The richest individuals of Zekiran society are titled High-Holders, and
are traditionally referred to by anyone, including members of their own
ranks, as High Master or High Mistress. They have every right of ownership,
literally owning the ground below their home and the air above it. Violating
airspace is punishable. They alone are allowed to choose where they will
buy their first Land Hold when they come of age to do so, otherwise those
buying into Land must buy in their Homeland.
High Holders may Own human stock, freely Bond anyone other than another
High Holder or High Owner (when available), and hold office as rulers.
They must be voted in, however, by others of their status. They are rated
as a percentage, ie: an individual may own 1% of the total land in a certain
area, making them the Highest Holder there. (By law, no one individual
may own more than 2% of any area. They must divest before this happens,
or be forced to. This is so unlikely to occur anywhere until perhaps the
year 20k or more because of their slow population growth, it is far more
likely that their lands may be re-evaluated overall for Unit Size, see
the Holdings section for that information.) More men than women are High-Holders
(about 60%). There are complex laws about who can become a High Holder,
it's a matter of money, land and style. Usually Owners retitle up to High
Holder, but Membayar often do and even Free Land Holders may. Before 10500
there are considerable numbers of Owners who are attempting to make a
new Status, that of High Owner, representing how many Slaves they have
as opposed to the value of the Land they currently must own to become
a High Holder. After that date, most Lands have voted this into effect
and Owners in droves move to High Owner instead.
The High Holder's insignia consists of a vertical line with a star atop
it. Earthly equivalent to High Holders might include presidents, rulers
of most kinds, CEO's of large companies, religious leaders.
The cream of the crop, the richest of the rich, best of the best. Or
so they'd like to believe. High Holders must work in politics, or at least
work around them. They fill the final official niche of Zekiran society,
those who rule and dominate the other classes with impunity.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
High Holders come in several flavors. Those who are born to their families
in riches and comfort, those who work to gain their Status by building
money and lands, and those who accidentally come upon it by getting too
rich too quickly.
The "accidental" High Master could be anyone from Free Land
Holder on up, who assembles for themself a set of Holds worth more than
600 Units. That could mean something as small as a 10 Unit mine operation
in Anilis that suddenly hits a vein of precious metal and gets re-evaluated
into a 200 Unit value, or anything of that sort. It is most often the
case that the Land Master doesn't really see it coming, perhaps their
Steed farm is blossoming out of control with profits and they're too taken
with the grand people attending it to realize that they're sitting on
a furred and feathered gold mine. In any case, once that 600 Unit limit
is passed, they're a High Holder.
Those who work toward that goal have things a bit easier. They know that
they're in for Owning Stock and doing Bonding if they aren't already.
They probably know they're going to be up for elections locally or world
wide. Perhaps they've been spending their lives working toward this goal.
It's a pity they rarely last in that world. The politics tend to kill
them. The Stock is often annoyed at the pretentious nature of their Lord.
Anger and resentment come in all colors on Zekira, and the fastest way
to fame around there is to get gutted by a more famous enemy.
But for those born into the world of High Holding, it is a breeze. Their
early life more mirrors that of a Membayar, for many High Holders would
consider themselves Bond agents before Owners, hence the High Owner category.
There had been almost as many High Holders who also latched on to that
Status when it became available, those who were Owners at heart.
Often sent to school with Membayar children or their privately tutored
Breeder friends, High Masters simply get more than the rest. Their education
might rival the time or money invested in Breeding, and is far less specialized
than theirs. If they have been Bred for it, they are also privately taught
to use their abilities if they have surfaced before puberty. At their
exam stage, which a High Master may take any time they feel ready, it
is filled with questions about laws, regulations, math, history and politics,
much more like a college entrance exam than the simple general education
degree of the other Status'. People often have trouble passing this exam
outside of having this learning as a child.
The new High Master is given not only one Unit to play with, they are
offered at least one Unit. They get one Percent of their parents' combined
worth in Units, and they may choose to take it either anywhere their parents
have Holds, or just select a place for it around the world. They are the
only Status to be allowed that choice.
When they take it near their parents' Holds, it is often to the point
of simply "buying in" to their estate or mansion. In essence,
it makes their Inheritance an absolutely certain thing. Each of Mirage's
many children had the option of getting a portion of her famous Telva
Mansion, and by the time they have all faded into infamy nearly every
room in the place had a name plate on it for who Inherited it. When a
High Master takes a new Hold, they rarely sell it off, preferring to use
it as their new base of operations. Be it deeply in the Nuris wilderness
or in the heart of Tenet, when a new High Holder comes into place, they
set up in style.
