In contemporary usage the Halyrate is a common name for the Maninist oikoumene, though its application is often restricted to that portion where the authority of regional rulers has been almost completely supplanted by the far-flung Orders and Concourse is the effective government. This article will discuss the latter such usage.
The Halyrate is not a state, at least not as the term is generally understood elsewhere. There are monarchies, republics, roshates and city-states of various descriptions within the Halyrate, but they are completely irrelevant to the economic, political, and social life of the populace. The precept has long been established that the Faith is outside and above any temporal powers, and in the Halyrate everything belongs, one way or another, to the Faith. The Faith's resources cannot be taxed except by the Faith, the Faith's adherents cannot be tried except by the Faith, and consequently the temporal rulers have nothing to do and no money to do it with. However, the Halyrate is also not a theocracy in the classic sense; unlike in, say, Cyve, the High Ward is not in any real sense the Halyrate's dictator. Rather the Halyrate rejects entirely the idea of organization along strictly regional lines, in favour of a more vocational, pseudo-class based system
Orders of SocietyEdit
Main article: Order (Maninism)
The functions that are exercised by state governments elsewhere in the world are in the Halyrate the province of the Maninist Orders. As with many religious organizations across the world, each of these owns considerable property and stretches over a considerable geographic area - the whole of the Halyrate in many cases. However, Maninism's uniquely flexible approach to religion - holding that essentially any virtue is worthy of pursuit - means that these Orders in sum can have much broader appeal than their compatriots elsewhere. If you wish to join an Ardavani monastery, you have relatively little choice in the limits you must accept, but if you wish to join a Maninist Order you may simply shop around and find the one whose practices and restrictions most suit your tastes. Consequently there are Orders appealing to and drawing from people in all walks of life, from cloistered Risadrenes to decadent Tehavis; the combined Orders thereby achieve near total penetration of Maninist society, rather than just sitting on the surface.
Now, the nature of these Orders - each having a specific appeal and being required by their religion to maintain their practices - means that it is in practice impossible for any of them to develop exclusive regional zones; rather than this Order dominating that area and that Order this area, they will coexist in the same geographic region, while occupying quite different areas of the social structure. Combined with the wide scope of the Order networks, this produces a situation where an individual has more ties and loyalty to his Order compatriot on the other side of the continent than to a member of an opposing Order right next door.
The Orders look after their own, and are no less interested in policing their own: the maintenance of public order is generally assured by the watchful gazes of Order overseers. For crimes involving multiple Orders, typically the local superiors of the respective Orders will work out an trial to see justice done, although in cities of any size there will typically be long-standing written arrangements for dealing with those matters. Fierce competition for public loyalty between relatively close (in terms of doctrine and hence social appeal) Orders drives a great deal of public works and services. Most of the Orders are consequently far more engaged with the public good than is the case in areas with more usual governance, and schools, hospitals, orphanages and assorted infrastructure receive a correspondingly greater amount of attention. Combined with the rudimentary safety net that almost all Orders enact and the practice of considering Order property to be a common good, social mobility and general quality of life are quite high in the Halyrate. The canonical Maninist appeal to the unconverted has been summarized by one commentator as "we'll make your life better if you join us," so it is perhaps unsurprising that the Order display vastly more concern for public welfare than do most temporal elites; the very credibility of the Faith depends on it.
The flip side of all this is that the military strength of the Halyrate, or rather of the actors within it, is comparatively small, considering the amount of territory and population that lives in the Halyrate. Most Orders - and all the Synothal Orders - possess at least some military strength. Divided as it is between thirteen Synothal Orders and dozens of lesser Orders, many of which are far more interested in social welfare than military power, the total strength of the Halyrate is diluted considerably, and it punches below its weight. However, as the Orders in sum control vastly more of society's resources than any king could ever dream, if they should all be roused to one end it would be terrible to see. Fortunately for the Halyrate's neighbours, the Orders are so fractious that this is a very remote possibility, absent another Immolation.
Governance of the OrdersEdit
In keeping with the Halyrate's rejection of regional political identies, regional cultural identies have, to a certain extent, been suppressed, in favour of a more nebulous, ill-defined Halyral cultural. The considerable geographic and social mobility provided by the Orders has served to bring the regions of the Halyrate into unprecedently close contact with each other, and driven the emergence of a peculiar hybridized culture, incorporating significant Nahari, Savirai and Gallatene elements, and lesser Arta Xorsi, Berathi and Stetin contributions.
The settlement of numerous Gallatenes in the south, starting with Javan's refounding of Nahar with Gallatene veterans, drove the early emergence of this culture, while the movement of Savirai tribes into the rapidly urbanizing area of Selessan, and the corresponding movement of Gallatene Order members into the Haidali, created something of a melting pot in the north. The development of the High Roads and the explosion of Maninism into the east only hastened the process.
Compared to almost any other region on the planet, the Halyrate is culturally diverse and intellectually febrile. Broad statements are somewhat difficult to make, as the culture has yet to stabilize - even Gallat proper has never really recovered equilibrium after the trauma of the Immolation - and is so in a state of considerable flux at any given time. Ideas, fashions and trends pass into the Halyrate from one end or another, rapidly disseminate throughout, and then fall out of vogue in favour of the next trend, which might come from a completely different part of the world. Lately there has been much interest in Accan culture and ideas; this marks something of a shift from earlier in the century, when Daharai and Helsian thought dominated the minds of the Halyrate intelligentsia.
It has been said that the Halyrate's culture never produces anything new of its own, but only steals and reshapes the contributions of other people. There is more than a grain of truth to this accusation, but when so many different contributions are combined, it often becomes difficult to draw the line between innovation and adaptation.
Art and ArchitectureEdit
Heavily influenced by Maninist religious ideals and the desert ascetism of the Savirai tribesmen, Halyrate aesthetic sensibilities tend to the minimalist. Art and sculpture are often used to depict abstract concepts, rather than people or historical events, and Halyrate architecture tends to be stark, decorated, if at all, with geometric designs, and as illuminated as possible. Much use is made of brick and white plaster, as stone is relatively difficult to come by in many areas of the Halyrate. That is not to say that the Halyrate architects place form over function; indeed, they have often loudly derided the Epicharitan brusque school for lacking imagination. Halyral designs typically aspire to a certain lightness, an almost insubstantial nature - an architect of the 7th century having famously said that he considered no building complete from which he might pare another inch of stone - and though this is rarely achieved as well as the designer might like, when it is (as at the Palace of Concourse in Sirasona), it cuts a considerable contrast with the overpowering structures preferred elsewhere.
Cave-living traditions absorbed from the Taudo have made some headway in the monasteries and towns of the Far Rim, and rock-cut buildings are increasingly to be found in the mountains.
Half a dozen or more major languages are spoken within the Halyrate, in their regions and throughout the Order-created diasporas of those regions. The lingua franca of the Halyrate is Yalien Gallatene, a creole originating from veterans settled in the south, and formed mostly of Gallatene, Nahari and Savirai elements. Most inhabitants of the Halyrate have at least some facility with Yalien, and even outside its heartland of Nahar it has gained a significant population of native speakers over the last two and a half centuries.