How to Craft the Perfect Enfeoffment Contract
Get the most out of thy vassals whilst ensuring they get nought
Enfeoffment be the heart and soul of our glorious society, and rightfully so, for it clearly sets out that all persons are mere vassals of The King. But as a lord of some ranking, how often hast thou truly studied the art of crafting Deeds of Enfeoffment?
These dayes, too many lords rely on unwritten “contracts of honour” which depend upon the integrity of their underlings to maintain the conditions of their vassalage. But the word of a knight or a villein doth not mean what it once did, and ‘tis important to put all stipulations about their servitude in writing.
Here be some tips on how to craft the perfect Enfeoffment Contract to ensure thy vassals continue to pay fealty to thee in the proper fashion.
Doest Thy Research
Doth Hamon the leek farmer have a stout-hearted son who wouldst be a goode candidate to levy into the war? Didst the spring rains bring a bountiful barley harvest which can be can be taxed and commandeered for the war effort appropriately? Thou wilt knowest not unless thy research thou dost. Knowest the facts before thou puts into writing the specific ways in which thou wilt exploit thy inferiors.
Hire a Feudal Law Consultant
Our current system of taxes, tithes, customs, and courtesies hath become too complex for the knowledge of any one suzerain. If thou hast been too busy waging wars and erecting towers to study the many fineries of modern feudal law, consider hiring a consultant whomst specializes in the field.
Useth Proper Language Therein
To maximize the value thou receives from the contract whilst minimizing that of thy vassals, ‘tis essential to use words that art commonly understood by the nobility but not at all by the peasantry. Words like “hitherafield,” “unbetwixt,” “yondernigh,” “thenceforthwith,” and “money” shouldst be applied generously.
Mayhaps one knows the feeling of writing a 1000-page leather bound booke with quill and ink only to find one made a typo on the first page and hast to redo the whole thing or else look like a knave when ‘tis read aloud. ‘Tis important always to proofread thy work before all parties make their mark on the final product.
Knowest not how to read and write? This be nary a problem. There be plenty of scribes whose services can be acquired for a small fee or otherwise kidnapped and indentured for the task.
A document couldst hardly be considered official until it hath all manner of strange creatures doing outlandish acts drawn along the borders. Since peasants cann’t read, be sure that a goode deal of the marginalia includes drawings of peasants being punished and/or murdered to strike fear and confusion into their hearts as they gaze upon its pages. Fear and confusion are thy allies when it cometh to writing contracts.
Don’t Forget the Dowry
All of thy vassals shouldst be obliged to split the expenses of thy doghter’s dowry. Some mayest take this for grant’d, but many a lord hath forgotten to write this into his enfeoffment contracts and had to take his dowry tributes by force. As fun as taking things by force is, ‘tis an expenditure of resources which couldst best be applied elsewhere.