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Ranof

Unity in Division

House Ranof presides over the western quadrant of the Spicewell Steppe, sharing the steppe's abundance with House Qáhiriyün. This practically drives the current economy there, as spices are shipped from Zhedrij via Sotulisi, eventually ending up in the food and comfort of the emperor and his court. House Ranof is known as one of the most culturally diverse houses in the Empire, as it has held consented domain over a variety of Esurkish settlements for several centuries. Yet because of this, and because of Ranof's low-blood origins, the house was long looked down upon by the Old Order; much of that has changed, now, though some houses still regard Count Ranof and his subjects as ragtag.

Currently, House Ranof enjoys a rather stable position in the empire, from many points of view. Unlike House Garasai-Quacimisa and House Qáhiriyün, House Ranof is not threatened immediately by large-scale, hostile Esurkish incursions from the south -- though there is the occasional raid from the northern ridge of the Dustbane Mountains. Additionally, the New Order of the Moon and the emperor are not as harsh on House Ranof or the idea of Aulesiri-Esurkish "interbreeding" as much as the Old Order, and there is thus more opportunity for the Ranofs to garner prestige in court. The question is whether or not they even desire such prestige, as their regional influence could likewise become more formidable (and to many within the Ranof family, the "acceptance" of their reality is four centuries too late).

Initial HistoryEdit

In the middle of the first century of the Solemn Age, when the Aulesiri were crusading widespread against the northern Surotsi tribes, a lowly son of a merchant, outcasted from his family, joined the military and rose to lord-commander of a mercenary company in a short seven years. When imperial forces arrived to Green Mountain in 843 to an onslaught of Esurkish Hawks, Ranof I greatly proved himself in battle, his band of mercenaries largely being acknowledged as saviors of the vastly outnumbered Jade troops. Thus arose House Ranof, the very nomenclature of the house indicative of a low blood family in the throes of the Solemn Age. The emperor, impressed with Ranof's cunning and ferocity on the battlefield, appointed the unsuspecting mercenary commander to a prestigious position in his court. It was unheard of for an outcasted family member, especially that of a low blood family, to serve on any imperial council -- especially during the Solemn Age.

The emperor's court plotted to expel Ranof, but more benevolent members of the council convinced the emperor to ennoble the merchant's son and make him lord of the domain he had fought so gallantly to protect: Zherediv. For several years, Ranof I battled the Esurks until his death in 855 during a vicious counter-raid. Lord Sadrig, his son, succeeded him. Thus began the turning of a new page in House Ranof's eclectic history; Sadrig would be known as the first Aulesiri lord to marry an Esurkish woman, much to the ire of the imperial court at the time -- though the strategy was sound for spices, and the emperor's reluctant consent was eventually given.

The Great IncorporationEdit

In the late 10th century Ranof IV began a conquest which would take a full 122 years to matriculate with the conquest of the village of Trüzhóyun. This period, known as “The Great Incorporation” is considered a true masterpiece of conquest and diplomacy. The Incorporation was completed under Kurdrig III in 1122. In 1127 Turdrig famously divided his land between his three sons. The division went well enough for the first generation, with the three sons getting along famously, but by the 1190s, a serious rift had begun to develop.

War of the RavensEdit

In the year 1203, the death of Ranof VI without a direct heir led to a succession crisis in the Ranof branch, with Ranof VI’s brother Olaf claiming the seat, as well as Ranof’s nephew Fedor. Father and son fought on their own for 3 years, before the other two branches interceded on opposite sides, with Qaçzázh interceding on behalf of Olaf and Rusyün on the side of Fedor. Although Qaçzázh had some initial success, the Rusyün head Gunther won a decisive victory at the battle of Ghoryün, and finally unseating Olaf at the siege of Zhedrij in 1218. After 15 years, the war had finally ended. Under the Peace of Zhedrij, Fedor was installed as Steward of Zhedrij. He was to marry Gunther’s daughter, and their eventual son, the future Ranof VII was to become the new Ranof patriarch. If a son could not be produced, the seat would pass to Fedor’s brother. Additionally a formal constitution was drawn up, laying out the formal division of the family along with specific inheritance laws (before this was more of an informal understanding between the three branches of the family). Under this new constitution, House Ranof underwent a dramatic resurgence after several centuries of unimportance.

War of the Pale BrothersEdit

Like the Qáhiriyüns, House Ranof joined the War of the Pale Brothers in its later stages, enjoying relative peace during the earlier fighting. Unlike the nominal support given by the Qáhiriyüns, House Ranof took a proactive role in the war by providing troops and supplies to Auren I's armies for the burning of Gars and its environs (which would eventually interrupt shipments of food to the Pale City and bring the siege of the city to an end). Despite this participation, the Ranof domain did not suffer a population loss as severe as much of Jyotnun.

House Ranof's assistance to Auren I was seen by many within the Ranof family as means to a mandate for further autonomy, as the Old Order had (much to the ire of many spice-exporting lords) consistently influenced numerous emperors to maintain a hefty tax on the Surotsi spice trade (as well as a downtrodden racial policy; these two realities being obviously related).

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