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The Twelve: Nobles of the Blood


Introduction

Markings and Tattoos

Basics about the Houses

The Houses After the Succession War


The Politicians

House Stardancer

House Moondancer

House Barrister

The Warriors

House Tybiris

House Tarikaden

House Andillion

The Administrators

House Serebren

House Montedevris

House Endevarr


The Bon Vivants

House Riacold

The Devout

House Grenville

House Saethborne

Links and Info about Heraldry

A Quick Picture of the Heraldry


Introduction


Nobles are born, not made (most of the time). The horrible Succession Wars of 2212 decimated the ranks of the deserving elite of the Empire and left a husk of its former glory. Slowly the Great Houses are being rebuilt, but it all takes time.

Of the thousand or so Nobles, of the hundreds of Houses great and small, twelve stand out. These twelve trace their lineages back for hundreds if not thousands of years, and are considered the creme de la creme of high society. Though they do not get special perks technically, as a matter of course they get preferential treatment and all sorts of special considerations.

All of the Twelve Houses have a connection to the Imperial Throne. Especially in light of the recent war, some might even have a very strong claim. They've intermarried with the Stardancers for so long that most of them can claim at least one Emperor or Empress among even their recent ancestors.

Etiquette:
It is considered impolite to approach any of these people without being addressed first. If you need to talk to one of them, seek their servants first--they will always have servants, guards, and retainers around. Their servants are cleared to talk to them, and will bring you and your topic of conversation up to the Noble in question. It's important to note here that being rude to a Noble can get you into trouble, legally speaking; "breach of rank" is an old term, but people still get thrown in jail if they annoy a Noble enough.

Always preface or end a statement with the Noble's name or title, or "lord/lady." You needn't bow or curtsey if a Noble walks into a common area and you happen to be there--unless the Noble looks directly at you; if you see him or her doing so, then stand if you're sitting and then bow or curtsey (don't bow from your seat; that's considered a particular mark of rudeness in the south especially). It's all right to watch a Noble; they're used to being stared at, so unless one gives indication he's annoyed with you doing so, don't worry.

Always accept a gift if a Noble gives it, unless it is of an intimate nature, in which case you may decline as long as you do so respectfully. "Intimate" here means perfume, clothing, or anything else that touches your body when used/worn. If a Noble extends an offer of employment to you, you are free to accept or refuse, though bear in mind that an offer of employment is a serious matter to most of these people, so refusing it may get you a reputation for ungratefulness.

There are some behaviors which are all right in some areas and totally unacceptable in others; there are some things that annoy some Nobles but not others; last, there are situations that alter the normal rules of behavior. Err on the side of caution with these people: they can and will throw you in jail for a weekend to cool your heels if you mouth off at them while they're in the wrong frame of mind. They own the military, literally, and own the lawmaking--and lawkeeping--bodies. In general, therefore, their word will be taken over yours. Be aware of that truism before talking in private with a Noble or going anywhere with him/her in private! That RP scene may well end with the Noble telling a city guardsman, "gosh, and then he just attacked me out of nowhere."


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Markings and Identifications


Imperial Nobles are marked with tattoos of varying elaboration and prominence. These are actually very fine runes that indicate, in a now-extinct language, who that Noble is and who his parents are, so his claims may be proven beyond all shadow of a doubt. These tattoos are not fakeable. Anybody who is accepted as an heir or claimant to a noble title or blood is given these tattoos. Therefore, you won't see them on bastard children, or on pretenders. The tattoos are said to be magical in nature, making even attempts to fake them fail.

Typically the tattoos are around the eyes, along the orbital sockets, a delicate tracery that most people won't perceive as runic letters at all. In most cases, these aren't horribly disfiguring or prominent marks. In the case of someone like Kira Stardancer, they might be rather more obvious.

With the exception of the major three or four Imperial families-- ie, those Nobles who actually stand in line for the Alabaster Throne, most Nobles don't undergo this painful-looking procedure anymore; there's no point for the most part, since so many Nobles got displaced after the Succession War that such careful determination of lineage became superfluous.

Really, the easiest way to recognize a Noble is by what he or she wears. Nobles usually wear special signet rings with their family colors in gemstones on them; usually these rings are of gold. Commoners are not allowed to wear gold rings except for wedding bands. So if you see a person with a gold ring on, it's probably a Noble. In more formal situations, Nobles also wear brooches or sashes with their House colors and symbols embroidered on them. These sashes can be very elaborate, or as simple as just the colors in silk.

