Woking's system of nobility
: the bimonarchy of Woking
has aristocracy and titles in the feudal style.
Still under construction. (This page, especially the rank names, may be subject to change.)
In Woking, some people, the nobility, have 'honours' or titles. These are granted by a monarch or other figure of high authority. A title can be either hereditary or lifelong. (this may change)
Notably for those used to medieval generic fantasy, a 'lord' is an actual rank (in fact two), not a relative term.
- 1. List of titles
- 2. General rules
- 3. Succession
- 4. Forms of address
- 5. Ranks in detail
6. Military colours
- 5.1. Baron
- 5.2. Ritter
- 5.3. Lord
- 5.4. Marquis and Count
- 5.5. King and queen
- 7. Etiquette
1. List of titles
Note that this is not a represenation of hierarchy, but of seniority. During Twine Wars era, nobility in Woking is undergoing some upheaval, and many nobles of high and low rank have been put directly subordinate to their monarch, rather than being in a chain of fealties.
The ranks include (this list not yet complete or segregated into house and war titles):
- (Land) Lord*
- (War) Lord*
- Marquis gotta have marquises, they're ace / Count
- Duke / ?
- Grand Duke / ?
* see "Lord" below
Beyond war lords the system separates into 'war nobility' and 'house nobility', aka 'law nobility'. In effect it branches into two separate hierarchies, so that a person can be a high-ranking war noble, a war leader, or a high-ranking law noble with land and commercial interests but no war duties beyond paying a tax. (War nobles also have land and business income.) Among the lower ranks, rittern and war lords are in effect war nobles, while barons and land lords have more of a 'house' role.
2. General rules
The holder of a title by inheritance is the only one who uses the title. His or her spouse has the lesser title of baroness, lordess, rittelin etc. Because the spouse titles are largely courtesy titles, they don't confer any rights or duties and are revoked if the couple should divorce.
The title-holder decides her or his own successor, subject to some restrictions and rules. If none is named it's generally the oldest child or closest relative. The monarch can revoke a noble's right to choose their own successor as a form of punishment, but can't theoretically interfere otherwise. (In practice, of course, the monarch can and bloody well will.)
4. Forms of address
peerage is insane. This is not it.
This can be summed up as: "my" implies ownership in either direction, otherwise use "your".
Both vassals and lieges (i.e. people who owe allegiance to the noble and the people to whom the noble owes allegiance, the latter generally being the monarchs) address a noble as "my [rank]", as in "my baron", "my lord". (Everyone calls the monarch "my queen"/"my king".) This can be embellished if desired: "my beloved baron", "my well-loved lord".
If you are not the noble's vassal or liege, you should call him/her (formally) "your baronhood", "your lordship", "your ritterhood" etc.
Hey whoever-you-are, pass the salt...
In general conversation with a noble, for a title tied to land you can use [title] [location], such as "Lord Applestone", and for non-landed titles [title] [name], such as "Rit Phoebe". If a line of nobility has a special name, such as Suitov
, you could alternatively use [title] [special name] ("Lord Suitov", "Rit Suitov", etc).
Only someone sarcastic, exceptionally formal or specifically intending to emphasise every detail would ever string names together in a form like "Lord Rige Suitov called Iceheart, sixteenth lord of Applestone".
5. Ranks in detail
- "The lowest of the high: that is, nobility but only just. A baron is granted some land, and general license to treat the people living on it as fairly or unfairly as he sees fit. Useful words and phrases to know include 'tithe', 'one-off tax' (which almost invariably tends to be a misnomer, but what can they do?), 'freer's right' [droit du seigneur] and 'proper gratitude to your betters'.
- "Baronhood tends to be hereditary, which is lucky, because barons' sons seldom amount to much. It doesn't count for anything at court, really, though rubes may be impressed."
Spouses and children
The husband or wife of a baron is a baroness
. The heir of a baron is a baron-in-waiting
Forms of address for barons
"My baron" for vassal or liege, "your baronhood" for others.
A ritter ("rider") technically ranks above the lowest landed nobility, although it is not a landed title - caution should be applied here, though, since victorious ones may be granted lands in addition. The plural of ritter is, strictly, 'rittern'. Most people say 'ritters'.
A ritter has specific duties, failure to uphold any of which could theoretically result in his title being revoked. They have a responsibility to practice combat skills - with minimum skill and training frequency specified by law - and to serve in the monarch's army when called upon. Traditionally, rittern begin with a commanding rank, though the title is not a guarantee and some may find themselves among the lowly cavalry.
Laxity in duties tends to be granted in times of peace; however, a monarch would be within his or her right to call up any rittern, however old, to serve in a conflict. Ritterhood is the title most likely to be granted as lifelong, rather than hereditary.
Spouses and children
The husband or wife of a ritter is a rittelin
. A ritter's children aren't titled.
Forms of address for rittern
"Your ritterhood". Rittern don't have land or vassals, or if they do they tend to be referred to in the same way as a land lord. The title of a ritter, male or female, is Rit, sometimes spelled Ritte after feraisai traditions.
War lords and land lords are unusual in that both ranks are referred to as Lord. Not all land lords are war lords. War lords have extra duties: they must maintain themselves "in a state of readiness and fitness to command" armies. They must also, should the need arise, provide and train a fighting force from the people who live on their land.
In times of peace, war lords become land lords in status, though they still have the extra duties of a war lord. They regain war lord status when their military service is required, thus increasing the respect and bargaining power of military commanders when necessary, and keeping them from getting too big for their boots in times of peace. This, at least, is the theory.
Spouses and children
The husband or wife of a lord is a lordess
. The heir of a lord is a lord-in-waiting
Forms of address for lords
"My lord" for vassals or lieges, "your lordship" for others.
5.4. Marquis and Count
The spouse of a marquis is a marquess
, because I
say so. The spouse of a count is a countess
5.5. King and queen
Below monarchy, titles are officially sexless
, but royalty is important enough that male and female versions of it have different titles.
The female version of a king is a queen. The sex-neutral term is monarch. There are exactly two monarchs at a time.
Spouses and children
The husband or wife of a queen or king is a royal
or monarchal consort
. The direct heir of a king or queen is a king-in-waiting
. An heir that is second or more in line is a royal heir
A royal family member directly blood-descended from the monarch (ie children, grandchildren, not nieces) can also be called a prince. The husband or wife of a prince is a princess and has no "royal whatever" title until/unless their spouse becomes monarch. Interestingly, a prince can be left out of the line of succession, and other family members or non-members can be included before or after the monarch's family. It's the queen or king's choice, so being a prince isn't a guarantee of anything.
Forms of address for monarchs
"My king" or "my queen" for vassals, "your majesty" for foreigners. (which should really be "your royalty", but eh, the writer isn't fussy.)
6. Military colours
All war nobility, and other non-nobility commanders, have a set of two colours. None of these sets may be alike. They are seen very much like team colours among season ticket holders. Colours are recycled often, such that a war noble's daughter, when called up, may find that her mother's colours are in use by someone else and she must pick a different set.
For example, Suitov Steedfast's troops wore blue and green, but this was taken by another war noble in the intermediate years. His son Iceheart consequently wears black and gold.
During Twine Wars
era, in keeping with a Meizur
fashion, nobles tend to keep long hair, except for those whose hair is thinning or otherwise won't grow. Growing your hair longer than your liege lord, unless they are one of those exceptions, is treated as a studied insult. At this point in time, a large proportion of nobles are directly subordinate to their monarch, which simplifies things somewhat.