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The Lord Ruler's perfect capital city, Luthadel, is doing the impossible: rebelling. Skaa half-breeds are being taught the power of Allomancy, something that the Lord Ruler's obligators said only existed in the nobility. The enslaved skaa, with their murderous benefactor, now fight back against a living god's oppression.

So, the Inquisition was formed. The nobles begin to fear assassination from all sides. The times of nobility Mistborn killing each other are over. The Steel Inquisitors look for aristocrat traitors and insurgent skaa, and the skaa try with all their strength to merely survive. The Lord Ruler's perfect Final Empire is slowly devolving into chaos.

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The Great Houses, and the Inquisition's Notes


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#1 Chaos

110
Aaron Elariel's Math Skills

Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:42 PM

This missive, intercepted by a rebellion agent of ours, is from an unknown member of the Canton of Inquisition, possibly addressed to a nobleman. It contains the Inquisition's notes on all the Great Houses, including extensive floorplans of their Keeps. I'm quite disturbed by this. If it is to a noble, what house could possibly need a complete dossier of the Great Houses? No one would have much ability or assassins to utilize this intel properly.

Except, perhaps, us. For whoever this is addressed to, we are incredibly fortunate to have it now.

The Shade tells me this was written after Julian Casuana's death, but before House Casuana's ball. I have edited it to keep current for the rebels, with strike marks denoting the original text, and my edits nearby.

I am completely guessing on what criteria the Canton of Inquisition uses to rate "Allomancy", "Integrity", and "Danger", but if I feel the need to adjust rankings due to major house action, I'll try my hardest to keep within the spirit of this obligator's goals. If worse comes to worse, I should think I shall change ratings based on relative changes between the houses, like if I feel one house is rising over another.

Allomancy, I believe, refers to the house's general Allomantic reserves. Integrity must be about a house's stability, taking into account its political and economic situations. The Danger Ratings seem to be the most nebulous. But, if I am correct, it ranks how damaging a house would be in direct conflict. Were I to rate these houses, I should think Elariel more dangerous than Hasting, but if we consider what direct forces Elariel can muster, Hasting would be superior. So, friends, let us not be too quick to discount a house, for there are many other ways than sheer force for them to harm us, I believe.


1. VENTURE

Head: Ellsworth Venture
Heir: Nevan Venture. Second in line: Magnus Venture
Origin: Urteau, Northern Dominance
Ascension Date: 843
Primary Financial Avenues: Versatile merchant dealings
Socioeconomic Rating: 10
Allomancy: A
Integrity: A
Diplomacy: Elariel - [Neutral] [Negative]; Deveaux - [Ally*]; Sureau - [Enemy]; Hasting - [Enemy];
Tekiel - [Negative]; Lekal -[Neutral]; Casuana - [Ally*]; Raisaal - [Positive]; Fathvell - [Neutral]

Inquisiton's notes: Venture is the most powerful house in the Final Empire for a reason. It mixes caution with risk in a quite effective way, and many of its businesses have excelled for exactly this reason. I must grudgingly agree that Ellsworth has ran Venture well, though he is not a person I would ever place trust in.

The house is shrewd and versatile. It successfully betrayed the Sureau Coalition twenty-five years ago. That attack ultimately led to Sureau's fall in rank, and Venture's rise. They had acquired a critical contract from the Lord Ruler which brought it considerable prosperity. Due to its importance to House Venture and to the Ministry, I refuse to speak of it.

Since that attack, Venture has dominated, and though they have allies, they had no Great Houses on their side. I am, frankly, astonished they have survived in this political climate. However, of paramount importance is the overtures of peace between Deveaux and Venture. Why idiot Ellsworth would trust Deveaux is beyond even the Lord Ruler's gaze, but he must think he is making a masterful stroke.

Due to Venture's wealth, Allomantic reserve, cunning, and a possible Venture-Deveaux alliance, I assess a Danger Rating of A. Take great care in harming them, but proceed quickly.



