"Ours is the prestige of kings."
The Kessler Estate is a large manor house that oversees a valley within Alterac neighboring The Iron Roost and Norlaran, far north of the County of Black Peak. The family whom it belongs has two primary vassals; those of House Deichert, and House Gonzette, though the former has no living heir to its name.
The estate is a primary base of operations for Kessler's mercenaries and affiliated occultists, though the catacombs upon which the manor is built houses a sinister Argus Wake coven, rumored to lead to the Blackfire Caverns.
- 1 History
- 2 House Kessler
- 2.1 Leaders
- 2.2 Vassals
- 2.3 Mercenaries
- 2.4 Deceased Members
- 2.5 Defected Members
- 2.6 Map
Lord Abel Kessler was an aggressive salesman whose enterprise was built atop real estate and property value. He was also an architect, though he was vain, and had no appreciation for historical landmarks. Abel planned to build his own wintry hideout for his retirement, and had found the perfect plot tucked above the Alterac Valley, near the peaks where he could watch from his tower overlooking the lands.
Kessler had grown callous as he grew older, becoming even more cynical and rapacious. He did not take heed from those who warned him about the catacombs buried beneath that very plot. Under that snow were interred many soldiers who served the honorable General Hath, but the lord was not a superstitious man. To him, it was nothing sacrosanct, and he merely decided to use the extant stone as foundation for his new, imposing manor.
With its shrouded location and forbidding terrain, the Kesser Estate continues to serve as an apt base for clandestine operations.
CatacombsJanara Kessler, wife of Thirnas Kessler and ravenous warlock, saw not a haunted crypt below the estate, but a trove of souls that she could harvest and offer to the Argus Wake. The cunning woman fuels her sinister machinations from within the sprawling catacombs.The basement of the Kessler Estate is profoundly haunted, but not by its spirits; not anymore. It sprawls and yawns into a senseless spiral of corridors, both accommodating to traversal, yet mocking the very idea of being explored, for at parts, its halls were crushing, and its stairs were too narrow. They were also at times too wide, the halls stretching beyond the edge of sight, always a fraction away from a perceivable edge to a maddening degree. It was an architectural aberration that burrowed itself into the earth like a cavern, casting a flimsy gesture toward man-made conventions, only to defy it. It was, in essence, a tumorous mass, wrought of stone and mortar.
None truly inhabit, however, yet the Argus Wake seem to have embedded many secrets in this yawning undercroft.
|“||Did your hysteric inquisitors remind you who I am? Do you have ANY idea who it is you are actually dealing with, or what you are going to set in motion? What a preposterous situation this is! I bet it's that Holcomb woman's skullduggery! Answer this: Has a single Kessler hand struck ANY of you sanctimonious bastards? NO! Not a single one! And you... NONE of you could even prove that if you tried! You barge in my home, strike down my resolute, honorable retainers as if they were some common thugs, deluded by the the notion this is some cartel? This is a NOBLE HOUSE OF ALTERAC, and I am a member of the PEERAGE! I should have had you all hanged for the villains you all truly are! Perenolde be damned, you will throw down your weapons and beg for clemency, or by the Light you worship, you will be compelled to--||”|
–Lord Abel Kessler's desperate final words before his summary execution.
House Kessler's early history and its current status are quite similar, though during Abel's tenure as both founder and patriarch of the estate, criminal dealings were kept well concealed. Only during the Second War's end did its cartel components come to surface. Now, there is barely any front of being a proper House. Thirnas has taken his inheritance to build a congregation of assassins, mercenaries, and occult practitioners, all forming a devious cabal who seek to stoke conflict primarily in the northern Eastern Kingdoms, with Shadow Council ties leading them to infiltrate abroad, seeding themselves in positions to promote unrest. They are defined by their propensity of harboring outcasts with distinct traits that most would deem unnatural. The House aims to provide shelter to these individuals, and embrace their exotic quirks not as vile mutations, but inimitable talents. Overall, Thirnas wants to maintain the cutthroat, survival-of-the-fittest environment that his estate thrives in, reigning through fear and threatening retribution upon those who cross its members.
While dormant for many years, the arrival for the Third Burning Legion Invasion of Azeroth caused House Kessler to take action in misleading the efforts of Ravenholdt, SI:7, and the Council of the Black Harvest.
While they were mostly successful in securing their place in the Uplands and Alterac Valley, lingering remnants of independent rebels, the Army of the Truthful, the Forsaken, and the Church of the Holy Light have struck decisive blows against some of Kessler's high level operatives.
House Kessler has since made concerted efforts to stymie the threats they face, boldly targeting prominent members of each faction aligned against them. Since recruiting even more idiosyncratic and strange operatives, the cabal under Thirnas has been labeled "freaks" by their opposition. Oddly enough, the group has come to embrace the label.
- Lord and heir to the Kessler Estate, Thirnas inherited his father's wealth and lands after his death in the Second War. Never truly leveraging in his affluence, the assassin has established his prominence through his work as a mercenary, collecting agents and loyal adherents to his house through promises of fortune and shared interests without displaced nobles and otherwise aimless thugs wandering Alterac, seeking a purpose among the disparate ranks of the Syndicate.
To him, the Syndicate is the key to achieving his goals: the destruction of Ravenholdt, and complete Syndicate reign in all area north of the Thandol Span. While these are undoubtably grandiose ideations, he is not above admitting his vicious, insatiable vendetta against Ravenholdt taking precedence, just before his greed.
