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> The Houses of Nobility
post Jan 12 2010, 09:29 PM
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The Houses of Nobility

The following houses are (mostly) player controlled Noble Houses. As detailed in the Realm of Glass book, it is possible to start a player noble in one of these houses, however to do so requires the permission of the player listed for houses not lead by NPCs.

The Great Houses

Certain of the Noble Houses of the Empire are those that have attained such power or prominence since the rise of the Empire, and just as importantly have maintained it to the present day, that they are described as the Great Houses. Such Noble Houses tend to hold extensive swathes of land in one part, or many parts of the Empire. Vassaled to no one and typically with other Houses Vassaled to them, the Great Houses are those that enjoy the most respect from their peers.

It is certainly true that they are the only Houses whose titles, beyond House Lord, are theirs to do with as they will. Another House may sell or grant land to others, with their Ruling Lords permission but if such comes with a title, typically Baron, then only with the blessing of the Empress does such convey to the new owner*. It is just about possible for one not of a Great House to gain a title from the Greater Estate but such does not convey to an heir, or can be sold or passed on. Such is the preserve of the Great Houses.

It is a thing of status and respect to be a Great House. For the most part it is not something gifted, or even a tangible social mark at all but rather a House becomes such when its power in one area or another rises to the extent that it acquires vassals and the other Noble Houses simply begin to regard it as such.

*Typically at the Final Dawn with the announcement of the New Year’s Honours

House Alcaster
Leaders: Countess and Lord Alcaster Contacts: Rachael Byatt & Dave Martin
Heraldry: A Broken Staff
Description: House Alcaster was created by Imperial Decree at the start of IM1004 by the will of the Empress and is the branch of a much older group of Houses tracing back to the Sallow Princes. Currently run by twin brother and sister, Lord and Lady Alcaster, the house is small, but active both politically and in city governance. House Alcaster are firm supporters of the Hall of Scrolls and the ancient tradition of Noble ritualists, but do not limit themselves only to scholarly persuits. Indeed, the house believes in strong military training for all of its members, and its use of rituals has often been for martial purposes. The House owns lands near Alguz.
NOTE: It is not yet possible for Nobles of the Blood of this house to be played

House Damask
Leader: Nomak Damask (contested) [NPC] Contact: Martin Bailey
Heraldry: Crossed swords in black, outlined in silver, on a black background.
Description: The House of Damask dates back to the Sallow Princes as well as any of the Great Houses of the Empire. The family was taken out of the public eye many years ago by its former lord; although until that point they used to produce the foremost military commanders of the lands. Known for their skill at arms and fierce family loyalty, they have nevertheless waned over the period of years they have remained out of sight. The house has recently been freed from the evil intent of the now-wolfshead ‘Lord’ Edgar Damask by a heroic band of mercenaries counting Zan, Jess, Aaron and Gunari amongst their number. All have since been elevated to retainer status of the household.

The Lord, Nomak Damask, holds the title of ‘living weapon’ as a testament to the trials he has gone through to attain the position he now holds. Currently the house is amongst the empress’s most avid supporters, after her magnanimity and mercy in re-instating their claim.

A mere shadow of their former glory, the house hopes to build itself up once more into a thriving noble house.
NOTE: It is not yet possible for Nobles of the Blood of this house to be played

House De-Ville
Leader: Council of Elders Contact: Rob Shepherd
Heraldry: A golden gem on a purple background
Description: House De-Ville is a staunch supporter of The Hall of Glass and has been a vocal and political backer of the various Masters of Primus over the years. The Grand estates of House De-Ville are found in and around the grounds of Halgar lending sway to their claims to political rights. The house is currently in a period of mourning over the loss of the head of the household Baron Amora De-Ville who died while holding the post of Custodian of Primus. For the moment House De-Ville have stepped back from the political spot-light in order to rebuild their strengths and consider what lies in their long term future ~ presumably they wait for another Master of Primus to emerge. The elders of the House have currently taken control of the day to day running and decision making of the estates of the De-Villes and it appears that they are in no rush to nominate a new leader.

