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This page covers aspects of nobility and noble houses in the Empire of Indand.
Ranks of nobility
|Level||Usual position||Uses in Indand|
|1||Sovereign of Indand||Emperor of Indand|
|2||Spouse to the Sovereign||Empress of Indand|
|3||Monarchs of the nine realms||Kings, Grand Prince, Archdukes, Warden|
|4||Spouses of monarchs||Queen, Grand Princess, Archduchesses|
|5||Heir apparent and offspring to the Sovereign and the monarchs||Crown princes, crown princesses, princes, princesses|
|6||Leaders of second-level administrative divisions and religious institutions||Dukes, duchesses, priests|
|7||Leaders of third-level administrative divisions and general noblemen||Counts, countesses, lords, ladies|
|8||Leaders of forth-level administrative divisions and warriors of great renown||Thanes, barons, baronesses|
|9||Warriors of renown||Knights|
|10||Commoners of note||Gentlemen, mistresses|
|12||Exiles, outlaws, traitors||Slaves|
Lordship comes in two common forms; the actual title "lord", and the oral address, "my lord." Essentially anyone of noble rank is orally addressed as "my lord," however, so are wealthy businessmen and such. Thus, basically anyone with a title and a rank which grants them authority over others is a lord. There exist however an actual rank of Lord, at level 7 of seniority. A Lord and a Count are in essence the same thing, depending on who's granting the title and what they prefer. Dukes usually appoint and "lord" people to preside over third-level administrative divisions, such as counties or large cities. However, not all who hold the title "lord" act in a government capacity. Many a time, friends of dukes, monarchs, or the Sovereign are lorded.
Not to be confused with "thanage" or "thegn." In common practice, an administrative division's leader can appoint a thane, minus the forth level. Counts and lords appoint thanes of their counties, dukes appoint thanes of their provinces, monarchs appoint thanes of their kingdoms and the Sovereign can name a Thane of Indand. Thanes are usually knights who have outdone themselves in battle or have done a very big favor to a noble. City saviors (i.e. a commander who relieves a city from siege) are commonly granted thanship.
Thanes are awarded with a keep or castle and a forth-level administrative division to lead. These will range from small towns to sparsely populated holds. They are granted the right to a house and the right to form an army. Most thanes serve as military commanders within Great House armies.
Noble institutions (houses, clans, families)
Within Indand, there exists three noble institutions (alternatively called family institutions), namely:
- Families: Families are unorganized institutions which consists of people who share the same surname and are related (blood-related or not). The large majority of commoners belong to families, however the majority of those do not own land.
- Clans: Families which are wealthy and own land are clans, however many choose to keep the title of "family." Clans are also unorganized institutions which need to be aligned with any house.
Noble houses, or just houses, are organized family institutions which usually consists of a group of blood-related individuals. Houses are able to accept non-related individuals into the house which makes said individuals related, however, not by blood. Houses in Indand, however, can take different forms. There are three commonly accepted kinds of houses:
- Great Houses: Great Houses are the largest and most powerful houses in the empire, and usually have one or more governments under their control. To become a Great House, the house must have three or more subordinate houses, control one city and its leader must have been accepted into a current or previous Emperor's court.
- Normal houses: Normal houses are not subordinate to any larger houses and own their own land. They are usually small to medium sized, as larger "normal" houses become sworn houses to Great Houses in the hopes of more power.
- Subordinate houses: Great Houses, especially, are overlords to many subordinate houses. Subordinate houses can take one of the following forms:
- Vassal house: If a house which possesses its own territory (i.e. which is not on the plot of another house), it is a house in its full right, however, many of these houses remain weak, poor and thus not fully respected. These houses have the choice to become a vassal house to another, usually larger and stronger house. This essentially makes a vassal house a sworn house, however, vassal houses may break their bond with their overlord house without giving up their territory or status as a house. Like with sworn houses, a vassal house must do their overlord house's bidding and assist them in conflict.
- Sworn house: When the Council of Yarls awards a house to a family above the level 7 rank, they are usually given land as well. Lucky families are awarded unclaimed territory, which means they need not be subordinate to any other house, however, most of the time, the Council gives land within the territory of another, usually larger house. When this happens, the family can either decline the land and be a house without territory, or they must become a sworn house to the other. Sworn bonds cannot be broken unless the family gives up their status as a house and leaves the territory. Sworn houses are generally respected as normal houses, however must do their overlord house's bidding and assist them in conflict.
- Cadet houses: There are instances where a house, instead of the Council of Yarls, awards a house to a family themselves. These houses become cadet houses, and are mostly a symbolic gesture toward the families of close friends or individuals who have done a great service to the house. Cadet houses are fully subordinate to their overlord houses.
Using the table above, families and clans with leaders ranking level 7 are allowed houses. The Council of Yarls either grants them a house or they must file a request with the Council. Many individuals of this rank choose to remain clans, as being part of or owning a house is considered symbolic. Clans may and in history have had their own armies and vast amounts of land and influence. One notable privilege houses have is that their leaders are allowed an audience with monarchs and the Emperor (if the monarch or Emperor so desires) and subsequently a possible position within their court.