Rise of the Black Prince
The Flowered Houses
All of the high houses of Tarne and their scions are denoted by flower sigils. The flowers of the nobility are direct blood descendants of the original Tarne and his
vassal kings who came across the South Sea. This distinguishes them from the dozen low houses that rose out of their first allies and subjects among the indigenous humans of Vion.
The Emerald Amaranth: House Tarne
No one knows what the motivation behind Louis the first’s invasion of Vion. The history books of the Arcanist Conclave call him a just but brutally calculating man who had a remarkable ability to lead his betters.
Tarne is a down to earth house that focuses on the practical needs of their people. Louis the 28th rules benevolently but is less competent than his predecessors.
The house focuses strictly on statecraft and war as the activities of its children and all of the armies are led personally by the sons and younger siblings of the king.
The Ruby Carnation: House LeRoux
Guy LeRoux, the first lord of Tarne’s armies, was an unlikely candidate for the job. He was slight of build and an average tactician. He was, however, a remarkable diplomat and leader of men. These skills made him first among Louis’ vassal kings. In a very real sense the Tarnese people would never have incorporated the indigenous humans or found allies among them without Lord LeRoux.
In the modern era, LeRoux maintains its place as the populist house. Many of the lower level nobles and administrators responsible for interacting with the common man come from house LeRoux. They are loved by the people in some areas even more than the king himself.
Their wealth is based predominantly on agriculture and military strength.
The Azure Violet: House LeCroix
The violet is perhaps the best representation of Francois LeCroix, the king of coins. The history books remember Francois as the financier of the expedition which took them across the great sea and the logistics specialist of the invasion force.
Modernly, along with the Veroux family, the LeCroix are the cultured courtiers of the kingdom and the authority on fashion and opulence.
The White Lily: House Sangreal
Julian Sangreal was the only one of Louis’ vassals who was not a king in the old world. He was a smuggler and admiral of a privateer armada. His obvious resources and skills made him a logical and invaluable ally to the invasion force, helping them quickly move men along the coast.
House Sangreal may not have the culture and luxury of the other houses, but it is certainly the most wealthy. The Sangreal family owns the four largest trading companies operating in the known world as well as maintaining more admiralties in the Tarnese navy than any other house.
The Ebon Rose: House Veroux
Jeremy Veroux was a warrior and a campaigner. He had served Louis as a vassal king for years after his own nation was conquered in the old world. He stands in sharp contrast to his descendants who prefer the paint brush to the sword.
A close alliance with the LeCroix family in the early years of the kingdom coupled with numerous inter-marriages had turned House Veroux into the military arm of House LeCroix. They are loyal to the king but it is commonly known that their true loyalty is to the court itself.
The Lavender Tulip: House Normand
Bret Normand was a blood cousin of Louis the first and ruler of the kingdom known as The Fire Mountains. He and his people made up the vanguard of the invasion force. They and the Keraunosi legions were the only houses which kept professional armies at the birth of the new kingdom.
The descendants of Lord Normand are the founding and ruling members of the Amaranth Council and the Amaranth Guard. Both of these are organizations dedicated to protecting the royal house and the kingdom at large.
The Normands are unique in that they hold less territory than some minor houses. However, what they lack in property they make up for in noble sons and military expertise. The most prestigious families in the kingdom seek to have their sons squired to Normand lords, as Normand knights are often the elite of any Tarnese military force.
The Lost Flowers House Valerion and House Vaithe
Gaius Maximus Valerius and his Keraunosi legions were the strongest professional military in the old world. Their brutal efficiency, coupled with their strict code of conduct made them a conquering force like no other. Nation after nation fell before them, becoming protectorates under general Gaius.
In fact only a close victory in solo combat saved Louis the first from conquest by the far superior Keraunosi armies.
As Louis and his vassal kings won more victories and became more entrenched in their new homes, Gaius noticed a change in his once noble allies. They became decadent, manipulipative and lost the keen conquerors edge.
To show the loss of honor and martial prowess, Gaius challenged his old friend again to solo combat. He declined and Gaius challenged his right to rule the 7 kings, as a way of placating his old ally, Louis carved out the Keraunosi empire for Gaius to rule as he saw fit. Here Gaius built a nation based on martial principles, personal honor, and the strong rule of law.
There is a strong rivalry between the Keraunosi and the “delicate flowers” to the north that manifests itself In a continuous border skirmish.
Gunther Viathe, the lowest of the six kings who followed Louis Tarne was charged with crossing the great mountains (Dragonspine) and scouting what was on the other side. He was to make camp and begin invading in preparation for the rest of the Tarnese force.
The crossing was arduous and took two months, The human invaders were not aware of the Dwarves and the system of highways linking the two sides of the mountains. With great effort, Gunther and his people crossed the mountains and discovered a completely uninhabited land of rolling plains and fertile soil.
They began to settle this new land and peace took its toll. No longer did they care for the warrior ways of the Tarne and they sent back no messengers, and gave no thought to their brethren.
Gunther who was close to his people and to his nobles, left his kingdom not to his sons but to a senate of men of merit chosen from among the people by the male citizens. In this way Vion’s first democracy was created by the dying wish of a truly great king.