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Family and Houses of Karthin

History files for Kell.

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Family and Houses of Karthin

Post Number:#1  Postby The Keeper » 17 May 2009, 11:56

Karthin is a large country north of Ehlovar and the Lorn Imperium. The Cammorian Dominion was at one time located to the east of it which simply because of that fact meant that Karthin was not a target of the Dominion's expansion as the Dominion tended to be focused solely on the southern kingdoms on the Kehnon peninsula.

Which is not to say that Karthin did not have a series of troubles when the Dominion expanded, just that it was never invaded/conquered.

The following is an incomplete summary of the various Houses of Karthin (within the capitol of Vassilisa) as they stand during the time of my Karthinian campaign sessions.

Familys & Houses of Karthin

Background

The country of Karthin is made of three provinces and a small section of tribal lands held by the Jahr. The province of Athenea is the main province and includes the capitol of Karthin, Vassilisa and other small citys. The second province is Samarita and is ruled by the Savant and governed by the Duke of Samarita, a political appointee. The third province is Noe, and merely has a governor appointed by the military garrison that is in residence there. Noe, historically has had no conflict with the government and is not violent so is left alone in this manner. The tribal lands are, of course, governed by their own councils. This document will deal with the houses and families of the province of Athenea and their relations with the other provinces and the tribes.

Athenea

There are only two Houses in all of Karthin. They are the House of Corithsin, the royal house and the House of Lyons, which descends from Iraine, the “Lioness.” All other “houses” are families and do not hold the superior status of the Houses. The creation of new houses is not allowed, except by royal decree and only then with good reason as approval must come from a unanimous vote by the House of Lords. Iraine was granted her house as a reward for her service, separating her acts from the general acts of the House of Corithsin. All families derive some heritage from the two Houses, but only those with pure blood-lines can “claim House.” Descent must be proven through the male line for the House of Corithsin and through the female line for the House of Lyons. All other lineage is ignored only where it concerns the “right to rule!” This requirement led to inbreeding and eventually to the failure to produce an heir from either House. Suddenly, there was no one to rule the country. The House of Lords thus determined that the country would be ruled by the highest of their number and that a family’s standing would determine who was the highest. Thus, rule passed from King and Queen to the High Lords. This has been the pattern up to the present. If ever there was discovered to be a true heir, however, rule would be passed back to the rightful owner. An heir has yet to be found, although there has been many pretenders. The following are all the major families and some minor families, a brief background and history and their rankings.

Skagen (minor): Currently, the ruling family, but barely. The Skagens are a dhåman (household) of the Selde family. High Lord Morven Skagen was the ruler until recently. A coupe left him murdered in his bed, leaving his wife and grandson the sole survivors of his line. Morven’s wife, Ilena is referred to as queen, simply because there is no other title for wife of a High Lord. And it is simply that. She holds no office. With the current coupe, because of her age, and personal worth she is being kept alive, but put away. She is alive to keep her grandson malleable.
The Skagens are the only dhåman of the Selde Family to not be in decline. They represent a progressive and forward-thinking movement that has been developing in Karthin for the last 200 years. Ilena is now the head of this dhåman, but is in the unfortunate position of being part of the Selde family.

Selde (major): This family is led by Gregor Selde, a bombastic, pompous fool, drunk on his own self-worth (which is lately, not very much). Gregor publicly portrays this family as better than it actually is, but privately is aware of the family’s decline. He is greatly annoyed at the Skagen’s good fortune, but rather than harnessing it to his family’s advantage he goes to great lengths to discredit the Skagen’s (within the family) and shuns Ilena altogether. It is privately whispered among all the families that Gregor may have been the impetus for this coupe as it is well known that he does not (and therefore the family does not) share the same views as the Skagens. The coupe may have been his attempt to quiet a rebellious family member.
The Seldes current misfortunes are a result of living beyond their means. Gregor got his position through inheritance and promptly ran the family into massive debt. Only an ancient favor called in allowed this family to even be in the bad spot it is in now. However, this had the result of destroying an ancient agreement of support between the Danner family and the Skagens.

