Stormhold

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The Imperial Principality of Stormhold
-- Stormhold I --.png Flag
Dragos proposed Coat of Arms.png
Coat of arms

Motto
N/A
Anthem
N/A
March
Imperial March
Non-territorial
Official language(s)English (de facto)
GovernmentMonarchy
- Imperial PrinceMephistopheles
- Prime Minister (Provisional)vacant
Established16 December 2014 (est.)
16 June 2021 (independence)
Population10
Patron saintLucifer


Stormhold, officially the Imperial Principality of Stormhold, is a non-territorial micronation loosely based around the MicroWiki sector. (Note that this entity should NOT be confused or associated with others of the same name.) The former capital and a later offshoot of the State of Zenrax, what is now Stormhold was founded in 1999 by Shiro and others before the location's unification in late 2014. Stormhold subsequently joined Zenrax as its imperial capital in 2015 as the "Great Kingdom of Stormhold." Although Stormhold's internal activities had entirely subsumed into Zenrax by the end of 2016, it nonetheless remained an imperial state until Zenrax's lapse into inactivity during late 2020. The unified polity's official date of founding is 16 December 2014, although it did not regain independence from Zenrax until 16 June 2021 under the (now anonymous) leadership of its former leader. The regnal name (alias) of the current monarch is His Excellency, (Imperial) Prince Mephistopheles.

The country is led by the Imperial Prince of Stormhold, whose office is the theoretical source of all sovereignty and functions as the head of the executive. Unlike Zenrax, the lack of personnel has led to an autocratic government, with the Imperial Prince responsible for all external affairs, with internal culture lacking priority until citizens join (or return) to enrich the country again. Like its predecessors Dragos and Zenrax, Stormhold has been based around the MicroWiki Community through much of its history. While provisions exist for relations with other micronations to be handled through ambassadors and the so-called Ministry of Truth, the lack of personnel qualified for such posts instead led to these offices' responsibilities being vested in the office of the Imperial Prince.

As Zenrax entered into a prolonged state of inactivity and stagnation, its sovereign transferred the old Order of the Rose to the sovereign of Stormhold shortly before its independence, to maintain the longevity and legitimacy of both entities. The latest offshoot of Zenrax, the Imperial Principality of Stormhold considers itself to be Zenrax's undisputed successor state, and as such took over its foreign relations and responsibilities immediately upon achieving independence in June of 2021. This state of affairs is planned to persist until Zenrax is capable of functioning internally again, although how long that time will last is unknown.

Like its predecessor Zenrax, Stormhold is a member of the Grand Unified Micronational. Currently, the polity accepts no citizenship applications, with citizenship being instead determined strictly based on membership in Zenrax per its arrangements for the transfer of sovereignty on June 16th, 2021. Likewise, Stormhold follows the exact foreign policy set forward by Zenrax during the Regency period that began in early 2021. As such, Stormhold shares Zenrax's foreign relations, as well as the attendant rights, assets, and responsibilities until the latter is capable of regaining its sovereignty.

History

Early History

Prior to Stormhold's existence, various entities in the area that originally comprised its territory in Texas, USA were founded and disbanded in succession from 1999 through 2009. (August 11th, 1999 is still regarded as the starting date of the earliest known faction in the area.) Locally, the most historically important of these factions were the Confederacy (existed during most of 2003), and the Red Alliance (existed 2005 - c. 2009). The Confederacy was the only successful direct democracy to exist, with elections not being held for over a decade since then until Zenrax's foundation in 2014. The Red Alliance was a unitary, militaristic faction that controlled the area for several years until its eventual death by stagnation after 2009, when its original citizens dispersed for a while. Its storied existence contributed much to Zenrax's culture, government, and law. After the Red Alliance faded into obscurity, there was no related activity until the formation of Stormhold beginning 2014 and culminating with the election of its head of state and the subsequent formation of the Senate, both on December 16, 2014.

The existence of Stormhold as a standalone, unified entity was not to last, however. The new micronation rapidly expanded past its traditional boundaries, and with non-resident citizens joining (sometimes with territory of their own), the need for Stormhold to federalize became apparent if the core entity were to preserve its unique culture while growing its fledgling micronational empire. After a provisional period lasting six months, Stormhold federalized. In the process, it reorganized itself into the Federation of Zenrax on May 21, 2015. The newly reorganized polity then ceremonially declared independence to commemorate the event. In this event, Stormhold ceded its own sovereignty, assets, and independence to the newly formed Zenrax.

