Penultimate Edict

It is a tradition with roots deep into the First High Era of the Crystaline Era that the second-to-last command of an Exalted Lord may not be overridden by that Lord's successor. (Also by tradition, the final command of such a Lord is always regarding the succession of the office itself, and an ultimate edict confirming existing plans is assumed to exist in cases where death is too sudden for a formal final command. Of couse, such directions on succession have been disregarded often enough in the past that they almost seem less like commands or edicts and more like words of simple advise.) Given that most Exalted Lords reign for decades, Penultimate Edicts usually gain the weight of tradition and are never repealed at all even though they theoretically could during the reign after that of their successor.

The most salient such edict to the 49th Feast is that of Lord Laryn, who commanded that his lords and subjects follow the practice of the Meticulous Followers and accordingly avoid consuming the flesh of the Heron and prefer that of the Ram above other meats. This came to be regarded as an absolute prohibition, as followed by the Acolytes and Initiates of the Meticulous religion. However, there is reason to believe that it was never meant to be quite so strong.

The form of this edict closely parallels the grammar of one of the first Penultimate Edicts on record, which commanded people to avoid the Irrect numbers and prefer the Correct numbers over the Direct, and while this is indeed overwhelmingly the practice in three of the Four Nations, it cannot be practiced as an absolute prohibition. Avoiding all things numbering two or three, for example, would be nearly impossible. (We can and should, of course, disregard the numerological follies practiced in Atar, based on their absurd belief that “one” and “nothing” are actually numbers. The fact that both of those 'numbers' would be simultaneously Irrect and Correct should be more than sufficient to convincingly refute this nonsense.)

Nonetheless, by the time of the final Feast the edict was considered absolute at least insofar as the consumption of Heron was concerned, and it is thus understandable that the majority of the Crystaline delegation began the Protest of the Tables at the start of the ninth day of the Feast.

-By Abel Joxur