Rite of Absorption
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The Rite of Absorption, also known as a Trial of Absorption, is a combination of the Clan Trial of Refusal and Trial of Possession. This Rite allows the Clans to effectively "destroy" a Clan that is not worthy of continuing but does not warrant a Trial of Annihilation. The Grand Council can vote to allow one Clan to absorb another, but only by a unanimous vote (excepting the Clan being Absorbed, which cannot vote). If approved, the accused is done with the pre-trial motions. They cannot Refuse or appeal the decision. The remaining Clans will then begin a bidding process to see which Clan will face the Absorbed Clan. (In the past, the Council has determined which Clan will benefit from the Absorption, as in the case of the Absorption of Clan Burrock by Clan Star Adder.) The Clan chosen to absorb the weaker Clan may also be challenged by others in a Trial of Refusal even before battling the Clan to be Absorbed. The resulting trials can last for years. Clan Wolf won the right to Absorb Clan Widowmaker in 2834, for example, but had to defeat three other Clans for that right.
The Absorbing Clan then attacks the Absorption target's touman with the force it bid. If the Absorption target successfully defeats the Absorbing Clan's forces, the Rite of Absorption ends as if a Trial of Refusal had been successful (to date, however, no target of such a Trial has succeeded in this). If the Absorbing Clan is successful, all the target Clan's property, personnel, and other assets become part of the Absorbing Clan. It is not unheard of for individual warriors and commanders putting up either no resistance or token resistance when they think their Clan is in the wrong. (This happened several times during the Burrock Absorption.) The Absorbing Clan is usually much stronger in assets than it was before, but usually militarily much weaker due to the difficulty in subduing an entire Clan, not to mention the losses that may have occurred in Trials of Refusal before the Trial of Absorption.
Historical Cases of Absorption
The following Clans have undergone a Rite of Absorption for various reasons:
- Clan Widowmaker (2834): After claims of Clan Widowmaker's mistreatment of their Merchant Caste reached the ears of Wolf Khan Jerome Winson, he declared that the Widowmaker warriors had forfeited their right to rule and motioned to Absorb the Clan. The Trial would be fought between the Widowmaker and Wolf Khans with the Grand Council members refereeing. During the battle, the Widowmakers' breach of the rules and their Khan killing ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky enraged the Wolves, turning the ensuing battles into a virtual Trial of Annihilation. In the aftermath Clan Widowmaker's assets and remaining Bloodnames would transform Clan Wolf into the single leading power in the Clan Homeworlds.
- Clan Mongoose (2868): During the Golden Century Clan Mongoose gained an unsavory reputation for combining political skulduggery with over-aggressiveness. This latter trait led Clan Mongoose to make a powerful enemy in Clan Smoke Jaguar, and their blatant attempt to use politics to counter the Jaguars' gains at their expense caused the Grand Council to support the Jaguar Khan's motion to Absorb them. In a brutal campaign the Smoke Jaguars smashed Clan Mongoose and seized its remaining warriors and assets, though they refused to use the 'tainted' genetic legacies of a Clan of 'schemers'.
- Clan Wolf (3058): In the aftermath of the Refusal War that devastated both Clans' toumans, Clan Jade Falcon's Khans sought to recoup their losses by Absorbing Clan Wolf. They claimed that the Trial of Refusal had in effect been a Trial of Absorption since Ulric Kerensky had bid his entire Clan for the Trial. While completely baseless in Clan law, the other Clans seemed to accept this until Vladimir Ward challenged the illegal Absorption and won his Clan's 'rebirth' as a 'new' Clan Wolf.
- Clan Burrock (3059): When Clan Star Adder discovered that Clan Burrock's leaders had been working with the Dark Caste, the Adders successfully bid to undertake the Absorption of the Burrocks over the furious objections of Clan Blood Spirit's Khan. The Burrocks and Adders fought a tense battle between their two Clans until the Blood Spirits launched their own unexpected assault against their hereditary enemies. Instead of the three-way fight the Spirits had expected, the Burrock and Star Adder warriors cooperated in punishing the interlopers. Previously unaware of their leaders' collusion with the Dark Caste, nearly all of the remaining Burrock warriors allowed themselves to be Absorbed by their new Clan, ensuring that (in contrast to other Absorptions) Clan Star Adder actually emerged militarily stronger from the ordeal. While some former Burrocks who'd resisted integration with the Star Adders briefly revived their Clan during the Wars of Reaving, these holdouts were eventually destroyed.
- Clan Ice Hellion (3074): After Clan Ice Hellion's failed invasion into the Inner Sphere, the remnants of the Clan made their way back to the Homeworlds. Realizing that Clan Ice Hellion was doomed to destruction regardless of what course it took, the Hellion Khan choose to arrange the survivors' Absorption by Clan Goliath Scorpion rather than see his Clan die ignominiously. Though unorthodox, the Grand Council accepted the voluntary merger.
- Clan Hell's Horses (3075): Following the migration of most of Clan Hell's Horses to the Inner Sphere, that Clan was declared tainted by the remaining Homeworld Clans and Abjured. Those Horses remaining in the Homeworlds were briefly Absorbed by Clan Star Adder after a failed Trial of Refusal against the motion but were swiftly detached to form a new Clan, the Stone Lions.
- Clan Blood Spirit (3084): Weakened by the Wars of Reaving and the Annihilation of Clan Steel Viper, Clan Blood Spirit withdrew to their newly-established colony worlds of Haven and Honor. Following those worlds' eventual discovery and territorial seizures by the other Home Clans, the Spirits aroused the ire of their brethren by their unClanlike arming of civilians and the xenophobic resistance displayed by ex-Spirits towards their new Clans. Clan Star Adder successfully motioned for the Blood Spirits' Absorption and won the right to carry it out; the bitter hatred between the two Clans ensured that the following 'Absorption' was in reality an Annihilation of Clan Blood Spirit.
- Era Digest: Golden Century, p. 13