The household of a Noble also wears sashes or tabards bearing the House colors. If the Noble himself has a different device than the Household does, the device will be embroidered or appliqued onto the sash or tabard. These sashes are worn diagonally across the chest and tied at the waist. They are not worn by anybody except the retinue of a Noble. So it's best to play it safe around anybody wearing something like this.


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The Houses after the Succession War


Obviously, the Succession War of 2212 had a huge effect upon the nobility of the Kiassan Empire. Namely, most of the Imperial Family was wiped out by Tiramovar the Usurper in the initial attack. The only direct heir of the now-assassinated Aris Stardancer I was his youngest daughter Kira, who was hidden away and fostered by a Moondancer Noble. The Nobles remaining had only two choices: either fall in with the Usurper, or defy him. Most chose the route of collaboration, since most thought the entire Imperial line had been destroyed. Some resisted, either by vanishing into the forests of Scialla or by migrating to other planets.

When Kira was shown to be alive and her claim to the throne validated, that threw quite a few Nobles into a tailspin. She'd been captured and sent to a holding facility on Deusis Island on Scialla, and there had witnessed a number of Nobles collaborating with the Usurper's regime. When she regained her throne, a mass purge began. What Tiramovar had begun, she ended. About 70% of the Nobles were eradicated, between the Usurpation and the following purge. The lands and properties of these attainted Nobles were largely taken by the throne and then given out to Nobles who'd proven themselves worthy. She did try to keep the Nobles of the Twelve, the oldest and most loyal generally, with their lands, giving them to lesser family members if need be, but the resulting upheaval has led to some very new and sometimes divisive politics around Valrona.

The upshot is that most of the Nobles are more like nouveau riches, and the older Nobility look down upon them to a great extent. But because quite a few of these newer Nobles are more powerful than some of the old guard, that contempt is masked very effectively. Better to bring an enemy down in private than to show one's true feelings publicly and risk possible future alienation of allies. Kira herself would take it very poorly if an old-guard Noble, by his behavior, called into question her judgement in promoting someone to great heights. Of course, this means that if a House can be elevated, it can be taken down again even further, so there is constant jockeying for Imperial favor, something Kira encourages.

There are still, therefore, twelve great Houses of the Sciallan Nobility, but their numbers are fewer, their leaders sometimes chosen from far-flung branches of the original family, and their powers divided in petty infighting as Nobles vie for positions of power and influence at court. Even in Valrona, this touchy political situation can flare up to disastrous effect.


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Basic Layouts of Most Houses


This information applies to most of the Twelve, but do exercise caution in making assumptions; some families handle things very differently. However, you won't be too off-center if you follow some simple rules of conduct around Houses, or make broad but very politely worded assumptions about their layout.

All the Houses do have one head and many limbs. The head of the family is usually an old(er) man or woman, venerable and venerated, from whom the rest of the family flows. Some Houses address this person as "Matriarch" or "Patriarch," though non-family members can certainly use "My Lord" or "My Lady/Dame."

A House consists of the immediate family of the patriarch, but also families who are related. For example, Duke Several Welleslan is a Noble of House Barrister, though his family name is Welleslan. There is a Barrister family in House Barrister, of course, and the patriarch of House Barrister is a Barrister himself. However, many families consider themselves an active and participating part of House Barrister. The only way to be sure is to look for the Barrister coat of arms, which most Nobles display somewhere on their persons in the forms of signet rings, brooches, or embroidered on their clothing. However, because servants also often wear heraldic clothing, the demeanor of the person you're dealing with as well as the quality of the clothing must be taken into account when formulating social exchanges. The formal nomenclature for one of these satellite families is generally "Severan Welleslan of House Barrister, Duke of Valrona" and for someone from the main family, "Lady Kathryn Barrister, Grand Duchess of Sarnow."

Most Patriarchs and Matriarchs are given the rank of Duke or Duchess, though a few of the Houses are headed by Grand Dukes, meaning they have a special patent from the Imperial Crown. A Grand Duke governs more land and answers more specifically to the Emperor, while a plain Duke does not have such responsibilities. Other titles of lesser Nobles may be "Count," "Viscount," "Baron," or "Earl."

