Monday, January 01, 1990

The Citadel--The Noble Houses

To be born into a Noble House is to be born a warrior. Like the knights and samurai of ancient legend, the Noble-born are trained to wage the wars of their lord and to serve his every desire. Each Noble House has different traditions that have evolved over time, yet there are some common threads.

The Noble-born can be identified by their long braids. The women have many braids, each one entwined with gold or copper chain. On the other hand, the men have a single braid that they never cut. These braids are a symbol of their willingness to die for their lord. For a Noble-born to shave off his braid is an act of unthinkable rebellion. One story tells of a Noble-born warrior who wished to protest one of his lord’s decisions. The warrior entered the throne room of his lord and, with his own sword, cut off the braid and threw it at his lord’s feet. The story does not tell of the fate of this warrior.

Although the Noble-born are trained to obedience and service, they also expect similar treatment from those beneath them on the social ladder. Peasants and members of the rising merchant class are expected to show all respect to the Noble-born and to obey any orders given to them without question. Those that fail to do so will find themselves being challenged to a duel of honor, an acceptable method of settling such matters. Such a contest invariably ends in the commoner’s death. Sometimes, a Noble-born is not willing to wait until the duel and takes matters into his own hands. Rare is the day that sees no commoner blood spilled by a Noble-born’s sword.


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