The Houses

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					                        The Houses             Broadsheet

   Although the might of the ruling Rex Cabal is inviolate, and both the Military and Civil Defence Force
(the Watch) have some political weight, the ruling Houses, through the medium of the Senate decide
and enforce all civil law. The Senate is currently comprised of fifty-seven out of sixty seats, though the
office of Senator of Hope remains open, pending the elections of a new Governor.

   This conclave of politicians meets in the Oratorium on Garrison Island, to air their views, discuss
and debate, and vote on new proposals. The Senate is comprised both of the ancient ruling Noble
Houses of Hope, and the more recent additions of the Merchant Houses, as well as career politicians
who may speak for either kind of House. Many Senators and Houses have deep-rooted religious
leanings, and several alliances and enmities exist among the voting officials.

   Four of the Noble Houses (Vorthian, Schiala, Cychar and Cholean) were formerly referred to as the
‘Great Houses’, although following the collapse of the Renchuvite Government, their power has become
considerably weakened.

   House Vorthian remains influential, but its power is waning even now. Long allied to the faith of
Egar-Colmetch, the head of the House, Lady Ferinn, is known for her friendship with High Priestess
Ghamion, and also for the lavish festivals she sometimes throws. The murder of Ferinn’s niece Hera by
the undead Rebel Corrigan places a strain upon relations with the church of Sahmen. Many are
unhappy with the close relationship the Vorthians once possessed with the disgraced Renchuvite
administration, and look acquisitively at the Vorthian holdings should the House fall. Old Kajes Vorthian
is considered one of the finest proponents of the game of ‘Treason’, and the annual Vorthian Cup is
held in his honour. Much to her disgust, Ferinn’s young grandchildren have both declared for the faith of
Corgul and are presently wards of the Law Church.

   House Bell was always publicly allied with the Vorthians, although it has now come to light that the
House is merely a front for some other, unknown agency or faith. House Metteus-Rhone often supports
the Vorthians, unless doing so might somehow upset the Church of Haquar, to whom these scholars
owe their true allegiance. Their interests are legal and estate, including part-ownership of the Square of
Sighs marketplace. The more esoteric Houses of Lege and Squire are also known to ally with the
Vorthians over rights for their artisans, dealing in exotic luxuries and the arts. Young Marquand Lege is
said to be a prime candidate for the post of Governor, and many follow the Colmetchi’s progress with
interest. His brother Fidelio, one of six children in all, has some kind of involvement with the Church of
Dianodus, being the main proponent of the ‘new way’ of the Dian.           House Squire is loyal to the
Suoconan and Trorindari faiths, and an avowed enemy of the old Renchuvite government.

   House Schiala were the avowed enemies of House Vorthian, but this House is all but destroyed,
following some catastrophe upon their ancestral island holdings. Their Head, the venerable Monack
Schiala, was found entombed in the family residence, the entire manor-house overgrown with plants
and vines. They were a relatively young House, only recognised in the last decade, gaining power
through usurping the position of the ancient House Perridian. The lone surviving daughter of the
Perridians has recently reclaimed her ancestral lands, although she no longer claims residence of the
isles. That she is ruling High Priestess of Morana, and one of the most powerful members of the Rex
Cabal, might point to the strange fate of the House of Schiala… Known for their aggressive takeovers
and violent methods, the House will be missed by very few… Their sole heir and survivor is the rakish
Malin, known for his excesses and debauched ways. Their allies were House Toachadi, who were also
suspected of being involved in illegal pursuits, and are now outcast for their close ties to the corrupt
Renchuvite government.

   House Cholean is still one of the most influential of the Houses, through their high profile support of
the Temple of Destu. The Lord Admiral Rean Cholean commands the potent Naval forces of Exile, and
his House trades in almost everything, assured of a great deal of support whenever his Church votes
with him. Yet despite his high profile, the Lord Admiral has suffered the loss of his only son, Semian,
slain by the Arian scholar Hebden Ashani during the sack of Garrison and the sylvan invasion. His only
other heir is the wild-child Lucita, formerly infamous as the tavern dancer Luki, the ‘Dark Side of the
Moon’. She has seemingly eloped to a tropical island with a mystery lover, declaring herself for
Trorindar and choosing to live outside of Exile’s Machiavellian politics.

   Houses Sutcliffe, Connaught and Skarog were firm allies of the Choleans, sharing many trading
interests, but all have distanced themselves from their Noble allies in recent times. House Sutcliffe has
the misfortune to have spawned the ill-fated Johannes, still wanted on pain of death by the angry
sylvans, among others. The surviving heir to the House, Mari, is also missing, believing to have left
Exile with her explorer beloved. House Connaught, an ancient ally of the Perridians, is presently under
investigation by the Church of Corgul following accusations by the sylvan forces. The young Lord
Kristian Connaught and his brother Moreau are both under arrest, and the House has passed to their
thirteen-year-old sister ‘Spinney’, who has declared herself a ward of the Sahmenite church. House
Skarog are loyal Somoli, and excel in sea-faring, being responsible for most of the new trade with the
continent. House Ashani deals in textiles, though relations with the Choleans are extremely strained
considering the death of Cholean’s heir. Ashani-Marjoram is now under the protection of the Haquari
church, and a new College is being built there in memoriam for their missing son, now lost at sea.

