A notable aspect of The history is that most of the people on it can trace their heritage back to very specific points in time. The Exilian trace back to the 36 Families that sought to avoid the God’s War. The Islander and Kerisian people can trace back to the 21 Families that were the 12 Islandian and 9 Triton families. The Therian peoples can track each of their sects back to the 35 families that they come from. The Kahokians can trace to the 9 Families that broke away early along the Bleak Journey. Elfin and Dwarfin peoples track to the two sets of 125 families, most lost during the war, that they came from. For most people, however, it is the four thousand, three hundred, twelve families that continued along the Bitter Road, the survivors of whom founded Sibola.
These families became Houses, and the traditions of fealty to Family, of Family Honor, of devotion and loyalty to Family, of dependence and importance of family for survival have endured to this day. All of it because of the Long Walk, the Deadly Journey, the March of Madness, The Bitter Road, the Bleak Journey; the path of sadness that followed for generations struggling to survive in a world without any of the Powers they had been fighting for.
This was then tested again, by the Skyfalls, which devastated much of the world, changing it, strengthening those bonds of family, but not always in the sense of blood; more often it was in the sense of duty, of responsibility, of compassion, of community.
In the years since those two massive cullings, many family lines have died out, and others have arisen, but ultimately everyone is part of this entire chain. There simply weren’t that many people left. Bonds of family, alliance, and dependence became essential aspects of simple survival. This also formalized the structure, in law and other ways, and so it became part of the everyday fabric – one owes one’s House a duty.
This structure created the system we see today.
Nation or Realm – A Nation is a group of Peoples and Kindreds led by a common body. There is no limit to the number of Peoples and Kindreds that make up a nation, but it is always considered to require at least three. Zefir is said to hold the Scroll of Nations, which somehow knows the relationships among all the different Clans and of what nation they are part. On the founding of Sibola, the surviving leaders of each of the Nations, formed from the leaders of the Clans, became the nobility. A Nation is how we arrive at The Seven Cities – for each realm is a Nation itself– even when that nation is not tied down such as with the more savage peoples.
Peoples – A Peoples is a collection of folks with a common Heritage. Kahokians, Exilians, Kerisians, Elfin, Dwarfin, and Hyborian Peoples all have their internal customs, and are collected under such a grouping. Peoples can sometimes be a Nation, especially among the realms outside the Bright Lands of the Empire, such as the Sea Realms, Antilia, Kahokia, or Hyboria.
A Kindred is a collection of related Houses, joined by Blood, Oath, Honor, or Debt. The Royal Families of all the Seven Cities are all part of a single Kindred, formally Usher Kindred, even though only Aztlan and Sibola are ruled by members of that House. The Great Houses all have branches among all the Seven Cities, and these form Kindreds, often acting in concert to preserve their own.
Houses – are traditionally collectives of Kiths, tied to each other by often forgotten bonds, a minimum of 10 degrees removed among the different Kiths that make it up – though direct relation is not a need. Linked often by old blood ties and entanglements forged out of surviving the Bleak Journey, working together to form and create the ties, bonds, and alliances that forge them. There will always be one House that is above the others, and that will be a Great House, with others that do not share a name, being Lesser Houses. Circles are common primarily to Aztlan but have spread into the many realms over the years. Coteries are mostly found among Qiviran and Lyonian peoples. Clans are found among the Dwarfin, Collectives among the Elfin, Sects among the Hyborians, and Hollows among the Sea Realms. Houses may also be called Circles, Syndicates, Coteries, Clans, Collectives, Sects, and Hollows.
Kith – a group of kinfolks linked by a single common ancestor pairing. Kiths are often joined together by necessity into Hamlets. Kith can go out to 9th degree relatives, up to twice removed. Traditionally, when someone strikes 10th degree of relative on both sides of their families, they form a new Family, and become part of the larger Tribe. Kiths are usually formed of not more than nine Kins, though it can depend as it is based on the relationship of the Kith’s leaders. Kiths will often share several surnames among them. They are constantly growing. Kiths are also called Halls, Broods, Communes, and Grottoes.
Kin –related familial groups Grandparents or Great Grandparents and their descendants. Kin go out to fifth degree relatives, up to twice removed. Kin generally congregate near to each other and rely on one another to the extent possible. Kin do not always get along, however. Kinfolk always share a surname. Kin can be called Posts, Hoods, Bloods, and Coves.
Family – the collective of parents and children. Families build what are called Camps – small settlements that have a distinct flavor built around a core idea of basic needs, smaller than a Steading and not really recognized by authorities. Family is important, and the expectations of a family can shape and guide an individual’s entire life. Family may also be called Vales, Squads, Tribes, and Pods.
This means that a full accounting of who someone is will generally start with their given name, their surname, their Kin, their Kith, and their House. If they are of high standing in their House, they may also include their Kindred. And this is finished off with their homeland. With some Houses being deeply tied to certain Realms, this can be quite a startling thing at times – The House of Usher is tied to Sibola, but also to Aztlan – so a Doradan Usher has a family story to tell.
Lineage is tracked through the Kith of the individual – sometimes they can choose, sometimes it is arranged for them, sometimes it is simply decided by a combination of custom and tradition. That line may be maternal or paternal or selective and varies by realm.
In all cases, though, each person on Wyrlde can trace their lineage through their family and up to their Nation. This can mean that a full naming may include each of those linkages – and among the savages of realms like Kahokia, that is the normal manner, even though within the Empire itself these things are far less formal.
Still, it is common for one to carry the names of their Kith and Kin, and to have responsibilities that derive from those relationships. This means that for some people they will have a given name, and then trace other names back through successive history.