Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Home of the Zerans and the Godly Stage, Alstalsia is a primal landmass to the northeast.
User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:09 am

Note: This list is incomplete, but I will be adding the remaining ones as I finish writing them up. I will also be adding a map of Alstalsia when finished with all of them to better visualize where the locations mentioned in the noble house profiles are in relation to each other.

Alstalain Noble Houses

Alstalsia's ruling system is a High Council whereby important issues are ruled in favor or against via majority. The High Council itself consists of the heads of the nine most powerful noble houses in Alstalsia, which are listed below. Being a proud race, Zeran politics are usually hard to detect from outside of the country, but when you have so many egos running around with power, there are bound to be conflicts, be they subtle or blatant. The nine houses that make up the High Council are as follows (position on the list does not reflect power ranking/etc):

1. House Tyrmela
2. House Kaulyn
3. House Orin
4. House Zelag
5. House Arkime
6. House Tunnin
7. House Echor
8. House Domraye
9. House Suran

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:11 am

TYRMELA

(coming eventually)

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:15 am

KAULYN

Sigil: A yellow vase with a skeletal face in its body, looking towards the viewer, with handles raised up and curved like horns.
House Kaulyn's 'macabre vase' serves as their sigil, as well as the design of pottery commonly decorating the homes of its members. While foreigners may find it disturbing in its grim design, the truth of the matter is that artistry born from death is celebrated in Alstalsia in many ways, in no small part due to Zera's dying decree to utilize his remains.

Colors: Yellow, grey, brown.
Kaulyn clay often comes out of the ground in a dull yellow sheen, which is the main point behind the colors. When worked, it becomes grey. While the Kaulyn use other materials, such as porcelain, and given the memorability of House Kaulyn's porcelain masks, one might think they should take the forefront of representation for the noble family, but Kaulyn's origins lie with clay.

Heirloom: Masqueran
Made partially from Zera's remains, this heirloom is a large adornment made in the image of Zera, literally. A detailed, hand-shaped sculpture that shows the great demon god's face, its quality and craftsmanship is impeccable, and would any live today that could verify it, they would say it is a very accurate model. It is better protected than a simple clay statue, however, being glazed, reinforced with magic, and placed in a thick glass case for safe keeping.

Size: Medium
Art can be practiced by anyone with the talent, and given that artists are what House Kaulyn is mostly comprised of, their numbers reflect that accessibility. They serve as a valuable, living cultural artifact of sorts. However, since Alstalain politics have proven to sometimes be bloody in the past, they do have a force of elite soldiers just large enough to protect the House's members and lands, called the Masked Men. Named for their metal-reinforced porcelain face masks that look better suited to masquerade balls than battlefields, they are mostly skilled duelists and skirmishers, and despite the name, also include the fairer sex in their ranks if proven able fighters.

Stronghold: Bycoast
Located on the left-most island south of Alstalsia, the House Kaulyn domain of Bycoast is not far from the southern shores of Alstalsia, hence the name. It is a land rich in clay deposits and other minerals useful for crafting. Bycoast also holds on it one of the three great lighthouses, serving as a beacon for ships as well as a lookout. House Kaulyn themselves reside in a simple castle called Bycoast Keep, the battlements decorated with sculpted soldiers in armor who watch those over the walls day and night. It is a rather unsettling sight to many.

Values:
House Kaulyn's penchant for masks goes beyond just aesthetics, as they are the sort to utilize outward appearances as ways to hide their true intentions. While their ability in creating sculptures, masks, pottery, and other forms of shaped art is undeniable, they have a reputation for being deceptive schemers, and over the years have gained the suspicions of many. 'Never trust a man whose face you cannot see.' Many have suspected they and House Arkime have engaged in plots to steal and smuggle goods headed to and from Alstalain shores, and have hidden things such as stolen goods within the pottery and sculptures they make, which they then sell in secret under the guise of fair business.

