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Episode 100 Bonus – World Building February 28, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Titles and Politics

As any of you who have been reading Nox and Grimm know, I’ve done a fair bit of world building over the past few years, and I thought it would be fun to take a look at the murky world of politics in the elemental realms. It may not always be readily apparent in the episodes, but everything my characters do is informed by their rank, and the political pressures that come with it. So let’s take a closer look at titles for the main characters, to give a bit of insight into what makes them tick.

Titles are everything in this world. They can tell you volumes about a person’s social status, and they are where a lot of the tension springs from. Note – The only titles that truly matter are Lord or Lady, followed by the name of their House.  This designates the ruler, and their heir apparent. Anything else is either a nickname, or a sinecure handed to them by their liege-lord.

For example – Lucien is Lord Ice.  He rules the House of Ice, one of the most powerful of the ‘Great Houses’ in the realms. He is also called the Battle King, or one of the Winter Kings, but these are just nicknames he’s earned.  Despite being Galen’s descendant, he makes no claim to Winds, since it is forbidden to rule more than one House.

Nox is a bit more complicated. She goes alternately by Lady Ice (as Lucien’s heir-apparent), or is also called Lady Nox, because her position is somewhat nebulous, due to being half-human. She is also now Lady Zephyr, as titular heir to the House of Winds.  It is an old title, from before the Great Houses were established.  If she ever does re-establish the House of Winds as its ruler, the modern equivalent will be Lady Winds, or Lady Air, depending on what is confirmed. Zephyr will become a nickname. Of course, that’s only if she chooses Air over Ice. (can’t rule both)

The same goes for Lord Kel – he does not get to call himself Lord Ice, because he was adopted into the House to secure an alliance, nothing more. He was for a time betrothed to Nox, but again, it was only to facilitate an alliance between Ice and Snow. He was basically going to be a trophy husband, a fact that caused more than a little resentment in him, and is the source of he and Nox butting heads, even now that they are no longer to be married.

Loki is another person with an ambiguous set of titles.  He was Lord Loki, for lack of anyone knowing what to call him. Then he became Lord Dragon – but not Lord Fire.  He uses his father’s nickname because Kyrios was murdered before getting a chance to confirm his son as successor. None of his father’s vassals have recognized him, nor has he been confirmed in his title by the Convocation (more on them later).  All anyone has is Loki’s word that he is indeed Kyrios’ eldest son, and he has the dragon mark.  Ergo, he will be Lord Dragon until his position becomes settled.

Serenna is another odd case – being a human from a sister dimension to this one, the only title she could claim was Foreign Ambassador, and that title followed her when she married Lucien. She will never be in the line of succession for Ice, and can only act as an ambassador for Lucien when dealing with other Houses. He must ratify everything she does.

So, confused yet? Don’t worry, it gets worse! *lol* I made these relationships convoluted on purpose, to provide an endless source of conflict in the series.

Let’s move on to Vassals, and the Convocation.

The myriad of other titles you see, Baron, Duke, March Warden, etc. belong to nobles who hold fealty to one of the Great Houses.  Some are called Lords as well, but if they do, it’s only because their liege-lord allowed them to keep the title.  Lucien has wisely done this, and the Lords Hail, Sleet and Frost are some of the minor Houses that owe fealty to him.

Storms is a bit messier, but that mess is crucial to the series.  They were for a long time a bunch of petty warring nobles, each with their own tiny bailiwick, and they made up whatever title was grand enough to suit their ego.  Rhianna came along, backed by Lucien, and beat the snot out them and forced them to name her Queen. Since none of them held enough territory to be a House, she only gave them the titles of Duke, Baron, etc. Needless to say, this caused a lot of ugly tensions – they want from Grand High Poobah to Duke #535 out of 1000. This led directly to her downfall, at the very beginning of the series.

Now we come to the Convocation.  It is made up of the rulers of every House, and they meet at the turn of each season to discuss treaties, trade agreements, settle legal grievances and handle any other bit of business that crosses territory lines.  They also ratify any appointment of heirs to the Houses – technically, each ruler’s word is law in their own territory, but let’s face it – it’s a global economy, and they have to work with the other Lords and Ladies. So getting confirmed means they have a seat on the Convocation, and can do business.

By not allowing her vassals to be Lords or have the status of a House, Queen Rhianna cut out all of her nobility from the Convocation and set herself up as their lone voice.  When she was deposed (read here, murdered) it left a huge power vacuum. None of the petty nobles had enough power to take control or rate a seat on the Convocation.  The Morning Lord took advantage of this – he claimed some obscure connection to the House, and set himself up as the Protectorate until such time as a clear claim to the throne could be established.  Needless to say, he is fomenting all sorts of strife and in-fighting to make sure that never happens, leaving Storms at his mercy.  Since they have no voice on the Convocation, they can’t fight his control of the territory, and it is currently under martial law, “for the security of the people in unsettled times.”

Okay, I think that’s enough politics for one day. I hope that helped give you some insight into Nox’s world, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I’m always happy to talk shop! 🙂

-Angie

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