Nobles are those who have legal rights conferred to them by a title and their immediate family members (children and spouse). Titles originate only by the hand of the king or queen of Lithmore, but once held, are much like property, passed down from generation to generation. Titles, however, can be removed by the king or queen as well as granted, though this is rarely done. Since the Decree of Sodality, the first born child, male or female, inherits all family holds, land, and wealth. Though this has caused no few suspicious deaths, it has ensured that families no longer lose their wealth over generations through the simple process of splitting it amongst their children. More recently, the Law of Bloodless Inheritance allowed the owner of a title to will it to whomever they choose, including non-family relationships.
Nobles may be rich or poor, but statistically, they tend to be amongst the wealthier of the population. Unfortunately, poor heirs frequently squander the wealth, leaving noble titles often nothing more than an empty promise of power. Thus, many nobles see gentry as a threat and generally dislike them, for often gentry is more powerful than they, especially whenever finances take apart in determining status. The True Aristocracy, however, has both money and titles, and thus competition to become this elite of elites frequently requires alliances with the gentry, thus creating the only reasonable path (as the granting of titles is rare to say the least) for gentry to achieve the ultimate benefits in society, those reserved for nobles.
There are certain rules of courtesy when interacting with nobles that are commonly known throughout the realm. Here is a short ‘Points of Conduct’ list to provide guidelines to what the average noble might find rude.
- Never wear a cloak or another garment to the extent that it hides one’s identity
- Never whisper in front of a noble.
- When in Lithmore, speak the King’s language or the native tongue of the noble in question, no other. Nobles should understand all speech in their presence.
- When one wishes to leave a noble’s presence, one should ask for leave under the following conditions:
- When in direct communication with the noble.
- When you and the noble are the only two people present, whether or not communicating with them.
Note: If given an order or request requiring one to leave, it is courteous (and often simply intelligent) to ask if the noble requires anything else before doing so, but one does not need to ask to be excused as the implication resides in the order.
- When wearing a weapon with a cloak or other possibly concealing garment, one should push the garment aside to indicate that their weapon is secure and their dominant hand away from it. (Ex: tossing one’s cloak over their right shoulder. Note that a movement to draw the weapon would give the noble, or the noble’s guards, the chance to react properly.)
- An inferior, be it noble or otherwise, shall always walk on the left of their superior