Noble Houses Edit
The seven main noble houses of Dran
Family Members Edit
Prince Sorias Varren, Lady Efayn Varren, Jodis Varren, Alayn Varren, Carrad Varren, Lensil Varren, Condras Varren, Shayl Varren.
The Varrens of Dran: Originally the Varrens were a warrior clan from Arc, they have fought as mercenaries in every major war for the past 600 years, but in the last 100 they have become far wealthier as military brokers. This means they find other mercenary forces for select clients and they buy and sell mercenary companies. A small but promising band of sell swords can be offered patronage by the Varrens, given lucrative work until their reputation grows, unreliable members are killed off and new Varren picked warriors replace them. At a certain point they can be sold on to other city states or brokers who want to use them. Many senior Varrens who have now never seen a battle and grown wealthy on this trade long for the glory and honour of fighting once more and hope to steer the family back towards more risky and less lucrative direct military work. A certain shame is associated with this lack of martial participation, especially as the dominant narrative in Dran is the glory of war.
Family Members Edit
Prince Danil Mayr, Elsarys Mayr (deceased) Boras Mayr, Lodin Mayr, Koras Mayr, Frrin Mayr, Eddas Mayr, Jorin Mayr
The Mayr control the supply of silk and opium from east to west, once it flowed through Arc from Veska, but they diverted it to Dran, bringing in huge amounts of wealth and establishing the Mayrs as one of the wealthiest families and virtual folk heroes in Dran for getting one over on Arc. Mayr silk accounts for 80 percent of the silk trade in the Greater Arc Sea.
The house is led by the angry, bitter and slightly out of control Danil Mayr, a short, rotund and red faced man, slightly the worse for drink on occasion. Many put this down to the loss of Lady Elsarys, but Danil Mayr was a vindictive and mistrustful sort while she was alive. Danil Mayr all but destroyed the Evayn for the accident, using his guards to kill several of them when they came to prostrate themselves before his house and try to make good the tragedy. For the past five years he has been an ally of Sorias Varren, who really controls the use of violence in the city.
Thoris Hauke, an embarrassment to his own house and a widely acknowledged fantasist, hopes to overthrow the Mayrs and take their trade from them, but the Varrens and Mayrs view him as a fool and an irrelevance
Family members Edit
Prince Valdrain Greyll, Lady Quaras Greyll, Sondre Greyll, Touril Greyll, Adrick Greyll, Rester Greyll.
They are one of Dran's oldest families and look back to a time when Dran was not so douchey as it is now. They still try to hold on to a few vestiges of honour and prinicipal, which sees them generally loathed and derided by the other families. The remaining Evayns Prince Marhan Evayn (Firrand's brother, who took the title of Prince when his father Darras Evayn, was murdered), Lady Sollis Evayn, Allansr Evayn, Collas Evayn have taken refuge in the Greyll Korag. The Varrens are becoming increasingly angry with the Greylls and demand that the Evayns are handed over to the Mayrs for 'justice', but the Greylls use their prerogative rights to protect them.
Family members Edit
Prince Thoris Hauke, Lady Merin Hauke, Aras Hauke, Redan Hauke, Saelin Hauke, Sarras Hauke.
The Hauke family of Dran: They are the one of the oldest families in Dran and traditionally the custodians of Nurian's Rock. They are an offshoot of the Mondrias family (the oldest). The Rock originally belonged to the Mondrias family (who are descendants of Nurian himself) and it passed to the Haukes through marriage. The Haukes became indebted to the Varrens, a relatively new family, and the rock, in effect, belongs to Sorias Varren (making the Mondrias family angry at both Haukes and Varrens). The Haukes are in debt and decline. Thoris Hauke is desperately seeking a way out of the Varrens' control but can't because of the escalating debts. Some Haukes have considered re-taking the Mondrian name, merging their Korags and recognising Volkender Mondrias as their lord.
Family Members Edit
Prince Volkender Mondrias, Lady Yellenis Mondrias, Barhannis Mondrias, Sherrander Mondrias, Alhandar Mondrias, Giollin Mondrias
The oldest family of Dran and the second wealthiest. Whilst being no pacifists, they are worried about Sorias Varren's courting of Mordikhaan and are the only house strong enough to challenge him. They are considering a coup to overthrow the Varrens.
Family members Edit
Prince Wolfas Andrayn, Lady Savantis Andrayn, Evelyian Andrayn, Barrad Andrayn (a dying line)
Cousins of the Evayn, who they once swore fealty to, the Andrayns are a small but aggressive family and five years ago, launched a coup to seize the Evayn seat and impose an Andrayn at the head of the two families. The killing of Elsarys Mayr put all of the resources of the Mayr and Varrens against the Evayns killing off three quarters of the family. Some Andrayns feel guilt and remorse for what happened and still hope that there is a way of unifying the two houses.
Family Members Edit
Prince Marhan Evayn, Lady Sollis Evayn, Maotan Evayn, Firrand Evayn, Allansr Evayn, Collas Evayn
Only four Evayns still survive in Dran, led by the young and inexperienced Marhan and his wife Sollis. Firrand has escaped the city and is in exile, hiding from Mayr and Varren assassins. The Evayn Korag was looted by Mayr troops and the Andrayns, who started the feud in the first place. Locals loyal to the Evayns made taking over the Korag more trouble than it was worth, so a sort of anarchy has settled over the Evayn Korag, and an underworld lord who hopes to become a Dran noble himself one day has taken over. Go Shan Ar, an enigmatic, ruthless but popular strongman from the Vire now runs things in the Evayn Korag. He is sneered at by the other families in a racist manner (he is but a savage), but they are wary of taking him on.
