Lore:House Montclair

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Montclair Manor

House Montclair was a prominent Breton noble house from Rivenspire turned into a vampire clan by the Lightless Remnant of the Doomcrag. One of the earliest references to the Montclairs was in the Battle of Glenumbria Moors in 1E 480, in an event remembered as the Charge of the Montclair Knights (often erroneously called the Charge of the Shornhelm Knights). In their prime, the Montclairs who were known for their humility guided the people of Rivenspire through times of hardship.[1] After the events of Ranser's War, the Montclairs along with House Tamrith and House Dorell led Rivenspire as a triumvirate of Breton noble houses.[2]

History[edit]

The Montclairs were made barons in 1E 1029, when Empress Hestra brought High Rock into the First Empire.[3] By the Second Era, Shornhelm had been ruled by House Branquette, and one of the most well-known monarchs was its twenty-first monarch, King Hurlburt Branquette, who reigned over the Kingdom of Rivenspire between 2E 522 and 2E 546. He led his kingdom in the historical Battle of Granden Tor, which led to several years of peace in High Rock. King Hurlburt married Countess Iphilia of House Montclair and later sired his crown prince, Phylgeon.[1] When Emperor Durcorach the Black Drake invaded High Rock, his forces were destroyed by the combined armies of High Rock's kingdoms led by Earl Emeric of Cumberland in 2E 542. King Hurlburt and Shornhelm joined together with Emeric and created the first iteration of the Daggerfall Covenant.[4] The King died two years later, and so the royal houses of Rivenspire became divided on which son to sponsor to take the throne. The fourteen-year-old Phylgeon was championed by House Montclair for the throne, but both House Branquette and House Tamrith endorsed the older half-brother, Ranser.[1]

The hidden maneuvering that led to the political race's conclusion is largely lost to history. Baron Phylgeon's advisors contended that he was the legitimate heir to the throne, not only because of his heritage but by quoting the famous codicil, the Bretonnick Natalitie, which declared that "Howse Mount Clayre" was the royal house of Shornhelm. The Council of the North reviewed the claim, but one day, the codicil mysteriously disappeared and Ranser came forward with a long-lost decree from the Direnni that named House Branquette the royal delegates of Rivenspire. In a narrow victory, Prince Ranser won the crown and was proclaimed King of Shornhelm, and while House Montclair wanted Phylgeon to pursue it further, he declined and preferred to stay the house Baron.[1] Ranser later had a daughter, Princess Rayelle and when Earl Emeric was named King of Wayrest, he began to search for a bride. At first it was Princess Rayelle, but he later married Princess Maraya of Sentinel, which strengthened relations with Hammerfell.[5]

Ranser's War[edit]

King Ranser of Shornhelm

King Ranser took great offense to Rayelle's rejection and saw fit to wage civil war with the rest of the Daggerfall Covenant in 2E 566.[6] Ranser's War began in the spring of that year and every royal house of Rivenspire, from Montclair to Dorell, the entire kingdom,[1] and even House Mornard of the Systres[7] rallied behind the king. Count Phylgeon did not have faith in his brother's cause and offered to serve as a peace envoy between the two kings. While Emeric's response is lost to history, Ranser's angry answer was quite clear and well-known, and so Phylgeon relented and leased the Montclair knights to Ranser's armies.[1]

With their defeat at the previous Battle of Markwasten Moor, not only was King Ranser presumed dead but with him was House Branquette's dynasty. The Crown of Shornhelm was also lost to the war. The Council of the North led by Baron Alard Dorell, Baron Esmark Tamrith, and Baron Wylon Montclair continued to govern over the kingdom until further notice and tried their best to re-instate order and peace across the country. There was a common sentiment across Rivenspire that the kingdom needed a king, something that Baron Montclair believed that he could accomplish. Not only was he a direct descendant of King Hurlburt through his father, Phylgeon, but he also re-discovered the Bretonnick Natalitie, which claimed that "Howse Mount Clayre" was appointed rulership of "Sharn Helm" and its contingent land. For these reasons, Baron Montclair set forth his plan to acquire the throne of Rivenspire.[1]

Becoming a Vampire Clan[edit]

The Montclairs transformed into vampires by the Lightless Remnant

At some point, Wylon Montclair had become friends with Count Verandis Ravenwatch, the vampire count who ruled over Castle Ravenwatch.[8] Wylon Montclair was a possessive man who, after his wife fell ill, became willing to go to any lengths to keep her alive. Regardless of her personal wishes, he thought it better for her to exist as a vampire than succumb to her illness, leading him to ask Verandis to turn Leila into a vampire.[9] However, either Verandis or Leila rejected this proposal.[10] This failure led to the events that transpired at Erokii. Reezal-Jul, an Argonian necromancer, became involved in the effort to heal Leila. However, unknown to both Wylon and Verandis, he was manipulating them as part of his plan to attain revenge for the fall of King Ranser of Rivenspire.[11] Reezal-Jul gave a mysterious Ayleid shard to Verandis. After receiving the relic from Verandis, Wylon used it to heal Leila, but her health soon began to deteriorate once again. Guided by Reezal-Jul, the three Montclairs and Verandis ascended the Doomcrag in search of the Lightless Remnant, which they believed would heal Leila permanently. When they reached the summit, they attempted to use the artifact to cure Lady Leila's illness.[10]

