For centuries we lived as the rulers of a vast syndicate. Our blood ruled as the Boss of Bosses. Ever since the death of Jacque Aekart, our strength grew and the family blood was made strong. Centuries we ruled, and during the Era of Bosses our word was pure law. Nothing was above us and then our servants the Masters betrayed us. We are the Aekarts, the Five Houses of an ancient lineage, and we never forget our debts.
Born from the happenstance marriage between an Orrian immigrant and an Ascalonian woman in 900 AE, the Aekart family began as a humble merchant stand in the city of Rin. Over time, the wife's family, the Oriks, became the servants of the Aekarts as their relatives grew and the themselves faulted. With each year the Aekart ventures in Rin, then Khylo and other cities grew to the point where both family's were able to live quite well.
Other family's would soon join them and after the fall of Khylo and then Rin the Aekarts fell back to the lands of Ascalon city. And before the North Wall fell the Zhang family of Cantha was already on the heels of joining the family business. After the guild Wars expansion into Vabbi and the Echovald to the arranged alliances with the Qaijur Clan of Chokin, and House von Gerule of the Southern Echovald.
With the foundation of the Family's set in place the basis of the modern Cartel would evolve when the Families struck their most important deal with the wandering Asura. As in ages past their wealth grew and so did their power. Aekarts prospered quite well after the fall of Lion's Arch and even in the early Dragon-Haunted times coin was still well spent. It wasn't until the Council of Masters moved against them in concert with the Family Vanguard that their power would finally come to an end.
Now in the the modern days of the Era, the Masters rule and pull the strings of Aekart puppets. The name of the Aekarts is stamped on orders and outsiders often here of their presence in the Kingdom of Kryta and nearby lands. Still thought to rule the Cartel, they are mere figureheads used by the Council to propagate the lies the Cartel weaves about itself. Of course the Families chafe under the reigns of the Masters, and once again desire to rule. They plot, marry, and plan, looking for any advantage they can take. Once the human nobility of the Families ruled all, and if the chance ever present itself a second Era of Bosses might begin again.
Seal of the FamiliesEdit
Simply called the Seal, the original emblem of the Five Families was commandeered by the Masters at the end of the Era of Bosses. The Seal depicts a metal clad hand choking a snake while being encirlced with wings. A strange and stark sight that to outsiders might seem to state the Cartel's will to dominate and survive in a world fraught with dragon minions.
The New Krytan on the snake states the Cartel words "Survive, Adapt, Prosper"
The Five Houses of AekartEdit
Each family within the Five represents the foundation for the Sects. Down to sayings, traditions and protocol, each family's history and lineage imposed heavily upon the culture of each sect in turn. The Five Families within their circles are called the Houses Greater, where as their vassals are known as the Houses Lesser.
The House of Aekart is a proud group of hidden Orrian lineage. Though their ancestor fled the now risen penisular centuries ago before the Cataclysm, they are not proud to state their ancestors origin. Rather the Aekarts play up their Ascalonian ties and rely heavily upon supporters in Rurikton in Divinity's Reach and the Ascalon Settlement. They do have ties in Ebonhawke, but few live there these days.
Members of the House are crafty, and often work within the Coin or in businesses associated with it. Though this does not include warriors or guardians, members of the family have shown a perchance for buying their way out of a situation rather than through brute strength.
Founded by Orik the Just near the time of the Exodus, the Orik family served the lands of Ascalon as warriors and merchants for years. By the time that Aekart married an Orik daughter, the family was in decline. Through careful intermarriage, the Oriks soon lost control their business and found themselves the vassals of a new upstart. Major holdings for the family are primarily located outside Divinity's Reach in Ebonhawke and the Ascalon Settlement.
Stalwart and cold, the Orik family rules itself with strength and military acumen. Out of all the families they are the most prideful in their history and yet the most aware of their current situation.
The Zhang are a righteous family believing heavily in the ability of the rules set down by their family ancestors. They are on good ties with most of the other family's except for the members of the von Gerule.
Members of the Qaijur family are a careful spoken and choose their words quietly. They are well known for their need to save face, and want to to show off their social ability.
