The Lower Noble Houses
The Empire has fallen. The Greater Nobles had become strange, complacent, stagnant. Jealousies, grudges, and past grievances between the Greater Nobles destroyed the solidarity that allowed them to manage the Empire. Only the efforts of the Lower Noble Houses have held the Empire together. Only their energy have kept the Empire strong. Following the Destruction, many Lower Noble Houses feel that now is their time to take up the mantle of leadership and power.
There were seventeen Greater Nobles who, like Gallidon, possessed strong magical powers having been somehow imbued with divine aid by Na'naat's brothers and sisters. These Greater Nobles had three times the life-span of a common man. Each founded a House. Knowledge of and training for the most powerful sorcery was tightly held by the Greater Noble Houses, each according to their Discipline.
Members of Noble Houses sometimes had children with commoners. The children of these unions often had the potential for magical abilities. These children, acknowledged or not, typically became the founders of Lower Noble Houses.
There were hundreds of Lower Noble Houses. They formed the backbone of the Empire, providing key Administrators, leadership in cities and provinces, military leaders, merchant princes, etc. Most members of the Lower Houses possess sorcerous abilities to some degree. It was among the Lower Noble Houses that politics, intrigue, spying, and occasional open warfare could often be found.
The Lower Noble Houses were also the source of new types of sorcery. Their heritage combined with their hunger and vigor encouraged experimentation in the mixing and matching of sorcerous disciplines, resulting in new abilities, strange areas of focus and occasional disasters.
Lower Noble Houses frequently had their own military to oversee their protection and lands, often with family members in positions of leadership as well as in the ranks. This gave their military the possibility of employing magic.
Any person who can cast magic is considered a Noble, but not all nobles are able to cast magic.