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House Aban

The house with a heart of flame

4032 words  

The Squadron has been deployed. We shall see Liton Tais burn before our eyes. Forward, Federation!
— Aryl Aban, before assault on Lanasu Island
  The House Aban is one of the most influential families in the history of the Seas of Steel, as well as one of the most ruthless. Due to their suspension of conventional warfare, the Federation expands meteorically, eventually capturing all of the Ironfoot Isles. Every nation agrees that this family is not to be messed with.   The family's structure can be summarized most effectively as... efficient. Having adopted and married strategically, the family is now tied to most of the top generals in the Federation. They assassinate all that stand in their way. If you, citizen, learn but one thing from this article, let it be this. Don't get in the way of House Aban.      

Structure

 
I've investigated their family. It's been hard to get an idea of how succession works. My current theory is as follows. They take these exams, you see, and the optimus, or top scorer, is the first in line for the throne. Only blood-right can overrule these exams in a succession dispute. The rest of the people are each assigned commands based on their overall scores. It's a scarily efficient system.
— Colrian Diplomat (also quoted here)
 
House Aban: Membership Roll
Family Tree
Aban Family Tree by ElementalShrike

Blue is male, pink is female, yellow is blood-oath (dual family membership). † signifies deceased as of 0 After Unification. Bold signifies past or present kingship. Asterisk shows heir apparent.

By birthright: Petrach, Aryl, Christina, Alice, Aldrich, Jared, Lara, Sigmund, Elizabeth, Melissa, Soren, Alexandra
By marriage: Julia, Larissa, Dale, Christopher, Lily, Natalie, Andrew
By adoption: Conrad, Aura, Sara, Petra
By blood-oath: Hayig (Inato), Sophia Kai (Carlson), Alura (Lans), Marina (Alarsen), and Barius (Evans)

*Italicized names are members of the family that have been emperor/empress   Past Exam Results LW: Land Warfare, NW: Naval Warfare, ME: Military Exercise
Name LW NW ME Overall
Sara 2 3 1 1, Heir Apparent
Sophia 1 5 2 2, Left Commander
Hayig 5 1 4 3, Right Commander of the Fleet
Marina 4 4 8 4, Right Commander of the Marines
Conrad 8 6 3 5, Strategic Advisor
Natalie 10 2 5 5, Grand Master of Aeramen
Dale 3 7 11 7, Grand Master of Yuta
Soren 7 8 7 8, Right Commander of Engineering
Lily 9 9 6 9, Head Strategic Advisor
Andrew 6 11 10 10, Land Strategy Analyst
Alura 11 10 9 11, Right Commander of Fortifications
Alexandra 12 12 13 12, Strategic Advisor
Lara 14 13 12 13, Strategic Advisor
Sigmund 13 14 14 14, Strategic Advisor
  As discussed in the sidebar at right, there are four ways to get into House Aban. The most common method is by birthright, which is being directly born into the family. However, there are three other methods of entry into the House. These are marriage, adoption, and blood-vow. Some say that adoption and blood-vow should be grouped into one category due to all adopted having to take the blood-vow as well. Out of these methods, only birthright and marriage are classified as "member by blood".   Every ten years, all House members eligible for office (over 14, not an examiner) are subject to rigorous written and oral exams by a specially selected group of examiners (who are not allowed to hold office). The current queen or king acts at the lead examiner, and is thus exempt from examination. Officially, these exams are just supplementary information for the rulers. However, many theorize they are more important for the choice of a successor than publicly revealed.   Examinations include, but are not limited to, written exams on land warfare, written exams on naval warfare, essays analyzing famous battles, long-answer questions on military classics, oral tests on the knowledge of military law, engineering and damage control hands-on tests, and most importantly a military exercise in an undisclosed location.  

Assets and Influences

 
They say the Aban family has its own personal scoreboard in their Accipite fortress. The slate records ten columns of people: from "dedicated ally" to "assassinate as soon as possible". Let's not get on their bad side.
Black Flag Commandant Jonathan
  The ruling house of the Federation holds many assets, which it still actively uses today. While the house does not make any decisions regarding internal politics, it does sit on the Strategic Committee of the Federation, directing the overall Federation strategy. The family is headquartered at the fortress of Paslaptis, tucked neatly into a mountain pass overlooking the Federation capital (Daku).   Where House Aban really shines is their command of the military. Over the course of one hundred years, their personal squadron steamrolled through the Kingdom of Colren, Northern Barrier Kingdom, and Republic of Mitrand. By the year 100 Before Reunification, the house commanded over 100,000 troops, seven fleets, 150 fortresses, one thousand of the Order of Assassins, and a personal shock squadron.   House Aban is also filthy rich, with funds approximately equivalent to those of the Kingdom of Yelowan. These funds are put to use heavily in outward diplomacy and intrigue. A common saying says that "The House of Aban controls life and death," which is quite factual, given the over three thousand assassination contracts they have signed.  

