The Markgraf Houses of the Cold Throne were not planned. When the Bear King died unexpectedly and the Rime Clans revolted, Emperor Soren von Herkheist appointed political rivals and problematic Houses to the northern border. Only House Einsland volunteered, and Soren named Maynor Einsland King of Njordr in appreciation. King Einsland has provided needed leadership since and kept these Houses in check, but after so much time each is now looking for new opportunities and the renewed push against the Rime Clans and King Einsland’s advanced age and lack of heir seem to provide plenty.
Unlike most of the Markgraf houses in Njordr, House Einsland willingly volunteered to be appointed as Markgrafs. They are the preeminent Gothic house in Njordr, and often have the final say in political matters of the Cold Throne. Their zeal and fervor of the Benalian faith is rivaled by none in the Cold Throne, and on par with some of the more pious Gothic noble houses of the Throne. There is speculation that this religious fanaticism drove them to volunteer as Markgrafs, as there was the opportunity to convert these new members of the Throne of God on Earth to White Benalus. The House has maintained a special relationship with the Church and the Order of Deeds is often supported by zealots and priests of the Mithrihim.
The venerable King Maynor Einsland is nearing the end of his life. With his natural heirs dead, he focuses now on his legacy- a united Njordr. With the new army brought by his vassal, Earl Overturner, he has secured Vissvind and ordered the other Markgrafs back to their ancestral keeps to prosecute the war with renewed vigor. It is his hope that he will be known for his victory in bringing Njordr fully into the Throne, but his time is limited. Others look to his advanced age as an opportunity. It is believed that he will name a successor soon and many have their eye on his seat.
Coat of Arms: Two white longswords crossed, beneath a silver Leonem, on a field of checkered black and gold.
Maxim: “His judgement comes”
Hold: The White Palace, Vissvind
Knight Order: The Order of Deeds
Declared as one of the first Markgrafs of the budding Cold Throne after the Bear King died, the first of the Dragomir line changed his name to Maledict Dragomir in protest and their relationship with the Herkheists is now known to be strained. House Dragomir now lives to reclaim its rightful position as a Graf of Gotha and return to its homeland victorious, perhaps even to one day challenge the von Herkheist dynasty that they believe has rotted to the core.
Having created an ever tightening stranglehold on the Njords over which they now rule, House Dragomir’s military prowess and absolute intolerance for internal strife is well known. Seen as borderland fanatics on the fringes of civilization, their fierce Gothic heritage still burns as bright as the flames of their vengeance that have been carefully stoked over the decades. Frozen Hearth and the villages surrounding it have become restricted enclaves of Gothic culture, enforced by the Order of the White Star, with only certain members of Clan White Eyes allowed to enter without conforming.
In recent history, the House saw some return to Gotha with the appointment of Nemesis Dragomir to Graf of Stragosa, though this lasted only a few years before the Margraf was slain in the city he had fought to take from Kuarlite hold. Now led by Vindicta, Nemesis’s younger sister, the House has returned to prominence in the far north as the spearpoint of a renewed push to exterminate the Rime Clan rebels. The mysterious death of her older brother, Alastor, during her absence has been largely ignored after an appropriate funeral due to her popularity.
Fortress castle built onto a commanding cliff side. The castle was placed in its location after the team surveying the Dragomir lands received a sign of a brilliant white star in the sky above it.
Order of the White Star
Formed by Margraf Maledict’s son, Alastor, the Order of the White Star is known for cruelly enforcing the law and order upon their lands. When the Order was first formed, all of the tribes of Northmen were given ultimatums to obey the law of the Throne and convert to the true God or be destroyed as heretics, as Benalus did. Many did convert, and thieves and other criminals were dealt with in gruesome public displays.
Coat of Arms: A white star on a field of black.
Maxim: Give form to My Justice
Hold: Frozen Hearth
Knight Order: The Order of the White Star
Originally vassals of House Geldstrom, Grafin Hildegard Beckenbauer was a close friend of Soren von Herkheist and had hosted him multiple times when he was meeting with the Bear King of Njordr. Unfortunately when Geldstrom opposed the Herkheists during the succession war, Beckenbauer was honor bound to oppose him, as well. When the war ended, the Emperor declared that Hildegard would be a Markgraf and the House was relocated to Friseldr where Hildegard passed many years later.
The north is a hard land, unforgiving and brutal. House Beckenbauer, however, was well suited to this land even before being appointed as a Markgraf house. Having previously hailed from Northern Gotha, it is said house Beckenbauer retained much of the common heritage that the Njord and Gothic peoples share, with members of the house appearing more Njord than Gothic in build and countenance. A long line of blond and blue eyed Beckenbauers seemed to stick out in the court of Fenristadt, but in Vissvind or Friseldr, members of the house blend with the population so well that often they are mistaken for Njords themselves. This is especially true of Markgraf Eric Beckenbauer who supposedly looks exactly like the Bear King did in his prime.