For the most part, these suspicions are right on the mark, but House Kaulyn has been careful enough to where they are hard to catch or prove, and any engaging in such actions have been exiled from the family and punished. Therefore, in the eyes of the law, House Kaulyn itself is law-abiding and well-meaning, with a few bad apples every now and then, just like any noble family. They are not easily trusted, but to them, this fine; deceptions and problems are best solved as elegantly and creatively as possible.


History:
House Kaulyn was originally a minor house, but their position was elevated after the construction of the three great lighthouses, one of which is on Bycoast and maintained by the family, as recognition for their immense contribution to the culture of Alstalsia. Kaulyn art was highly coveted by the natives and overseas alike for its quality and uniqueness, which made them wealthy and influential, earning them a place on the High Council. They have managed to remain well out of the spotlight of history in terms of conflicts, although many have suspected they held a distant part in some plots; for example, the assassination attempt of the House Tyrmela heir. However, none of this has been proven.

What has been, however, and is still shown today, are the artistic contributions of House Kaulyn. They are still as highly valued and unique as they were in days of old, and a well-made Kaulyn piece will fetch a high-price... for one reason or another.

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:19 am

ORIN

Sigil: A black wyvern's head with golden reins around it in the shape of a crown.
Unsurprisingly, House Orin's sigil proudly shows the pitch-black wyvern that the house is known for taming. Like many Alstalain royal houses, there is a crown motif within it. In this case, the 'crown' is supposed to simply be reins, but due to the angle and position, it appears to be a chain-like golden crown.

Colors: Purple, black, gold.
House Orin typically wears purple as a primarily color along with black cloaks with gold trim. The mountainous region that House Orin calls home have trees covered in purple moss which is used as a dye.

Heirloom: Abductor
A two-fanged rider's reaper made from two tips of Zera's claws. A rider's reaper is a weapon originating from Alstalsia. It is similar in design to a scythe on a very long pole, except there are two curved blades, and each one of them sticks out at an angle from the other, creating a triangle-shaped gap between the two. It is a poor weapon in normal combat, but for wyvern riders such as House Orin, it is used to pick up soldiers on the ground from a distance and carry them into the air. One of two things happens, then. One would be that, the victim, struggling to get free, cuts themself apart on the blades; this is uncommon. The more likely result is that the wyvern rider carries the helpless soldier into the sky and drops them to their doom, usually on top of their own army.

As you might expect, being made of godly remains, Abductor is most certainly the strongest of these gruesome tools, but it is far too valuable to use or potentially lose in battle, and so it sits in safety.


Size: Medium
House Orin's upper echelon is primarily wyvern riders, which is a difficult job made harder because of House Orin's choice to tame only the black 'wild' wyverns. However, it takes more than wyvern riders to care for wyverns, and so there are many who serve to take care of the beasts and capture new ones.

Stronghold: Blacknest
Located in the high mountains of the north-east 'wide' pennisula on Alstalsia, specifically the Ruined Bluff, lies the Blacknest, with its 16 tall, wyvern-roosting towers. A hard fortress on a steep mountain with a thin, dangerous path leading to it, the Blacknest doesn't see many visitors. A common saying describing the way of life there is that 'You only walk to Blacknest once. After that, you fly.' which is mostly true. Coming and going is done mostly on the back of wyverns, no doubt due to the convenience, but being able to flaunt the beasts is a nice bonus for House Orin.

Values:
House Orin believe very strongly in force-of-will and think that any obstacle can be overcome if you try hard enough; a lesson they utilize in their wyvern taming. The black wyverns on Alstalsia are notoriously wild and ferocious, at least twice as hard to tame as the green cousins they have on Sigrogana and elsewhere. Still, House Orin has and continues to bring the beasts under their control, which is... a very Zeran thing to do. They have a strong appreciation for tradition, believing they define who we are, and as a result House Orin does not change very much from generation to generation.

