za3k > aldenmarsh > party > aldish nobility (lore)
Aldish nobility are old and have been entrenched for hundreds of years. They are a rich elite who don't work. They have their own complex and exclusionary society, with a focus on "being cultured", education, and virtue (with of course the usual display of wealth).
The nobility run the countryside, enforcing the laws and settling local matters, while the Church tends to handle Canyonport. Since the end of the royal line in 254 (King Johann II), Aldenmarsh has been ruled by a council, and the Church has been gaining power. While individual noble families remain rich and secure, the political power of nobility as a whole is much reduced. The noblity generally are of aware of the state of affairs but act like nothing has changed--they focus on competition between families instead.
Aldenmarsh nobility are the cultural root of the entire Magic Sea.
Flavor: Commoners are non-entities in noble culture. Noble status is about showing you are cultured (educated), civilized, virtuous, and rich. High culture is about subtlety--ideally you should display virtue, or snub people, in a way where only cultured listeners will notice.
Plants: "Gardeners" instill moral values. Gardens are a sign of wealth, but also a sign of culture. A more elaborate "language of flowers" is in use by the nobility everywhere--it's used not only to convey subtle messages, but to "enlighten" moral virtues, like medieval alchemy. A lot of Aldish culture, low and high, focuses around plants and gardening. Higher culture and political language uses plant metaphors, the same way earth culture uses sports and sailing metaphors ("where this company is headed" might become "how this company is tended", or "we can play ball with..." might become "we can share our garden with...").
High/Higher culture examples:
Fashion: Aldenmarsh noble fashions do not shift as drastically as the rest of the world--styles might change from low cuts to high once every year or two, but more subtle changes are still frequent and studied. Noble fashion is adopted by mechants and government officials, and so on trickling down. Fashions for men and women are different, but robes are common for both. Noble fashions tend to show wealth through craftsmanship and upkeep costs (things like walking barefoot with clean feet, or wearing long white dresses and robes).
The current noble fashion is to wear long, sleeveless robes down to just above the feet, elaborately folded by servants from three wide bolts. The wealthiest wear the robe to the ground, with a short train. Dresses are also popular with women. Fine, palely patterned silks which use expensive dyes are the height of status. Less wealthy nobility wears equally fine solid colors in pale shades. The particular cloths which are in fashion change week to week. Insect hair pins and cloth ties are the accent of choice--they will be elaborately cut from cheap crystals like pale quartz, and rubbed to a matte finish. Brighter sashes to accent robes recently went out of style.
Foreign culture: Aldenmarsh nobility see themselves as the cultural pinnacle of the world--foreign customs are only of academic interest, are are treated as gossip or trivia. Any foreign cultural influence such as foods, clothing, or customs--is loudly decried (this viewpoint is shared by commoners). Aldish nobility may participate in foreign customs while travelingto be polite, but usually with well-hidden distaste. Foreign books are fine but literary works are not met with interest.
Virtues: Nobility are well-versed in the seven cultured virtues. Nobility may chose to pick auspicious days for parties. Aldenmarsh commoners ignore the days of the week except for Light and Family (the week-end). A noble family get-together would be on Family, while one for society as a whole would be on Loyalty to flatter invitees.
Commoners: Noble culture is mostly about other nobles. Non-nobility are nonentities.
Foreigners: Aldenmarsh nobility has blood ties with the nobility of surrounding regions, and they respect neighboring nobles. Their attitude toward foreign commoners is xenophobia similar to the rest of the nation--disinterest in foreigners outside the border, and distrust of those inside it.
Church: Aldenmarsh nobility are devout (at least outwardly). They love Baneth, but relationships with the Church as a political institution vary, and can be tense. The Church essentially took power from the royal line and nobility, even if they are seen as a moral good.