This quirk of appearance has led the Beckenbauers and their retainers to adopt some Njordic ways and the House has become close with Clan Grey Wolf. Branded Grey Wolves have sought an even closer relationship with the Beckenbauers and offered Branding to the Markgraf, and while he has so far refused, word has gone out to any wandering Melandihim that he seeks their council for some urgent matter of faith.
Coat of Arms: A great white bear rampant on a field of emerald.
Maxim: We shall endure
Hold: The Crag, Friseldr
Knight Order: The Order of the Resolute
Rumors are still spoken quietly in noble halls that it was Sir Wenzel Dressler who started the succession war. Certainly when the war ended, he was the first named to be sent to Njordr to govern the rebellious northmen. Despite these rumors, the House has focused on being the model of Gothic virtue in the north, hunting their lands for any sign of the Old Ways and stamping them out. This has won them few allies among the Njordic people.
House Dressler built their keep atop a high mountain overlooking one of the most used routes from the Rime to the south. Their presence in the area ensures that the Markgrafs have access for rapid movement of troops and supplies to quickly deal with Rime incursions should they occur. Knights of House Dressler are skilled rangers and are trained in self sufficiency, rapid travel, stealth, and ranged combat. In addition to the arming sword they receive when knighted, Knights of the White Tree receive a bow, quiver, and dark cloak as a part of their uniform.
Coat of Arms: Golden swords crossed on a field of white
Maxim: In Pursuit of Purity
Hold: The Citadel of Dawn, Nordligstadt
Knight Order: The Order of the White Tree
Before being assigned to a Markgrafschatzen in the Cold Throne, House Holtzknecht served as a small vassal house to House Jaeger. When House Jaeger opposed the Herkheists and ultimately capitulated, the Holtzknechts were removed from their service and sent north. To add further tragedy, the Markgraf succumbed to illness shortly after arriving and never saw the construction of the Evergreen Hall. Now ruled by his daughter, Markgrafin Lydia Holtsknecht, the House has been rebuilding its fortunes as well as it can and trading with nearby Hrafnvik.
House Holtsknecht is predominantly known for its crafts in wood with many of the family members far from the line of succession being accomplished craftsmen. It is said that the great tower shields of the Oaken Legion are some of the finest in all of Gotha, and Holtzknecht knights are versed in using them with spear and sword. The lands surrounding Skogenheim have served the house well, providing resources for their craft, and the Oaken Legion has ensured that there are no uprisings and dissent within the house’s holdings.
Coat of Arms: A black wolf rampant, between two trees, on a crimson field
Maxim: Pride in all you do
Hold: Evergreen Hall, Skogenheim
Knight Order: The Oaken Legion
During the war of succession over the ascension of Soren von Herkheist forty years ago, Markus Saenger was a popular leader speaking against the Herkheists- decrying their perceived corruption and crimes. When the rebellion was crushed, Saenger still had significant popular support and calls for clemency even from the Herkheists’ allies were common. So it was that Markas Saenger and his House were sent north and re-established themselves at Ravenwatch.
House Saenger has acquitted itself well in the decades since the annexation of Njordr. Now ruled by Markas’s son, Markgraf Gerhardt Saenger, they are as beloved as ever by most Gothic nobility, though ironically their popularity has made them seem dangerous to other Markgrafs. They have established Ravenwatch at Hrafnvik and made close allies of the Frost Ravens that call the settlement home.
The Saenger house knights, known as the Skywatch, are effective diplomats and spies. They often are sent to immerse themselves into settlements and cities such as Vissvind, establishing informants and gathering information to report back to the head of their order. This information is then sent by raven to the many other cities held by the Markgraf’s allies. House Saenger serves as the primary eyes and ears of a large information network connected to the rest of the Throne.
Coat of Arms: A great raven, wings unfurled, over a shield of Gold
Maxim: Seek the Truth
Hold: Ravenwatch, Hrafnvik
Knight Order: The Skywatch
When Samuel von Herkheist, son of Soren, turned against his father, Sir Norman Wildegruber knew his duty. He acted boldly and with speed greater than any objection and the deed was done. He was not surprised, nor was he upset, when he was exiled to Njordr. His children have followed in his footsteps, stoic and bold to a fault.
Markgraf Udo Wildegruber and his sister Frida understand very well that what you cannot gain by diplomacy and guile, one must obtain by force. Easily one of the least loved Makgraf houses in the Cold Throne, House Wildegruber has a reputation for ruling with an iron fist and taxing their subjects at a much higher rate than any other Markgraf house. Still, dissent is kept to a minimum, as they are quick to quash even the smallest indication of dissent. Their knight order is renowned for their skill in unarmed combat, and are just as dangerous without a sword as they are armed.
Coat of Arms: A flexing arm and fist, white on a navy field.
Maxim: Fear is Folly
Hold: The Iron Fist, Anfaldhal
Knight Order: The Knights of the Mailed Fist