The Kaiser is the monarch of the Imperial Republic of Shireroth. Historically this position has been more autocratic, but with successive constitutional reforms it has become more akin to a constitutional monarch. The Kaiser is both the head of state and the embodiment of the Cedro-Imperial culture of Shireroth, serving as a symbol of imperial unity, culture and history.
The Constitutional Position of the Kaiser
At the beginning of the Third Era, the powers held by the Kaiser were limitless. They was the fons honorum, granting all titles and holding all lands, granting them in fief to their political supporters and henchmen. It was only later after some Kaisers wielded their powers too rashly, and yet simultaneously allowed their magnates to become over-mighty, allowing the Duchies to obtain the attributes of states and kingdoms, before being corrected in turn by a violent reassertion of Imperial dominion between 1633 and 1651, that the current constitutional settlement was reached.
The Kaiser is granted powers by the Imperial Charter and the the Gods; both also restrict their actions. The Kaiser administers, legislates and appoints people to certain offices via Imperial Decree, on the advice of the Steward, an elected office since 1654, and has responsibility for regulating the Imperial Household.
The Religious (Cedrist) Position of the Kaiser
Originally, the Kaisers of Shireroth simply served as nothing more than warrior kings and politically leaders of the Realm, a position that competing dynasts - putative descendants of Raynor, usually obtained by capturing Shirekeep and or the Sword of Vengeance. Their presence in folklore, myths and in religion only grew over time. The tale of Rrakanychan who was defeated by one of the early Kaisers (some sources mention Raynor I, but others depict one of his successors as the hero) is a primary example of the central role of the Kaisership in Cedrism. With the need to strengthen central authority, Kaisers often used religious customs and myths to unite the several ethnic groups under one banner.
While not holding any official religious position, the Kaiser is depicted as highest representative of the Gods (above the High Priests) an,d it's not uncommon for a Kaiser to transcend into godhood. Kaiser Mog I became infamous for granting land to another nation and became God of Political Blunders while Raynor II was allegedly to have made an attempt to - literally - catapult himself into godhood by constructing a huge catapult. Kaiser Gaelen IV made an attempt to expand the position of the Kaiser by establishing the Imperial Cult, which received little popularity among the population and remains largely relegated to the conduct of ceremonial rituals and sacrifices for the Court.
Being an important position, to some extent in terms of legal power but mostly in terms of prestige, respect and authority to lead the Imperial Republic, succeeding to the Golden Mango Throne is very competitive.
In the old days, Imperial Decrees laid down a Line of Succession of specific individuals - friends, allies, people in whose hands he could trust Shireroth. Later this evolved to be just one individual - their chosen successor - and for many years this was a position reserved for the Steward. As the office of Kaiser diminished in prestige, fewer and fewer were willing to commit the remainder of their days to the precarious Golden Mango Throne. The all too familiar pattern became established that by the third year, those who had not already succumbed to assassination, insanity or daemonic possession, or sometimes a combination of all three, would come to feel that they had done sufficient to uphold their honour. Taking a care to name their successor and to award themselves a generous donative or land, titles, and monies, Kaiser after Kaiser would pass quietly out of Raynor's Keep and beyond the city walls to a life of affluent provincial obscurity.
In the modern era this corruption at the highest level was suppressed and in its place a well-regulated constitutional monarchy with clear rules of succession, based upon the hereditary principle, was established. This represented a compromise between the oligarchic and monarchical aspects of the Imperial Republic, between which there had always been a certain tension.
Duration of Kaiseral Reign
In days past Kaisers generally reigned for three years at most. This brought constant change to the government, and was justified as ensuring that the Imperial Bloodlines continued to receive a fair opportunity to obtain the highest office in the land. The high turn over also paid lip service to the republican and meritocratic ideals of Shireroth's peculiar brand of governance. Over time the quality of the nobles who attained the Kaisership began to decline markedly - with each successive candidate becoming, seemingly, progressively more self-serving and or imbecilic. The reasons for this decline has been debated continually over the course of decades. For the most part the prevailing consensus is that as the powers of the Kaiser became increasingly curtailed by the stringency of the reformed Charter and the particularist tendencies of the Imperial States so the candidates who continued to be attracted to the role began to value the form over the substance of high office, beginning an inevitable march towards mediocrity.
