D'ni class system

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"Quite a few obvious attempts to reach out and unify the classes although I'm not sure it did much good. Common Libraries, Major Guild scholarships, renovation of poorer districts, all seemed more political than life changing. Not surprising I suppose."

The class system of the D'ni civilization, at the time of its fall, divided citizens into six distinct hierarchical social classes, in addition to a slave class comprised of ahrotahntee. A citizen's class impacted, among other things, their access to education (Guild or otherwise; also education in the Art), employment, Private Ages, Public Ages, and districts.

When the D'ni Exodus occurred and several thousand Ronay followed Ri'neref to Earth in order to begin anew, the new D'ni civilization did not have much of a class system; the intention of Ri'neref was to form a much more humble society than the Ronay had been. Despite this, the original intention of a classless society quickly faded over the reigns as the D'ni citizens grew farther apart, splitting into distinct classes. It could be argued that this began the moment that Ri'neref declared himself King, thereby distancing himself from other citizens; Ri'neref and Ailesh tried to reduce this distance somewhat, refusing to build themselves palaces, though Shomat broke this tradition. D'ni's system of Guilds also contributed to the development of classes, with entry requirements and prices effectively preventing poorer citizens from being able to join.

D'ni's residential districts typically each housed citizens of a particular class; for example, Vamen was a middle-class district, and J'taeri was an upper-class district. The lowest classes were typically segregated into their own districts, and were rarely seen with higher classes.

Classes at the time of the Fall[edit]

Upper classes[edit]

Elite[edit]

The Elite (D'nirelaTtE, relahthtee, literally meaning "the highest ones") was the highest D'ni class, comprised of the Lords and the Grand Masters of the Major Guilds, as well as occasional private citizens with exceptionally vast fortunes and resources. The Elite comprised most of D'ni's ruling class, with the remainder being made up of high-ranking Major Guild members. The elite was the only class that owned private islands and private libraries of linking books.

Guild members[edit]

Due to the prohibitive costs and the prestige of the Major Guild schools, the members of the Major Guilds were considered to be a class of their own, below the Elite but above the rest of the upper class.

Upper class[edit]

The upper class was the lowest of the three higher classes, and was made up of citizens that had enough money to buy their way into the upper classes but that, for the most part, did not have any Major Guild education. Upper-class D'ni were often successful private entrepreneurs, providing the elite with resources such as banks and pubs.

Middle class[edit]

The middle class was mostly comprised of shop-owners and other similar groups, able to afford some luxuries but still considered far from the Elite. It was uncommon for middle-class D'ni to own linking books or Private Ages. The middle class made up most of the members of the Minor Guilds.

Lower classes[edit]

High poor[edit]

The high poor were the higher of the two lower classes, and were mostly industrial workers, often working in other Ages. Like the low poor, the high poor did not own linking books or Private Ages.

Low poor[edit]

The low poor were the lower of the two lower classes, and were relegated to their own districts, rarely seen with even the middle class, and never with the upper classes. The low poor were sometimes used as servants, though that practice was generally looked down upon by the time of the Fall.

The Least[edit]

Main article: The Least

The Least (D'nireziTaTtE, rezithahthtee, literally meaning "the lowest ones") were the lowest D'ni class, comprised of ahrotahntee and used by the D'ni as slaves. The most notable species such-enslaved is the Bahro, who were enslaved some time around the D'ni Exodus and remained enslaved until several centuries after the Fall of D'ni.

The existence of the Least was kept secret throughout D'ni's history, and as a result, not a great deal is known about who exactly owned and traded in slaves. Slavery was, strictly speaking, illegal in D'ni, though many upper-class D'ni, and even members of the Elite, were discovered to have known about and participated in the enslavement of the Least.

History[edit]

Early D'ni[edit]

When D'ni was founded, in 0 DE (7657–7656 BCE), Ri'neref, already effectively the leader of the new civilization, declared himself King. Despite this title, Ri'neref's philosophy and disagreements with Garternay's last King led to Ri'neref refusing to build a palace, instead residing in a dwelling similar to those of the rest of the D'ni citizens, and focusing on D'ni's development and the construction of religious buildings. Also around this time, though it is not known how it came to be or by whose hand, the Bahro became enslaved by the D'ni using the power of the Tablet, thereby forming the Least; a secret slave class not known to the public as a whole.

Ailesh, Ri'neref's successor and former apprentice, continued this tradition of not constructing a palace, focusing on the construction of a Common Library, which was opened in 233 DE (7424 BCE). The Common Libraries were libraries that were open to the general D'ni public, allowing ostensibly anyone to visit the Public Ages contained therein; several Common Libraries would be constructed over D'ni's history, in districts of various class.

Emerging elite[edit]

The third D'ni King, Shomat, broke the example set by his predecessors, ordering the construction of a palace for himself and his family shortly after taking the throne. The palace was lavish, featuring ornate gardens, as well as several specially-written Garden Ages for the King; this lavishness served to further tensions within the D'ni culture, and drove in a further divide between D'ni commoners and the emerging elite.

