Trial of Abjuration
The Clan Trial of Abjuration (sometimes known as the Ritual of Abjuration) is a ritual in which a Clan's single Bloodname or even all of its Bloodnames are erased from all Clan records as if they never existed. A Trial of Abjuration may also be decided by combat between two Clans; in this case, all of the losing Clan's Bloodnames are erased from all records as stated above.
Origin of the Trial of Abjuration
The origin of this Trial comes from an incident in the early twenty-ninth century, when Ellie Kinnison, the first Khan of Clan Steel Viper, attempted to assassinate Jennifer Winson, the wife of ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky. As punishment for this misdeed, Kerensky ordered Kinnison's name be stricken from all Clan records and her genetic legacy destroyed.
When a Bloodname is stricken from Clan rolls, all genetic samples associated with that Bloodname may be destroyed, all sibkos containing genetic material associated with the Bloodname may be terminated, and all warriors bearing the Bloodname may be executed, as in a Trial of Annihilation. However, all persons associated with the stricken Bloodname may have their lives spared, so that they may live their lives in shame and dishonor, which is a fate worse than death in the eyes of the Clans. Any property in use by persons with the dishonored Bloodname(s) is confiscated and reassigned.
Though originally devised to destroy genetic material, over time the Ritual of Abjuration has evolved into a rite any caste can call. The accused party appears before the appropriate Clan or caste council, or is tried in absentia. A caste council can Abjure one or more members without involving any other councils, but only a Clan council can Abjure a group of individuals from several castes. The Clan's Grand Council can (and has) Abjure an entire Clan.
If the appropriate council has a four-fifths majority in favor of Abjurement, the accused is Abjured. When an individual is Abjured, they have five days to return any belongings that aren't theirs to storage (usually weapons, armor, and tools). The Abjured individual is then allowed to leave Clan-held territory. If they're still in Clan space after five days they will be imprisoned or executed. A convicted individual may challenge the ruling directly (if a warrior), while a member of a different caste can appeal the decision to the next highest council. Lest the Abjured believe this appeal is a reprieve, the five day time limit still counts down while the appeal is in process. This usually means that if the appeal is denied, the Abjured will be arrested on the spot.
Though it may seem as deadly as the Trial of Annihilation, using the Ritual of Abjuration is usually seen as a way for an errant Clansman to return to the fold. Abjured Clansman, unlike those of the Not-Named Clan, are Clansman who have wandered from the way of the Clans without rejecting them entirely. The best examples of such warriors are Clan Nova Cat and Clan Wolf-in-Exile. Though they have allied themselves with Inner Sphere powers, they have not rejected their heritage and retain all the rites and rituals of a Clan.
Various Cases of Abjurations
These are examples of Clans who have undergone a Trial of Abjuration for various reasons:
Warden Wolves: During the aftermath of the Refusal War in 3057, Clan Jade Falcon successfully defeated Clan Wolf and in a surprising move, turned the Annihilation into an Absorption in an effort to rebuild their losses quickly. They would become Clan Jade Wolf until Vladimir Ward fought and killed both ilKhan Elias Crichell and saKhan Vandervahn Chistu. Vlad would use this opportunity to take the Jade Wolves and reform them as the reborn Crusader-minded Clan Wolf with him as Khan. Prior to the Refusal War, Ulric Kerensky would send his best Warden warriors and sibkos to the Inner Sphere with Phelan Kell to ensure that the Warden half of Clan Wolf would survive while at the same time weakening the Crusader half against the Falcons. When the Jade Wolves were formed, the Warden half would be Abjured through them, leaving the Warden Wolves to form under the banner of Clan Wolf-in-Exile, under the leadership of Khan Phelan Kell.
Clan Nova Cat: In 3060, the entirety of Clan Nova Cat was Abjured by the Grand Council, since the Nova Cats sided with the SLDF during Operation Bulldog, giving their holdings in their Inner Sphere Occupation Zone (OZ) back to their original owners, the Draconis Combine, and openly attacking Clan Smoke Jaguar. During the Great Refusal, the Nova Cats once again sided with the SLDF and defeated Clan Ice Hellion. After the Great Refusal, Clan Star Adder called for a Trial of Annihilation against the Nova Cats, which was rejected by the Grand Council, but a vote for a Trial of Abjuration unanimously passed. The Clans gave the Nova Cats three months to abandon all of their holdings in Clan space, and the Nova Cats were essentially chased out of Clan space by the Crusader Clans.
Invading Clans: When Steel Viper Khan, Brett Andrews rose to the position of ilKhan, he would declare a new invasion. However, ilKhan Andrews would point out that the Clan way must be purified of Inner Sphere taint, namely those Clans who have taken part in Operation Revival: both the initial and reserve Clans, (with the exception of the Nova Cats who were already Abjured at this point) as well those who visited the Inner Sphere briefly. This would create in what would be known as the “Wars of Reaving”.
The first Clan that would be Abjured was Clan Wolf after Khan Ward wasted no time in mocking the ilKhan's responsibilities and the Grand Council. Furious about his lack of respect, the Wolves were voted for Annihilation, but it was lowered to an Abjuration instead. After their Abjuration, they would return to Strana Mechty to battle with the other Clan forces for possession of the Kerensky genetic legacy. Clan Wolf would later detonate the Kerensky Blood Chapel and destroyed copies of the legacy.
Other Clans who also had contact with the Inner Sphere would also be subjected to such purging. Those who stayed would be forced to fend for themselves, the ones who left the Clan Homeworlds would be considered Abjured from Clan society. The territories left behind would be claimed by the other Clans that remained in the Homeworlds. Clan Steel Viper on the other hand, was exempt from this type of mercy. Ironically, it was Khan Andrews' dishonorable conduct, committed during a Trial of Refusal against Khan N'Buta questioning the Steel Vipers' status as an Invader Clan, which would render his Clan destroyed via a Trial of Annihilation. This would split the Clans between Home and Invader Clans permanently.
Although the Invasion Clans were Abjured from Clan Space, they formed their own Grand Council called the Council of Six Clans. Ironically, they excluded Clans that have already been Abjured or Annihilated after the Great Refusal. Despite their own Abjuration, they proudly uphold their traditions in the Inner Sphere while foreswearing all contact with their Homeworlds counterparts.
Clan Goliath Scorpion: During the Wars of Reaving, Clan Goliath Scorpion allowed members of the Eridani Light Horse to join the Clan as full members. After the war, during a battle against Clan Cloud Cobra, a large amount of isorla was taken, among this a Scorpion genetic facility. Upon investigation, the Cobras discovered that the Scorpions had been experimentally integrating the Eridani genetic lines into their own, an action which should have required authorization from the Grand Council. Given the heavy influence of Bastion Clans, already unhappy with the presence of "tainted" Inner Sphere warriors within the Scorpions, this authorization would not have been forthcoming. The matter was brought to the Grand Council, and a Trial of Abjuration was immediately approved. Despite this, the Clans moved slowly to carry it out, allowing the Scorpions to evacuate much of their assets to Waypoint 531. The forces left behind fought valiantly in a last-ditch effort to preserve their place in Clan society, but were ultimately defeated. The survivors gathered at Waypoint 531, then moved on and conquered the Umayyad Caliphate and Nueva Castile to form the Escorpión Imperio and eventually, the Scorpion Empire.
- Era Digest: Golden Century, p. 13
- Invading Clans, p. 149
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 158