It's hard to generalize House titles; in the northlands, titles don't tend even to be used, while in the south, they can be much grander than one might assume. For example, the children of the Patriarch of House Riacold are called princes and princesses, while in Cicilium, they might not merit anything more than a "Lord" or "Lady." There is no standardized list of who gets called what.


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House Stardancer

Arms: a background of black petitpoints on white, set with a shield of midnight-blue, with a silver starburst symbol across it.

Motto: "The best of times."

The Imperial House. This is where the rulers of the Empire come from. It is, obviously, a bureaucratic and imperial dynasty, heavily dependent upon heredity as well as leadership abilities.

The family itself claims a lineage that goes back to Scion Sheridan, who founded Priascialla, the seat of both Scialla and of the Kiassan Empire. Though Sheridan's line was said to be destroyed at the beginning of the Age of Sorrows around 102BH, Tathis considered himself the real descendant of Scion Sheridan and took his name as a symbolic return to the ideals and grandeur of that long-gone family line. (It isn't known just when the Skydancer line died out, but it is thought to have happened a short time after Tathis branched off.)

Over the centuries, the Stardancers garnered even more fame and veneration. Though the next few centuries after the Age of Sorrows are known as a sort of Dark Ages, slowly civilization rose again. The Stardancers are credited with uniting the Kiassan Empire for the first time when King Hjargent Stardancer IV signed the first Imperial Treaty recognizing Scialla as the seat of the Empire and affirming non-aggression pacts with Flamehold and Lirwhin. A later Stardancer Emperor, Calantus III, is credited with finally bringing the Flameholdans to heel with the Grey Tower Treaty of 1250AH.

At this point, the Stardancers are largely exterminated. There are a few offshoot families that claim Stardancer blood, but according to the complex chart tracking succession and claims to the Alabaster Throne, none of them are notable enough to push out the current lot of Moondancers. Until the Empress breeds true, there will be no more Stardancer blood in the Imperial family.

The coat of arms of the Stardancer family is known throughout the system; even peasant children on Bilashe know about the starburst symbol. Though it is the most commonly associated symbol of the Imperial family, there are others: the orange and orange tree are famously painted in most Imperial portraits, and whippet dogs are often depicted as well. The symbology of portraiture is a fascinating field of study for historians across the Kiassan Empire.

Notable members:
Kira Stardancer I, Empress of the Kiassan Empire. Rules from Priascialla. Born in 2195AH, her story is now fairly well-known: secreted away at birth with close relatives in the Moondancer family holdings out west, she was raised with no inkling of who she really was or what her real destiny was. She rose to power during the Succession War of 2212 and became the Empress, since all those before her in line for the throne were now dead. She has reigned since. Alas, she is now one of the only Stardancers of note; the others are largely fringe families that do not take precedence over the next-in-line Moondancer heirs.


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House Moondancer

Arms: a background of black petitpoints on white, set with a shield of purple, with a silver crescent moon across it, points facing to the right.

Motto: "No Will But the Crown's."

This highly-ranked House stands just below the Stardancers. They are primarily a house of trade, handling the expedition and delivery of large-scale consumables. Closely related to the Stardancers, they intermarry often with the Imperial family and fill head council positions for the Imperial rulers. There's little indication of jealousy or overweening ambition, and no Moondancer has for centuries ever done anything treacherous.

Thanks to their holdings far west of the Eastern Cities, the Moondancers largely escaped the purges of the Succession War of 2212. In an interesting twist of politics, the next half-dozen people in line for the Imperial throne are now Moondancers.

Notable members:
Grand Duke Lukas Moondancer is the patriarch of the House. He lives in Triesse Holding, far west of the Perimeter, and his main exports involve hardwood lumber and other fine woods. Lukas isn't often seen along the eastern seaboard, but if he is, he's a tall, tanned-skinned older man. His title is Grand Duke Moondancer, or "Your Grace."

Larizel Moondancer is the cousin of Kira Stardancer, but for years, Kira believed they were sisters. Larizel is the youngest of Lukas Moondancer's children, born in 2211. Kira's adopted her as her heir and daughter, and she generally follows Kira around Scialla, learning as quickly as she can how to become a good ruler. Larizel has absolutely no experience actually running any governments, though it is expected that sooner or later Kira will start giving her responsibilities and duties to get her trained. Until then Larizel is a sort of very honored pet, with no real power. Larizel is a hazel-eyed, ash-blonde young woman. She will almost certainly be traveling in a retinue if she's seen ingame and will sport a signet or sash with her house emblem on it. Her title is "Princess Larizel" or "Your Highness."

