The Parliament of Dreams is the changeling legislative body of Concordia, serving as advisors to the High King. It was established as part of the Treaty of Concord, which ended the Accordance War, as one of several measures meant to give commoners a voice in Concordia's governance.
The Parliament of Dreams is the official governing body of Concordia. High King David founded the Parliament in 1971 in the hope of offering the commoners a voice in their own governance. While considered a noble effort by many, its effect on the imbalance of political power has been largely cosmetic. Representatives (called Advocates) may be sent to the Parliament by every freehold with a membership over 15. Given their disproportionate power over the freeholds, the sidhe, while not a majority of the body, still hold the balance of power.
With over 40 percent of the seats in the Parliament, the sidhe would seem to have an almost guaranteed plurality every time. The sidhe are not monolithic in their policies, however, and there are many splits in their power structure. Commoners and commoner nobles fare little better in their attempts at unity; thus much of the governing is done through coalition.
With their numbers and their ability to sway people through charisma and rhetoric, the Traditionalist sidhe get their way on most issues. There is, however, enough opposition to them that the proper coalition of commoners and more moderate sidhe, and commoner interests can occasionally thwart their plans. Laws passed by the Parliament are subject to approval by the nobility in the territory affected by the law. Unfortunately, the Parliament does not yet have the power to enforce its edicts against the face of consolidated resistance by the nobility. The sidhe representation in the Parliament of Dreams is far out of proportion to its numbers in the general population (only 5% of all Kithain in Concordia are sidhe), Because of this, many commoners feel that the Parliament is something of a farce. The mood of the Parliament is somewhat akin to that of the English Parliament; it is lively and animated, punctuated by verbal jibes. The Parliament is guarded by a cohort of Red Branch Knights, by order of King David.
For more on the political makeup of the Parliament, see the article Impulse.
Political Power by Impulse
- Sidhe Nobles 42% (Traditionalist 20%, Reformer 15%, Modernist 7%)
- Commoner Nobles 20% (Traditionalist 8%, Reformer 4%, Modernist 8%)
- Commoners 38% (Traditionalist 15%, Reformer 7%, Modernist 16%)
- Total 100% (Traditionalist 43%, Reformer 26%, Modernist 31%)
Political Power by Kith
Sidhe Political Power by House
Political Power by Court (Estimated)
Unseelie in the Parliament
A few Unseelie nobles belong to the Parliament of Dreams. Some among them believe that they can best make their views known and lobby for support by acting within the Seelie system. Others are there to act as goads, subtly disrupt the proceedings, make deals, and spy on the opposition. Some are not known as Unseelie at all. These, of course, are of greatest value to the Shadow Court.
- From The Right Honourable Place: A History of the Parliament of Dreams by Dewey St. John Flanders, satyr:
Though the Accordance War still raged in 1971, High King David saw the need to build hope. He accomplished this through construction of the Parliament of Dreams, a legislative body that would allow representation from all freeholds with over fifteen Kithain. Moreover, he encouraged smaller freeholds to band together to meet this minimum number, thus extending representation far and wide over Concordia. In this fashion, he was eventually able to create what no Kithain monarch had ever accomplished before: a governing body that was roughly half sidhe and half commoner. Some members of both sides rejected the notion of such a Parliament; after all, it went against the Traditionalists' most cherished notions of the divine right of kings and noblesse oblige. How could the common folk understand the responsibilities of leadership, asked critics. But the High King insisted, and no gesture could have won him more commoner support than this. For this reason and others, David ap Ardry ap Gwydion will forever bear the accolade of "commoners' king."
Presently, the Parliament acts more as a strong advisory council, and the mood of the body is essentially coalitionist. Seldom can any side gains clear upper hand, as there are many splits between sidhe and commoner, political impulses and commoner political standpoints, and of course, Courts. Laws passed are not necessarily binding throughout Concordia, though wise monarchs follow at least the spirit of the law. Some of the most stalwart commoner supporters include the boggans, who comprise about fourteen percent of the Parliament.
Commoners who are politically self-destructive, calling themselves moderates or radicals, lead the main domestic opposition to the Parliament of Dreams. They deny the age-old traditions of allowing a siege majority rule and claim the Kithain deserve representation based on the numbers of their kith in Concordia rather than sidhe dominion. What these dissenters fail to realize is the long-standing political expertise the sidhe hold so dear. They fail to see that those who are most skilled, rather by nature or experience, should be the ones in charge. Should these politically inept commoners ever gain an upper hand, the Parliament would surely be in jeopardy of extinction.
