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House Caine, and the Manor it Built [Location Thread, CVnU]

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House Caine was officially founded by a Bohemian-born English nobleman named Charles Kristoff Caine, inheritor of a large fortune from a mining company on the European mainland. Prior to that, the Caine name had undergone several periods of civil conflict and turmoil throughout history. Never before were they a family to be respected, rather reserving themselves to mercenary work across Europe - their deeds and histories gone unremembered.

A small band of Caineborn mercenaries, possibly as early as 1313
A small band of Caineborn mercenaries, possibly as early as 1313

Charles purchased a large plot of land in Kent, north of Canterbury, and set about establishing his masterpiece. Four completely independent fortresses marked the corners of the estate, walled off with thick stone parapets and deep trenches leading into treacherous moats on either side of the fortifications. A complex irrigation system fed these moats from the nearby Great Stour river, culminating in a runoff down the hillside and into a pond. The steep incline and slippery rocks meant traversing this outcropping of water was especially dangerous. Meanwhile, the river itself was heavily fortified with further earthworks and barricades.

The estate itself rose as the hill did, crowning the natural stone base as the boughs of a mighty oak. A single, broad path was cut from the surface of the rock, meant for an army to pass in formation - but also wide enough so that cover was practically negligible from projectiles being cast down. Called Caine Manor, the castle itself was laden with Renaissance-era luxuries as expected from the English elite. Imports from the Mediterranean and the Holy Roman Empire were commonplace. Charles established a lasting friendship with the Venice-based Lombardi Shipping Company, known for its potent naval accommodations to the Republic of Venice, and the powerful House of Wassenburg in Central Europe.

Caine Manor would become a staging ground for English armies looking to sail to France or Brittany during the Hundred Years' War. Due to its imposing nature, the Kingdom of Scotland saw fit to besiege it - though to no avail. The Caineborn soldiers were well-trained and well-armed, as well as well-supplied due to the natural nearby. Throughout its history, battles surrounding Caine Manor were decided by the Great Stour river. Efforts to either blockade the water or change its flow were heavily contested. French attacks on Caine Manor were met with the same amount of resistance. True to form, Caine Manor became a bastion for nearby Canterbury. Though attacks were leveled against the cathedral-city all the same, the manor weathered many would-be engagements. Charles himself would not live to see the end of the war. He died at 57 years old in hospital at Canterbury, a patient of a vicious shoulder wound that turned gangrenous.

Choosing the rose
Choosing the rose

His sons Theodore and Frederick would grow up in the latter half of that tumultuous age, growing up to be soldiers and then middle-aged men by the time of the Battle of Castillon in 1453. Their views were in stark contrast to each other, despite having grown up as twins and having fought in the same war back-to-back. In the dawning Wars of the Roses, Theodore would back the House of Lancaster while Frederick would find more agreeable terms with the House of York. The resulting political upheaval in England was surrounded by its financial and social troubles following the Hundred Years' War. English kings were cheap during this time and inner turmoil in the courts ran deep. Frederick would slay his brother at the Battle of Ferrybridge in 1461. He buried Theodore at Caine Manor with all honors, being quoted: "I have lost a part of myself, this cruel fratricide."

Frederick would integrate Theodore's children into his own family of three sons and a daughter out of grief, though the gesture would end with his own death. Geoffrey, Theodore's firstborn, had a deep resentment for his uncle and killed him in his sleep with a poisoned dagger. He blamed a fictional and unnamed Lancaster assassin, sparking more Caineborn involvement in the Wars of the Roses. George Caine, Frederick's firstborn, always suspected Geoffrey and would mark his cousin for death upon becoming head of the House at age 15. Geoffrey was older, but Theodore had left Caine Manor prior to his involvement in the Wars of the Roses thus giving up his right of succession and that of his children. The resentment George felt for Geoffrey was all the more mutual given the circumstances.

Brother against brother
Brother against brother

Although Caineborn involvement in the Hundred Years' War had been more or less honorable, its civil strife during the squabbles of the Lancaster and York Houses took a dour turn. Families were torn apart, and brother took up arms against brother. The political strife did not end until 1487 with the complete annihilation of both Lancaster and York claims to the throne of England. Though fighting continued for a short while after the formal end to the conflict, House Caine saw fit to end the battling before it dissolved like the others. Geoffrey died of a fever before reconciliation could be made with his cousin. George buried him next to his father with all honors, having forgiven everything.