House Flashblade
Leader: Jack Flashblade Contact: Chris Greenaway
Description:The House is devotedly loyal to the Empire and the upholding of the Great Freedom. It treats those who live and work upon the Houses lands well which has lead to a increase in the numbers of people associated with the House over the last few years. It is a popular rumour amongst various factions of the House that the head of the House, Jack Flashblade, is a kind and giving man. House Flashblade had all its written histories destroyed during the Night of Levity.

The Household Guard, once much larger than a host were nearly all wiped out in the battle of the Shriven Plains, where they fought and died along with many others, battling the demonic hordes approaching the Empire from the South

Anyone wishing to start a character associated with House Flashblade (A Noble, member of a Flashblade Held, peasant within the house, etc), should contact Chris Greenaway.

House Majius
Leader: Earl Majius Contact: Iain Wimble
Heraldry: It is an ornate black M on a silver background, with a dragon entwined around it (traditionally the dragon is a black dragon but in recent years younger house members have preferred other colours)
Description: The House of Majius has existed in one form or another for many, many years. Its' history, though mostly destroyed in written form at Amora’s' request, still remains in part in the lore of their council. The first Majius was a mage of darkness a thousand years ago who led a host of wizards in repelling an ancient evil that threatened the borders of Primus. He was granted the hand in marriage of the then Emperor’s second daughter, and the Majius line was forged in royal blood. They were always a small house in the grand scheme of things, preferring the life of Deci’s streets to the royal court. Only under Dalron's brief tenure at head of the council did they rise to prominence as the most powerful noble house of the Empire. Many of the family and their loyal stalwarts are servants of the dark queen, including several companies of troops made purely of loyal dark Elves and Drowe. Many others, however, reflect the rest of the populace in following and belief, including a thriving community of Shaehan priests administering to the poor and needy, several goodly churches on the lands (built at Dalron's behest!), and thousands of peasants, farmers, and the like who benefit from the Houses' patronage.

House Natal
Leader: Earl Natal (NPC) Contact: Lucy Hewitt
Heraldry: A stylised hourglass in white on a green background
Description: The House has served the Nagrech and the Master of Primus time out of mind. Their first, and overriding loyalty is to ensure the continuing stability of the Focus. Emperors and Empresses may come and go, even the nature of the state that holds the city of Halgar may change, but there will always be a Natal there to support and defend it.
NOTE: Although it is not possible to start a member of the House, it is possible to play a House retainer

House Omacron
Leader: Baron Leviticus Omacron Contact: Pete Walls
Heraldry: A tower over a river
House Omacron is currently the most predominant of the 'Ruling Houses of Alguz'. A term used by the Halls of Nobility to cover the lose alliance of half a dozen houses which prefer to maintain an internal alliance, rather than ally themselves with any of the Halls of Nobility. Traditionally these Houses keep themselves out of mainstream politics, only concerning themselves for the welfare of their charges and with the running of the city of Alguz. Most other Noble Houses tend to view members of this alliance with a degree of mistrust and as a result there is a mild social stigma attached to members of these Houses.

Whilst only the fourth child of the current Baron of the House, Saul Omacron, a mercenary and a Baron in his own right, is commonly seen as the public face of the family. Certainly he has been the most active member of the House and rose far in both politics and mercenary life. Saul has held a seat on the Lesser Senate as Governor of the City of Alguz and a seat on the Senate, Saul is in an almost unprecedented position and most Omacron business is generally dealt with through Saul on Baron Leviticus Omacron’s behalf.

House Saldana
Leader: Count Ma’ar Saldana Contact: Adam Drake
Heraldry: Red circle, white sunburst (covering most of it). Silver Dagger with Golden serpent coiled around it. All on midnight blue/black background
Description: House Saldana is a noble house built around an extended family. The core of the house are its blooded rulers. Un-blooded cousins and more distant relatives manage the house finances, military, workers, and other affairs answering to a senior blooded kinsman. The house is strongly involved in the rebuilding of Thimon, where Ma'ar is the governor. Striving to rebuild this city they seek to impose their strong religious views as they return Thimon to its former prosperity within the empire. Blooded scions of this house tend to be intensely loyal to the house, the empire, and are frequently users of darker powers.

