Noble House du Brierüst
|Noble House du Brierüst|
House du Brierüst is a Leutz-Vixe family who has existed for generations, but only recently came into its own on the world stage. Trading liquor, fish, and ale from their holdings of Brissiaud, House du Brierüst is known for breaking historical and cultural barriers for better or for worse, boasting the first female Lord Chancellor of the Regalian Empire during Emperor Alexander I’s second term, and the first Witchblood Duke, despite the Darkwalds within their borders.
The story of the family’s progenitor is passed down at every major du Brierüst function: every wedding, every birth, every knighting, and every religious ceremony. It has passed into a sort of familial legend; every member of the family knows it by heart after so much repetition, and they regard it fondly even if parts aren’t necessarily confirmed. The tale of the Briar Knight begins with a hedge knight and Bloodcast fellow named Aloys who, upon the eve of a great battle, celebrated far too vigorously and found himself slumbering in a thorny bush. He overslept, missing the battle’s beginning, and hastily charged toward the field with his armor all tangled up with thorns and brambles. He fought with vigor and courage, cutting a bloody and terrifying swath through the opposing army, and ultimately was victorious along with the army.
For the sheer terror he struck into the other soldiers’ hearts and the winning part he played, Aloys was given the Lord’s youngest daughter to marry and the small, boggy castle town of Sumpfort to lord over the utterly forgettable Maraisburke Barony. He was named ‘Brierüst’, or ‘Briar-armor’ for his deed, and thus began the family’s legacy. The Barony of Maraisburke was passed from father to son until the case of Francis du Brierüst, who was unable to have any male children. His firstborn daughter, Constanze, had an accident that marred her face and was undesirable for marriage, and he was hesitant to marry his second daughter so early. Feeling like he had no options to give the family’s small holdings to another, Francis instead passed down the family’s inheritance to Constanze. Under Constanze, a meteoric rise in visibility and expansion of territory both occurred. She first became the Imperial Cuisinier, then took on the Chancellory in service of the Empire, and at home the Barony of Maraisburke quickly expanded into something far greater through favor, prestige, and hard work.
House du Brierüst has long held their homeland of Maraisburke, a small, swampy barony at its core, though has expanded to hold Nearhearth and Tirgunn in the region of Brissiaud. The region is dominated by swamps, though large forests and mountain ranges are scattered around the landscape. Tirgunn is home to the Darkwald knights and their castle of Virgadulvlas. Their lands are mostly Leutz-Vixe cultured, with pieces of Tirgunn and Maraisburke that lean more towards New Regalian and Ithanian, respectively. The du Brierüst holdings are home to few churches due to the more lax Unionist faith typical of the culture, though these churches are much bigger to compensate for their low numbers.
House du Brierüst enjoys a high amount of trade, and, oddly enough, does better financially during depressions. Major areas of trade include spirits and fish from many ports, owing to their position on the coastline. The Buck and Bramble Bottling Co., established by Constanze du Brierüst and ran by the family, focuses on fine liquor distillery and distribution. Instead of competing with local bottlers, they simply brought their businesses into the Buck and Bramble fold in a franchise-styling, allowing their liquors to be spread across Brissiaud. In times of depression, Buck and Bramble liquor sales usually go up, leading to an awkward profiteering off of misfortune. House du Brierüst also sells trained soldiers to other families in the Archipelago in times of conflict or war. Another major industry is travel, oddly enough, as the past Baron of Maraisburke made a living during harder times by guiding travelers down the complicated Sëlwerzunge river routes of the swamps.
House du Brierüst’s lands are the proud home to the Darkwald Knights, and considers itself mainly a soldier-bearing lordship despite its placement on the sea. Knightly inclinations abound here, with many of the common folk seeking out stories of their deeds if they cannot afford the tutelage into a Knight School themselves, and training for sword-wielding is easy to come by, especially in the Darkwald communities of Tirgunn, even if only by children running through the streets. They have an excess of land soldiers, enough that they’re capable of selling these fighters to other families in times of need. Generally, soldiers from these lands are proficient in swordsmanship, focusing on thinner blades not too unlike the Leutz Épée.
Relation with the Local Lords
Relations have been rocky recently with the Darkwald Order’s threats of rebellion under Leufred in late 307 AC, which stemmed from his Witchblood status, as well as the fact that his wife was a Mage. Generally, House du Brierüst has enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the lords around, and later, under them. In years past, the smaller families around Maraisburke have intermarried and forged helpful trade alliances which persist even as the House has grown in titles and lands.
Relation with the Imperial Court
Until the reign of Constanze du Brierüst, the House was utterly uninvolved in the Imperial Court due to a focus on interests at home. Upon her ascension, Constanze became friendly with the Prince Marshal Cedric Kade due to a shared love of liquor, which culminated in a titling as the Imperial Cuisinier of the Court. She was also named to the short-lived Advisory Council, and eventually declared Lord Chancellor of the Empire in 307 AC, working as the Emperor’s hand in lawmaking until she stepped down. Other family members have found their way in the Court, being named Courtiers Palatine for their efforts.
House du Brierüst has in recent times become synonymous with the elk, which is featured on their house crest. These elk oftentimes wander free in the Kleng Bësch around their home castle in Brissiaud. Their hold in the liquor trade is strong, with the Buck and Bramble sourcing regarded as some of the finest around, and their whiskies are second to none. “Behave or behead” has also become a common phrase of governance after being coined by Constanze during her tenure in the Chancellory.
- Aloys du Brierüst, the Bloodcast Lord of Sumpfort. The humble progenitor of the du Brierüst line, as well as the tendency towards both knighthood and alcohol. His tale is repeated every family ceremony. Besides the story, however, much of him has been lost to time.
- Marcoul du Brierüst “Sëlwerzunge”, or “silvertongue”. Traded and bartered with the neighboring lords to create a network of trade routes named after him, kept by boatmen in thin boats who were given Lion Pelt knights to defend their goods.
- Constanze du Brierüst, who became a Darkwald knight after a tragic jaw-shattering accident, and then had the barony passed to her as her inheritance. Under Constanze’s rule, House du Brierüst finds its way into becoming a power player on the world stage and their holdings rose from Baronial to Archducal, and remained such until her abdication from the seat. Her distributor and distillery company, Buck and Bramble, becomes a revered name in the liquor trade. Best known as the first Baroness, and later Archduchess, of Maraisburke, Constanze expanded du Brierüst control to neighboring Nearhearth and Vixhall and brought Tirgunn, as well as the Castle Virgadulvlas she had studied at, completely into the new Archduchy. She was also the Empire’s first female Lord Chancellor. Married to Eleonore du Brierüst II née Ravenstad, though they separated due to marital abandonment.
- Leufred du Brierüst, legitimized bastard of Eleonore du Brierüst I and a Villiers-Eclaire knight, raised in Triere. He was trained and served as a Helerian Knight, and was then subjected to the Witchblood curse. Being the cousin to the Archduchess before him, he was given the duchy before she left the Holy City. Formerly Grand Commander of the Violet Order, and Commander of the Greywitch Chapter. Married to Valerie du Brierüst née Ravenstad, the mage-sister of the Lord Principal of the Hinterlands, though they divorced after his retirement.
- House du Brierüst is commonly regarded as an ‘oddball’ house amongst the nobility, given the romantic leanings of the prior Archduchess and the abberrancy of the past Duke.
- The du Brierüst line is one of the only families at the forefront of nobility to be almost completely free of inbreeding. This is due to the incredibly small nature of their holdings over past generations, prompting a need to secure outer alliances and businesses rather than intermarry to protect their own.