Danner (major): This family is led by Ivan Danner. A strong leader, he is noted for being fair and even-headed. He has advanced his family by strength of trade and not arms. The family is well-regarded, but does not carry any strong political status. This is because Ivan and his ancestors have sought only to better the conditions of their families and have not sought the throne overmuch. Some Danners have served as High Lord, but these cases were rare and at a time when the nobility realized it needed stability for the country over personal gain. Consequently, the Danner family is considered to be if not a non-player in the game, at least a very inactive one. However, this is not to say that they are taken advantage of. The other familys learned early on that the Danner’s are extremely capable and willing to defend what is theirs. Three familys became extinct because they bore arms against the Danners during the House Wars. None has tried since.
In early history, the Selde family vouchsafed for the Danners, allowing the family to survive and prosper at a dark period of time when the Purging was slaughtering familys wholesale. The Danners have NEVER forgotten this favor, but to their credit have never been the Seldes’ lapdogs either. A working trust and mutal agreement built up over time with the Selde’s as a result of this. However, with Gregor Selde’s current actions, this has been destroyed. Ivan and the family have repayed the favor by infusing the Selde coffers with a large sum; enough to ruin the Danner’s fiscal plans for the next 200 years. This has made the Danner family very vulnerable now, as they no longer have the finances to meet their challenges. However, they are still militarily viable and can still protect what they still have.
Gregor’s action has now made the Seldes’ an enemy. Now, the Danner’s will treat the Seldes like any other family they deal with. Incidentally, the Danner’s had no part in the coupe, nor would they have if they had known anything about its coming. They have no collusion with Gregor’s plan in any way. The Danners are strictly loyal to the state and to their lords. They serve only for this purpose and beware any family or noble who does not serve the state and has one of these persons in their householde.

Demmersling (major): Titus Demmersling heads this family. He has three sons, Caesar, Viktor, and Armand. All three are good men, as this family on the whole tends to be. Politically and socially, this family is the closest that any family will ever come to being an actual House. They cannot advance any further on these scales. They are at the top. The leaders of the family resolve, therefore, to keep their current position. However, they have never been underhanded or dirty-dealing. This is a good family and all deal above-board at all times. Of course, there have always been exceptions, but these are dealt with when they pop-up by the leaders.
Ean Demmersling is the nephew of Titus, but has only a surface relationship with his uncle. Caesar, being the firstborn, is in line to succeed Titus in 20 years or so, but won’t make it. Both Caesar and Viktor will die in the tribe wars. This will cause Armand to be so full of grief that he becomes the walking dead. Armand will join with the armys that assist in the war in Thanetia and will go on to great glory in the battles there. He will be killed by a vengeful Imperial assassin in a tavern in Kell. Titus, himself will abdicate to Ean when he has learned of the deaths of his two sons.
Currently, the Demmerslings are caught in a fierce border battle between themselves and the MacCormick family. Latanai, a border fortress on the MacCormick side is being systematically destroyed in the pitched battles currently being fought. The MacCormicks are fighting for their lives as they are the main family behind the coupe and are now set up in Vassilisa. They will throw anything into the defense of their territory (the MacCormicks).
Like many of the familys, the Demmerslings have war bands patiently sitting on the outskirts of Vassilisa. No family will enter the 10 mile radius of state land around the city, however, until the fighting inside the city has stabilized. To do so, would violate the rules of conflict between the familys as well as violate state law that allows no private armies within 10 miles of the city.
Since the internal fight in the city is so chaotic and up in the air at the moment, none of the family warbands are currently fighting each other outside the 10 mile radius, but are warily watching themselves. Any action before the situation stabilizes is likely to cause considerable loss for the family starting something. The HomeGuard is inside of this radius as well, making sure that no family violates the ring. This is why no action has been taken, as the HomeGuarde serves whomever is in power (no matter how shakily held) and that is currently the MacCormicks/Skagens.
The Demmerslings are not impotent in this situation however. They, like many of the family have agents within Vassilisa and they are using them. It is dangerous to walk the streets of the capitol at the moment as armed retainers of the familys are fighting it out for their family held parts of the city. Even the HomeGuarde is finding things difficult. Currently, the Demmerslings control the area around the castle, but not the castle itself. They will not violate the inviolate, unless they have a reason so powerful that it cannot be disparaged by anyone. By the time Ean gets there, they will have it.
Geal Coill Clan Shining Tree. The “last” clan has its traditional lands here. The Demmersling family merely appropriated the land around them. They keep to themselves except for their trade and have no contact with the outside other then this. EVERY family, minor, major, or inconsequential respects their lands. The Demmerslings have a great political status in the fact that they have set themselves up as the clan’s “defenders.”

