House Lohstren
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Heraldry for House Lohstren
HOUSE INFORMATION
Kingdom: Taniford
Seat: Estermarch
Fortification: Summit Halls
Motto: "To the End of the March"
Colors: Burgundy and Gold
Liege: Taniford
Vassals: Aldercroft, Tarris, Cassomir
LEADERSHIP
Rank: Count
Honorific: Lord Equis
Head of House: Dedrick Lohstren
Predecessor: Morla Lohstren
Heir: Eldrick Lohstren
MILITARY
Military Emphasis: Cavalry
Cavalry: 160 Men-at-Arms: 200 Archers: 100

Overview

House Lohstren is a house of moderate wealth that calls the valleys and mountains of the March home. Their ruling holding is Estermarch, which is nestled in the mountains of the region; their fortification is in a valley of rolling pastures and silver firs. The people of the March are dedicated to tradition, unchanging by the modern age. Though much of the rest of Eikeren follow the Four Guardians, those of the March have integrated older customs from a long forgotten religion into their daily lives. To some, they are considered backwards and clinging to ways long forgotten, but those of the March are stubborn by nature. And fiercely loyal. They were the first house to answer the call of Lord Taniford Eikros — an ally and friend of Count Petir Lohstren — and therefore considered to be Taniford's favored House. Had it not been for the significant offerings of House Varghem, they would have certainly been given the duchy beneath the Crown.

Most of the scions of the ruling family have important roles in the March. The Lord and Lady of the March are known as the Lord and Lady Equis. They act as the final decision-makers for the House, and are responsible for all affairs with neighboring Houses and with the ruling family. Their eldest son is always known as the Protector of the March, and he is the commander of the military forces. Strong matriarchal roots have also given significance to the eldest daughter, which is known as the Flower of the March. The Flower is not only trained in the light cavalry, but is also responsible for the civil prosperity of the March.

Depending on the choice of the Equis, either the Protector or the Flower is named the heir. They are trained into their roles the moment they are named; until they come of age, their decisions are often made by select regents — for the Protector, this is the knight he squires under, and for the Flower, this is chosen by the Count and Countess. It is rare for the Protector or Flower to be married out of the March, as their positions are often lifetime appointments — particularly as one is always the heir. Should the other decide to be married out, their position would either fall to the spouse of the heir or the next in the family line (i.e. if the Protector decides to leave the holding for marriage elsewhere, his role would fall to the Flower's husband or the next eldest son).

At present, the Protector of the March is Sir Eldrick Lohstren — who is also the heir — while the Flower is Lady Morla Lohstren, the Younger.

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History & Culture

Before Lohstren was named a county, before its bloodline was solidified in nobility, they were the nomadic horse lords of the South. Clans moved throughout the mountains, rolling pastures, and alpine valleys, settling down in one place only for a season before moving once more. They were known for their horses — hearty creatures that had been bred for a multitude of purposes from working a plow to racing along the roads between settlements. They often traded with the farmers to the east, providing them with horses to work their fields and game meat from the mountain forests in exchange for seasonal grains and vegetables. Leaders of the clans came together to rule as an oligarchy once a year at the end of each winter, and the most influential amongst them was known as the 'Loh.'

As the kingdom grew up around them, they slowly began to cease their nomadic ways and to build settlements in the valleys of the mountains that separated the flat lands from the western sea. This region became known as the March. The Loh of the Elders at the time of this change — an old, one-eyed man named Stren — was the one who settled his people in what would become Estermarch. This marked the initial point of creation that would blossom into House Lohstren itself.

When the Eikeren Kingdom rose to power, the Lohstrens were one of the first to swear fealty to the crown. They were still the Horse Lords, but now they had title and power that was acknowledged throughout;they were given a county soon after their vows. Despite the growth and change within the people of the March, they maintained all their old traditions. Few dared to mock the Lohstrens for their strange, tribal ways, however, as their fierce personalities — backed by impressive mounted armies — incited respect amongst the other noble houses.