Shen Corronel (born 2198) is the Captain of Lukas Moondancer's guard. He is never far from Grand Duke Moondancer. He was elevated to Lieutenant the day Kira Stardancer was kidnapped from Lukas' estate, and several years later to Captain. He's been there since. He reports directly to Lukas, and pretty much only Lukas and Kira are above him. He is unmarried and has no children. Shen is tall, blond, and lithe. He wears gold-tinted chainmail in uniform, with the Moondancer blazon prominently displayed. Call him "Captain Corronel".


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House Tybiris

Coat of arms: a segmented silver star with eight points, each segment shaped like a parallelogram, against a red field.

Motto: "The only glory is victory."

A military House that once handled Imperial security in Priascialla, House Tybiris is now relegated to a somewhat secondary status now that the Flameholdan Guard has been instituted, but is still one of the Twelve and well respected.

The House administers the Duchy of Behistun in the southern end of the Eastern Cities.

Notable members:
The Patriarch of House Tybiris is Duke Celadius Tybiris, who is actually fairly young despite his title and standing. Born in 2200, Celadius fought actively against the Usurper-King Tiramovar. His father, Duke Bertrand, was killed in the fighting, but because Celadius had performed so well, Empress Kira Stardancer quickly confirmed his inheritance of his father's title. Duke Celadius commands one of the segments of the Kiassan Army, and divides his time between his spartan Palace on Priascialla's Imperial Circle and his home estates near Eretea. Needless to say, the presence of such a powerful Noble so close to Valrona makes House Barrister nervous, something that's allayed somewhat by the friendly presence of Count Victor Tybiris, who is a cousin of Celadius Tybiris.

Count Victor Tybiris is not a major member of the House, but he is very infuential in Valrona. He administers the Brotherhood of Swords under a monopoly patent from Grand Duke Hector Barrister.


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House Tarikaden

Coat of arms: a lion against a partecolored shield; the top half of the lion is silver, against a background of green, while the lower half of the lion is green, against a background of silver. The lion is seen in profile and stands on its hind legs.

Motto: "Bravery, valor, honor; the rest will follow."

By far one of the most influential military Houses in the Empire, an ancient lineage that goes back all the way to the time of the age of Hjargent Stardancer in the 600s. The originator of the line, Neville Asmodeus, almost died defending Hjargent in the War of Acquisition in 676-677AH. The two men were practically blood brothers after that.

The family enjoyed considerable prestige after their friendship with the Stardancers, always filling top-end roles in the military. Sometimes this close association with martial power alienated them from the ruling Stardancers, but their family motto has been, for centuries, an emphasis on honor and valor.

In 2212AH, when the attack came on the White Palace, Duke Arkhos Tarikaden was gone in Kandar settling a small war in his capacity as General of the Southern Armies. The attack cut off all communications to the Palace, causing chaos, and when the assault forces rolled out to the edges of the Perimeter, all hope seemed lost.

Undaunted by the assault, Arkhos gathered an army there, sure that the Stardancers and Moondancers were both dead. To his shock, one heir had survived: Kira, youngest child of Emperor Aris. First Counsel Rus Niak, hiding in Priascialla, found out that Arkhos was gathering forces, and also that the Flameholdans were landing a party secretly in the Wilds, and immediately reached out to the Grand Duke. With the aid of the Southern Armies, Kira was rescued and restored to her throne. He could have tried to take control at that point, but he didn't.

When Kira took the throne after her restoration, she immediately made Grand Duke Arkhos her Lord High Marshall, giving him control of all the armies outside the Perimeter. In this capacity, he has served willingly and well, and given Kira no cause at all to doubt his loyalty. In the next 17 years, he's consolidated power and done much to help end the battles beween enemy city-states. He's never married, but he does have nephews and a few bastards, one of whom, Kellan Callahan, who is showing great promise.

Notable Members:
Arkhos Tarikaden is the undisputed head of the family. He is not a social person, but visits Valrona often with his entourage. He is known for his strict military discipline and his powerful presence; he makes a point of punishing wrongdoers in a way that can best be described as "extreme" and "direct". Most Nobles are terrified of him. He reports to no one but Kira, and Kira trusts him implicitly to handle her planet's eastern seaboard. He does engender a certain amount of scandal through his unseemly relationships and bastards, but he doesn't care, and if someone else decides to care and make trouble as a result, he'll act decisively. Absolute power corrupts absolutely... unless the powerful one is a Tarikaden. Lord Marshall Arkhos is a tall, severe, broad-shouldered man with piercing blue eyes. He is older in years, but is still in a shape that would make many men jealous. Call him "Lord Marshall" and stay the hell out of his way.

