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Tales of the Torenescus

by AllanP based on a previous work by Ville Lähde from Threshold Magazine issue 21

The Torenescus are an ancient Traladaran clan, believed to be descended from Tahrek the Bright, lord of Krakatos and owner of the Diadem of the Sun1, who rebelled against the Hutaakans2. During the three centuries existence of the Free City of Marilenev, members of the Torensecu clan often served as Chief Prior of the Wardens’ Council.

The modern ascendancy of the Torenescus began with Samuil Torenescu. Born in 840 AC, Samuil honed his business skills in and around Marilenev in the latter part of the 9th century AC. His diligence and devotion to building the Torenescu fortune and power prevented him from establishing a family for himself until he was almost fifty years of age. His heir, Emmett, was born in 890 AC, two years before Samuil served as the Marilenev Wardens’ Chief Prior.

Emmett was only ten years old when he saw major changes in Marilenev as Thyatian forces entered and occupied the city in their conquest of Traladara. While the arrival of the Thyatians reduced the Wardens’ power, Samuil seized opportunities to stay in charge of his family’s destiny. With General Flavian Osteropoulos charged to lead a campaign against the Darokinian successor states, Selenican merchant houses were forced to leave Specularum (the re-named Marilenev). Samuil was able to achieve significant financial gains in the acquisition of various assets of the House of Hallonica.

Since the birth of his son, Samuil had desired to build a new family residence for himself as head of the clan. He had coveted an area on the south-western slopes of The Hill, where he persuaded the Wardens’ Council to build a new Hall for the Moneychangers’ Guild to show their power and wealth. The proceeds from the Hallonica House deals enabled him to acquire land and commence building what would from 903 AC be known variously as Torenescu Manor or the “House of Samuil”. In subsequent years, Samuil would continue to develop the area he had acquired. Notably, he built the “House of Emmett” in preparation for his son’s marriage to Sandra Bovis in AC 915.

Samuas, Emmett and Sandra’s first son, was born the following year. With Samuil’s death in 920 AC, leadership of the clan passed to Emmett (who was then Master of the Moneychangers’ Guild) and his family moved into Torenescu Manor. That same year, Sandra gave birth to twins, Dragos and Gavril3. A further son, George was born in 925 AC. Samuas’ marriage to Shella Wold, a Hattian) in 935 AC was a disappointment to Emmet; although it is said that Emmett had a soft spot for his granddaughter, Katherine (Samuas and Shella’s child) born a year later.

Under the patronage of Governor-General Stefan Karameikos II, the young George Torenescu found himself parlaying trade with the Minrothad Guilds during the years 943-948 AC. The twins Dragos and Gavril both married (in 944 and 948 AC respectively) members of Traladaran noble houses. Dragos’ son, Sergei, was born in 945 AC and Simeon, Gavril’s offspring, arrived in 949 AC, the same year that George Torenescu married Sarah Ebonov, a Minrothaddan whom he had first met during his travels, taking care of the financial interests the Torenescus had invested in the islands. George’s marriage was the last public appearance of his mother, Sandra, who died later that year.

The following winter Emmett died in desperation following the scandal that surrounded the joint suicides of Dragos and Gavril4.In the wake of Emmett’s death, there was a period of internal struggle between Samuas and George over the leadership of the clan that had arisen as a result of Emmett’s disapproval of Samuas’ wife. As Samuas sought alliance with the Marilenev clan, young George found stronger allies and better fortunes overseas, bringing foreign blood and the spirit of new politics into the once-proud Torenescu house. The dispute was finally resolved in 962 AC when Samuas was run over by a carriage5. Some blamed the Radus, as Samuas was arguing with Anton Radu at the time. Others blamed George, who was said to have had help from shady Minrothadian agents. With no male heir to Samuas’ line (Samuas had manoeuvred his daughter, Katherine, into marrying Ivan Marilenev in 952 AC; their son Valor was born in 953 AC) and the offspring of Dragos and Gavril stripped of their rights of succession due to the scandal surrounding their fathers’ deaths, clan leadership passed to George Torenescu’s line. This line was now enhanced by the births of sons: Christoph, Boris and Pavel in 950, 951 and 953 AC respectively. A daughter, Nichola, completed the family in 956 AC, (but see an alternative view of Nichola’s birth in the accompanying sidebar). George and his family took up residence in the “House of Samuil” that had been occupied by Samuas during the past dozen years.

