Groups & Titles
Arkhus – The Arkhus is the ruler of the Vorinsian Arkh. He resides in Temera, the coastal capital of Vorinsia. The Arkhus is also the high card of the Caste Suit in a deck of playing cards.
Ashcloak – In the earlier days of the Arkh, a tradition began among the Vorinsian military to set fire to their fallen comrades at the place of battle (if it was a victory). When the fires burned to embers, the surviving men would rub the ash remains onto their white cloaks. This practice earned them the nickname of Ashcloaks, a name which eventually became the official title of the army as well as the common soldier rank. The only rank within the Ashcloaks which does not wear a cloak is the lowest rank, the Uninitiated. Upon initiation, the new Ashcloaks are presented with their cloaks which are then ceremoniously rubbed with ash (although the ash tends to be from a woodfire, not from one of their fallen comrades).
Bladesmaster/Bladesmistress – The fourth and final field rank of the Freeblades Guild, after Initiate, Novice and Journeyman/woman. Most of the non-field appointments (for example, Branch Official and Region Official) tend to be appointed to the title from the guild’s pool of bladesmasters and bladesmistresses due to their time served, and their overall high skill set and knowledge base. Maros is a bladesmaster and is also the Branch Official of Alder’s Folly and the Region Official of Caerheath.
Diachromancer – A mancer skilled in the art of reversing, freezing and speeding up the passage of time. Diachromancers are much rarer than elemancers. The skills of a diachromancer are generally divided into three types: apothemancy, atromancy, and retrocession.
Elemancer – A mancer skilled in the manipulation of one or more of the natural elements – water, fire, air and earth. The skills of an elemancer are generally divided into two types: syncremancy and contramancy.
Feyborn – The term used for a child (or children, as feyborn is an uncoutable noun), who possesses the ability to weave one of the magic arts. Feyborn are usually not considered mancers until or unless they join a temple. The term feyborn is sometimes considered derogatory by those with a magical gift, and used in a derogatory fashion by those without (also by mancers who have chosen to forget they were once classed merely as feyborn.)
First Warder – The title given to the individual whose charge it is to oversee the safety of Minnow’s Beck. The First Warder throughout the majority of The Blighted City was Eriqwyn Albarandes. Eriqwyn gained the title not because she was the second-born of House Albarandes, but because she earned it by skill and dedication. Mere minutes prior to Eriqwyn’s death, Adri asked Linisa if she would become the new First Warder, and Linisa accepted (this mainly being due to the fact that she was now the only Warder in the village, since Wayland was not fit for the role as he had died and been turned undead and was planning to try to coexist in both Lachyla and Minnow’s Beck (not that he would have wanted the responsibility of being First Warder anyway.)
Freeblade – A freeblade is a sword for hire – not just a regular sellsword, but a member of the Freeblades Guild which has branches all across Himaera and the lands of the Arkh. What separates freeblades from other sellswords is their binding contracts, trustworthiness, ethics and commitment, although in some areas the reputation of the Freeblades Guild has waned somewhat over recent decades.
Freeblades Guild – The Freeblades Guild is a long-established guild of sellswords with a code of conduct, a hierarchical structure, and detailed contractual agreements, setting the guild apart from less-organised sellswords. The guild’s roots began in Himaera prior to the Great Uprising. Its hand in the Uprising – successfully ridding the land of kings and armies, and also playing a large part in quelling an attempted invasion by the Vorinsian Arkh – placed it at the pinnacle of Himaera’s new social structure. It was a victory for the guild, but one that came at a high price. The casualties of the Uprising were many, including guild members, and as the land was thrust from pockets of rigid rule into comparative chaos, the Freeblades Guild struggled for decades against the rise of bandits – a struggle which still persists in some parts of Himaera, most notably within the vast Grenmoor Forest.
Grandmaster Swordswoman/Swordsman – The highest accolade of swordskill which dates back to the Himaeran Days of Kings and later became almost obsolete. The rank of grandmaster swordswoman is held by Krea Chiddari, although, from one’s first impressions of Krea, one might be hard-pressed to recognise her deadly abilities with the blade. One might even say that her skills are going to waste, living (such as it is) in a city where few people have died over the last few centuries and where crime is almost unheard of. One would also not be faulted for wondering whether Krea’s devotion to swordplay is stronger than her desire for physical and emotional intimacy.
Guild Courier – Most guilds have couriers, including the Freeblades Guild. Couriers are among the few Himaerans who own a horse, as their job demands a heavy amount of travelling between guildhouses and visiting places where freeblades are not stationed, collecting contract offers and distributing them to the nearest guildhouses, and delivering documents to and from the guild headquarters.
