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Who are "The Ethians"?

Throughout The Exiled books, it's hard to miss the constant mentions of Ethians. These are the top tier of Litash's political system. They form a Council of fourteen, the head of which is crowned king. With the exception of the king (or queen), the role of the Ethians is not necessarily a hereditary one. The fourteen are picked from among the most powerful of the Bandilarians (Litash's shape-shifters). However, since the strength of a Bandilarian's power is influenced by genetics, the pattern of selection often follows a lineal pattern.

The Council is chosen at a young age, then groomed and educated in preparation for their role. From these fourteen, the Ethians are then split into two further categories: Guards, and Councilors. The seven Councilors are the more erudite of the group. Accordingly, they are tasked with the more practical and political duties that come with running a country. The seven Guards, on the other hand, are chosen for their physical prowess. They are charged with matters of national security and anything involving military action. Where their jurisdiction overlaps with the Councilors, the Council convenes together.

But the Guards have one additional role: each one of them is assigned to one of the Councilors. This assignment is a close one, and so Councilor-Guard pairs often consist of siblings or close friends. The Guard is expected to be solely responsible for the safety of their Councilor. This can include acting as a bodyguard--or a body-double--coordinating a security team, and clearing spaces and events before their Councilor arrives.

When Euracia (an Ethian Guard, himself) massacred the others of his Council, the system was upended for the duration of his reign. He reigned as the sole monarch and brought together a Court of Nobles from different land holding throughout Litash. However, the next generation of Ethians had already been chosen and all managed to escape the bloody coup. They return over the course of The Great War and form the Ethian Council which we see in The Exiled books.

Out of those fourteen, their head is the former King Judican's eldest, Jade. Her corresponding Guard is her brother, Soletuph, captain over the Ethian Guards. But during The War, Jade sustained long-term injuries that left her unable to take up the crown. Until she could recover, the responsibility fell to her husband, Entrais. He then became the first non-Bandilarian king of Litash in written history.

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