The lords, who feel their force, control their grounds like small kings, i.e.
they make peace or the war, raise taxes and return justice as they hear it.
They are not absolutely independent the ones of the others: strongholds, or noble grounds, are subordinates the ones with the others; the simple knights are vassal barons, the barons of the counts and dukes, finally the largest lords are in their turn the vassal ones of the king: such are the dukes of Burgundy and Brittany, the counts of Flanders and Champagne.
But the vassal ones are not subjects, and the king is far from powerful.
The lords, who start by being the guards of the peasants against the invasions, must be able to them with the services which they render.
But, the finished invasions, they keep their capacity and often misuse it to oppress the weak ones and to make the war between them.
The Church, the only power that all respect, makes the main efforts to restore peace; it preaches justice and humanity; it makes swear with the knights to defend the weak ones; it establishes a truce each week, the truce of God, and pains it of which it threatens the recalcitrant ones, excommunication, makes tremble the largest lords.