Our story begins seven years after the Union of House Harte and House Manning, and many things have come to pass…
Baron Kevan Manning and his wife Sylvia have given birth to Ian their son and heir, as well as a second son Sean.
Darrin Manning has married Eilene Harte and the couple live together in Castle Harte, ruling the old House Harte lands for the Manning family. It is rumored that they are married in name only, living in separate wings of the house, and Lady Eilene is known to show public disdain for the antics and decisions of her husband.
, who had gone to live with the Mannings, died an untimely death less than a year later, his throat ripped out by a wolf while he was out in the woods. His death and several others to follow after, namely a young knight named Sir Andrew
and that of several of Lady Sylvia
’s maids, all at the hands of wild beasts, prompted a series of great hunts to reduce what appeared to be a suddenly ravenous beast population in the Manning lands.
The poisoner, sometimes referred to as Rufus, has not been seen again, and despite Hede’s intense scrutiny in Restov, no one has ever heard of a fat merchant fitting his description, apart from only Lady Charlene of House Lucchio in Restov, who weighs 300lbs and has blonde hair.
Sir Oleg married the prettiest of Castle Harte’s cooks, Svetlana, and has retired to open a trading post way out in the wilderness inside the Stolen Lands. He said he was tired of all the politics and wanted a fresh start among honest, hard working men like trappers and hunters.
There is increased talk of rebellion in Rostland now that 11 years have passed with House Surtova in charge. This is especially true in the old Harte lands, now ruled by an an Issian nobleman with no connection to “his” people. Trouble is brewing in the area around Tammerling, and the influence of Lady Harte and Lord Quintus Ravennus (Lady Arabella’s father) will only last so long.
Lady Ravennus has given birth to three sons, Maximus, Gaius, and Octavian, who are 7, 6, and 4 respectively. Lord Quintus is quite happy with her, and their family gets along well with Lady Harte. The two Ladies often spend the evenings together talking or sewing, and get along well.
Lord Harte has unfortunately not aged well. He is suffering from serious gout, has a breathing problem from a bad bout of pneumonia, and recently has begun suffering from dementia. Nearly half his days now find him rather addled, and only around his favorite hounds and horses is he himself. When he is clear, he mostly reminisces about the great fights and hunts he used to go on, back when he was younger and his body more fit.
Father Merrick, formerly a Harte family knight, decided a life of pious servitude suited him better than being a warrior. He has succeeded Father Brendan as head of the Tammerling Cathedral.
Father Brendan is currently enjoying his retirement in a quiet country cottage south of town.
Bethany Snow, formerly a chambermaid of House Harte, has been promoted by Lady Eilene, to her lady in waiting. She has the lady’s ear, is her confidante, and often speaks for the Lady, acting as her agent in town or abroad. She has grown into a lovely young woman and has become more cultured and educated, benefitting from the same tutors sent to the castle for Lady Eilene by the Baron. She still appears to have a fondness for one Eric Fernbrook, and enjoys his occasional visits on official business.
Andronicus Mourne moved to Castle Manning with the Baron and has increased his power base until he drew the notice of the Duke of House Garess. He recently moved to being the Grand Vizier of House Garess, and one of his elder protégés, Antoine De Vray, has taken over as the Vizier of House Manning. Not surprisingly, the frequent incursions by bands of Numerian savages into Garess lands has all but stopped. His nickname comes from several object lessons that resulted in mass deaths of commoners who were unruly and rebellious.
Alistair Stormwatcher has come into his own as a wizard and is the Arcane Advisor for Castle Harte and Lord Darrin. He seems to know something about everything that’s going on, and either uses extensive divination magic or has an excellent network of spies. Darrin dismisses him as an intellectual snob, which usually causes him to ally with Lord Quintus and Lady Harte against him. Where his true loyalties lie no one is quite sure, as he keeps things close to the vest. His nickname comes from his affinity for lightning and stormy weather, which is reflected in his choice of magic.
Mark “Burner” is still in training under Mourne and therefore is stationed at Castle Manning with his mentor. Despite having natural magical gifts, he has proven somewhat disappointing as a student of the wizardly arts, and is still an apprentice, while Drakkus, who arrived four years after him, has graduated from his initial training. His nickname comes from the fact that he is more likely to accidently burn himself than his intended target, and from the tendency of Mourne to set him working in the lab to keep him out of trouble.
William Black – When Lord Darrin took over the castle, organized hunts pretty much stopped, since he despises the outdoors and any sort of physical exertion. The position is now pretty much in title only, and only a handful or horses and a few hounds are left in the castle, and then only because the ailing Lord Harte loves them and spends most of his time with them. With these changes, the old Horse Master has retired from his old post and moved back to the east to live with his nephew in a country estate.