Sharn: The Last City
Just as Khorvaire has changed drastically in the last twenty years, so have the dragonmarked houses changed. Some have had their fortunes increase as the nations of Khorvaire have become to rely on their services, while others have almost faded to obscurity.
It is primarily Cannith, Lyrandar, Kundarak, Sivis and Thuranni who have grown in importance, while Orien, Vadalis and Phierlan have been diminished.
Twenty years ago, House Cannith was strong but divided. That is still true, the house holds two rival enclaves. One in Sharn, and in one Lhazaar. But the Sharn enclave has eclipsed its rival, its industrial capabilities and close ties to the kingdom of Breland, has made that faction of the house incredibly wealthy and powerful.
Merrix d’Cannith leads the Sharn enclave of the House, which is undoubtely the most powerful of the Houses holdings. Cannith west collapsed after the fall of Aundair, with most of its people and its most valuable possessions falling into the hands of the Sharn enclave. The karrnathi enclave relocated to Regalport in Lhazaar, but has yet to rebuild its strength. The Lhazaar enclave is strongly aligned with King Kaius.
In Sharn, House Cannith runs the best forges and the largest and most efficient factories in all of Khorvaire. Much of the materials and equipment for the colonization of Xen’drik are provided by house Cannith. This has created close ties between the House and Breland. The Sharn enclave has also resumed production of warforged, who are now created to serve as laborers in Xen’drik. Cannith is also an extremely powerful political force in the city, without Canniths forges Sharns importance would diminish, and outside forces would have less interest in supporting the city. While the house rarely takes direct interest in the day to day operation of the city, no city official would dare to deny a request from the houses’ leadership.
With the destruction of Khorvaire by an enemy that cannot be fought, one would think that the importance of House Deneith would be diminished. But while the Mournland is an unopposable enemy, the last twenty years have created plenty of dangers that house Deneith have been hired to combat. Today, the House mainly sells its services in eastern Khorvaire, where large numbers of refugees all trying live on shrinking land often create conflicts that provide business for the House. The enclave in Sharn has also grown in importance. With the city guard overwhelmed by the number of refugees, House Deneith has been employed to enforce the law in the wealthier parts of the city.
The house has also been training and providing soldiers for expeditions into the Mournland, and in cooperation with house Thraskh and Kundarak, a new guild has been set up for this specific purpose.
Never a house to involve itself in politics, life goes on as normal for most members of House Ghallanda. It’s headquarters in Gatherhold have long since been destroyed by the Mournland, but the halflings have moved their possessions and valuables to safety. Themselves often refugees, house Ghallanda have prided themselves on providing safety and assistance to other refugees. This has made the House very popular with large numbers of Khorvaires survivors, and the business of its surviving inns and taverns has increased. In most refugee camps around Khorvaire you will often find a Ghallanda caravan serving as a community center.
Not much has changed for House Jorasco. These are dangerous times, people still get injured, and people still require healing. In the remaining cities it’s enclaves have grown as house members from other areas have fled to safety.
For wealthy refugees the most pressing issue is protecting ones valuables. When a lord becomes a refugee, he can very quickly become a poor man if he cannot move his valuables, is robbed, or his servants prove untrustworthy. House Kundarak was able to use this fear as leverage earn vast sums protecting the property of wealthy people displaced by the Mournland.
Never one to simply sit on their wealth, Kundarak invested much of their earnings, increasing their power and influence, and providing assistance to those who had the means to organize the survivors of Khorvaire. Much of Brelands colonization of Xen’drik, Karrnaths takeover of Lhazaar, and the Mror holds efforts to contain the Mournland have all been funded by Kundarak gold. And the house therefore has great influence over these nations.
House Kundarak has also created a new guild, in cooperation with House Deneith and Tharashk, focusing on reclaiming lost riches from the Mournland.
House Lyrandar is perhaps the house whos fortunes have increased the most as a result of the crisis. While airships were a recent invention at the end of the Last War, their development has continued, and their numbers have been multiplied as it became clear that they were the only reliable method of travel across Khorvaire. Built by House Cannith, the most recent airships are one hundred meter long behemoths, suspended by both soarwood, magical energy, and elemental power. These large ships can require multiple windwright captains to control, but without them transportation across Khorvaire would collapse, and Sharn would not recieve the raw materials it so desperately needs.
The house has also grown in importance on the sea. With Breland colonizing Xen’drik. And King Kaius’ conquest of Lhazaar, transportation by sea has also become important. And Lyrandar ships have had unending business ever since the crisis began.
With en increasinly dangerous world, the Warning Guild does not lack for business. It’s reputation has taken a hit due to its continued inability to predict the Mournland, which cost the house greatly after the disaster at Korranberg. But since then House Medani has been ordered to be involved in all official investigations pertaining to the Mournland.
Very little remains of the once vast holdings of House Orien. The lighting rail network is destroyed, and its network of caravans has been reduced to ferrying goods in Q’barra and Lhazaar. With nearly all transportation in Khorvaire going by sea or air, there was little for House Orien to do. A few enclaves of the couriers guild remain, and those few members of the house powerful enough to cast teleportation can make a good but limited business transporting important people. But the income from this is not enough to sustain a large dragonmarked house. And House Orien has been forced to sell off much of its holdings.
The entertainers guild has been very hard hit the last twenty years. What used to be a great information network of spies and inquisitives collapsed as the cities and countries where Phiarlan had spent centuries building relations were abandoned. Phiarlan was never strong in eastern Khorvaire, where Thuranni were quick to strike at any isolated Phiarlan holdings. At the present, House Phiarlan only has a significant precense in Sharn, where it is involved in an extended conflict with House Thuranni over control of the cities intelligence network.
The Mournland has both been a curse and a blessing for House Sivis. With its headquarters in Korranberg destroyed, and most of the leadership killed, the House was scattered. But in the years since then, the house has rebuilt at an astounding speed. With transportation and communication across Khorvaire blocked by the Mournland, house Sivis was able to make a brisk business being the fastest means of communication, and eventually, the only means of communication.
The large numbers of refugees also saw good business for the house by providing and verifying identification papers to the masses who were now on the road. For many, forced to abandon their valuables, a proof of identification might be the only thing saving them from a life of poverty, and House Sivis knew to make sure they were well payed for their services.
House Thrashk has been less influenced by the Mournland than many realise. With its ancestral lands of the Shadow Marches still safe, the house has not been forced to move. In recent years, dragonshards have become increasinly common, and House Tharashk has been able to make a good profit by selling them in ever larger numbers. Its relations with the Droaamite monsters who now inhabit the Shadow Marches has also made it a competitor for House Deneiths Blademarks guild. And while competing with House Deneith for mercenary services, it has also allied with it in order to provide guides for expeditions into the Mournland.
House Thurannis headquarters in Regalport were perfectly located for the House to take advantage of the crisis. Already safe from the Mournland, the house were able to focus on sizing power from House Phiarlan while their enemy was distracted. The arrival of the Karrnathi nobility to Lhazaar also provided an increase in business and income. Today, the house enjoys close relations with King Kaius, and provides the Karrns with the most important pieces of information it aquires.
Little is now left of House Vadalis. Reliant on large estates to raise its beasts and animals, Vadalis has lost everything to the Mournland. Little of its wealth could be transported, and today Vadalis remains a dragonmarked house in all but name. A few of its members have relocated to Lhazaar where they hope to rebuild the Houses fortunes, while others have travelled to Xen’drik where they work protecting the colonies from the beasts of the jungle. But many members of House Vadalis can be found, drinking their fortunes away in the lower levels of Sharn, cursing the Mournland as they do.