Hlaalu Families Proposal Based on Skeleton Man Interview
Clan Hlaalu, the namesakes of the Great House, is both alive and large in modern day Morrowind with seven distinct families per the Skeleton Man interview:
Paulus Hlaalu: "The glory of the Indoril is long in the past. They once used their control of the Tribunal priesthood to dominate the other Houses, but their hegemony was overthrown during the Armistice, never to recover. House Hlaalu, of which I am blood kin, of the Seventh Family, of direct descent from Hlaalu Brevur (May We Seek Forever the Seyda Neen), now has undisputed mastery of the other four Houses. The day when Hlaalu is acknowleged as the only remaining Great House can now be foreseen with some assurance.“
Clan Hlaalu got sidelined in a lot of old planning, so this write-ups meant to address that by expanding on the seven families with distinct identities that can be used for fluffing out the clans history and internal politics.
- Direct descendants of the founder of the clan and the creators of the catacombs under what is now Narsis. The first family, while recognized as the senior branch, is less involved in house politics and has historically favored ceremonial roles within it and are generally more active in the temple. Guardianship of the catacombs and the family's ancestral tomb are the roles the first maintains above all.
- Maintain their manor near the great temple of Narsis. (Not massive, but very well appointed with many relics of the clan across all seven families)
- Don't really care about the empire, but hate the imperial cult.
- Branch who perhaps unsurprisingly has the largest morag tong membership, though the least practical use of them.
- Descended from the second grandchild of the founder, the second family are the one outsiders are most familiar with. Their progenitor established a trade post to service those who came to inter their dead within the catacombs which grew quickly into the small town of Narsis. This marked the start of the Hlaalu clan growing into a proper house and with that the seconds progenitor is considered the true founder of House Hlaalu and their descendants have held the title of grandmaster most often through history.
- The great Hlaalu clanstead houses the second familes many members, most importantly the grandmaster himself, and is the largest manor in Narsis. (And indeed is one of the most in all of Morrowind)
- Leadership internally divided between being pro-cooperation (having been willing to back the empire before the armistice was even official) and a fairly vocal part of the family sympathizing with the camonna tong as they see their hold on power slipping as other clans become more and more powerful through imperial influence.
- second or third children normally get sent around morrowind as representatives for the house.
- The grandmaster of the House is of the second family, but is old and his grasp on the council is weak (description from the skeleton man interview)
- Current duke of Narsis is also of the second family, the Grand Hlaalus grandson infact, who was kicked off of the council and his appointed successor blocked, as he attempted to hold both the council and ducal seats together which is a hard taboo. (Per dialogue Vedam Dren actually did step down from being grandmaster/councilor when he became Duke but implementation didn't match up)
- Officially extinct, the third family are in fact scattered through the Kwoom tribes of the shipal highlands. The main household of the third family was exterminated during an early clan war with the second family over control of Narsis and so the majority fled the city, joining the wandering clans for safety and in time integrating within them. This caused quite a bit of tension between the wandering clans and the Hlaalu of Narsis, as the descendants of the third agitated the red khans into raiding narsis quite aggressively, in time though blood won out over the vengeance and marriage pacts turned the feud into a cornerstone of House Hlaalu's alliance and eventual suzrenity of the Kwoom. (Though that was/is a closely guarded secret of the House, as the Kwoom clans have historically been used by the Hlaalu when they wish to act with deniability.)
- The branch most overtly hostile to the empire, though arguably the least of a threat given they cant attack Imperial insituions from within like some of the others can.
Fourth Family (The Hlaalo’s)
- The loss of a third of the clan began the trend of families moving away from Narsis to establish themselves, rather than making challenges to the dominant branch, hence the Hlaalo family ( change made to overtly signal to the second family they had no design on challenging them) went west up the kanit river establishing several of the early farmsteads which would become the breadbasket of the house. The Hlaalo's lands technically being under the waters march rather than their kin house had always been a sore spot for them, making them some of the earliest proponents of the houses expansion and has led to them making many enemies outside the house over the years. Family is still mostly known for their plantations and have their manor near those lands.