History

 

Dynastic Rulers

 
Monarchs Epithet Reign Territorial Changes
Petrach Aban the Bold 198 - 150 BU Gained:
  • Core Regions*
Julia Aban the Wise 150 - 135 BU Gained:
  • Northar
Aryl Aban the Brave 135 - 73 BU Gained:
  • Mitrand
  • Colren
  • Northern Kingdom
None* None* 73 - 69 BU Lost:
  • Northar
  • Ameral
Barius (as regent) None*** 69 - 62 BU Regained:
  • Northar
  • Ameral
Alice Aban the Peacemaker 62 BU - 10 AU Gained:
  • Western Regions
  *Represents the original four islands Petrach took
**The Three Hegemons period had no one single ruler: it was civil war.
***Barius, as regent, had no official epithet, although Alice nicknamed him Barius the Stubborn.
 

Humble Beginnings

 
Here is the family slate. As you can see, our family has weathered 287 assassination attempts, suppressed 35 revolts, and conquered four countries, all in just two centuries.
— Queen Alice Aban
  House Aban's history is very well recorded. The Aban family has roots in a different family, the Kimas, living in Ameral. While they were not as famous generals as the Carlsons and Inatos, they were still relatively high-ranking and were purged during the reign of Anna the Terrible. They were exiled with the Carlsons and Inatos to the small atoll of Apago.   The formative event of House Aban occurred 198 years before the reunification of the Ironfoot Isles. Petrach Aban, the founding member of the family, led a revolt on the atoll of Apago. Against all odds, he beat back three assaults by the Northern Barrier Kingdom with his meager militia of two thousand men. He renamed himself Aban, the name of the former Ironfoot Empire ruling family.   Then, the Northern Kingdom went to war with the Republic of Mitrand, and they had more important things to do than to capture one neutral atoll. Petrach Aban, in the meantime, conquered two nearby atolls and wed a fellow rebel. Julia Aban would go on to bolster the Federation's navy from a few fishing boats to a powerful fleet.   After seven years of independence, the fledgeling Federation needed some relative security. They struck a peace agreement with the Republic of Mitrand, protecting them from the Northern Barrier Kingdom's agression. 41 years later, Petrach Aban died peacefully at home and Julia Aban took his place as paramount leader.  

Conquering the East

 
A ship, seemingly sailing on a trail of fire, entered into the view of our rebel base. Red and black banners streamed from the stern, and the red shield and sword of the Aban Crest blossomed from a massive black sail.
— The Apago Chronicles
  Opportunistically, one of Petrach's former generals seized an atoll and declared himself an independent king. Julia acted quickly, sending the young Aryl Aban north with a squadron. Aryl acted quickly on the advice of his tactical mentor David Carlson, landing marines to surround the general's base and sailing his ships in full view of the soldiers.   General Papinian surrendered, but Aryl was no one from which to seek mercy. He killed the traitor general and his lieutenant, incorporating his force into his new Assassination Corps, which would go on to become the Order of Assassins.   In the next years, after Aryl became paramount leader, there were five more minor revolts, which Aryl put down effortlessly. He also sent his Order of Assassins to weaken the Colreic military before he invaded, surviving thirty-four assassination attempts himself.   Colren then went to war with the Republic of Mitrand, exhausting her manpower and wealth in conquering it. At this time, Aryl struck, sending his best generals and admirals to capture Colren's strongholds. The demoralized Colreic forces were no match for the "shock and awe" attack, and most forces capitulated before the end of the two-year war.  