His eldest son, Kellan Callahan, is the result of, some say, a fascinating and long-lived relationship with a female hunter from west of Saethbridge. Arkhos has never said publicly one way or the other who the mother is. He trained the youth himself in battle, taking him along on campaign and personally ensuring he had top-notch skills. Now that Kellan's older, he is proud to serve his father as the Captain of his Personal Guard. Kellan is not married. Kellan is a tall, broad-shouldered man with piercing grey eyes. Call him "Captain Kellan".

Aermaeren Juillen is the personal handmaid and servant of Lord Marshall Arkhos. Her exact age is not known, but she's been with Arkhos for a couple of years and does not appear to be over the age of 20. She does not seem to serve any purpose aside from adornment and spending money, and has never been observed doing any actual servant work, so one can imagine the scandal. Her skill in riding horses is remarkable, and she absolutely adores Valrona. Her greatest skill is in buying expensive things. If she is seen away from Arkhos, it will be in the middle of a huge horde of guards. Arkhos would do far worse than kill someone who lifted a finger against her, as he's demonstrated on occasion. He calls her "Treasure," but nobody else had beter do that. Aermaeren Juillen is a willowy girl with very short black hair and bright brown eyes. Call her "Miss Juillen."


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House Andillion

Coat of arms: two solid blue stripes, upper left down to lower right, across a field of gold.

Motto: "Without truth, no honor. Without honor, no truth."

House Andillion is a newer House, largely controlling military operations west of the Wilds. Though they also control the Duchy of Razec Abinion, their main manor is far west, south of Weston.

Notable members:
Baron Gabion Andillion, born 2214, is a young and up-and-coming name in regional circles. He doesn't often appear in Priascialla, preferring to spend his energies closer to home. His family has negotiated a very promising marriage alliance with the Saethborne, embodied in the delicate person of Eradis Saethborne. He is a hothead, but known to be a good and honorable man with a clean reputation. He has no children and this will be his first marriage. He has pale orange-blond hair and a strong, capable build.


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House Barrister

Coat of arms: a gold tower against a backdrop of midnight-blue with white fleur-de-lys points.

Motto: "Honor is life."

A bureaucratic House that primarily administers the Verdantis Forest area, which includes Valrona. House Barrister is one of the oldest Houses, established around 675AH after a skirmish with some Bilashan forces on Scialla. Once a minor Noble house that held a small amount of land, Barrister's holdings were increased considerably in the area of Valrona to the south of Priascialla.

Notable members:
The Patriarch of House Barrister is Grand Duke Hector, an imperious, white-haired gentleman. His wife, Grand Duchess Kathryn, handles most of their holdings, the Duchy of Sarnow near the capital city, Priascialla. Other notable families include the Welleslan family, which administers the Duchy of Valrona to the south.


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House Serebren

Coat of arms: three golden honeybees, seen from above, against a field of red.

Motto: "Knowledge is the greatest strength."

One of the best-known houses, Serebren members are most famous for their skill in administration, governing, and supporting the ruling houses. Mostly concerned with running southern cities on the eastern seaboard, these Nobles also have a strong Court presence in Priascialla.

House Serebren got its start very early on, like most of the other Twelve Houses, and it got it in a common way: the Emperor at the time, Frederick Stardancer I, grew enamored of the incredibly beautiful, nubile daughter of a gentryman named Julian Serebren. Julian at the time was just a really wealthy businessman.

Notable members:
The Patriarch of House Serebren is Grand Duke Willem Serebren, who lives half the year in Priascialla and half the year in his ducal palace in Kandar. Willem's wife, Duchess Melina Serebren, is a noted patroness of Kandar's famous Warran College of the Humanities. Duke Willem (b. 2205AH, r. 2213) is a distinguished man who held onto his Noble title through his wits. He has several sons who will carry on his name, and a daughter, Lady Claire Serebren, who is a known academician at the University of Valrona.


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House Montedevris

Coat of arms: a green laurel horseshoe-shaped wreath, facing upward, on a field of silver.