In the year 1648 during the reign of Kaiseress Noor that tradition was done away with because it was no longer deemed suited to the modern age and ran contrary to the sacred interests of strong and stable leadership in a properly ordered, coordinated and harmonious Imperial Republic. In consequence thereof any Kaiser nowadays reigns for an indefinite term. The succession, furthermore, has become dynastic, with the grandson of Noor, Ayreon IV attaining the Golden Mango Throne during his minority. Thus, almost unprecedentedly, the reigning stewards of the early 1650s are also regents.
Upon taking the throne, new Kaisers choose royal names. These names can be of either Shirerothian mythological figures (usually from Cedrism) or of some other interest of the Kaiser. For instance, the name of Kaiser Yarad I means "metal", whereas some others, such as Kaiseress Jadie I and Kaiseress Carol I, choose not to use a different regnal name.
A short-lived tradition started by Mors IV saw Kaisers attaching an additional epithet to their name after their reign, based on what they believed was the most significant contribution in their reign. The epithets and their significances are as follows:
- Kaiser Mors IV "Nerrolar"
- "Arbiter" in Benacian language, for his work in keeping the Lorelei Conflict from boiling over.
- Kaiser Ari i "Kaukainen"
- "Distant" in Finnish, for not really doing anything significant and being absent a lot of the time.
- Kaiser Alejian I "The Guardian"
- For guiding the nation through difficult times with the threat of the Grand Commonwealth and SPEAR.
- Kaiser Los III "Radarai"
- "The Scribe" in Hyperborean, for the creation of ShireWiki.
- Kaiser Mahamantot I "the Lawbreaker"
- Known as a lawbreaker for taking the Throne from Letifer III. Recognised by Mors V as official Kaiser and thanked for his attempts to revive Shireroth (even if it meant breaking existing laws).
- Kaiser Leto III "the Bold"
- for his doubtful reign.
A later move saw other Shirerithians give past Kaisers epithets based on any significant events or characteristics of their reign. These are not official. It has been suggested that Kaisers should formally open the Landsraad, and during that first opening the previous Kaiser should be given an epithet, but this has never happened.
- Kaiser Letifer II "the Indisposed"
- For he was.
- Kaiser Letifer III "the Unprepared"
- Named for the inactivity of his later reign.
- Kaiser Fish XII "the Bastionator"
- The Kaiser who saw Shireroth move its forums from its own hosting to the Bastion Union forums.
- Kaiser Cedris I "the Almost-Ousted"
- ... for that he was (almost).
- Kaiseress Mira Raynora Major "the Constitutionalist"
- Under the first Mira Raynora Major, the latest Charter was passed, ushering in a new epoch of Shirerithian history.
- Kaiseress Mira Raynora Minor "The Younger"
- She succeeded Mira Raynora Major as Kaiseress.
- Kaiser Aiomide "The Historian"
- The Kaiser spent much time developing a history of the Keep.
- Kaiser Mors IV "The Returned"
- After having ruled before, in the 2nd century, Kaiser Mors IV returned from the grave to once again take the Imperial throne.
- Kaiser Redquill "The Meek"
- Redquill's reign was one of avoiding conflict, asking opinions, and basically trying to give everyone what they wanted.
- Kaiser Ayreon III "The Mangocounter"
- The Kaiser spent much of his reign working on budgets and economic proposals.
- Kaiser Verion I "The Financier"
- Awarded for Verion's perceived contributions to the Shirithian economy, the epithet proved to be ironic when it was discovered that Verion had transfered large sums of money to S.W.O.R.D. using secret financial constructions.
- Kaiser Dominus "The Limp-foot"
- Didn't do too bad for a man who fell into a bear trap in his youth. Shame about being devoured and subsumed into the corporeal form of an emergent demon.
Titles and Style
Any Kaiser is entitled to the following titles: Kaiser of the Imperial Republic of Shireroth, Thane of the Shirelands, Keeper of the Apollo Legacy, Wielder of the Sword of Vengeance, Grand Master of the Orders of the Dragon, Griffin, Phoenix, and Chimera, Sovereign of the Golden Mango Throne.
Any holder of the Golden Mango Throne is also entitled to the style of Imperial Niftiness or Imperial Magnificence for those who find the concept of 'nift' a little too twee.