Of Kings and Men
The Natural Hierarchy of Nobility
“Some men are born superior to others. This is indisputable fact. Thus was born the nobility – people of superior birth, ability and skill. However, to fully understand the privileges awarded to those who rank above the common peasant, we must first understand how the hierarchy works. The first and most important position, of course, is that every noble house and family within the structure of a Great Clan is, at some point, intermarried with a member of the Great Clan, thus creating a link by blood that is stronger than any link forged by contract or deed…”
The hierarchy of the nobility is thus, from lowest to greatest:
Knight – The lowest order, a Knight is not neccessarily of noble blood. Commoners who do great deeds and acquire enough gold to pay for finery, a spirited warhorse and the full arms, as required by the clan, may be uplifted to this status. Though many nobles are knights, commoners who are raised to this title must achieve a higher status within their lifetime, for the title does not transfer to their children, unlike many others.
Knight-Protector – A Knight-Protector is a knight given charge over the land of a greater Noble. This typically occurs when the noble in question is either unable to fulfill his duties to the land for some time, or is absent from his lands.
Lord – the second lowest order, a Lord is the first landed noble, given land by a Clan Lord to rule in his name. This may be a village or a small town or more. He must hold court for his subjects, thus dispensing justice, fairness. Typically, the title does not transfer upon death.
Baron – the first of the higher orders of nobility, the Baron rules a Barony, a small land, and all the villages and towns within it. While the military aspects of a land are left to Lords and Knights, Barons tend to be those who direct Lords and Knights in their purposes and make higher order decisions. It is a landed title and one that transfers upon death.
Count – the second of the higher orders of nobility, a count rules a county, a larger are of the land, typically ruling over several barons. It is a landed title and one that transfers upon death.
Duke – the third of the higher orders of nobility, a duke rules over a duchy, typically compromised of several counties. It is a landed title and one that transfers upon death.
Earl – an earl is a title of high nobility, given by the Clan Lord himself on those worthy enough to possess it. Typically, an Earl rules over a large city and the surrounding lands.