This will be an ongoing, stickied thread, providing an ever-expanding cast of NPCs to interact with. I will probably rearrange the order of the posts from time to time, to keep the most obvious things grouped together. [Note: this thread is still in the process of being updated to reflect recent changes. Those threads that contain outdated information—no matter how little—are labeled in red. Others have either been updated or are unlikely to change significantly (such as the ones concerning past emperors).] CONTENTS: This post: miscellaneous fixtures at court—including some in continuous attendance at "the Perpetual Ball" (see that thread). [current] #2: The Great Officers, Legates, and Privy Council [current] #3: Dukes and Duchesses, Marquises and Marchionesses, part 1 [current] #4: Dukes and Duchesses, Marquises and Marchionesses, part 2 [current] #5: Dukes and Duchesses, Marquises and Marchionesses, part 3 [current] #6: The Emperors and their Elections, part 1 [current] #7: The Emperors and their Elections, part 2 [current] #8: A Few Persons of Importance from the Kingdoms, part 1 #9: A Few Persons of Importance from the Kingdoms, part 2 #10: Heads of the Princely Lines [current] #11: Governors [current] ••• SOME PEOPLE YOU MIGHT RUN INTO AT COURT Farad of Szentylim, Pursuivant Instructor to the Imperial Palace Heralds The unenlightened tend to equate “pursuivant” with “herald.” Here’s the difference: heralds are the ones with loud voices. Pursuivants are the ones who keep track of heraldry—the coats of arms of all the nobles of the empire, and even a few places beyond. Of course, in order for heralds to be able to do all that announcing they do, they need to be able to recognize all those devices. Farad’s job is to teach them this skill. Which means he may not know you by your face, but he’s almost certain to recognize your banner or signet ring. Oh: he also happens to have a loud voice. But that has little to do with his job… unless you’re under his tutelage, and make a mistake. You can be sure that not only you but a good portion of the rest of the palace will hear about it. Heveric, Prince Royal, Maritsa Line What do you do when you’re a prince with a silver mine on your lands and no responsibilities whatsoever? Heveric addressed this problem by becoming a clothes horse. While it’s not true that he never wears the same item twice, it is true that he never wears the same complete outfit twice—and he has a secretary whose sole duty it is to record each combination to make sure there are no mistakes. The problem is that Heveric’s taste is execrable: one day he might appear in fine silk brocades, the next in a yak’s-hair toga… what does he care, so long as no one else is wearing what he is? (This specific juxtaposition did in fact occur; mercifully, the toga was retired after a single appearance.) Nevertheless, he is often looked to, at least by sycophants and hangers-on at court, as an indication of fashion, since any new trend will appear on his body before it does on anyone else’s; and he does work through variations on a theme, for as long as he can come up with novel ones. At present this sees him, and his followers, wearing trousers that widen as they descend to the ankle—a style the prince has dubbed “tocsin-bottoms”—and suede jackets or vests; all else changes from day to day. Those who claim the Maritsa line is growing decadent generally look no farther than this for their example. To the astonishment of everyone in the Empire, Heveric has recently become engaged to be married… to Baroness-Elect Sigrelyn of House Drachteving, daughter and heir of Siguving, Duchess of Sjaermund (a woman whose reputation for holding daunting expectations regarding would-be suitors for her daughter is only slightly less than her reputation for caber-juggling). Near-unanimous court rumor holds that Heveric intends to personally design the clothes the bride and groom are to wear. No word yet on which role he intends for which participant. Leina, Countess of Fendrichsvegn The only times she’s been back to her fief since she was confirmed in it have been when an Imperial Progress passed through: she sent her husband home as quickly as she could decently arrange, and has remained at court ever since. Which is not to say that she doesn’t have a handle on the affairs of her fief, just that she’s not interested in being there. If there’s court gossip, she’s either heard it or started it herself. Is rumored to keep two journals, one titled “Who’s Who” and the other “Who Cares?” Be sure your name appears in the appropriate one. Manchovar, Prince Royal, Maritsa Line The imperial court’s foremost doddering old fool. A veritable font of information for those who know how to approach him… which usually consists of just lending your time and ear. He is also noted for the elegance of his handwriting—just as well, as his letters exceed even his conversations in length. Is the only one of the Last Emperor’s grandchildren still living. Mernich, Viscount of Radaborn, Metropolitan of Efvingsthal In a society that technically lacks organized religion, this is about as powerful as it gets among ecclesiastics. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a viscount, though he leaves management of his fief almost entirely to others… though the same could be said about his see. Most of his time and effort go into making religion more of an organized, powerful factor. Segyert the Blind, Stationer Major of the Imperial Post If you’ve ever wondered why your letter to the emperor went unanswered, this man might be the reason. Yes, he really is blind. And yes, he’s in charge of directing mail going in and out of the palaces. No, his blindness wasn’t viewed by the emperor as a convenient excuse for misdirected and lost mail: the emperor has several well-paid minions without titles—but with excellent eyesight—who handle that for him. Segyert, who lost his own vision in the process of gaining the seniority that got him his position, has his own share of assistants who tell him what address a missive bears, and the seal of its sender… based on which, he decides if it deserves to arrive at its intended destination. Serifet, Princess Royal, Line of Erchevold-Ravensthal You would think that the palace would be a perfect place to look for princes and princesses, but in fact most of them spend most of their time in their own lands (or at least those of close relatives). This is even more true of the ones from the emperor’s own line than the others. Serifet, a second cousin of Emperor Nikovar, is one of the exceptions. She has been keeping herself, and her ten-year-old son, close to the center of power for the past several years. Whether this is because she has no power of her own, or because she prefers the food there, no one is quite certain. Timiseta, Marchioness Dowager of Cantrescu A loveless marriage made for politics—her father’s—left her on this side of the fence; her husband’s death some years past left her pretty much free to do as she pleases. Right now, it pleases her to hang about court and run up extravagant expenses. She and her son, the current Marquis, have as little to do with one another as they can possibly manage. Rumor has it she still has contacts in “the old country” (the Kingdom of Kerezney)… and given her present bitterness about the diminishment of her son’s march (and thus her spending allowance), it’s likely she’s busy strengthening those links. Tulgrid, Princess Royal, Line of Helderau The 27-year-old princess has been spending increasing amounts of time at the palaces recently. Some say it’s in order to secure eventual preferment for her two children, though neither is particularly close to coming of age just yet. Others speculate she’s her aunt Princess-Regnant Ilda’s new chief spy at court, following the somewhat abrupt death of the previous suspected holder of that position a couple years ago. If she’s anything like her great-grandmother namesake (those who knew the former say she is) or her empress grandmother (perhaps not quite as much), or for that matter any of the women of her line, she’ll prove a formidable force to reckon with in years to come. Widigern, Deputy Supervisor of Imperial Housekeeping for Hearths and Chimneys Some times, it’s not friends in high places, it’s friends in the right places. Widigern is the third man on the totem pole when it comes to chimney sweeps and charwomen in the imperial palaces… and everyone who resides at the palace, or even stays overnight, has a hearthplace, so his employees get into even more places than those of most of his peers. And since he’s probably a decade away from being promoted to Vice-Supervisor of Imperial Housekeeping for Hearths and Chimneys, never mind Supervisor of etc., and since it would require a mid-sized massacre of upper management for him to make it to Supervisor Superior of Housekeeping, he needs to find alternative channels if he wants to see advancement.