Motto: "Preparation hones the sharpest edge."

Tracing its ancestry back to 950AH, when its founder, Armile Montedevris (b.915AH - d.983AH), was given a patent of nobility by Emperor Richard Stardancer II for valor on the field of battle on what is now Laurelhurst Fen near the Eastern City of Hurst Fen. Though originally it was known as a house of great soldiers and tacticians, that skill has slowly evolved into a talent for administration. Most of the best quartermasters and supply-chain analysts have come from this House. Forming a liaison with the more militaristic Houses, House Montedevris still boasts a number of officers, though that is no longer its thrust. It controls the Duchy of Hurst Fen.

Notable members:
The Patriarch of House Montedevris is the Duke Eredis Montedevris, who was widowed in 2227AH when his lady wife Idellia died and hasn't remarried as of 2230AH. Duke Eredis is known for his skill in administration and in devising policies to aid Empress Kira Stardancer in gaining the tax revenues she needs to run her Empire. He speaks all the major languages of the Empire, and several dialects, which is good as he travels all over the Empire on business. He maintains a palace in Hurst Fen, as well as a second palace in the Imperial Circle of Priascialla. Duke Eredis kept his title through the Succession War of 2212AH, though he was imprisoned for three years after the war. The negotiations that got him out of prison are unknown, but they got House Montedevris out of trouble and into the high life again.


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House Endevarr

Coat of arms: an upward-bending arch of gold with triangular points on top of its upper edge, all against a field of purple.

Motto: "Let not your reach exceed your grasp."

House Endevarr is one of the older houses as well, with links to the Imperial family that are so strong that it might one day make a grab for the throne, except for its staunch support of the Stardancers. Ever since about 1000AH, the House's leaders have made names for themselves as retainers and administrators for the Imperial throne. Not a whiff of treachery or malice has tainted their good name. Their house motto, "Let not your reach exceed your grasp," has been in place since the Seruvian Accords era around 1620AH, when their leader at the time, Baron Filomenus III, was put in charge of the still-running Ministry of Exchange in Priascialla and elevated to the ruler of the Duchy of Cicilium way up north in the Eastern Cities.

Of all the houses, more than any other, Endevarr's emphasis has been upon serving with honor and truth, even putting these ideals above the Empire. There have been notable clashes with reigning Stardancers, but overall the House has emerged from every fight unscathed. Now even Kira would hesitate to get into a public scrap with an Endevarr, not that she needs to go so far; the House is also famous for its quiet reclusiveness. Its members are blue-stockings and bean-counters, experts in trending and statistics, and usually don't involve themselves in politics. Very few make the news, and fewer still end with a newscaster shaking her head and going "God, we never saw that coming."

The House's main function is the administration of the Imperial budget and the overseeing and printing/stamping of Imperial money. The Exchequer, or Imperial Exchange, sits in the Imperial Circle very close to the Palace, and has its own internally hired and loyal soldiers, the Exchequer Guard. Part of the House's other function is to root out and deal with issues like counterfeiting, fraud, and forgery, and to this end, the Exchequer also has a rumored secret police and investigation force. Never once has this force been known to act without honor or without the goal of ensuring the integrity of the Empire's money.

Power, wealth, influence -- what's the downside? Simple: nobody in their right mind would ever want the chief of the secret police in charge of anything. Anytime an Endevarr decides to get it in his fool head to reach for anything substantial, everybody scrambles to oppose him. A few notable Dukes and Duchesses who let ambition get the better of them have ended up face-first in one of Priascialla's beautiful lakes and canals. Nobody's been that politically naive in decades, and with the atmosphere of the Empire what it is nowadays, it's dubious that any Endevarr would dare let his reach exceed his grasp.

The invasion of Priascialla in 2212AH hit the Endevarri particularly hard. Living as they did so close to the Palace, and having a function so integrally ingrained in the Empire's workings, naturally they were a core target for the Usurper Tiramovar, who killed a good number of the leaders of the house, including the then-patriarch Olen Endevarr, Irrulian's older brother. When Kira restored order later that year, she wasted no time in appointing Irrulian the patriarch and re-affirming his place in the Ministry of Exchange. Irrulian had to move from Cicilium, which he'd been administering quietly, and take over the vast responsibility of the Exchequer.

