Great Houses of Ardania

Power, comes in many forms, weapons, money, and words are some of the most common of them. But our power comes from the blood that runs in our veins and it is how we rule over our lands and people that live them. To ensure that we remain in power we must remain the people of that always or they will take advantage of us for those who don’t want to achieve greatness such as our family has done. - Noblemen to son

Structure

The houses that rule over Ardania are often of those the upper nobility being the monarchy, Vemers and Banors that have the most power.   The Crown: The monarchy is of course the power of the great houses and all other houses must obey them. However this doesn’t mean that they are untouchable, it takes wit and cunning to remain on top.   Vemere/Vemerese: Some of the most powerful houses in the kingdom holding large swaths of land. These are often matched by the political influence and resources that they have at their disposal.   Banor/Banoress: The defenders of the kingdom's borders from all threats beyond them. They have control over large militaries to protect their lands from any threats.

Culture

We are all pawns in this land that we call home, it does not matter if you are a mudblood or a pureblood for we are nothing more than tools to the real powers that rule over these lands as they seek to enrich themselves. Ensure that their houses maintain themselves from ruin no matter who gets caught in their schemes. - Unkown
  The great house is considered one of the most powerful families that rule over the Kingdom of Ardania and they ensure that their power is kept safe and secure for future generations to prosper under their work. This is no easy feat as power tends to be hard to keep a hold on as once it gets away it is always hard to get back as others will easily take it if it gets too far.  

Being a Member

  Well, it seems that you were born into power, but it is something that can easily be taken if one doesn't keep their wits about them. Sure it is all nice and good to live a life where you don't have to deal with problems such as poverty and starvation it doesn't mean you are the only one who wants what you have. Other houses seek the same thing and that is to keep their power no matter the cost or even try to take from you if they see a chance. Life will never be easy as you try to get around the politics and challenges that will often come with your family name. That also goes for the lands that your family has control over that hold your vassals and subjects that must be reminded of who is in power or they might just try to replace you. It is never easy to have power, but if it is properly harnessed then it can get you places that seem impossible for those who were born without it. Whether it is through strength, money, or guile those who know how to play the game of great powers shall prosper and secure their future. However, those who fail to do so will often be strangled by the strings that use to manipulate their surroundings.  

What People Think of You

  Being part of the great houses that rule over Ardania means that you are both respected and feared by the staus that are held by them. They represent the ruling powers that maintain the Kingdom of Ardania and its subjects that rule over them. But that does not mean that it is all fine meals and fancy parties, for they will often have a large target on their back because of it. As the rivalry between great houses is common and they all have their fair share of enemies to contend with. Even lower-ranking houses will try to steal the position of a great house if they spot any sign of weakness from them. Their subjects are another matter as well, despite being raised to obey the rule of the house that rules over them they will not hesitate to turn on them if their rule causes them to suffer. But it does not mean that they are alone in their struggles, those that have been sworn to fealty under you will stand by your side and most of your subjects as well as long as they are treated well. Along with the alliances with other houses that will ensure that you and your family's safety is kept safe from utter destruction. As long as a great house knows the political landscape of the kingdom and uses the resources that have at their disposal then there are no problems for them.

Public Agenda

To Rule over their lands in Ardania however, they see fit and to maintain their power by any means even if those means lead others to suffer.

