Children of the Night
Owners of the ancient and sprawling Renishaw Estate; known for its large hedge maze and imposing stone architecture.
Hold a near monopoly on the trade fleets of Caliphas, and highly wealthy as a result. Also subject to some derogatory comments about merchant class nature of this business
Guests from all manner of exotic lands visit often on business
Famed for their founders’ actions in the Shining Crusade
Politically neutral since their humiliation in supporting the failed Scholar’s Revolt 150 years ago.
The house is currently headed by Matthias and Clarissa Redcliff, along with their 6 children.
Matthias Redcliff is a dour 59 year old man with unending if unpassionate energy and a meticulous mind for business, known for his resolutely unreadable expression and tone.
Svete Redcliff is a 52 year old master of etiquette and gossip, with a keen mind and well-known knack for finding all the rights guests to entertain.
Gregor Redcliff (34, respectable, responsible, reclusive, active in the family business, excellent with mathematics)
Petros Redcliff (32, exuberant, sociable, gluttonous, attending University of Leipstadt, fascinated by unusual cultures)
Merigold Redcliff (29, original, musically accomplished, unreliable, sympathetic towards the lower classes)
Albin Redcliff (28, pious, hard worker, judgmental, has served with the Knights of Ozem for 5 years)
Rennis Redcliff (26, athletic, good with animals, showoff, enjoys performing in equestrian competitions and the theatre, twin of Elias)
Elias Redcliff (26, daring, charismatic, arrogant, beginning a life of adventure, twin of Rennis)
The origins of House Redcliff are well known by scholars, stretching back to the end of the Shining Crusade in 3828 AR. The founder, Filip of Droa, was granted title and lands in return for service rendered by himself and his brother in the Shining Crusade.
As recounted in family history, and attested to in fragments of the surviving records, Filip, along with his brother Odric, were young farmers in Povka along the Droa River. In 3807 AR the brothers led the people of Povka in a successful revolt against the servants of the Whispering Tyrant. In recognition of this leadership and courage they were recruited as squires into the Knights of Ozem, subsequently earning full membership in 3812 AR. Filip and Odric must have served the order well, for in 3819 AR Filip earned a place in the honor guard of Arazni herself.
In 3823 AR Filip achieved everlasting fame at the Battle of Three Sorrows, although historians are quick to point out the lack of reliable accounts of the battle. What is well documented is that Filip led the honor guard in the charge which successfully reclaimed the body of Arazni and was slain in the effort. According to tradition however, Filip not only led the charge, but personally confronted the Whispering Tyrant in combat, striking a blow which, though it caused no true harm, was both an affront and a shock to the Tyrant. Further, tradition holds that the blade which struck the blow turned purest black the moment it came into contact with such evil, either absorbing or containing some fraction of the limitless power wielded by Tar-Baphon. Such legends do not dispute the death of Filip, asserting that it came only moments later, or even at the moment of the blow, by the Tyrant’s magic. Some salacious rumors have crept up around this tale from time to time, ranging from whispers that the tale of Filip’s “Black Blade” are indications that in truth he turned traitor and joined the tyrant, to bar room speculation on how Filip’s heroism was inspired by a less than chaste relationship between Arazni and himself. Supposed sightings of the Black Blade have also sprouted up over the years, though despite its best efforts house Redcliff has never been able to retrieve, or even conclusively prove the existence of, this artifact.
Following the death of his brother, Odric continued to serve the Knights of Ozem until the war’s end, achieving the rank of Marshall in 3825 AR, and fighting in the battle of Vaishali Pass which saw the defeat of the Whispering Tyrant.
In recognition of service rendered Odric was granted lands and title during the re-organization of Ustalav in 3828 AR. With the village of Povka having been destroyed in the course of the war Odric instead chose a stretch of coast to the West of Caliphas, including the mouth of the Path River. Odric adopted the surname Redcliff, referencing the red clay cliffs that dotted the coasts of his new home.
In the ensuing years House Redcliff made good use of its coastal location, levying taxes on the many ships traveling the Path River and building a prospering economy harvesting expensive dyes from the shores. Respecting their heritage, House Redcliff maintained a strong marshal tradition, with male children usually serving some years as squires to the Knights of Ozem, and a contingent of well-trained sergeants always on call. By the 44th century House Redcliff was among the most powerful in the county of Caliphas, even purchasing substantial estates on Laurelight Hill.
Of course, the Redcliffs’ growing power also made them increasingly enmeshed in Ustalav’s continual power struggles. In 4611 AR Giorgi Redcliff threw his house’s substantial influence, and eventually its military might, behind the ill-fated Scholar’s Revolt. After their defeat in the Siege of Vauntil Giori was publically tortured and executed along with the other instigators, and House Redcliff’s lands were seized by the victorious Royalty. Only the estates in Caliphas were left to the House, along with the surviving family member’s private ownership of a small fleet of trade ships. Though not destroyed, House Redcliff had fallen from both power and esteem.
Since the Scholar’s Revolt House Redcliff has largely retreated from Ustalav politics, declaring no opinion whatsoever and the disputed succession of 4674 AR. Instead, the Redcliffs have focused on steadily expanding their trade fleets. By 4710 AR the Redcliffs had established themselves as the pre-eminent holder of overseas trading fleets, utilizing their new political neutrality and established position in the new capital to foster connections abroad, and to serve as an easy go between for the competing factions in Ustalav.
Today, 4717 AR, House Redcliff stands as one of the wealthiest and most important noble houses of Caliphas. Despite their past disloyalty, Prince Aduard Ordranti III has largely treated House Redcliff with trust, perhaps a reflection on their lack of protest to his succession or unpopular rule. However, the other noble houses, commenting on the mercantile focus of the house, are known to whisper, sometimes rather loudly, that the Redcliffs are no longer nobles at all, but instead simply trumped up merchants. The current head of the House, Matthias Redcliff, largely ignores these insults, having responded directly only once with the cold statement “House Redcliff’s heritage is beyond question. In these tumultuous times it should be clear to all that matters of trade can only benefit from the guidance of a noble hand.” His skeptics were not much deterred.