The Barony of Harsyi was once far greater, controlling estates up and down the Outpour, commanding loyal retainers in the Seabane Isles, and even holding loose dominion over the Shrine by the Lake during much of the Solemn Age. The family itself is rather old, tracing lineage back to the migrations.
When it came time to choose sides, the Harsyis chose the False Stone and the policies of the Old Order. For this, they were punished dearly, being stripped of their mainland holdings, disowned by many old retainers, and relegated to the largest of the Seabane Isles.
Since the end of the War of the Pale Brothers, House Harsyi has expanded the Coral Pillar and the city of Kyrsung, turning both into shipbuilding centers, tirelessly attempting to recover some semblance of their former power. Yet, House Reinar is still a dark cloud over the Harsyi family and its legacy, looming nearby, its ships frequenting the passages between the Seabanes and causing the Harsyis to grind their teeth in envy and concern.
In order to subvert the authority of the Pale, the Harsyi have turned to policies supporting that which they once despised: smuggling. The so-called "Black Triangle" includes the Broken Crescent (the island controlled by the Harsyi family, containing the Coral Pillar and Kyrsung), the Lumi Islands, and the northwestern coast of Surotsi, south of the Sotulyn domain. These three regions are all known for their dabbling in the black market, shuttling goods ranging from people to artifacts.
About a century after the death of Luseysi, Harsyind, fortress and city, was founded on the Outpour and adjacent to the coast of the Prophet's Deed. Around 500 A.R., two centuries later, the Harsyi claimed the Seabane Isles (referred to then as "the Almonds"), where they subjugated the Meniyet Raayakin natives of those isles.
For many centuries, the Pale had considered the Harsyi family a loyal partner: it was Harsyi ships that roamed the Prophet's Deed for much of the Solemn Age, shuttling imperial armies to and from Surotsi, and protecting the precious food line so that it may not crumble to the touch of pirates and smugglers. The Harsyi directly participated in many of the initial expeditions against the Esurks, lending family sons to accrue prestige in battle.
During the Solemn Age, the family also led many expeditions to the fringes of the Beyond and even to the boiling waters of Earth's Vein. Their maps and discoveries would later be included in the history books, though many in the realm considered the efforts to be a distraction from the atrocities of the Solemn Age. Nonetheless, this period of exploration had a great impact on the family, which began to erect shrines to Tharnayi the Explorer in Harsyind and throughout the Seabane Isles (the latter of which was, at that time, becoming the center of Harsyi naval power). Many of the more magnificent shrines were created using slave labor.
The family's devotion to Tharnayi continues to this day.
War of the Pale BrothersEdit
Throughout the Solemn Age, the Pale had granted House Harsyi significant trade benefits and the ability to levy tolls up and down the Prophet's Deed: a remarkable symbol of power in its own right. When the time came to choose between the False Stone or his brother, the Harsyi chose the False Stone, pleased with his adherence to the old ways and his promises to preserve House Harsyi as the realm's foremost naval power.
Thus began the downfall of House Harsyi. Initially, the naval power of the Harsyis was instrumental in maintaining the status quo; but another house, House Reinar, which had long been a rival of the Harsyis around the Outpour from the city of Jatl, eventually pledged support for Auren I. After gaining the support from various minor houses around the Seat of the Moon, the Reinars were fully equipped and prepared for war. 18 years after the start of the War (and a seven-year siege), Harsyind was reduced to rubble. House Reinar became the dominant military force around the Outpour and the Harsyis were forced to flee the mainland, holing up in the Coral Pillar on the largest island of the Seabane Isles.
The War was not over for the Harsyis, though they had suffered a crushing defeat. Much of their naval power still roamed the seas, though it was scattered, assisting the False Stone's armies up and down the Prophet's Deed and around the Straits, delivering supplies as far north as the Northern Eye. Other minor shipbuilding houses has stepped up to carry some of this load, and much of the Harsyi fleet was recalled to deal with the Reinar menace. This was too little, too late.
The Reinar fleet was small, but efficient, and like the Harsyis, the Reinars had long commanded the seas. House Harsyi lost naval battle after naval battle to the Reinar fleet over the course of three decades, while the Reinars turned much of the outpour and various former Harsyi ports in Jyotnun into their own shipbuilding powerhouse. By the end of the War, the Reinar fleet had grown ten-fold, and the Harsyi fleet had been reduced to only a few capable war carracks. Additionally, many old Harsyi retainers were deposed and replaced by minor lords loyal to Auren I.