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Deverrian Nobility

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The Deverrian political system is feudal. At the top of the hierarchy is the High King, who has his court in the Holy City, Dun Deverry. The highest rank of nobility below the royal family is that of gwerbret. A gwerbret swears fealty directly to the High King, and has jurisdiction over a large region, called a gwerbretrhyn (from rhan, roughly meaning "demesne"). A gwerbret does not generally exert direct authority over the entire gwerbretrhyn; part of the rhan is divided among a number of vassals of intermediate rank, called tieryns. A Tieryn, in turn, has as vassals all the lowest-ranking nobles, simply called "lords" (Deverrian arcloedd), within his tierynrhyn. The lords have direct fealty from the common-born. The lowest rung on the social ladder are the bondsfolk (serfs).

When a tieryn dies without an heir, the tierynrhyn reverts back to the presiding gwerbret, who chooses the next tieryn. If a gwerbret dies without an heir, however, the new gwerbret is chosen by a Council of Electors. In either case, once a successor has been chosen, the rhan and rank become hereditary again.

Deverrian society is characterized by continual internal warfare. Each lord has a warband, or personal army, and the various lords (or entire clans) always seem to have something to fight about, most frequently territory or honor. Sometimes, a war becomes a "blood feud," which can last for generations. The basis of these conflicts are the strong bonds of kinship within the different clans, where clan members are honour-bound to avenge their slain kin. Since clan members can be spread over huge areas, and most lords have family ties to other clans, a Deverrian blood feud, and indeed any kind of war, can become complicated indeed.

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