George would be a middle-aged man by the time of the English Renaissance and ruled Caine Manor in as much the same way as his forebears. Though, age and stress of constant war began to show itself. During the late 1400s, much of House Caine's history was one of rebuilding and refurbishing. The Great Stour had always fed into large farmland and much of that continued without interruption. When the Italian War of 1494-1498 broke out, House Caine found itself fighting alongside soldiers of House Wassenburg as well as Venetian mercenaries who owed their allegiances to the Lombardi Family. Though this grand reunion of powers would be short-lived, as the continued rivalry of England and France continued into the Italian War of 1521-1526, of 1542-1546, and of 1551-1559. When Venice allied itself with France, the Lombardi Family cut all ties with House Caine before itself being dissolved by the turmoil. Soldiers of House Caine looted what they could from the properties and returned with bounty for the estate, almost a form of remembering what those friendships used to be.

During this time, George would die in battle. His son, Geoffrey II, would take up the mantle of leadership of the House at age 16. His two cousins Bartholomew and Alexander, sons of his uncle Theodore Caine, also died in the Italian Wars. What this meant for a young Geoffrey II was continued war, for at the age of 19 he and House Caine answered the call to arms during the French Wars of Religion as well as the coinciding Eighty Years' War against the burgeoning Empire of Spain and its allies in the Holy Roman Empire. England had evolved into a mostly Protestant nation at the time, and it faced staunch opposition from the Catholics of France, Sienna, and the supporting armies of the Ottoman Empire. Though France was hardly weakened, Geoffrey II had his first taste of actual combat and his men respected him for it. A genuine comradeship formed and House Caine became stronger.

At the height of the Eight Years' War was the interlocking Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. Geoffrey was 48 when he was cut down by muskets. He knew nothing but war, and was a respected commander of his troops. House Caine suffered greatly at his passing, though his heir-to-be Charles II was a favorite to lead. He was 17 years old.

"Either the estate goes to me and my own, or I die fighting for it."

Charles II, however, would not rise to the echelons of his forebears. Jealousy and greed had long ago seeped into Geoffrey II's children, and each wanted a chance at the head of the House. Charles II had nine brothers and two sisters, spread across Europe. His eldest brother Karl Roger Caine had the greatest claim, for he was two years older but wasn't a British citizen. He took an army of supporters from the Holy Roman Empire and besieged the Caine Estate, but could not overwhelm Charles' resolve. Karl was imprisoned and his army paid to return to the European mainland. A schism between various members of House Caine appeared, and the rift only widened with time. Karl was a very influential and charismatic leader, even swaying the guards into giving him extra rations or letting him walk without restraints in his cell. Charles wanted all animosity abolished between him and his brother, but Karl wanted none of it.

One night, Caineborn soldiers removed Karl from his cell and took up residence in nearby village of Dalhurst, where forces from the Holy Roman Empire had amassed. With their position fortified, Karl's army prepared to march once more upon the estate. What ensued was pure chaos. Charles had made rudimentary preparations following his previous victory, not suspecting any further violence. Finding Karl's cell empty, however, instantly prompted a call to arms. Karl's army had already begun to fire upon the estate at that point, though the shells had not yet landed. Within hours, the fighting turned from long-range engagements to brutal and bloody melee combat on the walls and in the streets below. Even with the defensible position of the estate, House Caine had seen better days than this and the surprise attack left many of Charles' supporters at normal pace of patrol rather than expecting combat. Karl took control of the estate and his men found Charles sealing off an escape route for his wounded soldiers. He killed two men before he was skewered by bayonets, dying instantly.

Karl fully halved the treasuries of the estate into repairing its fortifications to modern specifications as well as for paying the soldiers he had brought from the mainland. He was under the assumption that he could make back the money spent in a matter of years, considering the as-of-yet continuous mining operations still bustled. The veins of silver, salt, and construction stone responsible for House Caine's wealth ran deep.

