Lord Governor Salaf, an ethnic Nefantar, will be the first native Ammatar Holder in the history of the Empire, despite a long history of high-ranking Ammatar acting as a caste of "petty nobility" within the Ammatar Mandate.
Lord Ardishapur made his surprise announcement during a public address made at a ceremonial reception on Tanoo II, originally scheduled to mark the induction of Lord Salaf into the Cross of the Sacred Throne Order by Empress Catiz I. In attendance at the reception was Lord Arrach Sarum, visiting to hold summit talks with Lord Ardishapur on co-operation between their neighboring dominions and Imperial Military Circuits.
The Ammatar Mandate has been moving over to a system of Imperial Holdings since YC111, when the late Lord Yonis Ardishapur began a reorganization of the region following the so-called "Elder War". As the previously quasi-independent hierarchy of Amarr nobles mixed with Ammatar elites has been steadily supplanted, concerns have grown in the Mandate that the Nefantar who stayed loyal as Ammatar would be reduced entirely to a servile class.
The unstable position of Ammatar elites since the Elder War, which saw a large number of prominent Nefantar leaders rebel and defect to the Minmatar Republic, had been significantly shored up by the appointment of Ekroz Salaf to the governorship of the Mandate by Lord Yonis Ardishapur in late YC111. The establishment of a native Ammatar as the Mandate's governor assuaged concerns among the Ammatar petty nobility that their lands and slaves would be confiscated from them. However, fears that the Elder War defections forever jeopardized the chances for Amarr-loyal Nefantar to rise to prominence have remained high. The elevation of Lord Salaf of Jabruan to the Imperial nobility will have all but erased remaining fears and concerns, and hence has evoked widespread celebrations in the Mandate.
Following several recent slave rebellions across the Empire, such as in the Kahah, Alkabsi, and Thebeka systems, a number of "purist" Holder families, many from the Kador and Khanid territories, have been increasingly vociferous in claiming that lords who are not True Amarr are unproven in their lineage and faith, and that they are of "subversive character". One prominent critic, Duke Alar Chakaid of Fabai, King Khanid III's own Plenipotentiary Representative to the Imperial Court, has called the Ardishapur Family's handling of the Ammatar "grossly lenient" and warned that "lesser races" in positions of power threaten the future of Amarr.
Observers of Amarr politics believe that the decision to ennoble Lord Salaf is a pointed rejection of this attitude. One experienced diplomat called the Scope's attention to the presence of Lord Sarum at the ceremonial reception, indicating that this, together with the high mark of favor conferred on Ekroz Salaf by Empress Catiz I, would make it "unthinkable to publicly question the ennoblement of Salaf". Lord Ardishapur's staff have dismissed questions from reporters suggesting that the establishment of House Salaf may be intended as a concession following the recent slave rebellions.
Lords Arim Ardishapur and Arrach Sarum Discuss Security of Amarr Empire and Amarr-Minmatar Warzone Situation
Consular Palace, Tanoo II – Personally co-chairing the first "Sword Marshals Council" held between the Ardishapur and Sarum Military Circuits, Lords Arim Ardishapur and Arrach Sarum are understood to have discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to their respective and neighboring demesnes and military circuits. Most notably, under the terms of the territorial and military reorganization ordered by Empress Catiz I, in line with her newly promulgated Pax e Kilizhi Do doctrine, the Ardishapur and Sarum Houses share responsibility for the Amarr-Minmatar militia warzone.
While the Sarum Military Circuit covers the largest swathe of warzone systems by far, the Ardishapur hold responsibility for a key sector of the conflict zone in the Heimatar region. The strategic position of the Ardishapur-controlled Ammatar Mandate also underlines the importance of close co-operation of forces under the command of the two Royal Heirs. A number of Imperial Navy staff officers, 24th Imperial Crusade commodores and chartered mercenary commanders allied to Houses Ardishapur and Sarum were in attendance at the council. Co-ordination of responses to yesterday's Seykal Clan raid against a HZO Refinery colony on Huola VI was confirmed to be an urgent addition to the agenda.
The two Sword Marshals have also let it be known that they discussed matters of internal security and stability across their dominions and the Amarr Empire in general. Lord Sarum has been pressing for reform of the Ministry of Internal Order and was joined in this call by Lord Ardishapur in a joint royal memorandum on internal security. Additionally, the Order of St. Tetrimon has acceded to a request by Lord Ardishapur that it place its powerful counter-insurgency strike fleets at the disposal of both Houses Ardishapur and Sarum for "anti-cultist operations".
In a public briefing hosted by Lord Qatib Olacar xer Sarum and Lord Governor Ekroz Salaf, it was further announced that House Ardishapur has converted the 1st Mandate Redemptionist Brigade of penal troops into a regular military formation. The troops of the new 19th Ammatar Consular Brigade, consisting of the 33rd Tanoo Guards Regiment and 14th Sasta Sappers & Miners, have been formally emancipated from their penal service and entered into the Ammatar military as freemen with 6-year terms of regular service to fulfil.
Also announced was the transfer from House Sarum's custody to the Ammatar Mandate of a number of criminals wanted for atrocities carried out during the so-called "Vindication Wars" with the Minmatar Republic. The notorious slaver Orlon Zashev featured prominently at the head of the list of transfers, putting paid to rumors that House Sarum had placed the fugitive in charge of alleged slave-taking operations being planned for Floseswin IV. The Scope's correspondent noted that Lord Olacar xer Sarum responded with "cold contempt" to questions about those rumors.
"I find it incredible that any loyal Amarr would waste a moment's consideration on obvious black propaganda being spread by the enemies of the Empire," said Lord xer Sarum. "Nobody has anything to fear from a full and complete reclaiming of any planet by House Sarum. Contrary to the lies told about the Amarr Empire, we are interested in building and renewing societies, not destroying them. As for the traitor and criminal Zashev, he has broken many of our most ancient laws, including the codes of righteous warfare. It is only right that his first punishments be for his heinous atrocities against Imperial subjects and civilians in the Ammatar Mandate."
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