In Gyre, true power rests in the Parliament of Merit, the Ducalion of Gyre being merely an impotent figurehead. However, despite the pretence of all meritocrats being equal, matters related to the seccurity of the state in the broadest sense are delegated to a select group of the most influential and popular among them. This shadowy commitee is known as the Vicenary Jury. It is also nicknamed (somewhat degoratorily) as the Iron Circle.
This group originally consisted of the Ducal Steward, a single cordent general, the Grand Parsimon (the state’s finance minister), the Justiciar General (chief judge), the Dragon Keeper, and fifteen jurists. However, as Gyre grew and its interests spread to Noster and beyond, the number of officials increased, squeezing the number of jurists until only five remained.
The jurists are elected by secret ballot during Crevastival for a term of one year. Every meritocrat is a potential candidate. The result is never formally declared, but any meritocrat worth the title makes it their business to know the identities of the winners.
At the time that Drinith first arrives in Gyre, the Vicenary Jury consists of:
- The Ducal Steward who acts as chair
- The Grand Parsimon
- The Justiciar General
- The Dragon Keeper who manages the meritocrats’ dragons and is in charge of the defense of the airspace around the city
- The three cordent generals
- The Intelligencer General
- The Ambassador General
- The Governor General, responsible for the administration of Gyre’s colonies
- The Inspector General, in charge of customs
- The three conflagration marshals who manage Gyre’s mercenary armies
- Five elected jurists
As a rule, its proceedings are secret. No minutes are recorded, no written annals kept. Its orders percolate through the Meritocracy in whispers. Its meetings, held in strictest privacy, are conducted in a chamber deep under the parliament building. No outsider is allowed to enter. According to rumor, the members themselves take turns to clean it. Few outside the Meritocracy are even aware of its existence, but it is an indelible menacing presence in meritocrats’ lives. Even its members fear it.