The Council of Five
The Council of Five is an alliance of regional governments in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe. It is headquartered in The Garden, the centermost settlement of Eden.
The Council is charged with maintaining peace between the constituent nation-states, and with identifying The Seven Voices amongst the populace. The Seven Voices, according to legend, are the seven individuals who will “sing” the next iteration of reality into existence.
Yes, sing. Whatever that means.
The members of the Council are:
- The Democratic Republic of the Reek
- The Free Cities of Nunya
- The Grand Duchy of the Garden
- The Ninth Empire of Oz
- The United Kingdom of Wonderland
Each has equal power over the organization’s proceedings. At the first meeting of the Council, an attempt was made to elect a leader. And the same attempt has been made at every meeting since. But, as the representatives from each member nation always vote for themselves, no “supreme leader” of any sort has ever been chosen.
Each nation considers itself to be God’s gift to humanity, superior to one extent or another over their partners. This leads to an undercurrent of spite and divisiveness in even the least impassioned debates. Consequently, there is a lot of yelling at Council meetings—and even an occasional spot of violence. Decisions are made only occasionally, with the Council existing mostly for each individual nation to remind the other of what they’ll be up against if they decide to step out of line.
But, when decisions are made, there is much celebration. And a fair amount of drinking. Which, of course, often leads to another spot of violence.
Whatchu gonna do, right?
The public agenda of the Council is determined largely by the beliefs and wishes of the peoples of the five nations, who often get along with each other far better than their leaders do. The number one item on the Council’s agenda each year is the continuing search for The Seven Voices, who the general populace believe will deliver them from the “purgatory” of Eden and into the “heaven” of the world to come.
The Council first met as a result of a border dispute between the Oz and Nunya, with Oz attempting to annex one of the Free Cities into its empire. The Grand Duchy stepped in to mediate, as the city in question also sat on the borders of the Garden, then invited representatives from the Reek and Wonderland to participate as impartial third parties.
Of course, they were anything but impartial, each of them seeing instability in the nations which bordered them as opportunities for expansion. But the conflict was eventually resolved, mostly without the involvement of armed forces—the Emerald Rebellion being the one notable exception—and a regular meeting of the five nations was established to prevent future squabbles.