The Adamantine Lords, or Erus Adamantine are the heart of the powerful Adamantine Order which rules Antara, representing the core of the power of the State of the Dominion. They are the Order's most powerful and skilled leaders. They are known as the Twelve or Circle of Twelve. They are known as the Adamantine Serenissimus in Old High Antaran.
Within the Adamantine Order itself, the Lords are commonly referred to by all lesser Adamantines as Satai, which in Antaran means "honored one".
"The Adamantine Lords of Antara live a life of peace and ordered calm, protected against all threats from lesser civilizations by their great influence..."
- Quote, Codex Adamantine Prologue
Since its inception in 483 BCE, the Adamantine Order has been ruled by the elite circle of Adamantine Lords that lead its gatherings and hold all of the key positions of power within the State. These men are the heart of Dominion Antara, as they were the heart of Imperial Antara. Theirs is the highest level of the nation's power, and it is the aspiration of all young men who join the Order that they may one day earn a place within the hallowed ranks of this elite group.
Summoned, I take the place that has been prepared for me. I am Adamantine. I stand between the Candle and the Star. We are Adamantine. We stand between the Darkness and the Light.
- Quote, Oath Adamantine
Becoming an Adamantine Lord is restricted to key high officials - the Praetor, Proconsul, the four Officium Adepti Maestro, and the senior-most officers of the Praetorian Office - and no others. They compose not only the core of the Adamantine Order itself but the Praetorian Inner Circle - his closest and most important advisors and State officers. These dozen men form the Circle of Twelve, the body which rules the Adamantine Order and, by extension, the State itself. The Praetor, as the leader of the Lords and the Order, is not included in the number, as even he is above their level of authority.
If they are being referred to with the Praetor himself as part of their number, as they will sometimes do in releasing an important statement or the like, they are occasionally called the Twelve and One.
The Praetor, as the leader of the State in both its formal and official functions, and as the head of the Order itself, is the Erus Adamantine Primo - Adamantine Highlord. He leads the Adamantine Lords and, by extension, the Order itself. He sets the example of discipline and ensures that his people are managing the Order and State to his satisfaction.
As said before, the restrictions on the availability of the twelve seats of the Twelve Lords is extreme. They compose not only the core of the Adamantine Order itself but the Praetorian Inner Circle - his closest and most important advisors and State officers. In all, there are never more than twelve Lords, at any time, for any reason. Only death, retirement, or dismissal opens a chair on the Council for a new member to join.
When an Antaran is chosen to replace an outgoing or deceased Lord, they are so chosen by the Praetor after close consideration and careful investigation into that person's background and credentials. While the choice is entirely up to the Praetor himself, he does take into consideration the opinions of his fellow Lords when making his decision. Once they are chosen, they will be consecrated in a ceremony even more secretive than the one that inducts men into the Order at the distant Adamantine Monastery, located high in the Atenian Mountains in Tritemma Province.
Aside from their place as the highest leaders of the State, the Adamantine Lords are also the men who oversee the administration of the Agoge to the young men of Antara. They will, to the surprise of their audience, meet with some of them when they reach Yewdark Castle, questioning them and testing their intellectual skills. It is considered the highest honor for a young man undergoing his Agoge to be questioned by one of the Twelve and One, as some young men have the prestigious opportunity to do.
It is said that often times the young man being questioned may glean some idea of what path the State sees in his future based on his demonstrated skills and performance in school by which Adamantine Lord questions him, should they be faced with one of the State elite. Those who are received by the Supreme Commander are of special interest to the Munitorum. Those who find the Grand Inquisitor waiting on them are seen as possibly sound future investments in the intelligence community.
Being questioned by the Praetor himself, however, is different. It displays a personal interest on the part of the State's supreme leader, and his interest represents the interests of the State itself, in that his future could one day potentially take him into the halls of the Adamantine Lords themselves. When he underwent the Agoge, young Rayden Belesarious was questioned personally by his grandfather, who ultimately planned to have him succeed him as Praetor. It is widely believed that someday in the future, when he feels that his time is growing short, Rayden will select a successor in the same manner. Thus far, four Praetorian successors have been so chosen. While the Senate chooses one of its rank to be Praetor, the sitting Praetor can command the Senate to pick a specific person, if so wished.
Every member of the Twelve has private quarters in the Adamantine Hall of Serenno Palace. These suites consist of a bedroom, washroom, eating room and commons room. Each suite also has space for children of serving Lords who are not at their majority. Children are tended daily by their mothers and by a trusted maidservant.
