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Houses of the Four Winds

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Due to the scarcity of resources and the Eypharians' respect for bloodlines, noble houses thrive in Ahnatep. The idea of nobility is largely absent in the rest of Mizahar, so the desert is the only host to royal games of intrigue and elaborate court politics.


Noble Attitudes

While each house has a particular personality, and divergent beliefs within their own household, they share a commonality of behaviors and structure.

Before the Valterrian, the four noble houses were sprung from those directly below the Pressor in governing the region. The King or reigning Queen of Alahea was above the Pressor or Pressorah, treating the Eypharian ruler like a pampered governor. Due to the peaceful nature of the annexation over the Eypharians, the reigning monarch allowed the other "noble" Eypharians to keep their titles and places of power in exchange for obedience and tribute.

The current Noble Houses are descended from the Eypharians who rose from the chaos of the Valterrian and seized power through intelligence, luck and significant effort. This first post Valterrian generation claimed blood ties to the original houses. While most claims were valid, the death toll of the Valterrian gave rise to dubious bastards or distant relations asserting connection. Those who could previously contradict or affirm the relation had perished, but the new noble houses were eager for worthy members and would quickly affirm the lineage of a petitioner should they find merit in him or her otherwise.

Despite the possible dilution, in the nobles' minds, they represent the strongest stock of Eypharians. Loyalty to one's house is encouraged through the bonds of family and the years of tradition. Denying one's house is like denying one's brother or mother. Even if there are internal struggles, houses will gain solidarity for the purpose of the defending against an outsider.

Within the houses there are four informal groups: those who run the industry, those involved in government and court politics, leaders of the house's guard, and those who comprise the beautiful face of the house (predominantly social creatures or ambassadors). Members of the house may be in more than one group.

The North Winds

Notable Members

Queen Naeema: (Deceased) Great-grandmother to the current Pressorah.

Sadiki : Current head of the house and the key figure in Pressorah Bashti's rise to the throne. The Pressorah looks to him like a father and frequently seeks his counsel. This allegiance has kept him from his own home and children, allowing them to grow selfish and a little wild. He is a wise man with a great respect for the line of the Pressors and the history of their people. He appears more scholar than political figure and finds greater solace in his garden than among his treasures.

Rumati : A famed singer in the Semhu style, Rumati is known through all of Ahnatep for both her talent and opulent lifestyle. She demands to be paid in jewels, wears only indigo silk (save on stage) and will not leave the house until she is dusted in real gold.

Rumati's voice is noted for its power of expression. Her acting and dancing leave room for improvement, but most do not care, saying her voice tells more than any physical expression could. She is disciplined in her art, but impatient with detractors. She is called the Tigress of Semhu for her imperious passions and stubbornness. Many an actress has felt her claws. With her fans, she is affectionate and enchanting. A common story tells of her stopping her litter in the streets to serenade one especially ardent supporter.

Her personal life is rife with love affairs, all with powerful men, and she has gone through her fair share of husbands.

Area of Power

The North Winds are the primary producers of paper or wadj in Arumenic (pronounced owdge). While other forms of paper can be found, the wadj of the North Winds is thought to be the best. This industry stretches beyond Ahnatep into the Rest of Mizahar, making the North Winds especially wealthy.

At first, the North Winds harvested the wadj reed that grew in the Eye of Syna and the estuary where the palace sits. However, the house has made synthetic swamps at great cost in which they now grow their primary supply of the reed. The reed is mixed with other materials for durability, some say cotton, but the exact recipe is unknown.

The secret of wadj production is covetously kept, giving the North Winds a virtual monopoly. Their workers are vowed to secrecy before the gods and the members of the house are equally mute on the subject.

Additionally, a son of the North Winds was behind the construction of Ahnatep's amphitheater. He originally intended it to be a showcase for his written works, but its use extended his death. Now the North Winds are a primary figure in the theater.

Distinguishing Traits

Due to their frequent dealings with halls of records or academic institutions, the North Winds have become an increasingly educated house. They prize the written word and history, and due to their easy acquisition of paper, the house has produced a great number of writers, some of which were actually talented.

They are the most artistically inclined of the houses and are frequent patrons of the arts in Ahnatep. Personalities range between scholastically pedantic to creatively flamboyant. The latter has drawn the most attention and become the trademark of the house. Recently, a few women of the North Winds have become celebrated in their own rights for their roles in semhu and their glamorous lifestyles.

The colors of the house are pale green and silver, representing the wadj plant and learning.

The South Winds

Notable Members

Area of Power

Souths, as they prefer to call themselves, are predominately ship builders and captains of vessels. Their ships are commonly loaned to ambitious men for the price of half the profits earned, however, should the captain lose the ship he is indebted to the Souths. This debt can be paid through service on a ship of their choosing.

Souths' vessels are known for their speed and maneuverability, and most sailors feel the bargains they strike are fair. Because they are tutored from birth in the mechanics and business of seamanship, Souths make exceptional captains and sailors. Merchant vessels will pay dearly to have a member of the house man their ship.

