The old money and land holding families of the empire that have more or less been around in some way since its founding. Either originally part of the first territories or among the influential families of those that later fell either via conquest or arrangement into the Rothian fold. Their lands and fortunes tend to be hereditary and their influence and amount of both holds fluctuates from generation to generation. Joining their ranks typically involves either being lifted by the royal cast for performing some feat or great service to the empire or marrying into one of the existing families.
Overall this group has found their influence outside of their guaranteed holdings in government beginning to fade to the wealth and ability of the rising mercantile and industrialist class. Though with their vast land holdings the have been able to flex the raw growth this rising class has brought to their own ends.
Note: The upper crust of society whom hold control over most of the land in the empire, they're scheming, they're snotty, and they'll do anything they can to keep their power and influence. Like most groups there are good, there are bad, and with the amount of power they wield even in their waning situation they can decide the fate of the empire.