Following the acquisition of Traladara by Stefan Karameikos III, the powerful families of Specularum feared losing their power to the dictates of the country’s new ruler. Plots and schemes were hatched to recover control of their country. However, the subtle intrigues failed when, in AC 971, clan Marilenev headed an untimely and violent revolt in Specularum and the surrounding lands. This rebellion was brutally crushed by the Duke Stefan; the Marilenev clan was nearly exterminated, while the rebellious forces from surrounding lands were cornered in the ruins of Krakatos and defeated after a brief siege. Katherine Marilenev (formerly Torenescu) saw her husband and children slaughtered. George Torenescu and his family remained stoically distant from Katherine, as they still remembered the turmoil following Emmett’s death, and they did not wish to be seen as potential supporters of the failed Rebellion.

In the post-Rebellion years, George Torenescu cleverly manoeuvred his eldest son, Christoph (and thus his whole clan) into the heart of the new Karameikan political structure. Christoph married Melinda Azuros in 973 AC, and in the following year their son, Aleksander, was born. Torenescu control of the Moneychangers’ Guild was strengthened as Christoph procured important posts for members of the Azuros family. That year also saw Pavel Torenescu marrying Ordana Dracul in 974 AC and their son, Stephanos, was born the following year. That year also sees the marriage of the young Nichola Torenescu to Zogrev Yarol, an astute Traladaran official in the government ministries.

In 976 AC, George and Sarah Torenescu both die in an ambush, The reasons for this occurrence are unclear. Their son-in-law, Zogrev, has suspicions but no tangible proof, He vows to do all in his power to keep Nichola, safe as he believes there are sinister activities in in George’s family line. In the meantime, as George’s eldest son, it was Christoph who next took the role of clan leader and residence in the “House of Samuil”.

Pavel Torenescu died in 993 AC. Many thought, but could not prove, that his disagreements with his brother Boris led to his early death, which was perpetrated by Sergei, (son of Dragos Torenescu). In return for this service, through his government connections, Boris arranged for Sergei to be appointed Karameikan Ambassador to Glantri, a commission that allowed him to escape investigations into various criminal activities in Specularum.6 Sergei’s cousin, Simeon (son of Gavril Torenescu) also gained prominence in the post-Rebellion years; with the help of lesser clans, he aided Christoph in gaining control of the Scriveners’ Guild.

As husband to Nichola and “family friend” to the Torenescu clan, Zogrev Yarol was well placed to keep abreast of the clan’s schemes. Zogrev has used this information (together with that from other contacts he has acquired over the years) to good effect. He is highly respected by Duke Stefan, who, in 997 AC, makes him a court lord and promotes him to Minister of State.

When the head of the clan, Christoph, died prematurely in 999 AC, there were strong suspicions that he had been poisoned by Boris in an attempt to gain control of the clan and its power base. However, it was Christoph and Melinda’s son, Alexander, who was declared head of the clan and owner of the manor.

And so, in 1000 AC, Aleksander Torenescu sits at the head of what had once been one of Specularum’s most powerful families. But internal disagreements (particularly between Aleksander and his uncle, Boris) on how the clan should conduct its businesses and the alliances it should form, have seen power and support diminish. Yet the Torenscus desire a return to their former status and aim to use their political influence (and discreet control of The Hill) to regain “ownership” of the city. Lord Zagrev Yarol, partly at the behest of his wife Lady Nichola and partly on his own initiative, has become a mentor to the young Aleksander.

Characters arriving in Specularum and looking for adventure may find themselves drawn into a scheme involving the Torenescu clan. They may find themselves on the Torenescu payroll, or engaged by the clan’s enemies. Whichever the case, it will be a complex and devious encounter. Although the rewards may be high - financially and politically. But in any event they will need to watch their backs!

