House of the Setting Sun: The Royal Order of Companions [Non-Humans only]
Over all House Alignment: Lawful Neutral [neutral good tendencies]
Favoured Deity: None Officially [unoffically the order has a temple to Calistria located at The House]
House Blazon: Taldor Shield of Green and Blue with red Sunset in place of White Lion
House Motto: Honour from Service
Common Classes: Bard, Rogue, Courtesan, Expert, Adept
Uncommon Classes: Sorcerer, Cleric, Fighter
Rare: Wizard, Ranger
Never: Monk, Druid
The Royal Order of Companions include some of the most exotic and alluring non-humans within Oppara and is the only fully Non-human royal order. The Order’s chain of Command is clear and well defined. Only one wears the title of High Domina gifted by the Grand Prince in 4080 after 13 members of the House of the Setting Sun, one of the best Brothels in Oppara, died protecting the Royal family. The High Domina is chosen by ballot from the senior ‘Ladies’ of the order and then has to be confirmed by the Grand Prince, normally in an elaborate ceremony with a party afterwards. This Confirmation is oft times marred by Senatorial maneuvering, mainly to delay but at times to try and force the 'Lady' they would prefer to be the High Domina.
The order acts as unofficial guards to the Royal family. They also serve as eyes and ears among the various houses and senators keeping track of plots and dangers to the crown and royal family. The Order has learned many secrets over the years, secrets that many families would much prefer no one ever knew of. As such the 'Ladies' have given their lives protecting the royal family. It would be wrong to think that one of the 'Ladies' is nothing more then the delicate and exotic courtesan they appear to be when in fact every single one of them graduate from one of the Bardic Colleges which no only includes performance abilities but also training in weapons and armor.
The current High Domina, Ahrainna ndu'Aran was recently approved in a very quick almost effortless fashion with almost no ceremony and no party afterwards. She replaced the former Domina Faerlena who along with 5 other 'former' members died trying to protect Princess Eutropia.
The full members of the order are called "Ladies" and when ready to be a full member [through testing and gradutating from one of the Bard Academies] they are presented to the current Grand Prince for approval. This often takes the form of intense questioning over night. Normally out of tradition the order has 33 Full members but after the upheavals of the past year or so and with several deaths from the actions of Grand Duke Maxentian of House Branas, the order stands at 22 members. Once approved as a member of the Order, Tradition requires a Lady to take the surname ndu'Aran -a version of elvish loosely meaning Setting Sun.
A 'Lady' can leave the order, for various reasons [often being marriage or retirement] by presenting a written and carefully prepared letter to the Grand Prince. A few of the letters have been presented after the Lady in question has left.
Grand Prince Stavian has of late been asking when the next Lady or Ladies would be ready for approval. He disapproves of the order not being fully staffed as tradition allows and has mentioned considering a Royal Command to fill their ranks, which the new Domina has quietly and very effectively been able to side step.
The House itself had existed for nearly a thousand years in one form or another. Starting as a Tavern catering to the nonhuman with a clear Elf influence and named after an Ancient elven site. As the years passed and Women of the tavern found they were in high demand by the nobles and upper society the House shifted from a tavern into a high society Brothel offering the best [or so claimed at the time] and most exotic of Courtesans. As the years passed this claim actually began to be a fact. Ladies of the house were well educated in the arts of the court and known for their beauty and quality even if they were nonhuman. The ladies grew close to the royal family over the years many of them becoming part of the royal ensemble and keeping the Grand Prince privately informed on happenings they knew off and becoming wealthy from the patronage.
That Changed in 4079 with the invasion of Qadira. As with many things a grand party was thrown showing the world that everything was fine and no one was concerned, even as the enemy closed on and assaulted the city. A force was able to get within the walls and made their way to the Imperial Palace. There they attacked and while panic filled the palace the Ulfen guard fought the enemy forces and spirited the Grand Prince away from danger. The Royal Family, the grand princess and her two children were left behind. As various attendants and noble forces threw themselves at the enemy the Ladies of the House spirited them to a far corner of the palace and when Qadira forces broke through 13 of them split from the rest and fought back. The rest of the ladies, who many called royal whores, guided the royal family through the streets by ways normally only taken by locals and to the House of the Setting Sun. The next day the Royal family returned to the palace and the Grand Prince to find that all 13 of the ladies that had stayed behind had died. Most had at least one Qadira dead with them and they had blunted the assault.
A famous painting, called 'Knives of the Courtesans', still hangs in the palace. The painting shows one woman in a lovely sensual gown clinging to the back of a large furious Qadira Knight with a dagger raised high as a second bleeding woman clung to his legs with another dagger raised.
A grateful Grand Prince in reward for their bravery and sacrifice formed the Royal Order of Companions and degreed the House of the Setting Sun as the orders resident. Since then other 'Ladies' have died defending the Royal Family.
The Order is the eyes and ears not only for the current Grand Prince but often for the heir as well. Helping to groom them. The Ladies also are normally close companions with the women of the Royal Family. The order receives Royal Patronage which aids in their wealth. For single or widower Grand Princes, the House serves as a source of elegant companions for event and function that allows them to remain somewhat above otherwise frenzied jockeying for a union with them. They are often found otherwise serving as ladies in waiting to members of the Prince's family, as a source to draw on for such figures without having to allow the influence that would come from picking them out from other factions. This has of course lead some detractors to deride such Grand Princes that have favoured that course of actions as "having the imperial daughters trailed after by whores". The House is otherwise renowned and valued amongst those that appreciate it for providing an elegant and exquisite set of companions and courtesans that fit seamlessly into any event of any scale. While by this point a basically open assumption that any grouping with imperial patronage relates such as it knows to the imperial family, many amongst the royal and senatorial families drawn to their allure simply try keep as much focus as they might to meaningless pleasantries when in their company. This doesn't of course entirely prevent the members of the order from marking out useful bits of information all the same, nor from managing to ferret out the secrets they look for in the first place. It also allows the House to at times circumvent the vast and layered bureaucracy by presenting to the Grand Prince, or the heir, someone with an idea or gift that would benefit the crown. Several times Ladies of the house have influenced actions and orders of the heir and how he acts once becoming the Grand Prince. This has of course put them at odds with many of the senatorial families and a few noble ones.
The Order also sees a brisk business in serving to acclimate the often foundering newly raised members of the senatorial or royal castes to their new level of society, often hired to provide crash courses in etiquette and bearing to whole families, or to hang off the arm of a raised up from the common man senator or royal caste noble at enough events until they manage to seem at least somewhat like they fit in. The Grand Prince himself, when looking to seem either magnanimous or to in-debt a struggling new noble to his person, will often command the Order to offer such services without cost, on his behalf. They are often otherwise called on to consult in the planning of the various galas of the upper crust by those otherwise without such expertise to draw upon. This happens more when a gala or party is expected to a bit more racy and offering unusual entertainment