2. ELARIEL

Head: Alistair Elariel
Heir: Mikhail Elariel. Second in line: Aaron Elariel (Mikhail has been assassinated. Aaron is now heir.)
Origin: Tremredare, Western Dominance
Ascension Date: 831
Primary Financial Avenues: Versatile merchant dealings, Brokering Goods
Socioeconomic Rating: 9.8
Allomancy: A
Integrity: A-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Neutral] [Negative]; Deveaux - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Unfriendly];
Hasting - [Neutral] [Negative]; Tekiel - [Neutral]; Lekal - [Neutral]; Casuana - [Neutral];
Raisaal - [Friendly*]; Fathvell - [Neutral]

Inquisiton's notes: Elariel is a house of caution. It has a long-standing neutrality policy towards other Great Houses since its ascension to Luthadel, which has given it a large reservoir of resources. A house can invest in Elariel and be assured of complete objectivity. If an Elariel girl marries outside, that does not imply the Elariels are allying with that house, as they marry girls out equally to all factions, ensuring their neutrality. They only tend to ally with lesser houses when they are superb business decisions from Elariel. Those Houses it subsumes are also expected to maintain neutrality.

Our sources indicate that Elariel has secretly made an alliance with Raisaal, which is publicly known now as a "business decision". Do not be fooled; they will announce the alliance soon. Since Raisaal's dealings are also impartial, this is a shrewd move on Elariel's part, for in a practical sense, they can still claim neutrality.

Their neutrality gives them an enormous intelligence network. Our estimates indicate that of any single Great House, Elariel's spy network is the most vast. However, they capitalize on it sparingly, and only in cases of defense. Surely another measure which shows their devotion to neutrality. Elariel moves slowly and with consideration of every contingency. This means that as long as you do not gain Elariel's ire (as Sureau had), they probably will be little threat to you. I assess a Danger Rating of B-.



3. DEVEAUX

Head: Augustin Deveaux
Heir: Arnaud Deveaux. Second: Damien Deveaux
Origin: Urteau, Northern Dominance
Ascension Date: 668
Primary Financial Avenues: Mining, Refined Allomantic Metals, Mercantile Dealings
Socioeconomic Rating: 9.5
Allomancy: A
Integrity: B+
Diplomacy: Venture - [Ally*]; Elariel - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Enemy]; Hasting - [Enemy];
Tekiel - [Neutral]; Lekal - [Neutral]; Casuana - [Ally]; Raisaal - [Neutral]; Fathvell - [Neutral]

Inquisiton's notes: Deveaux has substantial holdings across the Final Empire. Its prime competitor in the Northern Dominance, Martel, is a shadow of its former self. This shows you just what Deveaux is capable: the utter destruction of anything which stands in its way. Their focused business strategies in these times of crisis have lent them substantial wealth. It is a House full of smart, ruthless individuals, who have no remorse when it comes to human costs. It doesn't matter if those who are harmed are inside Deveaux or are Deveaux's enemies. People are merely tools to Deveauxs. For some unfathomable reason, its members are the most zealous with their duty to Deveaux.

Beware dealings with Deveaux. They will betray you if you are not completely with them. They betrayed House Venture long ago, though it seems with Nevan Venture and Camille Deveaux courting, they may just repair the damage between those Houses. I can't imagine why the Ventures can stand to deal with them, however. Tread carefully if you intend to fight against this probable Venture-Deveaux alliance, my friend. Cripple it before it becomes to fruition, but do not get targeted from the Deveauxs, lest you want everything you hold dear to you annihilated.

Deveaux's prime weakness is through its marriage alliance with Casuana, a fact which should be exploited to great effect. But its weaknesses are few, compared to its strengths. For its ruthlessness, determination, resources, and the horror of a Deveaux-Casuana-Venture faction, I assess a Danger Rating of AAA.