- The Family that's second most hostile to the empire and backs the CT pretty consistently. (Ralen Hlaalo in vanilla would have been the "white sheep" of the Family)
- “The Kragenmoor Hlaalus”, the fifth family was the first to gain a significant presence far from Narsis, moving north to site of veloths arrival in Morrowind. While modern day Kragenmoor is known as the second city of House Hlaalu (though not of the clan), Kragenmoor was first a small camp under the watchful eye of the Dwarves of Kragen whose own city stared down at it from above. In time this camp would grow to include a fort to watch against orc, nede and ayleid raids from across the mountains, the dwarves offering fickle protection. That fort would grow under the warrior clans who would go on to found the waters march, and key to that growth was the arrival of hlaathoom merchants and the connection they brought upriver from the south. While eclipsed by the Sadras and Indarys when Kragenmoor officially came under House Hlaalus control in the early third era (the house had been undermining the Waters March through the entire second era and had been running Kragenmoor behind closed doors for at least a century before the turn of the third), the fifth family of clan Hlaalu is still a respected fixture of the city to this day.
- Cooperates with the Empire, but aren't as strong believers in either the Empires as an institution (like the Indarys) or of the empires gods (like the Sadras) putting them behind both when it comes to Kragenmoors current politics.
- A sub-branch of this family is present in Baan Malur, a hold over from their friendship with the waters march, though is estranged from the house.
- “The Outlanders”, the sixth were the family that first passed back over the mountains to trade with the inhabitants of cyrodiil and blackmarsh, later going even further making the first expedition by sea to trade with Elsweyr, the sixth are wrapped up in many different reputations, as depending on the period they have been seen as great exemplars of their house daringly going passed the safety of morrowind into the debased lands of the n’wah to retrieve riches unimagined, while in leaner years being seen as “tainted” for their long absences from their homeland and “proper velothi ways'', a reputation which by association permeated through the entire clan. An open secret is that the Sixth families traders were (and still are) spies for clan hlaalu wherever they do business, sending reports back to narsis on affairs of trade. Unsurprisingly they were founding backers of HCC and have the strongest presence in the company of any of the Hlaalu families (though the current director isn't one of them).
- Their manor was outside Narsis on the cyrod road, being as their mixed fortunes were seen as better kept at arm's length, but is now the middle of the Farmers district, of which they own much of the land for.
- Not fans of the Cammona tong due to their jingoism being bad for business, but likewise arent strong supporters of imperial rule and how it restricts their business ventures either (the Sixth Family were heavily involved in the slave trade pre-armistice)
- Maintain estates in Cyrodiil and own property in most of tamriels largest cities.
- Have sent the MT after people who think mentioning the “Sixth house” in relation to them is funny.
- Distinguished as a separate branch by the famed Hlaalu Brevur, one of the most dynamic if ultimately tragic figures of the house.
“Early concept art shows House Hlaalu with gems in their foreheads. These gems were purportedly part of the glass in the construction of the Seyda Neen.
The Seyda Neen was the flagship of a fleet that Hlaalu sent to sea at the behest of a Saint, "to see the face of Veloth". The mariners on this voyage would send back for the rest of their House when they had found whatever this "face" was.
But an unnatural storm destroyed the fleet, the jetsam and flotsam coming back to the shore. The Hlaalu used this to construct the Lighthouse, so that any of their countrymer that may have survived the storm could find their way back. House nobles embedded their flagship's glass in their foreheads, because Morrowind” - Kirkbride, 2015
- While Brevur and his wealth were lost to the sea his family were able to work the tragedy to its utmost, ostensibly making Brevur a martyr for the entire House and with that projecting themselves to the status of a distinct family of the clan. (See the quote at the top of the page about them being the seventh)
- Maintain their estate near Narsis’s port.
- Most overtly imperialized family, heavily involved with the empire's civil admin, the proconsuls staff and advisory roles in imperial government postings. Fairly even religious split in the family, but still leans towards the temple.
This is still a pretty heavy WIP, but I've not had many idea for expanding it further so putting it public in this still patchy state so it can get discussed and fleshed out by those who are more imaginative.