Fracture and Reform

 
Alice... I am old, and will be dead quite soon. Of my four children, you are the best-suited to rule. But my decision will incense your two older brothers. Prepare for war, Alice.
— Aryl Aban
However, after turning around and capturing the Northern Barrier Kingdom, Aryl wanted a break from statecraft. His health was waning, and he really didn't like General Maxentius, who had amassed enough forces for a crippling revolt. Therefore, he faked his own death and blamed Maxentius, who was swiftly executed.   However, Aryl couldn't "come back from the dead" per se to save his kingdom. He died in reality just six months after his fake death, from pneumonia. Colren fractured, and his three sons Aldrich, Conrad, and Jared split the empire in a civil war. However, none of these three players would rule a unified kingdom.  
Conrad was friendly to me, but too passive. The others were absolute idiots. They said I was just a child, and more than that, a girl. They said I couldn't practice their statecraft, and should just stick to my atoll. I can't wait until the day I snap each and every one of their necks.
— Alice Aban
  Alice Aban, arguably one of the greatest commanders of all time, was also a magister, granting her a huge offensive advantage. However, none of the three brothers wanted her to get involved in the fighting, and instead granted her the duty of guarding her father's grave in Apago.   Alice surrounded herself with some of the alienated generals and admirals who had not already been purged by the squabbling brothers. Sophia Carlson, an honorary member of the family and skilled general, came to Apago after her father was murdered by Aldrich. Hayig Inato, admiral and family by blood-vow, came after being exiled from Jared's court. And her guardian, Barius, was the head of the Order of Assassins.   At the right time, Alice struck, taking the whole of Aldrich's kingdom in one blow while allying with Conrad, who willingly abdicated his throne to her. Aldrich, after a day-long battle, committed suicide rather than face Alice's wrath. Jared, seeing the threat, fought hard, but lost a three-month war, after which Alice personally executed him. Conrad, for his help, was "promoted" to a permanent advisory role at the House Aban's headquarters. After the killing or demotion of all threats to the throne, Alice had reunited the family.   Alice was now able to firmly concentrate on finishing his father's dream, on reuniting the Ironfoot Empire under one crown. With Barius as her regent, she successfully pacified the rebel provinces of Ameral and Northar. She then looked west, at the ever-warring Kingdoms of Glamin and Yelowan, which had by then annexed the Grand Duchy of Meringia.   Alice ferried troops to Dahang Island, a friendly free-state. Then she assassinated the kings and advisors of Glamin and Yelowan, leading to a succession war. She waited for them to exhaust their troops and resources over the costly war, finally striking the weakened kingdoms to finish unification.  

Current and Future Impact

  The Royal House Aban, over its history, has moved from being an isolated rebel state to ruling over all of the Ironfoot Isles. However, their power similarly decreases from near-omnipotent to just the supreme command of the military. The House willingly relinquishes all but the most essential fortresses to the maintenance of the state, and fades as a superpower. That is... until another war begins.  

The Dark Tree Members

 
They have offended the family gravely... but not enough to merit death, or exile. They have lost privilege... but not far enough to merit expunging from the historical records. These are the Dark Tree members: those who have failed us, but seek redemption in the future.
— Sara, heir apparent, pointing to darkened regions of the family tree
  The Dark Tree members (also stylized Darktree Members or Blacktree Members) are members who either were not directly descended from Petrach Aban or had committed serious crimes. While not expunged from the historical record like █████████, ████████ adoptive son, these members are much lower on the family tree.   Who maintains the bases in the most dangerous regions, where one misstep can be the difference between life and death? Who is sent for the most dangerous assassination missions? Who supervises the powerless agencies, like the lowly infantry corps? The Dark Tree does. They seek to prove that they themselves can make up for their betrayal with loyal service and braveness of heart. They seek to regain their prestige, and restore themselves to light.   The Darktree currently contains 41 living members, outnumbering the 15 normal members substantially. Out of these, most of them are descended from Petrach's brother Rochan, who managed to escape death in Ameral through a faked death. Alice Aban is currently considering a measure to restore them to light.   However, another dozen members come directly from Petrach's lineage, and have ancestors who committed lesser crimes against the lineage. These include loss of men and vessels, fraud, cowardice, or insubordination, but not more serious crimes like treason, revolt, or murder. They hope someday that their work will restore them to the light. Currently, Alice is specially considering one case, that of █████████ ███  

The Knife's Edge

Unfortunately, a bad genetic disease runs in the Aban family. This disease is known as Edge. Edge has three phases, marked by increasing states of paranoia, hallucinations, and social withdrawal. Probably not the best disease for the royal family to get.   A full 11 percent of the family, including Aryl in his old age and Aldrich in his youth, have been struck down by the disease. However, the silver lining to this condition is that some members of the family have gotten the immense boost of being magic-capable. The current queen, Alice, is one of them, although unregistered with the Society of Magisters.  

Bound by Blood

Founding Date
198 B.U.
Type
Political, Family
Demonym
Abanite
Leader
Aryl Aban
Location
Junko
Controlled Territories
Organization Vehicles
Values
Wisdom, alertness, tranquility, courage, and boldness
Methods of Entry:
Birthright, marriage, adoption, or blood-vow
Method of Succession:
Unknown, generally choice of previous ruler

In Myth

 
They're untouchable... as long as the blood-line remains intact. The reason why, I cannot fathom. I have tried every method of murder known to humankind.
— Unknown Assassin
  The Protection of Gale is a myth surrounding the House of Aban. Even though they have been one of the most targeted houses for assassination, none of the members of the House of Aban have been truly assassinated.   Some idealists say the House of Aban is under divine protection because of this. More pragmatic people suggest this is because the House has a policy of minimizing risks: analyzing the circumstances and protecting people with well-trained guards as well as preemptively assassinating potential assassins.  

