I've been reading. Between a busy night, and some ADD, I haven't gotten as far as I'd like.
Hangedman: Oh yeah! I love me some H.P. L.
I have a question. The Veth are separated from the Ven in caste, but can a Veth advance? I was a little confused by the language of how one becomes a Knight. It probably won't come up in the direction I'm thinking, but I was curious.
Basic characterwise I was thinking a widow, probably of the black persuasion.
I do love black widows. On your question, the answer is technically yes, but not very far. There are three levels if you like. The Veth, landless nobles (Roadmen), and blooded nobles. When a blooded nobles son/daughter becomes of age, they are given the place of a knight and must go and prove themselves, working for whatever noble will take them. In most cases they will work directly for their parents, but not always. As they make a name for themselves other knights will join their cause and they can claim a land as their own. If this claim is recognised by another Baron they are blooded and become Barons themselves. They are then presented to the senate, etc, etc. There are a lot of nobles out there who have grown lazy and incompetent and these Ven find themselves ousted by younger Ven. It is then in a neighbouring Barons best interest to be the ones who blood them so they have a strong alliance. It is also the case that first children will inherit their parents land (sex is irrelevant). However they can expect to be tested by upstarts and knocked out of the power if they can't secure it. Remember nothing is fixed in Ven politics, and nearly every Ven who holds a seat of power fought tooth and nail to either take it or keep it.
Onto the Veth, should they show a great feat of valor they are commonly rewarded with a horse, gold, weapon and title and made into one of the Barons roadmen. This keeps the Veth happy as they feel valued by their Ven master...what a lie. It is important to note the majority of knights are young Ven not Veth. This presents the Veth knights with problems. Firstly, they are still stigmatized, it will be dificult to get the Ven to follow them as they are seen as still lesser. Secondly if they did manage to take the land, they would have to be blooded, and most Barons would refuse them, so they will quickly have the land taken by someone more powerful. The Ven know what is good for them, and Barons not linked to any Houses, aswell as Veth trying to take their childrens lands is not. It would also increase the number of uprisings if Veth could be blooded. As such this keeps the Veth who are knights advancing any further. Most are happy just not to be mud farmers anymore. So have the Veth ever been blooded...well yes... but you probably would never meet one.
I would also want my players to play up the "Veth are dirt" aspect of the setting. With the exception of one or two most Ven look down terribly on the Veth, and this can make for some interesting RP moments.