The Spreyheath Bears
The Spreyheath Bears constitute the traditional ruling council of Shadewater. The term applies both to the actual family patriarchs/matriarchs who sit on the council itself, and to the families to which they belong. Membership is a function of wealth and power – and the ability to negotiate oneself membership – rather than royal blood. Currently, the Bears count six (known) members among their number. The count had been nine, but recent events have changed things somewhat, and the seats have yet to be (officially) refilled.
- One of the two original noble clans who started founding Shadewater. They were not Waicottes but were granted large portions of Spreyheathe as subjects of the Waicottes at the same time the Waicottes were granted the entire Spreythornes. They hold huge tracts of land on the north eastern portions of Spreyheath, which produce primarily high quality wool. While their land holdings made them rich, they were always secondary to the Boragias, and after the remainder of the Bears settled in Shadewater the Orinias faded somewhat and remained comfortable as one of the more minor families to be counted among the Bears.
- Still a young man in his late teens, Nogo ascended the throne about three and a half decades ago, which marked a notable increase in the power and prestige of the clan. After the War of the Hurt Valley, the value of Spreythorne wool increased considerably, making the family holdings much more valuable.
Arnault Boragia (Deceased)
The Boragia’s were the dominant clan of the region. While they also owned considerable land in the further south reaches of Spreyheath, their wealth was built primarily because of trading relations with the various farmers, and especially shepherds, of Daerthylion’s Hurt. The Boragias were the first (after the native halflings) to really start using Shadewater Bay as a regular shipping port, using it to trade across the short stretch to South Beathorne that then connected to merchants who would shuttle across to North Beathorne from the Valley.
- After the War of the Valley they initially made a huge pile of money buying many of the prisoners the Scarred Lions captured. After this, though, the clan began to wane in wealth, under the poor management of Gilundino Boragia, as he remained unable to replace their income stream with the Hurt so seriously depleted of people.
- Rulership of the clan passed to Gilundino’s second oldest son Arnault (the oldest son, Riamax, was considered too effete for the position) a few years before the siege. Arnault proved an economically capable clan leader, rebuilding the families wealth by investing more in Mielra’s slave trade operations.
- Arnault was also one of the most gifted students at Brandinno Hill, studying directly under the tutelage of Lacisen Sandy
- Arnault and the entire Boragia clan perished during the riots at the end of the siege, when a terrible explosion and conflagration (assumed to be magical) reduced the entire palace to cracked marble, ash, and slag
- The ruins remain mostly untouched within the compound walls, at the southern base of Rosestone Park. Some have tried searching the area for treasure, but by most accounts Aermund’s troops thoroughly scoured the still-smoking ruins, and removed what melted metals they could find.
Cassara Seasparrow (Deceased)
- Cassara Seasparrow was a wealthy elven noble from the coastal mountains of Spreyheath. At some point during the first few decades of the cities’ refounding, Cassara abandoned her clan and took most of her wealth, and relocated to Shadewater. At the time, Norin’s Docks were just being proposed, and there was disagreement over what would be done to ensure goods could be (relatively) easily transported up and down the mountain. Cassara seized the opportunity, and hired several groups of kobolds from the local mountains (they have the advantage of being lawful, clever, good with stone, and most importantly cheap), and built The Mule Haul. She negotiated with the Bears for membership on their council, and the exclusive right to haul goods up and down the Mule Haul so long as she charged reasonable prices.
- Over the decades and centuries since, Cassara became increasingly volatile towards her servants, then (as she replaced htem with slaves) her slaves. Some said she grew insane with her old age, but by the time of her death she had a reputation for stunning cruelty
- During the slave revolts near the end of the siege, Cassara’s slaves in the pens at the base of The Mule Haul revolted, breaking out of their pens and slaughtering mules for food. Cassara made her way down, and haughtily demanded they stop.
- Cassara stood on a warehouse roof above the shouting slaves, demanding they stop rioting and return to their pens. When Doglick said they didn’t need her, that they were going to help Aermund win and run The Haul for themselves, Cassara made a speech to the effect of “good luck, there’s no way you peasants could ever run things without me.” The speech was so compelling it momentarily lulled the crowd, and seemed to be on the verge of dispelling the mob, until Doglick reminded everyone of the time she threw a dozen of their children from the walls as punishment for their descending the stairs too slowly. At this, the rioters broke through her guards, made it to the roof she was on, drug her down, and tied her between four mules ripping her apart. All she could do was shout over and over “Fuck you”
- Cassara had never married and was childless. Most of her wealth was confiscated by Duke Aermund, and used to rebuild the city or feed the freedmen. The mules and associated tack, etc, were given to her former slaves, who formed The Hauler’s Union and now operate The Mulehaul (sadly for them, though, no longer enjoying a monopoly).
