Byrne/Reflection

House Byrne/Reflection
Head(s) of House Mikani Byrne
Kingdom Crownlands
Liege Stonewood
Words "We can always rise."
Sigil A firebird in crimson on a black field
Nickname Firebirds, Stalwarts, Romantics
County


The County of Cedar Vale had not been paying their dues following the Silence. Lord Gailin Stonewood was sent off to investigate the cause with a platoon of Stonewoods troops. Once there he discovered they had been killed by a local Abandoned coalition. This upset him immensely and he went into battle with those Crownland Shavs coming out victorious in the end. Given his bravery and finding the truth, Gailin claimed the county back in the name of Stonewood and under the Vassalage of Bisland. Upon his return from his ‘aggressive negotiations’ and reclaiming of the County; Marquis Malesh named him Count Gailin Fireviper of Cedar Vale - Fireviper being a name originating with a local viper known for an excruciating venomous bite. This forked the main Stonewood line to replace the nobility of Cedar Vale that was lost. Years later Count Gailin married Lady Mikani Redreef on his deathbed. While they were in contract negotiations before his fatal injuries, Mikani was already poised to take her position as Countess of Cedar Vale. To allow for mourning; Marquis Malesh Stonewood delayed his proclamation of Mikani’s elevation to Countess. During that time Mikani researched the old family that was housed at the old Cinder Estate. The name Byrne was uncovered. Unable to feel like the true Countess of Fireviper without Gailin - Mikani took the name of Byrne in memory of the House that was there before.


Vassalage

House Byrne is a vassal to House Stonewood, which in turn is vassal to House Bisland, which in turn is a vassal to House Grayson. There are some Baronies below them.

Cultural Notes

The lands of House Byrne tend to favor utilitarian yet elegant clothing of Grayson fashion. In the past Fireviper colors of orange, red and black were favored. With the change to Countess Mikani Byrne - more romantic colors of purples, greens and pinks are making a resurgence as well as the house colors of black and crimson. Due to the cooler weather, furs and sturdy boots seem to always be in fashion, for men and women.

Celebrations

In the Spring the solstice is celebrated with a festival that is meant to encourage growth and prosperity for the coming year and to bring together young people for the purpose of first meetings and possible coupling.

Midsummer is marked with a festival at the mid-season that invites traders and craftsmen from neighboring lands; an encouragement to trade and for local crafters to sell their wares from the materials brought out of the mountains. It is also during this time the Baron and Baroness observe the new turnout for volunteers who wish to join the soldiery. Contests of skill are also held at this time of year with sponsored prizes going any victors.

Fall, at the time of the equinox, there is a celebration where past oaths are celebrated in reaffirming those oaths. Those that get married on this day are said to have extra blessing from Limerance.

The Winter season sees one local gathering; which is to celebrate the closing of the year and the harvesting seasons. It is during this time that the local stocks of meads and ales crafted for the year, that have not sold, are used to fuel the libations of celebration. In short...it is an end of the year celebration for the purposes to eat, drink, and be merry.

The County Seat

The county seat has been at Cedar Vale for generations. Following the destruction of the old town there at the hands of Abandoned invaders, the area is fondly called and known as The Cinter. Though Byrne (Fireviper before) rebuilt on that land the name persists.

Cedar Vale, AKA The Cinder

Nearly entirely destroyed by Abandoned raiders, rebuilding efforts have just now started, with Marquis Malesh Stonewood granting the Cedar Vale to the new Count Gailin Fireviper. The mostly burned out husk of lands is called The Cinder, and reconstruction has begun.

The county seat has been at Cedar Vale for generations. Following the destruction of the old town there at the hand of Abandoned invaders, the area became known as The Cinder. Fireviper and Byrne has rebuilt on that land, but the name seems to have stuck.

Resting at a higher elevation than Stonewood and nestled amongst the valleys of the mountain range northwest of the Gray River, Cedar Vale is noticeably colder year round. They still experience four distinct seasons, but they tend to be wetter and cooler than their neighbors below. The exception to this is the valley occupied by Cedar Vale, where geothermic activity produces swaths of land where the snow just won’t stick and the springs bubble up nice and warm, offering a popular winter retreat.