Assets

Lands: The lands of a house can greatly influence their power and that of their surrounding neighbors as good soil for farming or rich mineral deposits can greatly increase their wealth. It is also determined by the number of people that they have in their lands as well that can harness their resources as well. As well as holdings such as castles and forts in their lands that are used to protect them from attacks from rival houses and foreign threats.   Wealth: Money can get anyone anything as long as they have enough of it that is. Some of the great house's power money that they have in their treasuries to pay for their needs. Often using them for their gain, improving their lands, or using it to increase their power amongst the other houses. A house's income generally comes from taxes from their lands, but trade is also done to gain a large income depending on the demands that merchants want for materials and resources.   Military : War is no stranger to the houses of the kingdom, but the great houses often have stronger militaries than lower houses. Often using them to protect their interests and enforce their laws on those who live under their rule. The skill and training of their forces vary and can often call the forces of other houses to aid them when the need suits them.   Influence: Politics are something that is intertwined between the great houses that rule over their lands. Having diplomatic ties with neighbors and government officials is often vital to keeping their houses afloat as having friends in high places can help them at a future date. This can also be said with their vessels and those of the lower classes to allow them to use their power to its fullest capabilities. Their influence can be felt from other regions as well as spies and supports can be found in another house's land if they are influential enough.   Territory: The great houses often hold the largest territories in the kingdom and everything in them. Allowing them access to resources and manpower that they can use when they need to. However, they will also inherit the problems of these territories as well and will often have to face them to prove that they are capable of ruling over their lands.   Knowledge: Some houses will use the knowledge passed down from their ancestors to use as tools to ensure that have an advantage over others. This knowledge greatly varies on how much of it is known to them and what it signifies for them. Some of them know better methods of farming while some know the secrets of creating better buildings and armor. However, this knowledge can be of other houses as well and the methods of gaining the secrets that they have to use against them at a future date.

History

Rise of Rulers

    After the founding of the Kingdom of Ardania and the creation of House Kasval. The new kingdom reorganized its nobility with that of the former kingdoms of Arda and Dania or what remained of them as many houses fell on both sides after an attempted assassin of the founders of the House Kasval and the subsequent war that resulted in it. But once the conflict finally ended those who were loyal to the new monarch began to take control of the defeated house's lands and power for their own. Leading to a power vacuum that would result in many years of political maneuvering and some small-scale conflicts. But in the end, those who did well would become powers in their regions of the kingdom and result in the rise of several great houses that would rule over the kingdom for decades and even millennia if they were able to hold power. It was through these great houses that peace and stability in the kingdom would be maintained politically and militarily depending on the roles they had in it. Many would remain unchallenged as their power was often too great to go against unless it was done secretly or by another great house.     Each of the great houses has its heritage and the benefits that come with them. None of them are the same and offer something different to the table to ensure that the kingdom prospers under them. Some chose to rule out of necessity while others sought to raise their status to a greater position of power than ever thought possible. But all would prove themselves that they were capable of gaining their positions as the greatest houses to be forged within the new kingdom. Each one using their skill to gain the advantage over the lands that they controlled and uses them ensures that no threats would ever oppose them and undermined their rule. The methods of these houses are often very between their with some using military might to maintain their lands while others using the resources under their disposal use to maintain their power. But their greatest assets are that of the houses that serve under them and acknowledge their right to rule, the same goes for the commoners that live on their lands and serve them. Each generation being told to serve their rulers have been engraved into their very psyche as if they could not live without them and loyalties that are forged in their homelands. Many are willing to give their lives in their service or just out of fear of what would happen to them if they do not. Allowing for stability to be created as power became divided and the kingdom's territories never became unstable and remained productive as long as possible.  

The Game

  Despite their power in the kingdom, even these great houses were affected by the political state of the kingdom often. Resulting in them competing against one another to ensure dominace over one another and to maintain higher status amongst them. Though in the golden days of the kingdom these feuds would often be held in the shadows and behind closed doors to avoid war and unnecessary bloodshed. Often preferring to negotiate with one another then see each other bleed. It was through these political actions that resulted in them deciding who had more power over the other and had access to more lucrative ventures in resources and trade. But for the most part, most people would even realize it was happening with as all who were part of it would just smile and complement one another as if they were on friendly terms with one another. This would become the foundation of politics in the kingdom would be called, "the game" as they try to outsmart one another. This would also be played by other lower-ranking houses as well in their attempt to seize more power for themselves. Of course, they would never reach such heights as their rulers would and their schemes would be insignificant compared to them. But they may have the chances to rise above their stations when a great house went into decline at some point or another.     For every time that a great house goes into decline or is destroyed many would-be successors will try and seize control of what power they can reach with their grasp. This can often lead to their title being left empty for a time until someone was to gain hold of it. This can be done in several ways, with the simplest being bestowed by the current ruling monarch onto a house, often for doing a great service for the kingdom in times of war or bringing prosperity to the land. But a sure way to inherit the title of a great house was to inherit from the last leader of a previous great house through a will, but it is often rare. The title of becoming a great house often takes time and years to become one. But then there are the more violent directions that can come with it as lesser houses will wage open war over the old territory in controlled warfare if the new lord is not chosen by the monarchy any time soon. Then there is the other course through of challenging a great house if their rule is not met at a certain standard known as the Claiming of Rulership or the Claim by most. Leading to the house that challenges their ruler through warfare or if they are lucky through a duel to decide the rise or fall of a great house. As long as these conflicts are kept under control the monarchy has no real problem with it as it will rarely affect them at all. Leading to changes in the balance of power between the nobility whenever a new house rises to become a great house.  