Notable Members:
The current patriarch of the family is Duke Irrulian of the Duchy of Cicilium (born 2170AH). He lives in Priascialla very close by the Exchequer and is married with four sons and two daughters. His sons are either already working for the Ministry or in university to eventually do so; one of the daughters is married into House Andillion, and the other travels the Eastern Seaboard for the Exchequer. Now that he's had to move to Priascialla, his younger brother Michael handles the Duchy itself.

Michael Endevarr, born 2175AH, is the younger brother of Duke Irrulian. He is known for his good common touch; his people liked Irrulian and adore him. His family is small, just two sons, but they're both upstanding men who work with the Duchy. He doesn't seem concerned that his people in Cicilium are regarded as bumpkins; he doesn't care if they call him "Your Excellency" or "Your Lordship" as long as they work hard and don't commit crimes. The unspoken contract of "no squiffiness over Noble titles as long as you're all good" has worked for decades if not centuries, and there's no reason to change anything now.

The members of Endevarr most likely to be seen around Valrona are the youngest son, Patrick Endevarr, who has been seen with the archaeologist daughter of Solius Lykitis, Andromeda Stormguard, and the younger daughter, Irrileen Endevarr, who at 23 (as of 2230) survived the Succession Wars at the side of Rus Niak.

The rumors of an Endevarr relative living out in Freehold are almost certainly exaggerations. Most Nobles would completely scoff at the idea of an Endevarr doing anything daring. That said, Endevarri offshoots make wonderfully disciplined military officers.


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House Riacold

Coat of arms: a gold chalice painted with a red lightning bolt, all against a field of black.

Motto: "The days of wine and roses."

Based in Pontecala, a lush and decadent seaport city on the eastern seaboard, the Riacold are few in number, but fantastically wealthy and luxury-loving on a scale even the Imperial family can't reach. Most people in the know assume that the Riacold get their money through trade and possibly piracy on the high seas, but they're careful not to delve overmuch into the affairs of any of the family's members. Their parties are infamously debauched. Most other Nobles don't go to them unless they don't mind being tarred with the same brush.

Luckily, the Riacold do not often travel outside their expansive and stupendous estates in Pontecala's tony suburbs, but when they do, they travel in style and supreme comfort. Even the youngest of them wouldn't dream of going anywhere without an escort of thirty or more elite guards (and of the guard, one can say this: they are not only skilled but loyal; they are paid extremely well and enjoy some job perks most other guards only dream of). Riacold servants tend toward physical perfection, and while they are treated little better than slaves, the money more than makes up for a bit of mistreatment and harassment.

The Church of Haran is not the only group that is wild-eyed with concern over this debauched house's goings-on. The Imperial government is also worried about possible illegal activity. Every so often, someone in the family makes a big enough mistake that the government can get involved; what usually happens, though, is that the incident blows over and nobody gets in serious trouble. The family seems perfectly content to throw wild parties and revel in obscene wealth, with absolutely no aspirations toward power or politics; as long as it stays that way, there's little that can be done to stop them.

Notable Members:
Duke Torad Alat Riacold is the patriarch of the family. In his late forties, he is well on his way toward becoming that particular kind of gentleman known as a "Silver Fox." Smooth, wily, friendly, disarming, sensual, possessed of a kind of charm that most men only dream of attaining, Torad enjoys a lifestyle that few can aspire to having, much less ever achieve. He is a valued patron of the glassblowing art, while his young, exotic blonde wife, Mia, is active in several charities and art associations in the city.

Torad has several children by his previous two wives, the first of whom became a nun in Lindis Abbey and the other of whom perished at sea when an ill-fated yachting party she was throwing ran into a horrible and sudden storm. Luckily, Torad wasn't there.

Torad's eldest son is in his 20s now and attending the University of Valrona with a business major declared. He is known to not be taking his studies strictly seriously, but he'll probably get his degree. His entourage of friends and hangers-on is large and multicultural; everybody knows that Prince Jovan throws the best parties in Valrona. He often descends upon the nearby nightspots with those friends, enjoys the hospitality, buys the place out of fine wine, then swoops back to his rented house.


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House Grenville

Coat of arms: A red circle-and-cross of Haran against a field of gold, with its interior argent. One circle below it, one to its upper left, and one to its upper right, all in red.

Motto: "Be bold."

House Grenville owns the lands around Val Taqar, the duchy immediately to the northwest of Valrona. The family is best known for its religious population and its skill in diplomacy.