The estate was fully refurbished by the time Karl was 32, a decade later. By this time he was a decorated officer in the Dutch-Portuguese War and even developed a taste for land opening in the New World. The landmark founding of Jamestown served to inflate this sense of adventure.

But he never got to see America, as he developed a serious case of pneumonia and passed away at the age of 36. He was survived by his children George III and Johann.

At this stage of House Caine's history, the estate is more or less a symbolic piece. History was written on the seas, with the Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish Empires practically exploding in size. French and English gains were also substantial, and it is here that House Caine becomes a well-respected name in the Royal Navy. Their participation in the many seafaring wars and conflicts could not be called into question at the time, but now serve as little more than a footnote. Only once did they set foot in America, and that was when George VI went there to fight in the American Revolutionary War. He was a staunch nationalist, and was extremely proud of his army and his country. Understandable, then, that when he was sent back home in defeat he became withdrawn and bitter. The only time he showed any compassion to his son was when young Thomas Arthur Caine told him he wanted to become a soldier.

From then until he saw his son graduate from the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, he showed a truly happy side of himself. Pride was returned to House Caine, and George VI died with a smile on his face the following winter from pneumonia. Thomas did not go to America for the War of 1812, electing instead to fight in the Napoleonic Wars one after another. He was presumed to have died in action, and his medals were delivered to the renewed Caine Estate where his widow Annabelle received them.

Thus began a strange series of circumstances where a Thomas Arthur Caine would appear claiming to be the former's son, each time following one of the great catastrophic wars of the world. This continued until the War in Afghanistan, after which the current proprietor of the estate, grounds, and the historical sites beyond is Thomas Arthur Caine VIII.

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The massive stonework of the estate laid out in its founding days still exists, either as functioning satellites to the main castle or as ruins in the process of being refurbished. The estate in question is divided into five main campuses.

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The Charles Campus is named thusly for its connection to the founding father of the Caine Estate. At 21,000 square feet, it is the largest of the components making up the fortified manor. Center stage and sitting comfortably atop a plateau of solid rock, the Charles Campus is tended to daily by the bulk of the estate's staff due to the larger percentage of visitors there. Its fountains run night and day thanks to a complex water system running straight into underground reservoirs fed by the Great Stour. All the benefits of excessive wealth and spending have gone into making the Charles Campus a veritable monument to House Caine.

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The northernmost campus, often called Noon Point by the staff, is named after Theodore Caine. It is the closest campus to the Great Stour and this has access to a large pond from which recreational fishing is done. The lakehouse overlooking the water is not a step below the quality of the Charles Campus, though it is smaller at 6,500 square feet. Staff members are explicitly instructed to tend to the gardens and such in a "natural" way, moreso clearing away obstructive weeds and invasive plants rather than hedging or clipping.

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To the east is the sibling campus of Theodore, Frederick. Though a bulky 9,650 square feet, Frederick Campus' main purpose is to house a great number of historical and archeological information regarding House Caine. Frederick, after all, had been the more astute of the two brothers. Vast collections of paintings, statues, books, pieces of armor, and all other such memorabilia are stored within these walls and vaults. Most notably is a French-made grand piano commissioned by a friend of House Caine during the Napoleonic era, estimated worth $1.7 million.

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Heading southbound is the Isabella Campus, named after Charles' wife during its construction. Not much is known of it, other than that it was the heart of much of the bloodiest fighting during the various civil conflicts rising throughout England prior to its Renaissance. As such, much of the ground surrounding it is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives on the property. Visitation for the forgotten dead are held for twelve hours a day, starting at 8 AM, while the tombs of House Caine are sealed shut.

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Last, and facing west, is the Godfrey Campus. Presumably named after Charles' father, it lies in the rockiest outcropping of the property and hardly has any visitors or scheduled staff maintenance. Thomas prefers to go here alone, mulling over old things that weren't restored for some reason or another. It is assumed that it is here where he keeps old war souvenirs, and quietly mourns the dead. Notably, Godfrey Campus served as a military hospital throughout the Napoleonic Wars and both World Wars.

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Yay history.

This is definitely a work in progress, buuut yeah. Cool stuff.