Guild Official – Most guilds have Officials, each of whom acts as the overseer for one of the guild branches. The Official of the most prominent branch per region also has the responsibility of overseeing various region-specific tasks. These are known as Regional Officials. Maros, the Official of Alder’s Folly Freeblades Guild, is also the Regional Official of Caerheath, although his regional duties are lighter than those of other Regional Officials due to Guild HQ at Brancosi Bay being at the edge of the Caerheath region.
In the case of the Freeblades Guild, Officials are usually promoted to the station after serving as bladesmasters or bladesmistresses for at least several years, rather than being appointed the role from a lesser rank or from not having previously served as a freeblade in any capacity. The status of Official is sometimes looked upon disparagingly by serving freeblades as being nothing more than a glorified quill-scratcher.
Journeyman/Journeywoman – The second Freeblades rank, above Novice and below Bladesmaster/Bladesmistress.
Lady/Lord of the Manor – The title given to the senior family member living in a manor house or mansion. The title has somewhat fallen out of use in most places, but is still used in the village of Minnow’s Beck; there, Adri Albarandes is the Lady of the Manor and village leader in her mother’s stead, who is emotionally unfit for the role.
Mancer – The general term for an individual who has the gift of one (or, in some cases, more) of the magic arts. A mancer is what a feyborn officially becomes when they enrol into a temple, although the term mancer is sometimes used interchangeably with feyborn, regardless of whether an individual is recognised as belonging to the mancing order.
Novice – Novice is the first Freeblades rank, below that of Journeyman/Journeywoman. It is also the first rank of several other guilds.
Paladin of Valsana – The official title of all knight-paladins, the best of a king’s knights, appointed to higher stations by a sovereign in the name of the goddess. Though knights are obsolete since the Days of Kings, the title of Paladin of Valsana is held by the undead knight commander and guardmaster of Lachyla, Ellidar.
Priestess of Valsana – Before the coming of the Dyad to Himaera, Morta’Valsana was the dominant goddess of the land. Her mortal voice was her priestesses and monks. The village of Minnow’s Beck has the last priestesses of Valsana, a small handful of devoted in the last vestige of Valsana’s dominion.
Priestess Superior – The title of the head priestess of Valsana in any given settlement. Since Minnow’s Beck is the only place on Himaera where anyone still worships the goddess, the only Priestess Superior in the whole of Himaera is Amiryn. With events shaken up in Minnow’s Beck after the accord made between Adriana Albarandes and the folk of Lachyla, Amiryn’s status may be in danger of losing some of its repute.
Prime Ascendant – The military leader of the Vorinsian Arkh, answerable only to the Arkhus. Prime Ascendant is also a high card below that of Arkhus in a deck of cards, in the Military Suit.
Reiver – Another term for bandits within the Vorinsian Arkh. Also sometimes used synonymously with the term pirate.
Retainers – The caretakers of Midhallow, originally in servitude to the Volami and also servile in a smaller capacity to the tribal guests dwelling in the city. The Retainers guard the sections of Midhallow which are closed off to the tribesfolk. As mysterious as the closed-off parts of Midhallow, nothing is known about the Retainers by any non-Volami, other than that they are of humanoid shape and wear full-face masks, cowled garments, boots and gloves to keep every part of their true form from view, and that they never leave the proximity of Midhallow and its immediate surroundings – except, that is for one particular Retainer.
Sheriff – A sheriff is appointed in some Himaeran settlements which lack the presence of the Freeblades Guild and are situated far from the nearest guild branch. A town or village sheriff has no connection to the Freeblades Guild. The sheriffs of some places are appointed by the Brancosi Bank or have become tied to the bank’s demands. There are a couple of towns which have the presence of both the Freeblades Guild and a sheriff, but Alder’s Folly is not one of them.
Taleweaver – Across Sosarra there are a number of men and women known as Taleweavers. These storytellers of high renown travel the lands, weaving their tales and leaving behind a sense of awe and wonder, and, perhaps, a little magic.
Tavernmaster – The owner of a tavern. Maros the Mountain is a tavernmaster and gets annoyed when people refer to him as a barkeep; such offenders occasionally find themselves hurtling through or over the Lonely Peddler’s saloon doors. One should be mindful of one’s manners when inebriated in the presence of a halfblood tavernmaster with a respectfully fearful past reputation.
Temple Guard – Temple Guards are the Ashcloaks garrisoned at a temple of the Arkh. They are chosen for their exemplary skill and loyalty. All Temple Guards are Temple Sword Lieutenants except for the military leader of a temple, who is a Temple Sword Captain.
Warder – An esteemed and tough individual whose job is to protect the community along with their peer Warders, under the command of a First Warder. As with knights and devoted followers of Valsana, Warders are anachronistic in Himaera and only exist in the anomalous village of Minnow’s Beck.