Keepers of Order

    The monarchy may be the true power of the kingdom, but that power can only reach so far and Ardania is a vast territory that contains different groups and lands that a monarch will be unable to maintain. This is why the great houses exist to divide these large lands under their rule to keep the kingdom intact and united. Allowing them to have better control over their subjects and the lower houses that control their lands that make up a great house's territory. It also ensures that order is brought to them to ensure that lower houses are not constantly fighting each other and to keep the commoners in check so they do not revolt in troubled times. It is through these houses that the kingdom is strong and protected due to its borders being a part of dangerous regions in the west. Allowing it to survive time and time again without the fear of utter destruction and invasion as long as they did their part to keep their lands under control through whatever methods they thought possible. Creating a delicate balance of power that would secure the peace and prosperity of the kingdom for centuries to come during that time. It was considered a golden age that would turn once war-torn land into a place of learning and advancement under their rule. Along with ensuring that they prospered most of all in the end with their administration bearing fruit that they would use to benefit themselves along with their subjects. However, that time would eventually pass and the sense of order and peace along with it for centuries to come.     The great houses would also be instrumental in protecting the kingdom from foreign invasions since its founding as well. With Ardania being an isolated land for so long and surrounded by threats from all sides they wanted to make sure they were well prepared for anything. Over the countless centuries that followed Ardania would come face to face with many foes that would try to occupy their lands or just raid and pillage to their heart content. But their borders would be protected thanks to centuries of defense building and preparation to ensure their preservation and survival. May it be a savage horde of barbarians or a foreign nation trying to spread its dominace they were often pushed back before they could get too far inland. It was often thanks to the Banors of the kingdom's borderlands that ensured this, along with their designated divisions of the Border Guard who held the line and ensuring that the lands of the kingdom did not come under attack. The Vemeres and the crown would also aid them with funding that would be needed to maintain themselves, along with sending their own forces in cases when any enemy force was far too great for even the defenders of the borderlands could face alone. But in the end, the kingdom would be safe with the help of great houses who knew that they would all be affected in their lands were to fall to foreign influences.  

Decline and Degradation

  As the kingdom's golden age came to end and so did its fair and just rulers not long after, the great house began to lose its way as well. Though from time to time these houses would do what was right for their people now and then. However, it became less so in later centuries as power struggles erupted between them as wars between lower houses became more common with the houses that ruled under them having difficulty controlling them. Often due to them being caught in the political machinations of the game that they had been playing with one another for centuries to maintain their power. Along with the temptations of their power as they benefitted themselves alone. Corruption became more and more rampant as time progressed with every few people in the nobility being able to avoid such issues that it was even found in the monarchy as well. Those who stood against such things were few and had few allies that would dare challenge the issues plaguing the kingdom, including those of the great houses as well. Creating a dark age that would plague the land for a very long time as rebellions broke out over a large length of time and a civil war broke out over the succession of the throne known as the War of the Three Crowns saw the kingdom almost destroyed by it.     This did not improve that kingdom despite reforms and changes to laws in the government as it became greatly tweaked, especially with several kings that took the throne that just made things worse instead of making them better. No one bothered to stop them as they were often in on it with these kings as they abused their power to the fullest by thinking of the consequences of their actions. At the time even some of the houses considered that House Kasval's time on the throne was over and that a new house should rule over the kingdom. Though not many of the great houses were willing to take a chance as despite their current state the royal house was still a force to be reckoned with and would be difficult to overthrow without proper support. So most decided to just endure these rulers in hopes that they would meet an early death and a better one would take their place in the future. There were also fears that the kingdom would collapse if another civil war broke out over the throne and did not wish to see it so. This lack of consideration over the damages being caused by the corruption of the crown would inevitably lead the kingdom to destruction either way with the house unable to stop it now despite all the power they had.  