Zenrax Era

Between May 2015 and 2018, the government further refined its core institutions and enacted increasingly broad reforms to combat the building effects of national stagnation. Between May 2015 and October 2018, there were three major reformations of the failing central government in attempts to keep the entity alive. By late 2018, Zenrax had become extremely burdened by non-functional core institutions (such as the Senate) that could not be legally dissolved or assimilated by other branches of government. Seeing this, the central government elected to dissolve the Federation by November 2018, leaving only the capital territory (also now called Zenrax) and the Order of the Rose intact. Reforms conducted through 2019 and 2020 saw the organization fundamentally restructure to accommodate a slow pace of activity, as well as its members' shifting personal goals.

However, this also saw a period of much more prolonged stagnation within Stormhold proper. Beginning in 2017, the polity had lost all but a small handful of its original citizens to attrition. With all newcomers joining the larger state of Zenrax, there was no way outside of residency to gain citizenship. This condition was further exacerbated with the reorganization of Zenrax into a much more non-traditional organization resembling a secret society, rather than a proper state. By the time 2021 had rolled around, the pandemic had taken a further toll on activity, and Stormhold could no longer survive as part of an equally stagnant, larger polity. As such, Stormhold resumed its previous sovereignty and assets from Zenrax (per the original conditions of federalization) and declared independence on June 16th, 2021 -- just over six years after coming under Zenraxi control.

Stormhold Era

Stormhold has a brief history post-independence. Having been granted independence from Zenrax in June 2021 under Imperial Prince Mephistopheles, Stormhold immediately resumed all sovereign responsibilities of its parent state, having been its founding member. This included organizational memberships, hosting the Order of the Rose, its imperium, and its monarchy. However, the new nation was bereft of citizens as this was the sole asset to not transfer over, in respect to the wishes of Zenraxi citizens who otherwise had nothing to do with the old territory of Stormhold (as they joined Zenrax later in that era of its history).

Having been granted imperium by Zenrax, Stormhold also gained sovereignty over its internal and external affairs. It then took custodianship over Zenrax's rights, assets, and responsibilities until the former is regains capability of operating as a sovereign entity. The first action by the Imperial Prince Mephistopheles was to issue Executive Order #1. This Order quickly formed a government consisting of the Viceroy, a Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Truth (which was promptly filled). In addition to confirming and continuing the Regency Government's agenda and mandates seamlessly, the new Princely Government formed by Executive Order #1 quickly cemented Stormhold's status as a functioning entity, which could carry out activities without the immediate presence of the Prime Minister, whose absence came about due to conflicting commitments elsewhere. Finally, this action also centered all democratic activity within the country around the Prime Minister, whose election occurs only when elections are called by the government in concert. (This is unlikely to happen, despite the PM's relative absence due to conflicting obligations elsewhere.)

Shortly after taking charge of Zenrax's old foreign affairs obligations, Stormhold's sovereign issued Executive Order #2, which allowed for the country to apply to other organizations, specifically the Cupertino Alliance. This action also cemented the precedent of the Imperial Prince consulting the Foreign Minister before any major unilateral actions are taken abroad, as well as confirmed his prior mandate by reinforcing Executive Order #1. The trend of Executive Orders released by the

Governance

The Imperial Prince

The Imperial Prince is the head of state of the country. Overall, the Prince's primary role is to act as the face of the nation, and as a unifying force for its people. While the Prince enjoys broad powers, they are still checked by the Viceroy or various Ministers in events of incapacitation, or, in specific cases, against overstep of authority. The Prince is nominally the head of the government, although in practice authority is divided between the Viceroy, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister. The Viceroy serves as a strong source of authority on executive matters, the Foreign Minister oversees all external policy, and the Prime Minister resolves any conflict between Princely authority and the government (by acting as the latter's representative).

The Prince enjoys wide-ranging authority in three areas. Firstly, as head of the country's judiciary, the Prince acts as a point of final appeal on internal disputes of criminal and civil nature alike, although on legal matters he must generally defer to Senatorial authority. Secondly, the Prince is able to issue executive orders that allow swift national actions on one-time issues, although consultation with the Viceroy, the Prime Minister, and/or the Foreign Affairs minister is usually required. Thirdly, the Prince enjoys completely unilateral authority as the country's sole fount of honor, being able to circumvent requirements under the second provision solely in exercise of these rights. (However, it should be noted that nobility no confers the many additional privileges it once did under the Federation period.)

The Imperial Senate

The Imperial Senate is, nominally, the highest governing body in Stormhold, as it has been since the unification in late 2014. However, the modern Senate is reformed from the systems the country used while it was known as Zenrax. The new Senate is, in a word, a collection of the nation's most prominent executives. These currently include the popularly elected Prime Minister, the appointed Viceroy, and the various Ministers jointly appointed via nomination from the Crown. The Senate consists of the holders of the following offices: The Viceroy, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Minister of Truth, and up to two others appointed at-large by the Prince. During the Prime Minister's absence, leadership of the Senate is currently divided in two ways: internal administration is led by the Viceroy, and external policy is headed by the Foreign Affairs Minister. Any conflict in policy is resolved by the Senate or the Imperial Prince, respectively.

