The Institutions of Ooranye


The noadex and the dayonnad.

The sunnoadex.

The Corrector.

Other institutions.

Military ranks and units.



The noadex and the dayonnad

Ooranye's most typical political unit is the city state - a city surrounded by an area of subject territory.  A Uranian city's Head of State is called a Noad - a word which comes from the Uranian for "focus".  The rank of Noad, or the institution itself, is known as the noadex.  A Noad wears a grey cloak; there is no other distinguishing insigne or apparel.

How does a Noad rule?  Certainly not by hereditary right, except during some atypical eras (notably large stretches of the enormous Vanadium Era).  Indeed, so hostile have been most Uranian cultures to the idea of hereditary monarchy, that the child of a Noad is at a grave disadvantage if nen [the pronoun meaning "he or she"] wishes to follow in nen's parents footsteps, even if nen is otherwise the most suitable choice to succeed to the noadex.  There have been many cases in which a Noad's brilliant offspring has had to pursue nen's political career in another city, since nen's own city has debarred nen from the succession.

Yet a noadex is undoubtedly a monarchy.  And it is absolute in the sense that if you're a Noad, you can give orders unhindered by any democratic or legal body - such things being nonexistent in your world.  There is no accepted way of removing a bad or tyrannical Noad; but precisely because this is the case, a Noad who plans to indulge such tendencies has to be extra careful, inasmuch as on that dangerous world a city can rarely afford bad leadership; the most likely outcome is that someone will take unofficial action and the bad Noad will simply disappear.

The heir of a Noad - the person who will succeed to the noadex when the old Noad dies or resigns - is called the Daon, and nen's rank the dayonnad.  The Daon wears a blue cloak.  Almost always the Daon is associated with the government and shares it with the Noad, though ceding to the Noad final responsibility in all vital decisions.

Noadex and dayonnad had their origins in Contahl in the Lithium Era; Contahl was the first city of sufficient size and complexity to make such arrangements necessary.

All the above remarks do not explain how a Uranian city is governed.  What about lesser officials?  Here we come up against the humbling fact, that these city-states function without beaurocracy.  This may be hard for us to believe at first.  Equally, Uranians, who are beginning to discover something about Earth's history, regard our enormous beaurocratic structures as a bizarre and ridiculous joke.  We may retort that this is all very well for them, for they must have some internal sense, like a socio-political equivalent of a homing instinct (perhaps connected with some residue of the urban hive-minds) which allows them to co-ordinate their societies without conscious direction.  We think, though we cannot be sure, that this is the faculty which they call lremd.  A good Noad above all must possess the quality of renl, the noun of which lremd  is the adjective.  If you're lremd - if you have a lot of renl - you possess the ability instantly to perceive priorities; to disentangle the threads of city life so as to spot where action needs to be taken; to be in the right place at the right time; to deputise, delegate, appoint, command, all without reference to any rules.  By the standards of an Earthly president or king, a Noad or Daon leads a fantastically adventurous and fulfilling life, but it is a life which no Terrestrial could endure for a day.  (Except, of couse, Neville Yeadon / Nyav Yuhlm, if we accept that story as true.)

The above remarks apply to cities which are functioning properly.  However, a noadex can go wrong.  It can cease to be lremd and become, instead, all that we have just said Uranian regimes are not - that is to say, tyrannical and beaurocratic, or despotic and dull.  This process of degradation is called arelk - a term derived from the Uranian for "hardening of the arteries".  Sometimes the result of this political sclerosis is picturesque rather than evil, as we can see from the stories that have come down to us from the Vanadium Era's colourful hereditary monarchies.  Nevertheless the phenonemon is basically untrue to the Uranian spirit.

The sunnoadex

Just as there is a Noad for every city, so for Syoom as a whole - the entire civilized aread of Ooranye - there is a Noad of Noads, a focus of foci.  This person is the Sunnoad, and nen's rank is the sunnoadex.  The Sunnoad wears a golden cloak.  Nen also has a number after nen's name.  For example, the current holder of the office is Iyen Noom 80525, which means that he is the 80,525th Sunnoad; the 80,525th name on a list that stretches all the way back to Hyala Movoun 1 in the Neon Era, before which there were no Sunnoads (though there were Noads). 

