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- This article is about Clan culture. For the novel, see Bloodname (novel).
Bloodname refers to the surname of each of the 800 warriors who stood with Nicholas Kerensky during the Exodus Civil War. The right to use one of these surnames has been the ambition of every Clan warrior since the system was established. Only a maximum of 25 warriors, depending on its Bloodcount, are allowed to use any Bloodname at one time. When one of the Bloodnamed warriors dies, a special Trial, called a Trial of Bloodright, is held to determine who will assume that Bloodname. A contender must prove his Bloodname lineage, then win a series of duels against other competitors. Only Bloodnamed warriors may sit on the Clan Councils or are eligible to become a Khan or ilKhan. Bloodnames are determined matrilineally, at least after the original generation. Because a warrior can only inherit from his or her female parent, he or she only has a claim to one Bloodname.
Bloodnames are one of the more unique institutions of the Clans. When the Clans were founded and their breeding program started, surnames were done away with (after the first generation of warriors), and an ordeal called a Trial of Bloodright was established to allow eligible warriors to win the surnames of the original warriors that founded the Clans.
The surnames were termed "Bloodnames", and were traced matrilineally through mitochondrial DNA. Being a descendant of a person with a bloodline gives the person eligibility to enter in the Trial rather than the right to use the surname without winning a Trial. Each Bloodname can be held by a maximum of 25 warriors at any one time. Some Bloodnames have fewer than 25 holders, due to a process called a Reaving.
Creation of New Bloodnames
Although these traditions are rare, it is a little known fact that new Bloodnames can be created by the Clans. The first way a bloodname can be created is from the decree of an ilKhan. If a freeborn warrior has proven themselves worthy enough to the clan, the ilKhan may take their genetic legacy to form a new bloodname for them. One example of this was when Ulric Kerensky created the Kell Bloodname for Phelan after he relocated in the Inner Sphere during the Refusal War. Another tradition is that individual clans can create bloodnames. If an individual freeborn is considered worthy enough or is truly exceptional, they may become progenitors of a new bloodname based after them. This is the only way a freeborn can keep their original surname, while at the same time, earn a bloodname officially. However, it is used as an ultimate reward among individual clans, such as Clan Wolf offering Jaimie and Joshua Wolf a chance to have their surnames induced into bloodnames for future generations and Clan Ghost Bear creating the Magnusson Bloodname after Ragnar Magnusson, of the Ghost Bear Dominion.
Types of Bloodnames
Although the Bloodnames represent the warriors who had accompanied Nicholas Kerensky, these surnames would not become important until the creation of the eugenics program leading to the Iron Womb. The scientist caste would take the genetics of these followers and put them into various phenotypes to represent the types of warriors in the clan. As a result, these bloodnames would be segregated into four common phenotypes that each warrior would fight for: General, Mechwarrior, Aerospace and Elemental. While General Bloodnames meant that any warrior of a given phenotype can fight for that bloodname, other warriors would have to fight to claim that given bloodname based exclusively on their genetics. However some clans like the Snow Ravens and Hell's Horses would create new bloodnames such as Naval Bloodnames and Protomech Bloodnames taken from Aerospace pilots.
Bondsmen and exclusivity
When a Clan takes a bondsman who is then reinstated as a warrior, the warrior is still eligible for competing for their Bloodname, or may already have a Bloodname. This has caused most Bloodnames to spread to other Clans from their original Clan. However, some clans have declared some of their Bloodnames exclusive, not allowing them to be claimed by warriors from other Clans that have a legitimate claim. For example, Clan Wolf claims exclusive control over the Kerensky bloodname.
However in 3084, several Bloodname Trials of Possession were conducted by the Council of Six Clans which resulted with formerly exclusive Bloodnames being shared to help infuse some fresh stock into each of the 6 Clan’s eugenics programs.
- This article is about the Clan term. For scenario pack, see Bloodright (scenario pack).
A specific Bloodname lineage is called a Bloodright. Up to twenty-five Bloodrights are attached to each Bloodname. A Bloodright is not a lineage as we define the term because the warriors who successfully hold the Bloodright need be related only through their original ancestor. As with Bloodnames, certain Bloodrights are considered more prestigious than others, depending largely on the Bloodright’s history.
The history of the Bloodnamed warriors of a particular Bloodright is called the Bloodheritage.
The Bloodcount is the number of active Bloodrights associated with a particular Bloodname, and thus is the number of individuals that may hold that name at any given time. Traditionally, this number is twenty-five, but it may be less in the case of inferior Bloodnames or Bloodheritages found useless or unworthy. In some cases, the Bloodcount has been known to drop as low as five. The process for reducing a Bloodcount is known as ‘Reaving’, and the process for increasing it is called 'Propagation’, both of which demand an associated trial. A Bloodcount may also be reduced by Abjuration, or by decree of the ilKhan.
