Noble House Reinard
|Noble House Reinard|
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House Reinard is a blue-blooded family of historically modest means, only recently having stepped into political notability after over a century of rustic, reclusive manorialism in southeastern Dragenthal. The descendents of an Imperial advisor who was granted a parcel of land for his service, its members have long held the attitude that wisdom, intelligence, and cleverness are of primary importance. This, along with the House’s tendency to synthesize aspects of neighboring cultures into its own familial melting pot, lends Reinard a quiet reputation of eccentricity, novelty, and a singularly prolific output of scholars. Applying these characteristics to politics, current patriarch Augustin Reinard has guided the family through waxing and waning influence, garnering the reputation of a kindly philosopher, or an unpredictable schemer. Regardless of the truth, his unexpected intervention in (or manipulation of) a conflict between House Harhold and the Barons of West Dragenthal resulted in Reinard’s acquisition of a third of Lokinge and a sudden return to noble politics.
House Reinard’s first undisputed entry onto the historical stage was in the 140s AC, during the closing decades of the Skagger Wars. During this time, perhaps as a minor gesture of goodwill to the recently freed Calemberger territories, Emperor Henri III appointed an Alt-Regalian man named Wilhelm as an Imperial advisor. Little can be proven regarding Wilhelm’s prior background other than that he was born in southeastern Dragenthal only a decade or two after the region’s first recorded influx of seafaring Ceardians, that he was married to a woman named Kunigunde of similarly vague origins, and that he was noteworthy enough in some way to receive an Imperial appointment. Wilhelm’s tenure lasted into the early parts of Emperor Allamaria I’s reign, ending in 168 AC with his appointment as “Wilhelm Reinard, Lord of the Manor of Baurith.”
It is said that Wilhelm’s last advice to his Holy City-born son and heir, Brunrich Reinard, was to focus on intellectual pursuits and be content with the isolated, pastoral village the family had been granted. He and his descendents took this to heart, and House Reinard went almost entirely unnoticed on the political stage throughout the following century. During this time, House Reinard’s cultural identity shifted significantly: It almost immediately shed the fast-fading Alt-Regalian heritage for more Heartlander-aligned customs, and took heavy influence from the Ithanians to the south, to the extent that its development can be pointed to as a parallel of the birth of the immediately-neighboring Burdigala, with whom Reinard also heavily aligns and intermingles. This was the result of simple proximity, as well as the family’s practice of marrying into nearby aristocratic houses and readily adopting their ideas. Said practice also left House Reinard with a broad web of familial connections and a surprising degree of blue-blooded ancestors, but very little tangible benefit to show for it. Instead, the only notice House Reinard's members generated was through their scholarly activities and publications. These include Willelm Reinard II’s “A Treatise on Siege Weaponry and its History,” Thierrick Reinard’s “On the Rights and Duties of the Landowner,“ and Alexander Reinard’s “Shipwrecked: A Tale of Survival in Farah’deen.”
House Reinard's century of political inaction ended only recently, under the direction of current patriarch Augustin Reinard. Through government work and courtly favor, he guided the family’s rise to ducal power over southern Dragenthal, suffered the gradual erosion of said power, and more recently maneuvered the family into acquiring holdings in Lokinge through military means.
House Reinard’s ancestral seat is Baurith, a small village in the hilly and forested region of southeastern Dragenthal, near the Vixhall border and Genevaud Alps. It is economically connected to the nearby urban center of Heartbury, as well as the similarly-sized villages of Wissemfoss, Littlehurst, and Isenbach. The architecture is typically Heartlander, though the oldest buildings show similarities to New Regalian style, and in almost all respects it is a run-of-the-mill, sleepy Dragenthaler village. Baurith’s first real distinguishing characteristic is the sheer abundance of Red Fur Foxes in the surrounding countryside, from which the village is thought to take its name; its second is the long-standing operation of a prolific printing house despite its rural inclinations; its third is House Reinard’s fortified manor house, Tusendule, which overlooks Baurith from atop a hill. It is a notoriously labyrinthian construction of twisting hallways, strange nooks, and, according to some rumors, secret passageways. Begun by Wilhelm Reinard in the New Regalian style, Tusendule has been sporadically expanded by successive generations with Heartlander and Ithanian influences.
As of late 307 AC, House Reinard rules over the Anglian province of Barlowe, a part of the border region of Lokinge, from its capital city of the same name. Both city and province are uniquely adherent to their culture, bearing the marks of previous Harhold influence (such as a nearly complete Unionist population). Given Barlowe’s coastal nature and proximity to the Crown Isle, it is no surprise that its infrastructure is disposed towards trade and urban activity, with small port cities such as Oldenwede, Loppeswick, and Astwaard dotting the coastline. This recent acquisition means, however, that House Reinard's personal holdings in the land are extremely limited.