The Silent Thunder

  The Silent Thunder is one of the Aban family's main annoyances. While her agenda is often aligned with that of the royal house, she is decidedly against concentrations of power, and a strong advocate of the lower classes and free trade. Her skills are also high, near on-par with the best duelist in the kingdom, Sophia.   She has assassinated several corrupt officials, and a few good ones that she could not bend to her will. Due to the high perceived threat from the Thunder, the Counterintelligence Command of the Aban family is currently undergoing full mobilization to track down and eliminate the threat.  
Archives Documentation
 
Proceedings of the Fortress Masters, Special Session on the Silent Thunder
Prose | Jan 28, 2019

A session of the provincial leaders of the Federation, discussing the Silent Thunder

 
Silent Thunder
Character | Jan 25, 2019

A mysterious agenda-oriented assassin

 

Crucial Aban-ordered Kills

 
Target of Assassination Notes
King Glamin VIII Poison dart - Successful
Emperor Ferian of Yelowan Hammer - Successful.
Casualties
Resulted in the loss of three (3) agents.
Chief Advisor Tahuan Poison - Unsuccessful
Sniper - Unsuccessful
Ambush - Successful
Casualties
Hard to kill, due to vigilance bordering paranoid anxiety. Caused the loss of five (5) agents, as well as the injuring of thirteen (13).
Grand Master Benicius of Colren Poison - Unsuccessful
Insider* - Unsuccessful
Hammer - Unsuccessful
Sabotage* - Unsuccessful
Exile* - Successful
Location unknown
"Bright Sun" Unknown Advisor
Determined to be ████
ID - Successful
Poison - Successful
King Leo IV of Mitrand Insider* - Successful
General Ponse of Mitrand Somehow, he saw us coming. He hid himself before assassins were dispatched.
Location unknown.

Attempts:
Bribed servants
Tavern chatter
Kidnapped brother
Killed brother
Lieutenant Desmond of Mitrand Ponse's elder brother. Kidnapping successful, did not lure Ponse into open. Was killed after two months.
*Insider: servants bribed to kill
*Exile: bribed court to exile
*Sabotage: sabotaged, in this case a ship.
   
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The Setting

 
Ironfoot Isles
Geographic Location | Jan 21, 2019

The main setting of the Seas of Steel

 

Former Ironfoot States

 
Northern Barrier Kingdom
Organization | Jan 21, 2019

A northerly kingdom after the fracture of Ironfoot, eventually vanquished and absorbed into the Federation.

Kingdom of Colren
Organization | Jan 21, 2019

A nation after the fracture of Ironfoot, reaching hegemony over the other nations by 200 B.U. only to fall to the Federation 125 years later.

Republic of Mitrand
Organization | Jan 21, 2019

A once-powerful republic that has fallen behind, eventually conquered by the Federation.

Kingdom of Glamin
Organization | Jan 21, 2019

A plutocracy, governed only by wealth. The last state to be conquered by the Federation.

Grand Duchy of Meringia
Organization | Jan 22, 2019

A militiant, but corrupt nation. Eventually conquered by the Kingdom of Yelowan, which was in turn conquered by the Federation.


Rulers

While House Aban rules over the Federation of Island Provinces, the relations have never been perfect. The Federation is glad that House Aban brings them peace, but is also wary of the excessive use of force by militiant House Aban commanders. They recognize it could be worse, though.

Naval Command

After Colren was conquered by the Federation, the Order was absorbed into the Federation's forces. Thereafter, Order commanders were promoted to official Federation naval commands. Currently, the Order of Aeramen, directly under the control of Natalie Aban, is highly allied with the House.

Tactful Neutrality

The House Aban has given small amounts of funds to the Society of Magisters, and recognizes that they pursue a better future for the Ironfoot Isles. However, it strongly disagrees with the Magisters' pacifist stance, and that has led to relations that are lukewarm at best and icy cold at worst. This effect is compounded by the occasional Abanite attempts to "peek under the hood" at the Society.

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Comments

Author's Notes

Created for the January 2019 contest Family Affair. The feel I was going for was a clandestine, SCP-type take on a family, who fielded a super-loyal assassination team, inspired off of the actual Order of Assassins.


