These are the houses of the kings, thayns, eorls, and knights who rule the lands of the Kynlore by the will of Our Sorrowful Lady, their blood being purer and more noble than that of common men and women.
The Great Houses
The distinguished House Benbow, steeped in honourable tradition, has ruled in Deira since time immemorial. Their ancestors were among the first men to walk the forests of the Kyn, long before the Ealdfather and long before the Lore. This northern House has a proud knightly tradition borne by countless generations of fierce warrior sons and daughters, forged in their endless struggle against the Karks and Kriegers who frequently raid their lands.
The sigil of House Benbow is a golden hound sitting sejant erect on a field of green.
House Dierk has built a reputation as a wealthy, measured, and level headed family more interested in politics, theology, and trade than other matters. This has made them richer and more influential than most, though they have earned little renown for their deeds. The Dierks originally followed Adalbert Ealdfather to the Kynlore from their ancestral lands in the west, and took Nimber's End from House Benbow in a fiery battle during the last days of the conquest. The two houses have had little respect for one another ever since. House Dierk is unique in that they are often referred to as a clan in the tradition of the people who lived along the Nimber before the Ealdfather came.
The sigil of House Dierk is a white unicorn standing rampant on a pale of red and black.
House Kyning is descended from Alfred Loregiver, who was the first son of Adalbert Ealdfather and Blodwyn. They have been the High Kings of the Kynlore for centuries, and continued their ancestor's conquest by expanding into the Aefenland and Hammarmark. Though generally imperialist and dictatorial by nature, the family has been not only been successful in forging their empire but in keeping it as well. The time of their reign has been a largely peaceful one, and most Kynings are well respected and secure in having earned the fealty of their subjects.
The sigil of House Kyning is a white dragon standing rampant, adorned by a golden crown on a field of blue, though in the Aefenland they are marked by A white wyrm standing rampant with tail nowed on a field of blue.
House of Laniel
The most powerful kings in the days before the Ealdfather, House of Laniel are Lords of the Longbow Lakes which they rule from their ancient forest castle known as the Maple Holt. Terrible tyrants in their time, they fought bitterly against Adalbert Ealdfather and were only brought to heel when Adalbert turned all the armies of his new Thayns north to face them. Though not quite as they were, the House of Laniel has rebuilt much of their power and influence since their great loss and has become one of the most well regarded and honourable houses in the Kyn known far and wide for their courtly grace.
The sigil of the House of Laniel is three red maple leaves around a red chevron on a field of white.
The only halfling family among the great houses, House Whittaker are the Lords of the Fallowfield where the highlands of the south give way to the moors of the Middle Kyn. Devoutly religious, House Whittaker has built a reputation for dogmatic, and sometimes violent, adherence to the Sad Song and Our Sorrowful Lady and have become the most Wealdish of the halfling clans.
The Small Houses
A small knightly house who rule in Primrose since the House of Laniel extinguished their liege lords centuries before.
House Darrow have been the Lords of Vervain in the east of the Oaken Kyn since before Adalbert Ealdfather conquered what would become the Kynlore. Once kings in their own right, their influence has greatly diminished since the arrival of the Kynings and the ascendancy of the House Dierk. In those old days they vied with House Laniel for dominance over the Longbow Lakes, and though the bloody feud once ran deep the old wounds have healed and they seem to have buried the sword. They are one of the wealthiest trading families in the Kynlore as their lands sit in the center of the Kynlore, the Aefenland, and the Hammarmark. Though no lord's vassal, they are not counted among the Great Houses.
The sigil of their house is two grey rabbits addorsed standing statant erect on a field of violet.
House Goddard is a minor house of little renown who are Lords of the Ashgrove. They are sworn vassals of House Dierk.
A small house of little repute who are lords of the cold and blustery sea-sprayed lands of Aberdour.
The lords of Rainton, the small House Homan has long been caught in the middle of more powerful houses that vie for control of the lands around the Nimber and the Longbow Lakes. They have had to play their hand very wisely, and are known to be shrewd players of the great game playing any side that will benefit them. This has caused them to seem untrustworthy to many of the other great houses.
Originally minor lords of Scourie, Aethelaric Rhidder was named Margrave of the newly created Hammarmark which they have ruled ever since. A minor branch of the Rhidders still rule in Scourie, though they are a far poorer and less noble house than their marcher cousins.