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Some kingdoms ridigly define the rights of vassals and their duty to their liege. In Ferelden, a relatively new kingdom, the arls and arlessas theoretically command their arlings' banns and lords. In practice, those lessers often zealously maintain their independence.
Some Fereldan vassals must be goaded instead of ordered--swayed, not ruled. Vassals owe military obligations to their liege, yet often deny even sworn oaths and signed contracts. In contrast, the vassals expect their liege's protection despite provocation otherwise. A successful Fereldan liege applies force, persuasion, and duplicity in equal measure.
--From A Guide to Statecraft, published anonymously