In 775 DE (6882–6881 BCE) King Ja'kreen, Shomat's successor, pushed for further private construction on Ae'gura, including the J'taeri district, a specifically upper-class district.

Minor Guilds[edit]

During the reign of King Mararon, in 1124 DE (6533–6532 BCE) Ti'lanar, a Guild Master in the Guild of Legislators, published a paper titled "Minor Guilds," in which he proposed a system of Minor Guilds to address the growing educational divide between D'ni who were members of the Major Guilds and those who were not. Mararon was in agreement with the paper, and following its suggestions, began a major renovation of the Common School system. The Common Schools were placed under the jurisdiction of the Guild of Legislators, and standards for instructors were raised. Workdays were also increased in length, and the time in the Common Schools was raised from 6 years (age 10 to 16) to 15 years (age 5 to 20). After common citizens had completed their education, they could thenceforth choose to enter into one of the new Minor Guilds, instead of simply returning to society.

In 2488 DE (5169–5168 BCE), during Naygen's reign, the Major Guild of Fine Artists was split up into four Minor Guilds to make room for the Guild of Miners. This split was done partially to encourage growth in the arts, by making it more accessible to D'ni not in the upper classes.

Unification attempts[edit]

Following Rakeri's appointment of Tevahr as his main prophet and the relative unification of D'ni's religious beliefs by 3100 DE (4557–4556 BCE), much work was done in an attempt to join the separating classes of rich and poor; major renovation of districts (mostly poor) was done, and a new Theater Company and Concert Hall were constructed in the Belari district, which had been one of the poorest districts in D'ni.

Kedri, crowned in 3654 DE (4003–4002 BCE), did much during his reign to attempt to improve the conditions of the lower classes, and as a result was greatly respected and widely considered to be a "king of the people"; it is said that he often walked the streets of D'ni and attended events with the D'ni people as if he were a commoner. According to story, in the 48th year of his reign, Kedri, walking through the streets of Ae'gura, was greatly disturbed at seeing that the entire island was filled only with upper-class D'ni (as Ae'gura was more or less set aside for the elite and upper classes at that time), and so ordered the construction of the Shamathen district on Ae'gura, intended to be a "more affordable" residential district. A short while later, while conversing with his people, he visited a Common Library, and was appalled at the quality of the Ages therein; in response, he returned to the palace and ordered that the Age of the Kings, considered to be one of the most beautiful Ages ever written, be donated to the Common Library. Kedri then ordered the construction of additions to several buildings and districts, including the Temple of Yahvo, the Opera House, and the Belari district (continuing the work of Rakeri). In 3686 DE (3971–3970 BCE), Kedri was married in a public ceremony, open to all who wished to attend.

It was often said that Ishek, crowned in 4083 DE (3574–3573 BCE), ran his throne almost exactly as his uncle, Kedri, had, and as a result his popularity was close to that of Kedri; Ishek was another of the "peoples' Kings," and he refused to separate himself from the D'ni public or view himself as being superior to those he served. He did not, however, do as much for the lower classes of D'ni as Kedri had, instead focusing on outsider interaction, attempting to improve the public's perception of other cultures.

Decline of unity[edit]

Immaturity of King Ji[edit]

Ji was widely considered to be immature, indecisive, and useless as King during his reign (4438–4692 DE (3219–2964 BCE)). This caused widespread frustration among the D'ni people, and they again showed signs of splitting, both in religious beliefs and in social class; the D'ni again began to separate into rich and poor. In 4500 DE (3157–3156 BCE), Guild Master Kinef of the Guild of Legislators submitted a proposal to allow private education separate from the Major Guilds. The proposal passed by a slim margin, though never truly succeeded, with the public generally thinking of education and the Guilds as inseparable.

Major Guild scholarships[edit]

In 4721 DE (2936–2935 BCE), King Demath introduced scholarships for the Major Guilds; the Guilds would be required to accept a percentage of students who had passed all entrance exams but could not afford the steep prices; by this point, Major Guild education had become extremely expensive, preventing many who were otherwise qualified from being able to join. Many people questioned this decision, especially the Major Guilds themselves, though Demath was able to convince them that it was necessary. The first of the Guild of Stone Masons' "non-paying" members would go on to spearhead the effort to devise early fusion-compounding technology in 4826 DE (2831–2830 BCE), in response to which Demath praised the efforts of the Guild and the "numerous opportunities that all citizens of D'ni now had to benefit their society."

Distraction from ahrotahn debate[edit]

During Yableshan's reign, the D'ni people became incredibly divided on the issue of outsider interaction, and in an attempt to divert attention from this brewing conflict, he announced several new developments. These included a new Common Library located in the middle-class Vamen district, in 4901 DE (2756–2755 BCE), and a new park built on Neref Island, which was announced in 4910 DE (2747–2746 BCE) and received books to three new Recreation Ages in 4914 DE (2743–2742 BCE), written by the Guild of Writers.