   The dead Governor, Rachus vol Cychar, was head of his own House, now declared responsible for
the atrocities committed under Leikigh and Lathan of the previous Renchuvite administration. The
Governor’s family was scattered in the wake of the invasion, his brother Lord Cychar and the
redoubtable Aunt Eithilberta the only surviving elders of the House. His son, Dolfus, has little of his
father’s ability and ambition, and his elder daughter Eroliece has yet to be found in the aftermath of the
invasion. The Governor’s killer, his youngest daughter Maraliece, is now the consort of Lady Fionala
Perridian and wants nothing of her father’s legacy, choosing to live in peace on the continent in the city
of Larbis. The isles of Cychar, once the site of the Renchuvite Death-camps, have been seized by the
Moranan faith, though it will prove difficult to exorcise their bloody legacy.

   The House of Fey-Lant has grown immeasurably in power in recent years, and is still on the
ascendancy, boasting several islands gathered at the expense of the hated Renchuvites. Long allied to
the Church of Destu, the House rivals the Vorthians for financial might, and may one day soon eclipse
that Great House. The House is infamous for operating beneath (or more accurately, above the law…).
Lady Llara is the latest in a long line of female heads of the House and often manages to sway the
Oratorium with a well-delivered speech, another prime candidate for the post of Governor. Her daughter
is none other than Lucienne, the potent High Priestess of Destu, and the darling of the young,
aristocratic ‘party elite’.

    The Houses of Morce and Tiakin would previously ally with Fey-Lant, although they have now been
cast aside due to their Renchuvite leanings. House Morce is now in receivership with the Colmetchi, its
Alfysian inhabitants butchered by the man-monster Garagus Rex, and the House Head Wilbert slain by
Tatsumi Kunimitsu upon his home island. House Tiakin is now considered outcast, and the avowed
Renchuvites Markus and the lich-lord Houdoun Tiakin both have substantial bounties upon their heads.
The fate of the House may lie with young Veralee, presently apprenticed to the necromancer Arlas

    Houses Portnoy, Squire, Rose and Leung are devoted to Suocona, and form a considerable voting
bloc. Young Rose Portnoy is presently the ruling High Priestess of Beauty, and House Squire has long
been a proponent of the arts. House Rose has a tradition of dashing adventurers, including the Bard
Alarch, the sailor Karl Dumat, and the suave Morgan Wylder, as well as the daring Shona Alvari, who is
related by marriage. House Leung has long emigrated from some exotic part of the South, although the
venerable Lord Leung and his nephew Amadeus are still officially missing since the disaster upon the
Wave-Song. In his absence, the isle has been settled by certain of the sylvan folk, those who wish to
remain to study and live among humans, officially under the protection of the Church of Suocona.

    Finally, there is House Devalier, responsible for maintaining the sewer barges that service the
islands, and the clearing of refuse. They command a surprising amount of influence, considering what
might happen if they chose to withdraw their services…

    The other forty Houses have ties and links to each other but are too numerous to mention, except
for House Schaffer, who live in a section of Upwind that is officially a part of Alfysius. The Schaffers
have long been masters of the Haquari Scientifick branch, presently mourning the loss of their head, Dr.
Pascale, murdered by the late Kurai Tamashii, and the loss at sea of her daughter Charmaine.
Pascale’s reclusive son Jean-Luc is the present head of his house, and also reining as Chief Scientifick
in his mother’s stead.

    Also worthy of mention is the Merchant House of Chandos, who have recently reclaimed their
holdings upon Pale Chandos under Sahmen and Haquar. Their daughter Cassandra has recently been
elevated to the status of Chief Practitioner of the Haquari Spiritus by the command of High Priestess
Ebbeni herself, and is the youngest ever to hold such an honour.

    Also notable is Lady Nichola, the young scion of the obscure House of Elhurst, recently widowed by
the sudden death of her husband, the venerable Lord Rockingham. Nichola is among Hope’s most
eligible noblewomen, and is actively seeking remarriage.

    Though the power of the Senate is considerable, it still remains a secondary chamber to the Rex
Cabal, and has no power to amend the decisions of the Cabal itself. Yet, the very existence of such
civil power makes the Senate more than a mere debating chamber, enabling many talented individuals
to forge their careers as shakers and movers in Exile society.

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