It is hard to pin down the Uranians on what exactly a Sunnoad is.  It appears that a Sunnoad does not exactly rule Syoom in the sense that the Noads rule the separate cities.  Indeed, if it were so, the cities could hardly be called sovereign states.  Yet a Sunnoad traditionally gives orders to the combined fleets of Syoomean cities on those rare but important occasions when Syoom must unite against a Fyayman menace.  So the Sunnoad's authority is practical as well as moral, and this despite the fact that nen is traditionally so revered as to make it appear to us that nen must be above politics.  As often happens, we are driven to concluding that the institution we are attempting to analyse would not work on Earth.

The sunnoadex does not even allow for a recognized heir-apparent, as the dayonnad does for the noadex.  Sunnoads are chosen by a variety of means, depending on what happens to be the situation when the office becomes vacant - a circumstance which has given rise to many dramatic moments in history.  The most characteristic method of choosing a Sunnoad involves a  mechanism called a thuzolyr.  This appears to be a kind of thought-reflecting screen, which causes certain personal qualities to be displayed diagrammatically.  It all happens too fast for conscious control by the user.  Many a Sunnoad has been elected unexpectedly in an emergency, in a fashion either wholly or partly influenced by results shown on a thuzolyr; Unnd Dunaiv 80522 was the most recent of these. 

The reverence accorded to Sunnoads appears to be deserved.  Out of all the more than 80,000 that there have been, not one - if we are to believe the records - has utterly disgraced the office, though some have failed spectacularly in battle against the enemies of Syoom, an obvious example of this being Fiarr Fosn 723 whose defeat brought down the curtain on the Phosphorus Era.   Perhaps the only really dubious character to be named among the Sunnoads was Tu Rim 78860, last of the Radium Era, who, uniquely, tried to alter the nature of the sunnoadex, to turn it into something like what we would recognize as a superstate or empire.  Yet even "Tu Rim of the Invaded Soul", as he came to be known, was never despised, though condemned by most enlightened opinion.  By Earth standards he was a great man.

For some biographical information see Sunnoads; for information in context you will need to study the history of Ooranye, starting with The First Sunnoad.

The Corrector

 Occasionally, a Sunnoad looks as though nen is going to make a serious mistake, one that may have dire consequences for Syoom.  When that situation threatens to occur, it gives rise to a dilemma, a magnified version of the problem caused by a Noad who has gone to the bad.  In the case of a Sunnoad it is not a question of malevolence but of an honest mistake; yet that in a way makes it harder to cope with.  And so, despite the profound respect which Uranians feel for a wearer of the golden cloak, it is recognized that someone may correct nen, by force if need be.  An example is Sror Moruv's temporary kidnapping of Unnd Dunaiv during the Nemyuran crisis.  Sror Moruv got away with it - the Sunnoad himself eventually justifying the action - and so forever after will bear the title "Corrector Sror Moruv".  It is a rare occurrence.  There have only been a few hundred Correctors, compared with the tens of thousands of Sunnoads.  But it is a profoundly Uranian institution, dating right from the reign of the first Sunnoad, Hyala Movoun, who allowed herself at one point to be Corrected by Lehal Thoal.

Other institutions 

Uranian history is rich in corporate bodies, more ephemeral than the ones discussed above, yet still mighty and long-lasting by Earth standards, such as the Bank of Light in the Phosphorus Era, which accumulated the mental energies of millions, or, earlier, the Unity Club in the Hydrogen Era, which established the semaphore network on the plains, and later organized the excavation of the Sun-Egg.  Others include the various teleological guilds in existence from the Zirconium Era onwards.  One "unofficial" corporation, known by its nickname the Forgetters, has survived intermittently in some form for most of Uranian history, providing city governments with secret agents who have voluntarily abandoned all their personal and cultural memories for the duration of their missions, so as to tackle problems which can only be solved with radically fresh vision.  Many of the stories which have been most helpful to Terrestrial understanding of Ooranye have, not suprisingly, related the adventures of these objective "Forgetters".

Military ranks and units 

The following is a summary of those ranks and units which have proved most durable throughout Uranian history:

nyr - unit of 12 men: 11 plus the zamur  

zamur - officer with 11 men under his command

nyzyr - unit of 133 men: 11 nyrs plus the zyr  

zyr - officer with 132 men under his command

nyzynzyr - unit of 1464 men:  11 nyzyrs plus the zynzyr  

zynzyr - leader with 1463 men under his command

nyomzyr - army of 16105 men: 11 nyzynzyrs plus the omzyr

omzyr - general with 16104 men under his command

With the larger ranks and units (those above zyr and nyzyr) the numbers given here are not likely to be exact.  As on Earth, units are not always up to strength.


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