Fading Suns and Flaming Heresies
The role of the noble is to be the master of all things: accomplished ruler, skilled warrior, able diplomat, gifted artist, vigorous worker and so on. The reality is often far different, but the goal is still worth striving for. All the houses, whether royal or minor, share certain characteristics, but all are very different.
MAJOR (ROYAL) HOUSES
The Hawkwoods are proud that one of their own has become emperor, but all believe they are destined for greatness. It is both their privilege and their duty, and they act accordingly.
The family that many observers believed would win the Emperor Wars, the Decados are praised for their sophistication, wit and charm. They are feared for their malevolence, fury and treachery. To befriend a Decados is to ally with a viper.
A Hazat’s pride in her soldiers is only surpassed by her pride in herself. Trained since birth to lead soldiers, she is as at home in an army sleeping bag as in a feather bed. Still, the Hazat are extremely aware of their role in society, and will never let their inferiors forget it.
Once renowned as the most decadent house, House Li Halan is now the most tied to the Church. Li Halan elders give readily to Church charities, and younger members of the house are the first to join crusades and serve in the Orders of Battle. While most nobles owe their loyalty primarily to their own house, the Li Halan owe it only to the Pancreator.
Some observers have suggested that the al-Malik grew out of a Second Republic merchant family, but now the house strives for nobility in all things. Of course, that doesn’t keep its members from accumulating some of the best collections of Second Republic artifacts to be found this side of Leagueheim.
House Basque is a minor house under the auspices of House Decados. Having risen from status of serfs to freemen through their integration into the Genetech Cartel they became a family of lawyers, scientists and academics. Their high levels of education and technological savvy and then later their adept skill as fighter pilots earned the house hereditary knighthood, thus securing their place as a Minor noble House. Their elevation to noble status came about after the first Emperor Wars, for their aid in fighting House Li Halan and House Van Gelder.
House Bourbon is the remnants of the ancient Spanish royal family. Nearly extinct, they now call home the moon of Pharis in the Vera Cruz system, part of The Hazat holdings. They operate a number of vineyards from there, producing high quality wines.
House Cameton is the ruling house of Byzantium Secundus, as such they are often at odds with the Imperium and Alexius who they find they are often vying with for power. Most specifically is their enmity towards the Imperial Eye. An agency that nearly took control of Byzantium Secundus but was forced to give up large tracts of land following the Emperor Wars.
Their utter disdain for anyone of lower rank or influence has caused them to ignore the plight of those commoners they oversee, causing them to turn a blind eye to the massive poverty and pollution in their territories. Many run small loan- sharking operations, feeding off the poor like parasites, and employing wage-slaves to work in the most appalling of industrial factories Once a rising power, this house fell prey to manipulation, greed and gullibility, outmanuevered by the major houses time and again. Their fortunes rose and fell with alarming regularity. Indeed, they have in the past been strong enough to absorb other houses, such as House Hamin, House Tal and House Webster. Many in the family remain bitter over their current decline in fortunes and scheme to rise up again. In addition to being in strong competition against the Emperor, they are also in an intense rivalry with House Li Halan. They have made efforts to befriend members of The Authority, the more regressive members of the Church, and the anti-Alexius members of House Hawkwood. They are also seeking allies among House Decados and the Hazat who still seek the throne for themselves.
Having claimed descent from King Montezuma, House Chauki was one of the most powerful and first noble houses in existence, that is until they were overthrown by their military. Now they only exist on Iver and seek to regain their old territories (annexed by The Hazat). Their efforts are however stymied by their adherence to Incarnate philosophy.
House D’Rouge Glace
Once rulers of Rampart, House D’Rouge Glace was said to have committed, in or around the year 4050, a crime of heresy that were said to match that of House Li Halan itself. Suggestions were laid that these may have included such things as bioengineering. Some rumors suggest it really involved antinomy and the summoning of dark powers from the Qlippoth. Now a minor house confined to their fief on Rampart. To this day their family is marked by a curse where every four generations one of their scions is born with deep red skin. House D’Rouge Glace has claimed descent from Emperor Napoleon.
While they mostly administer fiefs on Rampart on behalf of the Li Halan, they still control some land of their own. Baroness Damita Glace is the ruler of the Acadia fiefdom. House Li Halan is the only royal house to recognize the noble status of House D’Rouge Glace.
House De Moley
House De Moley once ruled and owned the planet Madzak. Madzak was a way point between the core and the deep worlds and from this world Brother Battle was born. The scions of House De Moley still exist on this planet and administrate what few serf colonies seek to live here. The planet Madzak was renamed De Moley after it was claimed by Count Jackson De Moley for the Church and Brother Battle.
Since there is often little room for extended families, many children from House De Moley are sent to the Brother Battle monastery to become Brother Battle.
A minor house closely allied with House al-Malik and dedicated to the Emperor. Like other minor houses they have stylised their house head with a prominent title, yet like other minor houses this title has little more influence that that of Marquis. House Dunama has great knowledge in terraforming, an art it uses extensively in its fields to produce some of the richest farmlands of Istakhr.
