House Essyn had long been one of the Great Houses of the Confederation, with its scions often presented to the Confederate Court and the sovereign. But by the election of Eleseer III as High Sovereign, House Essyn was in steep decline.

Seron II, Marquis of Essyn, had enjoyed a long tenure of nearly 70 years as head of his house, but he had never fathered a legitimate heir, preferring instead to marry consorts he knew to be barren and spawning scores of bastards with courtiers and serving-girls. Though in theory the Confederation allowed Seron absolute authority to designate his own heir, none of the other Great Houses would see fit to ally with even a legitimized bastard, or to offer one of their own heirs up in marriage.

In a panic brought on by his advancing years and ill health, Seron married a young petty noblewoman. Their only child together was a daughter, with her mother dying in childbirth. Growing up in splendor even as her aged father ignored her in a fruitless search for a male heir, the Lady Essyn was nevertheless fiercely independent and keenly intelligent. Her beauty earned her the monicker “Flower of Essyn” at her presentation to the Confederate Court, but that was far from the sum total of her whole.

Over time, the court and even the High Sovereign began to wonder at Seron II’s decline; despite the old man’s health having reduced him to being carried about in a bier, he refused to die despite the obvious ravages of age and disease. At the same time, the Confederate Court was rocked by news that the Flower of Essyn had kindled a romance with a low-born conjurer rather than the many eligible young men of her own rank that had been put forward by Great Houses looking to add Essyn to their holdings.

What happened next is subject to many lurid tales. Did the Flower’s secret consort betray her and her house with dark magicks? Did she dabble too greedily in the dark arts in an attempt to extend her ailing father’s life? Or did she merely get entangled in the putrefied beginnings of the Dead Uprising?

All that is certain is that the Flower of Essyn was slain in her prime, the subject of a funeral procession led by a father who scarecely knew where he was anymore. And three days later, she rose from her grave.

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