4. SUREAU

Head: Stefan Sureau
Heir: Aveline Sureau. Second: Nadia Sureau.
Origin: Klessium, Eastern Dominance
Ascension Date: 563
Primary Financial Avenues: Architecture, Construction, Real Estate
Socioeconomic Rating: 9.0
Allomancy: B+
Integrity: D-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Enemy]; Elariel - [Unfriendly]; Deveaux - [Enemy]; Hasting - [Ally];
Tekiel - [Ally]; Lekal - [Enemy]; Casuana - [Enemy]; Raisaal - [Enemy]; Fathvell - [Friendly]

Inquisiton's notes: Sureau obviously is continuing on its path of self-destruction, though its allies don't seem to know it. I personally traveled to Sureau's ancestral manor in the Eastern Dominance, and it is practically destroyed. Its Luthadel Keep is its front for wealth, and so it seems everything of value was stripped from most other places and consolidated in Luthadel. Tekiel's manor in the East was more fantastic, and I have no doubt that when Sureau falls, Tekiel will subsume this dead House's Eastern properties.

Sureau lives vicariously through its Coalition, often constructing Keeps for houses it wants to ascend to Great House. Its primary political strategy seems to strengthen its Southern ally, Hasting, against both competitors Casuana and Lekal down there. I imagine it is for this reason that Hasting is ranked where it is, simply because Sureau pumps much of business there. Additionally, its alliance with Fathvell will either keep Sureau afloat a little longer or drag Fathvell down almost instantly.

Its leadership is obviously lacking, especially with its disastrous dealings with Lekal this century. I am certain Sureau is responsible for removing Vivian Elariel. Any house that is not with Sureau is immediately its enemy, and this shall be its downfall. They are preparing major military operations to annihilate that accursed Venture-Deveaux. Whether they succeed or not is irrelevant. Even success would lead them to financial doom within one quarter.

With their quick temper and deep pocket of allies in their huge Coalition, do not engage Sureau lest you wish to feel their wrath immediately. Wait for them to shatter, then proceed. Due to its ruthlessness, resources, and large contingent of guards and Allomancers, I assess a Danger Rating of A+.



5. HASTING

Head: Sheldon Hasting
Heir: No definitive heir. Candidates are Colette or Caden.
Origin: Lansing City, Southern Dominance
Ascension Date: 857
Primary Financial Avenues: Production and trade of weapons (manufacturing, shipping?)
Socioeconomic Rating: 8.7
Allomancy: B
Integrity: C-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Enemy]; Elariel - [Negative]; Deveaux - [Enemy]; Sureau - [Ally]; Tekiel - [Ally]; Lekal - [Negative]; Casuana - [Enemy]; Raisaal - [Neutral]; Fathvell - [Friendly]

Inquisiton's notes: [Coming soon]

Danger Rating: B.



6. TEKIEL

Head: Hector Tekiel
Heir: Aldwin Tekiel. Second: Kardin Tekiel
Origin: Klessium, Eastern Dominance
Ascension Date:
Primary Financial Avenues: Canals, Shipping
Socioeconomic Rating: 8.5
Allomancy: B-
Integrity: B-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Negative]; Elariel - [Neutral]; Deveaux - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Ally];
Hasting - [Ally]; Lekal - [Positive]; Casuana - [Negative]; Raisaal - [Positive]; Fathvell - [Positive]

Inquisiton's notes: [Coming soon]

Danger Rating: C+.



7. LEKAL

Head: Canler Lekal
Heir: Efram Lekal
Origin: Port Tresteau, Southern Dominance
Ascension Date: 875
Primary Financial Avenues: Agriculture
Socioeconomic Rating: 8.2
Allomancy: C-
Integrity: B-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Neutral]; Elariel - [Neutral]; Deveaux - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Enemy];
Hasting - [Negative]; Tekiel - [Positive]; Casuana - [Positive]; Raisaal - [Ally]; Fathvell - [Positive]

Inquisiton's notes: [Coming soon]

