History of House Vandehaar
The Vandehaar family comes from the Flaemish race, a fiery people with a natural affinity for magic, as well as an extreme attitude of ethnic superiority above all other races. What is remarkable about the Vandehaar family is their natural longevity, a strong predominance of male characters, and their skills in politics and diplomacy.
Diplomacy has always been to a Vandehaar as nobility is to a Prince: a treasure to be handed down from father to son who were raised and educated with this purpose in mind. Every important event in Flaemish history which relied on the intervention of diplomacy has seen a Vandehaar present on the main scene: the truce with the Belcadiz elves in AC 702, negotiations with House Glantri and Ritterburg some thirty years later, the Treaty of 788.
However, things were not easy for the Vandehaars. One reason was that their family never showed magical prowess enough to equal the other Flaems. Another, perhaps more important reason, is that the Vandehaars interaction with other races was viewed with suspicion. Some of the Flaemish realized the importance of the distasteful task of diplomacy, and appreciated the Vandehaars for their service as diplomats, counselors and representatives of the Flaemish nobles. However, most of the Flames only manages to see that spokesmanship as something not typically Flaemish, had little respect for the Vandehaars. For a long time, nobility was out of reach for the Vandehaar family, and they were not even in a position to have their first choice for marriage of their sons.
In the mid of 9th century, Emil Vandehaar realized that if they wished to better the position of his family, the Vandehaars had to improve their skills in magic. He arranged to marry Hana van Haast, a distant cousin of the Prince Jacob Vlaardoen I of Bergdhoven who was considered a hopeless spinster due to her eccentricities but who had great magical capabilities. The Prince agreed to the marriage, and Emil saw it as a sign that the Vandehaars were beginning to be accepted into Flaemish society.
Emil and Hana Vandehaar had twins, Maas and Ludo. Ludo entered the Guild of Spokesmen very young at 19, and represented the same noble family his uncle Wilhelm represented before, the Pieinants. Being more skilled in magic, Maas, studied in the Great School of Magic, and then went on studying politics and diplomacy after graduation. However, one of Hana's mad curses gone awry killed both her and her husband, before Maas could complete his studies, and Prince Andries Vlaardoen III of Bergdhoven had to choose another Flaem as representative.
Fortunately, a good friend of Emil took care of the culmination of the education of the boy Maas: young Piero Recioto, the Guildmaster of the Guild of Spokesmen at the time. The man taught the boy everything he knew about diplomacy, since his own sons were not interested at it.
When Maas, now a mature man, was ready he immediately entered the Guild of the Spokesmen, quickly rising in its ranks, until becoming the Guildmaster. Meanwhile he married Wilma Glietnen, cousin to him and an accomplished mage herself, and she gave him a son, Vincent.
This was not enough for Maas. As ambitious as his father Emil was, Maas started thinking how the Vandehaars could become nobles themselves. However, Maas wisely recognized that he could not achieve that position himself, and Maas started making plans for his son Vincent. At the time, Vincent was studying at the Great School of Magic and distinguishing himself as one of the best students. However, he was a dreamer, uninterested in diplomacy and politics, much less so in his father's project. Maas had him immediately married with Seelen Handjeer, the oldest daughter of a rich merchant, placing all his hopes in a grandson.
Maas had to wait until AC 923, when Pieter was born. Then he immediately seized the child to keep him safe from the "negative influence" of the parents, sending him to the Great School of Magic first, and then invited his old teacher Piero Recioto to came and be his guest as Pieter's teacher. Piero accepted, and won the trust of the child, who had already showed the typical Flaemish hatred towards strangers.
It seemed Vincent couldn't care less of what was going on. He built a tower in a secluded area, in what would be Oxhill, and twenty years after, started a career as a teacher in the Great School. Vincent became one of the strangest but best teachers in fire-related spells, and one of the most prominent but unreliable members of the Secret Craft of Fire Elementalism. In AC 973, Vincent and his wife Seelen mysteriously disappeared during a banquet, together with the whole of the Handjeer family.
Meanwhile Maas was working hard to reestablish a strong tie with the Vlaardoens, since he knew they would be instrumental if he wanted Pieter to eventually become Baron.
In AC 945, when Maestro Piero Recioto died, Maas took over his grandson's education, and started teaching Pieter what he needed to know based on Recioto's teachings. Maas realized with pleasure that the boy was more ambitious, strong-willed, and nationalistic than he had hoped. Maas was already 68 and had held the position of Guildmaster of the Guild of Spokesmen for 30 years. When an important representative of Prince of Bergdhoven died, the Prince, who had never before availed of the Guild's services, offered Maas the position as his official Spokesman.
This was an important step upward for Maas and the Vandehaars, with a lot of positive results. The Flaems came to respect the Vandehaars, with Maas' close relations to the Vlaardoens. The Glantrian politicians also respected them for their influence on the Prince of Bergdhoven to accept a Spokesman. This opened a way for Pieter to be accepted as a member of the Followers of the Fire. This also allowed Maas to arrange his marriage to Rhonda Vandeeker in AC 972, the only daughter of the Head of the Gem Cutters' Guild in Kopstar. No doubt Maas had considered the Vandeeker fortune when choosing a bride for Pieter.
In AC 973, when Pieter's parents died and he inherited his father's wealth, as well as the Handjeer fortune from his mother's side, Maas decided to support his grandson's career full-time, and gave up his position as Spokesman to the Prince of Bergdhoven, despite the Prince's insistence.
In the next year, the whole Vandeeker family was murdered. Sensing the involvement of his grandson in the matter and unwilling to see all his efforts thwarted, Maas intervened. At Parliament, he successfully diffused the issue, and diverted the Parliament's attention to the political situation near Fort Sablestone at the time.
With the Vandeeker family gone, Maas suggested to his grandson to find out their secrets of gem-cutting, a task Pieter easily accomplished. It was now clear to the old man that his grandson was a far better politician than him, so Maas stepped down from the scene. He contented himself as being the teacher to his great-grandson, Pieter-Eeuwke, and reminiscing his trials and victories.
In AC 989, Maas left this world at the venerable age of 112. Ironically, he died just two weeks before Pieter became the Baron of Oxhill. He never saw his project completed.
The Noble Line of Vandehaar
Emil Vandehaar b. 829 d. 898
Ludo Vandehaar, son of Emil and Hana van Haast. b. 877 d. 951
Maas Vandehaar, son of Emil and Hana van Haast. b. 877 d. 989
Guildmaster of the Guild of Spokesmen 915-973
Vincent Vandehaar, son of Maas and Wilma Glietnen. b. 900 d. 973
Pieter Vandehaar, son of Vincent and Seelen Handjeer. b. 923
Pieter-Eeuwke Vandehaar, son of Pieter and Rhonda Vandeeker (?). b. 974? 971?
Author: Giovanni Porpora