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Noble Houses

Of the many noble houses throughout the Known Worlds, five have achieved prominence as Royal Houses and effectively rule most of human space -- under the wise leadership of their new Emperor, of course. The Emperor Wars took a toll on many of the houses, major and minor: the losers now struggle to regain lost lands or power, perhaps biding their time until they can try for the throne again, while the victors fight to ensure that their rivals stay down.

The life of a noble is not the leisurely idyll one might expect: there are fiefs to manage, rivals to crush, and wars to wage. While there is much power to be gained, there is always the risk of humiliation or loss of holdings and position. It is no wonder that they know how to party: their gala affairs are lavish and awe-inspiring -- but also rife with intrigue, innuendo, back-stabbing and even sword dueling. To escape such pressures, noble sons and daughters often take to the stars with only a small entourage of friends and retainers, to better know the worlds they wish to one day rule. Many such wayward children of the nobility find their way to Vargo.

House Hawkwood

Prideful yet honorable, the Hawkwoods have seen one of their own take the Emperor's throne. While Alexius Hawkwood has since distanced himself from his family to appear more impartial, the Hawkwoods take such political setbacks with stoicism - the same fierce perseverance with which they beat back the barbarian raiders to their worlds. A Hawkwood does not give up. House Hawkwood is more beloved by its vassals than any other house, for they treat them fairly and with justice.

The Hazat

Hot-blooded and intense, the martial Hazat know how to field an army but are also no strangers to intrigue. When they can calm the vicious infighting from family to family, they can present a formidable front against rivals from other houses. They acquired less land than the the other houses during the wars, and now pursue a campaign against a barbarian world, seeking new fiefs outside of the Empire. Hazat vassals are loyal, for they know that sacrifices for their lords are rewarded, sometimes with land and status as Estancia.

House Decados

Slimy, cunning and extremely successful, the Decados have risen to power through treachery and an uncanny understanding of their rivals - helped in no small part, no doubt, by their vast, invisible intelligence network. While the other families accuse them of a number of crimes, the Decados are here to stay and thus must be dealt with on their own terms. Decados vassals despise their lords but are kept in line through fear or the promise of power for those who make good quislings.

House Li-Halan

This pious and disciplined family was once the worst behaved of all nobles. Their immoral exploits are legendary, as is the tale of their overnight conversion to the Church. They now pursue the scriptures as fanatically as they once chased pleasure. While other nobles may snicker at the faithful lords, they more often fear the Li Halan, for this family has proved implacable on both the battlefield and at court. Their vassals are fiercely loyal, for they know their place in the Pancreator's plan, and that their lords will look after them as shepherds of His flock.

House al-Malik

The exotic and inscrutable al-Malik are often accused of being mere merchants, for their ties to the League are well known. But they have proven their noble legerdemain many times, through the acquisition of land, and through shrewd political manipulation of enemies and allies alike behind the scenes. Many believe the al-Malik are closet republicans, yearning for a return to egalitarian days of old, but the blind eye they turn to Muster slave-trading in the bazaars of Istakhr and Criticorum belies their humanitarian facade.

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2008 Fading Suns MUSH