Blood Laws

"The strength and virtue of any of the various governments and dynasties to have held reign over Falkensberg can be measured simply by observing how the Blood Laws are enforced during their rule."
—Professor Hamus Fressner, Magister of The Synod of the Empyreal Divine, 1032-1099, Seven-Pointed-Star

As long as there has been a Falkensburg, there has been a set of Blood Laws on the books, determining which couples can permissibly marry and which offspring can be allowed to inherit, as well as declaring certain pairings as utter anathema, subject to criminal sanction. The Blood Laws started out quite simple1, prohibiting pairings between siblings, cousins, and direct descendants, and passing property to the oldest surviving direct-line mail heir, but have grown considerably more complex as time has passed, leading to the present state in which a listing of the full Blood Laws requires five volumes, each of more than four hundred pages in length.

Part of the cause of this proliferation of rules is the large proportion of Falkensburg's population who belong to large clans, extended families that strongly discourage marriage to outsiders, from the princely Lechners to the impoverished but still powerful Fassen Clan, who are almost a government unto themselves in the poorest neighborhoods of the city, with examples at nearly all levels of society between. Slightly more than half of Falkensburg's citizens belong to one of these clans, and it is because of their insular practices that the city's lawmakers have had to consider whether it ought to be permissible for two people who are third cousins four times over out to be permitted to marry2.

As Professor Fresner informs us, the enforcement of the Blood Laws has been quite variable over time. Some governments have been influenced by powerful Clans, through membership, bribery, or fear, and liberalized the codes or let them go unenforced3. Others, possessed by religious fervor, have enforced them down to the letter. The current government, under the influence of the Purity Movement appears to be trending in that direction.

-Doktor Plasner

1 They have also been reformed to a state nearly as simple on three separate occasions, none of which lasted for more than a few decades.

2 Under the current code, marriage would be impermissible, but an affair between the two would not draw any sanctions, and any child produced would have the same minimal rights as any other bastard.

3 Sometimes even in the most egregious violations: open sibling-marriage was never as common as seen in popular artistic and literary depictions of some of the most decadent periods of Falkensburg's history, but it was by no means unheard-of.

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