Lesser houses Edit
Molvan Furst Dran-Rever Larrin Geystre Lorrick Shaydrick Hoston
* Andrayn and Evayn used to be part of the same house but split and fought a bitter Montagu and Capulet style urban civil war of duelling and assassinations, Andrayns came off worst and are nearly extinct. * Danil Mayr's wife, Lady Elsarys was killed during the blood feud 20 years earlier, by a stray Evayn arrow. He now conspires with the Andrayn against the Evayn and it is only Mayr support that keeps the Andrayn going. * The Varrens are the richest, most powerful house of Dran and dominate the High Council, populating it with many of their family members, friends and allies. The Varrens are one of the main forced in Dran that beat the drum of war on a regular basis. * In the lesser houses, the Dran-Revers are a strand of the exiled Pelonastrian Rever family. They are wealthier than their relatives West of Dancare, but try to pretend that the Mill Lands don't exist.
Part One: Founding
At the mouth of the Great River Wane there have been a collection of fishing villages for over 1,200 years. The people of the region the Hol Darah lived along the coastline mainly, fearful of venturing too far inland as the lowlands were first dominated by hostile tribes and then became marching routes for Van armies and traders and only citizens of the Van empire were permitted to set foot in the lowlands. The Hol Darah therefore lived at the periphery of firstly the Van and then the Arc empires, a completely marginalised and invisible people. When Nurian Mondrias, an Arcish General and then Senator discovered the deep natural harbours at the mouth of the Wane he argued for the building of an outpost or ‘Dran’ there*. Nurian was looking for more than just an outpost to extend the power of Arc, he wanted to create a new trading fortress to launch a coup against Arc, in revenge for rejection from the Supreme Council of Arc.
Nurian built a fortress on an island in the estuary of the Wane, known by the Hol Darah as the Renderfordh but named Nurian’s rock. He enslaved the Hol Darah and other tribes inland forcing them to build the fortress, which over several centuries became the source of Dran power. Thousands of Hol Darah and other tribesmen died building Nurian’s Hold. Runaway slaves retreated into the mountains where they survived robbing the trade routes between Arc and the new outpost. A trading settlement built on the ruins of the Hol Darah’s villages was created in the year **. The leaders of Arc were suspicious of the developing trade outpost and had waged war in previous centuries over emerging trade rivals, but they also saw the potential in Dran, particularly as a result of Nurian’s Hold, which was able to train and deploy large numbers of troops into traditionally volatile regions that Arc had failed to control completely. With the development of threats to the trade routes to Arc from the Hol Darah, it made sense to allow Dran to police the region. Dran’s power grew as a result of the demographic crisis within the Arc Empire, as the empire gradually waned in power between ** and **, a generation of nobles, including the Varren and Evayn families, had sons that had few if any opportunities for commercial or military advancement in Arc, so a new start in Dran, a relative frontier outpost as far as Arc was concerned, seemed like a positive move. As the Arc empire fractured and the great Southern Empire of Del Marah broke away, Dran became more strategically important to Arc, as Drannish armies were able to keep Nordeans, who had landed in Nordreach and were colonising the north east of Aestis, at bay. In **** Kheraas Mondrias Lord of Dran called the first Council of Harenis to discuss the consequences of the decline of Arc and argued that the capital of the empire be moved to Dran, the now powerful warrior city state. This, in his view, would be the only means by which the Arc empire could be saved, but the council rejected his view. In anger he returned to Dran, declared independence from Arc and put 144 Arcish council men to the sword. The Dran War of Independence accelerated the decline of the Arc Empire and gave the Del Marahans the advantage they needed over the Arc armies of the south
Dranites always dispute that the word ‘dran’ means outpost.
To grasp the hem. Each family of Dran has a ceremonial cloak, normally kept in the great halls and chapels of their family's portion of the city. The cloaks are ancient, often falling apart but have the symbolic power of both a crown and battle flag. Conquered enemies or those forced in more passive ways to swear fealty to the clan must prostrate themselves on the floor and 'grasp the hem' on the cloak.
The more powerful the family, the greater the number of slaves. The great families of Dran don't call them slaves, they call them tributes. This implies that they are part of the spoils of war, but often they are simply those unfortunate enough to have been kidnapped and sold in Dran (the only city in the Greater Arc Sea that allows the practice - the Van abolished it, but Dran was set up after the fall of the Van empire). Tributes still make up a small minority of the population of the city and are often skilled and reasonably well treated (more powerful families long ago learned that if they utilised the skills of their tributes they could grow far wealthier).
The warrior's code. Somewhere between Bushido and the outlook of Prussian Generals. Fight well, fight fearlessly, be merciless, be magnificent.
Dran's Praetorian Guard of elite warriors. They are comprised of men from all the noble houses and are roughly as follows:
10,000 light infantry
8,000 heavy infantry (Pikemen and archers are used alongside the Sulvara Tarro, but these skills are considered inferior, so they are not incorporated into the Sulvara).