The many kingdoms of Terath still bear ties to the legendary Empire of Rhoum, maintaining a loose but somewhat subservient relationship with The Emperor in Verath.
With The Emperor’s Blessing, Terath is ruled by High Queen Embla Vanir, who reigns from The Broken City at the heart of a kingdom known as The Queen’s Lands. With The High Queen’s Blessing, each of the various Kingdoms of Terath is ruled by its own monarchy, with only slightly less than full autonomy. Generally speaking, each Kingdom is free to set its own laws, to appoint its own nobility, and govern its own people without much interference from The High Queen. Meanwhile, The Ethlin Isles usually attempt to hold themselves apart from any traditions or commitments which might bond them to the Empire of Rhoum.
Each Kingdom has its own unique system of appointing, ranking, and recognizing those of Noble Title. However, by ancient tradition and by the Decree of The High Queen, even visiting nobles from other kingdoms must be treated with the respect due their station. This sentiment goes doubly so for those of common heritage.
In all kingdoms, proper deference towards nobility and royalty is expected, and in many cases, enforced. In some kingdoms, noble titles are inherited by the first born daughter or son, while in other realms, anyone from a ‘worthy’ bloodline can gain a noble appointment. In the Kingdom of Myzentius, entirely new hereditary noble bloodlines are occasionally established by the crown as a result of exemplary mercenary service, while in The Kingdom of Falconcrest, the sons and daughters of the nobility only retain their noble titles after birth if specifically granted an appointment by The King.
The specific title of a particular noble might vary depending upon their native kingdom, their duties, or the amount of land which they control. As an example, the Kingdom of Ebrus is known for elevating noble warriors and worthy military commanders to the title of Margrave, a type of Lordly appointment which includes responsibilities of a military nature. In the Queen’s Lands, there are usually one or two Dukes who perform acts of governance so that the High Queen can focus on the diplomacy of Terath as a whole.
Be it Count or Duke, Margrave or Baroness – most of the nobles of Terath will consider the requirements of deference to have been fulfilled by the taking of a knee and a “My Lord” or “My Lady” even when “Your Grace” would have been more proper.
Terathian traditions also indicate that appointed Knights, Dragon Riders, and those who have mastered the path of The Wizard, The White Knight, or The Black Knight be shown a minor degree of courtly respect, but such individuals are not considered to hold Noble Title.