"Forget the Rule! It is just a collection of traditions that have grown up over the years and been made law by the chief advisors. It is dangerous, Endon! Because of it, every new ruler of Deltora has been more powerless than the one before. This must stop — with you!"
The Rule was a collection of thousands of laws and customs created by the chief advisors of the monarchs of Deltora. The Rule governed the actions of the monarchs and influenced daily life. Although many rules paid homage to Adin and included many useful skills, its purpose was to manipulate the rulers into doing the Shadow Lord's will and to ignore their duties.
After the death of Adin, the first king of Deltora, the Shadow Lord had its servants position themselves as chief advisors to the future kings and queens. Over the generations, they slowly began to introduce new laws that would limit the control the royal family had over their own lives, as well as the country.
The Rule was slowly started during the rule of Elstred by Agra, the first chief advisor to be a servant of the Shadow Lord. Elstred grew fat with well living, and found that the steel of the Belt of Deltora cut into his stomach. Agra told him that the Belt may only be work during special occasions. However, following Elstred, it quickly became custom to only wear the Belt on the day of the monarch's coronation.
The Forests of Silence
After Endon's coronation, Jarred began to question the Rule and did some research into Deltora's past. When he saw how compliant the royal family had become, he went to Endon and tried to persuade him to put on the Belt of Deltora. However, Endon was too submissive due to growing up under the Rule, and Prandine reinforced the traditions.
Years later, when Jarred and Endon met again, Jarred told him to forget the rule and take the Belt of Deltora to repel the Shadow Lord's invasion.
List of Rules
While the entire list of the Rule is not given in the books, a number of them can be deduced from the narrative and conversations between characters.
- The royal family is forbidden from leaving the palace walls.
- The royal family must learn the art of the blacksmith.
- The king or queen must marry a man or woman from a noble house in Tora, chosen by the chief advisor.
- The king or queen may only have one child.
- The king or queen may only wear the Belt of Deltora on the day of their coronation. Afterwards, it is to be stored in a glass box inside a tower and guarded at all times.
- When someone has died, the king or queen must stand vigil over their body in the palace chapel from sunrise to sunset.
- The king or queen defers the day to day rulings of Deltora to their chief advisor.
- The royals must have their long hair, and beard if any is present, twined and plaited with gold cord.
- The royals will not mingle with ordinary folk, and the prince or princess must keep to their own parts of the palace grounds and not mingle with the sons and daughters of nobles. The only royals see them are in the banquet hall on feasting days.
- The royal family will not question the Rule or attempt to change them.
- Like the royal family, several palace workers, such as the palace librarians, were not allowed to leave the palace for their entire lives. This does not apply to palace guards.