The Agisters of Asolade
Forms of Address
Warning! Society in the Kingdom of Kaldor is not egalitarian or inclusive. Nobles, be they good or bad, expect deference and respect from their social inferiors. Being rude, falling to make way, or otherwise showing disrespect to a noble will probably result in being cuffed or slapped by the noble. Striking back is a serious crime that may very well be punished by execution, especially if the noble suffers injury. “Breach of rank”, which means pretending to be a noble or taking noble privileges, is also a serious crime. Any individual living in the Kingdom of Kaldor should know full well the consequences of his or her actions (and in his or her lifetime will likely have witnessed others being harshly punished at least a time or two).
Customary forms of address for nobles include “M’lord” or “Sir [given name]” for a man, “M’lady” for a woman, “Master [given name]” for a boy, and “Maid [given name]” for a girl. A clan name may be added after “M’lord” or “M’lady”, but only if the lord or lady in question is actually the lord or lady of the clan. To call the uncle of Lord Mazerony by that form of address would be an insult to his nephew that Sir Fodin (the uncle in question) would not tolerate. (In other words, when in doubt, do not use a clan name after “M’lord” or “M’lady”.) It is also permissible (and often expected) to add the noble’s title after “M’lord”, such as when addressing the Bailiff of Andrake (“M’lord Bailiff”).
Female knights are exceptionally uncommon, but do exist. A female knight is referred to as “Dame [given name]”, although “M’lady” would still be acceptable.
The correct form of address for a priest of Peoni is “Ebasethe”, while an abbot of a Peonian monastery is “Pelnala”. A priest of Larani is addressed as “Matakea”.
Among the lower classes, courtesy is still the norm. Guildsmen are referred to by their rank, such as “Master” or “Journeyman”, perhaps followed by their given name or occupation (“Master Brathas” or “Journeyman Ostler”). Other men are referred to by their title if they have one, such as “Chamberlain”, or as “Goodman”, again sometimes followed by their given name or occupation (“Chamberlain Theryn” or “Goodman Farmer”). Women married to men of some influence (such as guildsmen) are referred to as “Mistress” while other married women are referred to “Goodwife”, both sometimes followed by their given name. Unmarried women and children are referred to by their given name or by a simple descriptive such as “Boy” or “Girl”.
Unless an individual’s clanhead is also the individual’s father or grandfather, the customary form of address is “Uncle”; “Alri” is used under more formal circumstances. Fellow clan members (both men and women) are often referred to as “Cousin”.
The traditional naming convention for both men and women is “[given name] al [clan name]”. “Al” means “of” or “belonging to”. Women adopt their husband’s clan name when they marry. Clanless individuals are generally pitied as they have no one to stand for them. A clanless individual (or a stranger from far away) may be referred to by a descriptive such as “Ayk the Yellow” or by a place of origin such as “Brom from Tashal”.
© Neil Thompson, heavily edited by JS.