The nobility of the world enjoy great privilege and power. In the twelfth century, they are the owners of the land by birthright, and they hold the power of law and decision of life and death of their tenants.
The Towerlands has a feudal system. Every noble swears an oath of allegiance to his liege, a higher-ranked noble. That oath promises aid, counsel, and military service. In exchange, the lower-ranked noble gets a title, which entitles the noble to a grant of land. This title is usually hereditary, passing down to one’s offspring as willed.
Note that male titles are an unfortunate artifact of real-life history, but not of the Towerlands’ history. In the Towerlands, there are powerful women holding Queen and Duchess titles. Women have been Immortal God-Queens (“God” in the general sense, instead of “Goddess”). Below, the male titles are used, but you’ll see female versions of the titles used on other pages.
Do not think that a Duchess is a passive wife to a powerful, ruling Duke! Where a Duchess title is used, expect that the holder is a ruler and commander of armies.
In the Towerlands, the titles of nobility are as follows, from the top, down.
The King of the Towerlands (or Queen) is a type of emperor, holding sway over every other person in the Towerlands. He or she is usually also crowned Immortal God-King by the Solar of the Overchurch. However, that religious title is separate and independent from the crown of the Towerlands, which is elected when a king or queen dies.
Prince of the Towerlands (or Princess) is a title held by the children of the King. The title holds little power in itself, but everyone knows that these people are the King’s children and they act accordingly. (One of them might end up King or Queen someday.) Also, a prince usually holds another title, often Duke.
The Electors of the emperor-king are the highest ranking Dukes and Brand of the Towerlands. Brand is a religious title, and is covered elsewhere.
There are four Dukes (or Duchesses) in the Towerlands. Each rules a very large duchy. They are like kings in their own duchies. Each is a very powerful warrior, often leading their armies from the front. They often war with each other and sometimes disobey the God-King.
Each Duke’s land is divided into numerous states. Each state is an independent kingdom of sorts, and the rulers take the title of Prince (or Princess) and First. The First rules his or her state sovereignly, subject to the rulings of his or her Duke.
Each state is divided into counties and marches. Each county is ruled by a Count. Each march (a county on the dangerous borderland) is ruled by a Torcount (equivalent to margrave). These are hereditary titles, passing down to all children.
Each county and march is divided into baronies called Towers, ruled by Tower Barons. This is a hereditary title, passing down to one’s firstborn child.
Baron by itself is a title that Dukes sometimes grant for exemplary service. It is a landless title and is not hereditary, but it ranks above Rider.
Under the barons serve Riders, or knights. These are noble warriors. They swear their sword to their liege and might receive land for their service. The land is smaller than a Tower but likely has 5-20 families living on it, each swearing fealty to the Rider.