Naturally born and bred High Holders have an ease about them, a grace
and certain sense of built-in style which even some of their custom Bred
friends cannot emulate. Their wealth comes from a prowess in business
and politics which the best Owner can't duplicate.
The business of politics is a hard one, and one that High Masters take
on either with great ease or with terror. Some like the pressure of the
endless hours in meetings and local judiciary sessions, voting on their
favorite twisted little laws, stalking their enemies. Some, however, either
fail miserably at it or are set up from the start to fall. Unless they
have an enemy in the local area, these folks would simply be laughed out
of office before they could do any damage - or good. As mentioned elsewhere
in the laws and politics section, politics on Zekira do weed out the weak
or naive, and certainly destroys ones faith in the system.
High Holders represent all people in their Area or even their Land when
they are in politics, and they must actually present some vaguely accurate
picture of their wants and needs, or else they will be voted out of office.
That itself is a difficult matter, but it can and has been done. The process
of Zekiran politics is still basically a democratic one, however it is
wrought with payoffs, assassinations, and outright fraud. Those honest
High Masters who want to do something about that whole mess ought to surround
themselves with carefully placed and completely trustable body guards,
and make sure their enemies aren't closer than they think.
Other businesses which High Masters throng to is Bonding agencies and
high cultural events such as race and show Steeding and betting, artistic
pursuits like photography (behind the camera) or modeling (in front of
the cameras) and video/music. Land dealing, hunt organizations, exploration
and construction widen the whole range of land use in the world and most
are done by High Holders. Law and Judiciary practices are common, as well
as organized crime, spy rings, and high tech espionage.
In whatever fashion, the High Master works toward their goals, and in
fact has goals unlike their other equitable brethren. A High Holder without
an agenda to fill is no High Holder. They're Membayar, or worse, an Owner.
Very few High Holders ever want to divest their Holdings down to another
lower Status. Some must, because of debts or accidents, or just their
lifestyle doesn't fit in with their needs or ability. It is becoming fashionable
for those who are able to dual-Status with Animal Mastery or Breeding
just to get in with either crowd more firmly. Many of these are Bred individuals,
of course, rather than those who were naturally bred.
High Holders and High Owners start to look more similar only when their
genes are examined. The farther out their genes appear, the more likely
they are one of those two Status. High Holders tend to marry other High
Holders, or Suzerain, or Breeders. Some of them even stay married for
more than twenty years at a time! But like most high-speed Status, those
with a lifestyle which moves and shakes often cannot handle a permanent
relationship and even the wonderfully - and justifiably - famous Mirage
was only married to Aeroch for a few years, and not at all to the father
of her other favored children Myst and Sabre. Children of High Holders
are cared for by their mother first, when they are not a married pair,
and then often given over to dad when the time is right or if they seem
able to do whatever he does for a living. Most often both High Holder
parents love their offspring - with a higher rate of success than their
Owner friends. And with a slightly lower incidence of patricide. Slightly
Most High Holders who are fertile are approached first by Breeders, over
anyone else. Also, most of them who agree are donor parents, not full
parents. Those children are told of their heritage, but not always allowed
to live with them. It's a matter of proportion: if they are fully High
Holder, usually those kids are raised like one.
There are exceptions, one of course named Ten...
High Holders find that retirement is easy for them if they've got more
than one Hold. Many times, they will sell off their other or less Inheritable
investments and live in luxury in one locale in their long years, but
sometimes they still flit from estate to estate until they cannot any
longer. When Inheritances must be divided up, there are usually twice
the number of their actual children there: the kids, and their lawyers.
Disputes are fairly common, however they peak out at both more and less
bloody with far less middle ground than Membayar or even Owners. The fights
over who gets what can last decades, or they can simply be accepted by
everyone present without comment. It really depends on what kind of person
the High Master really was when they died.
High Holder Sourcebook
Oh, the life of a High
Holder. The endless parties, wine and dancing, racing and betting. Hobnobbing. Haggling. The
High Life. The assassinations. The letter bombs. The poisonings. The
In other words: the politics.
High Holders are not always politicians, many of them manage to avoid
running for office. Then there are those who do not. Who thrive
in the political arena and who can turn a failed assassination attempt
into votes. Rather like fertilizer turns barren land into wheatfields.
