The Carsokian Clan has haunted the halls of history in Ghyll since at least -400 EC and have been quietly making things happen the entire time, rather like very determined dung lice. Always attempting to stay off center stage, they have turned up now and again in the most interesting historical records. Almost a kind of aristocracy, without all the pretty bows and ribbons, they are the most immensely diverse conglomeration of families in Ghyll.
Of course, the history of the Carsokian Clan is almost the history of Ghyll itself. The Clan traces its lineage back to Sylvia Brunnhilda Carsokian who was the Grand Matriarch during the Battle of Barnum Stones. Indeed, there has been rumor that they were the original Exingians behind the entire conflict. The Clan was known, even back in -400 EC, as quite violent traditionalists. Of course, when they were soundly trounced by the Looliers, Sylvia took her three sisters, whose names are lost to history, and her ten daughters and nieces, and fled their Cranee homeland. It was a cold, cold Ablinth in -322 EC when they settled in the Sarfelogian Mountains and began gathering up husbands from the local stock. All of this was directed by Sylvia herself, earning her the well deserved title of the Grand Old Bitch. She was a hard woman for hard times and it is in her memory that the Clan began to trace its lineage through their daughters.
The Clan then disappeared from view for quite some time, until roughly -183 EC when several of the Clan moved back from the Sarfelogian Mountains to Cranee, and shortly joined with several of the local families in forming the Cranee Historical Society. Since then, even the remotest Clan members have been considered members of the Society, even if they didn't know it. It was several years later, in -175 EC, that the Society "discovered" the Clan was related to Captain Tuta Riquiras, before he'd turned pirate. The very next year, when the Captain took his first merchanter, the Society "discovered" a mistake about that particular line of the Clan lineage and disowned him. The Husslespear family has never quite regained their reputation. However, all was not lost, for in -157 EC, just a year after the removal of the Barnum Stones to Stindersgrough by Corvin Axehand, he was suddenly "related"! Indeed, that year there were an extraordinary number of Moonbeam Meetings in celebrations of "Cousin" Axehand, the Cranee Patriot.
It was into this high-point of the Clan's history that Mary Elizabeth Carsokian was born and groomed to be the clan head. She rose to that position on a fine, warm Ulfsday in Gomin of -100 EC, on her 57th birthday. With her that day, according to the Cranee Historical Society records, was her young, freshly married daughter Aleksandra Mary Blackgold, and her young niece Sylvia Beth Panderlock, who would lead the clan into the modern age. It is also in this year that the highly educated Wilhelmina Corinne Bardway made her great discoveries regarding ghoulwood and the supranatural luminescence.
Territory and Influence
The various families that make up the Carsokian Clans are spread far and wide. The majority of their influence is in the Andelphracian River Valley, but they have representatives as far as the Evesque Valley and the Sarfelogian Mountains. Indeed, there are those who have speculated that they are purposely marrying off their daughters to particularly wealthy buffoons who are easily manipulated simply to expand their reach into heretofore unreachable spheres of influence.
They also have notable enclaves in the Vale of Serdoch and Alezan, with a particularly large population in the Baleman neighborhood. Though their numbers remain small, they still seem to have inordinate control of certain commodities and political powers. They claim that they have no particular clan head or chieftain, but it is well known that Sylvia Beth Panderlock is most often looked to as the steering senior member of the clan.
One of the few families of its kind to engage in an actual eugenics program, the Carsokian Clan has very carefully, and quite successfully, chosen with whom to intermarry. They have strengthened stock that should have naturally died out many, many generations ago. They seem to be as tenacious as the wild fefferberry, which is their family crest.
Also, it may be inferred that their regular ingestion of both fefferberries and bofu weed out the weak and slow early on. You'll find no philology students, phonology professors, rhetoric scholars or whimsicists amongst this hardy stock! So, despite a number of social and societal issues which have kept their numbers smaller than one would expect, they are exceptionally long-lived. Often they are found in quite physically demanding professions, in which they remain active until late in life. In fact, they are more often found dead at their chosen trade than in bed.
Social Customs and Conventions
Conservative by nature, these closed-lipped families are often pillars of the community, especially in repressive, "stiff-necked" neighborhoods. They can often be found at the head of angry mobs wielding torches and pitchforks. Almost to a member, they all belong to the Cranee Historical Society, though it's hard to tell why, since it has devolved into little more than a joke. Seriously, a historical society that is little more than a drinking and tree-toasting club? Why bother? Unless, of course, it's really something more sinister...
Often, their familial conservatism goes beyond simple social or political reservation and expresses itself in a kind of tradition-bound pantomime of current fashion and culture. For example, the ridiculous adherence to the bofu consumption rituals attached to the betrothal march. No sane person would, of course, wish to excrete anything that glows no matter how useful it may be for passing travelers lost in the dark. Still, the Carsokian Clans adhere to this most ancient of customs. In fact, it is believed that this has contributed to their low birthrate and high instance of intermarriage with other, much less uptight, clans.
Frustratingly, as the Clan tracks "membership" via its maternal line, when they marry, Clan "membership" becomes quite a tricky bit indeed!
Some of the more infamous members include:
- Carsok - The Defiled Earth Mother, and a component of Vulcrue, the founder and tutelary goddess of the Clan, at least according to occultologists. Whether she was named for the Clan, or the Clan for her, is unanswerable.
- Baron Claude Lloyd Albert Smallwood - The Baron Smallwood's mother, Aleksandra Mary Blackgold, who is descended from the rather more well known Mary Elizabeth Carsokian. He is a distant third cousin of Sylvia Beth Panderlock and was married off to Bavarian Creame in an attempt to enrich the Carsokian fortunes.
- Phennella - Of course, one of the best known members of the Cranee Historical Society must be a member of this influential clan. Unfortunately, no one has been able to determine her exact parentage and, as it is quite impolite to ask and she has not been forthcoming, we will simply lump her in via "guilt by association".
- Gabson Foye - Another fine, upstanding member of the Carsokian Clan, though a bit, well, slow. His mother, Adelaide Clementine Chimmlefut, who is the second cousin, twice-removed, of Sylvia Beth Panderlock, was initially quite pleased that he was to marry Siam Sinch, but quite put out later when it was discovered that she'd had an affair with Bethany Mboya, who later turned out to be Spearholder Jan ver Daath (Retired) of the Tarkherk Corps. Luckily, the clan's fortunes do not rest on their male line alone!
- Wilhelmina Corinne Bardway - The inventor of the ghoulwood viola and the supranatural luminescence meter, as well as the creator of the famous phaelros window at the Court of Odgar IV. She spent an unfortunate portion of her life trying to explain the difference between supernatural and supranatural luminescence and not enough time puttering in her lab, according to her journals.
- Captain Tuta Riquiras - The Carsokian Clan claims the dread pirate as a member via his mother, Allison Clarinda Husslespear, who is the great, great, grandaunt of Aleksandra Mary Blackgold. But, this has been disputed since the Captain was off at sea most of his life and was not much of a record-keeper. Indeed, it has been often speculated that he didn't know his own mother at all.
- Corvin Axehand - The great patriot of Cranee is also claimed by the Carsokian Clan, though, few true scholars believe this possible. After all, that would mean that the movement of the Barnum Stones was all some kind of esoteric plot by the clan to somehow increase their status and wealth. Frankly, it doesn't seem possible that even they could be so subtle or sublime.
--Doctor Phineas Crank 22:55, 22 Sep 2004 (EDT)