XP: 23,600
Rank 6

House Guard XP: 5,550
Profit Factor: 59

Prelude: A House Divided

A dynasty falling into obscurity and nearing total collapse, its head seen as a weak and feeble man, debts allowed to default without consequence, and a general disillusionment for investors who saw raw potential in partnering with an ancient and powerful Warrant. Such were the circumstances of the Rosenkrantz Dynasty that lead to the plot seeking the deposition of Lord Johannes von Rosenkrantz. The man’s only son and heir was deemed to be too young and susceptible to his father’s wishes to have Johannes step down in his favor.

The elders of the Dynasty, the Patricians of the Merchant Houses, and those lesser noble families with fealty to the Rosenkrantz line had to choose sides in an imminent conflict that would tear the weak Dynasty in half. At last, the many scholars in service to the Dynasty produced a name; that of the man who could, by Right, replace Johannes as head of his House:
Wilhelm Friedrich, a man just a decade away from taking an old friend’s place as Planetary Governor of his native homeworld, the Imperial World of Sophen.

Indeed, it wasn’t the first time Dynastic Scholars were asked to convene to navigate through the immense webwork that was the family tree of the Rosenkrantz line. Disputes had necessitated their expert consensus on many an occasion in the past, when the bloodline’s purest and most legitimate scions were scrutinized to begin their grooming and be named Heirs-Apparent to the Rosenkrantz Warrant.

Times were different, as necessity had forced the hand of fate. No longer was a succession in question, but rather the Head of the Dynasty himself. For the better part of three years after Wilhelm Friedrich had been named, the legality of such a move was discussed before the Dynastic Elders. Scholars cited examples in the family’s past when the Warrant had jumped between brothers, ignoring offspring; those in opposition to the move countered that only in abdication did such a precedent exist.

Two years… two long years passed by in which Lord-Chancellor Wilhelm was courted by those who would back his claim to the Warrant – to lead his Dynasty as Head of House Rosenkrantz. This was a claim he never thought to press. Johannes had secured his line with the birth of his son, Eugen. It was a claim which he never yearned for, and one which he certainly never thought he’d press through plotting, politicking, and sheer power of arms.

He had never received the usual grooming of a Dynastic heir. He knew close to nothing of military matters, had no understanding of naval strategy beyond the second-hand accounts of the Admirals both active and retired which he had welcomed in his Court, and most importantly, had never married.

The decision had been very difficult for Wilhelm, the love of his homeworld was genuine, and he had envisioned his life would be spent in service to his beloved Sophen. Lord-Governor Meridius had advised and ultimately convinced his pupil to accept the charge, and to bring his greatest talents to bear in the revival of his family. And once Wilhelm had sent word of his decision, countless resources were made available to him.

Fealty was sworn to him by merchant houses and noble families he didn’t know existed, each pledging support for the young pretender in exchange for a place in the new era which he would begin. Several months were spent traveling along the Calixis Sector, calling in favors, and securing vital alliances.

Finally, promises of service on-board the Rosenkrantz Flagship [a holy relic to the priesthood of Mars] secured the backing of factions in the Adeptus Mechanicus, who saw Lord Johannes in violation of the ancient Compact between the priesthood of Mars and Rosenkrantz Warrant, sealing the fate of the Dynasty and locking it into a course of conflict for the next year.

With two sizable forces in every respect, the conflict indeed endured for that long and harsh year. The alliances Lord Johannes had secured in desperation, however, had upset those who would have supported him otherwise, and the Rogue Trader found himself fighting as little more than a warlord of a group of pirates and wanted criminals of various “specialties”.

Seeking redemption, or forgiveness… perhaps both, Johannes appeared before the Dynasty Elders in his battered ship, the Praeliator Aurorae, pride of the aged family. The scholars, he was informed, no longer argued. The merchant Houses that once held objections to his deposition, he learned, were now silent…

For abdicating, his life was spared by Lord Wilhelm, who forced him into exile. His son, Eugen, was found blameless and was given no punishment or sanction beyond the humiliation and loss of fortune that came with his father’s fall from grace.

As for those who had become valued allies, titles were given, compacts written, and awards issued. You are those who served the new Lord of House Rosenkrantz, holder of the Rosenkrantz Warrant of Trade. You are those he placed his trust in when he needed you most. And you are those he wishes to keep by his side in this, the process of rebirth.

You are not simple servants to a noble master… you are an integral part of this Dynasty, and valued members of it, entrusted with power and freedom over your destinies the likes of which a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the souls under the protective gaze of the Emperor will ever enjoy.