Engines in the Dark
There are 7 levels of hierarch in the Empire: Royalty, Gallant, Nobility, Heroes, Citizens and Commons.
Literally, the extended Royal Family of the Emperor. At this time, it would consist of House Arai. Aethir only.
Champions of the Empire. This would include the titled Nobles such as the High Huntsman, the High Punisher, and the 1st Blade Vosir. Aethir only. The Gallant are really only higher than the Nobility because they are more famous for their great deeds.
Bastards & Bastine “The Houseless”
A subset of the Nobility, these folk are highborn, but out of official wedlock. They carry no House name, other than “Bastard” (male) or “Bastine” (female), and suffer no allegiance to any House. That said, many of the Couriers are members of this Houseless class.
Citizens of who have done some great recognized deed in the service of the Empire. Occasionally they are allowed in the High Court Palace as guests, though they would not live there. Heroes can be any race and typically have achieved a certain level of renown. (Often higher than many nobles.)
Folks of the Empire who have provided some service to earn their status, or come from an respected family. Dark Wards, Deep Walkers earn their citizenship with service. They are allowed to own land, visit the Shining City, travel on the Zeppelin Rail, and are afforded the protection of the Empire. Apparatus and Engines are Citizens, as well as the Sesha.
Citizens are not allowed the High Court Palace unless invited for some important and rare reason.