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Originally only descendants of either Luthair Paendrag or members of his armies. Gradually, more and more among the native population of Seanchan were raised to the Blood. It is possible, though rare, for even a common soldier to be raised as a reward. That soldier's children and descendants also will be members of the Blood. It is rare to lose this status but it can be bestowed upon a free man or woman for great service, if the person is judged worthy.
Members of the Blood shave the sides of the head, leaving a crest of hair on top that often flows down the back. A Voice of the Blood will wear the left side of the head shaved and the right side braided. A Voice of the Throne will shave the right side and wear the left side braided. Members of the Imperial family shave their heads completely. Commoners do not shave any part of their heads. Among the Seanchan no one displays baldness publicly. Men who go bald usually wear a wig, and must at least cover their heads with a cap.
Long lacquered fingernails are another visible sign of rank. The more lacquered fingernails, the higher the rank of the noble. All nobles, beginning with the lowest, wear long exaggerated nails, lacquering at least their little fingers. High Lords or Ladies paint the nails on their ring fingers as well. Members of the royal family have three painted long nails, on the little finger, the ring finger, and the middle finger, leaving only the index finger and thumb free. The ruler will have all five nails painted. Each lord or lady's nails are lacquered in colors indicative of their house."
—The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
As a Seanchan class the Blood have a number of sub-classes. The very highest include the Empress, the Daughter of the Nine Moons, The Prince of the Ravens, and the rest of the Imperial family. Technically, there could also be an Emperor and correspondingly a Son of the Nine Moons and Princess of Ravens but this has not been the case in more than 900 years. Members of the Imperial family shave their entire head and use black lacquer on their pinky, ring, and middle finger nails to indicate their rank. The Empress herself paints all ten fingernails black.
Below the Imperial family stand the High Blood. They hold major leadership roles within the empire: ruling as kings and queens over regions of the empire, serving as important generals or admirals in the military, etc. Only the Empress herself has the authority to raise someone to the High Blood. The high blood shave both sides of their heads leaving a strip of hair in the middle (i.e. a mohawk) and lacquer their pinky and ring fingernails to indicate their rank.
The least influential of the blood are the Low Blood. They are the most numerous and hold moderate to minor leadership positions across the empire. A free man or woman can become a member of the Low Blood by being raised to this rank by one of the High Blood. The low blood shave all their hair below their ears (i.e. a severe bowl cut) and lacquer their pinky fingernails to indicate their rank.
Seanchan High Lords and LadiesEdit
Those of the High Blood are referred to as High Lord or High Lady. Those mentioned in the series so far have been:
- High Lady Suroth Sabelle Meldarath (Darkfriend) - Stripped of her titles by Tuon.
- High Lord Turak Aladon - Killed by Rand in single combat.
- High Lady Tuon - The name and title assumed by the Daughter of the Nine Moons as part of her disguise while she was under the veil.
- High Lord Beslan Mitsobar - King of Altara, raised to the high blood by the empress Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag.