The Council of Nobles
The governance of New Hope on Mardrun evolved out of the need for strong leadership after the mass migration from Faedrun. The initial building of the various human towns and villas surrounding New Hope was a haphazard thing, disorganized and prone to attacks by Mordok. While a few of the trade guilds attempted to set up a parliament, the Colonists were not ready to accept such a radical change in their governing habits – for too long, they had lived under the guidance of nobility.
The first to suggest that the surviving nobles of Faedrun meet to discuss the ruling of the Colonies was Baron Richards of Vandregon. He proposed that the nobility form a council to properly protect and guide the people of the colonies. There were several immediate volunteers – displaced nobles looking to regain the power that they had back on Faedrun, and thus the Council of Nobles was born.
The Council meets twice yearly, to decide on important matters of governance that may affect the entire diasporic population of Faedrun. For other, lesser decisions, the nobles tend to either talk with the member of the Council whose area of governance corresponds with the action needed or make choices for their own estates. This has been successful so far – few disagreements have marred the reign of the Council, leading to relatively high confidence in the nobility despite their own personal biases and squabbles.
In August of 266, Lord Baron Richards made changes to the existing nobility titles structure that is recognized by the City-State of Newhope on Mardrun. These can be found here.
UPDATE: After the death of Duke Al-Azarma and the falling out with Duchess Catherine, the Council of Ten was reformed as the “City-State Council” in 266. Duchess Catherine, Duke Montesque, and Duchess Al-Azarma have all left the City-State and have gone to rule Daven’s Hold.
Grand Duke Baron Richards
An opulent and immediately noticeable figure, to many Colonists, Grand Duke Richards is the face of the Colonies. An initial prime supporter of the Order of Arnath’s Fist (which has since turned sour) and a number of other causes, Baron Richards has done what he can to make sure that the Colonies survive the loss of Faedrun and the new life they have set up on Mardrun. He regularly shows interest in investing in smaller communities to foster growth and relationships with Newhope. Despite this, he has been the target of a number of smear campaigns, though none to date have seemed to hold water.
Officially, his position on the Council is that of the Head. He tends to dominate meetings, seemingly looking to benefit his own lands and ideas, although as the years have passed, he has grown much more willing to compromise. It seems the lands of Mardrun are becoming more favorable to the Grand Duke, as he seems to have moderated many of his stances and seems almost younger due to his new outlook.
Duke Joakim Ventrini
Hailing from the northern reaches of Vandregon, Duke Ventrini was one of the first nobles to head over to Mardrun. An aging man, Ventrini still cuts a powerful figure. His family’s title came from their heroic actions at the Battle of Grayfield – however, their actions were far from martial in nature. Rather, they organized some of the first trades with the Syndar, which remains a point of pride in the family. Their status grew greatly over the years, due in part to their connections to a number of Syndar artists and craftsmen, which led them to their true calling – the patronage and trading of art and artifacts.
Duke Ventrini has continued this tradition by transporting and maintaining an impressive collection of art from Faedrun, which now graces his estate on the border of Clan Nightriver territority. His collection of a number of their cultural items has grown substantially over the years, and if it weren’t for his genuine interest in the Ulven, his sprawling estate at the edge of Newhope territory could be considered threatening by Clan Nightriver. This placement is intentional – the Duke is fascinated by Ulven culture, and is reduced to child-like glee when confronted with any examples of their art or culture. He has an open invitation to any Ulven to visit his lands and trade art, songs, stories, and legends for food, drink, and a place to sleep. Few Ulven have taken him up on this offer, however – while he is deeply interested in their culture, his interest can come off as somewhat patronizing and self-absorbed. Despite this, he has made more progress in dealing with the Ulven than any other noble, simply for his eagerness in dealing with them.
Officially, his position within the Council is that of cultural preservation – his collection of art and wealth means that he has sponsored a number of artists and musicians in New Hope. His most recent success is with the anonymously-penned Sir Nevan’s Brother, one of the first plays composed on New Hope, detailing the initial chaos of the migration of the colonists and the fighting that could occur between them.
Duchess Mary cul Tricuspis
Overseer of the judicial branch of Newhope, Duchess Mary cul Tricuspis has flourished under the rule of Lord Baron Richards. Of all the members of the Council, Mary is the least involved in the political struggles, often choosing to sit out of their discussions and schemes. Her honorific title, “Lictor” also signifies her role in the Colonies – she is in charge of enforcing the judicial system and carrying out the judgements of the nobles. Her estates are lacking in creature comforts, reminding guests of her Richtcrag heritage – they resemble barracks more than anything else. She maintains the sole prison on Mardrun, and any bailiff, executioner, or torturer has been personally trained by her. Dark rumors surround her activities in the Colonies – that she was only given the post to keep her trained soldiers out of the struggles for dominance, that dark tortures are carried out in her name – but none of them have been substantiated.
She is a distinguished woman with a scar running down the left side of her face. While her primary concern is that of the fair running of the Colonies and the swift punishment of anyone who breaks the laws laid out by the founders, she has been known to lend aid in the defence of nearby villages and farms with her troops. Their symbol – a trident below a weeping moon – has become the de facto symbol of justice in the Colonies, although some might disagree with her methods.
