The Empire of Five Pillars
The Empire of the Five Pillars
The Empire of the Five Pillars is a caste based culture of cold blooded species. Although officially the five castes (or pillars) are regarded as equal parts of the society, in practice a heirarchical order is observed.
The First Pillar – Snake species make up the leadership caste, the noble and royal families. Upper ranked families of this caste form dynasties ruling over certain regions or organizations, with the highest ranked being the ruling family. Lower ranked members of this caste serve as official witnesses or advisers in all parts of the society, or as military officers. If involved in religious functions they serve as embodiments of the state and as official witnesses for the state. In military roles The First Pillar are taditionally limited to leadership roles, despite the old history of the snakes as a military force at the time of the formation of the empire.
The Second Pillar – Tortoises and Turtles, forming a caste combining scholars and priesthood, 'masters of the mysteries'. Historically this caste has been challenged as the authority on scientific matters by lower castes on the grounds that scientific study pertains to their role in society (for instance agricultural science as it pertains to agriculture). An uneasy balance has been established and in large part due to practicality as the Second Pillar is the smallest numerically and does not have enough members to maintain a monopoly on all research. This has led to a divide between "low science" (the most mundane, practical and directly applied) and "high science" being the more theoretical. This caste includes the true priesthood, members of other castes may have minor roles in religious ceremonies usually limited to representing their caste and its role.
The Third Pillar – Crocodilia are the military caste of the empire and this is founded upon a naval tradition both on the open ocean and the rivers of the homelands. With the snakes military role reduced to leadership only the crocodiles role was expanded from naval to include land based as well. In practice members of other species are included and form the rank and file of the armed forces for "lower order" military units with the crocodilia forming the elites and junior officers for the lower units.
The Fourth Pillar – Squamata, the artisans and skilled workers. The line dividing the fourth and fifth pillars is increasingly blurred as technology advances, to the increasing ire of the first and second pillars.
The Fifth Pillar – Rhynchocephalia, the labourers.
The Sixth Pillar – Used to refer to avians, who were the lowest of castes (so low as to be unofficial and not formally recognized) and bearing 'unclean' (non-cold) blood.