|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.|
The remnants of humanity arrived on Athera in Third Age 1, fleeing from the destruction originally caused by the Fellowship's mortal acts from long ago. At the Paravian council determining the fate of the survivors, the Fellowship intervened on their behalf. The Fellowship made this decision in line with the binding of the great drakes, recognizing that this might result in future troubles.
The Compact delineates the terms on which mankind was permitted to settle, with Fellowship responsibility for violations. Though it is almost forgotten at the time of the story, humans reside on Athera through the Sorcerers' sworn surety that the great mysteries remain sacrosanct. Should anything threaten the existence of the Paravians, the drakes' binding would force the Sorcerers to enact the annihilation of mankind all over again. Mankind might accept counsel and assistance, but their ultimate survival must be shaped by free choice, with Fellowship powers sworn to preserve Paravian mysteries.
Under the Compact, the Fellowship have no leave to intercede, limit freedom of consciousness, or enact judgement on others, except as the weal of the world becomes threatened. Athera must remain a high resonance planet to support Paravian survival, and humans who accepted the Compact aligned their lifestyle to support this resonance. The loss of freedoms associated with the Compact did have a benefit -- humans on Athera do not fall sick from debilitating disease in areas where resonance is naturally high.
Coexistance between the Paravians and mankind was not simple. The clansmen were given the job of bridging between humans and Paravians because they could survive the experience, but the clanborn were not ever rulers. The Kingdom Charters were an offshoot of the Compact -- they dictated the law under which mankind governed itself, within the terms of the Compact. Certain freedoms were written in, since to a degree, the charters and the compact would adhere to the precepts of the Law of the Major Balance.
Under the Compact, the Fellowship established the five High King family lines with Royal Gifts and are directly charged with naming crown successors. Because the High Kings act as agents of the Fellowship, they are allowed to request direct help from the Fellowship, but even then, the Sorcerers can only respond as allowed by the Law of the Major Balance.
|"We are the grass roots of the Fellowship's compact. Kill us off, and all ties to law end. Ath help us all, if the Paravians return, and the Ath-forsaken mayors have the power in hand to cast off the Fellowship's sanctions." - clan spokesman|
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Traitor's Knot.|
It is later revealed that the Fellowship were not in agreement on the Compact. Davien stood opposed to the other six, preferring to reprovision humanity and send them along, rather than risk Paravian survival or the chance that mankind would need to be eradicated. Ciladis argued in favor, feeling that the Fellowship would disown the problem they had originated if they rejected humanity.
- The Compact also covers stones and crystals mined on Athera. Mining is only permitted in certain areas such as Highscarp, and stones brought to Athera from other worlds (such as the Great Waystone) are the only ones that the Koriathain are allowed to control as spell crystals.
- The Compact is unequivocally stern when Athera's mysteries are channeled for unsanctioned use (such as invoking a power focus to lane transfer without Fellowship guidance).
- A human who has been cast out of the Compact has his or her license to inhabit Athera revoked and cannot ask for the grace of a Fellowship intercession.