House Sauber

House Sauber
Coat of Arms: A white sword with rays of light over a black field
Maxim: Truth is sacred
Home: Laatzen
Keep: The Eternal Fortress

Accepted Ancient History: House Sauber can trace its lineage back to the Age of Witchkings, and was considered powerful even when the first Emperor, Victor von Herkheist, began his conquest of the other Gothic kingdoms. Ruled by a self-proclaimed King, Gotthard von Sauber, the kingdom of Saub offered only nominal support, and is thought to have been slow to bend the knee in obedience to the new Emperor. Even through the Selwick revolt and a succession of warrior kings, House Sauber managed to retain control over their ancient capital of Laatzen under the new Throne of God on Earth. It is unknown why the swearing of loyalty to von Herkheist was reluctant, although rumors abound. House Sauber, widely considered to have been a mighty dynasty in purely economic and martial terms, quickly took to the fervor of belief in Holy Benalus, and rapidly became known for their zeal and dedication to Benalus. Their relationship to Lethia is said to be more complex, although details have been hard to come by.

Religious History:
House Sauber maintains a vault inside their capital, Laatzen. The vault holds what is generally thought to be one of the most extensive libraries of original documents and first-general copies of holy scripture, including gospels depicting the life of Benalus not included in the Testimonium, accounts of mortal interactions with Archangels, and other works of great theological relevance. House Sauber believes it is their sacred and holy duty to protect these documents, so that they can never be lost or amended. The Order of Enlightenment is known to be a regular contributor and visitor to the library, and has contributed a notable corpus of religious artifacts, reputedly including some found beneath Laatzen and on digs throughout the Empire.

Disputed Political History:
House Sauber is rumored to have two distinct factions that hold diametrically opposed views but are duty-bound not to engage in conflict with each other. Their maneuvering against each other through the last few centuries is what has kept what is arguably the most pious house from becoming more powerful within the Empire; should they ever unite, they would become a much greater threat to the ruling Herkheist dynasty. Although these rumours sound plausible, it is notable that they’re only common to the chattering classes in the cities run by House Engel, House Rosenberg, and House Trakt. The common people in Laatzen eschew such gossip, and instead focus their attention on the regrettably-sloping forehead and allegedly missing chin of Graff Trakt instead.

Disputed Religious History:
Erna Dahl, who was later lionized by the Church, discovered ancient religious scrolls in the catacombs beneath Laatzen that had been intentionally hidden away by heretics during the ascension of Viktor von Herkheist and his alliance with the Church. Much of that material is now secured in the library inside the vault of Laatzen, which only appears to be open to visiting priests and scholar, but in fact holds an extensive – and secret – section of heretical works. Why such a pious house would retain control over heretical works is a mystery, however, and even the most loose-lipped or inebriated gossipmonger is usually unwilling to speculate within Laatzen or really anywhere in Sauber lands.

Speculation (popular in Morgstadt):
House Sauber has a small, insidious, and long-standing streak of heresy that alleges one of the Triumvirate of Thorns is not truly a fallen Archangel of Benalus, but in fact an ancient, pre-Benalian God worshipped by the primitive people who became what is now the people of Laatzen and other Sauber lands. In their warped, diseased minds, the rites of this ancient God became the rituals of Benalus, and the modern Church is merely a reformed, palatable version of this heretical interpretation of divinity. To make things worse, the Church has turned this true God into an enemy of Benalus, using a kernel of truth to spread a monstrous lie. Such Anathema can of course not be tolerated, which is why House Sauber has been projecting a pious image for centuries now – to hide the rot within, to pretend that their true goals are not power and desire.

Factions (alleged):
It has been glaringly obvious for the better part of five generations – well over a hundred years – that the internecine war at the heart of House Sauber is crippling its most promising men, forcing them to abjure the great game of politics in favour of simple defense of the Eternal Keep in the employ of the Guardians of Truth, or dreary manual translation tasks in the Order of Enlightenment. Similarly, this war has been driving its most promising matriarchs-in-waiting into the arms of less.. complicated nobles of other houses. Although House Sauber is perhaps one of the most populous noble houses of Gotha, somehow its members end up in positions that do not make the most of their upbringing or their talents. Rumours trace this back to the first Emperor of the Herkheist dynasty, but more practically-minded talk is focused on specific events in the last century. It is alleged that two promising male siblings of House Sauber chose to go their separate ways over an issue that was never fully understood. Those became the Loyalist and Modernist branches of House Sauber, respectively. Gottmund Sauber, the originator of the Loyalists, wanted a closer union with the ruling dynasty, and saw the future of the house as true Benalian paragons, inter-married with the Herkheists, close to the true power at the heart of the Empire, albeit bending the knee to a greater house. Coupled with this desire was an inexplicable hatred of House Engel, although rumor holds it that, inevitably, it was his rejection by the eldest daughter of Graf Engel at the time that turned him away. Nonetheless, this union with Herkheist could have led Sauber to true greatness. Yet it was not to be: Gottmund was not the heir of House Sauber. The true heir, Hagen Sauber, returned after a long absence to Laatzen, and immediately started modernizing the House. His approach was pragmatic and focused on wealth creation for the minor nobility and ensuring his house pursued aggressive inter-marriages with lesser, albeit wealthy, houses. Within twenty years, his influence had grown sufficiently to where the Empire thought of House Sauber as a threat. Yet it was not to be – a strong man still in his Prime, Hagen contracted a mysterious wasting disease that ended his life within weeks. He left behind a newly-strengthened House — and only daughters. For the next eighty years, the Loyalists and Modernists traded control of House Sauber, each of them seeking different alliances within Gotha and outside — and each of them, allegedly, pursuing very different vision of the Benalian faith. Which may explain their allegedly strained relationship with Lethia…