D'ni islands and public transport[edit]

After King Emen's coronation in 5081 DE (2576–2575 BCE), the leader of the Relyimah, Faresh, started hosting popular parties in his mansion on Katha island, attended by members of the Elite. The popularity of these parties caused others (mostly Elite) to request permission from the government to build on the large number of islands surrounding the City Proper. In 5095 DE (2562–2561 BCE), Emen decided to put many of these islands up for sale, and over 23 of them were sold, to upper-class citizens with considerable resources. A public ferry system was approved by Emen in 5202 DE (2455–2454 BCE), allowing greater access between Ae'gura, the City Proper, and the smaller islands throughout the cavern. One island was given to the Minor Guilds of Artists, Musicians, and Actors, who turned it into a Cultural Center; the center would later often host concerts and plays on the water of the lake.

Following the use of Stone Eater and Stone Tooth to clear an area for the new Uran district in the late 5400s DE, King Me'emen recommended using them to construct an underground tunnel connecting Ae'gura to the City Proper, minimizing the need for the ferries. This proposition was protested by many, especially the upper-class residents of Ae'gura, as well as by most of the Major Guilds, apparently for fear of the "effect" that the tunnel could have on Ae'gura, and the plans did not end up being carried out.

Slaves of King Asemlef[edit]

King Asemlef, during his reign (5999–6284 DE (1658–1372 BCE)), focused on mining expansion, the construction of new districts, and offering "equal opportunities of culture and social benefits" to all classes. Despite this, Asemlef used "servants" throughout his reign (mostly ahrotahntee), and held "challenges" with them, ranging from hunts (by Asemlef) to gladiator battles between the slaves. Though the D'ni public was aware of all of this, there was little public outcry.

End of the Era of Kings[edit]

Jaron (who reigned 6284–6498 DE (1373–1158 BCE)), like his father Asemlef before him, was more interested in keeping the D'ni public content than taking a side regarding the various issues that divided the culture at the time. As a result of this, despite the public's satisfaction, there was further division among them throughout Jaron's reign; the elite and poor became more divided, and despite the large amount of new construction and renovation in both elite and poor districts, nothing was done to unify the two.

By the end of the reign of Rikooth and the coronation of Kerath in 6731 DE (926 BCE), the classes were "more divided than ever." Kerath, the last King of D'ni, did not do much to directly combat this division, though he did significantly alter the structure of the D'ni government, abdicating in 6997 DE (659 BCE) and giving control of D'ni fully to the Major Guilds; the absolute power of the King was replaced with the Five Lords, who worked with the D'ni Council on all matters.

Era of Lords[edit]

Rebek and Teledahn[edit]

See also: Rebek

After the large-scale depletion of the native population of intelligent creatures in Rebek through the hunting games performed there by the D'ni, the continuation of the hunts was threatened. The group of citizens that enjoyed watching and participating in them were all upper-class and particularly wealthy, and willing to spend large amounts of money to continue the hunts, and so in 9005 DE (1349–1350 CE) an effort to hide the Age, led by Lord Balishek, succeeded in hiding the book leading to Rebek. Shortly after this, ahrotahn slaves began being transported to Rebek for use as prey in the hunting games.

Over time, this activity became fairly well-known, and while it remained technically illegal, it also remained easy to find for those who wished to participate or watch, and the government did not devote considerable resources to attempting to stop the games. The hunting games became a very elite activity, with high wagers placed on the winners, as individuals had to pay large amounts of money to even watch the games, let alone to participate.

In 9375 DE (1719–1720 CE), 25 years before the Fall of D'ni, the Age of Teledahn, under the ownership of Manesmo, began to be used as storage for the slaves that would be used as prey in the hunting games in Rebek. A powder that grew in animals native to Teledahn started being given to the slaves in order to give them an adrenaline rush when fighting. In 9396 DE (1740–1741 CE) an investigation into Teledahn was started by the Guild of Maintainers concerning the storage and trading of slaves, though it is unknown to what extent the investigation succeeded before the Fall of D'ni occurred four years later.

Bevin[edit]

See also: Kenen Gor

As evidenced by Kenen Gor and the Bevin podium speech, the D'ni neighborhood of Bevin was home to a group of anti-government rebels shortly before the Fall of D'ni, whose goals included the abolition of D'ni's class system and the liberation of the Least. It would seem, however, that they were not able to make much of an impact before the Fall occurred.

Post-Fall[edit]

When the Fall of D'ni occurred in 9400 DE (1744 CE), D'ni society as a whole was obliterated, with only a few groups of people managing to survive in remote Ages. The demographical make-up of these survivors is not known, though it can likely be assumed that upper-class D'ni were much more likely to have survived, able to flee to Private Ages, as opposed to the middle and lower classes, who could at best flee to Public Ages, which were specifically targeted by A'gaeris and Veovis.

By the nature of the Tablet, the Bahro remained "enslaved" for over 250 years after the Fall, until they were freed by Dr. Watson in 2005 CE.

It is unknown how much of a class system remained in effect in Releeshahn, though it is likely that the new D'ni civilization is far closer to a classless society than D'ni was for most of its history.