The act of taming is one of bringing control and peace, and House Orin also prefers that in regards to their country. They believe the boat shouldn't be rocked too much and, in the past, made strong efforts to that effect. The exception to things they enjoy being challenged are they to themselves, and like to find new personal barriers to break and heights to climb.


History:
House Orin has a long tradition of taming the wild wyverns of Alstalsia, as well as other native beasts, to varying degrees of success and failure. They are one of the oldest houses still on the High Council. They have served as a powerful air force for Alstalsia, causing havoc on both land and sea, in wars and internal conflicts. One such internal conflict was the uprising of the fallen Houses Mantra and Ignis. These houses did not sit on the High Council but were still as large as any other House; seeing this as an injustice, they decided to try and remove House Zelag, a much smaller House with a much higher position in court, from their place. House Mantra and Ignis were to rule on the High Council together, but this ended up being a far-off dream. As they marched their forces east, they met strong resistance from House Echor and their Red Knights.

When word reached House Orin, the wyvern riders reinforced House Echor's army and cut down the lesses Houses' forces in a battle known as the Massacre of Silence and Ashes. The extremely one-sided victory left the vocal House Mantra and the firey House Ignis as nothing more than the namesake, and their history ended there. The surviving members joined other noble houses, and so it went on. However, House Ignis and House Mantra weren't the only ones to meet their end that day. With House Orin reinforcing House Echor, they were distracted with quelling the uprising, and this left another noble House, House Hetter, vulnerable. House Hetter, like several other noble families at the time, were artisans that happened to own land with a large quarry of valuable marble. And like those other houses, they lacked one thing; a strong military force. During the massacre, House Suran saw its opportunity and pounced on the defenseless house, slaughtering them all and taking over their lands during the chaos. This gave House Suran more lucrative lands, as well as a seat on the High Council.

House Orin nearly started another internal war between the houses, but wise council told the head of House Orin that doing so would only further weaken Alstalsia. House Hetter was gone, and losing House Suran would not fill the void. If an outside force were to strike while Alstalsia is in chaos, it could have resulted in a much worse fate. So House Orin stayed their hand, choosing to stabilize Alstalsia again, but they have never forgotten or forgiven the transgression. House Suran and House Orin are enemies in all but name. Suran supply ships are often 'randomly attacked' by wild wyverns along the coast, which many assume is House Orin's doing, a theory that brings much annoyance to House Arkime, as the ships and men lost are usually at least 50% theirs.

House Suran does not so openly assault House Orin, but it is the spider's nature to lie in wait for a chance to strike.

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:19 am

ZELAG

(coming eventually)

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:23 am

ARKIME

Sigil: Three slitted eyes laid out in a pyramid-shaped triangle.
Originally, the three-eyed sigil of the Arkime was painted on their flags, representing a three-eyed sea monster that most say was a serpent. When they became a noble house, however, the official meaning of that sigil became the three Great Lighthouses that the Arkime family built around the coasts of Alstalsia, serving as 'eyes' on the seas.

Colors: Orange, red, black.
The primary color of the Arkime is orange, perhaps as a reference to the house's favor towards citrus. Such fruits are invaluable on the sea to prevent conditions stemming from malnutrition, such as scurvy, and the land the Arkime owns has miles of citrus orchards inside of it. Red and black are common pirate colors, for a variety of reasons, most importantly because the blood-hiding shades demoralize enemies when boarding ships.

Heirloom: Hafgufa & Lyngbakr
The Lyngbakr is the ancestral admiral ship of the Arkime. From the many skirmishes it took part in, the Lyngbakr is a scarred medium-sized vessel, covered on the outside by patchwork leather, which was used to protect the ship from threats such as fire and impact damage. The Hafgufa, on the other hand, is the name of a large ramming spearhead on the prow, whose height can be adjusted by machinery below deck. The Hafgufa was usually hidden just below the water's surface, where it could be used to pierce ship hulls, causing them to sink after Hafgufa is withdrawn. Most of its power comes from the fact that it is crafted from the remains of Zera, making it much stronger than metal and wood, and preventing the water from causing it to rust or float in a way that hinders the ship's movement.

