Elanna hadn't had a chance to spend much time with Franziska and it was high past time that happened.  With Byron still recovering from his completely reckless and idiotic brush with death, she offered to show the future queen around and introduce her to a few of the notable members of the Landsmeet.  She wasn't sure exactly how familiar Franziska was with Ferelden culture and customs, but she knew they were certainly different from Antiva.  Her sister-in-law, Maker rest her soul, had a bit of a time adjusting when she came over and that had been long-planned.  Franziska's arrival was a bit more abrupt, and it certainly made Elanna wonder why.

That was something she would look into later.  She made it a habit of knowing what was happening with the influential members of her country, something that had paid off more than once, and Franziska would be no exception.  Especially as she was going to be so close to Byron.  Especially as she was supposed to become queen.

When Franziska arrived, Elanna gave her a warm smile.  "Lady Campana, it's a pleasure to finally meet you.  Byron speaks quite highly of you."  Why yes, she did refer to the King by his first name.  She saw no harm in making it know how close she was to him.  "Is there anything in particular you were hoping to do today?"
Franziska was reluctant to leave Byron's side, though she had to tend to the duties he was not able to meet. He posed this as, a great idea, because it allowed her to get to know Ferelden politics.

You could take the Antivan out of Antiva, but you couldn't remove everything she'd learned from growing up around Antivan politics.

So when she was informed that she could go with Elanna to meet some of the Landsmeet members, she was pleased. She had no idea what 'Landsmeet' was, because in Antiva that was not part of their rule.

Lady Cousland, She responded, hardly taking pause at the use of her husband's first name. Byron had very few secrets from her as of late. I want to learn more about... this Landsmeet? What is that?
Ah, yes the Landsmeet.  Their ruling system was something of a political aberration in southern Thedas, but a good one in her opinion even if rounding up the nobility and catering to their opinions was exhausting.

"They are something you'll have to deal with quite often, I'm afraid.  Ferelden's a bit ayptical in that we have a monarchy, but not an absolute one.  While Byron does hold significant power as King, his decrees can be overridden by the Landsmeet, which is made up of representatives of all the noble families from Teyerns all the way down to Banns.  Usually I represent the Teynir of Highever, which my brother rules."  It had been helpful on more than one occasion to have a friendly voice to either support or introduce something, and Elanna often had some behind the scenes conversations if there was something she and Byron agreed really had to happen.

"So it means catering to them some, whether you like it or not.  It has its challenges, but it works overall."  She looked at Franziska thoughtfully.  "A lot of them are regulars at the Gnawed Noble when they're in town.  If you enjoy Wicked Grace and a drink or two, we could always had over there and I can introduce you to whoever's around or we can sit back and take stock of things."

  • Elanna explains what the Landsmeet is and how Byron's rule isn't absolute
  • She suggests going over to the Gnawed Noble for either some noble watching or more direct introductions
Franziska scrunched her nose at the fact Ferelden was not an absolute monarchy like her home country; though even Antiva was no longer absolute in its leadership, but instead ruled by greed. Whoever had the most coin ruled the world... Do these repsentatives have the most money? She inquired, curious if the same rules applied to Ferelden as did to Antiva. In Antiva, we were once absolute, but money sways all things.

Strange phrases, she'd have to ask what teyern and and teynir meant later. They were some kind of districting, she was certain. Can you explain... 'teynir', she butchered the word, and furrowed her brow. Bann? What do they mean? It wasnm't quite Common, something specific to Ferelden.

Sometimes she felt like life in Antiva was easier. Simplier.
That was an excellent question, and one that clearly illuminated one of the many differences between Ferelden and Antiva.  Having always been so immersed in Ferelden it hadn't occurred to her that Franziska might not have the same grasp on the details.  "Not necessarily.  It's determined by who is in charge of land holdings.  That is mostly determined by bloodline, so it's entirely possible that there are others with more wealth, but less likely."  It was entirely possible to be land-poor, especially with as much as Ferelden had been through in recent memory.

Teynirs and Banns... maybe this would be better explain with a map.  There ought to be one around... "They refer to the rank and hierarchy of the holdings, and thus of the families in charge of them.  Ah, here we go, this should help."

She located a map and found a place to spread it out.  From there she was able to explain the overall hierarchy: The royal family at the top, followed by the Teyrns, then Arls, and on down to the Banns of the Bannorn and point out the general borders of each.

"What else can I help with?" she asked the future queen.

  • Explains it's not wealth but land and bloodline that matters more
  • Explains the hierarchy of titles and holdings, pointing them out on a map
  • Asks about other questions
So this land was not ruled by money, but by blood? Her brows furrowed at that detail, or was it ruled by land? It'd be clear she was confused; though she would say nothing. The next question prompted Elanna to bring forth a map, and she moved to read the map with the other woman.

Seeing the visual helped. But it still didn't quite make sense to her. Ferelden is a strange country. Antiva is ruled by bloodline... and money.

And Antiva was very rich, in land and coin. She had not yet come to terms with how poor this country was, given its most recent war. Does Ferelden have assassins, like Antiva has the Crows? Even Orlais had the Bards. Surely Ferelden had some such organization that the royals turned to.