Danger Rating: C+



8. CASUANA

Head: Mia Casuana
Heir: No defined heir. Until the Lady Casuana remarries, most likely Everett Casuana.
Origin: Lansing City, Southern Dominance
Ascension Date: 913
Primary Financial Avenues: Forging Weapons and Steel
Socioeconomic Rating: 7.9
Allomancy: C
Integrity: C-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Ally*]; Elariel - [Neutral]; Deveaux - [Ally]; Sureau - [Enemy];
Hasting - [Enemy]; Tekiel - [Negative]; Lekal - [Positive]; Raisaal - [Negative]; Fathvell - [Positive]

Inquisiton's notes: In the space of almost a year, Casuana has gone through three different Lords. And predictably, the situation has been a major detriment to Casuana. Lucius Casuana, the lord who made this a Great House, died in a skaa rebel attack. His son, Julian, who took the House Title had worked hard for powerful contracts, but in that period, his business floundered. He was killed in early 918, leaving his wife, Mia (nee Deveaux), in control. Fortunately, their output of weapons has remained fairly constant, as their factories are in the Southern Dominance. That is their saving grace.

They are under investigation about Julian Casuana's death. They claim it was an accident. The gossip in Luthadel says it was a skaa attack, as had been done to Julian's father. Why Casuana would cover up a skaa attack on Julian makes no sense. Like their ally Deveaux, they have no patience with their skaa. Alternative hypotheses are being analyzed, pending further investigation. The shadow of his death is not good for Casuana's public image. They appear to be a prime target for rebels, and no one (including my analysts) predicts they will last five more years in Luthadel.

The current Lady has no sense for political tact, and Luthadel will tear them apart because of her careless words. The only reason that they are ranked this high is due to their Ministry contract, which provided substantial wealth to them. Due to Casuana's weak leadership and constant skaa targeting--regardless of its Deveaux ally and Ministry contract--I assess a Danger Rating of D.



9. RAISAAL

Head: Victre Raisaal
Heir: Lucar Raisaal
Origin: Lakeside, Central Dominance
Ascension Date: 917
Primary Financial Avenues: Mercenaries, Hazekillers, weaponry
Socioeconomic Rating: 7.5
Allomancy: A-
Integrity: B+
Diplomacy: Venture - [Positive]; Elariel - [Friendly*]; Deveaux - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Enemy];
Hasting - [Negative]; Tekiel - [Positive]; Lekal - [Ally]; Casuana - [Negative]; Fathvell - [Neutral]

Inquisiton's notes: This "new" Great House actually has a parasitic relationship with House Urbain. When we killed Lord Urbain, Raisaal immediately seized the opportunity to ascend again. The two houses have complementary businesses, and while Urbain was more mercantile, Raisaal is militaristic, and so Raisaal has always flourished in times of crisis. Raisaal actually took over Keep Urbain, though records show that the keep was originally a Raisaal one. They've eaten each other for centuries. Right now, Urbain grudgingly grovels to Victre.

They hire out mercenaries, most notably hazekillers, which they proclaim to be the best hazekillers in the Empire. Raisaal is not incorrect in their assessment: every member of Raisaal is trained from an early age in combat, and when they become of age, many serve under alternate identities and are hired to Raisaal's clients like any other hazekiller. So, if you want to assassinate someone, I would strongly advise to avoid Raisaals if you'd like your assassins to continue living. Additionally, Raisaal is strong Allomantically, with many Mistings. They are quite a pure line. I suspect more than a bit of Urbain's Allomancy comes from Raisaal.

Of the Great Houses, their military forces are the best--though Sureau has many troops, Raisaals are better, with far superior commanders, and while Venture and Deveaux are incredibly dangerous, Raisaal still makes combat their singular goal. The only reason they are ranked as low as they are is due to a lack of ludicrous wealth that the other Great Houses have access to. Proper training is expensive, and as expensive as Raisaal hazekillers and mercenaries are, margins are not phenomenal. Still, during these years, business has been booming for them.

