The Chronicles of Foxton
Ranks (Social and Military) in Demoria
King: Rules unquestioned over the entirety of Demoria. The King is also the Duke of both provinces of Drache and Godonsa.
Duke: Second to the King; rules a Duchy, which are traditionally one of the seven provinces that make up Demoria. There are only five Dukes.
Count/Earl: Rules a County, a sub-division of one of the Duchies. Counts are known as Earls in the northern parts of Demoria.
Baron: Theoretically the ruler of a Barony (though not always; some barons are “low barons” or “baronets” and have no land of their own). Usually Baronies are a sub-division of a County, but not always. A Barony that exists outside the borders of a County is known as a Free Barony. The Free Baronies are effectively the same as Counties (a Free Baron answers to a Duke rather than to a Count), but usually smaller and cannot be further sub-divided.
Knight: Knights are the basic foundation of the aristocratic system. They rule no land, but the title is hereditary.
Mayor: An elected rank; the leader of a city, town, or village. Mayors are usually called Burgomasters in the north part of the country.
Councilman: An elected position. Advisor (and sometimes adversary) to the Mayor.
Sheriff: An elected or appointed position, in charge of enforcing the law. Usually found in smaller towns and larger villages (the really small villages don’t normally have a population large enough to support a full-time sheriff). The free cities usually have a Draconian presence and do not have a sheriff.
Freeman: A commoner who owns his own land, or who lives in one of the free cities.
Peasant: A commoner who works the land owned by a noble, or who lives in a town or city controlled by a noble.
General: Commander of a division (5000-10,000 soldiers). Usually (though not always) of noble blood.
Colonel: Commands a brigade (2000-3000 soldiers).
Major: Commands a battalion (250-1000 soldiers).
Captain: A captain commands a company (3-8 platoons, or 50-200 soldiers).
Lieutenant: Commands a platoon (2-4 squads, or 10-40 soldiers).
Sergeant: Non-com rank. Commands a squad (5-10 soldiers).
Corporal: Non-com rank. May command an action-team (2-4 soldiers). Works directly under a sergeant or lieutenant.
Private: Base rank for most soldiers.
Minister: A minister is usually an itinerant priest, who does not have a parish or church to call his own. Oftentimes, this title is applied to a priest who tends several small parishes in nearby villages (making a regular circuit between them).
Acolyte: A young person in training to join the priesthood. They assist priests in their day-to-day duties, and otherwise act as an apprentice might.
Behavior at Court
Once per month, a land-holding noble is expected to hold his official court, during which time his people may petition him for nearly anything (redress of grievances, blessings on marriage, advice, anything). The noble’s court is, by custom, open to all, from the lowliest peasant to the highest ranking freeman. A court is opened with a greater or lesser amount of pomp and circumstance (depending on the lord of the court’s preferences), but it always begins with the words “Speak and be heard.”
The nobleman may try criminal court cases at this time as well, but by tradition they usually only mete out “Low Justice” for less serious crimes. Low Justice is the level of ‘day-to-day’ justice, minor cases generally settled by limited fines or light corporal punishment. These cases usually don’t involve a professional lawyer (though a wealthy litigant may hire one); usually all involved parties simply present their own cases to the lord.
While a nobleman is holding court, there are certain protocols which must be followed.
First, when the noble is holding court, no one may approach him or address him without his permission.
Second, when the nobleman enters the room, all must rise and remain standing. No one may sit when the lord of the court sits (without his permission, which can be granted in cases of infirmity).
Even nobles who are ranked higher than the lord of the court is must follow these rules while they are in his court (although most nobles will waive the rules for them, just to acknowledge their privilege).
High Justice (serious crimes, including capital crimes) trials are usually heard by a Tribunal, a panel of three judges. These judges are drawn from the nobility, the clergy, or the elected officials of a city. Tribunals almost always have professional lawyers involved, one to prosecute and one to defend.