Ward(major): This is an interesting family with a fascinating military history that would make volumes of books on its own. Suffice it to say here, however, that this is a family structured around “arms” and warfare. Originally, founded by Conal Ward, who was man-at-arms to Gor, the Wards are living examples of the “old-country.” The history states, that the people of Karthin came from Byzmin. Byzmin at the time these people left was very religio-militant. Gor was a major Preceptor of a well-regarded order of church knights (the Sahazme) which served the Akeera (the ruling cleric, a female). In the expedition to Karthin, Gor ordered Conal to go and serve Locke Corithsin, the great grandnephew of the Akeera. The Wards still think of themselves as serving until the order to return home has been given. They are here only “temporarily.”
Conal Ward’s sons served Larn and Cain Corithsin and many of the family “supervised” the building of the wall of Larn. Another distinguished daughter saw great fame serving with Iraine. Althealea (Lea) Ward was Iraine’s general-at-arms and carried Iraine’s battle plans out to great success. Others in the Ward family have served the houses with equal glory.
With the death of the last heir, the Ward family declared that its service to the country was over and began to pack up and go “home.” Fortunately, wise heads were leading the family at the time and an expedition “home” was sent out. What they reported stunned the family. Cammoria was fighting a slow death at the time and Byzmir was a chaotic, evil, depraved country with its natural populace quickly dying out. A split in the family occurred with the fools mounting a disastrous “invasion” of Byzmir. The Cammorian regulars chewed them up, reigning down fire and magic (which the Wards were not prepared for). The wise ones stayed in Karthin, “waiting for the invasion army to signal them.” They are still waiting.
Currently, the family is led by Seamus Ward, a capable and honest man. He still retains the title, Man-at-Arms. Sean, like most of Ward’s leaders keeps the family out of the political game. They consider themselves equal with all the other familys, but only wield the power they have if they need to. They feel no loyalty to the country itself, and having no “leader” now are merely content in maintaining what the have. Their sons and daughters, however, are lent out as mercenaries, but to the HomeGuarde only. Service in the Guarde itself is highly respected in this family.
Kyzram This area was there before the Wards territory expanded. The Wards merely encircled the area and have left it alone since. Church matters have never interested them, always bored them, and generally brought them trouble. Consequently, the area has remained unviolated and Ward has no awareness (or care) of what goes on there. Also, since the area is generally inhospitable, it is not worth any effort to take it.

Romananov(minor): This family descends from an agriculture collective. Three partners who had ajoining land petitioned the king for the right to sell their collective goods as a company. Their petition was granted and the three men became rich as they quickly became the major supplier of food, lumber, and herbal remedies to the entire country. Their lands were (and still are) so fertile, that whatever came from there was superior to anything else in the country. Roland Romananov, one of the partners outlived the rest and passed authority on to his son, who because of his father’s money had been well schooled in the royal courts. Marcus Romananov, thus propelled the business into a political arena. He bought out the interest of the dead partners and assured their families that if they joined HIS family, he would take care of them. Thus, the Segers, and Cheltsams became dhåmans of the Romananov family, and through Marcus’s political skills they also became socially wealthy.
However. At some point, it all came crashing down. During the House Wars, the forests and crops burned and the family never really recovered. After Marcus, there were no strong leaders of the family. This is often said to be the fault of the Segers as they orchestrated the succession after Marcus. Their leader was not capable and was controlled by a domineering mother. Over time, the bloodlines mixed and no one has been able to tell where the true Romananov blood lies so that the family can put it back in their capable hands (although they have tried). At some point, they allied with the Harrels in order to survive and that “partnership” has put the Harrels in the dominant spot. The Harrels fund the Romananovs and thereby dictate any manner of things to them.
Boris Romananov leads the family now. His mother was a Seger and his father has more Cheltsam blood than anything, but he is proving capable at the moment. Privately, he despises the Harrels, but can’t do anything about it. His son Romar is in the HomeGuarde and has no desire to return. It is Romar that will break the Harrel hold on the family once and for all. Right now, Boris is openly rebelling against the Harrels by doing nothing. The Harrels for their part, have learned that a long leash is still a leash and are quite comfortable with allowing Boris his little rebellion. The only people it is hurting at the moment are the Romananovs, who have always overestimated the value of their trade to the country (Harrel thinking) and think that by denying that trade they can force the government to come to its senses. The only effect this is having, however, is a shortening of tempers on the part of the merchant and common man who make their livings on this trade.
Unknown to the Harrels, the family possesses a magical device and certain magical texts that aide in the speedy growth of trees, herbs and food and that makes even barren soil wildly fertile. This has been a family secret (and is part of the reason the family had great success at the beginning) and although illegal to have, the Romananovs have always been businessmen. When Romar breaks the Harrel yoke, he will be able to use these things for his family’s advantage and for the war effort in the south. An army must be fed.

