Faithful and Bold: House De Moley
|Faithful and Bold: House De Moley|
The peasant burst into the chamber where Lord Gilbert de Moley sat with his neighbor and guest, Lord Ephram Decados. "My lord!" the peasant cried. "The bandits - they came back!" He is nearly in tears as he falls to his need. "They took my Elsie!"
"What is this creature doing disturbing our dinner?" the fat Lord Ephram inquires. "Surely, if there is some problem, some of your men can solve it. We are just about to conclude a very profitable agreement over trade rights, I think, and I do not like being interrupted."
Lord Gilbert, however, is on his feet, and he shakes his head. "This can wait," he says. "These blackguards have plagued my lands too long, and I swear by St. Mantius I shall end their plague." His roast is still half-eaten on the table. "Guillaume, Flaubert - saddle your horses. We ride now for the hills, for this man cries for justice." As the de Moley lord leaves, his Decados neighbor just shakes his head.
"Sergey," the fat Decados says, incredulous that he has been walked out on. "Send a message to Lady Antonia. Tell her that I am willing to discuss trade rights after all."
Proud rulers of a long-lost world, House De Moley was long believed extinct, remembered in the Known Worlds only as the minor family that gave rise to Saint Godfrey de Moley, one of the founders of the Brother Battle, and his cousin Jackson de Moley, who forged the order into the form it has taken for a thousand years.
Unknown to the the jumpweb, however, the De Moley survived on Yathrib, the planet of the Prophet's revelation, where they presided over an uneasy coalition of nobles and priests for centuries of long battle against the Sathraists before the Kurgans invaded that holy world.
Now, the De Moley remain officially the rulers of the planet, but the influx of crusaders has threatened their always fragile grip on power. Only their deep personal faith and natural tendency towards forthrightness and leadership give them any hope for surviving the great transitions that have come to their adopted home.
History of the House
House legend has it that the founder of the family was a soldier in service to Saint Lextius named Bertram de Moley; a common armsman in service to the lord whose Lord was the Prophet, he was knighted by Lextius himself but was accidentally left behind when the saint shut down the gate to Dogen.
This story was repeated most by Sir Hugh de Moley, who is the first member of the family to appear in any records. Sir Hugh was a roguish mercenary in loose service to House Windsor at the end of the Diaspora, renowned as an excellent star pilot who was as handy with sword and blaster as he was with his ship.
Sir Hugh's adventures took him from the end of the Diaspora to the beginning of the Second Republic; by the time he died, surrounded by grandchildren, he had won and lost several small kingdoms before finally settling down as Count de Moley on Holy Terra.
The De Moley lands were never vast, but they were enough to support a spirit of exploration among the De Moley. With several important religious sites near their lands, the De Moley took the Prophet's exhortation to Quest to heart, and even in the rather secular Second Republic they developed a reputation as troubleshooting do-gooders on frontier worlds. They would be hired to solve problems, often getting themselves embroiled in some larger struggle as part of it before finally emerging victorious in the end by the skin of their teeth.
Indeed, this narrative even had its fifteen minutes of fame during the late Second Republic; for about ten years prior to the Fall, a popular holo-program called 'Have Wireblade - Will Travel' highlighted the exploits of Paladin De Moley, a traveling adventurer who each week would go to a frontier locale at the behest of a different employer, where she would right some wrong, usually with a combination gun, sword, and space combat before returning to her comfortable life in a Criticorum high-rise.
By the time 'Have Wireblade - Will Travel' had aired, the frontiers it depicted were confined to soundstages, and the actual House De Moley found that the white hats they were accustomed to wearing were rather out of fashion in the urbane Second Republic. In a particularly infamous incident in the House annals, Godric de Moley - Saint Godfrey's grandfather - stopped a mugging on New Istanbul, only to be sued by the mugger. As the magistrate handed down the judgment against Godric, he told the De Moley knight that he should not have intervened, since preventing crime is a matter for the police.
