Nobles

Despite the democratic attempts of Elysia's founders, some say, the Nobility of Elysia still remain; and remain strong, prideful and cunning. Noble Houses often fall, but those on this list have proved their resourcefulness over centuries of war, civil and national, and survived frequently atop the broken bodies of others.

Though their primary occupation is to rule and profit from their land claims, elements of each noble house can be found in all parts of the country, constantly vying for powerful connections or sensitive information that will give them an advantage over their Noble fellows.

The Throne

Only one family has held the Monarchy since the birth of the Kingdom.

House Aucoin

Elysia's first and greatest noble family, and the House of every King and Queen the Kingdom has ever known. Begun by Xavier I, first King of Elysia, and continued to this day in an unbroken line. The unthinkable happened when Queen Gia disappeared during the recent war, but many believe the Aucoins have faced far worse, and like their phoenix emblem will rise again.

Head of Household: Her Majesty Gia Aucoin, Queen of Elysia
Heraldry: Blood-red phoenix on white background
Motto: The Light And My Right

The Duchies

Somewhat different from proper noble Houses, the North and South provinces (or Duchies) are overseen by a single individual, not a family. There is no hereditary claim on each Duchy - each successive Duke or Duchess must be chosen by process of nomination by the Senate and assent by the Crown. Since only the Senate may nominate candidates to the monarch, only members of Noble houses are chosen to lead each Duchy. A notable exception is the current Duke of Austerath, a commoner chosen by the Queen's emergency powers and yet to be replaced by standard process of the law.

The Duchies oversee elections for the Senate, as well as act as supreme courts for the judiciary in each province. Dukes and Duchesses may also issue "edicts"; by-laws which can be put into place quickly before passing to the legislature. There is a history of some abuse of these edicts.

The position of a Duke or Duchess is for life. Upon the death of the head of either Duchy, another is chosen as quickly as possible by the Queen and the Senate - quickly as possible here can sometimes mean years, since nobles are not known for their ability to compromise.

The Duchy of Cragsfell

The larger province of the North, including Auffester, Hardenport, Vanir, Olympia, and the larger part of the Great Forest.
Current Head: His Grace Varko Lundsratt, Grand Duke of Cragsfell

The Duchy of Austerath

This smaller and more modest southern province consists of the regions of the Vale, the Stem, Southron, Vedas, and Lodis Island.
Current Head: His Grace Wilde Ganner, Viceduke of Austerath

The Great Houses

Noble Houses rise and fall, but those listed below have stood the test of time with cunning, strength and ruthlessness.

House Camarillo

Cunning, proud and powerful, these Arabian horses more recently originated in Spain. Their landholdings are far to the South in Elysia’s “Stem”, encompassing the Duvlin Forest and areas surrounding. The Camarillos originally held Hardenport and the surrounding region, but lost their ancestral claim during the Elysian Civil War. House Camarillo is one of the older houses of Elysia, with a tumultuous history running parallel to the Kingdom's own. Camarillos are known to be prolific breeders - their most recent Earl is thought to have no less than 49 children from numerous wives.

Head of Household: Lord Meyrin Camarillo, Earl of the Stem
Heraldry: Fallen oak tree with booted hoof on trunk
Motto: This Land Shall Be Our Bulwark

House Dunkeld

Sometimes humorously referred to as the Battlesheep, though never to their faces. Dunkelds take little interest in the squabbling of feudalism until there is true battle joined. They are renowned warriors, with numerous knights in their history and in Elysia’s besides. In the feudal days of Elysia, Dunkelds rarely started conflicts, but they were most often the House to end them, either through intimidation or bloody attrition.

Head of Household: Lord Carmack Dunkeld, Baron of Southron
Heraldry: Claymore sword being pulled from ground by gauntleted arm
Motto: Sound the Horn

House Elsred

A once powerful house fallen to the Horde of Arrym during the War of 1579. Prior to the war, the Elsreds were disgraced when a plot was uncovered to unseat the Queen with a second civil war. There is a great deal of speculation, however, on House Elsred's motives - some say they were in league with the approaching Horde, or even the Novari, others than they suspected the Queen of the same and acted preemptively in Elysia's defense.

Only Quess Elsred and her retainer Ser Aksel Marillion remain of the once great House lead by it's only surviving heir and her guardian, Aksel Marillion. In an astonishing act of mercy, Queen Gia granted a pardon to the last surviving member of House Elsred and allowed her even to retain her title and claim. The former landholdings of Elsred, however, were merged into the Earling of Vanir, and are now administered by Lord Drake of the Tyroles.

