House Valentine

Based: Barony of Naseby
(in the County of Carlisle and the Duchy
of Keswick)
Heraldry: Green and White quartered with a black Trilithon in the centre.

Leader: Avery Valentine

The history of House Valentine before the civil war was one of a peaceful house which did not have the prestige of the larger Houses. The family home, Iron Howe Manor was fortified through necessity, the Duchy of Keswick having the misfortune of having common borders with both Caledonia and Cymrija and as such the family lands have suffered raids in the past.

By the late 1080’s the family was controlled by three brothers, Charles, James and Robert. Robert was ever a wayward spirit, often travelling the lands in search of adventure. So much so that he entered into a card game in Newcroft (now Newcastle) and won a galley called the Storm Zephr. This allowed him to extend his travels to the other nations in the Heartlands, and when a call went out for volunteers to help the Vipers in their Civil War with the Cobra’s, Robert volunteered himself and the Storm Zephr.

When Corvis Corvudae claimed the throne of Albion, Charles and James found his actions distasteful and soon fell into the camp that followed Elspeth. When this camp declared itself the Harts and at war with the Lions, House Valentine found itself adrift in the Lion controlled north of Albion. Charles called upon the forces loyal to House Valentine to gather at Iron Howe Manor, most came but a few did not, declaring themselves Lions and forswearing their oaths to House Valentine. Charles and James prepared House Valentine and its people for the attacks that were to come. Iron Howe Manor its outbuildings & outer wall were fortified as best as they could be. Provisions were taken in for a siege, places prepared for refugees and volunteers hastily trained in basic spear drill. All this was not before time as in summer 1095 a force of Lions, guided by those who had once been in service to House Valentine, approached Iron Howe. As thought the manor became a refuge for the people from the nearest town, where the Lions soon set up camp. Though initially small in number the Lions force soon increased in size as other war bands arrived in the area. It was three weeks before there were enough of them to properly put the manor under siege. The first attempt to storm the manor was three weeks into the siege and managed to breach the gates. For three hours battle raged back and forth across the grounds in front of the manor, before eventually the Lions were forced back outside and the gate passage blocked. It had been bitter, bloody fighting. The dead and wounded from both sides was nearly one hundred men & women, including Edward Valentine, Charles’s firstborn son. As the wounded were taken care of in the outbuildings (the Lions suitably imprisoned) and the dead were prepared for burial a messenger approached the gatehouse from the Lions forces. He requested that the defenders surrender and that the members of House Valentine turn themselves over to the Lions to face King Corvis’s justice. Charles declared that whilst there was life still within their hearts then they would never surrender. The messenger maintained a poker face and rode away without a word. Three days later the besiegers attempted to storm the manor again, this time pushing the defenders back into the manor and the outbuildings. As it seemed that the Lions were gathering for another attack they broke off and retreated from the manor grounds. James led a small squad of Household Guard out too see what was happening; he found that the Lions were withdrawing back to the nearby town and seemed to be fortifying there. This small force quickly returned to the manor when a mounted party approached them, the party turned back before getting into bow range of the manor. During this second clean up a gravely wounded Charles was found in one of the out buildings that had fallen to the Lions. As he was tended to by the overextended healers he explained that whilst the Lion commander had been gloating in his presence, a messenger had approached with the news that they had again been defeated during the Gathering honour battle. The Lions commander was not happy to hear this, but he was less happy to hear that his force was being stripped to provide troops to other fronts (Charles did not overhear that part of the conversation in full, just the outburst from the commander “What? How can I complete the siege without them!”). That night Charles fell into a deep sleep from which he did not wake in the morning, dying from his wounds during the pre-dawn hours.

Charles and his eldest son Edward were entombed in the family crypt, the remaining dead, Lion or Hart, were laid to rest in two mass graves. The one that contains the Hart dead has a stone obelisk carved with all their names, the one for the Lions has a stone marker with the words “When a land becomes divided against itself.”. The wounded for both sides were attended to, those loyal to the Lions were placed under arrest and held in decent conditions in one of the out buildings, under constant guard. An uneasy peace developed between the Hart forces of House Valentine in Iron Howe manor and the Lions forces based out of the Standing Stones Inn in the nearby town. The peace held for the next twelve months as neither side had the strength of arms to attack the other without leaving itself open. When the Gathering of Nations came around again, both sides awaited word of the outcome of any battle between the two sides and their allies. When word again came of a Hart victory, and  the conditions that went with it, James rejoiced as it meant that the ideals that had caused House Valentine to declare for the Harts had been vindicated. Two days later a delegation arrived at the manor from the Lions encamped in the town, their commander explained that he would be withdrawing his force, in accordance with the peace treaty, to the nearest connection to Avalon. The commander also enquired about the Lions dead and wounded from the previous year, James showed him the grave of the dead Lions (then only marked with a wooden stake) and to where the captured Lions were being held. The situation was explained to them and they were allowed to gather their belongings (minus their weapons and armour) and leave with the rest of the Lion force.

Once the Lions force had been escorted from Valentine lands James breathed a sigh of relief. He declared that war was an inglorious undertaking and he was determined that the House would not loose so much again. To this end he had all the scions of the house swear that they would not involve themselves beyond the houses obligations to the Harts, in the affairs outside of the Duchy of Keswick until after his death. To this end all of the scions have followed his wishes to the letter, unless their duty to the Harts demanded otherwise. This meant that House Valentine have weathered the intervening years quietly, providing support where they could.

James Valentine died in the Autumn of 1106, not long after the cataclysm. He had been suffering from a series of illnesses for the past eight months, each successive one weakening him more and more until he just did not have the strength to carry on. Following his funeral Charles’ younger son Avery became head of the house. Avery began to work with his cousins to allow any of them to look after the affairs of the house for when any of them were away for any length of time. This meant that Avery was unable to participate in any of the events happening in the world until the Autumn of 1108, two years after his Uncles death. Avery left his eldest cousin in charge of the house whilst he travelled to Gloucester, from where he took part in Harts mission into the Greenwood.

Submitted by Avery Valentine (Head of House Valentine)