Ironclaw: Lord of the Endless Void
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The Rinaldi family is said to come from an ancient
stock; their family records have no mention of their
arrival in Calabria. The Rinaldi maintain that they are
the only “true” inhabitants of the island and that they
are single-handedly responsible for the demise of the
Autarchs. As might be expected, the other great houses
doubt this claim. However, this assertion does give the
Rinaldi a certain credibility with the common people.
Their business sense has brought them more wealth
than any conquest could.
The founder of the Rinaldi dynasty, Jon the Wise,
was a monarch to be respected and feared. Rumors
abound that he knew something of the Autarch’s magic
and he may have been one of their lineal descendants.
Centuries ago, a number of small, noble land holdings
were clustered around the mouth of the Granvert river.
These communities grew rapidly as the commerce
between them expanded. Jon was a merchant-king keen
on expanding his holdings. He set out to convince the
other vulpine nobles to join him. Those who saw the
wisdom of his actions complied; those who did not were
compelled. A trade alliance was established with those
families far upriver who could not be easily reached.
The Rinaldi House grew in wealth and power due in
part to the strategic location at the mouth of the
Granvert, and in part due to Jon’s financial prowess.
Jon’s small fiefdom grew quickly to include large land
holdings and a fleet of ships that traveled the river and
coastline. The rich farmland and mercantile finesse of
·the Rinaldi soon became legendary, and their dynasty
grew and prospered for many years. Early in their rise to
power, the Rinaldi befriended numerous Minor Houses.
By doing so, they created a network of trust and
support, and gained many faithful trading partners. It
was rare to see a Minor House with whom the Rinaldi
would not strike a bargain and bring into their fold.
Thanks to their openness of commerce, their
location, and theirbq). many allies, the lOth Don of the
Rinaldi, Ambrosi de Rinaldi, was able to found the city
of Triskellian. The city’s simple marketplace and docks
grew rapidly as Calabria’s wealth flowed downriver and
into their coffers.
Shortly after its founding, Triskellian was threatened
by a Minor House to the north, called the Doloreaux.
The porcine house wished to prevent the ancient port
city of Epinian falling under the control of the Rinaldi.
Epinian lay on the norther coast of Calabria, where
great wealth in the form of gems and precious metals
flowed into the city from the legendary Doloreaux
mines. The Doloreaux attempt to take Triskellian failed
horribly when the Chevernaise of the Rothos Mountains
banded together to control
the pass bearing their
name. Some claim the
caprines were coaxed into
action by Rinaldi coins.
Once the Chevernaise
Pass was closed and
overland traffic effectively
halted, and since the
Rinaldi controlled the
Granvert River and the Bay
of Auvrich, they were able
to monopolize the maritime
trade route between Triskellian and Epinian. The influx of
northern wealth fueled the city’s growth and attracted all
manner of followers. Sycophantic Minor Houses courted
Rinaldi favor, and even the Doloreaux eschewed military
confrontation with the Rinaldi, instead focusing on
economic growth. For over a hundred years, the Rinaldi
basked in the warmth of success. Triskellian grew to be a
city praised in great songs. To meet the needs of the
growing populace, the Rinaldi improved on a
sophisticated system of sewers and aqueducts. The
Rinaldi’s power was such that they guaranteed the safety
of any traveler from the Walls of Calabria to Triskellian
along the partially paved “Safe Road,” or Via Salutis.