Head of Household: Lady Quess Elsred
Heraldry: Crossed silver rapiers on light blue background
Motto: Unity Through Honor

House Eretor

One of the oldest of the Great Houses, the Eretors are famed for their marriage ties to the Aucoin, Lazarro, and Sekiz. A source of some other infamy is their their vocal support of the D/s lifestyle, none moreso than their young matriarch, Countess Traysia, who believes it to be among Elysia's most traditional and unique practices. In some unsavory circles, their house is sometimes humorously called "House Pervert".

Though having earned some ridicule for their VERY well-publicized beliefs (to which no other Noble House has offered its endorsement), the respect and love of the Monarch for the Eretors cannot be dismissed. They are among the staunchest allies to the crown, and during the strife during the war, Lord Troilus Eretor reigned as High Steward of Elysia during the Queen's flight to safety.

Head of Household: Lady Traysia Eretor, Countess of Hardenport
Heraldry: Three blue rings locked in a triangle formation on a gray background
Motto: All Things in Balance

House Sekiz

A family of fierce Turkish-native lions, they have played a very large role in more recent Elysian history. With strong status in the Assembly for such a young House, they chart a meteoric rise in traditional noble circles, however there are rumours circulating to a connection with organized crime. For this reason, the other noble houses must choose to scorn or defer to the Sekizes, whose true power is still somewhat unknown.

Despite their constant and often humiliatingly public soap opera lifestyles and the attitude of some nobles toward "new" Houses, they are widely feared. The crown granted House Sekiz the Barony of Olympia some years ago, but the Sekizes fight a political battle with House Lazarro, and a more literal battle with its rumoured Cartel counterpart, the Furia Crimisi.

Head of Household: Lord Savas Sekiz, Baron of Olympia
Heraldry: Golden lion's head on a black background
Motto: What Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger

House Tyrole

Richest of the Great Houses, the Tyroles began as a European clan exiled from their kingdom for treason. Despite this humbled beginning, the Tyroles have shown their worth in countless conflicts, civil wars and political gaffes - many of which they themselves had a paw in starting.

In tavern chat, no House is more prideful, cunning or treacherous as House Tyrole. Nonetheless, many great Tyroles are found in the pages of Elysia's history, from the Revolutionary War to the most recent conflict with the Novari. Among the possibilities for arranged marriage, Tyroles are almost as sought after as Aucoins, likely the result of vast riches of silver and amber deposits in their Earling of Vanir.

The Tyroles somehow managed to be given the surrendered lands north of the city of Vanir after the fall of House Elsred, and their Earling is now among the largest land claims as well as already having been the most resource-rich. No Tyrole is ever seen in anything but the most opulent finery and battle armor, and they refuse any attempt to be courted by any Lesser House.

Starkly contrasting their extravagance is the city of Vanir - a large industrial center plagued with crime and harsh poverty. Despite having taken heavy damage from the Horde of Arrym in the recent War of 1579, the Tyroles returned in the post-war period with their riches largely intact. Vanir, however, was devastated. Though they remain a powerful ally to the throne, many are distrustful of the Tyroles for their long history of sowing dischord among their Noble fellows.

Head of Household: Lord Drake Tyrole XIV, Earl of Tyrole
Heraldry: Yellow sunburst on an orange background
Motto: Soon the Sun Shall Rise

House Vale

Elysia’s only noble house of Daruni, raised to peerage during the reign of King Wilam. Their landholdings encompass one of the largest in the nation; the Earling of the Vale. Named for their House (but some say vice-versa) the Vale is a rather agrarian strip between Dragon's Maw Bay and the East Mountains. The Vale however includes Elysian City, the most economically vibrant of Elysian municipalities, and the township of Tian, a vital trading route to the nothern province of Cragsfell.

The Vales are considered very benevolent leaders, who treat their land tenants well and ask little in taxation. House Vale is far from the richest nor the most well-connected House, but their age grants them membership to the Great Houses, and their impressive war record helps a great deal in this respect as well.

Among the other Noble Houses, the Vales ally strongly with their Dunkeld and Zhu neighbours, but are disliked by some others as an unlikely and somewhat distasteful example of Nobility. Among the common people, particularly those also descended from slaves, the Daruni Nobles are well-loved.

Head of Household: Lord Borgnine Vale, Earl of the Vale.
Heraldry: Broken Chain on green background
Motto: Be it Enough, And It Is

House Vengalil

These Indian tigers are relatively new to the Kingdom, arriving in the late 1400s, but they are nonetheless among the most powerful. Vast silk-trading riches flow into their coffers, and they constantly vie for power despite having never taken place in any of the major wars of succession.

Many of the ancient Vengalil were powerful magi in India, though few relatives remain there for reasons unknown. The Vengalils possess vast knowledge of magicke, and many of them are among the foremost scholars in the world. No mage has sat as Lord or Lady of a House in many years of Elysian history, and the Vengalil forswear that true mages still exist within their ranks. Others are more skeptical of these claims; particularly in light of their being given the Barony of Auffester, the seat of magickal knowledge and power in Elysia.