Landmarks

The geothermic activity draws tourists especially during the autumn and winter, though many a wedded couple celebrate their union in the rural county so that they may not be distracted from the work of producing heirs.

Military Doctrine

Byrne relies on speed and tactics. Like Stonewood, their 'parent' house, they typically train in light armor and have expert longbowmen. For close combat they favor the swift-short sword. Though with the incoming of Countess Mikani Byrne, there is a push to learn Bantos Rods, Short Batons and Daggers.

In training they are taught how to exploit the weakness of a flank or to use their speed to back up their allies who may need support through out the battlefield. With the mountainous terrain hard on horses - there is a small light calvery and the infantry units are known for their stamina.

Climate and Geography

Cedar Vale is a great distance from open seat - positioned on the mountain between Pridehall and Stonehearth. At the bottom of the mountain is Crown Fork River.

It is the wettest and coldest part of the Stonewood Vassalages. Temperatures range from (on average) 4 °F to 82 °F, and precipitation ranging from 1550 mm to 2500 mm per year.

Heavy snows blanket the mountain in winter with heavy rains in the spring and summer. Heated water carried through copper pipes warms the main holding throughout the winter.

The geothermic activity draws tourists especially during the autumn and winter, though many a wedded couple celebrate their union in the rural county so that they may not be distracted from the work of producing heirs.

Notable Wildlife

Cinder Cat

The Cinder Cat, formerly the Vale Mountain Cat, is a medium sized wild cat that is able to be domesticated. It has a very distinctive physical appearance and valuable hunting skills. Cinder Cats are from the cedar forests around The Cinder. Before The Cinder was burned they were called the Vale Mountain Cat.

  • Length: 36 in to 55 in (Adult, nose to tail)
  • Height: 24 in to 33 in (Adult, at shoulder)
  • Mass: male, 45 - 66 lbs, female, 40 - 61 lbs
  • Other Names: Vale Mountain Cat
  • Origin: Mountainous Area around Cedar Vale

Physical Attributes

Size of the Cinder Cat vs a Man of 6 feet
Body

Muscular, broad-chested. Size medium to large. The body is long with all parts in proportion to create a well-balanced rectangular appearance with no part of the anatomy being so exaggerated as to foster weakness. Allowance should be made for slow maturation.

Head

Medium in width and slightly longer in length than width with a squareness to the muzzle. Cheekbones high. Muzzle visibly square, medium in length, and blunt ended when viewed in profile. It may give the appearance of being a rectangle but not appear to be tapering or pointed. Length and width of the muzzle proportionate to the rest of the head and present a pleasant, balanced appearance. The chin should be strong, firm, and in line with the upper lip and nose. Head should exhibit a slight concavity when viewed in profile.

Ears

Large, well-tufted, wide at base, tapering to appear pointed. Set approximately one ear’s width apart at the base; not flared.

Eyes

Large, expressive, wide set with an opened oval shape. Slightly oblique setting with slant toward outer base of ear. Eye color can be shades of green, gold, green-gold, or copper. Blue eyes or odd eyes are also allowed for white- or bicolor- (including vans) patterned cats.

Legs and Paws

Legs substantial, wide set, of medium length, and in proportion to the body. Forelegs are straight. Back legs are straight when viewed from behind. Paws large, round, well-tufted. Five toes in front; four in back.

Tail

Long, wide at base, and tapering. Fur long and flowing.

Coat

Heavy and shaggy; shorter on the shoulders; longer on the stomach and britches. Frontal ruff. Texture silky with coat falling smoothly.

Color

Any color or pattern with the exception of those showing hybridization resulting in the colors chocolate, lavender, the Himalayan pattern; the unpatterned agouti on the body (Abyssinian-type ticked tabby) or these combinations with white.

Lifespan and Breeding

As a companion, the Cinder Cat can reach the age of 20 while in the wild their top age isn’t known.

Mating takes place in the late winter and once a year the female gives birth to between 1 and 4 kittens. The gestation period is 70 days. Afterward the young stay with the mother for one more winter before moving out on their own. The Cinder Cat does not make a den for the young, instead using existing outcroppings for shelter.