House Raisaal also has an immensely secretive contract with the Ministry and the Lord Ruler, one which is not to be spoken of except to your most trusted confidants. The contract involves the formation of a group of hidden assassins to do special tasks for the Lord Ruler, ones that are too sensitive to deal with an Inquisitor or other means. These "Black Haze," as they are known, are the best of the best, and are not to be taken lightly. I have confirmed that an individual Black Haze member has killed a Mistborn in single combat. And while I cannot determine who specifically the Black Haze are--I believe the full list is only known in the Lord Ruler's memories, or with Lord Raisaal--I estimate there are somewhere between ten and fifteen members (though this is speculative), and they are all in the Central Dominance. Be wary.

Raisaal is not someone who you will need to immediately worry about, though perhaps in the longer term, especially given their upcoming alliance with Elariel, which will probably signal long term changes in Central politics. Still, there are more prudent targets for you, which I hope I have persuaded you are more vital targets. You need not waste resources on this "new" Great House only to be met with shocking resistance. If you do strike them, do so with overwhelming force and do so in a single instant. But that would play your hand quite spectacularly, would it not, my friend? Don't be foolish. For their obvious military threat, I assess a Danger Rating of A-.



10. FATHVELL

Head: Desmond Fathvell
Heir: Elliot Fathvell.
Origin: Tavira, Southern Islands
Ascension Date: 917
Primary Financial Avenues: Wine, Luxury Goods, Shipbuilding
Socioeconomic Rating: 7.2
Allomancy: C+
Integrity: C-
Diplomacy: Venture - [Neutral]; Elariel - [Neutral]; Deveaux - [Neutral]; Sureau - [Friendly];
Hasting - [Friendly]; Tekiel - [Positive]; Lekal - [Ally]; Casuana - [Positive]; Raisaal - [Neutral]

Inquisiton's notes: I am not surprised often, but House Fathvell had indeed surprised me when they had ascended shortly before the Inquisition. They are the only Great House from an Outer Dominance--no small feat--and sell a variety of exotic goods from their homeland of the Southern Islands, along with the Remote Dominance, and sell it at exhoribatant rates in the Inner Dominances. Fathvell wine is the most sought after in the Empire, as the Southern climate is especially beneficial for that purpose. Perhaps the stroke of genius of Fathvell was that they are also shipwrights, making barges and ships both for their use and to sell to other houses. The barges alone give them a continuous revenue source in the Central Dominance.

Fathvell had expanded through the Southern Dominance with a well-placed alliance with House Lekal and House Landell, a transportation house, all the while avoiding the tumultuous Austrexian politics between Hasting and Casuana. When offered a substantial contract from House Sureau, they were able to ascend. Fathvell is *not* an explicit member of the Sureau Coalition, but they owe Sureau a great debt for assistance in ascension. Complicating matters is Sureau's longstanding hatred of Lekal, and so Sureau surely would love Fathvell to sever ties with its biggest ally. Indeed, they are between a rock and a hard place, trying to please almost everyone and probably succeeding in pleasing no one. Still, Fathvell's wealth in the face of pirates and criminals in the Isles means their leadership is forged from strong steel. Their military forces are surprisingly good as well, with one confirmed Mistborn and many lesser Mistings. A roster is attached for your perusal.

Fathvell is under investigation by our Tavira canton regarding more seedy dealings with local pirates, which in turn strike local enemies. Dealings of this nature are not an uncommon occurrence, so we have merely been quietly observing whom they support and if their activities come to heresy. Using skaa for political advancement, after all, is the grand tradition of the Final Empire. I can supply you a list of their contacts, but this is probably irrelevant for your Luthadel operations.

Though their meteoric ascent is impressive, our analyses do predict that they have overextended their economic reach. Models indicate that they will go bankrupt within five years, but Fathvell has surprised us before. I would not focus upon them, as Luthadel politics will not help their position, and the Inquisition and the coming conflict will not be good for their businesses. Regardless, for unexpected competence and not inconsiderable Allomantic reserves, I assess a Danger Rating of C+.

Edited by Chaos, 06 October 2013 - 08:44 PM.







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