The Nobility is patterned after Feudal Europe during the Middle Ages and is composed of rich families or clans. Each clan oversees an area or territory, as well as rule over the inhabitants by providing protection and collecting taxes. In the world of Elder Tale, Japan is called Yamato and is divided into 5 major territories. The Eastal League of Free Cities rules the eastern territory and has 24 recognized noble families, with the Cowen clan as its head.
Basically, it is the nobility that governs the people and makes all important decisions through discussion and debate, though the final decision is made by Serjiad Corwen, whom one might consider as Eastal's King.
The society structure is very much like Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries, in which families who have vast land holdings or military power, are considered as the nobility. Members of a noble family are normally wealthy, highly-educated, well-versed in terms of social conduct and etiquette, and are either involved in politics or military affairs. Those who live on their lands, known as peasants or commoners, become subject to the laws or regulations enacted by the noble who owns the lands. Due to the large numbers of monsters that roam the lands, many commoners prefer to have the protection that is offered by the nobles. In exchange for that protection, they pay taxes or labor under them.
Through this relationship, a noble can amass more wealth and resources, thereby becoming more powerful and elevate his standings among the other nobles. At times, this can become extremely exploitive as the commoners can greatly suffer under the tyranic rule of a cruel or uncaring noble. As is it often the case, the common folk have little to no choice.
A noble's overall power is limited to how far he can protect and hold his lands, and those who live on them, especially during the time of the First World Fraction. If the area in question is too distant, then the commoners do not have as much protection or none at all from the increase of demi-human/monster attacks. This can also put a strain on the noble's forces. By the time of the Second World Fraction, the commoners and nobles are given another option, the Adventurers. Seen as immortal warriors who would do practically any task for pay, the nobles saw them as easy to manipulate, while the commoners saw them as heroic godsends. What was unknown to the People of the Earth was the fact that the Adventurers were actually players interacting indirectly with their world through a MMORPG game. As a result, the Adventurers were seen as bland and with very little in terms of personality. For the nobles, they were seen as disorganized mobs.
The nobility sees itself as the highest authoritiy and is practically male-dominant. Women of the nobility are seen as ways to cement alliances through marriages and to bear heirs to continue the bloodlines. Most nobles are seen as arrogant, egotistical and petty. Anyone who is of a lower societal class or is outside of their elite circle is often looked down upon. In military terms, an 'order of knights' is seen as the highest ranking of armed forces. The lords, dukes, earls, etc, picture themselves as always being in control and even believe that the Adventurers must bend to their will. This all changes by the time of the Third World Fraction, also known as the Catastrophe.
With the Adventurers now governing themselves and inventing devices and recipes previously unheard of, the nobles discover that they are no longer in control of these powerful individuals. Negotiating with them is a challenge as the Adventurers are also literate and highly-educated. It is made even more daunting for the nobles as the power of a small group of Adventurers is often greater than one's own personal army. With the fear of their overwhelming power, the nobility become extremely wary and paranoid as they try to deal with this new status quo. Through their spies at Akiba, many lords and dukes learn of the innovations and compete amongst themselves to gain those benefits.
By the time of the Return of the Goblin King arc, the majority of nobles of the Eastal League of Free Cities try to pressure the Adventurers into fighting the goblin hordes through arrogance and ego. Since the Knights of Izumo were no longer present, and knowing that their own forces were no match against the enemy, the nobles naturally assumed that the Adventurers would come to their aid, despite not having recognized them as part of the Eastal alliance. They were ignorant of the fact that the Adventurers didn't have any obligation to fight in their defense and the nobility were trying to forcibly assert their control over them, even though they had virtually nothing to offer to the Adventurers in return. Furthermore, they tried to keep the fact that the Knights of Izumo were missing and that they didn't want to be in the Adventurer's debt. This could have led to further conflict between the two sides, if It were not for the actions of Princess Rayneshia, that the Adventurers agreed to fight off the monsters and save them all.
In the aftermath, Duke Cowen had decided that the Round Table Alliance was the equal to the entire League, and therefore was to be treated as such. He would not offer them a title of nobility or admission into the League. Instead, the League and the Adventurers would agree to a non-agression and free-trade pact. Though this arrangement worked to everyone's favor, the development does not give the nobles power over the Adventurers and tensions still remain among many of the People of the Earth's upper crust of society.