House Stoneheart
Leader: Duke Ruatha Stoneheart Contact: Stuart Maggs
Heraldry: Two pillars with a pediment over the top and a heart standing between them, all silver.
Description: The Stonehearts are one of the great Noble Families, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Duffs, Natals and De'Villes in their defence of Halgar since before the Magiocracies. Until the end of the second age they tended to remain in the wings somewhat, preferring to be the power behind the throne rather than sitting on it.

The Second Age: In IM998, Michael Stoneheart lost his eldest son, also called Michael, to assassination and Arteris, his second son was killed in the battle against the Dark Baronies. Ruatha, his youngest son who had entered the Church of Shallya, was his sole direct heir.

Following the attempted coup by George, the Elemental Lord of Air, Michael emerged somewhat reluctantly as the compromise candidate between the various factions of the time. His noble birth gave him recognition amongst those looking for stability, while his links with the mercenary community allowed for support from that side as well. With support from his consort (his wife having died in childbirth), Truic Baddrass, he was acclaimed to the Throne in IM999. That night he was mortally wounded by Baron Roxbridge but his links with the Throne of Glass maintained him.

In the following months Truic gave birth to twins while his son looked into a cure for Michael but it seemed none was forthcoming. At the High Final Dawn, the Assembly under the direction of Argoth, along with Baron Roxbridge and Dalron Majius brought together an attack and killed the Emperor on the throne, it is understood to empower the god Bhaal. In the assault one of Michael's infant sons was also slain.

In order to prevent the world from unravelling over the Final Dawn, Truic was forced to sacrifice Michael's other son to the Throne so that the bloodline of the Master of Primus might sustain it. This was the only option - the merged blood of the former Emperor Cerus Amora, Truic's father, and the recently murdered Emperor being the only essence strong enough to support it through a tumultuous upheaval.

It is these tragedies, instigated by Roxbridge, Argoth and Majius that have engrained a such a violent dislike for them in the current head of the House, Ruatha Stoneheart. Roxbridge and Argoth have escaped all attempts to track them down. House Majius somehow managed to survive the debacle by disclaiming links with its former head around the time of the attack. Ruatha is still certain that House Majius was at worst complicit, at best knowing of the events that were planned and hence are in part responsible for the deaths of Michael and his two infant sons.

The Third Age: Matters have improved somewhat in the third age. The House has remained active in politics throughout, bringing its weight to bear on the tithes that have been called and forming allegiances where possible in the political scene. They have close links with House De'Ville and Omacron by marriage, as well as House White and House Saldana by mutually complementary aims. Kenobi Winterhaven of the relatively newly elevated House Winterhaven was a retainer of the Stonehearts for many years.

Ruatha was wed to a commoner, which raised many an eyebrow but the Duchess Latona Stoneheart bore twins, Michael and Lita, who were presented to the Throne and accepted as being of the Blood accordingly.

In the absence of an Emperor there was significant upheaval during which the claim of Amora De'Ville to Custodian of Primus was successfully sponsored by the House, until his death at the hands of Vexathaccor. Thereafter Truic Baddrass was approached as the best available candidate for Empress and with the support of the House and the Senate she was acclaimed. To date, she has been one of the most successful Mistress's of Primus in the known history of the world.

Ruatha himself remained as one of her Senators for many years before finally stepping down to concentrate on developing the House.

The Present - IM 1008: Halgar has always been the seat for the Stonehearts and they maintain an active and growing demesne there, along with a number of facilities for the upper echelons of the nobility.
The Present - IM 1010: Duke Stoneheart is appointed The Covenant and begins a radical programme of reformations to the Empire's legal systems.

