|Hierarchy of the Shadow Rose Clan|
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Lords & Ladies of the Shadow Rose Clan
Counts & Countesses of the Shadow Rose Clan
Knights of the Shadow Rose Clan
Clansman of the First Order
Clansman of the Second Order
Clansman of the Third Order
Clansman of the Fourth Order
Clansman of the Fifth Order
Clansman of the Shadow Rose Clan
Guardian of the Shadow Rose Clan
Grand Mistress of the Shadow Rose Clan
Master of the Shadow Rose Clan
Lord Seth Darkfire
First Lord of the Shadow Rose Clan
Lord Toland Darkfire
In the hierarchy above, nobility is a hereditary title, clansman is a lifetime title, and guardian is an honorary title.
The titles and ranks of nobility are hereditary titles and are passed from generation to generation.. Other than birth, nobility can only be bestowed upon someone under certain circumstances by the leader of the clan. The most common example would be to grant someone knight hood. Other titles are not normally bestowed directly to a non-noble. In the reverse, if someone were to betray the clan, titles of nobility and any lands or duties related to the title would be immediately stripped from the person and their family. Only in extreme situations would any family member retain a title.
Within the noble ranks, there is an order starting with the leader or the clan then down to the Lords and Ladies of the clan. They will have several Counts and Countesses who report and pay tribute to them. The number is determined by the clan leader as a way of rewarding loyalty and bestowing rank to members of the lord class nobles. Counts and Countesses will have their own small land to manage and will have clansmen under them. Once again, the number and rank of the clansmen is determined by the clan leader as a way of rewarding favor and rank. Knights will have a small amount of land of their own and will occasionally be given retainers who report to them. Most often, they will be in the direct service of a noble above them.
All ranks of nobility can have knights in service to them, depending on the decree of the clan leader. The same applies to having clansmen being in service. All nobility with retainers will have at least one clansman of rank in service to them.
The title clansman applies to any member of the clan, only rank and title distinguish between them. The best way of thinking of the various ranks of clansmen is to compare them to enlisted men in the military and non-commissioned officers. The higher ranking Clansmen can have the status of nobility. The main difference is the fact that the title is not passed to other members of the family through the generations. Once a clansman dies, the title and rank is removed from the family in all but title. The titles will then be used only to establish lineage (see the title section below for more details).
Starting at the bottom, Clansman of the Shadow Rose Clan is the name given to the lowest members of the clan. They are the peasants of the clan but are not true peasants. Even a clansman is far above the human populace of the realm. Clansmen, as they become either favored by a noble or through service to the clan will become Clansmen of the Order. There are five ranks of Clansmen of the Order from the fifth order (lowest) to first order (highest). As an individual moves up within the order, they can obtain similar status as knights. Clansmen of the First Order, and occasionally of the Second Order, will be held in esteem and service as if a knight. Only through loyal service and the favor of at least a Count or Countess can a Clansman reach the First Order. Next comes Grand Clansman. Only a Clansman of the First Order with the support of a Lord or Lady and approval of the clan leader can become a Grand Clansman. This is a rare occurrence since both a Lords or Ladies and Clansmen of the First Order both being in good standing with the clan leader together is very unlikely. Although rare, historically there have always been at least 6 Grand Clansmen at any given time in the history of the Shadow Rose Clan. Grand Clansman are held in such high regard from other Clansmen that they are often considered the equals of Counts and Countesses. Finally comes the Supreme Clansman. Only an individual who has proven their loyalty and virtues to the clan leader will be given the title Supreme Clansman. So powerful is this position that even Lords and Ladies often think will obey an order from the Supreme Clansman as if it were from the clan leader themselves. Only the clan leader can bestow and have a Supreme Clansman under them. There have only been a few Supreme Clansmen over the centuries.
The title of Guardian is an honorary title only but does grant some privileges upon a person. A noble of any rank can grant this title but is quite often granted by a person of Lordly status, even when it is requested by a lower noble. This is the common practice but the title is not diminished if given by a lower noble. The title can be granted upon anyone, including Clansmen, humans, beasts, and creatures of unknown orgins (mage spawn, demon spawn, etc). Although there are no ranks amongst the title of Guardian, The title Guardian of the Shadow Rose Clan is the most common and widely used title. The title Hellfire Guardian is often given to those who prove themselves in conflict and war. The title Eternal Guardian is usually given to those who repeatedly show service to the clan and to beasts in service to the clan. The royal mounts of the nobility usually have this title attached to their names.
Although the title is honorary, it does garner the respect of the peers of the Guardian. Also, it is quite common for Guardians be honored at annual festivals and other special occasions. The title of Guardian can also, to an ambitious and dedicated individual, lead to the notice of the nobles and possible future promotions into or within the clan.