Behavior and Diet

The Cinder Cat is usually solitary, though a small band may travel and hunt together.

  • Main Pray: rats, mice, voles, squirrels, snowshoe hares, fish, foxes, sheep, turkeys, other birds and firevipers.

Predators

Predators of the lynx include cougars, wolves and coyotes, but humans are the biggest threat of all. Trappers favour lynx for their beautiful, thick fur coat.

Fireviper

The Fireviper is a venomous viper species found in the Crownlands with their main territory is the mountain around Cedar Vale. Several subspecies have been recognized through there is only one major subspecies that will be described here.

  • Length: Adult, measured from nose to tail is 100 cm (39 in) to 162.6 cm (64 in)
  • Common Names: Fireviper, Orange Death, Vale Viper and several shav names
  • Origin: Mountainous area around Cedar Vale, below 8,000 ft. elevation

Physical Attributes

Firevipers have slender body that can reach 100 cm (39 in) to 162.6 cm (64 in) in length. Firevpiers are usually orange in color. They have red blotches and stripes on the back and lateral sides of the body. Belly is covered with red and white markings.

Colors
  • Fluorescent Orange: viper develops white borders around bright red saddle with an orange background
  • Sunglow: white speckling on an exceptionally orange background, the orange background surrounds dark orange saddle marks
  • Blood Red: blood red solid coloring without the ventral checkered pattern
  • Lavender: viper has a light pink background with darker purple-gray markings, they also have ruby to burgundy colored eyes
  • Cinder: wavy borders around the burnt orange saddles on a stone gray background

Lifespan and Breeding

These snakes can live approximately 15-20 years.

Firevipers mate during the summer or fall. Although many kinds of snakes and other reptiles are oviparous (lay eggs), firevipers are ovoviviparous (give birth to live young after carrying eggs inside). Firevipers generally take several years to mature, and females usually reproduce only once every three years.

Behavior and Diet

Though the snake is deadly poisonous, the venom feels like fire in the veins (which gave this viper its name), it is not aggressive. It won’t attack unless provoked or stepped on.

In the colder winter months, firevipers enter a period of brumation, which is dormancy similar to hibernation. They often gather together for brumation in large numbers (sometimes over 1,000 snakes), huddling together inside underground “viper dens" or hibernacula.

The Fireviper hunts by striking rather than attempting to hold their prey. The Fireviper first bites its prey to immobilize it with a toxic venom.

  • Main Pray: lizards and small rodents such as ground squirrels, small rabbits, rats and mice

Predators

Firevipers have many predators and not always because the predator wants to eat them. Animals such as deer, antelope, cows and horses regard the fireviper as a threat and they may try to trample or stomp the snake. Eagles, hawks, coyote, cinder cats or fox are predators who look at these snakes as a source of food.

Industry and Economy

  • Major Exports: Minerals, Sulfur, and Obsidian
  • Minor Exports: Berries, Sap, Syrup, Wool and Fireviper Venom
  • Major Imports: Grain

Since Cedar Vale doesn't have water access - majority of their goods are shipped out of Stonehearth.

Tied to Stonehearth's economic system. Taxes and tariffs are agreeable even with the extra transportation costs. Although there seems to be regulations and laws in place, there are explicit loopholes that only Stonewood and its closest allies are aware of that allow them to sidestep some of the heftier sums for exportation. If one were to review the financial legislature, it would be a complex bundle of terms that would require none other than a lawyer from Stonewood to disseminate and translate. One thing is for certain, the commerce is booming and the legalese involved only draws in more capable clientele whom enforce the economic stability of the region.

Adding Family

There are no siblings of Countess Mikani Byrne. Noble house members have come from Redreef and Stonewood, creating a diverse mix of genetic variations.

Genetics

  • Bisland/Stonewood Mix or Redreef
  • Eyes: Blue to Dark Brown with Hazel Favored
  • Skin: Mixed, Pale to Mocha
  • Hair: Dirty Blond to Dark Browns/Blacks