I reader recently wrote me asking for the names and insignia of the royal houses of The Shattered Isles. I felt more readers might be interested, so here along with a little more history, are the royal families that make up the ruling class:
The names of the groups and houses originate after the success of the revolt and the rise of Maxis. The men each chose new names for their families, rejecting the “goddessed” names of their ancestors and starting new lines in the light of Maxis.
The Houses Denae
These houses are all closely related, tracing their ancestors back to the three men who banded together to overthrow the rule of the goddess Progenita, who they refer to as Pestilentia.
Symbol: Sun Hawk
Symbol: Summer Eagle
Symbol: Falcon Moon
As the Three, they stand slight higher in status than the other royal houses.
The Houses Sey
The Sey joined the rebellion some years after the beginning of the struggle. Thus, they rank lower than the others since they came along to the cause later, and were awarded estates of lesser value.
Symbol: Griffin of the Light
Symbol: Sea Tiger
The final royal house is the only one that dates back to before the great war.
Symbol: The Ancient Spider
Gaunefer was one of the ruling clans from the days of the goddess. They betrayed Progenita and served a key role in the defeat of the forces of the goddess. As a reward, they were allowed to keep their ancestral lands and retain status as a ruling family. However, they have always been looked upon with distrust and rumors have circulated for years that they sheltered witches, who kept the cult of the goddess alive in secret.
House Kybele was the last ruling family during the matriarchy. Once King Denae seized power, he sought to hunt down and kill each and every member of the family as well as all hekatin. This was when he formed the order of the Witch Hunters. Their primary function was initially to eliminate all descendants of Kybele, but later became the suppression of goddess worship and witchcraft. Whispers have long haunted the Kings Denae that a heir survived, and her descendants have lived on in secret awaiting the return of the Witch Moon.
Originally, the lands now known as The Shattered Isles consisted of one large land mass. When House Kybele fell and Maxis rose, the Witch Moon vanished from the sky and there was a great tumult. The very ground shook and the seas boiled. The land shattered into a series of islands, great stretches of land sinking into the sea and leaving them divided. King Denae and the priests of Maxis determined this “shattering” represented the shattering of the bonds that had been placed on them by “Pestlentia” and so celebrated the breaking up of the lands by renaming them The Shattered Isles.
To the new ruling class, Pestilentia (and all women) represented chaos, emotionalism, illogic and the irrational. In their new order, women were denied any leadership positions and consigned to be wives and mothers. In the eyes of the men, women lacked the mental facilities to lead properly, allowing their feelings to govern their decisions. The only magic allowed was the magic of men– primarily spells to wage war and aid in physical tasks such as building. With their power in the rise, they constructed wonderous temples, roads and aqueducts.
For several hundreds of years after the rise of Maxis, girls received no formal education at all. Even many royal women lacked the ability to read. However, as time passed, it was determined that “properly” educated women made better wives for their husbands, and so gradually girls were allowed to learn some non-domestic subjects, primarily in what would become The Girls’ Academy in the royal city of Denaerk. The initial teachers came primarily from Gaunefer, where the lax leadership had allowed them to learn academic subbjects over the course of years, despite royal mandates forbidding such learning.
Some More History
According to The Hekatin
The priests of Maxis and the hekatin relate very different stories as to the origins of the world. According to the hekatin, Progenita gave birth to the world and to all life. She ruled over the lands as a loving mother, the hekatin her loyal servants. The lands, once known as Progenia, had always been ruled by a matriarchy. She placed the Goddess Moon in the sky to show her eternal love for her people, that they would ever know of her goodness. The people lived in harmony, harvest was abundant and all dwelt in comfort and safety.
They teach that a matriarchy is the natural and original order of the world. Men are all little boys who need a strong mother to guide their actions. And it was a dark God named Maxis who came from distant lands and tore the world asunder.
According to the Priests of Maxis
The priests of Maxis teach that Maxis forged the lands with his great hammer, Granite . He then made men of steel to fight and lead, and women of silver to provide comfort to their men. He placed the Ever Moon, later called the Witch Moon, in the sky as an expression of his love for his wife.
Pestilientia was his wife. She grew jealous of how much the people loved Maxis, and she revolted against her nature, seeking the power and the role of a God. So, she did betray him, slipping a sleeping drought into his wine one night and then binding him with mighty chains and spells in his own dungeon. The wicked queen then drew his power from him and gave it to women, allowing them to subjugate men and bringing an era of chaos and darkness to the world.
Finally, Maxis freed himself from her spell using the power of his mind, took back his power and restored the rule of man to the isles, striking down the Witch Moon, cutting out Pestilentia’s tongue and consigning her to serve as a maid in his palace. The wars to restore the rule of man shed much blood, and so Maxis cursed women to bleed once a month as a reminder of the folly of woman’s rule.