The Fall

  In the most recent decades, the kingdom has gone through a rough patch, to say the least when it comes to the great houses and their positions of power. Many have failed to keep the lower houses under them under control and had begun waging wars on other houses under their lords to gain more power. What was worse was that the commoners finally had enough of the nobility causing most of their misery to rise against them. However, they would lead of one man who stood against the tyranny of the nobles and that of the great houses themselves and his name would be Roderick Wesler and the conflict would forever be known as Roderick's Rebellion. It would be a conflict like no other as the entire kingdom would be thrown into chaos with the great house being unable to stop it from spreading as half of the country was up in arms against them calling for the deaths of the nobility. Despite the rebellion only lasting for over two years, the damage inflicted during the conflict lasted for almost a decade as the kingdom tried to rebuild. The great houses were also weakened as well as their power and influence were damaged as even they had difficulties when dealing with the rebels as well. Forcing many of them to reorganize and rebuild what remained of their holdings over their territories, except for the Banors who remained unscathed from the conflict as their importance of protecting the borders was of utmost importance and even the rebels knew so, remaining neutral throughout the conflict. Which lead to tensions between them and the Vemeres for many years despite their unique circumstances. But with time the houses rebuilt and installed their power once within the masses like once before. Though this would not last for long as another war was brewing from beyond their borders.     The declaration of war by the Vatian Empire was quite a shock to everyone, even to the great houses as the kingdom and empire were often on good terms. But the wounds from the rebellion had yet to fully heal and the falcon began to circle it wounded preying waiting for the proper moment to strike. Despite the kingdom repairing much of the damage that was inflicted during the rebellion, the great houses were not as powerful as they used to be and rallied their armies as best they could to face the Imperial Legions of the empire in battle. However, they sorely underestimated the might of the empire legion as they were all well trained and equipped and many of the kingdom's forces were mostly made up of conscripts with only a certain amount of them being professional soldiers that fought for them. The fighting was fierce and the kingdom suffered dearly in the opening days of the war, but the houses rallied with one another created countermeasures to fight their superior foe on their terms. For four years the kingdom fought on and made the empire dearly for every inch of ground taken from them in battle showing all that even in their weakened state they were still a force to be reckoned with. However, their determination would not be enough as one by one the great houses fell to the endless number of forces that the empire sent into their lands. In the end, these houses that once ruled over the kingdom would fall and their lands in ruin as the banner of the empire now flys over their homeland as their legacy is nothing more than a distant memory as their conquerers dine of the spoils of all they have achieved as they will never rise again.

Disbandment

The power of the great houses was shattered with the invasion of the Vatian Empire and the War of the Raptors that followed with many houses being destroyed in the conflict, leading those that survived to submit to imperial rule and hold a semblance of what lands and titles they had left. Those who didn't would be destroyed and their names never to rise again from their ruination.
DISBANDED/DISSOLVED

Born To Rule

-857 - 1528

Type
Government, Leadership
Alternative Names
The Nine Houses of Ardania
Demonym
Ardanian
Parent Organization
Related Species
Related Ethnicities

The Great Houses

 

House Kasval

House Kasval cover
  Rank: Royalty   Status: Extinct   Renown: Founders of the Kingdom of Ardania and rulers of it for thousands of years. Their ability to maintain their power through military and political power allowed them to maintain their rulership over the kingdom with no one ever being able to dispose of them. Their rule brought forth a golden age and advancement to the king and later the decline that would lead it to its destruction. The entire royal family would be killed during the final days of the War of the Raptors when the Imperial Legions stormed the city of Asron.  

