The Gilneas Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the Kingdom of Gilneas, which is constituted by the ranks of Gilnean nobility. The term is used both collectively to refer to the entire body of noble titles, or a subdivision thereof, and individually to refer to a specific title. It is not uncommon for nobles of lower rank to pledge vassalage to the region's highest title holder for protection and unity while also pledging greater loyalty to the royal family.
One who holds a title of the peerage is referred to as a peer.
Titles of Hereditary Gilneas Peerage / NobilityEdit
Ranking from lowest to highest in honor:
The lowest and most uncommon title within Gilneas' Peerage is the title of Baronet. Often granted to loyal servants to the crown or its vassals, Baronets are typically elevated knights or commoners whose deeds or wealth have benefited the kingdom greatly to the point where their stature as a knight or commoner might be seen as a hindrance to their political viability in terms of support.
Baronets are often given lavish estates or a keep/tower to watch over a designated area from, such as Beau's Tooth off the coast of the Ashen Coast. It is rare for Baronets to rise much higher than the rank of Baron, but in the case of House Cloverfield they'd risen to Marcher Lord.
Baronets are typically referred to as an odd bridge between commoner and nobility but as of recent events the title has been treated as a peer. Of the nobility titles within Gilneas, it is the one with the most changes having been done to it, as it was originally conceptualized as a sort of higher ranking within the gentry; only to be elevated to full peerage status as the title's relevance became more substantial.
Baronets are typically referred to as "Baronet [X] of [Y]" and are typically addressed as "My Lord/Lady" in Gilneas, where as in other nations they are typically referred to as "Sir/Dame".
Baron / BaronessEdit
Typically the most plentiful title within Gilneas, a Baron typically is referred to by the title of Lord rather than Baron outside of matters of their induction into the House of Nobles, though notable exceptions such as Baron Silverlaine and Baron Ashbury have been seen.
A baron is typically a step up from a Baronet and is usually in charge of a township and no larger. In rare cases a Baron might be temporarily put in charge of the management of multiple towns should a House die out; though these regency periods often end with another Barony house being appointed rather than an elevation of lordship.
Barons are often styled as "Lord [X]" but in official capacities are to be referred to as "Baron [X]" or "Baron [X] of [Y]". They are to be addressed as "My Lord/Lady."
Viscount / ViscountessEdit
Viscounts typically hold larger plots of land than Barons or hold plots of equal size to a Baron's but with greater importance. As seen with the House of Darkoak which ancestrally held the town of Rosefield; they were elevated to the title of Viscount due to the importance of the region. (Rosefield supplied most of the food to the region of the Ashen Coast.) A viscount has typically earned their title by service to the crown or as previously stated, the importance of their region to the kingdom. The title is rare due to the scarcity of vital regions that are not already under a larger holder.
Viscounts also hold the difference of barons in that they can hold Baronets within their lands, where as Barons cannot.
The style of a viscount is "The Viscount [X]", or "The Viscount [X] of [Y]". He is addressed as "My Lord/Lady".
Earl / EarlessaEdit
Earls typically manage large plots of land that revolve around one central point and several smaller villages around it. These cities are often the seat of their power and it is not uncommon for the smaller villages to be appointed as separate baronies within the greater earldom/county to ease the management of the land holding. In the example of the Earldom of the Reach under the House of Greyfield, vassal houses such as the House of Lockewood manage smaller baronies while still being encompassed within the Earldom. While this is managed by their vassals, the House of Greyfield sees to the personal affairs of their seat, Brandon's Stead.
Earl occupies the exact same position as a Count/Countess in other kingdoms. Some have taken to using the title of Count within Gilneas' borders, but the more prevalent title remains Earl.
Earls are styled "Earl of [X]", "Count/Countess of [X]" (rarely) or "Earlessa of [X]" and addressed as "My Lord/Lady" or "Your Excellency". The wife of an Earl has more recently been stylized as Earlessa, as opposed to the previous usage of "Countess".
