The Houses of Chaos

The main distinction between the Major and Minor is purely related to whether they are descended directly from King Swayvill and his first wife, Alberta. The Major Houses maintain a degree of independence and autonomy, and their Grand Duchies are effectively countries within the Courts as a whole. All Grand Dukes of Chaos are expected to make an appearance at Swayvill’s Dragon Court once a year, however, to renew their loving vows of fealty and present themselves or their heirs to Court.

The Houses usually specialise in different skills and areas, and intermarriage (and less legitimate liaisons) between them is very common.

The Major Houses

With respect to the Throne of Chaos, the Cornelian line follows a patrilineal succession, with male children having precedence over female ones. The Major Houses, in order of precedence, are:

  • Barimen (Dragon or) – established with the Founding of the Courts
  • Jesby (Dragon sable) – established in 1,475
  • Chanicut (Dragon azure) – established in 1,930
  • Sawall (Dragon argent) – established in 2,229
  • Helgram (Lion sanguine, looking to the dexter, on a field or) – became a Majjor House in 2,133
  • Hendrake (Drake sanguine) – established in 2,235
  • Amblerash (Drake azure) – established in 3,339

The Minor Houses

The Minor Houses originate from the earliest days of Thelbane and the Courts, and comprise those families which are not originally descended from the Great and Glorious King Swayvill, but rather from the Greater Demons, and who gained their titles and holdings through service to the Crown. There is intermarriage between the Major and Minor Houses, and occasionally, a Minor House can be promoted through marriage into the Royal line.

Heads of Minor Houses are styled Duke or Duchess. Legitimate children of Dukes and Duchesses are styled Marquis or Marquesa.

Significant Minor Houses include (but are not limited to):


  • Head of House: Duchess Dybele, former wife of Oberon of Amber.
  • Her divorce from Oberon was relatively amicable, as these things go, although she resented not being allowed to discuss the Courts with her daughter, Florimel.
  • The House is known for its arcane abilities, as well as politics and diplomacy.
  • Relations between Balthazar and Amber are good.


  • Head of House: Duchess Cymnea, former wife of Oberon of Amber and one of the oldest Heads of House in Chaos.
  • House specialisms are diplomacy, military, shapeshifting and Thelbane jurisprudence.
  • Caradoc has a hatred of House Karm, because Faiella of Karm was the reason for Oberon divorcing Cymnea.
  • It’s relations towards Amber are difficult, for the same reason, although the fact that Prince Benedict is in favour with King Random is slowly smoothing things over.


  • Ruled by Duchess Mirelle, daughter of the former Duchess, Paulette, and Oberon of Amber.
  • Celestine has no precedence for sons over daughters, following a straight birth-based succession within the House.
  • When Paulette married Oberon, she stood down as Duchess in favour of her brother, Cadraig, who escorted her to Amber for her wedding.
  • Her younger sister, Lysette, went on to marry Duke Deakin of Vassail.
  • After Paulette died, Oberon contacted his brother-in-law and sent Mirelle to her Chaos relatives. Random remained in Amber.
  • After Cadraig contracted Chaos cancer (which would unltimately lead to his death), he nominated his neice as his Heir, given that Paulette was above him in the House succession, and therefore had precedence over his own children.
  • Celestine are known for Trump Artisty and matters arcane, and are often also healers.
  • As Mirelle is King Random’s sister, House Celestine has good relations with Amber.


  • Head of House: Duke Ragul, who inherited from his father, Josef, after the latter’s death at Patternfall.
  • House specialisms are towards the military, in which it is second only to House Hendrake.
  • Dukat was the last Minor House to surrender to Amber, and only did so after Duke Josef died in one of the final actions of the War.


  • Ruled by Duke Michael
  • After the divorce of King Oberon and Queen Cymnea, in favour of Faiella of Karm, the children of the now-disavowed union of Oberon and Cymnea decided to take exception. The majority of the House of Karm were hunted down and killed by Cymnea’s sons Osric, Finndo and Benedict, leaving just a small rump of survivors.
  • The children of Oberon and Faiella – Eric (deceased), Corwin and Deirdre (deceased) – are/were technically  members of House Karm.
  • At this time, it is a client House to Sawall.
  • It has a hatred of House Caradoc and Prince Benedict.
  • Relations with Amber are uncertain, given that it has both friends and enemies among the Amber family.


  • Head of House: Duke Caron.
  • House specialisms are military, politics and the arcane, and Thelbane jurisprudence.
  • Not particularly positive towards Amber.


  • Duke Jun-Tor.
  • House specialisms are diplomacy, finance and commerce.
  • Relatively pragmatic towards Amber, although it doesn’t go out of its way to invite the descendents of Oberon for tea.


  • Duchess Lysette, twin sister of Paulette Celestine, and widow of the former Head of House, Duke Deakin.
  • House specialisms are diplomacy, the arcane and Trump.
  • Knows it’s politic to deal with Amber, but Lysette never forgave Oberon for Paulette’s death.

Other, less significant Minor Houses include

  • Barastow: Duchess Mione
    • Shapeshifting specialists.
  • Waltheon: Duke Favreau
  • Henley: Duke Ankit
  • Geib: Duchess Madeleine
  • Bernam: Duchess Kaltrina

House Ceel

Way back in the depths of time, there was also House Ceel. This were one of the original families in the Rocks of the Abyss, and eventually were persuaded by Cornelius the Great to become one of those which joined his the Thelbane Project. Their home Rock, Caucete, was one of the original ones incorporated into the Courts of Chaos. In the early years of the Courts, they enjoyed high favour, however, after Great Cornelius gave himself to the Logrus, a thousand years after it was drawn, and Swayvill took the throne, their position steadily declined.

As time passed, the House became disillusioned with the fact that their House was never considered “good enough” to be considered as marriage partners for any of Swayvill’s and Alberta’s children. After the last of Swayvill’s children married and formed House Amblerash, in 3,339, resentment turned first to passive obscruction, and eventually outright rebellion in 4,192, knowns as the First Rebellion. As an old, powerful House, they gave the forces of Thelbane a run for their money, but with the seven Major Houses arrayed against them, and a lack of Cornelian Blood – although many members of the House were Logrus initiates – the outcome was never really in doubt. The House was broken, and Caucete was razed to the Ground and Sealed by King Swayvill. The majority of the survivors – accounting for about 30% of the House – either fled back into the Abyss, or scattered into Shadow.

It is believed that House Ceel maintains a strong power base in the Abyss, as well as out in Open Shadow, and they are still considered to be a potential threat. Indeed, there have been occasional military encounters with House Ceel, always resulting in the defeat of the rebels but with differing degrees of damage to Thelbane in the process. The Second and Third Rebellions of 9,128 and 11,245 failed to gain traction. More successful was the Fourth Rebellion of 12,764, when House Ceel forces managed to fight their way to the Logrus Chamber itself, and are believed to have managed to initiate several members of the House before the soldiers guarding access to it were defeated.

The most recent attack came in 14,227 and caused significant damage to the forces of Thelbane, before beaten back in early-14,230. Given its timing relative to the first battles of the War Between the Powers, in 14,241, it has been mooted whether some kind of arrangement may have been in place between Duke Iago of Ceel and King Oberon of Amber.

To date, House Ceel is the only House of Chaos to be Attaindered in its Entireity.

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