Insider Narrative (Loyalist Noble):
“It is true. Imperial House Herkheist has been less accommodating to us in the last few years than previously. The decrees speak for themselves, as do some of the instructions for how our troops will aid the imperial armies. But it is obvious why. The cold war that Herkheist have been waging on House Engel for the last few decades will soon come to a head, and our own Graff has chosen to turn his back on the Imperial House and marry Hildrun Engel. He is, of course, a learned and pious man. His own father was a learned and pious man, and it is self-evident that he possessed great wisdom that would lead him to commit his eldest son, his heir, to a union with that graceless bovine masquerading as a noblewoman. But it does appear that good sense has skipped one or two generations. His eldest son has found a perfect match in Lady Rosenberg. Such a charming young woman, and her hips are ideally formed to allow the characteristically large head of House Sauber’s children to enter this world in a hale and healthy manner. Yes, I think the heir of House Sauber is quite well-taken of, especially given what we know about Graff Rosenberg’s union with Lady Engla Sauber. Now, if only the Graff would recognize that his line of succession is well-handled, and maybe chose to retire.. yes, that would really speed up the return to the rightful order of things.”

Insider Narrative (Modernist Gentry):
“The old man had it right. I heard him give a speech once, you know? No, not the current Graff. That’s Leopold. His father, I meant. Sigismund. It must been thirty years to the day. He was talking to an assemblage of minor muckety-mucks, and I was in the employ of the Chamberlain at the time, Alfons. Now that was a man.. where was I again? Yes, Graff Sigismund. He *understood*, you know? He really understood how House Engel has been working their way back into power for a long time now… maybe over a hundred years, I don’t know. Now Graff Sigismund almost spelled it out for us. He talked about the place of Laatzen on the map of Gotha, and about how we’re constantly weakened by the incursions. About how we need the coal and iron, which we don’t have enough of, and how our lands provide crops that are valuable but can’t always feed us. We’re meant to be traders, but we became soldiers and priests. Good ones, too, but we are always fighting with the land. I remember his son standing by his side, blank look and everything. But he listened, I could tell. He understood the speech and knew that it’s together with House Engel we could form a union so formidable none could oppose us. That was his word: formidable. He described the trade routes. The natural resources. Even – no, I am serious, no, I have not been partaking of wine – how over prior three Graffs of each House, we had too many boys, and they had too many girls, and how this was a sign from the heavens that we were meant for each other. No, I didn’t really follow that one.. didn’t seem like something Benalus would’ve said. But he left me a believer, just like many of us were. We just knew that together with Engel, we could be something else, something bigger. Such a shame Graff Sigismund died at a young age. Those wasting diseases can really catch you napping.”

Family & Lineage
Graff Leopold Sauber m. Hildrun Engel

Dietger m. Ingfried Rosenberg
Odette Sauber m. Derek von Engel
Lanfrank m. Merlind von Trakt

Soren von Sauber

Elsa m. Edwin Trakt
Frank m. Beatrix Engel

Heribert, Seneschal of the Guardians of Truth.
Aunts, Uncles, Cousins
Engla m. Graff Ludwig Rosenberg

Houseguests of note
Jalaan D’har, Benalian convert from Sha’ra, instructor in herbology, confidant to Hildrun Engel and Ingfried Rosenberg
Heinrich von Herkheist, aged 17, a distant cousin of the Imperial Prince, studying in the Laatzen library

Wardrobe: Dietmar Waalkes
Chamberlain: Hatto Hildebrandt
Man-at-Arms: Adolphus von Unterwald

Servants of note
Head Cook (foreign): Mona Scalfaro
Head Footman: Wilhelm Stahlwart

Notable Priests
Bishop Betram von Sauber (Cyanihim)
Father Malachi (Master Librarian) (Cyanihim)

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