Counsel is the rank that the members of the ruling body of Far Madding hold, highest amoung them being the First Counsel.
The thirteen women who hold the rank of Counsel, including the First Counsel, rule from the palace called the Hall of the Counsels. It is located in the Counsel's Plaza at the center of the city of Far Madding.
Sarene Nemdahl tells Shalon din Togara Morning Tide that the First Counsel used to advise the queen of Maredo, the country of which Far Madding was capital. Since Maredo's fall, all thirteen Counsels have taken over the job of ruling the city.