The Negeémi High Council
The Negeémi High Council is the executive branch of the theocratic government of the drow City-State of Negeémiliel Rather than one individual, it is an assembly of nine high ranking drow acolytes, three of which represent the military command, the priestesses and the sorceresses of the acolyte class. The High Council seems to arise from the Low Council, and seems to have limited ability to supersede the Low Council. The High Council seems to be more than just a mere committee, but less than an equal and separate branch of government relative to the Low Council
Description of the High CouncilEdit
A meeting hall exists whereas the nine members of the High Council might meet together, doubtlessly with room for their aides. It has not been portrayed in a picture at this time.
Division Between Acolyte ClassesEdit
There are nine members of the High Council, all will be female acolytes, with few exceptions, acolytes must be female. The nine chairs will be filled by three Generals, three High Priestesses, and three High Sorceresses. This was apparently set up to balance the main roles given to acolytes.
Priestesses and Sorceresses having a long running rivalry for example, the Sorceresses originally being the magic users of an overthrown elite class known as the "Erehels". Negeémiliel had eliminated the Erehel aristocracy of the city, but had folded some members of that aristocracy into the system of new elites of the Acolytes.
Speculation: Priestesses and Sorceresses are acolytes in service to the Goddess of War Negeé; but the religion is polytheist. It might be possible that the Priestesses and Sorceresses are assigned to be the "High Priestess" of a temple devoted to a specific diety?
Legs of the Spider and Head of the SpiderEdit
The members of the High Council are each referred to as being a "Leg of the Spider", with the exception of one of the High Priestesses, who carries the title of the "Head of the Spider". The Head of the Spider serves as the head of the High Council and as the nominal head of the state. That might suggest that the Head of the Spider is the head of state, with the Legs of the Spider acting as ministers in a 'cabinet'. However, there does not seem to be any evidence of the Head having any significant power greater than the other members, although one might speculate that it might have some tie breaking components should there be an even number of members at the council?
A Head of the Spider has yet to be depicted or definitively described. She must hold a seat of great power, but she seems to fall far short of being a true head of state, able to remove other members of the High Council. Executive powers seem to be shared in the council rather than being invested in one woman. In the end, it has proven possible for particularly canny Legs of the Spider to effectively rule as dictators in political blocks or as individuals in an official way. In theory, perhaps the Head of the Spider is meant to prevent political blocks or charismatic individuals on the High Council from achieving such autocratic power? If so, certain individuals with the title of 'Head of the Spider' have failed on occasion.
Speculation: The Temple of Doom is primarily devoted to the matron goddess of the city, Negeé. It is the largest and most important temple in the city, but, it is held by a High Sorceress, not a priestess. This might be a system engineered into the early functions of the acolyte system so that an Erehel would hold the Temple of Doom as a tradition? If so, that might suggest that a High Priestess of another major temple devoted to Negeé might become the "Head of the Spider" as a recompense?
In this scenario, there would be a sorceress and priestess both ostensibly serving the matron goddess of Negeé, while the other four serve four other deities? But this is only a theory.
Negeémiliel obviously is a theocracy as indicated in this set up, but it should be noted that these are appointments that are made for largely political and secular reasons.
Appointments to the High Council are made by some form of election within the Low Council. The candidates must have achieved the rank of 'general', or have become a sorceress or priestess as acolytes. These figures need not be active acolytes at the time of their installation, but are probably going to be active politicians.
The term for the members of the High Council is of ten years. It would seem that they may serve for many such terms as Khariel Baener may have been the High Sorceress of the Temple of Doom for decades. There might also be means to remove them should there comes a reason to remove them based on performance or health. Or extra legal means are used to eliminate a member, as what happened to the High Sorceress Khariel Baener of the Negeémi Senatorial Party.
Powers of the High CouncilEdit
Undefined executive powers. The powers of the High Council is doubtlessly considerable, and membership is a most coveted position, but there seems to be limits on its ability to act without the approval or prior action of the Low Council, a representative body of over 500 members. The political paralysis created by the Negeémi Populist Party against the Negeémi Senatorial Party in regards to the criminal actions of the Cult of the Flower suggests that the High Council cannot act wholly independently of the Low Council.
On the other hand, criminal members of the Cult of the Flower caught by acolytes in the midst of a criminal act may be arrested and brought to a trial by tribunal and upon conviction will be given a mandatory "capital" punishment of execution, sacrifice in a temple, or more commonly, enslavement. Perhaps this state of affairs emerged within the Low Council as a means of mollifying the Negeémi Senatorial Party, which would prefer to see the foreign originating Jabharil Church heading the Cult of the Flower outlawed and crushed; or it could be the result of the High Council making an 'executive order' on the matter?
Head of the ArmyEdit
It is known that the High Council is an important instrument in decisions relating to the prosecution of war. Generals on the High Council will sometimes wage war personally as army supreme commanders.
Power Through Institutions and Influence Rather Than Constitution?Edit
Much of the power of the High Council may emerge from influence of roles given to members as opposed to written constitutional power. For example, one of the Leg of the Spider Sorceresses holds the Temple of Doom by right of taking that open chair on the council. The Temple of Doom is the most important temple in Negeemiliel, a small city in itself, with a thousand individuals, priestesses, sorceresses, soldiers, scholars, merchants and slaves serving the temple and her person in large measure. Presumably, the remaining members of the council will also be given leadership and stewardship of Negeémi institutions and assets of a commensurate value relative to the Temple of Doom.
It is known that one of the retired generals receives stewardship as the head of the Academy.
Inability to Prevent Actions of the Low CouncilEdit
As of 2428 a.a.H., the High Council had six members of the Negeémi Senatorial Party, and three members of the Negeémi Populist Party. The Populist members of the Low Council outnumber the Senatorial members, and seem to have much control over the government already, as evidenced by their protection of the Jabharil Church, and their ability to organize armies to send Senatorial forces and officers away to fight in the war with the Hebonnor Mountain Elves.
Still, presumably the High Council, and elements in the Low Council, were still able to frustrate their ambitions. It was seen as worth their efforts and risk to attempt an overthrow of the government via assassinations and a planned Coup d'état.
Known Members of the High CouncilEdit
High Sorceress of the Negeémi Senatorial Party
Illegally ordered the deaths of all inhabitants of a Jabharil temple. She was assassinated in response by the loranor assassin Jamal, at the behest of the High Priestess Ma'Az, of the Jabharil Church. It is likely that this was approved by Ma'Az's political backers in the Negeémi Populist Party.
General of the Negeémi Senatorial Party
A close personal friend of Khariel's, probably was aided in her rising to the High Council with Khariel's help. She won the war against the Hebonnor Mountain Elves in the Battle of Cilfach, and surreptitiously plotted a counter Coup d'état against the plots of the Negeémi Populist Party. Her efforts succeeded, leaving the Senatorial rule in place, but Dahl'Arak now with the powers of a dictator.
High Sorceress of the Negeémi Populist Party
Probable plotter in the assassination of her seat's predecessor. A leader of the Populist Party, and mistress-mind of the Populist plot. She was defeated and removed from her positions, and is imprisoned.