House Saxon

Rank: Vemer   Status: Extinct   Renown: A house known for its militaristic traditions and its skill in archery with legends stating that their ancestors could use lightning as arrows to strike their enemies. They rose to power after overthrowing House Justen when their rule was brought into question over seven hundred years ago. Their skilled archers allowed them to win many battles and even kill the head of House Justin as he was impaled with hundreds of arrows. They would become an important house in many wars that the kingdom was a part of such as the War of the Three Crowns and Roderick's Rebellion. They would be killed off during the War of the Raptors as they refused to submit to imperial rule.  

House Gelderbal

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: House Gelderbal would take the place of House Firestone after its fall and would become crucial in ending the Stone Horde War. They would be famous for their contributions in creating the many fortifications that would be used by the Mountain Guard with their crowing achievement being Blood Stone Gate that halted the migration of any future Mountain Kin from migrating into Ardaina's mountain range.They would also be known for their skills in navigating The Spine knowing like it was the back of their hand. They would be wiped out like many of the Banors that refused to submit to the empire.  

House Kelner

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: Known for their sense of duty and skill in warfare, House Kelner has been at the forefront in defending the kingdom’s borders of the Great Forest from anything that would dare to cross into its lands. They were generous as they were stubborn in ruling their land and its people. When they took the place of House Greenberg they would often be at front of any threat that came at them and would vanquish them with the might of a wild boar. No foe would ever be able to get past their lands and would have fled with their tails between their legs. Though that ferocity would see them destroyed in battle by the empire during the War of the Raptors.  

House Rondelof

 
Rank: Vemere   Status: Living   Renown: House Rondelf is by far one of the most infamous houses that ever existed in the kingdom. This is due to their aggressive nature and the way they rule over their lands which is often considered brutal. They rule through fear and intimidation to get results done as their lands were once one of the more chaotic regions of the kingdom to keep under control. So they began to change their policies to their founder, Karston who was a brute in every manner and reorganize their forces to become a deadly fighting force as they became an aggressive bull that attacked anyone in their sight that would dare oppose their rule. They would be one of few Vemeres that would surrender to the empire and pledge their loyalties to them when the War of the Raptors ended.  

House Seacrest

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: It was said that the founder of their house, Gunther became a victim of a shipwreck and was stranded out at sea with his life almost taken by a shark. Only for dolphins to save his life and he would honor his protectors by putting them on his banner. It was from this that House Seacrest became protectors also when House Ketemer fell and would defend the seas from all threats that dared showed themselves. Often facing any foe may they be man or monster the same courage a dolphin would also show against a vicious shark, along with creating a series of outposts and warning stations to alert all in the Sea Guard to them and act. That courage would also see them fall when the empire invade the coast in the War of the Raptors and would sacrifice themselves by destroying many ships of the Imperial fleet.  

House Mores

Rank: Vemere   Status: Extinct   Renown: Law and order defined everything that was House Mores. Their family came to power because of merit and their ability to maintain a strong rule over their land and their subject. They came about during the founding of the kingdom coming from a long line of judges, administrators, and law keepers that they often deemed incorruptible and were given a house to ensure that justice prevailed where others fall to corruption. It is why they chose the scale on their banner for it judges all who face them and live by a set of laws in their lands known as the Rodock Charter name after their founder. These sets of laws made their lands some of the most well maintained and uncorrupted lands due to these laws that ensured that no one was above them. These laws would later become the inspiration for the Charter of Lords later on in the kingdom's history. However, their laws would not protect them from the forces of the empire at the end of the War of the Raptors.  

House Marston

Rank: Vemere   Status: Living   Renown: House Marston is a house that is famous for its skilled soldiers and its way around political circles across the kingdom. Its rise to power came with the fall of House Justen and managed to accumulate all of its knowledge for itself to raise its power to new levels. The Marstons have always been known to excel at everything as they believe everything in life should be treated as a game as it was said that their founder, Asburn was a masterful tactician and was crafty when it came to politics to raise it to a noble house. Since then they have been following his teachings and have managed to gain much power through them. With it being said that their power rivaled that of the crown in recent decades that truly showed how powerful they were. They were one of the few Vemeres to submit to imperial rule after the War of the Raptors.  

