So, I'm writing fantasy. One of my cultures most definitely uses the word 'master', in the sense of one's employer. If you're a footman or a gardener or cook or whatever who works for a man, and you live in that man's house and get wages from him and take orders from him, he's your 'master'. And you owe him a fairly high level of loyalty and obedience. I have another culture where the tie between employee and employer is less firm--you obey your employer's orders enough to get them to pay you, and they pay you. And if someone offers to pay you more, you work for them instead, or you may work for several people. And while the servants in the first culture would never be seen badmouthing their master in public, the employees in the second culture absolutely would. I need a word for the employer in the second culture. 'Employer' is too formal. 'Boss' apparently is just short of old enough, but to me it doesn't feel old enough. If I have to explain its origin (apparently from the Dutch, and grabbed because Americans didn't like the word 'master') that leads to a clear response of, "Um...but the Dutch don't exist in your fantasy world, right? Or the Americans?" So, any suggestions?