Traditionally, vampires go by their middle name instead of their first. Nobody knows when or why this developed, but it remains the most well-known factor of vampire tradition across Sarvannia. Probably the next most well-known factor would be their gender roles. The females are considered ladies and therefore are not permitted to fight, whereas the males are expected to become warriors and therefore will start their training at a very young age. Within a coven loyalty is more than expected within their traditions; it is required if not demanded of them. This requirement is so strong that all warriors swear loyalty to their coven the second they officially become warriors. Anything less can and will result in banishment from that coven. This can also result in dishonor for that warrior, a mark that can haunt them for life.
The eldest honorable warrior within a family or household is by default their head warrior or protector, sometimes referred to as the head lord. The only exception to this would be a coven’s Head Warrior. Within each coven, the Head Warrior is chosen by the Coven Leader, sometimes referred to as the Head Lady, and unless circumstances state otherwise they will remain the Head Warrior until the coven’s leadership changes. Because of this it is not unusual for the Head Warrior to be related if not married to the Coven Leader.
Regardless of any relational ties the Head Warrior might have with the Coven Leader, the head lord of the Coven Leader’s personal family unit traditionally will become the Head Lord of that coven. Because of this, the title of Head Lord within that coven will change as the head lord of the Coven Leader’s personal family unit changes. If by chance the Coven Leader has no head lord within their personal family unit, then the title of Head Lord within that coven will default onto the Head Warrior. While the Coven Leader is traditionally chosen and passed down through the choice of either the previous Coven Leader or the majority vote of that coven, The Count and The Countess will always be the Head Lord and Head Lady of their coven regardless if they are related in any way. Despite how they are chosen, tradition demands there always be a head warrior and a head lady within every household or coven, two individuals working together to ensure the household or coven is protected and cared for.
Due to being the dominant sex as well as the protector, the head warrior within a family or household, or the Head Lord in the case of a coven, is addressed first. This not only shows respect but is a sign of honor, meaning you have no intention of bringing any harm to their family, household, or coven. It is a silent way of saying if there is a conflict it will go no farther than the head warrior or Head Lord at that time. Despite this understanding, it is the head warrior’s or Head Lord’s job to decide if the sign of honor is genuine. If it is not they have not only the right but a duty to ensure that person is removed from their presence immediately. On the other hand, if it is genuine then the head warrior or Head Lord has the duty to introduce the head lady of their family, household, or coven.
This introduction is a sign of trust, but acceptance can only come from the head lady due to them being the actual head of that family, household, or coven. To gain this you must show that you respect them as the head of their family, household, or coven either through their traditional ways or The Code of Honor. The best way to start is by dealing strictly with the head lady while at the same time silently respecting their protector. The head lady can then decide to either accept or shun them. Once accepted the person is considered friend, but if they are shunned the head warrior or Head Lord has the duty to remove them from their family, household, or coven immediately regardless of their personal feelings. The only other time the power shifts back to the head warrior or Head Lord is if there is danger, especially if it is aimed at the ladies or children of the family, household, or coven.
This social structure is especially evident when entering or exiting a carriage and when the family or household is introduced to either another family or household, or the Head Lord and Head Lady of a coven. When entering a carriage the order is as follows: vampire women and children from upper class to lower class, vampire warriors from upper class to lower class, women and children of other species from upper class to lower class, warriors of other species from upper class to lower class, and lastly the servants. When exiting a carriage, this order is reversed. Women and children sit the farthest from the carriage door, with the vampire women and children on the side closest to the driver. The warriors sit next to them, with the vampire warriors on the side closest to the driver, and the servants sit closest to the door.
In the case there are only vampires and servants, the servant will sit across from the vampires, on the side farthest from the driver. In the case there are no warriors with the women and children, the children are the farthest from the door and a servant must go with them so they can sit between them and the door. In the case there is no servant, the warrior will sit closest to the door. It is believed that it is better that a replaceable servant, a non-vampire, or even a warrior die protecting the vampire women and children, thereby giving them a chance to escape, then for the women to fight. The one opening the carriage door must be male and is to stand next to the door, offering the females assistance into or out of the carriage and giving a partial bow to the men as a sign of respect regardless of species, class, or status. Servants are to stand across from the opened door and the male who opened it.
When walking or standing as a household or group, which is usually reserved for formal occasions or any special circumstances that require either high respect or the presenting of class and social status within that household or group, your species, class, and social status plays a big role in where you stand. The head vampire lady and warrior of that household or, in the case of a multi-household group, the head vampire lady and warrior of the highest class and status walk in front with the female to the right of the warrior. The next highest vampire lady and warrior in class and status within that household, this is usually the eldest son and/or daughter or the eldest married child and their spouse, are directly behind their household’s head lady and warrior, lady behind lady and warrior behind warrior. All others within that household line up behind them in this same fashion, from highest to lowest in class and status with all vampires first and the non-vampires second. In the case of a multi-household group, each household is grouped and also lined up from highest to lowest in class and status. Then the non-vampires line up behind the vampires in this same order.
All children under the age of five stay with their mother and are usually held, unless they are too big or heavy to carry. In this case the mother will hold their left hand. Servants walk to the side of the group, female servants to the left by the warriors and male servants to the right by the ladies and children. The first or head servant of each gender from the household of the head warrior and lady is in front, standing just behind and to the side of the head warrior and lady. Then the rest of the servants of that household file back behind them from highest to lowest in status regardless of age, though the younger ones are usually the lowest in status simply because of their limited abilities. In the case of a multi-household group, the first or head servant of each gender within each respective household are to stand directly behind and to the side of their respective head warrior and lady, with the rest of the servants of that respective household lined up behind them from highest to lowest in status.
When there is a vampire in the household who is either of equal status, highly honored, or an heir (like the future Count or Countess for example) then when the household is standing that person is to step up to stand to the immediate left of the head lady or warrior, warrior next to warrior and lady next to lady. This is a position of the greatest honor when not the head warrior or head lady of the household, as it signifies your status within that household is comparable, if not equal, to the head warrior or head lady. When standing, servants are to step a little farther away so they are visibly separated from the household, thereby reinforcing their servant status within the household.
A person’s status within a family or household is determined by three factors. The first and most obvious is their age. The older you are the more experienced and wiser you are, thereby giving you more status. The next is your class as you are born with it. Which class you are born into reflects your physical and magical capabilities, therefore the higher your class the higher your status. This is also where vampire verses non-vampire comes into play, as a non-vampire is equivalent to no class within the vampire community and therefore results in a status below the lowest ranked vampire but above the highest ranked servant.
The last factor is the status you were born into verses the status of your mate. This can get rather tricky as many aspects are involved. For example, a vampire with a vampire mate will always be ranked higher than a vampire with a non-vampire mate regardless of the vampire’s class. In the case the vampire has a vampire mate the one with the higher class determines the general status of the couple, than the one with the lower status determines their exact rank within that status. As mentioned before, the one factor that trumps this is if the vampire is mated to a non-vampire. In this case the non-vampire’s extremely low status comes first and only then is the vampire’s class considered.
Finally, servants always have the lowest status, not to mention they are always non-vampires. This is why they stand and walk apart from their household as well as on the opposite side as the rest of their respective gender, as it clearly separates them from having any say or status. They also cannot have children unless given permission. If a female servant does become pregnant without permission they will be forced to have an abortion unless the head lady of their household or coven decides otherwise. Afterwards, the head lady can even order the servant to be severely punished for their disrespect.