The Arluenian Throne
House Livingwood of Brighthill
We speak with the Trees. A motto that stands testimont to the strange workings of the most ancient House of Livingwood and their spiritual connection to the Elves and the Feywild itself. One of the few families in Arluen to worship the old gods and indeed alone in this faith among the great houses, the Livingwoods spent most of the prehistory trying to beat back the advancing of the Faith, with the help of there former rivals and close neighbors the Elven Princes. In -811 Dalran Livingwood married Tiana Windbliss uniting his House with an Elven Household and marched north with his armies to fight back against the Forces of Archbishop Gavin III. After smashing Gavin III and throwing off the shackles of the faith Dalran was choosen to be the intermediary between the elven and Human forces and given the title King of the Fields and Streams. His descendants held this title and fought holy war after holy war with the faith to varying degree’s of success. One King, Tanlan the Tall, sought to end his war with the faith and after gaining the support of the Court of Stars, began a forced march to Jericho the capital of the faith. There he smashed his armies against the Bloody Gates to no avail and lost his fight against King William Valorstand, and was forced to return home in defeat. 400 hundred more years of warfare continued as the druids of the Old Gods fought against the Paladins of the Faith. Christoph the Reformer drafted a compromise between Faith and the openminded King Iomer, in -65 which allowed Chruchs to be built in Brighthill, but these churches would be taxed heavily and payed there tithes directly to House Livingwood and the people of Brighthill would be free which of the religions they choose to follow.
House Livingwood spent little resources in the exploration of Vurland, allowing ambitious vassels to seek there fortunes in the faraway continent. King Nermion the Grasping striped the land away from his vassels who travelled to Vurland and rebuffed any attempts to reclaim it, causing a rift between the Dukes of Vurland and House Livingwood that stands to this day. House Livingwood grew reclusive after a religous peasant Rebellion threatened to end there family line and enjoy relative peace until the Serveians landed on the southern shore. The First House to combat them, the Livingwoods once again married amongst the elves and tried to hold back the Severian Tide, eventually being beaten back to the Elderoak, were King Wyntros Ironbark hammered out the terms of his surrender including freedom of religion and the right to rule, satified he kneeled before General Ilithan as King Wyntos and rose as Duke Wyntros. The Elven Princes resisted for sometime after that finally surrendering 200 years later in 723 after peace talks with Duke Nermion III and King Lantros, and joined Arluen as a somewhat independent ally. Despite this the Elves grew distant from men and House Livingwoods elven hertiage began to diminish.
When the Severian Empire collapsed young Duke Banlan Greeneyes presented a splended arguement for Arluenian Independence citing Severian misrule as there downfall. Ultimatly Banlan cause succeeded and Arluen became independent. During the Nirvan Annexation House Livingwood kept its troops back to protect the mainland and for the first time in known history did not manage to secure and alliance with the Elves, Duke Banlan the second because of this failure would be known as Banlan Bridgeburner as many blamed him for alienating the elves. After the Annexation House Livingwood began having to deal with a Awgehlshain that had emerge in there lands a creature known as the Spider.
The Spider an ancient goblin king who fought beside Azrai in the Last Battle, was gifted with immortality and became the monstrous creatures who rules over the Spiderfell today. House Livingwood has clashed with the Spider before when the Elven Princes called upon them for aid, but they had not fought against his forces in mass for centuries. The Spider conquered 5 Princedoms and burned Pendalt Castle before the elves decided that they could not handle him only. House Livingwood sided with the Elves and fought against the Spider but again there strength was not enough. Only with help from King Ambrose Ravenstorm and Duke Edgar Rames where they able to throw back the goblin hordes. The Spider’s defeat wasn’t a total loss as he retained most of his conquered territories forceing House Livingwood and the Elves to remain vigilant, the Spider’s armies still raid towns and villages and any attempts made to retake his territory has been thrown off by House Livingwood or there vassels.
