Custods live a unique life fulfilling their duty. They don’t belong to any one government, and they do not take money from the people to support the work they do for them. So how do they support themselves? This is an interesting with a rather complicated answer, but to summarize into one word: community funding.
The Providing Pot
Not all Custods can afford to have a day job to support themselves. Almost the entire guard class of Custods are too busy to work a job that provides funds. (To learn more about Custod Classes see: The Custod Family Order.) They are supported out of the pooled funds Custods put into their shared Provision Pot which is rather like putting all their money into their own bank to then be redistributed to the members of the Custod family as needed.
How Portions Are Allotted
The Custod Council traditionally handles how funds should be appropriated. Though the Custod Council as a whole are the ones who approve the final allotment budget, the two members of the Custod Council who are from the Provider Custod class are the ones who write up, organize, and present the budget. There are several criteria they use to decide which families get what.
The way each Custod or family is allotted their funds depends on two factors: family size and location.
Family size speaks for itself, how many people in that family need to be supported. An adult child living with parents would be included in a family unit unless that adult is on a mission on their own or when they move out on their own. Even if that adult child marries and still live with the Custod parents they’d be in that family group when it comes to allotments.
The second is location. The reason isn’t just different costs of living in different areas but also how often their portion will need to be allotted or taken. A Custod family that lives further from a town or city will be given a larger allotment for their time because that amount will have to cover them for a longer period. How often they will be expected to pick up their share or drop off their share will vary.
The provider Custods do nothing but work a trade to support other Custods as well as themselves. Some of the most thriving businesses in the world are run by Custods in this class. The Custods’ natural talent for magic has allowed them to invent tools that have changed the world and turned quite a profit. This has raised concerns about Custods owning economies which would break the balance of the three heads in the government.
There are safeguards to prevent Custods from creating complete monopolies. For example, though the Custods may own and have created the original blueprint to create a product, they are not allowed to keep that information to themselves but allow others to duplicate their work to provide competition. Though admittedly this isn’t always a great fix as most of these devices require enchanters of great skill to make, and a majority of them are Custods in the first place.
Another safeguard is a business is not allowed to be run by more than 80% Custods and at least 3% of those non-Custods must be in upper management to make sure it doesn’t become exclusively a Custod business.
For example, one way the Custod-owned railway systems comply with this law is they only allow a small number of Custods to be train conductors and station workers, preferring to hire young people in need of job training or those out of work. Some positions at the rail station will only hire people in these circumstances.
Other businesses that have changed the world and are owned by are the Imajoel system and game production/maintenance, imaginal/maintenance production, impressinor production, horseless carriage production/maintenance, and most of the world’s largest theaters are Custod owned.
System for Provider Custods
The next question is how do you handle the payment and accounting for Custods? The system for a provider Custod is different for a non-provider Custod. We’ll cover them separately. We’ll use the railway system as our example buisness. But this same system applies to theaters, product manufacturing, blacksmithing, and any other jobs a provider Custod might hold.
If a Custod owns a business, such as the railway station, at the end of each month they will balance the books. First account for all the money that came in, then account for payment for running the business which will come out of the money the business has made. Then they will pay workers, including any Custod provider or other Custods who work for them. Then they will pay the taxes they may owe to the kingdoms they are in. (For the railway system that likely is to each kingdom that it holds a station in, but for a theater, it’s just to the kingdom that the theater is in.)
The owner then takes the excess and his or her accounting records to their local Custod station to the accounting Custod who will put that money into the vault and review and send the accounting records to the Custod Council.
The business owner will then be given his or her allotment for themselves and their family a day or two later. Most all business owners live in large cities that allow for a faster turnaround time whereas others may not have such a luxury, and this is handled differently for them.
Provider Custods who are employees either of other Custods have it easier than those that don’t. If a Provider Custod works for a Custod-owned company, they can choose to have that Custod submit their full paycheck to the Providing Pot (the name of the pool of funds used to support Custods). Then that Custod is given their portion of that worker’s allotment along with his or hers to return to his or her employee. Many Custods who work for fellow Custods will do this, so they don’t have to worry about their accounting. In this way, they are paid just like any other work, just later.
Provider Custods who work for non-Custods it’s a bit tricker. It can depend on their location as well. If they are close to a Custod station, they can simply drop off their full earnings and have their portion returned to them within a few days. They too are required to keep an accounting of what they earn and when they deposit it into the Providing Pot. They will be given to them when they submit their accounting and they will be to drop it over either monthly, quarterly or semi-annually depending on their location (with the latter be quite rare).
For non-provider Custods who work it gets even more complicated. Very few own their own businesses, but if they do, the system is similar to provider Custods but for one key difference. They are told what their portion each month should be for each month at the start of their time working, and they simply keep that portion rather than submitting the whole amount. The allotment amount is renewed each year after if there is no gap in their work. If they stop working because they have a mission or an assignment, they will have their allotment updated for on mission and when they return to work.
In order to start working, they have to report the business they are starting to the Custod Council. This is not for getting permission to work, but so they can account for what portion they are expected to give to the Providing Pot and how much they would keep. In their first month in business they will submit their full earnings and they will use that as a basis for how much they will keep to support themselves in the future.
In rare cases, the leftover isn’t enough to support the working Custod and the allotment would be added to the Providing Pot. This is another reason so many businesses are run by Custods. This allows them to support themselves and get a struggling business up and running. That’s why many Custods, rather than leaving a small business to their children if they are not a provider Custod, will give it to a close friend to inherit, giving them a business start that would be harder for them to start alone.
Non-provider Custods have their books more closely examined each month and are more often audited by the Custod accounters. Because it likely is harder for them to make a simple drop-off each month, they are expected to keep their accounts and deposit the excess of their earnings to the Providing Pot when they have the chance. They will be audited every six months regardless of if they have not deposited in that time. Though it is atypical for them to be audited every six months regardless of whether there are no regular drop-offs. They also are required to keep careful accounts that are mailed to the Custod accounters to track.
This same system is used for employed Custods who do not have their own businesses. They keep their portion of allotment rather than submitting it and having it returned. This helps prevent problems with missions coming up suddenly that prevent them from collecting their portion after dropping off, but this also comes with much higher examination from the Custod Council. However, at its core, The Custod Family Order is a family, so though problems have certainly arisen, the cases of cheating are lesser as the family bonds and accountability help keep the Custods honest.
Claiming Allotments from The Providing Pot
For Custods whose missions prevent them from working a “day job” to support themselves, their allotments are given on the first of each month, the day after the provider Custods have submitted their funds. The needed funds are distributed from the nearest Custod station and picked up most commonly, but for those unable to take such a trip the funds are delivered by messenger or when the amount is small enough falcon. The Custod that are in the field will take as much as they expect to need at the start of a mission.
And that is how Custods make a living for themselves and support their family members who can’t. It is complicated, and many provider Custods spend their lives helping with this system by delivering funds, running the accounting, and auditing. This system is by no means perfect but has allowed the Custod to do their duty without drawing upon the people or going without for at least two thousand years.