The Reign of the Casturi

Crest of the CasturiBefore the Empire extended its reach to the North Marches, even before the Empire was founded, the rule of the Casturi clan had much of the area that is now Storm Marches and Aubresan in its grip. This evil octet ruled from The Ebon Fortress, Castle Casturi, a massive black fortress hidden away deep in the mountains north of Eutron's Way, said to be in the Castufel Valley. Some records suggest that this fortress was predated by eight castles which, over time, grew together to become a single massive structure. Their armies roamed the lands to spread the clan's power. The armies of the neighboring kingdoms, Nodhoscor, Miendanc, Elenkhtal, Prorateus, and the Dwarven kingdoms in Alrhudahl and Arngothrim were constantly engaged in keeping the Casturi armies at bay.

The character of the Casturi can be readily discerned from the clan's crest. Eight triskeles, one for each family, surmount the crest. The Broken Cup, a symbol of Aspirel, principal deity of the clan, stands prominently in the crimson capita. Blood, water, and ichor pour from the cup. The shield's four fields show the Eye of Arocc, three Death Orchids, four Flame Scarabs, and the Void of K'Kah, the arch-deity over Aspirel. In brown, a bar vertis signifies single-mindedness. In yellow, the broken bar dextregas signifies a message of dominance.

Three Casturi Lords, a mage, a cleric, and a psion, headed each family and oversaw that family's hereditary role in the Casturi court. Each Lord's role was included in their title, such as that of Baradon Minapanss, 5th Mage Adgeis, Lord Traveler of Casturi.

Casturi Lord Role Charge
Monaccon The Adjudicator Judge those who oppose the Casturi.
Treugis The Collector Manage the tribute of the populace.
Elos The Devisor Create items of power.
Uyaara The Appeaser  Oversee the spiritual life of the clan.
Charabe The Defender Oversee the armies of Casturi.
Ludeger The Recorder Preserve the records of the clan.
Adgeis The Traveler Explore the alterniverse.
Stylbi The Objector Present opposing viewpoints to the plans of the court.

The Casturi fall began in YSE 316, when the Empire extended its reach to the lands neighboring those of the Casturi. A four-year long war followed, with the armies of the North March kingdoms joined by those of the Empire. The war did not go well for the allied armies opposing the Casturi until its final year when, mysteriously, the Ebon Fortress went silent. No orders, no guidance, and no more assistance to the armies was forthcoming. The armies quickly fell to the allied forces. The mystery of this silence has never been solved.

The area freed from the Casturi was named Storm Marches and became a protectorate of the Empire. The general of the Empire's armies, Augras Taruiga, was named Arch-duke of the Storm Marches and charged with consolidating them into a new kingdom for the empire. In YSE 328, he was crowned first King of Storm Marches and Arch-duke of the Peninsular Province. His Captains, Torudan Selldreun, Noudresh Oluthell, and Hart Veudrem, were given Archduchies in Belleota, the Central Province, Saduguan, the Southern Province, and Aubresan, the Western Province. Other lesser portions of the Casturi lands were granted to Nodhoscor and Miendanc.

But evil as great as that of the Casturi does not die easily. There is yet another chapter in the rule of the Casturi, entwined with the history of Storm Marches. By YSE 464, Storm Marches had become a powerful kingdom, with an army of great might. The King Reynal Taruiga, eighth of that line, began to challenge the kingdoms at his borders, and to infiltrate them with spies. There was also internal strife in the kingdom, with Archduke Measu Veudrem of Aubresan opposing the actions of the Crown. It was soon revealed that King Reynal had sought to subvert the monarchies of the neighboring kingdoms and the Aubresan Archduchy. In the war that followed (YSE 466-468), Reynal was overthrown. As Reynal's trappings of power were explored, the victors were horrified to find Casturi writings and artifacts in Reynal's inner sanctums.

Then followed an Imperially-sanctioned pogrom carried out by the Imperial Psionicists, to discover the extent of Casturi influence. Over four dozen in the courts of the Storm Marches provinces were found to be exerting Casturi influences on the leaders. After these were eliminated, the Tauriga house was dis-ennobled and the crown of Storm Marches was passed to the Coatruiga house. The Imperial Court also ordered that certain lands be broken away from Storm Marches. Aubresan Province was removed from the kingdom and given Crown status, with Measu Veudrem becoming first King of Aubresan. Saduguan Province was given over to the rule of Nodhoscor. Psionicists, in a variety of forms, still maintain a strong presence in these lands and are charged with ensuring that Casturi influences remain purged from the populace.