House Vaarasta Edit
Now a minor noble house of few holdings and little wealth, the Vaarasta family was once considered one of the greatest in Elvendom. Its once-mighty castle of Junkarsborgin now stands in ruins atop the center of the Rystyset mountain range.
Vaarasta translates to "of danger" in the common trade tongue. It was the title given to the family around 7,000 years ago by Edrik Hõbesilmad, the high lore keeper in Jumala, in honor of the family's seemingly hereditary trait of playing a noted role in the most dangerous battles and pivotal quests in elven history.
The Vaarasta family rose to power through prowess at arms, about 12,000 years ago - near the dawn of Elven recorded history.
The first great warchief of the Vaarasta was a gigantic hunter known as Kalev Lööma (Kalev the Hammerer). He united a number small tribes in the lowlands between the Rystyset mountains and the Dragon Sea, and led their warriors to successfully destroy a portal from to Abyssal Plane which had been spewing demons and other foul invaders into the western lowlands.
Kalev's daughter, Tuule, further secured the family's renown in those early days, driving back an invasion of Tauric people, simultaneously wielding her father's hammer, Sähvatus and an axe of her own making, Hull'raju. For her unyielding ferocity, she quickly became known as Vasara Rusikar - the Hammer's Fist. Tuule took a husband from the jungle people of Thunderglade, another mate from the sea people of the Dragon Coast, and yet another from the mountain folk of Rystyset. With the support of her brothers and cousins, Tuule began building a seat of power in the Rystyset mountains that would eventually become the great castle of Junkarsborgin.
It was under the leadership of Kaarle Kallio, the ninth leader of Tuule's line, that the clan was given the title, "Vaarasta" to honor the family's notable contributions in war and strife to the rise of the great elven kingdom of Jumala.
Middle Years Edit
Trade with Jumala and Jokipalo increased tremendously, and House Vaarasta became known for ingenious stonework and metalcraft in addition to their continued feats of war.
When the boredom of peace became too much to bear, the second and third children of the Vaarasta petitioned to lead a "grand expedition" to the continent of Waritu. On the surface, this 100-ship expedition had the goal of establishing new elven cities and friendly ports, as well as allying more tightly to the fey and small folk (gnomes, hobbits) of the orc-dominated continent. In truth, the expedition turned as violent as the middle children of House Vaarasta had hoped, and directly led to several thousand years of wars, skirmishing, and general hard feelings between the orc tribes of Waritu and the elves of Waritu's east coast. As several hundred years passed, much of the more battle-bound members of the Vaarasta moved to Waritu in search of glory and treasure.
Back on Kotime, ranking members of the Vaarasta family became great patrons of bards and writers, who then helped cement the deeds of of House Danger into elven cultural lore.
The Decline Edit
When the elves realized the impact of the Decline, most of the elves on Waritu abandoned their colonies and retreated to shore up the defenses of Kotime.
This incensed the members of House Danger on Kotime, who resigned themselves to the defense of the few elves, hobbits and gnomes who remained on the increasingly hostile continent. The growing strength of the orc tribes, bolstered by weapons, warriors and tactics sent to the orcs by the hobgoblin tribes of Hauner, crashed again and again against the Vaarasta of Waritu. Facing enormous odds and no support from Kotime, the last five elves on Waritu withdrew 600 years ago. Three of those elves were of House Vaarasta, and were furious to discover that the once-great castle of Junkarsborgin had been reduced to shambles after all but a stubborn few of its inhabitants had moved either to Jumala, or to help strengthen the port cities of Kotime against attacks from the Hobgoblin armies of Hauner.
Much of the once-great wealth of House Danger has been spent supporting the colonization effort and creating new defenses for Kotime's coasts.
There are only 14 surviving members of the family, including the last elf to set foot on Waritu before the expedition to find the Jade Mask.
A famous ranger named Lazer and his cousin, a young bladesinger named Johanna are the only two children born to the Vaarasta in the last 400 years. Most of the rest of House Danger is quite elderly, even by elf standards.
Junkarsborgin has been unoccupied for over 400 years. Of all the castle ruins on Kotime, Junkarsborgin remains in the best condition, but it still requires major repairs before it stands any hope of serving as a stronghold again. There is hope of that with a recent agreement between House Varaasta and House Hopea that is funneling redevelopment money to the castle and the new airship way station established in its shadow.