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22 Jan, 2019 00:05

Oh. My. God. I just loved it. This article is extremely well written, and has core information that is more than necessary. It feels like I'm actually reading a document about history in your world and >studying< your world's history. Question, when the empire fractured, did the family itself fracture in different families? I feel that something like that would happen on such a situation.

22 Jan, 2019 00:40

Due to Alice personally killing two out of the three brothers, it honestly doesn't matter much, but mainly the period of turmoil was too short: just seven years, to merit a split in the family.

22 Jan, 2019 04:43

I really like what you've done here.   To answer your comment box questions : The back to top button is nice and not too intrusive at all. I'd almost suggest the text be bold to make fit with the other two buttons better. The table of contents you've included is also really good, and impressively formatted.   The article isn't too long. I felt like you ended on the right moment, when I was feeling satisfied with what I had read here. You cover all the points I can think of, and do it well - concise enough to not feel exhausting to read, but expanded enough to not leave us bereft of detail.   I like your writing style. The SCP-type style I admit I didn't quite get. Your writing style here is a bit too informal and conversational for a SCP report. However, I do like that style on its own. It felt more like reading a chat with a history buff who knows a lot about the family.   You use quotes well, giving us a good impression of the families reputation through them.   Some left over questions: What happened to Alice's living brother under her leadership? Did he retreat into retirement or assist her in ruling? It sounded like from the quote that Alice doesn't like him either. What was Petrach Aban's origin? You mention he led a revolt, which was the formulative event of the dynasty, but there isn't any detail on who he was before this revolt. Were they already important, leading an army, or was it a popular revolt?

22 Jan, 2019 14:21

Alright, time to lengthen my article again... Alice's brother is in a kinda... difficult situation because he was the reason Alice was able to beat her other brothers, but also has a claim to the throne. Alice keeps him nearby and under monitoring, he gets a bit of power but not too much. Petrach Aban was a ranking general of Ameral who was exiled to a remote atoll in the Northern Kingdom due to corruption, etc. He rose to an "island commandant" role, and he was relatively gifted in tactical thinking, allowing him to hold off forces ten times his size.

23 Jan, 2019 02:45

Very nce article. It is well written and it is not to long nor short. I only ave one question, what happened to Alices last living brother?

23 Jan, 2019 02:59

It's a long article, I think you might have missed it, where it says the two brothers get executed, alongside that it says that the last living one, "Conrad, for his help, was "promoted" to a permanent advisory role at the House Aban's headquarters." Alice forced him to sign something relinquishing all aspects of reclaiming the throne.

23 Jan, 2019 15:01

This is great! The "back to top" button is not intrusive, as I honestly didn't notice it until I read your request for feedback on it. My favorite thing here is the layout and the amount of detail. You've really crammed a LOT of information in here, but it's very well organized. The collapsible TOC and Members is a nice way to add more to the article without cluttering it.   Question: You mentioned "Exams" in the quote under Structure, but what are they? I'd like to learn more about this particular feature.   Well done! Keep it up!

23 Jan, 2019 15:09

Right about when I was gonna write more about them! The exams are taken once every ten years, and graded by the ruling queen, as well as independent high-ranking examiners. They include oral and written examination on knowledge of military classics, analysis of military battles, engineering, damage control, navigation, military law, and most importantly actual combat training during military exercises. This, as well as a list of current member scores on land and naval tests, will soon be added to the article.

23 Jan, 2019 15:15

Awesome! I'll look forward to seeing what you add! Very nice work!

27 Jan, 2019 21:13

I think you've done an amazing job here actually. The Back To Top Button I didn't even see at first yet once I was looking for it I found it. This is very nicely fleshed out. I'll admit I skimmed, but I don't think it's too long at all since you've broken it up so well.

28 Jan, 2019 23:59

Awesome article again! :) The spoiler button for "List of all House Alban members, past and present" is a bit too long on my phone. Though, I have pretty small phone according to today's standards. It would also be nice if there was a "return to top" link at the end of every section that sends people up to the ToC. :) Also, Alice is also a Magister? How does that work when she belongs to the family and the Magisters don't seem to like the family?

5 Feb, 2019 17:18

Dang, that was some powerful stuff. A long read for sure, but certainly worth it! I love the families rise of power, unique in its ability to strategically absorb other parties to enhance its own power. I also loved the table of assassinations even though it could use some cleaning. Great going Elemental :D

5 Feb, 2019 17:18

Dang, that was some powerful stuff. A long read for sure, but certainly worth it! I love the families rise of power, unique in its ability to strategically absorb other parties to enhance its own power. I also loved the table of assassinations even though it could use some cleaning. Great going Elemental :D