House White
Leader: Earl Louis White Contact: Jason Hamer
Heraldry: A quarterd shield, two quarters weighted scales, two quarters gold coins (oposite quarters) supported up by a unicorn and lion rampant.
Motto: Orbis Pecunis Volvitur
Description: By the will of the Empress, the former Baron White was ennobled to the rank of Earl. His name was placed on the rolls of the Nobility and House White is formerly created. The power of the Empress was invested within this House such that any children born of suitable stock will convey the Sallow Blood within their veins and upon their soul.

Vassal Houses

Most of the Noble Houses of the Empire are Vassal Houses. There is no shame in this; indeed it is the nature of the Empire that most of the many smaller Houses have sworn fealty to a larger. Such offers a Vassal protection and, occasionally, the Lord of a Vassal House, due to whom they owe fealty too, may even outrank the Lord of a Free House.

House Halgar
Leader: Count Synovius Halgar Contact: BBB
Liege Lord: House Natal
Heraldry: A gold spiral on a purple shield
Description: This house is not the first to bear the name Halgar and the history of the Nobles of this house is one of certain ignomy. However the house was saved from complete destruction by shrewd alliance with Amora and House Natal. Eventually it was charged with responsibility for ensuring Halgar was prepared for siege, however unlikely the event, in both terms of supplying food and ensuring the walls are ever ready to hold off attack. The current Lord, who is in ill health at this time, has left leadership of the House to his only suriving son and in recent months the people have taken to referring to Synopvius as “Lord of House”.

IM 1008: Landwise the House is still a small rural affair with its holdings a single estate, the Barony of Capstone, on the outermost edges of the Halgar territory, bordering those of Gothiel. The House is famed for its production of a fine bottle of House Halgar red and most recently the superior House Halgar Delight, although, with some predictability that vintage soon became known as House Halgar White.

During this and the previous year the last the Barony of Capstone has positively thrived and become a model of how a well run estate can flourish. The Imperial Yeoman, gathered to the banner of Simeon Black, a retainer of House Halgar, have taken up residence on the Capstone Estate centred on the rather large Yeoman Tavern situated amongst the vineyards.

IM 1009: Lord Synovius Halgar is bestowed the title of Count, recognising his growing influence in the halls of power.

Free Houses

These are those houses that are neither Great Houses or have not fallen under the sway of such to become Vassals. It should be bourne in mind that it is the House’s power that reflects its status. Other, arguably lesser Houses, may possess great scions but that does not in and of itself establish the status of the House in the Halls of the Nobility. The very nature of the Empire dictates that House status is not dictated by force of arms alone. The bad old days of minions and vassals fighting openly in the streets is, for the moment at least, a thing of the past.

NOTE: Newly created Houses are never one of the ‘Great Houses’. Such do not leap into being without others hearing of them. It is something achieved through play.

House Winterhaven
Leader: Sire Kenobi Contact: Julian Wiffen
Heraldry: Sable two bees or above an open book argent upon a sword argent. (In plain English - two golden bees at the top, an open white book lying on a white sword at the bottom, plain black background).
Description: House Winterhaven is a new house that has been formed by adoption. It is an alliance of nobles that have individually pledged to Kenobi's banner. Many are 'white sheep' whose own decent morals did not sit well with their original noble family. Some are those with just too many siblings & cousins to hope to inherit much or were illegitimate children. Others are from noble families that fell upon hard times or were even destroyed. A few somehow disgraced themselves with their original house but convinced Kenobi they were deserving of a second chance.

The house stresses that the noble is the servant and guardian of the common people. They strive to live up to an ideal of nobility - thoughtfulness, diligence, good manners and kindness are prized. Those who are evil, openly contemptuous to the lower classes or just a stereotypical upper class twit would not have been granted admission.

Winterhaven is also the name of the house's primary estate - a place near Halgar, built as a safe haven for refugees. The main industry there is bee-keeping.

Grey's Law: Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice...

PS, Yes, I know my PM Box is full. Email me instead... (Which you can do through the forums email)
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