After Orzammar discovered in 9:12 Dragon that Kal-Sharok survived, the Assembly of Kal-Sharok refuses to recognize the king or queen of Orzammar, despite Orzammar's protests. It is also known that the members of Kal-Sharok's Assembly may originate from any caste, not just noble caste.
Orzammar's Assembly is housed in the Chamber of the Assembly in the Diamond Quarter and is second in influence only to the king or queen of Orzammar and capable in many instances of superseding their power. All the members of the Assembly come from the noblest houses of Orzammar and no other caste is represented in there.
Steward of the Assembly
The Steward of the Assembly is one of the most high-ranking positions in Orzammar's society. The Steward is a widely accepted and respected lord who oversees the proceedings of the Assembly. Because of their neutral position, they can neither voice opinions nor vote. They also have authority over the city guard, at least during the times when there is no monarch.
Members of the Assembly are titled as "deshyr". There are currently eighty deshyrs in Orzammar, drawn from the most influential noble houses in the city. The right of a noble house to claim a vote in the Assembly is predicated on that house having a deshyr, general, or Paragon among their Ancestors.
Resignation is uncommon and as a consequence, the average age of the deshyrs is quite high making the legislative body of the dwarves very traditionally oriented in its decisions.
The word "deshyr" roughly translates to "assembly lord". To become a member there must first be an opening in the tightly closed ranks, and this usually occurs through death or resignation. An acting member then nominates a candidate who must be approved by one-third of the Assembly.
The title is also used by the surface dwarves. Deshyrs are the voting members of the Dwarven Merchants' Guild, all of them representing influential surface families and most likely the ones who can trace their lineage to Orzammar's nobility or other upper castes. Varric Tethras and formerly his brother Bartrand are deshyrs in the Merchants' Guild.
The Assembly as a legislative body sets law and advises the king, and functions to a lesser extent as a judicial system in the case of criminal law. Any deshyr may submit proposals or regulations for debate. The proposed law must be ratified by a majority vote of the Assembly members before the proposal can become law.
The Assembly is also used to decide the fate of those who commit serious crimes, such as kinslaying, and to determine their punishment. It should be noted that in ancient times, the punishment of exile was issued in very rare cases as it was considered to be one of the fiercest.
When the Assembly passes a law, it is recorded in the Memories.
The Assembly can also become deadlocked when a decision cannot be made and this can have disastrous consequences for the city, particularly when it regards the choosing of a king. Bloodshed and chaos run rampant during these times as warring candidates battle for dominance. Kings and queens are voted into power by a majority vote in the Assembly but this is typically not such a simple matter. Murder, blackmail, and betrayal often presage such decisions when various candidates vie for the position of king. Even the deshyrs are not safe during such times of debate.
Traditionally a king appoints his successor, often his eldest son. This does not ensure the heir will be king as the Assembly is not required to recognize the king's choice, but in most cases the nominated child assumes the throne.
In addition to voting in a king, the Assembly also votes upon the creation of new Paragons, a task of arguably even more importance than that of choosing the king. Declaring a dwarf a Paragon is essentially declaring a new noble house, since that Paragon and their family will be elevated to noble status as well as have the right to elect their own deshyr in the Assembly. It is known that Paragon Aeducan was chosen unanimously by the Assembly except a single abstention, while Vollney became a Paragon by the narrowest margin in history, one vote.
Debates on proposed laws can last years in some cases. Furthermore, the king or queen may too submit proposals for consideration and these are decided upon in the same fashion as if the proposal had been made by a deshyr. When the Assembly enacts a law which does not have a unanimous vote, the king or queen may send the law back for further debate and another vote. This can be done on an unlimited basis and amounts to an executive veto.
- Bandelor: The Steward of the Assembly during the Fifth Blight.
- Bhelen Aeducan: The leader and deshyr of House Aeducan following the death of his father, King Endrin.
- Pyral Harrowmont: The leader and deshyr of House Harrowmont as well as High General of Orzammar and King Endrin's second.
- Denek Helmi: The deshyr of House Helmi in the Assembly and during the events of the Fifth Blight the Assembly's youngest member as well.
- Lady Dace: She is appointed by her family's patriarch as House Dace's deshyr in the Assembly.
- Sardirak Vollney: He is a deshyr from House Vollney in 9:41 Dragon.