A Bloodname can be cut short one member through a process called a Reaving. A Trial of Reaving, if successful, cancels a Trial of Bloodright, which in turn ensures that there is no replacement for the old member. A Reaving is called if there is a perceived taint or weakness of a Bloodname, however usually their reasons are political.
It is initiated by an accusation by a third party (usually another Bloodname). The Clan Council then investigates and discusses the merits of the accusation and holds an internal vote over whether to proceed with the Reaving or not. If the vote is in favor of the Reaving, the Reaving can then be canceled by a Trial of Refusal, where the members of the Bloodline fight the accusers for the right to hold the Trial of Bloodright.
Those that could have been
Though history sometimes tend to forget them, there are four warriors that were selected to be part of the eugenics program but died prior to the start of the breeding process on the warrior caste and got their names lost to history, though for two of them not their "Bloodname".
- Clan Steel Viper saKhan Antonius Zalman died just two years after Nicholas Kerensky founded the Clans (in a "training accident", though there are more than a few references that indicate he perished in a trial meant to give him some measure of honor in his death). It wasn’t hard to believe that there were others that also died before the Clans’ return to the Pentagon. His position was taken by his granddaughter, Shandra Zalman who took his place in the operation to retake the Pentagon Worlds. His Bloodname survived.
- SLDF Major General James Carson from Clan Mongoose died in an attack meant to kill Nicholas Kerensky. Carson was afforded full and public honors during his burial within a crypt in Clan Mongoose's sector of Svoboda Zemylya. Clan Mongoose held an abbreviated series of trials before adding Gregory Carson (former general's second son who had apparently just missed the cutoff seven years earlier, but had continued to serve Clan Mongoose in an auxiliary capacity) to their rolls. This was done with the full support of Nicholas Kerensky, though there is evidence that at least the leaders of Clan Star Adder objected, as the Mongoose leaders had not opened up competition to anyone but Carson’s son. His Bloodname survived.
- Pilot Archiel Tranns from Clan Blood Spirit was a child during Kerensky’s drive on Terra, and followed both Kerenskys into the Exodus. She graduated near the top of her class in the DeChavilier Military Academy, and readily won a position within Nicholas Kerensky’s new Clans. In September of 2810, while flying a training sortie, her fighter experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure; both she and the fighter were lost. Ultimately Blood Spirit technicians concluded the crash was due to substandard equipment and faulty maintenance. Tranns' name was cleared, but she had no children. Khan Colleen Schmitt presided over a series of trials to choose Tranns' replacement: Stepan Pitcher. A small pillar within their section of Svoboda Zemylya bearing the name "Archiel Tranns" is what is left as memory of her acts. Keeping the surname was an honor only given to bloodnamed warriors during history of Clan Blood Spirit.
- Clan Smoke Jaguar MechWarrior Alexandre Marsden developed cancer sometime after winning his slot in the Clan, and apparently sought treatment in a civilian facility to keep his sickness a secret. By 2816 Marsden had died (likely of the cancer; however, there is evidence to suggest he met an unnatural end, though by his own hand or another is unknown). The Smoke Jaguar Council met behind closed doors, ultimately ordering Marsden's name purged from all official Clan records. The Jaguars chose a replacement warrior after conducting a closed trial; Terrisa Osis, cousin to Khan Franklin Osis, became Jaguars' fortieth warrior.
There are rumors that other original warriors were replaced in this manner, though the elimination of a quarter of Kerensky’s Clans, and the splintering of two others, make tracking down any others all but impossible. Certainly, it seems logical that more than four out of 803 original warriors could have died in the fifteen-year lull between the creation of the Clans and the start of Operation KLONDIKE, though by the time the eugenics program came online, the roster of 803 was finalized.
Although any form of surname outside the warrior caste is frowned upon, the Scientist caste secretly assigns surnames (referred to as labnames) to people who make great scientific contributions. The surnames are after great historical scientists (Newton, Watson, etc.) and have nothing to do with the person's genealogy.
- Bloodname, chapters 21 through 27
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, p. 37, 38 - "Bloodnames"
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, p 39 - "Bloodheritages and Bloodrights"
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, pg.54 - "ilKhan"
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, pg.39 - "Gaining a Bloodname"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 195
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, p. 40 - "Bloodcount and Reaving"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 254 - "Reaving"
- Historical Operation Klondike, p. 29 "The Fallen"
- Historical Operation Klondike, p. 30 "The Fallen"
- Historical Operation Klondike, p. 30-31 "The Fallen"
- Historical Operation Klondike, p. 31 "The Fallen"
- Way of the Clans, chapter 28
- Falcon Rising, chapter 4
- Wolfpack, chapter 1