A dragons breath in the Mists
Nobility and Titles
Changelings are creatures of duality, and that reflects in many aspects of their existence, including their political organization. Fae Society is exclusively feudal, organized in well defined castes, and mimicking the human approach of the Dark Ages. With Fae being moulded after the dreams of mankind, they often adopt their habits and mannerisms, and this is one such a case. Fae society rests on a hierarchy in which rank and title determine one’s position in the greater community. Respect is given to those of higher rank, and is expected from those of lesser status.
This is particularly hard to swallow, especially for Fae who never lived in Monarchy during their pre-Chrysalis years, or who grew outside an area with a Feudal past — maybe that is why European Fae seem to have far more ease accepting this sort of society than their American cousins.
The “Treaty of Concord” enforced the feudal system on Commoners, but most of them still do not fully adhere to all of its strictures, privately rebelling against the more onerous duties relegated to them as “lower” Kithain. Most Commoners pay lip service to the local lord while reserving their own private opinions, considering themselves fully the equal of any noble. Commoners fall outside the strict hierarchy of noble society. Traditionalists regard them as little more than peasants, and therefore consider all Commoners to be their subjects, thus owing them fealty. This isn’t exactly correct, since the Lord of the Land is their de facto Liege. However, one can consider that a Knight’s Squire represents his Lord’s will, and so when they order a Commoner about, they are doing so under his master’s authority. Some more honourable Nobles will punish harshly lackeys who abuse this right, but, more often than not, they have free reign to do as they please.
In some cases, a few Commoners have attained noble rank and have integrated themselves into the Noble hierarchy. Despite this, quite a few Nobles consider “titled” Commoners or ennobled commoner to be upstarts, and rarely take them seriously.
Liege and Vassal
Despite it seeming that the Commoners have the short end of the stick on this dealing, bonds of vassalage go both ways: Nobles cannot abuse their Vassals, or treat them as thralls, slaves or even servants. They are also obligated to protect them from rival houses and Banality, offer them sanctuary in times of need, supply fair judgement over all disputes in his domain, and provide for Holiday celebrations and festivals. If a Lord abuses the rights of his Vassals (or if his judgement is deemed unfair or unjust), they can lawfully rebel, and overthrow him, or appeal to their Lord’s Liege to set the situation straight.
In exchange, the Vassals are indebted to assist their Liege in time of need, especially when the defence of the lands and Freehold are involved. While Commoners don’t have the “status” of Vassals, they are expected to serve faithfully the lord of the land, and, in exchange have a leave to use his land, and enjoy from his protection and justice, as well. During an attack on the land, all able-bodied men (and some women) are expected to help the Nobles and their Lord in defending what is their home territory.
Between Nobles, Oaths of Fealty are taken very seriously, seeing that transgression on a one’s rights might nullify the Oath, and inflict a serious punishment on the oathbreaker. Mistreating of Commoners is frowned upon but not entirely prohibited, and despots arise every now and then. Of course, Modernists will oppose such people vehemently, and, with the High-King David struggling to keep peace between Nobles and Commoners alike he, too, will often intervene in such situation.
A feudal structure is organized as a pyramid: almost every noble owes fealty to a higher noble. The Barons answer to the local Count, the Counts answer to their Duke, and the Dukes, in turn, answer to a King or Queen. Even the Kings and Queens of Concordia are vassals of High King David, the supreme authority of Fae society in America. Reversely, each noble is another Noble’s Liege (the sole exception being the Squires, who only outrank Pages and Commoners).
_ Note: The size of Duchies\Counties\Baronies varies wildly between the US and Europe, mostly because there is a noticeable difference in size between the two continents. Some Duchies in Concordia are larger than, for example, the entire Kingdom of Iberia in the Old Country._
High King or High Queen
[[King or Queen – Prince\Princess | King or Queen – Prince\Princess]] Your Majesty
Duke or Duchess: Your Grace
Count or Countess: Your Excellency
Baron or Baroness: Lord/Lady
KNOW YOUR MONARCHY!
Here’s a few tips and trips to remember the difference between major titles.
• A Duke or Duchess holds a large number of freeholds UNDER a King or Queen (DOMAIN)
• A Count or Countess holds a large portion of a city or smaller rural areas (COUNTY)
• A Baron or Baroness (usually) holds a freehold
• A Knight is considered a noble.
• A Squire is a servant to a knight
see also Retainers