Easily provoked into violence and anger, he has shown a diplomatic side when things may benefit him, and those who are loyal to the estate are often treated generously enough by an otherwise despicable warlord.
- Formerly of House Deichert, Janara was not initially an apt suitress for Thirnas, but with her mysterious roots in the occult along with her innate wiles, she eventually married into her position as Lady Kessler, providing considerable value what would become a joint cause. Since that day, House Kessler has served as a prime means of consolidating the otherwise ragtag power of the Syndicate to serve the Argus Wake. Despite no longer having any birthright of her own, she holds a considerable sway within the House.
Janara's prime interests seem to oscillate, often drifting to wherever her momentary interests land.
- Grigaria Gonzette is the last surviving member of her House Gonzette, honoring her family with cunning and vitriol that has earnt her an advantageous reputation among the dubious Syndicate of Alterac. Renewing her family's many century old vassal status to House Kessler under Thirnas and his wife as a surrogate daughter, Grigaria fights viciously for her homeland and the shady noble houses of the peerage.
- Erasmus Vanderbeck is one of the many Vanderbecks displaced by the betrayal of King Aiden Perenolde. Originally just a wizard of little repute, a venture to Northrend left the elder Vanderbeck twisted by dark magics, ultimately leading to his transformation into a lich. Bound by an archaic oath to see 'the cycles of guilt' broken, Erasmus returned to Alterac. It is here he made contact with Janara Kessler once more, seeking to support her cause in both the fallen kingdom and with the Argus Wake itself, intent on shattering the cycle through whatever means were necessary.
In recent times, the hire of fighters and spellcasters from the ranks of Alterac has been a necessity to keep the House in an ever-expanding state. Grigaria herself seems to be an expert at recruiting members of the Syndicate to her cause, attracting strange or interestingly wired individuals in particular. The beast master Meronc Nescas was recruited by the addled woman in a state of non-lucidity, as was Gian "Roach" Leftwich, meaning their mental fortitude was not tested by her until they saw action. Disappointed by their acumen but respecting of their physical capabilities, Grigaria is very fond of each of them.
Elijah Myers, a scrappy warlock of the Argus Wake, was recruited by Grigaria herself on promises of pay, action; and many souls to steal, though he may have to compete with Janara for such tenebrous currency. Iris Hildebrandt was recruited just the same day, after a failed ambush on Elijah, the woman misunderstanding his affiliation in the darkness of Alterac. Following a conversation about the state of her territory, Thirnas and the "Freak Squad" agreed to steal back her land as a gesture of good faith from one noble house of the Alterac Peerage to another.
- While House Kessler was a member of the Alteraci peerage for many years, it was Abel that elevated himself from simply another petty lord. An architect with grand visions, Lord Kessler rebuilt his family's estate, bringing great prominence to not just his nobility, but to an enterprise all his own.
- During Alterac's betrayal of the Alliance of Lordaeron in the Second War, Kessler aided in kidnapping of Dalaranian mages, forcing them to erect a mage tower for Perenolde's forces. As for the Lord himself, agents of the Silver Hand caught wind of his involvement with the coup. Abel was summarily executed after being cornered in his estate, leaving House Kessler in a state of flux following his death.
Jakob "Jack-Knife" Gammon
- During the Army of the Truthful's occupation of the Uplands in an effort to liberate Allsbrad, Thirnas employed the ruthless mercenary known as Jack-Knife Jake in order to deal with the encroaching threat. Jake was rumored to have felt no pain, and was the chief enforcer of House Kessler at the time.
- Even after coordinating many precise strikes against the Truthful, the eventual involvement of SI:7 and Forsaken forces lead Jake into a inopportune position against his adversaries, and was killed in a direct confrontation with the crusaders.
- "Vulture" Zeke was formerly a renowned big game hunter and falconer for the House of Perenolde. After the Second War and the collapse of Alterac, Zeke began to breed exclusively vultures, convincing himself that he possessed avian blood. It was later discovered that he was somehow possessing these carrion feeders through the condor-skull cowl that he had come to don, which perhaps even fed his waning sanity.
The aged huntsman eventually became a feared Syndicate outlaw based in the Alterac Mountains. His loyalties were sworn to House Kessler until his eventual death while confronting the Church of the Holy Light's inquisition.
- The Orcish warlock known as Dregar Ironmaw served among the cabal of Shadow Council agents embedded in the Syndicate, answering to Nagaz , the Argus Wake's de-facto leader. Remaining in his position for quite some time as well as offering his tutelage and summoning mastery to his pupil, Janara, Ironmaw performed many grim rituals on the Alteraci humans, turning them from ordinary sorcerers and bandits into foes to be feared.
- It arrived to Dregar the realization that his subjects, as well as his foremost pupil had every intention in rebelling against their former master. Janara believed she eclipsed Ironmaw's power shortly before Third Host, and sought to usurp his position in the Shadow Council after she had made a bold and reckless pact with the Dreadlord Karzurek.
- Dregar realized the poisonous and ravenous ways of the demonic coven which he served, and his pursuits in the shadowy arts were primarily scholarly. The volatile nature of his peers were not conducive to further research, and he refused to make any pacts with demons. He was confident the Shadow Council would grow stagnant and eventually destroy itself, thus leading to his eventual departure to the Council of the Black Harvest.
- An enigmatic figure in the history of the house, Lady Celine Kessler is scarcely mentioned by the members of the House, and most are discouraged to speak about her. Celine's current whereabouts are unknown, though she was known among the peerage to be an adept fencer.