Marcher Lord / Marcher LadyEdit
Marcher lords are a title near completely unique to Gilneas though they virtually the same as a Margrave/Marquess in that they manage over a March and its affairs. Marcher Lords are typically strong families with loyalties or ties to the royal family that are placed in regions of problem or on the borders of other nations to manage. In the case of Gilneas, in the time following King Aderic I there were several Marcher Lords that managed the borders between the kingdom and Lordaeron, in an area known as Nambitus but they were eventually dissolved into the single duchy of Northgate once borders began to push more towards the peninsula. Marcher Lords are given special rights, similar to that of a Duke, in terms of military power and are typically assigned to problem areas. The Duchy of the Ashen Coast was demoted down into a March after one of the House of Cobalstant rebelled though this was later reversed under the reign of King Genn Greymane and by the House of Grayblade.
In other nations, marches are typically treated akin to a viscount with a barony, being much more important and stronger/larger earldoms. Within Gilneas, a March can host smaller lesser earldoms within its borders. Due to Marches being placed within problem areas or that of border areas, this distinction was made to allow for better consolidation of power for Gilneas; as only trusted families typically manage marches to begin with.
"Lord/Lady Marcher of [X]" or "Marcher Lord/Lady [X] and addressed as "My Lord/Lady" or "Your Greatness".
Duke / DuchessEdit
One of the highest and most prestigious titles that can be held in Gilneas' Peerage is the title of Duke, of which there are few. In the times of Aderic I, it was said he had named four marcher lords to defend the then scattered borders of Gilneas in its northern reaches. After numerous pushes from Lordaeron and the deaths of all but one, the lord was elevated to the title of Duke and given reign over what is now known as the Duchy of Northgate. The family's last known surviving connection can be found by the House of Crowley who serve as Dukes of Northgate.
Dukes are extremely rare and it is uncommon to find one in Gilneas due to the wide spread notion of baronies and lower ranking nobles handling various fiefs and holdings through the kingdom. A Duke typically shares the military responsibilities of a Marcher Lord in which they are expected to maintain a standing force in case of invasion or a call to arms. Dukes are styled "His Grace, the Duke of [X]" or "Her Grace, the Duchess of [X]" and addressed as "Your Grace."
The Prince/Princess title refers to the monarch's children, not including just the heir apparent. As it stands, Liam and Tess Greymane both held the title of prince and princess, and until Liam's death with the fall of Gilneas City was heir apparent. With his demise, Tess has been elevated to heir-apparent of the kingdom. The title of Prince/Princess is of higher elevation than any other title within the peerage outside of the King/Queen themselves and on occasion are the rulers of principalities or princedoms if the monarch deems it fit, though such occasions have not occurred in Gilnean history for some time.
Prince Liam was known to frequent the House of Nobles meetings alongside his father, King Genn Greymane, to better learn the ways of politics and was quite vocal while in attendance, to the silent displeasure of many who opposed the prince's more liberal views. Princes are stylized "His/Her Grace, the Prince/Princess of Gilneas" and addressed as "Your Grace".
The penultimate title of nobility is that of the monarch, the King/Queen of Gilneas. The title is currently held by King Genn Greymane, who has ruled over the kingdom for several decades and has outlived his original heir apparent of Liam Greymane. The monarch has penultimate say on matters within the realm of Gilneas, as seen with the decision to erect the Greymane Wall which had come to a locked vote that was broken by Greymane's edict. The king does not often exercise this ability, preferring to remain silent on matters that are not of prime importance to the kingdom.
The king/queen is referred to as "His/Her Grace, the King/Queen of Gilneas" and is addressed as "Your Majesty". The spouse of the King/Queen is technically referred to as King/Queen-consort but it is not uncommon for their title to be simplified to the title of their spouse in unofficial capacities such as with Mia Greymane who is oft referred to simply as "Queen".
The other various titles that are used, or have been used, within the Kingdom of Gilneas and recognized by the King at one point or another.
