Powerful Brendylian families bond together to form a House. Hundreds of Houses exist but only a small portion has been officially ratified in Brendylian Court. Houses are made up of many members. Each member can vary in Class and prestige. The more prestigious the members, the more prestige the House will gain. The Class of the House does not correlate with the class of its members.
Each House has their own colorful history and their exploits would cover entire volumes. Brendylians seek Identity, honor, and duty within a House. A House is a powerful family or group of families that bear ties to a Royal Bloodline and have been officially recognized as a House by Brendylian Court. Lesser families adjoin a House seeking a home and work. Often the House owns certain businesses and tends to be a source of labor and income.
Houses grow in power the more wealthy the business owned, prestigious the House members, and proof they gain of bloodline connections.House Names are of extreme importance in Brendylian Society. Certain names carry weight due to the influence of the House on the Kingdom. The name can even bear weight in law as Brendylians swear by their House. Each Brendylian bears the House Name._
The Master of the House’s immediate family are the Heirs of the House and simply bear their First name followed by the House Name. Extended family is more complicated as they tend to bear multiple names. However the final name will always be the House Name they belong to.
The very blood within the veins of Brendylians is both sacred and mystical. What is officially recognized in Court is believed to transmute into the blood of a Brendylian. No matter what class or family you are born into you may be Adopted into another House. Adoption has strict ceremonial rites and is governed by Court. This practice is common and in certain cases Brendylians will gather and form a new House via the rite of Adoption.
Bard’s Songs sing of the Olde Brendylmun Empire founded by Lysander the first. Families were born and some grew to power and became officially recognized as Brendylian Houses. The bloodline of each House is cherished and it is essential that the House can recite the litany of their forebears for each generation. Official Houses must prove they trace back to Olde House Lysander.
In Ceremony and respect, all families from the greatest Noble to the lowest Peasant operate in the same manner. Within the House there are positions held each with title and responsibility. The Master is the head of the House and sees to the day to day running of House affairs. The exact title varies depending on gender and class. Each member of the House is expected to support the Master’s decisions and can expect that their Master to support them in turn.
The House Elder is the eldest and wisest of the House and acts as the Advisor to the Master as well as other members of the house. House Man at Arms are the House Guards and follows the regimental military structure of the Kingdom. Powerful Houses have sizeable forces and lend them to aid the Kingdom in times of war. Regardless of Class or Duty the House must take care of its own. This idea pervades the entire structure of Brendylian Culture even influencing the government. Some Houses create more positions as they see fit to properly rule House affairs.
The “Affair” of the House is the Courtly term for internal Business. Businesses and Companies are sponsored, funded, and run by a House. These companies bring income to the House but due to the fact they increase trade and commerce within the Kingdom they are seen as a service to the King. Thus Court may recognize certain Houses as conducting official “Service to House.” This is important if a House Member wishes to Class Ascend. House Affairs are protected by Court and in many cases so is their confidentiality. The money that is generated fuels the economy. Because of this, House Feuds are governed by the Court and allowed to run their own course if handled with honor. As Houses encroach on one another’s affairs the Court will step in to ensure business continues without a hitch.
Some Houses will wage wars of subterfuge known as Blood Feuds to avoid the Court’s interference. They claim that honor has been slighted and refuse to allow a Court to intervene on behalf of Affair in order to fulfill vendettas. Blood Feuds are illegal feuds that take place underground so to speak away from the eyes of the Constabulary. Unsanctioned Duels or in some cases organized hits cripple House Affairs. Once the prestige and business of the House have been taken away, the House will die a social death.
Rare Houses exists within the Duchies whose sole business is warfare. Holding true to the Brendylian Code of war and military regimen, these War Houses lend their support to the Duchy in matters of warfare and policing. If a local Constabulary requires additional aid with a sizeable group of bandits and no Drakon can be spared, the War House is called in to deal with the uprising.
The center of material power of the House is the Tower. House Towers are utilized for meeting places, business conduction, display of Prestige, and protective homes for House members. The more awe inspiring the Tower the more prestige the House will gain at local Court. In small Houses the Tower is a simple building. In more powerful Houses the Tower is actually a spiraling tower. In rare cases the House may have enough influence to have multiple Towers each in differing cities. Fallen Houses are Houses without Towers. Without an organized location to call their own, they are looked down upon with shame. The Master of the House resides within the Tower. For this reason House Guards are often employed and the Tower is fortified into a stronghold. Business is centralized and treasures stored within the Tower. To gain considerable prestige, Houses will hold Court Balls within their Tower. The more classy and prestigious the attendees of a Ball, the more prestige the hosting House gains.
There are many levels of Feud. The Blood Feud is only the most dramatic. An Affairs feud is one conducted to assert dominance over a business or group of businesses. Usually interference with a House Affair would be grounds for Court Censorship. The offending House loses face in the Courts and often is punished through reparations made to the offended House. However, there are times when two Houses have Affairs which interact and they come into conflict through mutual interference but are not technically interfering directly. This makes it difficult to make a claim in Court and can drag the conflict on. The Court will probably only intercede if serious damage occurs to the businesses involved.