In addition to their role as Senators, each Minister has specific roles to play that serve as effective extensions of Senatorial authority, while maintaining internal harmony in the central government. Collectively, the Senate is responsible for maintaining and setting policies within the nation that do not fall under individual ministers' prerogative. It also serves as a check on Princely authority (in cases of abuse), with the Senate able to declare regencies during incapacitation of the Crown, draft laws, craft foreign policy, and in extreme cases organize the nation in conflict with others actively attempting to destroy its infrastructure.

Honors System

The Principality currently possesses a small system of nobility, currently still under process of reform. The current system of nobility was founded from two active ranks: Lords, and members of the Order of the Rose. This system has stemmed from the earliest days of Stormhold's history, the rank of Lord existing in one form or another since the early 2000's during the Faction Era. The Order of the Rose has similar existed since 2003, emerging as a small military order for allies shortly after the fall of a unified Confederacy government that same year. Since then, the country's system of nobility has evolved around these two concepts.

(note: information is up to date as of July 2021)

Nobility

The old nobility of Zenrax attempted to create a European system of nobility along these lines, but eventually failed due to excessive noble titles and few people to fill said titles with. The noble title of Duke or Duchess was phased out by 2016 in favor of Lords absorbing the rank again. No Earls were inducted past late 2015, and the last Count was promoted from this role in 2016 before the rank similarly fell out of use. Various Kings existed during the Federation period, but the system of nobility came to a rapid end (save for the rank of Lord) in 2018 when the Federation dissolved, with the end of that system officiated with the sudden transition of government from Zenrax to Stormhold in June 2021.

Only one noble rank in Stormhold enjoys legal rights separate to others': that of the extant Lords of Stormhold, those being (as of July 2021) Lord Svein Smedberg and Lord Mike Lewis. Lords of Stormhold enjoy the right of first refusal to senior government posts, as well as right of consultation with the Imperial Prince on all matters of governance. Theoretically, other Founders of the country enjoy rights to petition the Imperial Prince for the title, although this privilege has not been exercised since mid-2015. The last offer of the Lordly title was made in early 2020, with the title intended to remain exclusive to long-term members that have made vital contributions to the state.

The Imperial Prince still enjoys the right to create new members of the nobility. However, this is done exclusively in consultation with the Lords, as is an additional right of the latter. Theoretically, the old noble ranks exist, but as they are no longer confined to geographic parts of Stormhold, new nobility outside of the few Lords do not enjoy additional legal rights. However, membership in nobility confers its own system of honors that are very rarely bestowed.


Nominally, the order of precedence for ennobled citizens of Stormhold is as follows (along with number holding such titles):

1. The Imperial Prince (1)

2. The Lords of Stormhold (2)

3. Members of the Sovereign Order of the Rose (8)

4. Earls (0)

5. Counts (0)

Chivalric Orders & Honors

Similarly, Stormhold possesses a small system of chivalric honors, and these are connected to the nation's system of honors. However, with the exception of the SOR (see above), knights of Stormhold are not automatically considered members of the nobility, similarly to the United Kingdom and other European nations. This is because knighthood is generally granted for singular actions undertaken over much briefer periods of time within Stormhold, rather than a long-term history of contributions otherwise worthy of ennoblement. In the case of the Order of the Rose, the trend skews the opposite, with the Order considered a way to bestow honors worthy of recognition alongside the nation's heroes, without also imposing the associated burden of nobility within the country. (As an additional trait, the Order also doubles as an award akin to the Legion of Merit in other countries.)


The current precedence of the country's chivalric orders (along with current membership) is as follows:

1. The Sovereign Order of the Rose (8)

2. The Order of the Hydra (0)

3. The Order of the Dragon (0)

4. All others (0)

Foreign Relations

Organizations

Holy Roman Empire

Stormhold remains a member of the Holy Roman Empire. However, a long period of dormancy on both sides has raised questions about Stormhold's present status as well as the organization's viability in recent months.

Grand Unified Micronational

Stormhold is a full member of the Grand Unified Micronational. However, it wields relatively little influence except through its Foreign Minister, Lord Mike Lewis (Prime Minister of Lundenwic in his own right). Its delegates are otherwise most active in the organization's Minecraft server, where some of the largest architectural features were built by Stormhold's delegates.

The Prince is a former Vice Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational, although his presence and influence in the organization have waxed and waned in the time since then. Close allies within the organization still include Wyvern and others.