840 AC Samuil Torenescu born
890 AC Emmett Torenescu born
892- 897 AC Samuil serves as Chief prior of the Marilenev Wardens Council
900 AC Samuil purchases the House of Hallonica building
903 AC Samuil builds Torenescu Manor
915 AC Emmett marries Sandra Bovis
916 AC Samuas born to Emmett and Sandra
920 AC Samuil dies;
Emmett becomes clan head;
the twins, Gavril and Dragos are born to Emmett and Sandra
925 AC George Torenescu born to Emmett and Sandra
935 AC Samuas marries Shella Wolf
936 AC Katherine Torenescu born to Samuas and Shella
943- 948 AC George first meets Sarah Ebonov while in Minrothad
944 AC Dragos marries
946 AC Dragos’ son, Sergei, is born
948 AC Garvil marries
949 AC Gavril’s son, Simeon, is born;
George Torenescu marries Sarah Ebonov;
Sandra, wife of Emmett dies
950 AC The twins Gavril and Dragos both commit suicide;
Emmett dies;
Samuas Torenescu becomes clan head;Christoph Torenescu born to George and Sarah;
Start of internal rivalry between Samuas and George
951 AC Boris Torenescu born to George and Sarah
952 AC Katherine Torenescu marries Ivan Marilenev Pavel born to George and Sarah
953 AC Ivan and Katherine’s son Valor is born
956 AC Nichola born to George and Sarah
962 AC Samuas dies after falling under a runaway carriage;
George becomes clan head
970 AC Stefan Karameikos III acquires Traladara
971 AC Marilenev Rebellion
973 AC Christoph marries Melinda Azuros
974 AC Aleksander Torenescu born to Christoph + Melinda;
Pavel Torenescu marries Ordana Dracull
975 AC Katherine Torenescu (Marilenev) dies;
Stephanos Torenescu born to Pavel and Ordana;
Nichola Torenescu marries Zorgrev Yarol;
976 AC George and Sarah Torenescu die;
Christoph becomes clan leader
993 AC Pavel Torenescu dies
999 AC Christoph Torenescu dies;
Alexander is head of the clan

A Younger v-ersion of Nichola Torenescu?

Astute readers who refer to Ville Lähde’s original work, "Torenescu Clan", at the Vaults of Pandius may note some comments about the year of birth for Nichola, youngest child of George and Sarah Torenscu.

In GAZ1; “The Grand Duchy of Karameikos” (page 44), it is noted that "(Lord Zogreb Yarol's) wife of 25 years is of the Torenescu clan", while “Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure” (page 62) repeats this wording and specifically names her as Nichola. Ville readily admits that he interpreted the phrase “…wife of 25 years” as meaning that Nichola Torenescu was only 25 years old at the time of GAZ1 (i.e. 1000 AC). Most other commentators have taken the phrase to mean that 25 years is the length of time that Nichola has been married to Lord Yarol (50 years old in 1000AC). This latter (and perhaps more common) interpretation of the phrase is used in the accompanying article and in the article “A Karameikan Chronology” elsewhere in this issue of Threshold Magazine.

But what if Ville’s interpretation was used? How could that be reconciled with other events? A possible solution might be…

If Nichola Torenescu was only around 25 in 1000 AC, let us assume she was born in 976 AC. At that time, Sarah Torenescu (formerly Ebonov) would be aged 44 from Ville's other dating. This might seem an old age for a human female to give birth (some 23 years after her last child was born), but not impossible. Rumours might circulate that George was not the father of the baby girl. Did George commit suicide in shame? Perhaps giving birth at such an age led to complications resulting in Sarah's death at, or soon after the birtDid George feel guilty over Sarah's demise? So as the result of the deaths of her parents, the orphaned baby Nichola becomes a ward of Pavel and Ordana Torenescu, sharing her childhood with their son, Srephanos.

So, in this alternative timeline, Nichola, marries Duke Stefan's Minister of State, Lord Zogrev Yarol, in 996 AC. There will have been speculation about this marriage - was it just an old family friend becoming romantically entwined with a younger girl, or was it a means of getting further Torenescu links with the Karameikan government? Perhaps it was Yarol's desire to keep Nichola safe from possible murderous plots by someone like Boris Toenescu? As someone who had been acquainted with the family for a long time, Lord Yarol recognised the potential risks that Nichola might face. Maybe Yarol had been married previously and he was now widowed; his first wife having died in some scheme that was rumoured to have been initiated by Boris, but no connections could be proven?

The Torenescus - such an interesting family…

1 As noted in "Traladaran Timeline" by Agathokles

2 See Simone Neri’s “History of Karameikos” in Threshold Magazine issue #1

3 Two unnamed siblings are shown between Samuas and George on the Torenescu family tree (Explorer's Guide page 74 - part of the "Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure" box set). Ville Lähde identified these as twin brothers Dragos and Gavril and developed the story of their early deaths explaining why they did not inherit the clan leadership from Emmett. See the introduction to "The Forbidden Love" scenario at the Vaults of Pandius.

4 See "The Forbidden Love" (at The Vaults) by Ville Lähde for more details

5 As noted in "Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure" - Explorer's Guide page 76

6 See the description of Sir Sergei Torenescu in GAZ3 "The Principalities of Glantri" pg 31). It states that Sergei helped Boris eliminate a rival family member several years ago. However, assuming that GAZ3 is set in 1000 AC, Christoph (poisoned by Boris) only died the previous year. I suggest that the rival family member in question was Pavel who died in 993 AC as per Ville Lähde’s outline of the "Torenescu Clan". Boris was obviously seeking to remove his male siblings.