In the marshy and malarial lowlands of Vodacce, where the ancient city of Numa still stands and waits for the Princes to meet in its hallowed ruin to speak of peace, and of Vodacce power, there are two rival families, both alike in dignity, who have hated each other since the time of Emperor Corantine. For the Orenza and the di Carlo families, the past is very much the present.
The origins of the feud are lost in the distant past, but it seems to have been a matter of horseflesh: the Orenza patriarch, a minor noble in service to the Caligari, sold to his neighbor the Barone Theodoro a sorrel roan. That horse threw the baron's son, killing him. The baron had the horse killed and demanded restitution from Patricius Orenza, who denied him. To this day, the families remember their dislike.
However, this feud is like many of those that brew on the Vodacce mainland. That is, every Vodacce nobleman can recount a reason to despise any other. However, in recent years it has come to the forefront again in the figures of Signore Fortunato and Signore Baldassar.
Once a dashing and handsome young man, Baldassar Orenza and Fortunato di Carlo where unusually close for members of dynasties that found each other distasteful. While Fortunato's father, Signore Domenigo, spent most of his time on the islands attempting to improve his fortune, his mother, the Signora Lucretia, stayed on the estate. There she formed a long-time friendship with Guiducci Orenza. During their childhood, Fortunato and Baldassar were boon companions, only banished to their own houses when Signore Domenigo returned.
However, a long-lasting rivalry developed between the two boys. Baldassar was taught hard work and study, and has spent his life adhering to that rule. He worked on Syrneth digging expeditions when he was a young man, spent years building up his shipping companies (by proxy of course, no self-respecting Vodacce would engage in work), and managing his father's fortune. He is a devoted child of the Numan philosopher Cicerus and a rather staid man. His popularity is moderate, but his influence is something slightly more.
At each turn, Fortunato seemed to be given opportunity. Where Baldassar struggled and strove to better himself, Fortunato never cared much—and yet, was betrothed to a Fate Witch, and, in his usual way, vanished to go "make himself a fortune" in the north. Baldassar's despite of his one-time friend has only grown over the years.
The Barone Orenza was once slender and handsome, but is now somewhat heavyset. He wears his dark hair clipped short, and his beard well-trimmed, and is fond of red and dark purple. It is said that he drinks too much, but only when he has no work to do. Like everything else in his life, Baldassar Orenza has studied very hard at swordwork, and is a passable fencer of the Bernoulli school. He has also come into possession of a number of strange Syrneth artifacts, and has a network of merchants and informers throughout southern Theah. His one drive is to show up his childhood friend-turned-rival, Fortunato Ernesto di Carlo.