Bilateral Relations

Stormhold assumed all of the former Zenrax's foreign relations responsibilities immediately upon independence. However, since relations had not been maintained in at least six months prior, a review promptly went out to its long-time allies. Resuming its predecessor's policies, Stormhold remains strict on its choice of allies, as it has in the past.

Several Zenrax-era prohibitions still exist that govern what diplomatic requests that Stormhold can or cannot honor. These were updated and modernized immediately upon its independence in June of 2021. Among these are prohibitions of mutual recognition as a standalone tool of diplomacy (since 2014), informal relations without any treaty or any other substantive agreement (since 2017), and purely ceremonial trade agreements (2018). Additionally, war has not been a tool of diplomacy in the country since 2016, with the last action by Stormhold's own militia being a routine patrol of then-controlled peripheral territory in late 2015.

Finally, a special set of rules for accounting for "actions of war" were set into place in mid-2021. Several categories are excluded from actions of war permissible for officials to take. These include the prohibition of "server raiding" as a tool of intimidation against other internet-based groups, and other virtual activities. Additionally, retaliation in like kind is prohibited without first going through "proper channels." For instance, reports to relevant platforms' authorities are the strongly preferred method, with server raiding being strongly frowned upon.

The following are nations Stormhold maintains treaties with. Some relations stretch back well into the previous Zenrax era of Stormhold's foreign relations. This list is being updated to reflect current events.

Furthermore, Stormhold regards the following as Friendly Nations, due to agreements and other notable collaborations in the past:

  • Wyvern Flag.svg Kingdom of Wyvern (no treaty) Several years of deep cooperation during the Zenrax Era, beginning sometime during 2017.
  • Flag of Hrafnarfjallv3.png Commonwealth of Essexia (no treaty) Two years of cooperation during the Zenrax era, in tandem with Wyvern. Ended when Zenrax entered a period of stagnation from late 2020.
  • Commonweath of dracul2.png Commonwealth of Dracul (no treaty) Cooperation from late in the Zenrax era.
  • Flag of Cycoldia Real.svg Grand Republic of Cycoldia (no treaty) Cooperation from late in the Zenrax era.

Law

There are three primary sources of law in Stormhold. The first is reserved for the government-at-large, capable of setting up a Regency in the Prince's absence and creating its own legislation. The Foreign Minister sets policy abroad, and advises the Prince directly on maintenance of alliances and partnerships. The Prince is vested with executive and judicial authority, the latter very rarely being exercised. In the Prince's prolonged illness or absence, the Viceroy is appointed as Regent to maintain smooth and orderly government in the country.

Demographics

Languages

The de facto official language in Stormhold is English. However, its members are able to speak various other languages including Spanish, French, Thai, Japanese, Norwegian, and more.

Population

The Principality carries out no censuses. However, the population as of mid-2021 is estimated to be no more than twenty individuals, of whom five are active in government, civil life, and other national activities.

Religion

The government is officially secular. However, freedom of religion and religious practices is guaranteed (so long as said practices do not infringe upon the rights and well-being of others). No censuses have ever been taken to assess the prevalence of religious practices in the country, as religious belief is considered a private matter that the government should not involve itself in.

Internet presence

Discord server

Stormhold retains a presence using Zenrax's discord server. However, it remains strictly an invite-only area designed exclusively for the use of its own members. Because of this, recruitment remains very low, so that the micronation could retain long-term stability. It has had mixed results: although activity has always remained slow, the government has enjoyed nigh-extreme stability in micronational terms for the past seven years, with the now-Prince serving as head of state for seven years and the average tenure of a head of government being two or more years.

Culture

Literature

The Prince maintains an Imperial Library, filled with books belonging to his personal collection. Among the most valuable works in said library is a 500-year-old, first edition copy of Orlando Furioso, published in 1532 in what is now Italy. Other works include travel books from the late 1700's, and periodicals from the same period. Another interesting work is a devotional printed in 1759 for the Spanish Inquisition, ust before the organization's decline in importance within the country.

Media

All relevant media in the country, ranging from propaganda to news, is overseen and curated by the Ministry of Truth, led by Alejandro Whyatt. While the former Zenrax maintained a gazette through this ministry, Stormhold has allowed it to lapse into dormancy due to its quiet pace.

Art

The curation of artistic works in Stormhold is mostly done through the Ministry of Arts and Science. Currently, the Minister is concurrently the Viceroy, Lord Svein Smedburg.

Cuisine

There are small numbers of original recipes in the country, mostly involving fruit dishes and various "comfort foods." However, these are not currently being curated and most have been lost to time.

See also

State of Zenrax
Dragos