In 1139 at the second Great Council Duke Senevast Livingwood backed the Kaiden Ravenstorm, arguing that the Starhewen dynasty would cause much disorder in Arluen. Senevast who thought himself Banlan Greeneyes reborn, was surprised when his arguements fell flat and Jocelyn was crowned. The Livingwoods marched with the Ronald Starhewen to reclaim Iyaarlaan. Duchess Priscilla the Wolfborn fought in place of her sickly human husband and ruled in place of her half elven sons until she was slain shortly after the death of the Gorgon, her son Mathuis Ancientblade was slain by the Spider and his younger brother ascended to the thrown, Argile the Traitor.
Argile once a close friend to Thomas grew distant from the new King during the Winter Wars, and he began plotting with Robin Ravenstorm before launching a rebellion while the King was out of the country. After the Rebel Army was defeated at Jericho Argile fled south and was slain by his younger brother Brynden, who captured Robin and surrenderd him to the King. This earned the Livingwoods a pardon and earned Byrnden a marriage to the elven princess Valaina. Unfortunatly Valanina bore him no children leaving his heir to be his brother Ilidan whom his wife despises.
House Livingwood’s connection to nature and there old traditions has always been there greatest strengths, but now as the family enters the modern age there strengths may become the end of there line.
Duke Byrnden “Manyeyes” Livingwood
A powerful druid with a strong connection to nature Byrnden is now nearly 76 years old and despite the elven blood in his veins few expect him to live more than another few years, having no children to inherit his fortunes, both his land and his wife would pass to his brother Illidan.
Duchess Valaina Livingwood
A elven Princess married into House Livingwood Valaina is a great beauty and powerful sorceress but did not manage to mother any children by her husband Byrnden, since her marriage pact requires her to conceive an heir upon the death of her husband she will marry his younger brother an man she despises, this marriage could prove ill fated if she cannot conceive a child before her husband passes.
Ilidan Swiftarrow Livingwood
A excellent ranger and notorious scoundral Ilidan as the youngest son of house Livingwood wasn’t expected to do much as he wasn’t expected to inheirt, but now that his brother looks likely to die without an heir Ilidan will be expected to marry Valaina a woman he has always lusted after.
The Bastard son of Ilidan by a common barmaid, Anstan is being raised in Tallheart and many expect Illidan to name Anstan his heir when he becomes Duke. Anstan is a troubled lad but is proving to be an excellent military commander and archer, though many doubt if he will earn himself a profitable marriage.
House Livingwood holds only a single blade which they recently earned acquired after stifling a rebellious vassel. The weapon is known as “Black Thorn” and is a sword once said to be held by the Order of the Rose, but is now held by Byrnden Manyeyes. Few if any knights serve the Livingwoods who instead prefer there guards to elven blademasters or druidic shamans and they equip them with appropriate magic items as befit there stature.
Elder Oak: The oldest known Castle in Arluen Elder Oak is a natural structure constructed using strange elven treeshaping magic. Once used as the Capital of Brighthill has House Livingwood began to lose it’s connection with nature causing them to utilize Elder Oak less and less. The Castle is fiercely guarded by a group of Treants and Nymphs who are swift allies of the Livingwoods and are protective of the tree, they make the Castle very daunting to siege.
Tall Heart: While Elder Oak was created by elven treeshaping Tall Heart was built with human treeshaping. Tall Heart is primary a stout redwood tree which as been reinforced with stout stone fortress guarding strategic points around it. Tall Heart is now used as the capital of Brighthill and has the small city of Esteron built around it.
Pendalt Castle: A magnificent white castle using traditional stone working, Pendalt was taken from House Pendalt by Nermion the Grasping and was the only castle not given to more loyal vassels after his death. Pendalt is currently held by the Spider despite many attempt by Brighthill to reclaim it. The Livingwoods still consider the Castle their’s however and offer a steep reward to anyone willing to clear it out.
Brighthill is densely populated and can only reliably field 10,000 to 20,000 a impressive amount for a smaller House but laughable for a great house. The Danger in fighting against Brighthill is there woodland allies. Over 10,000 elves can join them along with Gnomes, Treants, Nymphs and other Fey bolstering there numbers further. Defensibly they are nearly unbeatable and their offensive power is formidable as well .