Less obvious than the Phylacterium Adamantine but even more important, the Sigillium Adamantine is the heavy signet ring every man of the Twelve wears. Presented to that man the day after he is consecrated a Lord, it is engraved on the inside of the band with his initials - if he is of the aristocratic class, it will be his full christening initials; for example, Talon Lord Durla's initials as engraved into his band are T.M.A.C.D. for Talon Mercator Aelleron Cidolfus Durla. Underneath the initials in even smaller lettering are the day, month, and year of their consecration, and below that in similarly-sized lettering are the State initials of the Praetor they were consecrated under. Thus, Lord Durla's ring has the following engraved -
Talon Mercator Aelleron Cidolfus Rex Durla
3 July 2113
Praetore Rayden Arunsun Rex Belesarious
The entire ring is pure platinum. Every Lord is required to keep the ring on at all times, the sole exception being when bathing. Showing the Guardian this ring on your hand, and being recognized as a Lord, is the only way to be granted access to the legendary Vault of Aetherium, where the Order is said to maintain untold wealths of knowledge collected from all over Aurora durings its long centuries of Imperial exploration. Also, the same process of recognition is the only thing that will get you past the Steward and into the Crypts of Sanaxar, where the Order keeps untold treasures and priceless artifacts.
This ring is the true marker of an Adamantine Lord, combined with his unique robes. Without this ring, a man who would be a Lord is not, as the symbol - the badge - of his office is not on his person. It has been known in the past, on two occasions in three centuries thus far, for a Praetor to dismiss a Lord for losing his ring.
When a Lord accepts honored retirement, he may continue to keep the signet, but is not permitted to wear it at any time for any reason. When he dies, the ring is retrieved from his family by an Adamantine Lorekeeper, who holds it until his funeral. At that time, before he is cremated or buried, the ring is returned to his right ring finger, and goes with him into the afterlife.
Only the highest-ranking members of the Adamantine Order wear the robes, which are as much a badge of their place within the Antaran hierarchy as they are a sign of the great authority and prestige their wearers carry. Unadorned (without the distinctive colors of each office of Adamantine authority), they are as pictured in the image at left. To the Lords more than any other rank, the robes are a distinct badge of the authority they hold and their place within Antaran government.
The long tunic worn underneath, with the dark gold obi, is worn primarily at formal functions only. Also, the vestment worn draped over the shoulders (the V-shaped component), will be bordered in the dark gold but will be also in the color of their station.
When a Lord dies, he is buried in his robes. This is done even if he has accepted honored retirement from the Twelve, as once a man takes the Oath of Lordship, it binds him unto death and even if he has been away from the Council for decades, he always has been and always will be an Adamantine Lord.
Certain Lords and other highly accomplished Adamantines, upon their passing, can be granted the greatest honor in death any Adamantine may hope to acquire - interment in the Valley of the Adamantine Lords. This ancient necropolis, located in the foothills of the Atenian Mountains western face in northern Tritemma Province, is the final resting place of the most honored and prominent Adamantine Lords from the 2,600-year history of the Order. Among those sleeping the eternal sleep in the Valley are Beyon Corono, the Four Sages of Dwartii, and the Four Wardens who oversaw the foundations of the Dominion in 1799 CE.
Listed here are the sitting members of the Circle of Twelve. Their name and their current posts with in the Antaran State are listed alongside their picture.
Galen Lord Umbacano, Proconsul of Antara
Pallando Lord Greyhame, General Minister of Antara
Talon Lord Durla, First Administrator of Antara
Tarken Lord Jeratai, Supreme Commander of Antara
Tirion Lord Fordring, Grand Inquisitor of Antara
Vandron Lord Galerion, Fabricator General of Antara
Arden Lord Desann, Lord Privy Seal
Farid Lord Banjeer, Castellan of the Adeptus Antara
Mode of Address
There are only two proper ways for anyone to address an Adamantine Lord. One either calls him "My Lord", or "Your Eminence". In reference, they are called "His Eminence" or "Their Eminence". When in direct conversation with a Lord, it is acceptable to address them in short as simply "Eminence".
The only exception to this rule is the Praetor himself, who is always referred to as "His Excellency" or, when speaking directly to him, as "Your Excellency".
It is accepted tradition within Antaran government that only another Lord may address one of his fellows by their given name. For anyone else to do so is considered the height of impropriety and disrespect.