House Reinard has never been known for significant economic output. Historically, the house oversaw the production of a single pastoral village, with supplementary income provided by the trade of Red Fox-derived products and profits from their printing presses. More recently, the acquisition of developing coastal land has led to the House reconsidering its financial strategies. Since its agricultural export is largely regulated by Kade House of Trade monopolies, Reinard has taken tentative steps to engage in mercantile investment, gleaning some small edge by focusing scholarly efforts on developing novel economic theories. And while the profits are small, and interest specialized, House Reinard remains one of the primary procurers for the recently-established Red Fox domestication market.
House Reinard's experience in fielding soldiers is minimal at best, and their holdings do little to aid in that respect. Furthermore, despite their Heartlander inclinations, the family's extremely landlocked and isolated origin has precluded them from a very rich naval history. While their Burdigalic bent has led to a romantic ideal of knightly virtue that attracts the service of some knightly regiments, Reinard's forces are composed primarily of wilderness rangers and commoner levies. As a result, House Reinard's military ventures rely almost entirely on skilled tacticians, who are willing to combine ingenuity and trickery to outmaneuver their foes.
Relation with the Local Lords
House Reinard’s relationship with Local Lords can appear self-contradictory and unpredictable, including to the House’s own vassals. Its magnanimous policy and high-minded ideals of mutual responsibility and just treatment result in positive sentiment. Reinard positions itself as a benevolent ruler, and its subordinates reap the benefits. Despite this, it is considered difficult to predict the status of House Reinard's favor towards any particular entity which, combined with the House's willingness to use subterfuge and trickery to achieve its aims, leads to a general feeling of unease. Reinard's Local Lords are ultimately divided in opinion: that the House views itself as a guardian of ethics is considered admirable or self-serving, its unshakable independence of goals is called stalwart or stubborn, and its willingness to achieve said goals through intrigue is seen as effective or dishonorable.
Relations with the Imperial Court
House Reinard maintains generally uneventful personal relations with the Imperial Court, but does naturally align towards garnering influence through Imperial activities. Augustin Reinard held tenures as Scholar Minister and Secretary of the Whip, with a careful adherence to Honneurs in public lending a reputation for Courtly respectability. While Emperor Cedromar's military focus understandably left House Reinard on the sidelines of the Imperial gaze, Emperor Alexander's scholarly reputation leaves room for speculation as to what the future might hold.
Given the high population of Red Fur Foxes in their ancestral home, the animal’s traditional associations with cleverness and prudence, and even a popular linguistic connection between the fox and their name, it is only sensible that House Reinard would have a cultural affinity for the creature. It is common in Reinard symbolism for the Red Fox to represent the members of the house, to the extent that where strict formality must be observed, Reinards often wear red, and their servants green. It should come as no surprise that Reinard-backed scholars have been on the forefront in domesticating the animal, with the family’s own naturalist Gotfrid Reinard overseeing significant breakthroughs.
- Alexander Reinard, Augustin's grandfather and a scholar-explorer of some renown. His "Travelogues" are known by those interested in Aloria's diverse peoples and places for their decades-spanning descriptions of far-flung expeditions.
- Augustin Reinard, an esotheric scholar and the first Reinard patriarch to take an active role in Empire-wide politics in five generations. He briefly held a ducal title over southern Dragenthal, held tenure as Scholar Minister and Secretary of the Whip, and led the family to seize lordship over Barlowe.
- The origins of House Reinard’s name are somewhat a mystery, but there are three common theories. First, it may stem from the name of one of Wilhelm’s progenitors, known at the time but now forgotten. Second, it may have been a corruption of an old dialectical Regalisch nickname that means “Strong Council.” Third, it may be related to the d’Ithanie word for “fox,” for the abundance of foxes near Wilhelm’s place of origin.
- While House Reinard is usually seen as benign and scholarly, hearsay that its penchant for acquiring knowledge ranges beyond the usual academic fare is common. Rumors range from believable whispers that the House makes use of seedy contacts and runs a vast network of informants, to wild accusations that its members engage in occult rituals and make pacts with Demons for secret wisdom.
- House Reinard makes no secret that it promotes stances of decentralization and tolerance, and is surprisingly open to Aberrants and non-Humans. Nevertheless, whether because its stances are often couched in Unionist rhetoric, because it calls its ideology Paternalism and supports hierarchy, or for some other reason, Reinard has almost no trouble working with known conservatives, and has avoided the usual derision afforded to liberals.