House Gilgar is the remnants of once powerful rulers of Grange, now Pandemonium. Although they hold many estates on the Decados world of Pandemonium, most of these are caught out in the badlands. Their prosperity comes from a collection of Second Republic artefacts they still hold to. Despite the family head’s title of Duke of Grange, since the destabilisation of Pandemonium this title has little more power than Marquis.
Closely aligned to both House Hawkwood and the Ur-Obun of Velisimil, House Juandaastas has shown, more than any other House, political activism for alien rights. House Juandaastas has even intermarried with Obun (to the displeasure of Inquisition and Orthodoxy). To this day descendants of House Juandaastas may bear the fruition of Second Republic gene splicing to produce a Tuupa, a half human-obun.
The current ruler of the house is the Marquessa Sabine al-Malik-Juandaastas, with Baron Kaspar Juandaastas as the heir apparent. Count Phillipe Juandaastas rules the Rangor fief on Gwynneth, which is home to many aliens, unpopular Church sects, and psychics. Other holdings include fiefs on the Perleria continent of Criticorum.
Once one of the Royal Ten, now a minor House. House Justinian, closely allied to House Alecto, lost severely after Vladimir’s assassination. Now closely allied with House Hawkwood they endeavour to consolidate what few estates and resources they have left. House Justinian’s own home planet of Paradise is now lost to the Empire’s fall, a planet holding several voting sceptres should they ever rediscover it. House Justinian claims descent from the original Justinian Knights of Byzantine and Teutonic Sovereignty.
The house is currently ruled by the Marquis Argus Justinian who is a traditionalist. His daughter, the Princess Dame Carolandra Justinian, opposes the conservative nature of her father’s rule and is the leader of the so-called “Young Turks” who seek to promote a new order in the house.
In addition to claimed ownership of Paradise, the house currently occupies fiefs on Midian, where it helps the Li Halan administer the rustic Redwood and Voro fiefs. On Ravenna, House Justinian run a Deep Core City in Folari South. On Delphi, the family controls the entire continent of Courai, and the Doloria City Region on Virigo Minor.
Claiming to have been among the first colonists to have exodus through the jumpgate to Sutek, House Keddah rules the planet of Grail, being the only Minor House to rule autonomously a planet. Formerly they were a relatively powerful faction, also controlling Aylon, Shaprut and for a time, Byzantium Secundus (as House Hamid).
Their heritage stretches back to desert and nomadic tribes of Urth and their history is fondly remembered. The leader of the house traditionally uses the title of ‘sheik’, an affectation that he has little power to enforce outside Keddah fiefs. The current leader of the House is Sheik (Marquis) Haroun Keddah.
The house is relatively wealthy due to their ownership of a world, at least compared to other minor noble houses. Due to an old agreement of honour House Keddah is bound into helping House Masseri in its war against House al-Malik.
A minor house on Byzantium Secundus that is one of the minor houses to pose any competition to House Cameton. They own land on the continent of Harmony.
Descended from Diasporan colonists that were devoted Sathraists, House Masseri is known for a mystical bent. However, now a minor house, House Masseri is bitterly disenfranchised. Once rulers of Daishan, they were forced to retreat during the Symbiot wars. Now with little wealth they are under the auspices of House Decados and are held into war with House al-Malik. Many young Masseri nobles are renouncing their status and joining the guilds or the Church instead. If this continues unabated, the house will soon be extinct.
Their current leader is the Marquis Claudio Masseri. “Duke” Honorius Masseri is the ruler of the island fief of Kriel on Leminkainen (ruled by the Masseri vassal House Dextrite, and basically really a penal colony), and Baron Ignatius Masseri is the seneschal for the Carpathia fief on Severus. House Masseri also serve the Decados by administering fiefs on Cadavus for them – particularly the north pole fief of Ayizan (which is otherwise off limits to settlement by order of the Church except for House Masseri).
Although a noble house, this family lives in very primitive conditions, eeking out a living in the Rocana desert of Shaprut. They were once owners of the entire world, back in the 28th and 29th centuries, but between the Ukari invasions, the Shantor rebellions, and the Ramakirshna “Midnight Revolution”, their power was all but destroyed.
House Ramakrishna is a noble house on Hargard (also called Rauhina). Once a powerful House in the Known Worlds it was diminished significantly during the Fall and divestiture. Its current estates can be found settled on Hargard after the house fled Atman (now Abydos) when it was invaded by Symbiots. Finding themselves more aligned with the Phoenix Empire than the Vuldrok Star-Nations, tentative diplomatic relations have begun.
The house currently adminsters al-Malik fiefs on Shaprut, including the city of Girivraja, the cultural center of Shaprut and former capital pre-45th century. Sir Sahan Ramakrishna is the Lord-Mayor of Girivraja.
Learned, civil, proud and vain, the Shaprut branch of the family looks to locate and unite with its long lost relatives on Rauhina. Ramakrishna indulge in music, poetry, and learning, and disdain open-intolerance, enjoying pastimes of study, intrigue or indulgence, and pursuing professions such as artiste, or ambassador.
