As noted in theĀ Social Ordering of the Council Lands, wall-builders don't choose their own occupations or those of their children. Many don't even choose their spouses or their places of residence. So who does? The Oracles of the Oracle's Circle, that's who.

Acting like the Human Resources department of the guild-centric Council system, the Oracles coordinate manpower and assign apprentices within crafts and guilds. Of all the organizations of the Council government, they are the smallest and most highly-regarded (at least by the traditionalists). Radicals claim that they have become corrupt and that the entire scheme is nothing more than a way to keep the rich and powerful in their lofty, comfortable seats at the expense of the lower classes. It is certainly true that in recent decades the Oracles have become a major political force despite being theoretically a-political. Many of the highest-ranked oracles live comfortable lives in their cloisters through donations from the powers that be. And strangely, the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful tend to get chosen for prestigious and safe apprenticeships in the heartlands, not sent to the frontier. That being said, most of the Oracles are dedicated men1 who take their oaths very seriously and work in what they believe to be the best interests of the people and the nation.

The bulk of the organization are the Eyes, those oracles who travel between villages carrying out the day-to-day choosings and resolving disputes where they arise. They walk a circuit of 10-20 villages, trying to get to each village every other month (less in the winter when travel is hard). Dressed in simple grey, hooded robes and plain brown half-masks, they carry simple staffs and satchels said to be magically sealed against intrusion. Much of their time is spent gathering information, which they transcribe and pass up the chain. Without this core, the decision-makers higher up the chain would not be able to keep the system running. In truth, there are many more sources of information than just the obvious ones--most of the tavern-keeps and priests report to the Eyes.

The Hands are the enforcement arm. Trained as monks, they handle those changes where resistance is expected or act as bodyguards for the other members. Their staffs are wrapped in red leather bands and their masks are black. They travel in teams of 4 or 8, some of which might be capable of casting spells.

In each of the larger towns (a total of 20 or so) are the Local Oracles--one per town. These are the practical training grounds for new oracles after they leave the Cloister--each of the Locals has 3-5 trainees to act as runners, apprentices, and general helpers. They supervise the Eyes and call for the Hands to be dispatched where needed. A given town might have one Local and a squad of Hands, plus whatever Eyes are passing through right then. If needed, they can call on the local Temple guards and town militia for help. A Local Oracle wears a grey robe trimmed in fox fur and carries a staff with metal-shod ends. Their masks are grey edged in white.

In each of the regional capitals (Baile Craan, Rauviz, Yuuras Zaali, and Fuar Uulan) are stationed the Regional Circles in addition to the Locals, each composed of four senior oracles with their staff (mainly trainees). They are responsible for the affairs of the region as a whole and are the primary power-brokers of the regions. Of the four, Rauviz's Circle is the most prestigious, with Fuar Uulan's being the weakest (since few wall-builders live there and the dwarves mainly ignore the oracles). Members of the Regional Circles wear white robes and carry white-wrapped staves. Their masks are white.

In Kaelthia proper are the First Circle, the Cloister, and the Minds. Technically only first among equals, the First Circle is the de facto leadership of the entire organization. Being asked to fill a spot on that circle is being promoted to the highest levels. It is also intensely political and connected. They spend their days mostly dealing with the movers and shakers of the Council and live lavish lives. They dress like those of the Regional Circles, except that their robes are of the finest materials and their masks often are jeweled.

The Cloister is the training facility and heart of the Circle. Carved into the eastern wall of the canyon, it overlooks the rest of the city but is inaccessible. Only the Oracles and their avowed servants can enter--not even the Guildmasters are allowed in. No women are allowed within, under any circumstances.

The Minds are the analytical engine that makes the whole system work. Approximately fifty men (plus trainees), chosen from the brightest candidates, they live full-time in the Cloisters and churn through rolls of parchment. It is they who collate all the data and decide which town gets which of their requests and how many of each guild there must be. While the commoners believe that they do so with mystical powers, they mainly employ sophisticated records and statistical means. They have records of every registered child born for the last 150 years (since the founding of the Oracle's Circle) and statistics about each legitimate town and village.

The High Oracle is chosen by the First Circle as an honorary leadership position. He is the face of the Circle, but certainly not a real power. His pronouncements are carefully written and monitored by the First Circle, and he cannot take any action without their approval.

Starting in late 210 AC, a rumor has spread that some of the oracles are experiencing prophetic dreams--becoming oracles in truth. It seems that the Archon of Time, Mother of Visions, has taken an interest in them as they call themselves Oracles but do not work by Her aid.