Head of Household: Lord Rajavith Vengalil, Baron of Auffester
Heraldry: Pale blue swastika over white dove
Motto: They Who Withhold Have Nothing

House Zhu

The Elysian Throne has, in the past, had few allies so loyal as the red pandas of house Zhu. Among the first settlers from distant Shenzhou, House Zhu was created when their benefactor was Lorded by Xavier I in the Colonial days. They are strongly allied with the other Houses of Austerath, and have reached out the olive branch to their new neighbours of House Sekiz (though with something of a cold reception.)

Zhus are considered quite affable and modest for Nobles. Their tenants and bannermen are extremely loyal, after the fashion of their liege lords. Many feel House Zhu is a fine example of what Elysian nobility should be, but others feel this is a weakness and a "common" personality stemming from their humble roots as nomadic fishermen. The Dunkelds seem to regard the Zhu as rural, simple-minded doves to their hawkish tendency, but they share a common plight with the Vales, who are not so well-respected among the other ancient Houses, and have strong relationships with them.

Head of Household: Lord Allister Wu Zhu, Earl of Vedas
Heraldry: Three golden fish on red background
Motto: If The Nets Are Strong, So Too Is The King

Lesser Houses

House Balfere - An elder house, it has enjoyed roughly the same obscurity as it has since revolutionary days. Balfere is known for of its piousness to the Eastern Star faith, and charity to its temples. The piety of House Balfere is often mistaken for naivety, but this is in fact a House that has survived many Elysian ages and remains well connected to the state religion, a powerful ally over the decades.

Head of Household: Lord Maxroy Balfere
Heraldry: White background with a silver emblem of the Eastern Star in the top left corner
Motto: That Which We Were, We Shall Forever Be

House Duvont - One of the youngest of the houses, it remains among the most influential of the Lessers, and closest to the throne as well. The turmoil and strife of house Duvont in its survival are not only common knowledge but rather astonishing lore. The story of the Duvonts and their troubled European fief of Dunmoore is good fodder for bards and storytellers, who tell of both the civil strife in their small Kingdom, and of the heroic flight of the Duvonts to safety in Elysia.

Its matriarch, Lady Shia, is so well-regarded she is often referred to as the "Dutchess what should have been", a reference to repeated attempts to nominate her for the head of the Duchy of Austerath. Lady Shia forswore her noble claim, however, to run against an unsavory choice for Mayor of Elysian City in 1574. The Mayorship, a common institution requiring abdication of noble claim, was particularly important in the southern boomtown.Considered a longshot candidate, she took a narrow victory at the last moments of the campaign and went on to become the most beloved of Elysian City mayors in recent memory. She resigned in 1584 to instead back candidate Gudrin Osterlund, a Novari, in that election.

Though the Duvonts as yet hold no large land claims, they have a significant plot of land near the Hollow of Elysian City in its Southwest quadrant. As if bards had not enough to sing about, their lands were razed during the sack of Elysian City in 1580. Despite a tragic string of luck, the Duvonts, under their restored claimant Shia Duvont, have begun rebuilding their "Duchy" - a lovingly-nicknamed manor and often halfway-house for the poor of the neighboring Hollow. They are well-regarded by commoners and the ruling House Vale alike, and are thought to be not far from Senate membership. For all appearances, House Duvont is once again on the rise.

Head of Household: Lady Shia Duvont
Heraldry: Gold fleur-de-lis on navy background
Motto: Wisdom, Courage, Compassion

House Kensen -
Among the very newest of the houses are an unlikely gypsy clan of Eireland. With only three members, House Kensen revolves around its matriarch, Dame Aedina Kensen. Though the leader of a tiny house, the Lady Kensen has managed to amass an impressive fortune in silk and spice trading and is among Elysian City's most lucrative merchants. Noted philanthropists, the Kensens offered their rentholdings in Elysian City up to the war-poor following the recent War of 1579, donating food and supplies to the recently homeless. They run several poorhouses in the city to this day.
Head of Household: Baroness Aedina Kensen
Heraldry: Single, large white rose on Green and Gold
Motto: Naylmet Mar Melesse (Elvish)

House Lazarro - Italian-born house strongly suspected to secretly command the notorious Furia Crimisi crime syndicate.

Head of Household: Lord Erminio Lazzaro, Capo of Furia Crimisi
Heraldry: Golden flame on crimson background
Motto: Loyalty is Thicker Than Blood

Derelict Houses

House Sparrow -

Head of Household: Lady Chamilla Sparrow
Heraldry: Bodiless outstretched feathered wings on a dark blue background
Motto: We Got Us a Convoy!

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