Blades at Dawn
Sister-kinship is a lasting bond between Lencian Highborn women of different houses. These relationships are forged during young Highborn womens’ training within Lencia and are not openly spoken of to men, but are often influential to the wider society in unseen ways.
The term seems to be used generally to refer to all the Highborn women who are initiated into the rings of secrecy, the “community of sister-kinship”, but also for very close relationships between pairs of women or Ladyfriends. This relationship seems to be as close as lovers. Sister-kin and Ladyfriends may sleep in the same bed when they are together, whether the relationships extend to fully sexual ones is not usually revealed, but is also not ruled out.
The most famous is Lady Miria D´Urban whose relationship with her Ladyfriend Syral d´Urban, appears to be a strongly romantic and sexual one (consummated or not), but then Lady Miria is far from a normal Highborn woman in any sense openly preferring her sister-kinship over her official marriage.
A sister-kin relationship appears to be arranged by the House Matriarchs rather than occurring spontaneously. Before the final vows of sister-kinship, the agreement of the Ruling Council must be seek but it´s usually a mere formality that sometimes has ended in a vendetta when a rival House vetoed a prior agreement. Until then, couples appear to call each other “sister-kin” rather than “Ladyfriend”.
The duties of Highborn women mean that the sister-kin relationship is generally a long-distance one, continued through coded messages in the knot-stitch code in the token scarves they regularly exchange to the bemusement of Highborn males.