Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Aristocracy of Kjellos, a Primer

Kjellos as it is known today was formed nearly two-hundred-fifty years ago, in X.285, during the collapse of Tholnia that followed the attack of the elven league upon that region. The system of nobility adopted by the Karhart family and imposed upon the old region of Kelinum is one descended from the Thessalian regions of the Reach. It has evolved somewhat since then, and become more rigid in its application.

The nobility are known as hirdmenn, which are those who are required to support the king with troops of some kind. All landowners have feudal obligations to their superiors, and the Karhart king is the head of the feudal hierarchy. The hirdmenn are divided into two ranks: the greves and the lendmenn. There is no complex system of greater and lesser nobility as in the Empire or other, older kingdoms. Lendmenn are the equivalent of the dynasren of Miles, while greves are lesser lords, equivalent to magnasren of Miles.

Grevemen are still enormously powerful. All nobility in Kjellos hold land in Craftsman's Reach, which is farmed for taxes and tariffs, which are picked up via trade with Tailimisiä. Many of the noble families actually trace their roots to the original Reacher holdings, but they no longer think of themselves as Reachers.

There is a special type of bailiff known as the stallir who have come to be very important in the management of Reacher affairs. The stallir are invariably knights (if they are not, they are knighted when they are created stallir) who go by the Milean appellance "sieur." Stallir are the local administrators of Reacher land who send their incomes to their lords in Kjellos and receive the lord perhaps once every 2-5 years. In this sense, stallir are the ultimate authority in the Reach, though they must still answer to the Lord Protector of the Reach, Prince Aegus Karhart.

A stallir in the Reach usually has between 10-30 militiamen to call upon, as well as 5-10 men-at-arms who serve in the stallir's manor. Stallir look a lot like Milean magnasren in that way, as they inhabit the lord's private manorhouse in the center of their Reacher holdings and basically operate as the lord. However, law is administered through the Temple of Haeron rather than through the Reacher stallir organization—but in Kjellos, it is administered through the nobility in what are known as the "free courts."

Freeholding is also common in the Reach (though not in Kjellos). Freeholders may have land-grants from the stallir/lords, but they are entitled to a number of immunities that normal folk are not. Indeed, freeholders are often permitted to execute their own justice upon their freeholds, and freehold farmers are tasked with holding and defending vast tracts of wilderness from the encroachment of Untamed barbarians, orcs, gnolls, and other such awfulness.

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