House Aeymond

Rank: Vemere   Status: Extinct   Renown: It said that House Aeymond's rise to glory came with that of the hunt of a white stag. However their founder, Richard refused to kill such a magnificent beast and it was said that the stag ingratitude of its life being spared would lead him to a rich fertile land like no other. Leading to the house having the richest lands to farm and raise livestock on. It was through these lands that they would become wealthy and would save the kingdom many times from famine as their lands never seemed to suffer from drought and things continued to grow anyway. This would not save them as the empire would burn their lands along with them in the War of the Raptors.  

Former Great Houses

 

House Greenberg

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: The Greenburgs existed long before the rise of the kingdom and were said to have lived along the Great Forest longer than anyone could remember. They knew the land better than anyone else and were pivotal in the creation of the Forest Guard with one of its heads, Randolph, being instrumental in the creation of the Rangers later on. Often considered great hunters and scouts that braved the danger out the forests. However, they clung to the old ways and refused to accept the faith of the Exalted like many others. This would eventually cause their neighbors and those of the faith to turn on them and be treated as heathens to false gods and all would be burned at the stake for it.  

House Justen

Rank: Vemer   Status: Extinct   Renown: House Justen was said to have been a house of learning and understanding as many of them would be scholars and philosophers. Their banner would be that of Eterous, the red star of the starry sky that represented the never-ending pursuit of knowledge. They would use the knowledge they had to contribute many advancements to advance the kingdom for many centuries. They would also aid in accumulating knowledge in both science and magic for any mind willing to learn. Their wisdom would often bring reason to others when none could be found. However, their family would die out from infertility from its last heir and it was said with their death came the decline of the kingdom.  

House Durand

  Rank: Herrshall   Status: Living   Renown: House Durand has always been known for its martial skill and soldiers, however, they became too obsessed with them, especially when the Norrian Jorgen Fine Hair married into the family are seducing it, heiress, after the Warlock Wars. Causing the house to begin taking up Norrian traditions and its famous Iron Blood Warriors. However, this caused their vessels and subjects to dislike the idea to be ruled by foreigners and rebelled against them. Despite their fierceness, in battle, they were deposed by House Marston and were spared as their warriors considered to vaulted to dispose of and they would be reduced to Herrshalls. They were one of many houses that chose to pledge their loyalty to the empire after the War of the Raptors.  

House Firestone

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: Originally descendants of smith since ancient times, House Firestone would rise to power when falling star land near their home near Ironmound and from it would create a powerful suit of armor known as Fire Brand that could not be pierced nor dented no matter how hard a weapon struck. Along with several weapons, they would use for their family forever being known as Star Forged Steel. Their skills in the art of smithing would become famous and gain the title of Banor after saving Ironmound from a Barbarian horde and would do so for centuries as they equipped their forces with the best weapons and armor imaginable. Their house would perish after its heirs were killed defending their lands during the Stone Horde War.  

House Ketemer

Rank: Banor   Status: Extinct   Renown: House Ketemer was famous for its mastery over sailing and well designed ships that they would give to the Sea Guard. During their rule, they were able to hold off the vicious Hyperion raiders of the Hyperion Kingdom for centuries. However, they would meet a gruesome end when a savage storm hit their hold of KeyStone with it causing the cliffside to collapse from under it and sending the entire family to a watery grave with no survivors.

Comments

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27 Feb, 2022 20:00

This is great! I enjoyed reading it, even though the article is a bit imposing at first sight. Maybe it could be split into the sub articles? Or maybe having some of the text collapsible (I personally like using spoilers BBcode for that).   I will definitely save this to my reading list, I doubt that I managed to absorb everything this fast haha.

5 Mar, 2022 23:43

I think this really cool and inspirational as I'm working on families/house like groups too! I love the crests.