A Fable Of Heroes
To be granted a noble title in the ten cities can be either a gruelling challenge or an easy task depending on what title one wishes for.
The title of knight or dame is the lowest of ranks and thus the easiest to achieve. It comes with a small amount of responsibility, most notably too be ready to fight for ones lord or lady when they call. Knights are only granted land or subjects to rule on the most rare of occasions. The title of knight and dame is a title that is not passed on to children. This causes many knights to seek fame and glory or any other way to take them to a higher title. Most knights and dames are sworn to a noble of higher rank, but sometimes a knight or dame may be declared “free” and are allowed to walk where he or she pleases without restriction, they are simply without a lord. But he or she is still expected to be ready to fight for the city that knighted them. All knights and dames also represent their city, but free knights and free dames respectively have a greater responsibility to do so, as the city will take the political fallout rather than their lord, thus doing greater damage. The difference between knight and dame lies only in gender, but most people expect a knight to be more skilled in battle and a dame to be adept at the finer arts. The title can be switched around depending on the proficiencies of the person. A woman with high fighting ability is more likely to be referred to a as a knight where a man that prefer painting and socialising is probable to be considered a dame. If one wishes to insult a noble of this rank, one can simply call them by the other title.
Above the knights and dames are the barons and baronesses. A higher ranking title than knight but still quite low within the nobility, a baron also inherently gains more power. He or she can expect land, if quite small with only one resource of note and a decent number of subject. The duties of a baron still remain quite the same as a knight, but a baron also needs to take care of his land and people, be it to protect them from bandits or from starvation. The title of baron is not given to a specific person but rather to that persons name, thus it is passed down from them to their children. A baron can also raise fighting forces from his subjects, be it to defend his own land or when they are called to war by the city that hold their loyalty, these troops are often few in numbers small, very poorly equip and with only the most basic of training. A baron must also tax his land to pay for any expenses and to pay the tax that the viscount demands. A baron that takes good care of their land and making it more prosperous can expect more land to rule and perhaps even a higher title. This is the hard way however, most just try to achieve this by doing favours or by becoming good friends with higher nobility, there are of course many options, these are only a few.
Where as barons and baronesses rule a small amount of land and people, the Viscounts and Viscountesses rule the barons and baronesses, in addition to a larger amount of land and people. A viscounts duties are quite similar to that of the barons but he must also see to the lesser nobility under his or her command, be it knight or baron. Infighting between the nobility is often a common concern of a viscount.