Size: Medium
Although the split between those loyal the Arkime's 'origin' dwindled their numbers, the amount of people to run ships and ports can be quite large, and so new members to the house were recruited, some from fallen houses on Alstalsia.

Stronghold: Bloody Bay
The Arkime have always taken up residence at the Bloody Bay, which is located on the southwest tip of Alstalsia. Traditionally, this position allowed them to more easily attack ships heading to or from Sigrogana and Gold, but now it is more similar to a port town, and it houses one of the Great Lighthouses. Bloody Bay is named for the reddish tint the water seems to have due to a large amount of red coral at the bed of the bay. While the port town is not a fortress in terms of fortification, it is still difficult to assail, as to reach it by land, one must pass through the Stinking Marsh, a large swamp that cuts Bloody Bay's surrounding land off from the rest of Alstalsia. Needless to say, attacking by sea might still be a worse option, because that is where the Arkime have lived and died for a hundred years.

Values:
Arkime 'loyalists' will often stay true to the pirate ways, taking what they want from who they want on the high seas, even if that makes them an enemy of the rest of the world. They value the freedom such a lifestyle gives, and many of them enjoy the fact that such a rebellious and confrontational occupation is very different from the dry and cold politics of Alstalsia.

As for House Arkime, they meet somewhere in the middle. The leaders of the House have recognized that continuing a life of professional piracy would eventually result in their ruin, noting that few pirates grow into old age, that Gold's reliance on foreign trade has made their trade ships well escorted, and that House Orin's taming of the wyverns serve as a natural counter to ships on the sea, meaning the number of opportunities for successful pirating have gone down significantly in the last decade and a half, while the risk has gone up significantly. That said, they are still a very wild house, hard to control or negotiate with, and thus the values of each member of House Arkime tends to vary, far more so than any other noble house.


History:
The Arkime were originally pirates that raided ships that sailed through the waters near Bloody Bay, which included a large amount of Sigrogana, Gold, and Alstalain ships. The three-eyes were a very feared threat before long, known for their ruthlessness and brutality. As time went on, their numbers grew, some joining them with few other options due to personal history, being outlaws, or their original noble house being ruined. Eventually, the High Council made the Arkime a very fair offer; in exchange for loyalty to Alstalsia and ceasing pirating, they would be made a noble house, given a large amount of wealth, land, and prestige. This caused a split between the Arkime, those who believed that they should tell the Council to 'pike off', the loyalists. And the ones who realized that piracy's days as a large scale operation were numbered, those now of the House Arkime. Of note, the captain of the Arkime was one of those who sided with Alstalsia.

As part of the deal, the Arkime built three Great Lighthouses on various points of the coast, to serve as protection from attacks from the sea, one of which is in Bloody Bay. Thus, House Arkime manages all sea-based affairs for Alstalsia, including trade and its navy. As for the loyalists, some smaller groups of them are still out there, hiding in parts unknown and raiding ships. They wear bandanas to hide their horns, preventing them from gaining much notice. Others, perhaps the brazenly suicidal ones, still pirate with the Arkime's three-eyed sigil, which causes diplomatic issues from time to time. And still some believe that, even though House Arkime has sworn loyalty to the Council, that some of its members still pirate ships in secret.

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:24 am

TUNNIN

(coming eventually)

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:29 am

ECHOR

Sigil: A metalworking hammer wrapped in a crown of roaring red flames.
The forges of the red knights are worked by the hammers of their sigil, and the metal is heated in its flames. Like many Zeran noble houses, the flames are in a crown-shape, similar to a Zeran's horns.