Those born into their Holdings are often considered the luckiest people
on the planet. They are offered the best education, have the finest
lands to Hold right from the start. They are also taught from the
start that they are the cream of the crop. To maintain that image
they are pushed, prodded, and often threatened into their Status by their
eager relatives. They don't want to be let down. Often, those
elders want to be shown up - if they can outlive their younger relatives
they stand to Inherit too!
Those who had to climb the ladder of finances to reach High Mastery cling
to their position with a fevered hand. If they did not come from
a wealthy background they may be found looking over their shoulder constantly
(what good Holder doesn't?) and if they have found something worth investing
in they are often found with a knife in that shoulder.
As mentioned before, any Holding worth more than 600 units gets you in.
This can be in one place (highly unlikely unless in the wilderness or
a really kickass mansion) or as more usual, scattered around different
Lands and Areas. It is always possible to have more than one Hold
in a single City, many people do. High Holders who are born into
their Status may choose to take their first Hold from either of their
parents (if they are both High Holders) or to just cast about for their
own place. Young rebellious Zekirans have started doing this more
often, finding a simple house or even a dorm or apartment somewhere near
their disreputable friends in a heavy urban zone.
After that inheritance, however, the young High Holder is on their own.
They have to actually support themself in society - sure they can keep
relying on mom and dad or whoever, but eventually that inheritance is
going to run out and then...
Then they'll have to work for a living.
Work for a High Master is often taken in fields considered exotic by most
normal folk. Racers, explorers, models and video personalities,
all these things are clearly top-quality jobs and not often performed
by lower Status people. Besides, once you begin exploring - even
as a Free Worker - you quickly gain respect and Land Holds. That
leads to High Holding anyway.
Perhaps certain people are just cut out for it.
If you are (or even if you aren't) one of those people, here are some
simple guidelines for roleplaying a High Holder. Now, don't be intimidated,
some of the instructions might be a little complex but if you’re
a good High Master, you should be able to ease into them quickly and completely.
How to Find Land for Your New Hold
Hold a party. Invite people from that Area and see which ones suit
your needs. Flirt. Get a map.
Alternately: invite Free Land Holders too.
How to Choose a Mate
Hold a party. See who shows up. Flirt. The one who impresses
you the most (or most often) wins.
Alternately: go to your Breeder's party. See who they asked to show
up. Flirt. Pay your Breeder to have another party in their
honor and ask if the pain killers will work without harming the little
How to Show Off Your New Child
Throw a party with your friends who also have children. Any age
will do. In fact, invite anyone who you know who has little rugrats.
They'll get all over your new furniture and mess up your dining room,
they'll fingerpaint on your best lacquered wall unit, and generally make
your life a living hell.
But at least they're doing it for you.
Also: invite people you know aren't fertile. Make sure that you
know who your enemies are first. (see below)
How to Find a New Lawyer
Have a party. Watch the Bonders (if there are any). The one
who isn't handing out their own business cards: ignore. Watch the
ones who are Betting and make little check marks by those who win.
Those who are not Betting, they're your best candidates.
How to Lose an Ex-Lover Who is a Pain in the Ass
Hold a party. Invite their illegitmate offspring. Smile alluringly
from behind your wine glass and ask if they have any further question
about the status of your relationship.
How to Find a New Steed/Racer for Betting
Hold a party. Watch the Animal Masters. The one who doesn't
lose, there's your bet.
Alternately: well, you could ask an Animal Master. Or study race
How to Ferret Out Your Enemies
Hold a party and remember who you actually invited. Compare that
list to who actually shows up, and find out who the slimeball is.
Ask your psionic friends to pry into their minds until they know what
the agenda is they're following and disrupt it by inviting them to another
party because aren't they simply the most wonderful darling? Get
on their good side. Make arrangements for better bodyguards.
How to Deal With Your Enemies
Go to your Slimeball enemy's party and slip poison into their wine.
Don't be shy. Do it to a few others at the same time, in fact do
it to people you don't even know. It throws off suspition from you.
How to Pay Your Respect to the Dead
Go to their wake and drink to their ... well, their prior success.
Flirt. Meet your enemies. Meet their enemies and make friends.
How to Be Noticed
Show up to someone else's party without an invitation.
Or: Don't show up to a party to which you have been invited without a
good excuse. (One from a Breeder works every time.) Or: Get
poisoned at someone's party without apparent cause.