Harrel(minor): This family is led by Ignatius Harrel. He is self-centered, arrogant, and devious. But, worst of all, he is a realist who can somehow see beyond the end of his own nose and keep his family out of serious trouble. This is a trait that has enabled this family to survive for so long. This family is the youngest of the strongest, being started by Pasha Harrel some 700 years ago. A bottom-feeder, Pasha had that quality of being able to support himself off of the resources of others. He never used any skills or resources of his own, yet managed to become quite wealthy. And this is the way the family still operates. The Harrels have no trade, no product, and no skills to offer anyone. Yet, they have an elaborate network of information that they employ ruthlessely. Blackmail, intermarriage alliances, political appointments, social deconstruction, and sometimes outright thievery is how they make their way. Evidence of this can be seen with the current bid for getting Vette Harrel made governess inside Vassilisa.
Currently, the Harrels, as can be assumed, are supporting whomever is in power. They are strongly courting Gregor Selde and are making the way for many MacCormicks. Harrels have been seen fighting alongside both familys in the streets (and courts) of Vassilisa and there is a small band of them fighting in support of the MacCormicks in Latanai. Like any true Harrel, however, they hedge their bets, and they are the only family that has true “proof” of Gregor’s treason. If Gregor loses his bid (and he will), the Harrels will be right there nailing the coffin shut. Furthermore, they will by this time have so much information of use to partys in power that to destroy them would be worse than keeping them. They will also be useful in the long run to harness their information gathering to better uses Ean Demmersling will have both the charisma, cunning, and outright strong-arming ability to force them to his will. Ironically, this will earn him more and more respect from the Harrel family as he uses that ability, rather than anger, fear, and hatred. While in power, the Harrel’s will not ACT against him, however, being Harrel’s they of course will have some sort of “evidence” against him. THEY WILL NEVER USE IT!
The Harrels have many scams going at once. Individually, it is not unusual to see four or five different schemes being worked. Any Harrel worth the family name has got something going. Contacts and bribery are their business.

MacCormick(major): Most of the information that follows is GM material. However, there is general knowledge here as well. This family was founded by Duggan MacCormick, a bond-soldier in the foundation army. Bond soldiers were Byzmin criminals who had committed heinous crimes. These people were placed into special soldier units that the government believed would be sent into a dangerous situation. The idea was that instead of killing them outright for their crimes, they would have a chance to do some good for the country in recompense for their crimes. And the chance that they would be killed while doing it was good. Unfortunately, for many, Duggan was one of the few bond-soldiers that survived. Worse yet, he came to enjoy his job.
Duggan took an Eithisian prostitute as a wife (although bond-soldiers were not allowed to marry), and from her came seven sons, all of a temperment like their father. The youngest was the worst, however. Ciaran MacCormick became famous for his savagery, although he led a short life. His grandson eventually fathered Conner MacCormick who in his turn became well known for his savagery in Iraine’s bond units, being one of the few to survive in the last battle. As a reward (and wrongly, many now know) Iraine freed him and his family, declaring their debt to society as paid. [Iraine did many wrong things as a result of her guilt after the battle.] Now that the MacCormick family had its freedom, things really went downhill.
The MacCormick family was converted to the Lorn church sometim after the failed Cammorian Dominion assault. Due to their evilness it was the general practice of the Karthinian troops at the time to kill all prisoners, under the authority of the church. However, family MacCormick having its own troops involved in the battle did not make some of their captures general knowledge. These captures were persons of some rank within the Lorn church. Others were obvious infiltrators. It is their viciousness that prevented MacCormick from outright killing them all. Given the chance to prosthetylize as well, the family elders immediately discovered that the Lorn religion was something to their liking, unlike the church of Ahriel, which they despised.
The elders of the family met in secret with the the strongest of their captures and sold their family over to the church of Lorn in exchange for power and domination. They have been worshiping in secret and following outside directives for generations now. The ultimate defeat of the Dominion came as a shock, but within several generations contact was re-established and a new association reached.
The current Shiva of the family religion is Dharma Xaquarn (a demonic last name). She represents everything despicable about the entire family. The church is a shadow and has never been found out to this day. Any hint of it has always disappeared and those who got too close, i.e. the church of Ahriel somehow found nothing. In any case, Dharma and the family are responsible for the ensnarement of Gregor Selde and are the bridge for how the outsiders got inside Karthin. They have been the source and the fuel for the many of the cults in the country. This is one of the secrets that will ultimately shake Karthin’s foundation, not to mention the fact that they have had almost constant outside contact since the time of the Dominion.
Liam MacCormick is the current ruler of the family. It is whispered among those in the high courts that his son Malcolm bears a strong resemblance to Dharma (who is his Liam’s sister). What is not said, but is in fact true is that Malcolm is the product of the incestuous relationship between Dharma and Liam, a conception that occurred with the active participation of their mother Mahla.

The date is August 1st, 3325. It is Sunday. In the "strong-country" it is the 41st year of the 197th cycle, the reign of Queen Ilena Skagen. The house of Selde is in decline with only a weak fool leading it. The burial of High Lord Morven Skagen is recent history and the new High Lord is a babe in swaddling clothes. And war is coming.
With the arrival of Fenrid Canrid in November of 3325 the isolation of Karthin is about to end. Between this date and November 12th, a coupe will occur, old secrets will be revealed, and a nation will question it's identity.

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