Marcher Households

Name- House Bolholt

Territory- Bregasland - South of road between Odds end and Ottery

Livery- Dark Brown and Heraldic Gold (mustard)

Concept:

[quote]*To serve is an honour that most refuse to accept. In service a person can find fulfillment far beyond that of glory, but it is also the most difficult of tasks to master.

Let aggression remain the tool of the dull witted fool, unless there is no option but to meet rage with rage.

Our lives are not our own, they are our children’s, and our children’s children. Let us make the Empire a better place for all, let us bring hope.”

Richard of Bolholt
15th Steward of House Bolholt*[/quote]

A House fiercely loyal to the Empire. The House attitude is that all are welcome, regardless of heritage, as long as they are true to the House and the Empire. Those of lineage, including Briars and Merrow, form part of the house alongside their human brothers and sisters.

The House has a long standing rivalry with House Talbot, as one of the Bolholt proverbs states:

“A Talbot’s life is short. Not through lack of force, but because of it. They’d rather swing a pike, than make use of their wit.”

The House colours denote the brown to honour the land on which they toil and the gold to represent the House’s loyalty to the Empire.

The Hounds of the Empire- House Bolholt sub-group

During the civil war House Bolholt spied for the Empress, forming an Intelligence network known as ‘The Hounds of the Empire’ within the Marches. ‘The Hounds’ are now being reactivated to ensure that the Empire grows strong and does not fall prey to those with greedy eyes, whether externally or internally. The Hounds spans many groups and nations, but is centred at house Bolhotl. No longer a secret organisation, it openly recruits, The Hounds of the Empire will be openly aggressive in its defence of the Empire, be that morally, politically, or if needs be, through force.

Numbers: 30 - 50


**Name **- King’s Stoke Militia

Territory - Upwold

Livery - Green and Yellow

Symbol - A tower

Concept:

Farming village militia. The site of the battle that founded the Marches has found itself once more on the front line since the fall of the Mournwold. King’s Stoke survives by virtue of the stubborness and loyalty of its people - every villager has lost someone in this fight, and when the bill block goes to battle, every villager takes the field. King’s Stoke has dedicated itself to supporting the militia and thanks to the unceasing effort of all, is able to field the milita in chain and plate when they go to war.

Numbers: 20


Name – The Talbots.

Territory - Mitwold.

Livery colours – Red & Black.

Concept:
Originally a noble house in Dawn they joined the yeomen’s revolt that led to the forming of the Marches. In the Civil War they were one of the key proponents for unificationwith the Empire.

The main source of Talbot wealth is the large amount of fertile land that they own. They are also renowned for the expertise of their blacksmiths and count several amongst theirnumber. This demand for ore led to strong trade links with families in theMournwold.

Since the fall of the Mourn the Talbots have accepted into their ranks displaced yeomen from the Mourn. They have also helped maintain the Garrison at Fenrose castle withmoney, supplies and on occasion Soldiers. Several say that had the Talbots provided more support when the Mourn was attacked then it would not have fallen.

The Talbots wear Sable (black) and Gules (red) livery. Commonly thought to represent the darkfertile soil and the heat of their forges. Their Household badge is a white rose which is worn on the back of the livery coat with a family badge worn over the left breast

In battle they demonstrate their wealth and power by predominantly fielding a large force ofheavily armoured Yeomen armed with bills. Due to the legacy of metalworking, plate armour is common amongst the Talbots.

Numbers – 20+

Contact Colin Northridge or Nik Gaukroger if you are interested.


Name - Cabots Company

Territory - Bregesland.

**Livery colours **- Green & White

Concept:

When Mournwold was lost to the Marches some twenty seven years ago, a company of soldiers from the mourn territories led by Jack Cabot had been assigned to the remote but vital Castle Fenrose on the borders of Bregasland. Their task was to prevent an expected flanking manoeuvre by the barbarians which never came. When the news of the defeat and subsequent loss of Mournwold came they were at one stroke dispossessed. Having no lands or affinities beyond the borders of Mournwold they made the fateful decision to remain under arms until such time as their homeland was won back. They took Cabot’s family colours of green and white and adopted the humble fen rose as their emblem.