Originally the House was a fairly minor noble family, certainly not one of the Twelve. In 1508AH, after a series of political misfires, a year of tension erupted into the Battle of Flavian Fields, which led to the death of the Barrister Duke and the elevation of the Count into a Dukedom of his own. Jason Grenville is the founding lord of the House, and his descendants have had a tough battle with the Usurpation.

The Duremont lands slice the Duchy of Sarnow in half. To the north, hills divide the duchies pretty well, but to the south, it's all clear going. Duremont had a tough time in the Succession Wars, with their Duke capitulating quickly to the Bilashan forces. He had to, to save his eldest son, who was at the time in Priascialla. When Kira went gathering her army, though, Duke Gideon, the current Duremont ruler, quickly became convinced of her suitability and rallied behind her, betraying his new masters. His son was killed in retaliation.

Duke Gideon is still the reigning ruler of Duremont. He lives in Val Taqar, and rarely leaves his palace, which has expanded to meet his new social needs. Courtesans throng around his court, which is a lavish hotbed of religion and scandal. His wife, Philomena Saethborne, lives in the palace, but she is not often seen as she devotes herself to religious contemplation.

The Duke has two other sons, but they are both very young; neither shows the promise of the eldest, though. His grief at losing his beloved Leo has caused him to support Kira all the more, but his wife's grief has led to her slow withdrawal from society. Philomena is lost in grief and never appears except in thick black veils.


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House Saethborne

Coat of arms: A golden star with two shooting points below it, on a field of blue, with an argent frame bordered by blue.

Motto: "Perseverance is the Companion of Victory."

House Saethborne administers the Duchy of Saethbridge, just to the west of Valrona.

The Saethborne rule over a duchy edged by thick forests and rugged hills. A valley right near the middle of the duchy is where this noble house makes its ancestral home. Their style of ruling can be best characterized as possessed of noblesse oblige. The Saethborne tend to be tall, beautiful even by Noble standards, and knowledgable. They take their bloodlines very seriously, with no dilution of the lines permitted. The family is famous for its advantageous arranged marriages, and their high number of high-ranking Church members.

The Saethborne are known to be gracious, gentle, pacifistic, and religious. The women are beautiful in a remote way, and tend to be artistic and spiritually oriented. The men are also artistic and spiritual, but add to the mix a love of hawking, archery, and hunting. The family has several branches, with members all over the Empire.

Notable Members:
Eradis Saethborne is likely the most visible member of the family in Valrona right now. She is pale with extremely long light-brown hair that is all one length; she tends to wear very fashionable clothes. She is newly engaged to a member of House Andillion and quite proud of the fact. She is tall and willowy with grey eyes.


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Links and Info about Heraldry

For ease and convenience, SciallaMud uses traditional heraldry rules. Also for ease and convenience, we don't generally use the "technical" language that heraldry employs, but we do understand it and so if you choose to go that route, you'll find us amenable and in fact enthusiastic!

The main rules:
* The colors: red, brown, purple, green, blue, black. Colors are always the vibrant, dark shades of the color, so blue is always RGB blue, red is always scarlet/crimson red, and black is always black. No charcoal-greys, lavenders, or baby-boy-blues.
* The metals: gold/yellow and silver/white. As for above, the colors do not vary.
* Coats of arms are designed around recognizability from a distance. To that end, no color may be "on", or touching, another color, and no metal may touch another metal. This rule prevents dark-on-dark creations or light-on-light ones that make it hard to recognize blazons from a distance.
* We allow marshalling (dividing up a coat of arms to denote a familial relationship), crests, and other such devices.
* When a non-Noble organization wants to use a blazon, it will usually be far simpler and feature a charge (or central picture) that relates to the organization's focus. This blazon is sometimes called a "device."
* It is recommended that an organization or Noble house choose a coat of arms or device that reflects favorably upon them. Wolves and snakes aren't usually considered good things, for example.

You can find heraldry information here:

West Kingdom SCA College of Heralds.
Heraldrydiculous, a comic strip about "bad" heraldry.
An insta-boing checklist of stuff that shouldn't exist in Sciallan heraldry (with certain exceptions, since we do allow marshalling).
The Rotunda, a big compendium of heraldry resources; I know the guy who made this site, and anybody aspiring toward court duties ingame would do well to review his information.


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A Quick Picture of the Heraldry

Click on the picture for a bigger one.


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