The Lohstrens remained as steadfast as the eldertree throughout the generations. They established their own vassal which had, like their history, had once been a clan of the March. Sons and daughters were married throughout the kingdom to strengthen the Lohstren's political connections. The Lohstrens had a strong relationship with the crown, but this relationship would be fiercely tested with the suspicious death of a king.

When Taniford Eikeren accused his older brother of treachery, he called up the Houses loyal to the crown. They say that Count Bernard Lohstren was close friends with Prince, and that he had been aware of the King intending to name his younger son his heir. Count Lohstren answered the summon, swearing his House to Taniford and thus becoming the first House to defect from the Kingdom. They brought with them a mighty cavalry and the steadfast dedication of the House. This was a bold move for Lohstren, but it did not guarantee the House as Taniford's right hand. Favored and trusted, Lohstren could not compete with the prospects of House Varghem, who swore themselves to the budding Kingdom soon after the Horse Lords. Varghem was given the barony beneath the new crown, leaving Lohstren as a county.

As war broke out amongst the divided Kingdom, survival of the March relied on endurance that was bred into their bones. The mountains sheltered much of their settlements from assault, and the commoners turned back to hunting and scavenging to survive. As disease spread through the Kingdom, the March did all it could to stave off the threat of death. Families shrunk in size, and their generations were drastically shortened. The Lohstrens themselves frequently lost heirs to the battlefield, and some of the youngest counts in the history of the House ruled during these bloodied times.

Then came Countess Morla Lohstren. After all her older brothers had been cut down, she was the oldest of the remaining daughters, and thus became first woman to be named Regent. She ruled the House with an iron fist, and some murmured that she was just the God in Goddess form — a pair of iron balls between her legs, is what some bolder folks would say. She rode onto the battlefield on her white steed, cutting through villainous Rhaedan unflinchingly. She revitalized the House that had been weakened through the loss of so many.

When the Corsairs fell upon the western shores, and the kingdoms were forced to put aside their differences to destroy a common enemy, the Countess was coping with a battle wound and sent her husband and second oldest son to assist the Sollingers at the East. It was the last time she would see either of them, both falling under the Corsairs blade. Stricken with grief on top of her physical wounds, she surrendered the House Seat to her eldest son, Dedrick.

Under the leadership of their new Count, the Lohstrens saw many victories against the Corsairs. Though the noble family had been thinned by the war, they now look to the future and to the recovery of the kingdoms during this fragile peace.

Customs

Much of the customs of House Lohstren are still deeply rooted in a religion long ago dead. Some say that much of their customs were maintained to help ease the conversion to a new faith, and therefore their following of the Four is somewhat unorthodox. Here is a list of customs that are unique to Lohstren in regards to these old traditions:

Naming Ceremony: A child born in the March can only be given his or her name once they are taken to the Temple of the Four and homage. For Nobles, this ceremony happens within days of their birth, but a commoner child can go weeks or months without a name until their parents can make the journey to stand before the effigies of the Gods. Sometimes this is a good thing as commoner children are more likely to die than noble ones, and a sickly child will pass into the Nothing without a name. When the child is brought before the effigies, they are introduced to each, and their forehead is anointed with water and sprinkled with earth to symbolize their connection to the world.

The Budding: Before a boy can be considered a man, or a girl considered a woman, they must journey into the wilds of the March to capture a foal from the wild horse herds that still run about the alpines. Once the foal is captured, it is taken back to the settlement to be integrated into the tamed herds. The foal often becomes the horse of the one who captures it. Though this once was a tradition throughout all the people of the March, this ceremony is now primarily held for nobles. Commoners have found other ways to show their preparedness for adulthood, though they all share the same trend that the child must venture into the wilds of the March to succeed in a task.

Binding Ceremony: Marriage in the March is known as The Binding as it intertwines two lives into one. This ceremony often takes place outside. A sage performs the ceremony, having the couple exchange vows while their hands — the man's right and the woman's left — are bound together with bits of fragrant oil-soaked leather. They are not permitted to untie their hands until the marriage feast where, hands still bound, they cut into a loaf of fresh bread to show that they will always be bound together even in the most simple of tasks. Then there is a feast — size dependent on wealth — and the couple is deemed wed.

