Ecclesial Authority than their civilian counterparts. Civilians (and, in rare circumstances, Citizens) whom are unable to keep up with their Republic taxes and Clerical Tithes have their debts added to their Fidebes – more commonly known as “Faith Debt”. Escalating amounts of Fidebes is considered a crisis of faith within the Decusian culture, and leads to the forced conscription and/or employment into one of the many factions of the Republic as to “rekindle” one’s faith in the One True God.
The Right of Dominion often leads to the largest difference in wealth equality between the two castes of the Republic, with Citizens having the potential of being able to produce more wealth from owned land and real estate than those of the Civilian caste. This becomes a quantifying factor of living conditions, as Civilians can more easily and comfortably pay their Municipal or territorial taxes, their Clerical Tithes, and any other monetary obligations required to the Ecclesial Authority than their civilian counterparts.
The secondary aspect of the Right of Dominion is that of the privilege of being able to procreate and sire offspring within the Republic. Citizens are given this privilege without restriction, and may produce as many children as they deem necessary. Civilians, on the other hand, are legally prohibited from procreation within the Republic. Violations of this tenant of Decusian life are based upon the number of prior infractions a family or, in the case of illegitimacy, a mother may hold. For the first few infractions, the child’s estimated Fidebes would simply be added to the family or mother’s debt to the Authority. For repeated, flagrant violations of the law, more invasive penalties are applied – up to and included conscription of the family and child into Republic service, forced sterilization of one or both parental units, and extensive additions to the hereditary Fidebes of a family name or tree, of which requires compensation in the form of tithe or servitude to the Republic by generations of a lineage as opposed to a singular individual.
The third and last Beneficium privilege of any serious consequence is that of the Right of Lethality. The Right of Lethality is an important privilege bestowed upon Decusian Citizens as it governs not only the ability for one to possess and carry a weapon within the Republic, but to furthermore use it in the application of both Letalis Vis (extreme force used against another living being that results in death), and the use of Aeternus Vis (“everlasting” force used against the undying that results in dis-animation). Citizenry of the Republic may carry and possess weapons within the Republic, whereas civilians cannot. Furthermore, Citizens qualify for an affirmative defense – that is, a defense in which indemnifies the defendant regardless of additional facts or knowledge – when applying lethal force (Letalis Vis) against that of a civilian when used in self-defense. Citizens are further granted the right to dispatch the Sempiternal (known by the lay as the “Undying” or “Undead) wherever and whenever they are happened upon. Inversely, Civilians of the Republic are not allowed to carry or even possess martial weapons and are considered in gross violation of Decusian law in any situation that their actions or deeds result in the death of another Decusian, even when performed in the mortal defense of themselves or another. Lastly, the act of applying Letalis Vis upon those of the undead persuasion is illegal as well, for the given Sempiternal may have, in its’ prior state of being, been of a higher caste or station, and thus must be tended to by those of more devout natures. Due to these rather draconian statutes and laws concerning weapon possession and even self-defense, Civilians often rely on the Ecclesial Authority to provide day to day protection – be it in the form the Legion, the Templar, or a local Municipal safety force. This further leads to a lack of proper martial training for Civilians versus that of the Citizenship; civilians are often untrained in the use of the blade, whereas citizens may be quite proficient in it.