House von Gerule was known throughout the Southern Echovald as a family one could hire to find troublesome beasts. Over time the family built a reputation as trackers and huntsman enough to gain some access to the Jade sources of the Luxons. Courted by the Aekarts, the family refused the first overtures, but soon found themselves on the treacherous end of a hostile takeover. Eventually House von Gerule swore itself to the Aekart name and relinquished it's share of the Jade exports in the Dragon Empire. Today's von Gerules are heavily found in LIon's Arch as mariners who then use the money to support themselves in Divinty's Reach.
Members of House von Gerule are harsh and blunt compared to other members of the Five Families. They have usually resented their membership of the Families and only keep up appearances to prevent from devoured by the Families Lesser. Even today members of the family are said to keep the Axe of Gerule, a wolf headed weapon said to date back to the family's founding.
The Families LesserEdit
The lesser families of the Five Houses of Aekart are the vassal nobility and merchant clans that married into the Five for their own need. The Families Greater are generally those directly acquired by the Aekart family itself who possessed strategic value in foreign areas, or provided a service the Aekart Cartel of old did not have itself. Spread throughout the nobility of Kryta and any other family with its worth in crafting or mercantile works. Each Vassal serves one of the Five, and even possibly become one of them if they see fit.
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The Bannikov Family (Aekart)Edit
Descended from Ascalonian nobility from Rin, the Bannikovs derive their power from years spend sending sons and daughters to die for the Ebon Vanguard. Now they sell weapons and other items that they procured from sources out of Lion's Arch. Many members of the Bannikov are still found in the Ebon Vanguard and a few have even joined the Seraph unit in Ebonhawke, "The Fallen Angels".
House of Ebizu (Aekart) Edit
The House of Ebizu, beginning as a nomadic tribe, traces their ancestry back to Elonia and Canthan. They and the Aekart Family share a rich history of rivalry and cooperation. The Ebizu Trading Company was once a mighty power in its prime but eventually, through a mutual agreement, the two families joined with the Ebizu Trading Company dissolving into the greater Aekart mercantile empire. Today the House of Ebizu shares a deep bond with the Aekart Family.
Seung Family (Zhang)Edit
The Seung were a former rival of the Zhang on the Isle of Shing Jea. It was only till one of their daughters found herself pregnant by a local farm boy that the family then quickly gave into Zhang threats of blackmail. Today the Seung act as representatives of the Zhang family in Divinity's reach and have deep ties to the Voice, and the Lore.
Yamaguchi Clan (Zhang)Edit
Formed by a former member of the Jade Brotherhood, the Yamaguchi Clan was mostly made up of criminal Assassin's when its services were first bought by the Zhang. After many successful jobs the Clan eventually became the muscles of their employer and still act as enforcers and spies for Zhang interests.
Bahur Tribe (Qaijur) Edit
A collection of men and woman who once dwelt in the harsher areas bordering Vabbi and Khourna; the Bahur were used by the Qaijur as warriors and go-betweens in their dealings outside of Chokin. Although the term tribe does not befit them after years of dropping their caravan lifestyle, the Bahur now act as traveling entertainers and entertainers for Qaijur interests throughout the lands of Kryta. House Radegund (von Gerule) The last allies the von Gerule ever had when the Aekarts paid the House' enemies to surround them, House Radegund is loyal only to the von Gerule for reasons few know. Bounty Hunting and Scouting were their expertise and they made up the bulk of the Hunt's early support. Today they act as couriers and guards for members of House von Gerule, in a day an age where Kurzick blood is thin and hard to find.
Song Clan (WIP)Edit
Creating a Character in the FamiliesEdit
Joining the Families Not everyone who is part of the Families is a "Blood" member, many are those who have signed on or have been hired by them in the past. Those who are hired by the Families or serve them are called Liegemen or Liegewoman.
Creating a Blood MemberEdit
Those who wish to embroil themselves in the politics, love, and drama associated with nobility might wish to create a member of the "Blood" of the Families. Blood members range from groomed heirs to bastard children hoping to take their siblings place.