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Old 11-10-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
The Oracles
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Default (07) Illegitimate Children

  • Variously referred to as 'illegitimate,' 'bastard,' or 'natural' children, depending on how courteous the speaker is.
  • If a noble's bastard child has been legitimized by the King, they may be allowed to use their father's surname. If not, then their surname is chosen according to the custom of the region of their birth as a clear mark of their illegitimate and lowly birth: Stone for the Westridge, Meadows for the Kingsreach, and Salt for the Southshores. Fairchild is a surname reserved for the recognized natural children of the king.

The custom of the land is that most illegitimate children will be given to an orphanage or priestly order while still very young and as such they will relinquish their rights to inherit anything, whether they are recognized or not. However, some families do choose to raise a child born on the wrong side of the sheets within the household, and in those cases the law has been established as such:

Children born out of wedlock are not in line to inherit any property from their fathers, unless the father appeals to the king to legitimize them (in the case of noblemen), or for merchants they will appeal to their local liege lord.

A nobleman may at any time choose to acknowledge his base-born children, and bring them into his household, but must appeal to the king to allow them to inherit his lands. By custom, nobles have not sought to legitimize a bastard who was not born to two noble parents except in cases of extreme necessity, where there was no other blood relative to inherit.

Royal Bastards
By ancient tradition, the kings of Edolon may (but are not obliged to) give their natural children the surname of Fairchild, as a way of distinguishing them from common bastards. At the time of the Asseryan conquest there were several families called Fairchild- most were put to the sword along with nearly all the royal family of that time, and the few families that survived the initial war were executed when the Asseryan governor sought to stamp out the Vellstayth and Vellfyre rebels. Fair- has become an extremely uncommon element in noble surnames as a result.

Socially, the acceptance of of an illegitimate child varies somewhat with each household: Some step-mothers welcome their extra charges, others resent them; some step-fathers are kind, others banish the child from the family. Some families will raise the child among them, others will send it off to the temples at once and never think of it again.

A frequent factor in considering the acceptance of an illegitimate child is who the other parent is- a knight whose lady is bearing the child of his liege lord might be well paid for his inconvenience, or a lord who impregnates the daughter of one of his more important vassals may ensure he treats both mistress and child very well to keep his vassals loyal.

If the father of the child refuses to acknowledge it, or is of inferior birth the mother is almost always forced to relinquish the baby to the gods, as there is scant chance her own family will see its existence as anything but a shame upon the entire house- in fact the mother will be lucky if the family is kind enough to put the babe with the temples instead of exposing it to the elements (This is most common in Westridge).

Some (perhaps) lucky noblewomen who find themselves pregnant may be wedded off quickly enough by their family and with large enough a dowry that their new husband won't mind a "cuckoo's baby."

An acknowledged bastard child of a noble house is generally seen as the child of their lordly father, and accorded the respect of that bloodline and position; they are simply out of the running for the inheritance. Noblemen's bastard children frequently marry other nobles and gain their own titles and even grants of lands.

In the merchant class, the more finite resources often demand the child be placed with a religious order or orphanage. For rural peasants the resources are more truly finite and exposure is often a hard but necessary choice. Urban lower classes usually have a temple nearby, or the local brothels have produced enough bastard-born children that a few more hardly seems to matter.

In Trimeris, the policies are usually in line with those of Edolon. In Meridiez, illegitimate children tend to perish in the cradle or disappear into the temples soon after birth. The sole exception in Meridiez are bastard children of the reigning emperor, whose presentation to a religious order (usually in infancy or early childhood) may become a celebration, seen as a sacrifice of royal blood back to the gods.

Legitimate Families Descended From Natural Children
If an illegitimate man gains title and lands, and has legitimate children of his own, he may take a new surname or alter it in some way (ex: Lord Edward Stone may become Lord Edward Whitestone or just make a new last name altogether). If the father does not alter his name, his legitimate children will- almost always by altering it in some way rather than just taking a new one.

Last edited by The Oracles; 11-10-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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