Unbeknownst to the Verandis and the Montclairs, the artifact had been corrupted. Instead of healing the dying Leila, it turned her and the rest of her family into vampires. Leila's transformation went terribly wrong, and Verandis killed her in an act of mercy. However, blinded by anger, Wylon turned on his old friend.[10] Now infected with vampirism and corrupted by the influence of the artifact, Wylon sought to conquer all of Rivenspire and attain revenge on the members of House Ravenwatch and the other noble houses.[12][13] Ignorant of Reezal-Jul's true motives, Wylon employed the deceitful necromancer as his general.[14]

Montclair's War[edit]

High King Emeric's summit after the battle
Shornhelm's celebration after the war

After all these years of Wylon Montclair's preparations, the Baron's plans came to fruition with his annexation of Shornhelm's upper district in 2E 582. He bribed the city guard and attacked other nobles before he took the upper district. As the Shornhelm City Guard were unable to withstand the Montclair Knights, the Daggerfall Covenant was tasked in the city's retaking, as they assembled south in Oldgate.[15] Countess Eselde Tamrith returned to the kingdom took up the mantle of head of House Tamrith after news of her father's death a few months prior,[2] only to find the capital city entrapped in conflict.[16] The Countess, Baron Alard Dorell, and Count Verandis of House Ravenwatch gathered at the Chapel of the Divines, where they would devise their strategy to retake the upper city.[17]

An Agent of the Covenant approached the meeting and was caught up in the situation. They delved into the occupied upper district and defeated the two traitorous guards that allowed Montclair's annexation. The Montclair court mage, Reezal-Jul kidnapped three nobles and attempted to flee via the Fevered Mews before he was confronted by both the Agent and Verandis Ravenwatch. Despite their best efforts, the Argonian escaped west into the Eyebright Feld but regardless, the city was liberated but the looming threat that House Montclair posed was ever-present. High King Emeric arrived after the city was freed and believed that the threat was far greater than it may have seemed. With his blessing and his forces, the pursuit for both Reezal-Jul and Baron Montclair commenced,[17] but before the Agent could continue further, he was sent to Castle Ravenwatch by the High King, where they would assist Count Verandis and learn about Montclair's history.[18]

With the corrupted artifact at their disposal, Wylon and his daughter Lleraya Montclair turned many of their kinsmen into vampires. They also orchestrated the bloodfiend crisis in Rivenspire, using the power of the Lightless Remnant to change many of the citizens into bloodfiends. Among their many victims, only the lucky ones became true vampires.[12] Lady Lleraya Montclair had set her sights on Northpoint. She arrived in the city and immediately got an audience with Ellic Dorell, with the promise of help.[19] She advised him to gather the city's people and as they gathered en masse, she used magic from the Lightless Remnant to turn them into bloodfiends. Some people managed to escape with the Dorell Blademaster, Qariar to the Sloshing Tankard inn, but most of the city's citizens were turned into feral vampires and Lady Montclair sealed Northpoint from the outside.[20] In Dorell Manor, Lady Montclair used the remnant for a simple illusion spell, a veil that charmed the nobles into her favor.[21][22]

Outside of the city, Baron Alard Dorell and the armies of Shornhelm amassed to retake the city. He sent several agents across the field to find a way into the city and discovered a smuggler's tunnel underneath the lighthouse, on the north shore. A Shornhelm guardsman, Skordo the Knife devised a plan for the members of the invasion force to stealthily enter the city and find a safe house to further plan their attack. They eventually took over the manor of Baron Chirane and rendezvoused with Blademaster Qariar. Baron Alard sent an Agent of the Daggerfall Covenant to confront Lady Lleraya Montclair and find Ellic Dorell. With help from Verandis Ravenwatch, the Agent broke the veil and defeated the vampire mistress. For allowing Lady Montclair to take over the city and causing the death of many people, Baron Alard punished his son and relieved him of his status.[23] After securing Northpoint, the forces of Shornhelm gathered at the base of the Shrouded Pass for a final attack against Baron Wylon Montclair.[24]

Despite being a vampire himself, Verandis' strong sense of morality and temperance allowed him to resist the power and allure of the artifact.[10] Subsequently, he and the rest of House Ravenwatch worked to end the threat of the artifact and the mad Montclairs. With the aid of the Agent, Verandis successfully stopped his old friend, although it ultimately cost him his life. After Wylon was defeated by the Agent, the Lightless Remnant began to crack and release its terrible power, a sight which led the vindictive Wylon to rejoice with his last breath. Fearing the devastation the artifact's destruction would wreak on Rivenspire, Verandis sacrificed his life to transport it to Coldharbour.[25]

After the Baron's defeat at the hands of both Count Ravenwatch and the Agent, all of Rivenspire celebrated and gathered in Shornhelm for the coronation of the kingdom's new ruler. It was decided that either Countess Eselde Tamrith or Baron Alard Dorell would be given the crown but it was the High King that chose one of them to lead. The Countess believed that she would make a thoughtful leader, one that had the people's best interest at heart. Her first act as Queen would have been to restore the people's faith and return their lives to some form of normalcy.[16] The Baron on the other hand believed that Rivenspire needed a decisive leader and a firm hand to guide them in troubled times. His first act as King would have been to bolster the kingdom's defenses and enlist hundreds of youth to restore their strength.[26] It is unknown who was chosen at the end of the day, but Rivenspire was finally at peace.[27]

References[edit]