Before The Pact
, a (rather chaotic) set of local representatives were responsible for the land magic in their area. This changed back and forth due to various invasions, battles, political realignments, epidemics, and everything else that might happen in history.
During the Plantagenet dynasty (1154 to 1485), this slowly settled into a series of Lords (and some Ladies) who took on responsibility for particular areas of land.
The King was responsible for the land magic of the country as a whole. (During this period, there were no independently ruling queens). Often they might designate their queen or a close relative (a brother, son, uncle) to tend to the land obligations if they were away from England for an extended period.
mentions in The Hare and the Oak
, "There are extensive academic articles about the degree to which Eleanor of Aquitaine took on that role for either her second husband or Richard Lionheart. And there’s rather a lot of debate about Margaret d’Anjou.”)
If you're wondering how the divine right of kingship fits into the magic of Albion, this would be it. It's not so much divine right, as the fact that a familial connection makes it easier to pick up the land magic connections once they're established, due to a variety of complex network effects.
At the time of the Pact, the Council
took over responsibility for the land magic previously held by the king (or his chosen designate), as well as taking on the responsibility for enforcing the Pact itself.
Over time, this has developed into twice yearly realignment rituals (at the summer and winter solstices), as well as a wide range of rituals, techniques, theoretical, and practical approaches for dealing with issues that come up.
Roughly speaking, there are two Lords or Ladies of the land for each of the historical counties under the Norman Invasion, plus those for Wales and Scotland, for about 100 at any given time. However, these are somewhat fuzzy guidelines, adapted over time for a wide variety of reasons.
Most commonly, it is a Lord of the land, because women are more likely to marry away from the land they were born on, but there are some women who are Ladies of the land in their own right, rather than through marriage. (Lady Jenifry Alton, seen in Sailor's Jewel
and The Hare and the Oak
, is an example.) Women who marry a Lord (or whose husband becomes the Lord) take the title of Lady as well.
is Lord over the north half of the New Forest (someone else holds the south). Richard Edgarton
has obligations for about half of Kent. Suffolk (as discussed in The Hare and the Oak
has three areas: one near Ipswich, one up to the northwest, and Dunwich
covering the area around the school itself. (Heads of the Five Schools act as the Lord or Lady for their respective school, with all the obligations and rights thereof.)
Normally, someone will be appointed as Heir a good while before they are likely to inherit. The most conventional method is that the Lord (or Lady) has a child, and between the age of 11 and 18, they'll be declared as Heir (depending on the family circumstances, traditions, and the child's own inclinations and magic.) If there is no suitable child (for whatever reason), then the title may pass down a cadet line of the family (people familiar with the family properties and magics), or through a younger sibling.
(For example, Garin Fortier, current Lord of Arundel, does not have children with his wife Livia. Therefore, his brother Isembard
is his heir, and the title and land obligations will pass down through Isembard and Thesan
Lord (and Lady) are titles that are treated as titles of profession, like Guard ranks, Professor, or Healer - they attach to the person's existing surname. In some cases someone may choose to take a new or hyphenated surname when they take the title. (It is not that uncommon for Lords or Ladies of the land to also hold non-magical titles, and those follow the conventional aristocratic naming forms, where the surname and the title name are different.) See Titles and forms of address
for more details.
(Those specifically focused on so far.)
(Lords, ladies, heirs, and others.)
These vary rather widely from place to place, both in terms of dates and in terms of what happens at them. (If you have ever delved into local folklore customs for different parts of the British Isles, you understand why I say this.)
It's fairly common to have some sort of ritual on or around the following dates, but a given Lord or Lady or area may have additional dates (particular notable agricultural events, saints days), variations, extended periods of celebration or reflection.
- Spring equinox
- May Day (May 1st)
- Summer solstice
- Winter solstice
Most of the land magic rituals have a more personal aspect (done by the Lord or Lady somewhere on their immediate land or estate) as well as a more community focused ritual. You can see some of the True Eyeworth celebrations in the New Forest in Outcrossing
and Ancient Trust
(the latter has some of Geoffrey Carillon
's more personal rituals, as well.)