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Redrain

"To the last."

The wild and fiercely independent House Redrain is the youngest of the great houses, being born from the carnage of the Reckoning a thousand years past, and scholars have some measure of agreement on their beginnings. Long before the time of the Reckoning and the founding of the Compact, the lawless northlands were seen as a savage refuge for barbaric raiders who would sweep in from their strongholds in the high peaks of the northern mountains or the deep vales to strike at any vulnerable southern settlements under Valardin or Grayson control. Only the constant bloody feuds between the many northern clans and tribes kept them from being a true threat to the southern lands, and the few southern attempts to end the threat with campaigns of invasion ended in disaster.

Then the Reckoning came for us all. Legend has it that one part of the army of hell marched from over the furthest northern ranges that lead to the Everwinter, that bleak land of only ice where no men live. The demonic White Legion fell upon the scattered tribes and different people of the north, butchering and enslaving as they went, and one clan after another fell in ferocious battles against the dark invasion. One barbarian warband leader named Valeria had the strength of will and presence of mind to rally the eternally feuding clans of the north into a great host to meet the threat, a feat recounted in song even to this day all throughout the north generally by extremely intoxicated northmen.

While a wise scholar is dubious about the historical accuracy of any legendary narrative, we can be sure that a great northern army clashed with some manner of invader, even if it was just another particularly vicious host of northmen rather than 'demons'. But the legends tell the origin of House Redrain quite clearly, even if the 'demonic' aspects and more fantastic nature of what follows should be questioned. After initial victories, the continuing onslaught from the north forced Valeria to decide that the clans under her leadership must make peace with the south and join the growing force at Arx, but it was not as simple as turning to march for the south. The slow moving thousands of refugees streaming in from a hundred different clans were easy prey for the enemy host, and Valeria had to lead her northmen into a desperate battle to purchase the necessary time. It is said that in the narrow vale that Valeria selected as the battleground to hold the enemy, the barbarian leader personally held the vanguard that smashed wave after wave of demons, until the great demonic commander took the field. In one of the few cases of a surviving account from the Reckoning, it was written that, "The bright early day sun fled the sky, turning the mid day dark as midnight as the dread demon lord marched forth as a champion. The swirling clouds above began to rain blood, as the winds howled with the cries of the damned, and the true fury of the demons were unleashed upon our line. Through the rain of blood and the onslaught of the elite guard of the White Legion, some lost heart and cried, 'How long must we hold?'. But it was bold Valeria who set forth to fight the demon lord herself who answered in a voice that carried over the field, 'To the last!'. It was upon that battleground with that scream of defiance that House Redrain was born."

Legends of the Reckoning aside, the north is clearly not as savage or barbaric today as it was in ages past, as any wise individual in arm's reach of a northman would protest. Though certainly some of the northern houses still might cling to some ancient traditions like shamanism and vassal houses to House Redrain do still have bitter feuds with one another, many of the northern nobles are just as refined, courtly and politically astute as any other peers of the realm. If a few boisterously loud, scandalously wanton, fiercely independant northmen with entirely too much to drink decide to meet every conceivable stereotype about savage northmen from time to time, it is to be forgiven as the exception and not the rule. The wise scholar sticks to that story.