Brenin, formally known as the Kingdom of Brenin, is a nation in southern Aenar, located east of the Baegraf Mountains. Brenin is ruled through a feudal monarchical system, in which the king obtains his authority to rule through oaths of fealty from the other Brenton lords. Brenin is a relatively young nation, unified only 500 years ago when Edric Thallin united the warring Brenton lords under his banner in 322 AF. The kingdom was occupied by the Vahidian Empire from 536 AF to 798 AF, during which time the nation formally converted to the Faith of the Creator.
Brenton culture is dominated by a focus on individual rights, revolving around the freeholder social class. Unlike most of the other nations in Aenar, political authorty rises from the bottom, instead of resting purely from the throne.
Brenin is divided into three main social classes: peasantry, freeholders, and the nobility.
Brenton nobility provide military protection from their subjects, in exchange for the right to tax. The majority of their subjects are comprised of Brenton freeholders, who swear oaths of fealty--requiring them to pay taxes and provide military support in the event that the lord calls their bannermen. The lords also own vast tracts of land themselves, worked by the peasant class, who are granted shelter and protection for their services.
The freeholder class is made up of common Brenton who are free to own land. Every freeholder is required to swear fealty to a lord, though they may choose wnhich lord they owe allegiance to. Freeholders are able to move as they wish, though they must then swear fealty to the appropriate lord. This grants freeholders a greater level of mobility and freedom in comparison to their counterparts in other nations. Some of the more wealthy freeholders also have peasant servants who work their land for pay, which some peasants use to eventually move up into the freeholder class. Most of the nobility were originally freeholders, who were able to amass enough support to rise up into the nobility--through formal recognition by the rest of the nobility. The primary responsibilty of the freeholder class is supplying the military for the nation.
The Brenton peasantry are the poorest members of the kingdom, reliant upon the employment by freeholders or the nobility, working the land as near slaves. Peasants are tied to the land they work, with no freedom to move unless their employer releases them--usually through payment. As a result, most peasants live and die on the land they were born on, never knowing the outside world.
Only freeholders and nosbility hold true surnames. Nobles utiliize the name associated with their house, such as House Thallin--the royal family. Freeholders usually base their surname off of either their parentage--such as Rowanson--or the region their family originated from--such as Mountvale.
Peasants are not permitted the use of a proper surname, instead being referred to by the town/land they live in--such as Garren of Breninthal.
The Brenton nobles hold a large amount of power in the kingdom. Without their support, the royal family is ultimately powerless.
Within the nobility, there is still a hierarchy of titles, increasing with the level of fealty they hold. In descending order, the titles are as follows:
- Knight--a freeholder holding the fealty of a small number of other freeholders and peasants
- Lord/Lady--holding the fealty of knights, freeholders, and peasants
- Duke/Dutchess--a lord holding the fealty of surrouding lords and knights
- Archduke/Archdutchess--holding fealty of other dukes
- King/Queen--holding the fealty of all of the Brenton archdukes
The royal family, House Thallin, has held rulership of Brenin since the unification under King Edric I in 322 AF. The head of the family is the King. His direct relatives hold the title of Prince/Princess, with the heir-apparent holding the title of High Prince.
When the reigning King dies, the nobles meet in a council known as the Kingsmoot, in which the noblity either swears fealty to the High Prince or elects a new monarch, though this has only happened once in Brenin's history--during the time of the Vahidian occupation. In the event that the heir-apparent has not reached the age of maturity, 18 years, the oldest Prince may assume the role Prince-Regent, ruling in the High Prince's name until they are old enough to rule.
The Brenton legal system is rather complex in comparison to its counterparts in other nations. Disputes are settled in a manner dependent on the social ranking of the parties involved. Most local disputes are settled by the shared lord. In the event of conflicting jurisidiction, the parties rely upon the judgement of a regional magistrate. Disputes between archdukes are settled personally by the king.