Burial: Death is an interesting occasion for those who of the March. There are three possible options for the body of the dead. If they were deemed heroes, whether in battle or in civil sacrifice, their bodies were dressed in linen and set upon a burial pyre; their ashes and leftover bones would then be gathered and turned into a relic. For instance, the Equine Blade which is the noble sword of the Count or Countess Regent is said to have the bones of the first of their blood — Loh Stren — integrated into the hilt. However, if they were deemed villains and immoral according to the Ways, their bodies would be buried in great mounds of earth in the wilds of the March to symbolize that their bodies will join their souls far beneath the ground in the Chasms—a Hellish concept unique to the March and loosely linked with the 'Other Guardian.' If the dead in question lived an ordinary life without heroic nor villainous ventures, their bodies are merely burned and their ashes scattered to the winds.

Relics: Relics are important to the March, and a source of great superstition. Those who are believed to ascend to the Halls of Heaven are immortalized by their ashes and leftover bone being integrated into weapons, urns, and other objects that are collected and treasured by those who follow the Old Ways. As the Old Ways have lost majority throughout the Kingdoms, much of their relics have also been lost. The March has a small library where relics have been collected and looked after by House Lohstren. Here are some examples of relics, some of which have been completely lost: the Blade of Stren, one of the first relics ordained and believed to have the finger bones of the first Count of the March; the cameo of the Martyr Terrin, a young woman pledged her life to civility only to be brutally slain at the hands of the Corsairs and to have her ashes mixed with the gold that formed the amulet; and the saddle of Mardren, the horse saddle of a valiant Protector of the March whose saddle horn is said to be the polished head of his femur bone.

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Fortification

Estermarch is the largest township of the March. It is nestled up in the mountains on a series of grassy hills. Beyond horses, which is what the whole of the March is known for, the Lohstren's main holding is the trade center for grains, vegetables, hewned stone, and various armor- and weapon-smiths that are known for their old world lines. The settlement benefits from the natural fortification of the mountains. Besides horses, there are also mountain sheep farms that provide Estermarch with milk and cheese.

Looking over Estermarch is the old castle of the Summit Halls. It has seen very little man-made damage over its lifetime, though freshly hewned stone has to be brought in every generation or so to repair natural weathering. Due to the mountain winters, the fortification possesses various hearths, including the largest of its kind in the grand hall.

Provided images are the Vaduz Castle in Liechtenstein.

Current Members

Lady Morla Lohstren the Older: The Dowager Countess | Mother of Lord Dedrick. NPC
Lord Dedrick Lohstren: The Lord Equis, Count of Lohstren | The current ruler of the March, protector of Estermarch and the Summit Halls. NPC
Lady Elaina Lohstren nee Taniford: The Lady Equis, Countess of Lohstren | Wife of Lord Dedrick, distant cousin of the crowned house. NPC
Sir Eldrick Lohstren: Lord Protector of the March | Heir to the Summit Halls. Eldest living son of Lord Dedrick. PC
Lady Morla Lohstren the Younger: Flower of the March | Lady-in-Waiting of Princess Aylanora. PC
Sir Moirae Lohstren: Younger daughter of the Lord Equis, twin to sir Dalyros Lohstren. PC
Sir Dalyros Lohstren: Youngest son of the Lord Equis, twin to sir Moirae Lohstren, currently a royal guard assigned to the crowned family. PC
Lady Tamara Taniford nee Lohstren: Cousin of the family, Steward of Taniford. PC
Sir Xander Lohstren: Cousin of the family, Knight on the Tournament Circuit. Retired

Wanted

There are various members of the household open for application.

Political Relations

Aldercroft - Vassal House
Tarris - Vassal House
Cassomir - Vassal House (Nearly Defunct)

Family Tree

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