- The self-proclaimed direct descendant of Brandinno Sandy, little is known about the diminutive halfling archmage of Brandinno Sandy School of Magical Arts. It is generally agreed that he is a powerful wizard, and his students describe him as a strict but fair administrator
- Essentially, a construction magnate. Frondor’s father, Norin, was hired to build Norin’s Docks. Afterward, the family stayed, building its compound into the north-facing base of The Rosestone overlooking The Dwarfwood. As time went on, Norin, and then Frondor, gained a reputation for being able to construct buildings on the hillside that would not fall down (the human and elves had been strggling with this, making spintown and stubtoe somewhat precarious places to live). By now, most of the buildings in Spintown and Stubtoe were either designed and built, or at least supervised during construction, by the Stonecutters. Those that weren’t at the least take advantage of the construction by propping one or two of their walls up against one built by the stonecutters
- Frondor has a reputation for being one of the more levelheaded on the council. It was Frondor who finally convinced the Bears to surrender to Aermund. (It is rumored that it was also Frondor who showed Aermund’s troops the secret path through the sewers into Mielra’s compound, allowing them to break past her defenses. While these are only rumors, it was unquestioned that Frondor had little love for Mielra (both the Elder and the Younger), openly declared his belief that the city should be free of slavery, and was the only Bear to not own slaves.
- Despite being a dwarf, and Gulgug being an orc, the two have become quite good friends since the Aermund took over.
- Quite probably the most wealthy of any of the bears a time or two over (other than, possibly, Nogo), Frondor has personally contributed a significant amount of wealth, in addition to the newly imposed taxation, to feed and clothe the freedmen after the siege, and has continued to work hard to create employment for as many of them as possible.
- The Raish clan was the third noble human family to found the city, with large land holdings to the south of the Orinia’s and east and north of the (former) Boragia’s. Like those clans most of the Raish’s wealth comes from wool production.
- For its entire existence the Raish clan could best be described as conservative. Resisting any quick changes, comfortable with selling their wool and making a solid profit. The Raish clan voted against rebelling against Ealhmund, voted against resisting Aermund when he initially besieged the town, and then (at least initially) voted against surrendering at the end of the siege. Despite having little to do with the slave trade, other than having some house servants (and, obviously, not counting the serfs which basically all land holding nobles “own”), the Raish clan was unhappy with the abolishment of the practice (again, change is not what they like)
- Eleanor is an old lady (over 70), tall and thin, bald and frail (of body). Her mind is as sharp as a mithril razor, although it is rare she speaks at length
- Since the siege ended Eleanor has begrudgingly paid the new taxes, and continued to make a solid profit on his wool trade. Despite all the recent changes, reports are that she is generally pleased that Spreyheath is reunited with the rest of the region, and views Aermund as a worthy and competent ruler.
- Cahlcahndor Dawnlight is an elf from the Ellorione region. He arrived early in the city’s history carrying with him the (regionally) unknown technique of large-loom weaving. By pluck and luck, Cahlcahndor built first one textile shop then another, until he owned dozens, turning the rich Spreythorne wool into fine fabrics. Despite this, Cahlcahndor and his few descendants are one of the less wealthy clans on the council (obviously still totally loaded of course, but it’s like that thing where in a group of super rich people some are worth a billion and some are worth fifty million).
- Cahlcahndor has always participated on the council only to the extent necessary to protect his investments. As he has aged, him and his oldest daughter Patrice have become increasingly involved in the burgeoning art, music, and entertainment scene, and have relocated from Rosestone Park to Brandinno Hill.
- Cahlcahndor was the most vocal opponent of resisting Aermund, and the most vocal proponent of surrender. Since the siege ended, Cahlcahndor has publicly remained relatively uninvolved in the city’s affairs (other than managing his factories and patronizing the arts)
- Illithica is the eldest daughter of the Riaman clan, a group of elves from the far north who migrated south about a century before Shadewater was refunded. The Riamans became moderately wealthy trading in furs, rare herbs, and timber in southern Beathorne and some of the outlying islands around Spreyheath. They were the latest arrivals to the Bears, becoming wealthy through financing trade and providing a new service, known as “insurance,” to ships.
Illithica follows the Riaman traditions: eschewing any public appearances, staying removed from all gossip, and only voting to the extent necessary to ensure the continuity of trade.
Mielra the Younger (Deceased)
- Mielra the Elder started life as a slave, but The Overlord took a shine to her, and promoted her to priestess and granted her freedom. In return, she served him well, making herself a fortune as a broker for the slave trade, building it to the heights that it reached in Shadewater. She also provided slave labor on an as-needed basis. During her life it was said there was not a servant in Shadewater that did not bear her brand somewhere upon his body (usually his face).
- Mielra the Younger took over after her mother died of old age, about fifty years before the siege, continuing the family’s worship of The Overlord as a priestess herself.
- Miraculously, Mielra’s fortified palace held through the riots at the end of the siege (obviously a LOT of people were clamoring outside to do to her worse than what was done to Cassara). Unfortunately (for her) Duke Aermund’s first order upon subduing the city was to have her and all her family over the age of 13 publicly drawn and quartered in The Upper Market (the remainder are being “reformed” as acolytes at the temple to The Founder in Caer Caimore). Needless to say, this helped pacify the mobs, and no one has ever accused the Duke of not knowing how to win the support of the downtrodden. (whether it was Aermund or someone else who distributed candied fruits and barrels of ale during the execution is anyone’s guess, but those in attendance generally agree that it was quite the festive affair).