Grey House

One of the prestigious three first-founding Great Houses, Grey House is one of the smaller of the Great Houses, but its shadowy reputation is greater than its mere membership. And while some would point to its small size as a signal of decline, the Greys explain it as selectivity. Spreading their influence through the ancient and tumultuous heart of the empire, theirs is a business of knowing, and the scions of Grey House know much. And that knowledge is almost always for sale to the highest bidder.

Leader: Animus Ubutu Sulinius Hanuba
Membership: 250 full members approx.
Home: Karmina, Royal Haedrasia

Grey House's membership is often marked by a certain polished austerity. They do not flaunt their wealth overly, but their every expenditure is carefully chosen, and of paramount quality. They horde their riches, unspent, just as they horde their knowledge. The Greys might own small homes, but they are of the finest design, furnished sparsely with only the most tasteful objects, drawn from the farthest corners of the world. His dress might not be showy, but close inspection will show tailoring of unparalleled skill and attention to detail. And his feasts may be of fewer courses than others in Karmina, with fewer guests, and in a smaller hall, but the food served will be of unsurpassed quality, prepared by the most skilled culinary specialists.

This choosiness also carries over to the Grey's choice of agents. Their eyes and ears may be few, but they are chosen with meticulous, some might even say pedantic care. Everything from their social standing, to their demeanour, connections, even their lineage is closely scrutinized by the choosy ruling body of the great house, and only the most ideal of candidates even brook consideration.

Spheres of Power


Grey House spreads its agents where information is in greatest supply, and greatest demand, and so Royal Haedrasia, Haedarium and Haedrasia proper are its power-bases. However Grey interests then spread wide, to the Bair, the garrisons of Maldrakanium, the trade-ways of Roetia and the sprawling new-cities of Pannonium. And if this were not enough, Grey agents prove more than willing to travel, ranging from the shores of the Throat of the North to the foothills of the Sirolas Mountains, to the placid waters of the Bair of Suirene as their house commands. Greys are also known to keep close watch over Enlal-Makal, Mora-Amar, and the viper's den that is Kashmora in the lands of old Iria.

Interests

Grey House trades almost exclusively in knowledge. Many accuse them of having a vast network of spies and informants secreted in every celebrated home of the empire, and like as not this is true, but they also employ some of the swiftest messenger services to be found in the central provinces, and a Grey agent will often be as willing to pay for a piece of seemingly idle gossip as carefully revealed secret. The Greys seems to adopt the same discerning attitude to knowledge that they do to their possessions - carefully curating only the finest collection.

But the Grey House has also been known to sponsor scholarly pursuits. Though scholars are the least amongst citizens in Haedrasia, Grey House has been known to sponsor engineers, architects, and other men whose living is mere idle thought. While some great houses scoff at such investment, the Greys do, on occasion, make some discovery of value that can be used to earn them favour with the legions. And most would say that this small investment in the learned need yield few rewards to pay its keep.

Associations


While the three first founding great houses are traditionally enemies, animosity between Grey and Yellow has cooled in recent centuries, leaving them with only the Blues at whom to needle. To this end the Greys have been on friendly terms with the sprawling Orange House of late, though one could hardly call that more than a union of convenience. Disdain for the unscrupulous Greens and fear of the curse of the Purples leaves the haughty Greys with few potential allies, but they have long been friends to the Red House, and while the two seldom work directly together, they stay out of one another's business by long-standing agreement wherever possible. Some have even suggested that the Grey House had an instrumental role in aiding Sanus Palleus Kwomba in freeing the then-traitor Tarasus Ulinias Phanos from the dungeons of the Palace of the Imperator in YED 1894.

Notable Members


Animus Ubutu Sulinius Hanuba
The patriarch of Grey House, the first thing that anyone recalls of meeting Animus Ubutu Sulinius Hanuba is scrutiny and judgement. A man of scathing selectivity, little meets with his lofty standards of propriety, quality, or taste. Hanuba's claim to the trone is more tenuous than many of his fellow Great House leaders, having not had a close ancestor in power in more than two centuries, but he can name his ancestry and his connection to a man with utter precision.

Hulanis Gabreus Burro
Chief amongst the eyes and ears in the capitol, few men know Hulanis Gabreus Burro by sight, as he is know to use a plethora of aliases in his dealing with people, frequently claiming to be in his own direct employ. Burro, perhaps more than any true member of the house, understands the price of information. Politics is not a game to him, it is a matter of life and death. And in life and death there can be no rules, only results. He always strives to have the most agents, the most safeguards, the most protection. For even a man known as the man-faced spider in great house circles has reason the fear a swift knife.

Baracchus Hubabe Comminus
The wine-sot Baracchus Hubabe Comminus is sometimes referred to as the Grey Shame. Completely without the tact and discernment that so characterize his house-fellows, he is a beast of worldly pleasures, given to week long bouts of drunken merriment and raucous celebration in his opulent compound in the very heart of Karmina. On more than one occasion he has been carried, in a stupor to present himself to the Lictor General Harbulus Pelt, as is his monthly duty. It seems that drink is his only pleasure in life, and even in that he lacks the decency of any particular taste.

Imperatry Great Houses
Blue House, Green House, Grey House, Orange House, Purple House, Red House, Yellow House