Celestial (Duchess) Arragones (Now Deceased)
Once, the sole Syndar on the Council, Arragones choose to eschew any human titles of nobility in favour of the station she was born to. Although officially holding the title and station of Duchess, she actively made a point to not be recognized by that title and instead insisted on being address as Celestial Arragones. Her indifference to human customs had often drawn the ire of the other nobles, specifically her disregard for their schedules. A skilled mage and Weaver, she sought to preserve the way of life that the Syndar had before fleeing to the Colonies. Her estates – located on the southern tip of Mardrun – were still young and half-wild, calling to mind the graceful Syndar architecture of Tielorrian in much-reduced form.
Her sole concern was the life of the Syndar on Mardrun. She often fought to make sure her people were fairly represented. She saw her people as broken, shattered by the undead who forced them to flee. By virtue of her long life, she believed that everything would work out again – life is a great circle, and the gods of the Syndar will allow them to return to their former glory once they recover from this reduced state they find themselves in.
She dressed herself in fine Syndar garments, followed her own schedule and protocols. This left her at odds with a number of the other nobles, but the knowledge that she managed to bring over from Faedrun – a whole library of preserved Syndar texts – had made her invaluable to their efforts to rebuilt and preserve the lives they once had.
Update: In the year 271 it was uncovered that Celestial Arragones had been lying and falsifying information that was uncovered through official Newhope research. This lead to some tensions with the Ulven people. Arragones was stripped of her position as head of Newhope Research. She was then requested to come to the Lictor Courts of Newhope to testify on her actions. Believing this to be a set up to use her as a scapegoat, Arragones instead raised a small army and sequestered herself in her estate. The Council called the Banners of Newhope and marched on Arragones estate. She attempted to escape but was caught, but not before she set fire to her grand collection of preserved Syndar texts. She was tried and found guilty of treason for raising an army against her countrymen. She was placed in a cell to await her execution where she was later found dead by poisoning. No one knows who slipped her the poison or their motivations.
Duchess Madeline d’Argent
The primary military mind of the Colonies, the Duchess d’Argent was known as Mary “Gold” Wainwright when she was born. She served as a bodyguard to the original Marquis d’Argent, protecting his home and and body for many years before they were married. As they fled the burning shores of Vandregon under the final assault by the undead, her husband took a grievous wound to the back, and he lingered on for weeks in his cabin. When the wound – delivered, it is said, by an undead assassin – festered, she found herself in the depths of despair. His death shook her to the core – here she was, a new noblewoman who knew nothing of protocol, in charge of an entire house.
The hostile greetings of Mardrun quickly found her place, though. Eschewing the comfortable life of other noblewomen, she personally trains the guards of the Colonies. Her estates – on the border of Nightriver’s territory – are sprawling, half training camp and half manor house. This has cause some tension with Nightriver, as they are uncomfortable sharing a border with such a militant woman, having heard stories of the human’s love of conquest.
More comfortable in her armor than in a noble’s finery, she prefers a shieldmaiden to a handmaiden. The politics of nobility tend to leave her somewhat baffled – she prefers to be direct and forthright – and she distrusts the Ulven to a fault. Still, she has proven a skilled military mind when it comes to the defence of the Colonies from Mordok attack.
Duke Martingale of Westhaven
The quintessential playboy and “supposedly corrupt” political figure on Mardrun, the young Duke Martingale is famous more for his opulent galas rather than his role in the colonies. No one can quite recall whether the youthful Duke Martingale was truly a noble on Faedrun, but when he arrived with his titles and a considerable amount of wealth, no one challenged his claim to them. Still, Duke Martingale remains the very image of a self-absorbed, vain noble – he dresses opulently, throws numerous (and oftentimes scandalous) parties, and seems entirely unconcerned with the people of Mardrun who are unable to dress themselves finely.
Officially, he occupies the Cultural Chair of Mardrun, although few can explain why he might have chosen that title. The young Duke Martingale is seen as a layabout, although the freedom with which he spends his coin suggests that he provides some sort of economic stimulus. “Supplicants” (or beggars, depending on his mood) are advised to flatter the young nobleman as much as possible – if his outlandish attitudes and idleness are to believed, he has an ego the size of Luna and believes that flattery is the only tool. He tends to vote randomly on matters of state, preferring to return to his parties. Still, he has proven somewhat effective when motivated – which is rarely – and none can deny that he maintains a sharp political sense despite his . . . tendencies.
Duke Aailymr is a recent addition to the Council of Newhope. After the removal and subsequent death of Celestial Arragones in 271, The Council found itself lacking a distinctive Syndar voice that could help the Syndar people of the City-state feel that their voices mattered and were heard in this otherwise entirely human government. Prior to his rise to Dukehood, Aailymr was a lower noble within the Newhope hierarchy. He was well respected amongst the people of the Syndar districts and was known as a person of patience and drive. Since coming onto The Council he has shown a focus in the cultural revitalization of Newhope with a strong focus on bringing Syndar cultural elements to the forefront. He has been actively pushing for a future for the City-state that showcases Syndar culture while blending it with the more human elements of the city. To this end Duke Aailymr has been an early adopter of the new school of Enchanting that has spread across the continent. He has even set up a trade school in The Syndar District to train up and coming enchanters and arcanists so that their work can help make Newhope look just a little bit more like the fantastical Syndar cities that Aailymr and his family once called home.