As word spread more and more of the dispossessed of the Mourn gathered to their banner. Seeing them as a useful way to ease the refugee problem that now faced the Empire, and under increasing pressure to do something in the aftermath of the disaster, the senate took the unusual step of granting Cabot’s Company an indenture as a fully professional fighting force. It was apparent that such a force could not be expected to support itself and remain under arms, so the senate voted Castle Fenrose an annual stipend and implemented various support measures. It has, however, been twenty seven years since these concessions were made and many concerns have taken precedent over this distant and oft’ forgotten outpost. To say that support from the Imperial coffers has been sporadic at best is to be generous in the extreme – inadequate or non-existent would be closer to the truth. In the main then, it has been left to those closer to the danger to offer such support as they are able – such households as the Talbots and Bolholt have been a lifeline to Fenrose – keeping the supply routes open and sending in such provisions and equipment as can be spared. At Fenrose the ‘make-do-and-mend’ culture of the Marches, of necessity, has been elevated to a high art. However, the traffic at Fenrose is not all one way, the Talbots for example, see Cabot’s Company as a useful proving ground, and their young men and women are sometimes sent there to learn the business of war.

The Garrison of Castle Fenrose are well aware that they are woefully outnumbered by the barbarians – the threat from across the border is a constant and very real one – thus, knowing when and how to act and when to leave well alone has done more to maintain the border than force of arms alone could ever hope to achieve. Cabot’s Company work very closely with the beleaguered settlement at Kings Stoke – indeed the understanding between the two is a strong one: “None know the border like us” is a constant saying between them.

Being a full time fighting company on a constant war footing, Cabot’s have become renowned for a high level of professionalism and competency. From time to time Imperial officers and troops are sent to Fenrose for specialist training. Also small detachments of Cabot’s Company are dispatched to far off campaigns where they are needed to help ‘stiffen’ levies and non professional troops, or help establish a full time military presence in contentious areas. Such forces are always small and poorly supported – the senate always seems happy to send them in – but less happy to provide for them adequately. As a consequence their short, but busy history is one of resourcefulness and defiance against the odds.

Cabot’s Company are not generally fussy about who they enlist. It is a well known tradition that they have an ‘ask no questions policy’ in this regard. As a consequence there are dark rumours that their ranks harbour fugitives from the law, the shunned and other undesirables. However, few who join have any illusions of what awaits them, Castle Fenrose is a dangerously situated outpost and patrols into the Mourn are conducted regularly – those who survive their first indenture at Castle Fenrose can say that they have truly had a baptism of fire.

The company remains true to its original purpose of reclaiming the lost lands of the Mourn and their indenture states very clearly that: lands will be granted to all members of the Company (notwithstanding their origins) should the lost region ever be recovered. Whether the Senate will honour this still remains to be seen, but the Company certainly feel that after their long and unstinting service: it is their just and rightful reward for all that has been required of them. Although many of the older Soldiers of Cabot’s have been offered retirement to small holdings among the Talbot lands, there is a strong tendency to remain in service – many feel that to settle down would be to abandon all hope of ever regaining the Mourn.

Many of the original garrison hale from a region deep within the lost part of Mournwold, and speak with an archaic sounding dialect that is, these days, rarely heard outside of Cabot’s Company. This is a constant source of banter between Cabot’s and the Kings Stokers’ who speak an altogether different dialect.

Numbers - 8 to 10 although we are happy to enlist interested parties - contact Brian Wells if you’re interested.


Name - Applewood Levy

Territory - Upwold.

**Colours **- Green/Black. Quartered.

Concept:
A group of allied households who live/farm/work in the Applewood area of Upwold. The farms are scattered around the village of Applewood on the road between Stockland and Moot in Wintermark, with most farms lying west of the road.

Background (Approval from PD awaiting) – Applewood is famous for two things. The first is its abundant crop of apples that fetch a fine price at the nearby Market Towns. The second is the Orchard Graveyard (to the west of the village). This ancient place is a revered resting ground for many heroes of The Marches. There they lie, waiting, beneath the throng of apple trees and fertile earth. Only those who are from Applewood, or those who die in its defence, may be granted the honour of burial within the Graveyard.

Recently Applewood has befallen a disaster. After repeated raids by a group of Feni, Applewood’s defences were spread across the small settlements that pepper the edge of the dark woods to the west. There, these stout yeomen and beaters waited - ready to put an end to the implacable Feni thieves.

Instead the largest force of Feni ever seen in Upwold made straight for the richer more central settlements, slaying those Marchers they found in their way. Where groups of armed marchers could stand together, the Feni were held at bay, but many homes and warehouses were pillaged and burned.

Several once strong households and market towns were left little more than a few scattered buildings. When the beaters began to warn the forces that ringed the carnage the well-armed yeoman groups began to return.

One notable force to come to assist, were the Boundrymen, who with the households of what would soon form the Levy manage to turn the tide. However, the Feni fought their way out before they could be trapped, at great cost to both sides.

Now those households remaining in Applewood begin to slowly recover what was lost in a single night. Farms and homes must be rebuilt and troops retrained, and something must be done with the Feni lurking in the woods - before another major raid by the painted raiders.

In the aftermath, the households where much depleted and they knew that standing as separate entities again would spell disaster for the area. A number of the more prominent households in the area suggested a new organisation, a Levy, to act as one unified household to ensure that should the Feni attack again, and the Marchers would be able to repel them.

Organisation – Prior to the Levy being formed the Households would each have had a Steward, though now a single Steward is elected to represent the Levy, to give a more unified voice and to better organise the Levy.

Also the position of the “Champion of Applewood” is given to the winner of an annual contest of arms. Said Champion has the honour and responsibility of carrying the Banner of Applewood.

Numbers - 12 ish at the moment, anyone interested can join.

Link - facebook.com/groups/425294227533830/


Name – Merrick’s Travelling Company

Territory – Upwold (Atherton)

Livery colours – Brown & Gold

Concept:

The Merrick Household are a group of pig farmers who, due to droving their pigs to various markets, discovered that they could earn a bed for the night in the towns and villages by performing music, poetry, short plays and telling stories. Whilst they have land in and around Atherton, their pigs create a nomadic lifestyle for many of the household at certain times of the year and gives them the opportunity for an outlet for their artistic inclinations.

The household now has a travelling playhouse which they use to perform in and often have other bards performing there. The playhouse is also used as a community meeting place for drinks, games and singing.

Whilst not a martial household, they see their part in the struggles against the enemies of the Marches and the Empire as being improving the morale of the troops who go out and fight for us all. Aside, obviously, from farming.

The heraldric device is a gold pig’s head on a brown background.

Most of the household speak with the Atherton dialect (North Yorkshire accent).

Numbers – 5


**Name: **The Order of Afal

Territory: Upwold (Based in an Abbey between King’s Stoke and Old Pig).

Livery Colours: Charcoal Grey/Mauve

Numbers: Four (hoping to recruit more in play)

**Concept: **
A small order spread across the Empire mainly consisting of Marchers. It is based at a medium sized abbey in the heart of the Marches.

Named for an old word for apple it was founded centuries ago by a group of Marchers, following the virtue of Vigilance, their goal was find Marcher bodies buried outside the Marches and bring them home, to sleep under the apple trees. Though over its history the Order has evolved from merely finding marcher dead to trying to prevent as many as possible, due to this many of the Order have at least basic healing skills, and some Priests dedicate themselves to healing and teaching of prospective healers.

Marchers who join this order do it for twofold reasons, to lay the souls of dead Marchers to rest, and to go out and find them so the bereaved families don’t have to leave their lands themselves, depriving the country of labour and love.

Not all or even most members of the order are priests, most are just lay people, who either wish to aid the Marches and/or have a particular dedication to Vigilance. The order asks little of its lay-members (which form the majority of the order) except that they pass on any information about Marcher deaths beyond Marcher borders when they hear of it.

The confirmed members dedicate their time to seeking out said bodies and if possible returning them to Marcher lands. They always carry apple seeds and a pouch of Marcher soil, to add to the graves of Marchers who cannot be moved for whatever reason. Confirmed members do have families and other jobs, some fulfilling their order duties part-time as it were, whereas some live on the road constantly on the watch for souls who need bringing home.

The Priesthood of the order spend their time either teaching in the abbey or being the diplomats of the order, asking to dig up someone’s graveyard when they’re done their best for a person requires a delicate manner and silver tongue.

Most Marcher members of the order take their time tending the grounds of the abbey that is home to the Order, other nationalities are welcome to tend the grounds also, but most prefer to be out gathering information or carrying the dead from place to place. People from every aspect of the order follow the Marches to war, to both heal and to bring back those who can’t make the journey themselves.

The Order is also a militant one, its work can be dangerous and its members are ready to fight when needed, the priesthood preach this as a last resort, though many priests will happily give lessons in combat to any member who asks it of them.

The Abbot or Abbess caries a staff of apple wood to mark their position within the order, but nothing else marks them apart from the lowliest lay-member. There are rumours of a ceremonial golden hat however the current Abbess has quashed them, but has been heard to be muttering something about “something so tacky it would make even a Freeborn blush”. The priests, monks and nuns of the order aren’t always required wear the traditional habits of their profession, though when they do they are charcoal grey in colour.

On Briar folk the order are slightly more relaxed than most Marchers, probably due to so many of them travelling so much across the Empire. If they know of a place where a briar can be buried on marcher soil, such as a specific grave yard on the land of a briar yeoman they will sometimes attempt to take them there. At the very least members are required to lay some Marcher soil in the grave and place an apple seed upon it. Not all or even most members approve of this, however, they perform the minimum ceremony or face the Abbess’ wrath, and knowing the body won’t be buried on and therefore taint Marcher soil.

OC note: I expect 90% of member to already be members of other groups, you’ll have no obligations as a lay-member except to tell us if anyone dies, so join up! Contact me on here if interested, Caiomhe Nic Na Mara


Name – House Ramsbruck

Territory - Bregasland

Livery colours – Red & Blue

Concept:
27 years ago, Mournwold was declared lost. Ramsbruck is a sheepfarming household made up of survivors/refugees from the Mourn and the landowners (in Bregasland) who took them in. Characters could have lost family members or simply fled from their holdings - most will have been young children when they fled, or born in Bregasland to displaced Mournwolders. They could have started anew as fishermen/whatever or be obsessed with taking back their homes. Or they could be Bregaslanders from smaller houses (sworn to Ramsbruck) who gave employment to the people fleeing the Mourn and now treat them as family.

This is a very flexible group with room for pretty much any character/subgroup concept. We currently have a few bards and traders so the group will support people who want to be well-travelled and get a lot of game outside the group as well as internal group roleplay.

Style of play: totally egalitarian/democratic, lots of music, child-friendly but not expecting you to limit your roleplay, hopefully IC cooking and eating.

More detailed group background:

The Ramsbrucks are an ancient Marcher family, tracing their lineage (they say) directly back to to days of the rebellion in Dawn. Of moderate size and power, their lands incorporated a few sheep-infested rocky outcroppings on the border of the Bregas and the Mourn, giving way to fenland good only for fishing and growing flax. As a house they have a consistent tradition of breeding Cambion, and in the last few centuries developed a reputation for being inward-looking and somewhat paranoid, particularly towards other lineages. When the Mourn was lost, the then Steward Alfred of Ramsbruck lost both his children and the majority of yeomen of his household, all of whom has answered the nation’s call to arms. With an empty keep and no prospect of the lands being farmed, he took the unexpected (though pragmatic) step of opening his doors to the refugees from the Mourn who had lost their lands and families. Although many came, most were either children or the elderly, and there simply were not enough hands to work much of the land, and due to this (and several crippling losses of herds to Feni), House Ramsbruck’s holdings have been dwindling in recent years and the grazing pushed Northwest by other households. The majority of farms are now between the village of Greywater and the border of the Empire, and you are as likely to find a member of House Ramsbruck tending a herb garden or panning for precious metal in the Fens as you are to find one herding sheep. However, as that generation of children has grown and Alfred Ramsbruck retired to a monastery, the long, hard process of reclaiming the Ramsbruck Household’s wealth and status has begun.


**Name **– House Hawcombe

Territory – Mitwold (Just south of Hay)

**Livery colours **– Green and grey

Symbol- See above

Numbers – 2-5 for now

**Concept: **

Originally a small house from the border between Mitwold and Mournwold, our house had to move further into Mitwold in 349YE in order to escape destruction of our lands. Eventually, after several years, we settled just to the south of the town Hay. The survivors of this move were our parents and their relatives and a few other refugees from the mourn. They are no longer with us, and so we now look after the land as they once did. We own only a small amount of land, but this is enough to see to our needs.

Our current steward is Robert Hawcombe. He is the owner of our household’s farm. The rest of the house is made up of his relatives. Among them includes his sister, Alice, who left her family several years ago and learnt the ways of the landskeepers. She has now rejoined her family in order to help maintain their lands. The other is their cousin, Bedwin, who has joined them from the town itself after a disagreement with his brothers.

The previous head of the Hawcombe household went by the name of David Hawcombe. A staunch traditionalist even by Marchers standards. Highly suspicious, he drank a yard of cider every other day saying ‘If the wisdom o’ t’e ancestors is ‘eld in the just one apple, just imagine what knowledge is ‘eld in a flagon o’ teh stuff". He held the landskeepers in high honour, always giving welcome to any that may have been passing on their way to the north. Although a capable warrior, with the unleashing of the barbarian hoard upon Mournwold he, like many at the time, were driven from the land, though not before letting some blood of the invaders’ veins.

His wife, Jane, died only a few years later. She was a landskeeper, as her daughter was after her, and she devoted her days to helping all those who fled the Mourne with her and her family. When the family settled near Hay, she spent months helping David to get the farm up and running, but eventually the horror was too great, and she died of fever in 366YE.

Eventually David ended his years a bitter man, after the experiences with the burning of the Mornwold he never trusted any orc he ever saw again even those amongst the empire reputed to be ‘civilised’. And so he ended his days longing and waiting for the reconquest of the home earth, that he wished the senate or the emperor (empress) send a army to unleash the fury of the Marchers upon these devils from beyond the borders. Alas he never would see such a sight…

The symbol of House Hawcombe is that of the Rampart stag. As Myth tells us that the stag is the king of the forest, so the stag (in combination with the green background) signifies the origins of the Hawcombes in the woodlands of the Mournwold/ Mitwold Border south of Hay. It was once said that the original colour of the stag of House Hawcombe was white, signifying during the ‘good’ years the house’s close ties with landskeepers in the Mournwold and in Mitwold and the general affluence of the household, as often white symbolises all things in harmony and peace. However after the sacking of the mourn with the loss of life and land like many of their countrymen, this change in fortune had a deep seated impact on the David Hawcombe, then the steward of the House. So, like a shadow of its former self, after the fleeing of the Mournwold, the Stag of House Hawcombe that once stood bright white in its defiance against outsiders muted into grey. Though the Hawcombes are still proud of their past, the Grey stag proves a stark reminder that the ghosts of the Mourn are still waiting for their justice. So from the king of the forest to the ghostly grey spectre of its former self, the Stag of house Hawcombe stands ready to serve the empire and the marches in the taking back of the Mournwold.

Anyone who wants to join is welcome, a couple of our players will be new to fest LARPs. Children also welcome. Contact Rhys Lewis or Stephanie Hall if interested :slight_smile:


Name - The Boundarymen (Bounders)

Territory - Upwold

Colours - Personal colours, plus dark blue and yellow sash in a moon phase representing individual designationNumbers - 6-10, will accept further volunteers in play

Concept:
'My name is Captain Galbraith Rosencrantz, the First of my House. You may have heard the tale of myself and my men, perhaps from my sergeant himself, rescuing a Landsmeet from the depredations of the Painted Feni. We gained some respect from that, and thus was the Boundarymen formed: not beaters, and not military, but yet containing both. A disciplined cohort of whomsoever feels they can help protect these lands.

If you were one of the workmen who helped build Silverholm Manor on the land awarded to us by the Birchwood family you may also recognise my arms: a red and yellow rose surrounded by a loop of prayer beads. However, it is the sash that is most memorable, the sash worn by all whom volunteer for the Boundarymen: A blue band with a yellow and blue sigil. From their dress, you may have guessed that the different phases of the moon dictate their specific duties.

The volunteers are from places near and far in Upwold, mostly along the rough borderlands, and offer their contributions to the cause in return for mutual protection for their families’ lands and homesteads. We take no part in petty politics, for we are guardians of this land and serve the people, and the people alone. And so the Boundarymen grow.’

Contact - Tag Terry Laverty, Matthew Pirie or Rebecca Champ on the group page and we’ll get back to you.


Name - The Tusks of Mourne

Territory - Mitwold (these days)

Livery- Red and Black with a white boar somewhere on it

Motto “Relinquo Nostra Terrum”

Concept:
To Protect Our People,

To Till The Land Of Our Fathers,

To Oppose That Which Is Evil,

To Add Our Strength To That Which Is Right

The Tusks of Mourne are a small band of pig farmers, fighters, mages, clerics and artisans originally hailing form Mourne, but now comprising souls from across the Marches and always willing to accept newcomers to their cause. They are, in common with many bands, seeking the recovery of Mourne from the Barbarians by whatever means

The founders of the group were small children when the great retreat happened, and living on dim memories of sunny valleys and endless pasture, they hold a nostalgic view of what was once theirs and an overwhelming sense of loss.

They have, in the years following the fall, moved their skills and assets to a small village near Hay in Mitwold, where they are successful pig farmers and traders, just as their parents were in the Old Days; but by necessity they can fight too. They seek common ground with the other bands of the Marches, and recognising their limited numbers, will willingly add their strength to any who are prepared to stand tall for the cause

There are a number of the Tusks who’ve branched off over the years, away from farming and into the realm of magic and The Way - they seek both an explanation of what happened in terms of spirituality, and also the answer to recovering their losses through greater knowledge of life, of magic, of making and building solid things to pass to their heirs.

Whatever their interests, the time has come to regain Mourn, no longer can they sit idly by as the Empire they serve squabbles over petty differences and the machinations of people who’ve never turned the earth. They have taken thier badge from the emblem of Tom Drake, Paragon of Courage, and itself harking back beyond the Empire’s foundation. With it The Tusks of Mourne seek to return the Empire to brilliance, and bring Mournwold back to the Marches. Death or glory.

Numbers: ??? - more than we expected but we’re still merrily recruiting!


Name: The Cullach

Territory: Mitwold (Upwold border)

Livery Colours: Green and black quartered, with the symbol of a standing black boar, but other boar devices may be worn.

**Concept: **

The Cullach is a collective of small houses, farmers, landowners and inn-keepers, that have allied together to control and maintain hunting in the Mitwold Upwold border area. The hunt centres predominantly upon the boar, but also includes the stag.

The Cullach at war:

Given the nature of the working life of the Cullach they make for strong willed, huntsmen and trackers. They are committed to fight to the bitter end in a line of bills or, acting as skirmishers and scouts for larger army’s on the move.

A marcher captain would always look to have the Cullach in his scouting party. To this end a small regular fighting unit is maintained; staunch to respond to both Marcher and Senate needs with the least possible delay.

Befriend a Cullach you have many an ally; cross a Cullach and you make an enemy of them all!

Motto: Nihil Oblitus


Name: The Order of the Forgotten word

Territory: Bregasland (near the settlement of Graven)

Livery Colours: As a monastic order, the Order of the Lost Word does not have livery per se, the order’s burgundy robes are the hallmark of their status and is, in effect, their livery.

Numbers: 20

Concept:

A scholastic religious order based around monasteries, chapter houses, libraries along with supporting farms, workshops and the like.

Contact: richgaunt@gmail.com


Name: The Lowthers

Territory: Mitwold (between the Hay and the borders of Mournwold)

Livery Colours: Green and Red party per fess

Numbers: 3 Currently though any and all are welcome

Concept:
When the Mourne was lost, the Lowthers left their lands and settled in the Mitwold, as close to the border with Mournwold as they could, the eldest son, William, becoming a Beater and regularly patroling the region. When his father, Robert, died William inherited the land thereby becoming Steward of the Lowther household.

He has opened the household to any and all that would wish to join, particularly Beaters, giving them a place to call home between afiliations with other Households.

Contact: timkchapman@hotmail.co.uk


Name: The Pickham Monastery

**Territory: ** Upwold (North of King’s Stoke and near the Dawnish Border on the banks of a tributary of the River Meade)

Livery Colours: Brown and Black

Numbers: 12 (Though not all of us come to every event)

**Concept: **
The Pickham Monastery is an order of Monks of Vigilance that operate out of the village of Pickham in Upwold, notable for its religious fervor, skilled craftsmen, fine ciders and revolting wine. The Village consists of the titular Monastery itself, a large, fortified stone building in the town square complete with tower, a marketplace and is also home to several farms and orchards held by members of the group, which help supplement the monks’ religious ceremonies as an income source. The order is formed out of what was once the Marcher Household of Benson, following the formalised acceptance of The Way across the Marches. In particular, the Virtue of Vigilance proved especially popular with the household thanks to the local folk story of one of it’s founders, the self proclaimed “Major” Benson. Most of the villagefolk are part of the Monastery in one way or another even if they are not formally monks, and while membership isn’t mandatory it is politely encouraged.

Joshua Benson and his family were supposedly amongst the first yeomen to rebel from Dawnish rule, fighting alongside the other Marcher pioneers to settle the small farmstead of Pickham in what would later become the Upwold region. A young man during the initial rebellion, Joshua Benson was most famous for “The Battle of Pickham”, where the self proclaimed Major lead a force of Halberdiers that defeated a force of invading Dawnish knights that sought to reclaim the border village, despite his advanced age and being outnumbered three to one. The men (and women) of Pickham defended the town bridge for 6 hours against waves of attacking knights under Benson’s command, before capturing the enemy commander and negotiating their withdrawal (or so the story goes)

Generations later, the conversion of both the Benson Friar and it’s current Steward to the Way encouraged the majority of the house to undertake a pilgrimage to Bastion, leading to many of them to adopt the virtues as their new faith. Following this, the household began its transition into becoming a more religion focused Monastery - it kept its lands, what few the minor household possessed, and became much more active in the Marches spiritual affairs, spreading the word with great eagerness.

However, the Monastery is notorious for keeping up Marcher religious traditions that some would consider unsavoury, at best - It’s Abbots have traditionally made no pains to hide their continued belief in non-human reincarnation between lives, and openly practice shriving. In addition, it has become something of a Pickham tradition to preach to anyone unfortunate enough to ask about the virtues of Exalt or even Paragon Benson, despite the Synod acknowledging no such man; the late Syrus Benson was particularly notorious for this, petitioning for his official listing at more or less every Synod meeting he attended.

The modern sect is concerned mostly with maintaining the spiritual health of their fellow Marchers, and indeed that of the empire as a whole. Most Pickham Monks can perform insight, and many are capable of performing exorcisms to purify the souls of their flocks. However, the Monastery also looks after physical health, boasting several Chirurgeons, Physicks and Alchemists and having a large herb garden within it’s walls. In the spirit of it’s founder, the order maintains a healthy attachment of Battle Monks… or rather, it USED to. Alas, the majority of Pickham’s Battle Monks were with the Imperial Army at the time with the Empress Britta’s demise, and so Pickham is currently bereft of warriors. Combined with the village’s farmers and artisans, and the Monastery’s own Landskeeper, the Pickam Monks are just as industrious as any other less spiritually inclined household, more than able to support themselves throughout the year.

Membership is fairly open, and any is welcome to join the sect provided they are willing to swear the order’s ancient oath and undergo the ceremony of joining. Several of the Monks are of lineage, the current abbot firmly believing that any human soul has the potential to be wondrous, and perhaps more shockingly several of them were originally from outside the Marches! All having past the Trials of Citizenship, of course, and all officially, mentally and spiritually Marchers.

Contact: Alex Harper (Mobiusnesbit@googlemail.com)