The Storms of Shadow
The Great Houses
Each line of Amber ancestry traces its lineage back to the first generation, tying their right of nobility to one of the first descendents of Oberon. Nobles of the line wear the colors and heraldry of their ancestors, demonstrating their noble privilege and direct link to the throne. As one of the blood, each noble has rights and responsibilities that tie him to the kingdom..
Those who can trace their heritage to the first generation have the right to gather followers under the colors of the line to aid the noble in their pursuit of their duties to the crown. A lord or lady of Amber has a great deal of liberty in their choosing their retainers, bringing such individuals as pages, servants, cooks, merchants, tradesman, advisors, or knights under the privilege and protection of their colors. Once someone is brought into the service of a noble, her or she is under their care and protection, bringing some semblance of status and station to their position. An affront to such a retainer shows disrespect to the Noble he or she serves. In the same respect, a noble is responsible for the actions of a retainer in service to their line. Slights are often resolved through punishment or reparations agreed sufficient by both parties, but, in the most severe cases, can result in duels.
In addition to their House, each line has a heritable responsibility to the crown, tied to their line by royal tradition. Each of these duties deal with the maintenance or protection of the kingdom, and allow each noble special authority over that aspect of the realm. Duties of the line most often pass to the eldest generation, granting the inherited responsibility to a single individual even in those houses that contain multiple nobles of their particular ancestry. Although the manner in which each noble manages their ancestral duties to the kingdom differs greatly, as they are inevitably responsible for successes and failures related to it, most take a serious approach to the fulfillment of their obligations.
Nobles in Amber are not permitted to gather and house standing armies without the direct consent of the crown. Although this can be circumvented by the recruitment of individuals into one’s household and the filling of ranks associated with a noble’s ancestral duty, there are limitations put in place to prevent such from occurring. Any army assembled by Amber falls under the direct leadership of the king, each noble leading a contingent of these forces under his or her own banner.
A list of the known lines of Amber nobility are detailed below.