Colors: Red, brown, black.
As one might expect, red is a dominant color for House Echor, with earthy browns and deep blacks as complimentary colors, perhaps as homage to their origins as farmers. This trio of colors, when talking about the red knights, is sometimes referred to as the colors of 'blood and earth and ash', all things the House is known for dealing in.

Heirloom: Bloodlode
A war pick whose head is said to be made from the first found veins of Echorite in the farms of Seashire, while the pommel and long-handle are remains of Zera. It was created in commemoration when House Echor rose to the level of High Council members, to celebrate their humble origins. As an heirloom, it's more used for its display purposes, but one look at the war pick makes it clear that it would be as deadly as any other Echor-made weapon.

Size: Medium
House Echor is moderately sized, possessing a good balance of economic and military strength, but not having enough of either to be explosively large. Many members of House Echor fall into one of these categories; Knights, who serve as the fighting numbers, or Smiths, who work metal, typically Echorite, for sale. House Echor also has many subjects that serve as miners and farmers, allowing the house to self-provide resources they need.

Stronghold: Redgate
Seated at the northmost peninsula on Alstalsia, the north of the Godly Stage and west of House Zelag lies the Redgate, a large, thick wall that acts as a barrier separating the Godly Stage and the Echorite mines from the rest of Alstalsia, as well as serving as a strong fortification that protects House Echor's citizenry in Greenhurst and the military-less House Zelag from bandits, monsters, and anything else that wishes to do them harm. House Echor themselves have a keep named Stargazer Step high on the Redcliff, overlooking the water, but the entirety of their domain is commonly referred to Redgate, and it's no wonder why; the Redgate is legendary, serving as the tallest man-made fortification in the entire known world, said to be painted red in the blood of the Red Knight's foes.

The Redcliff itself lies beyond the Sea of Stones, a treacherous hilly area where most of the Echorite mines are located, as well as several precious gem deposits. The naming of the Redcliff is very simple; the soil and rocks of the cliff are an earthy red, and Stargazer Step itself has a grand view of the sea and the rest of Redgate.


Values:
House Echor is a house of knights, and as such, are heavily influenced by honor and chivalry. They do not typically get involved in the politics and plots of the High Council's other Houses, and openly feel such actions hold Alstalsia as a whole back. As rulers of a mostly self-sufficient domain, full of farms, mines, ports, and military men, House Echor has a wider view of the complications of a variety of trades than any other House on Alstalsia, making them knowledgeable and wise.

However, these qualities also make them well aware of betrayls and transgressions towards them, and the honorable knights very rarely forgive them, instead preferring to use blood as an equalizer. Forgiving the inevitable and punishing the malevolent serves as an apt summary of how House Echor operates, a set of beliefs that have earned them the nicknames 'Blood Knights' and 'House Ichor'.


History:
House Echor was originally a family of farmers with no noble titles or importance. After a violent storm ruined the southern land they originally worked, they were bankrupt and only managed to scrape up enough money to buy land north of the Godly Stage. This cheap land was ill-suited to farmwork, due to the multitude of rocky soil, but there wasn't much choice, and so they began making due as best they could. One day, a farmer struck something other than dirt and stone; a red metal sticking up from the ground. This was how Echorite was discovered, named after the family that found it, and it propelled them into a powerful noble house when its qualities were discovered.

While Echorite, in normal circumstances, is very average, being no better than iron, the metal serves as a neutralizer against magical and godly creatures. Where an iron sword would do very little harm to something with a strong hide, like a wyvern, Echorite can pierce it as easily as it does flesh, making it very valuable against those who fight such creatures. It offers similar qualities defensively, being harder for such creatures to penetrate or destroy armor and shields made from it. The red metal is what the Red Knights got their name for, as they wear armor made of Echorite. Some experts have theorized that Echorite is actually iron soaked in the blood of the gods that did battle on Alstalsia, which would make sense, given its properties.