A House that has faded almost to insignificance, on the verge of extinction. Their only fiefs are on Byzantium Secundus, on the contested continent of Harmony.
A minor house on Byzantium Secundus that is one of the minor houses to pose any competition to House Cameton. Their holdings are limited to the continent of Harmony.
House Shelit was discovered during the conquest of Hira (Off the known Jumpweb, north of Vera Cruz). A noble house seperated culturally from the Known Worlds it has developed an extremely sophisticated cybernetic capability. Known for having three lettered names and an almost mechanical disposition they are now allied with The Hazat against their crusade on the Kurga Caliphate House Shelit is slowly being integrated into the Known Worlds. They are typically very ultra-rational, dispassionate, conservative and low in profile. Virtually every member of the house has at least one cybernetic limb.
The scions of House Thana are the progeny of extreme genetic engineering. Before the Second Republic House Thana used their technology to engineer their members to be unearthly beautiful and long-lived. This was to help augment the idea that they were divinity descent and had heavenly mandate to rule. Since then they were excised from their home planet Eridol and have been scattered across the Known Worlds. This is largely due to their propensity towards Psi, another remnant of their genetic engineering. Many are captured and converted into Hounds of Light for the Avestites. Now that the Lost World of Eridol has been found, what does the future hold for the Thana. House Thana have descended from Mediterranean aristocrats.
Once a great royal house that vied for the Phoenix Throne, they were brought to the brink of extinction after the coronation of Vladimir. They managed to secure their survival by becoming masters of Noble and Courtly etiquette. In so doing, they also become politically neutral – friends to all and enemies of none. Polite, cultured, bureaucratic and extremely sophisticated these nobles often lend themselves to the education of the youth of more prestigious houses. Their lack of assets and political bent has allowed them to become valued neutral arbitrators in noble conflicts, a position that they hold sacrosanct. This has also given them a growing degree of influence and prestige as more and more nobles of other houses come to rely upon them to act as advisors, seneschals and chamberlains.
Many would joke that House Trusnikron is hardly noble, more concerned with their steeds than serfs, more enamoured to their beast lore than fiefal management. Yet none will deny the value of their steeds, whether horses or flying urrocs a Trusnikron is master of them all. They are also viewed as being very straightforward and honorable. The serve with distinction among the Hawkwoods and Hazat as cavalry officers and mercenaries.
The house once controlled Shaprut, but now calls Ravenna its home, ruling the entirety of the province of Folari North (controlled by Countess Morgana Solara Trusnikron). On Cadavus, the family owns province of Sudania (ruled by Vis-Marquis Kovann Trusnikron). The family members here generally dislike the Decados, but have to tolerate them since the Decados do otherwise rule the world. Even so, occassional clashes between Trusnikron and Decados are not unheard of on Cadavus…
House Van Gelder
Once a Royal house, now House Van Gelder survives only at the pleasure of House Decados. Their worlds lost after Vladimir’s assassination, house Van Gelder has plied themselves a new trade. With the genetic programs of the Genetech cartel, House Van Geldar has become masters of stealth, poison, knavery, and the subtle art of assassination. Surrounding themselves in the opulence provided for by House Decados they serve their needs and ambition. Knowing they are dependent on the Decados for their survival, many have become bitter, angry and solemn, and are completely untrusting and lack any regard for honor. In addition to less savory jobs, they also serve to adminster the Decados fiefs of Alakshak on Malignatius, and Elibyrge and Malaca Nova on Cadiz.
One of the few minor houses to remain autonomous from the Phoenix Throne. An autonomy earned through an ancient deal with House Hawkwood. As such the head of their house stylises themself as King to symbolise this independence. Their Kingdom is known as the Isalight Fiefdom and is located on Leminkainen.
House Vasalayana was recently (4998) embroiled in a feud with Vuldrok Settlers. In 4999, they attacked the Hawkwood Cortran Barony and the Vuldrok holdings on Valdalla. King Vaclav II died under mysterious circumstances shortly after the hostilities with the Hawkwoods started, and recently crowned King Sasha has been attempting to reconcile his house with the Hawkwoods. This attempt, however, has been thwarted by current events: Sir Erasius Hawkwood turned up dead in the Isalight Fiefdom after Vaclav’s death. Erasius was a popular knight and the favorite nephew of Princess Victoria. His body was handed over the Hawkwoods as a show of good faith, but the body showed signs that he had been tortured before being killed. Although Decados involvement is suspected, many Hawkwoods are calling for the extermination of House Vasalayana anyways.
A strongly matriarchal house, House Xanthippe is renown for their Moon Bases. Their fiefs almost exclusively contained on several moons, including their largest on Aragon’s moon, the most worked on Cadavus’s Moon and their first and ‘homeplanet’, Luna (the moon of Urth). Women are typically leaders and warriors, while the men are most commonly artisans and healers. All of the lore and law of the House is contained in a text call “The Measure”. The house maintains neutrality in all things, as they serve as mercenaries to all that care to hire them. Indeed, their mercenaries are considered to be canny and tough, an elite force that commands a high price. The house is also reknowned for producing fine wines.