Famed as one of the most militaristic of the Great Houses, House Cathak has been blessed by the Dragons with a better Exaltation rate than any House but Mnemon’s. Even more auspiciously, House Cathak has produced more children than any other Great House for 80 out of the last 100 years. For other Great Houses, this would be a blessing. For House Cathak, it’s necessary to offset the House’s equally high mortality rate. The majority of young Cathaks (Exalted or not) enter the legions, where they strive to equal or surpass the legends of the House’s great war heroes—and the House’s casualty rate reflects that. More tragedies befall the young soldiers of this Great House than any other. Publicly, this is attributed to the fearlessness of House Cathak. Privately, it is often claimed that, while members of the House are long on bravery, they’re short on judgment. Some members even secretly claim that it’s an extravagant conspiracy engineered by Mnemon to keep House Cathak from taking control of the Dynasty simply by outbreeding the rest of the Great Houses.
MASTER OF THE HOUSE Edit
Great-grandson of Cathak himself, Cathak Cainan is the current patriarch of House Cathak and a true icon of the Scarlet Empire. Cainan is one of those rare, truly pious souls who obtained his schooling at the Cloister of Wisdom and then chose to be a soldier rather than a holy man.
Over a glorious career that has included leadership of the Cathak legions, massive battles with invading Fair Folk and vigorous participation in the Wyld Hunt, Cathak Cainan has earned the respect of his family and the obedience of the legions. He is one of a handful of Exalts in the Realm who can get an audience with the Mouth of Peace within an hour of requesting one.
Like his House, Cainan has proven himself unusually fecund, and a surprisingly high percentage of his children and grandchildren have Exalted.
Though he does not consider himself his House’s ruler, per se, Cainan does guide his extensive family with a firm but gentle hand. He’s open to the input of other family members, but no one questions that his word is final. Were he a younger man, Cainan would likely wind up on the Scarlet Throne thanks to the efforts of the Bronze Faction, which sees him as just the kind of pious mouthpiece it needs. As it stands, the Sidereals don’t expect Cainan to last more than a few more decades, and they don’t relish the notion of another succession conflict so soon.
Cainan is a tall man, heavily muscled, with long red hair and all the markings of an old and powerful Fire Aspect of excellent breeding.
THE CATHAK GAREL HOUSEHOLD
Cathak Garel is a respected military historian whose household is based in a sprawling manse outside Tuchara, in Arjuf Dominion.
She and her family are renowned for writing the most accurate and complete histories of the Scarlet Empire’s conquests and battles anywhere in the Realm. Gathered both through battlefield observation and exhaustive interviews, these histories read like hyper-detailed and thoroughly annotated skirmish-by-skirmish accounts. They are so accurate that they are considered sensitive information and guarded accordingly. Any time the Realm enters a conflict, chroniclers from the Cathak Garel household appear on or near the field of battle as dependably as hungry crows. On many occasions, the family has earned the ire of other Houses and households by being too honest in its histories, but Garel has always insisted that accurate records of battles are far more crucial to the Realm than flattering ones. If any member of the Cathak Garel household were ever to falsify a chronicle of a battle, both Garel and Cainan himself would be forced to take drastic action to defend the integrity of the household’s reputation.
Several Garel historians have recently isolated themselves in the household’s manse in Tuchara to complete the official account of the destruction of the Tepet legions at the hands of the Bull of the North, and many Dynasts are pressuring Cathak Garel herself to hurry the process along.
While many in Cathak Garel’s line have followed her example and become historians, many have also made more active use of these historical lessons by becoming strategists and generals in the legions.
All of the major Cathak households are aspected toward Fire.
House Cathak has many satrapies in the Threshold, and that’s where the vast portion of the House’s funds come from. Cathak Cainan has a reputation for squeezing the House’s satrapies harder than most of the Dynastic Houses, but also for providing more disciplined troops, less corrupt officers and a range of other services (road and bridge building, mostly). He sees the high tribute asked by his House to be fair, given the range of services the satrapies receive. For their part, the tributary states are less certain of that and have become suspiciously delinquent in paying tribute to the House in recent months. Others have forgotten to send portions of their tribute, claiming they have no more to send. They are clearly counting on the upheaval in the Realm to keep House Cathak at bay—and they may have figured things right. Should their gamble prove unfounded, however, House Cathak will certainly make its resentment known with a strong legion presence.
While the satrapies have been pondering a tax revolt, some Cathak households have started hiring out House troops to some of the House’s other tributary states for money. Cainan dislikes this practice, comparing it to martial prostitution (as he calls mercenary activity). Still, he knows that a Great House does not make money simply by being morally upright. He is working to convince the House’s other Dragon-Blooded to hire out these troops only in ways that further the Realm’s interests, though his efforts have met with only moderate success. While the other Cathak scions hold Cainan in high regard, that respect won’t put their children through expensive schools or keep them clothed in the luxurious silks to which they have become accustomed.
GOALS AND ALLIANCES Edit
Cathak Cainan is an honest man with a true concern for his House, and he leads House Cathak accordingly. He respects alliances and partnerships and eschews the paranoia that plagues many of the other Dynastic Houses. This isn’t to say that the Cathaks rush into every deal they’re offered, though. They vet their opportunities very carefully and make sure that the House benefits from any alliance it enters.
In recent years, Cathak has deployed its legions to guard other Houses’ tribute caravans in return for a small cut of the take. Not only does this make money for House Cathak, but it helps ensure that the Realm’s coffers stay full even during this Time of Tumult.
V’neef Aliset believes she has found a trove of First Age wonders deep in the Threshold, not far from Larjyn, and she is currently offering House Cathak a generous sum to help her transport her treasures back to the Realm for study and possible repair. House Cathak is very interested, but the political realities of the Realm make it very dangerous to deploy too many legions to the Threshold at the moment. Still, the possible payoff would likely make the risk worthwhile. A decision is forthcoming soon.
ILLUSTRIOUS DYNASTS OF THE HOUSE Edit
CATHAK CACEK Edit
As a young Exalt studying military strategy in the House of Bells, Cathak Cacek was plagued by insomnia. At night, to turn his inability to sleep to good use, Cacek designed a game that used the strategies he was learning in class and invited his fellow students to play, which they did in huge numbers. In RY 466, Cathak Cacek introduced this game, called Gateway, to the Realm at large, and it was instantly hailed as a masterpiece of strategic instruction.
Cathak Cacek served in the legions for many years and regularly played Gateway with his Dragon-Blooded peers, but he never realized how popular his game had become until he returned to the Realm. Cacek now heads a household of his own, and his descendants all prize themselves on being among the best Gateway players in the Realm.
CATHAK MAE Edit
It is rare that a profession as lowly as armorer would be seen as an acceptable trade for one of the Dragon-Blooded, but in Cathak Mae’s case, exceptions have clearly been made. A graduate of the Heptagram, Mae specializes in creating powerful jade armor based on First Age designs. Every piece of armor she creates is a unique work of art, and she is easily one of the richest members of House Cathak.
Mae was engaged to be married to a young general in the Tepet legions before his death in the Battle of Fallen Lapis, where the Tepet legions were effectively crushed. Now, she shows little interest in anything beyond her extraordinary forge complex in Tuchara, despite a range of Exalted suitors from the best Dynastic Houses trying to get her attention. Some in her own House are hoping her mourning lasts quite some time, as the armor she has created in this period of grief has easily been of Shogunate quality.