The Family Luxfrey

by James F

An extract from The Faculty of Heraldry's Guide To The Peerage.

The Family Luxfrey are an oddity amongst the nobility of the White City: they are a small Family, normally show little interest in politics, and are not particularly wealthy compared to the other noble Families. Their one truly noble characteristic is their age, for they are one of the original peerages dating from the time of the Civil War and their origins lie even further back.

The earliest records of the Family date from the Binding War, a thousand years ago. Although records of that time are patchy outside the library of the Cloistered Brethren, mentions are made in popular tales from around the time of the founding of the College alluding to a figure called Luxfridas. According to these tales, he was a priest and warrior from a monastery in the Northern Mountains, who received a vision from The Light and marched south, recruiting followers as he came. At around the current location of the White City he found others who had been called by similar visions, and together they swore oaths of brotherhood and founded the organisation that would later become known as The Shining Order, with Luxfridas and his oath-brothers as the original Inner Circle. What came next is known, at least in outline, by most people - the Shining Order and the Cloistered Brethren of Chains (who according to some legends also came from the North, like Luxfridas) combined forces, and marched East against the advancing armies of the beings later known as the Bound Ones. This war ended with the Bound Ones being defeated and bound beneath the earth in mighty chains. The two forces then returned to the area where they met, and there founded the White City, with the Exalted Church of the Light in the very centre of the city. It is said that Luxfridas was a leading figure in the early days of the Church, and also built an open courtyard chapel dedicated to the Light on the northern edge of the city, next to the walls. After several years of helping found and establish the Church, he Transcended to join The Light, whilst in meditation in his chapel. Ever since, the courtyard has miraculously remained brightly lit, day and night. Shortly afterwards a figure came from the North, who looked much like a younger version of Luxfridas and spoke with the same wisdom. This was his son and heir, who took over the maintaining of the chapel and built The Tholos of Luxfridas on the spot where he had Transcended.

The descendants of Luxfridas continued in this manner, always sending their children North to be educated in the same Light monastery as Luxfridas and always remaining dedicated to The Light. They were often highly regarded in the Shining Order, although occasionally there were slight doctrinal disputes between the Family and the Church (the Family seeing the Light in a particularly panentheistic and abstract manner, so resisting any attempts to anthropomorphise the Light). As high-ranking members of the Shining Order, they frequently led the defence of the White City, working alongside the Cloistered Brethren and the various militias.

Then came the Civil War. As the militia made their bid for power that ultimately resulted in the founding of the noble Families as we know them, the Luxfrey Family (as they were known by this time) acted as negotiators. Lucian, the Head of the Family at the start of the conflict, was (unusually for a Luxfrey) a wise politician, and ensured that the Family kept the respect of both the Exalted Church and many in the militia, putting them in a powerful position to lead discussions. Whilst this plan was not always successful, and much fighting occurred before the final emergence of the Temple of Ashes as an independent arbitrator that could bring closure to the disputes, the position of the Family was firmly established during these times thanks to Lucian's actions. It is also at this stage that the open courtyard chapel of Luxfridas was turned into the fortified mansion/chapel built around a peristyled courtyard that we know today, as Lucian ordered it to be made more defensible. Each side of the courtyard was dedicated to a different function - one side was barracks for Lucian's branch of the Shining Order, with a training hall and accommodation; one side was a combined library and prayer hall, with lodgings for religious scholars and visitors upstairs (as the Family kept links to Luxfridas' monastery in the Northern Mountains and pilgrims visited The Tholos of Luxfridas); one side was where the servants lived and worked; and the final side was the actual Luxfrey Mansion, for Lucian and his relatives. In the final settlement of the Civil War, the powers of the Cloistered Brethren and the Exalted Church were curtailed, and power passed instead to the secular Governor and the noble Families appointed by the Governor. As a gesture of reconciliation towards the Exalted Church, the Family Luxfrey were one of the first Families to be granted a peerage, and Lucian's successor Adalric became the first Lord Luxfrey.

The Lords Luxfrey continued to follow the Light faithfully for the next seven hundred years. The Family established a structure which has remained largely unchanged for centuries. The Head of the Family is almost always a member of the Shining Order, and typically becomes quite a high-ranking member. Unusually for a Shining Order Knight they do not take oaths of chastity, believing it is a higher purpose to carry on the line of Luxfridas. The current Lord Theoderic is a leading Knight of the Shining Order. Any other males of his generation normally swear oaths of chastity and poverty, and devote themselves entirely to The Light, whether in the Exalted Church, the Family Chapel, the monastery in the North, or as hermits and pilgrims. Whilst these members do not use any noble titles or exercise any noble privileges, the Family often makes particularly generous gifts to them, and offers them accommodation in the Pilgrim's Wing of the mansion. Helric Luxfrey, Lord Theoderic's brother, runs the Family Chapel. Any females are encouraged to either follow the same path as the priestly males, or to take on the noble functions of the Family, representing the Family at social events and so on, and organising the economic side of things. The Lady Luxfrey is frequently the actual day-to-day Head of the Family, and the official noble face of the Family. Sometimes she is from a lesser or younger noble Family who have married into the Luxfreys hoping to gain respectability by becoming linked to a Family of such age or to the Exalted Church (like the current Lady Amabilia), sometimes she is a Light worshipper (like the late Lady Helina, two generations ago). Finally, the Family Heir is educated in The Light, sometimes in the North and sometimes in the Family Chapel. He is rarely seen by those outside the Family and its tutors until it is time for him to become the Head of the Family and join the Shining Order. This has given rise to some rumours about the Family, and some whisper about incest, re-incarnation, or strange rituals. These are, of course, all nonsense created by outsiders who do not understand the ways of The Light and there is no evidence for them.

The Luxfrey Family's power outside the Exalted Church has declined since the days of Lucian and Adalric, and now the Luxfrey Mansion is half-empty. Several centuries ago the barracks was converted into a ballroom and accommodation for visiting nobles (which has remained unused since the marriage of Lord Theoderic and Lady Amabilia); they can no longer afford as many servants as during the Civil War; and there are few Light pilgrims from the North since the rising of the Palace at the Three Rivers. Now the only way the Family exercises any power is through their links to the De Courcis (through Lady Amabilia) and through the Lord Theoderic's high rank in the Shining Order.

misc/fiction/luxfrey.txt · Last modified: 2011/03/31 20:55 by osj01
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