Salt, Gold, Steel and Ghosts (Spellbound Kingdoms)
On Rank and Nobility
My head canon for the marquess thing is that brimstone used to be a march, in that it was a county on the border of the kingdom of akra, back when rithaign used to be another Kingdom. The title has lapsed because brimstone has been safely inland, with rithaign becoming the March and then eventually the seat of the duchy. The title ‘Marquis of the March of Brimstone’ was created and does exist but has not been bestowed in more than a millennium. The Crown can still give it out if they want, and there are a few Marquise who have been given the title for services to the kingdom, as their counties were in a similar situation to Brimstone
The two ways I generally see titles being attained are marriage or being bestowed them. The Crown and the Duke can both bestow titles to you, and there are other side grades like knightly orders, orders of merit, courtly positions and so on
The Duchy of Rithaign has five counties and therefore five count titles to give out, all of which are held. Rithaign, Brimstone, Rohn, Nentarsce and Fairfax. Each has a handful of Barons under them and a few more Baronets or Lords. Brimstone used to be a March and Rithaign still is a March, but the title is subsumed under the Duchy title
As a Count, you have the right to bestow Baronet on any noble born and can petition the Crown to bestow Baron
Baronet is basically a smidgen above lord or lady. It’s the marquis equivalent for lower ranked nobles, basically.