The Fall of the Second Republic changed everything. Suddenly, there was a need for strong-willed men with an independent spirit, and the quiet moral center of faith that the De Moley had kept for centuries was thrust to the forefront by the Fading Suns phenomenon. De Moley knights found service with several houses, most notably House Windsor, but that was eclipsed when Godfrey de Moley and his friend Malcolm Justinian founded the Poor Knights of the Prophet - the Brother Battle - on Yathrib. De Moley lords flocked to the order, many of them settling on Yathrib after it was liberated from the Sathraists.
Gatefall was then the beginning of the end for the De Moley in the Known Worlds. Count Jackson had ceded the house's lands to the Church when he joined the Brother Battle, and the remaining now-landless De Moley knights took service with various members of the Ten or joined the Brother Battle as well, renouncing their nobility. A handful of De Moley survived as vassals of House Windsor until the first Emperor Wars, but the last of them were killed in the chaos following Vladimir's death.
Thus House De Moley passed from history - until at last it did not, for when Yathrib was discovered again it had its old lords with it, men and women who had carried on for centuries a tradition of righteousness and independence in the face of diverse threats.
House Culture and Ways
House De Moley is defined by three traits: rugged individualism, boldness in action, and a faithful center. These three traits found their epitome in Saint Godfrey, who is the father of the modern house, but they remain in greater or lesser degrees with all its scions.
Because of their penchant for individualism and distrust for authoritarian government, the De Moley have been rather laissez-faire rulers of Yathrib, a trait that has garnered them support on many occasions from the diverse lords of the world. Indeed, when the Justinian came to control the planet for several centuries their more centralized rule ultimately caused a backlash that propelled House De Moley back into power.
By the same token, however, that has sometimes made collective action difficult. House gatherings consist of strong-headed lords and ladies each arguing for their own position, usually one that involves bold action in a dozen different directions. If it wasn't for the abiding sense of right and wrong members of the House share it is possible the family would have pulled itself apart; instead, in times of crisis it grows strong together, with each member of the family seeking to shoulder not just their own burden but that of anyone nearby.
The leaders of the house have always been the Lords of Akko, who claim direct descent from Saint Godfrey's nephew Baldwin, who left the Brother Battle to become the first Guardian of the Holy City. While there are other De Moley lines - the Counts of Leon chief among them - it is the custodial family of Akko that has always been first in precedence. Now, with so many lands lost to the Kurgans, there are fewer and fewer De Moley left. Some fear that a line has been crossed and that within a few generations the house will have been subsumed into some other noble line.
The De Moley hold lands only on Yathrib. While their ancestral lands were on Holy Terra, a millenium's residence has caused them to adopt the world as their own, and indeed members of the family feel a sense of obligation towards the planet and its people.
The house's lands have always historically centered in the Shining Gulf, with their main seat in Akko, though there are De Moley cousins in the Antipodes as well as other places. At one time, the De Moley family also held the city of Gilead in the Pearl Cities, but they were put to the sword by the Kurgans when the city was conquered. Some few De Moley were said to have held out, leading a quiet resistance, but when the city was given to Rutger Mortimer after the Betrayal he systematically hunted them down and had them slowly and publicly executed.
Though Yathrib is now once again in contact with the rest of the Known Worlds, few De Moley have left the planet. There is some concern that they may reassert a claim to their lands on Holy Terra, however, and some other De Moley have left world either as ambassadors seeking more aid or as members of the Brother Battle assigned to a different front.
Most De Moley serfs are farmers who work their own small plots of land while farming their lords' fields several days each week. The life of a De Moley serf is not easy - it is hard labor, and they must pay their taxes and fees - but it is honest, and justice for wrongs can usually be found in the courts of their lords. De Moley soldiers are usually feudal armsmen, tenant gentry who has a slightly larger plot of land in exchange for military service to their lord.
Leading de Moley:
- Lord Geoffrey de Moley (ruler of Yathrib and Guardian of the Holy City)
- Godric de Moley (Geoffrey's 5-year-old heir)
- Renaud de Moley (Count of Leon)
- Martin de Moley (Baron of Newbridge)
Typical De Moley Traits
- Characteristics: Strength, Passion, Faith
- Natural Skills: Impress, Melee, Vigor
- Learned Skills: Command, Ride, Survival
- Blessings/Curses: Bold / Righteous
- Benefices: Brother Battle allies