- Note: The above date of 1971 is either a mistake in the text or is a misunderstanding on the point of St. John Flanders. David Ardry did not find Caliburn until 1974 (see Battle of Manhattan) and was not named High King until some time after that event.
- From the pamphlet Advocates: Pay Heed to the Farce of Courts! by Vlad Rogvodov, redcap:
What fools we fae be if we continue to accept the inequalities of the Parliament of Dreams. Fellow Advocates, you can see how warped the very setting of the political body remains, after all these years! A mere 5% of the Unseelie populace holds seats! 'Tis the way the Unseelie prefer it, most Seelie claim. Well, let me assure you, 'tis not so!
You who call yourselves Kithain, pay heed, particularly those among you who love the word tradition: in the ancient past, half of us were Seelie and half Unseelie. Are you ignoring the old ways by refusing to allow the darker side of the year to gain ascendence? More importantly, are you denying the Unseelie fae their equal and rightful chance for having their day in Parliament?
If so, you are silencing half of your own soul.
- From the speech Concordia's Seeds of Destruction: Parliament of Dreams, Chamber of Horrors by Ragnild von Folkke, nocker of the Galacian Confederation:
I have heard tales that the Kithain of Concordia have an assembly called the Parliament of Dreams. In this place, the Shining Host sit in almost half the seats, though they be only a paltry five percent of the populace. Only fifty-eight percent of the seats are reserved for commoners, like you and me, though we represent over ninety-five percent of the Kithain population. The reasons for this social injustice, so I hear, are many. Chief among them is the belief that sidhe are fit rulers, while commoners are not. Their blood is tainted by humans, the so-called purists claim. Commoners lack the inborn skills needed to be good leaders, declare the monarchists. To all these reasons, I say stuff and nonsense! The power to rule well is not the right of blood, but the melange of wisdom, courage, and vision. Such a mix comes through the people choosing the finest among them to lead; only they can decide who will best serve their needs. To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, a leader must follow the people because he is their leader. One does not need to be tall, fair, and violet-eyed to be worthy of such a task.
War in Concordia
In the wake of High King David's disappearance, High Queen Faerilyth of House Eiluned claims the throne. Although she was named High Queen by David and, therefore, she believes she has the right to assume the throne of Concordia in her own name, she instead opts to claim in in David's name, holding it in trust until his return. It is as if she has decided to rule Concordia as Regent, while retaining the title of High Queen bestowed upon her at her marriage.
Morwen fails to grasp that essential point. She instead believes that Faerilyth seduced and killed or kidnapped the king, thereby surrendering any right or claims she might otherwise have. By insisting that Faerilyth is not the rightful claimant to the throne, Morwen hopes to keep a potential murderer (or at least a conspirator) from claiming the throne of Concordia. Further, Morwen hopes that if David is alive, and if Faerilyth had anything to do with his disappearance, refusing to surrender her claim to anyone except David himself may force Faerilyth to give up on her plan and return David. That's the only way Morwen will ever see any power from all this. Of course, Morwen believes that when David returns, he will be able to prove Faerilyth's guilt in the matter and have her banished or executed for treason.
Faerilyth's and Morwen's mutually exclusive decisions cause a split among the representatives to the Parliament of Dreams. The Royalists support Faerilyth and her reign, arguing that the Dreaming seems to have accepted her authority to rule. Opposing her are the Morwenists, a faction loyal to (and some say led by) David's sister. These later believe that Faerilyth tricked the High King into marrying her, and hold her responsible for his disappearance. Some even whisper that Faerilyth has arranged for David's secret assassination. The Morwenists want to depose Faerilyth and set Morwen up as High Queen.
An offshoot of the Morwenists, called the Regent's Faction, believe that Morwen should rule Concordia but that she should eschew the title High Queen and govern the Kingdom as Regent for David's appointed heir, Princess Lenore, who is still a childling.
Yet a fourth faction, calling itself the Lottery Faction, maintains that a Royal Lottery should be held to determine a new High King.
This situation has thrown the changeling population of Concordia into chaos, leading some to threaten civil war as various kingdoms see this as an opportunity to declare independence from Concordia. Not the least of these kingdoms is Meilge's domain, which has long harbored a resentment for the "Northern" based rule from Tara-Nar.
When High King David Ardry vanished in 1998, the Parliament was wracked with increasingly violent debates about the future of Concordia and which queen, if any, the body should back. Many delegates abandoned the body as it seemed Concordia was spiraling back towards civil war, and it was ultimately dissolved pending a resolution to the crisis.
In 2005, Sir Seif asked the Parliament to reconvene, in order to present the returned High King to his people. David has not been the same ruler he was before his disappearance, however, and the Parliament remains deeply riven by factional conflicts.