As is true in many places, there are a wide variety of titles and forms of address in use in Abion. Many of these have to do either with earned expertise or the oaths or commitments someone has taken on (related to their profession, the land magic, or other areas of life.)
Albion's society tends to run a little less formally than non-magical society: people who are peers in a given situation may switch to first names or nicknames relatively quickly. (This may or may not be because there are number of common family names in play in Albion, and it just plain gets confusing.)
Master and Mistress
are the common forms of address used for an adult past apprenticeship in Albion, and neither of them particularly indicate marital status. Mister, Mrs, and Miss
are all used as well, sometimes interchangably, sometimes in a subtle form of social heirarchy. (And these three may be used more regularly with people who either didn't formally apprentice or who are still apprenticed.)
As is generally true in the 1920s, most women take their husband's name on marriage. Women who have established themselves professionally prior to marriage may keep their maiden name or use one name professionally and the other socially. (Thesan
is Magistra Thesan Wain or Professor Wain professionally, and Mistress Fortier socially, for example, following her marriage.)
Those who have demonstrated mastery in their fields may use the terms Magister
instead of Master and Mistress.
The customs for address for staff in service in large households usually follow the norms for other staff in service in non-magical households (since they may mix and mingle in some circumstances, run into each other at a market day, etc.)
- Butler: Mr Lastname
- Housekeeper: Mrs Lastname
- Valet and Lady's maid: Last name (their employer) or Mr or Miss Lastname (others)
- Footmen and housemaids: First name.
Some households still keep to the habit of referring to visiting valets and lady's maids by the last name of their employer, though this has come to be a bit old-fashioned by the 1920s.
At home, children are usually referred to by their first name or nickname.
The Five Schools refer to students by last name while in classes or other structured activities, with appropriate disambiguation as needed. (See the many student references in Eclipse
). In private during individual tutoring or with staff who have some other connection to a student, adults may swap to first names or nicknames. (See Isembard
and Orion and Claudio in Eclipse
Children and young adults may use Aunt and Uncle
for adults close to the family regardless of direct relationship, or may use another term of respect appropriate to the situation. Master or Mistress Firstname
are quite common in situations where Uncle and Aunt are a little too intimate.
When someone takes on the land magic oaths, they add Lord or Lady
to their familial surname. (This is contrary to the custom in British titles, where the name that goes with the title and the surname are different.) People may choose to take a new surname when they make their oaths as Lord or Lady, and that is sometimes done if there's a combination of family lines or other reason to make the connections more or less explicit.
The custom developed for a variety of reasons, but has been pretty solid since the 1600s. It began due to some underlying principles of name magic and oaths, particularly the Old English etymology of Lord as "one who guards the loaves" and Lady as "loaf-kneader".
However, this also serves to differentiate more easily between magical titles (which come with oathed obligations, and where someone holds only one) and non-magical ones (where someone might hold several different titles simultaneously). For people who hold both magical and non-magical titles, the form of address can be very helpful in knowing how to respond.
Women who marry a Lord of the land or a likely heir generally make their decisions about which name they use at marriage, but it is possible to make adjustments when their husband takes on the land magic obligations. A Lady of the land in her own right generally keeps her maiden name and her husband takes her surname on marriage.
and the Penelopes
both use the name of the role as a general title. This means "Guard Lastname" or "Penelope Lastname" as defaults, though of course it is more correct to use the approriate rank for Guard Captains and above.
"Penelope Lastname" does cause a fair bit of hilarity when used regularly in conversation, and so the Penelopes are more likely to swap to either first or last names on their own (depending on the situation) faster than some other professions. Also, they tend to be more informal about a number of social conventions overall, so why should names be any different?
"Apprentice Lastname" is a common form of address for apprentices, epecially around others outside the apprenticeship household or shop. Informally, they're addressed by first name or nickname.
Apprentices address their apprentice master or apprentice mistress as Master or Mistress Firstname or first name alone, depending on preference.
Teachers of children under the age of 13 may use Teacher
as a title, or Master or Mistress
as they prefer.
Teachers at the Five Schools are routinely referred to as Professor
(in recognition of the fact they are professed experts in their chosen fields, and are sharing that knowledge with others.) Teachers of related subjects (Trivium classes, for example) are more commonly referred to as Master or Mistress.
Healers are routinely Healer
with their last name, in recognition of the oaths they have made. (And generally, the capital letter H in Healer is used to refer to them.)
Oathsworn priests and priestesses take a new name at the time of their oath, becoming Healer Firstname Deityname,
as a recognition that the focus of their commitments has shifted away from their family of origin or marriage. (See Rhoe Belisama
, who began life as Alexandra Smythe-Clive.)
Nurses are most formally Therapeutes Lastname
(for a nurse in general), or Sister Firstname
(or Brother, though that's less common) for a oathed nurse in charge of one or more wards. Informally, "Nurse Lastname" is widely used. The Temple of Healing
also has its own rather arcane series of titles, mostly Latinate, and few people outside that particular system understand what they all are.