Distinguishing Traits

The Souths are a household of adventurers and engineers, producing a rather entertaining melange of Eypharians. Their personalities tend to extremes and their hot tempers are renowned. They are the least refined and connected of the noble houses, but are the quickest to adapt in times of trouble.

The colors of the house are dark blue and black, representing the sea and hardships.

The East Winds

Notable Members

Kahmen re Bisret: The middle aged head of the house. He is a man of admirable intelligence and business sense. Kahmen's motto is wise choices and good company are the best defense. The pettier aspects of the house do not interest him as he would rather be enmeshed in the practical, business aspects of the house.

Kahmen has a sharp eye for talent and a dry sense of humor. He is all fairness, neither indulgent or capricious with those beneath him. His Measure, Antoninus, of the Ano Cult supplies a sensitivity to social consequences, supplementing Kahmen's straightforward nature with the political cunning necessary to maintain power.

Area of Power

The East Winds excavates and operates mines throughout the Eyktol region. While the Pressorah has possession of most the ore mines, the East Winds focus on everyday materials such as salt. Marble quarries are the most luxurious endeavor of the East Winds.

While marbles can be found throughout Mizahar, the East Winds are the only miners of the deep purple Eypharian Marble. The almost eggplant colored marble is both costly and rare. Possessing it is a symbol of the utmost wealth.

There is little more respectable than stone and salt, but tales abound accrediting the East Winds as the mysterious owners of Ahnatep's slave auction. This Slave Market is considered the only place worth visiting for a living purchase.

Distinguishing Traits

Like the marble they mine, the East Winds are an unyielding and enduring group. While many members of the house enjoy lavish and carefree lifestyles, they can only do so because of the sturdiness of their ruling figures.

The ruling figures are pragmatic men who find fulfillment in filling the house's coffers, as opposed to spending the wealth they accrue. For them, wealth is only a way to keep score in their vast game, not a thing to be enjoyed. Others in the house exist only as proof of prestige: sophisticated children, accomplished, beautiful wives and educated servants. However, these trophies do not remain idle. They relish court politics and more subtle power plays between the houses, proving just as flinty as the ruling figures.

Because of this attitude, a great juxtaposition exists in the house between the socially minded and business minded members. The house has gilded flesh but a heart of marble.

The colors of the house are purple and gray, supposedly for the marble and salt they mine.

The West Winds

Notable Members

Queen Dimourla

Recent History

As the source of the disgraced Queen Dimourla, the House of the West Winds has been shamed and scrutinized. To show contrition, the house immediately altered its leadership after the flight of Dimourla. Her brother, Dirames, was removed as head of the house and replaced with his cousin Mersaba, granting a new family line power of the house's affairs. While Dirames had no obvious connection to Dimourla's alleged treachery, the change consoled some accusing voices.

Despite this blow to their reputation, the House of the West Winds cannot be undone. They wield too much power over food production and have not yet lost their ability to charm and persuade their opponents.

Area of Power

The West Winds have an almost exclusive hold on Ahantep's farming land. The most notably exceptions being the Pressorah's possession of the land on which grain for bread is grown, and the North Winds' cultivation of wadj reed to make paper. The West Winds farm barley on what grain land is in their power and use it to make beer.

Any other produce native to the area comes predominately from the West Winds. This includes: flax, castor berry, vegetables such as: onions, leeks, cabbages, beans, cucumbers and lettuce, and various fruits including melon, pomegranate, dates, figs and oranges. There are also rumors of some farms producing Gloam Flower a rare Eyktol Flora, from which the drug Mirage is made.

Land is divided by the head of the house and doled out between individual families in the house. Once in possession, it is uncommon to uproot a family from its farming land. Each family tends to exclusively produce one kind of crop. Some families tend to only manage their farm at a distance, renting it to non-noble farmers willing to do the work for a portion of the proceeds and a place to live. While other families find pride in their land and involve themselves with its daily affairs.

Two large springs exist in Ahantep. One feeds the eye of Syna and the small river that moves from it into the sea. This river from the oasis is the primary source of water for the population of Ahnatep. According to size, each family receives a maximum water ration. However, additional water for more indulgent purposes can be purchased at a dear price from the Pressorah.

The other spring feeds a wider river that has been cut through the farming land. Any farmer's attempt to take more than their fair share of this precious water is met with consequences as dire as death.

Distinguishing Traits

The house of the West Winds has two faces. One face is the cultured farmer who has earned his livelihood from the earth by the sweat of his brow. These members have a knowledge of the land if they have not worked it themselves. They brew beer and harvest fruit in its season for pleasure or profit. Guests are welcomed with all hospitality and fanfare. The men are engaging and the women are charming. Their homes are on the outskirts of Ahnatep, their main house a sprawling estate insulated from the city.

The other face belongs to the manufacturers of mirage, a powerful opiate that ruins and delights. These members bargain with criminals and crush competition behind closed doors. They are merciless with one hand and hospitable with the other. Past wounds to the house have forced their submerged traits of cunning and determination to the forefront. The House of the West Winds has vowed it will never taste ruin again.

The colors of the house are amber, for beer and red, for earth (or gloam flowers as some detractors say).