Pick your enemies carefully. They'll be at your favorite Breeder's
Of course, pick your party attire carefully, too. Some plans have
been ruined when an enemy realized how gorgeous their target looked in
that lace design. Sure it's petty.
Of course, now you ask:
Well, what's the best way to hold a party?
You wouldn't be asking that if you were born a High Holder, now would
But for those who do need to know...
First of all, you must have the right locale. For some that can
be a huge mansion (Mirage's Telva Estate for instance) with more than
5000 square spans filled to the gills with debutantes and High Mistresses,
Beast Lords and elegentia. For others, it might be an exclusive
club they own or a seedy dive they're interested in buying — testing
the waters. Or in fact it could be an outdoor location depending
on your tastes and your intended invite list.
Be aware of your guests needs! Be courteous to those who have mutations
or powers that get in the way of normally enjoying things (if your best
friend is someone designed to be in a desert, try not to invite them to
an open air Behat Ice party!) and make sure that you have planned enough
food and drink to go around.
Make sure that your Slaves and Bonds are trained properly. Using
stable hands as dip-chip carriers is just OUT. If you don't have
proper servants... go buy some. For starfalls sake, just get them.
Plan your space according to your needs. That huge mansion won’t
work if your invite list only consists of five or six close friends.
But that little crash pad in J'mao is completely inappropriate for a seven-dozen
member wedding reception!
High Holders Game Information
"I've told you, we do it their way because they Own everything in
-Freeworker Jembo, Curra/Polaen/Zuoth
The major land Holders of any City, Area or Land. They truly combine
the best of Owners and Membayar, as in they have Stock in abundance, Holdings
beyond belief, and a sense of business that is rarely equaled. There are
more of them than you think. They are able to run for Area Lord, must
be voted in by other High Holders. In other respects, they are Membayar:
they do a lot of business. But then again, they also hire a lot of them
to do that business for them, so they can have time to do the things that
really matter like watching the games and races and breeding their favorite
colors into their Steeds.
They live anywhere they damn well please. In fact, they probably
own that building over there. And that one and that one and...
How Breeding Has Affected You...
80% of High Holders inherited their Status from their family. 81-95% are
raised from Breeders, Animal Masters, Suzerain, Membayar or Owners, and
the remaining 5% are Free Land Holders who suddenly find themselves in
a much bigger territory than they are used to.
If you are in the last 20% use those charts for character generation.
If you've opted to roll up a born-Holder, use the numbers below.
56-65% B1 (B2 and 3 are not ever used to create a High Holder born into
66-75% B4, choose one mutation
76-85% B5, choose mutation and appearance
86-100% B6, choose two mutations. You know your parents, but they may
not be attached to one another. (You inherit as per normal High Holder,
though, from both of their Stocks.)(Yeah!)
Rights Of High Holders
All of them. Of course everyone usually follows the rules like the lower
Stations, but there is so much going on in the world of politics and gambling
that if someone happens to die in a freak boating accident, no one really
can do anything about it but divest their Holdings and get on with life.
Of course, the family of said rock-like floater might not see it that
way. Feuds are common, but very hush-hush, mentioning that your neighbor
is currently blackmailing your other neighbor at a backyard barbecue is
a definite no-no. High Holders are not necessarily immune to laws, they
just ignore many of them.
As the Holdings of one High Holder grow, so does the Gross Holdings of
their Area. Buy-outs of farms and outlying lands are becoming frequent,
and many Bonder Land Lawyers are becoming hard-pressed to keep up with
the Holding battles being waged. (Being the High Holder of an Area can
lead to being the High Holder of the Land, which if you are unpopular,
can be dangerous, or if you are popular, can also be dangerous.) (More
later on Holdings, of course.)
More political intrigues than in any other Station combined. Lots of powerful
friends and enemies, and pawns galore (many you Own, many are indebted
to you, and even more you simply pull their strings on their pocketbooks).
And those awful High Owners. Always wanting to get in on the parties they'd
been used to crashing, just because there's a High attached to their Status
Lands Held Rates Bond Own
d% Holds 2, 3, 4 d%/year 2d20/year
This is a group of High Holders - all of them in some
way sharing the feature of "grey" coloration. No, it's not colored.
Eventually, it will be. Actually they range from Skie's pure white-on-white
skin/hair in the upper right, through Sho's black skin and slate hair
on the vampire in the left-bottom corner. All shades in between... Some
are fashionable, some are freaky, all of them are filthy rich.