A Furst was the ruler of a Principality within the region of Gilneas. The only known furst was the Furst of the Principality of Zul'dare, though contact with the island principality ended abruptly following the Second War. It is unknown what has become of Zul'dare or if it has been destroyed during the Cataclysm as attempts to find the island have failed. Many speculate that the island of Darkmoon Island is what is left of the principality as it shares many features with it, but it is unknown.
Since then, the title of Furst has not been used and once was the rank between Duke and Marcher Lord. Since the disappearance of Zul'dare, it appears to have been retired in favor of a more conventional gap between the already rare peerage titles.
A knight is considered the lowest rank of nobility one can hold within the Kingdom of Gilneas. It is not recognized as a peer within the house but is a step above commoner and a step below Baronet. The title is often gifted to dedicated warriors who have served the crown or its vassals well and have been rewarded for their service. Countless knights are in service to the Kingdom and it was known that the Black Knights of Gilneas served as a knight brotherhood under the kingdom's banner.
As with Baronets, a knight is stylized as "Sir/Dame".
A Laird is a title that originated from the fringes of the kingdom prior to the erection of the Greymane Wall. Lairds are technically members of the gentry rather than peerage and are a step below Baronets but around on par with Knights. Lairds are hereditary title holders that hold lands outside of a distinctive town or plot of land on their own that also hold importance above that of a common farmhouse. Lairds were common in the northern fringes of Gilneas near Ambermill and Pyrewood as well as within the Northern Ashen Coast. Following the erection of the Greymane Wall, Lairds became less and less common and have mostly remained secluded to the Northern Ashen Coast. However with the invasion of the Forsaken, most of these holdings were destroyed and the title deemed moot to many.
A laird is stylized as "Laird [X] of [Y]" or "The Much Honored [X] of [Y]".
Life Peerage is different from Hereditary Peerage in two ways: It is not hereditary, and the title has no estate or land associated with it. They are often of baron or baronet rank, though the rank of Viscount for a life peer isn't uncommon.
The holder of a life peerage is termed a life peer. Holders of this type of peerage are granted the same rights as noblemen of the realm, and are often given to people of merit or special prowess. Holders of life peerage are entitled to a seat within the House of Nobles.
Life peers are commonly styled as "Firstname, Baron/Baroness/Lady X". X is commonly the last name of the life peer, or the name of the town or village they hail from. As deemed earlier, the title is within the life span of the person and will not be passed down to their children or spouse should they die.
When a nobleman or woman is unable to attend sessions of the House of Nobles, or are unable to hold a position in Gilneas due to gender/illness, they may a appoint a representative in their stead to sort their matters. They may also be appointed by people who land in vassalage to the King, but do not hail from the home provinces. Persons appointed to such a position are called Representative Peers. Unlike other kingdoms, rules on such peers were updated and kept viable until the fall of the kingdom. A representative may not be named unless they are of notable worth to the represented, such as a relative or a sworn knight. It is uncommon but allowed for the untitled to be deemed representative peers.
Regardless of status, these peers have a right to sit in the House of Nobles for the noble they represent. They are often referred to as "Lord/Lady Lastname, Representative of the (Noble rank) (First and last name of the noble they represent)".
Additionally, a nobleman with more than one peerage title who is unable to attend the house of lords may obtain a writ of acceleration for his heir apparent, allowing the heir to sit in his stead using a courtesy title.
Regional House MeetingsEdit
Gilneas is known to house regional House of Nobles meetings in order to facilitate decisions based on the betterment of the area at large. During the time of King Aderic, it was not uncommon for the Four Marcher Lords to meet in order to discuss border policy. Following the dissolution of the four marches into the Duchy of Northgate, the House of Crowley was known to host regional meetings with the local barons to discuss regional policy.
As it stands as of the fall regional meetings have mostly come to an end with the exception of the Triumvirate of the Ashen Coast which continues to meet at irregular times to discuss the management of the area.