The demand for Echorite lead it to being very expensive after its discovery, and the Echor family used it to buy the land they own today, among other things. The monopoly they hold on Echorite, as well as their close friendship with House Zelag, eventually propelled them to the position they sit in now.

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:32 am

DOMRAYE

Sigil: A black crow sitting in a nest of Zeran horns.
House Domraye's sigil, which depicts a crow roosting in a nest of Zeran horns, is less ominous than it seems. The crow is often associated with foresight and intelligence, and as diviners, the Domraye have similar qualities, using their occult magic to steer away from misfortune much like the crow in mythology.

Colors: Silver, black, purple.
The primary, silvery sheen of the Domraye reminds of the polished mirrors they carry with them. Black and purple serve as complimentary colors.

Heirloom: Margeaenne
A nine-pointed standing mirror, it was created by polishing broken portions of Zera's carapace until they were reflective and thin, and is rumored to also have a large shard of the legendary Dragon's Mirror. While this mirror is technically broken, the pieces have been shaped in such a way that it appears to be seamless and fits very tightly together. This mirror is how the Domraye communicate with what they believe to be the second coming of Zera, a goddess named Ereshkigal.

Size: Large
House Domraye's core members are not particularly numerous, but they have much in the way of lower members, in part due to their 'new religion' earning them a lot of supporters.

Stronghold: Evenstar
Located on a tall hill in the west of Alstalsia, Evenstar is a stone fortress with a large central tower in its walls. The top of this tower is a large, flat room where Margeaenne is stored, and it's more similar to a roof than a chamber. Its outside is decorated by a globe of stained glass laid between a sparse stone framework, and it is the most eye-catching part of the entire structure. This globe can retract with some mechanism, opening up the top to the sky, and it's said that the Domraye do this during special ceremonies involving Ereshkigal.

Evenstar is a short distance away from the Domraye-ruled town of Dragonfield, the second most popular town with tourists on Alstalsia, losing only to the capital. Dragonfield is named such due to the history of the location. The field part of Dragonfield is very large, nowadays filled with farms and plantations, but once upon a time, it was simply a field with many rainbow-colored plants. During Heaven's Contention, the field was, at one point, razed by the firey breath of a dragon, which filled the air with a pleasantly smell, rather than the choking, ashy smoke you would expect from such a scene. The plants were revealed to have uses the natives were unaware of, and in common times, they are used to produce spice and incense. On some days, when a strong wind is about, the entire air is filled with a unique, relaxing scent.


Values:
The Domraye are the most social of all the Alstalain royal houses, and seeing as how people are more willing to accept your beliefs if they like you, the ones who rise to the highest positions are often those with a lot of charisma. At the top level, however, what House Domraye ultimately values is what Ereshkigal commands, and this varies from time to time. Some whispers from the upper echelon suggest that the true goal is to summon her to Sigrogana, rumors that the other houses and even other factions, such as the Church Knights, take seriously enough to consider the Domraye very dangerous if left unchecked. Added onto the relucatance of most Zerans to accept any but Zera as the true god of Alstalsia and it comes as no surprise that the relationship they share with other Houses is tense or neutral at best.

History:
House Domraye has a long and storied history as diviners, some tales even dating back to before The Enlightenment, where an ancient Domraye ancestor originally sealed the great dragon spirit inside of the Dragon Mirror. This would make sense, considering that House Domraye used a shard of it to create their Heirloom. They rose to the status of royal house roughly 50 years ago, after a large swell of foreign support; similar to the Tyrmela, but in the Domraye's case, it is due more to the religion they preach, rather than diplomatic acumen.

Politically, House Domraye has remained very clean, which has no doubt played a part in the positive image they have, but has given them a less glorified past than the other houses. Still, House Domraye's strength lies in looking towards the future they are hoping to create, rather than the past.

User avatar
Neus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5005
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Noble Houses: Alstalsia

Postby Neus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:32 am

SURAN

(coming eventually)


Return to “Alstalsia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest