Formed out of the ashes of the four Great Powers, the three Great Houses were created via the events of the Succession War. Through a series of coup d'états, both violent and nonviolent, they replaced their Great Power predecessors in a coordinated uptaking of power, and since after have ruled Infinitas as the main form of government on all sections of the isle.
The houses were the result of a coordinated attempt at overthrowing the Great Powers, coordinated in three different cities - Marsilion, Catsbad and Coldharbor. Consisting of a group of disaffected and disgruntled nobles and well-to-do, socially important folk who had grown tired of the Great Power's administrative choices and plutocratic ideals, the events of the Rise of the Houses, as it is called, were planned years in advance.
When the time came, these nobles seized power where they could take it - arresting or impeaching, or simply quietly disposing of or capturing figures in public offices and administrative roles, and quietly replacing them. In a single lightning strike, coordinated by massive amounts of couriers on horseback, encrypted radio signals and animal messengers, they were able to seize control of over 55% of the government of all four Great Powers. However, the coup was not entirely bloodless, and this led to the events of the short and violent Succession War. The aftermath of this war left the Houses firmly in power, and the Great Powers merely a memory.
The Houses resolved themselves into three rough spheres of influence, and each claimed a city to their name and spread their interests out among the others. It was inevitable that the peace and good relations brokered by them through their shared struggle to gain power would break down, and soon each side viewed the other with a mix of suspicion and distrust. Minor clashes and skirmishes, and a number of quiet duels fought in the shadows via special operators, would follow, but no overt conflict... that is, until the Sola Incident and the Second Infinitas War.
House of Fleur-de-Jaune, Porteur des Anneaux (Fighters)Edit
Formed out of primarily aristocratic noblemen, many of whom have French or Anglo-French descent or the nearest equivalent, the upper echelons of the Fleur-de-Jaune are exclusively comprised of homo sapiens or those able to pass for them nominally with a minimum of effort. Their lower echelons are less choosy, but their government displays a worrying amount of preference for humanoids and humanoids only that verges on - and often crosses the line into - outright racism.
They are known primarily to the average citizens as the Fighters, after a mistranslation during the early days of their formation. The nickname has stuck, and seems rather deserved. In the 28 minor skirmishes that have happened since the end of the Succession War and the breakdown in relations, Fleur-de-Jaune has claimed victory in 22 of them, scoring a casualty count of 3 to 1, in their favor, almost universally. During the Second Infinitas War, they successfully captured Arcford and held it for eight months, verged upon capturing Porton, and nearly drove the Mages to defeat. They are known for their abundance of manpower, taken from villages, Coldharbor and the mining towns around it, with their military often serving civilian police functions.
Fighter forces are numerous and highly disciplined, led by aristocrats. At the head of them all is the Firstborn of Infinitas, Travis Morel. Swords are common equipment, and swordsmanship is a necessary skill for an officer. Honor duels - very rarely to the death - are often fought, and promotion is often a matter of merit and swordsmanship over all. While the average soldier does not possess terribly frightful morale, he is paid reasonably well and often is given something to fight for by the constant rousing speeches.
Economically, the Fighters have a rather powerful industrial base in their home city of Coldharbor. While not quite as powerful as Arcford's, it is capable of a significant amount of war material production - aided in no small part by rich mineral veins that border Coldharbor's position in the nothern part of the isle. While their industrial base is advanced and high in capacity, they are not especially high tech compared to the rest of the isle.
House of Archmagi (Mages)Edit
The House of the Archmagi is a "Magocracy", with the government being formed entirely out of those with some form of paranormal talent. Serving to nurture, train and equip those with magical or psionic abilities, the Archmagi are founded upon the tenet that those able to master the world around them should literally master the world around them - people included. All government officials, heads, and most non-clerical staff have some form of talent, with the upper echelons of leadership being composed of powerful mages.
Ruling from their home city of Catsbad, they gain much of their manpower through the Infinitas Academy of Paranormal Abilities, an institute established to train and educate those who are "gifted", with the secondary mission of recruiting as many of them as possible into the Archmagi's ranks.
The mages possess a small, but highly elite army where paranormal abilities are even more commonplace. The army is strongly divided between "regulars" without talent and given standard infantry equipment and "specials" with paranormal abilities. Officers and NCOs are almost exclusively gifted, and promotion opportunities for "regulars" are limited. Their special forces are highly feared as being extremely effective.
Economically, the mages make money off of providing magical consulting and enchantment services, as well as primary industry, possessing a limited industrial base. They share in the same mineral wealth afforded to the Fighters, thanks to being able to easily extract deposits below the water table with magically-powered water pumps.
House of Politiker Lords (Trade Union)Edit
The House of Politiker Lords, when they existed, were known commonly as the Trade Union. They were a collection of business heads, warlords and wealthy men that owned large amounts of land and business property in Marsilion and the surrounding area. Formed out of a collection of well-to-do farm owners and fishing merchants, the Trade Union was a roughly feudalistic, plutocratic system where each "Lord" is given his own small area of responsibility for tax, trade and development, which he profits by. The "House of Lords" met once a month to discuss issues and allocation of resources from the Ruling Council, composed of the five most important and wealthy of the Lords.
They controlled Marsilion and Porton, and had a surprisingly advanced set of cottage industries that could make purpose built goods as easily as hand crafted works of art. Their army was primarily made up of well-paid mercenaries, in various states and with limited standardization, with each Lord having his own small amount of troops. While this led to a rather powerful army, it also lead to easy fracturing, thanks to some being unwilling to commit their own forces, which ultimately contributed to their defeat.
The Trade Union fell as the result of the events of the Second Infinitas War, replaced by the Democratic Government of Marsilion. It still exists now, but only as a banking family - see the Southern Infinitas Bank page for details, having been legally disbarred from hiring any form of armed personnel, even for security purposes. Many of their mercenaries were hired into the Marsilion Army, and many of the Lords were tried and imprisoned. Still others walked free to start businesses elsewhere, armyless.