The Abuslav Counts of TenjaEdit
The family earned its position two hundred years ago, during the darkest days of the Kingdom. The Marju had ruthlessly swept through Alandi, Lendia and Ruscovy. Osterbija had bought some time because of its perceived resistance to cracking, but in the end the Marju came for them as well.
The fortress at the time was under the command of a different family, and a terrible civil war had just ravaged the countryside. Osterbija was in ashes, but Tenja still stood. With a garrison of two thousand men, Tenja was forced to hold for nine weeks against the largest, best equipped, most battle-hardened army in the world, a force well in excess of seventy times their size. Worse, the Marju hit in wintertime, when the mountain passes through Tenja was resupplied were sealed shut.
Two months and a week later, the siege was broken. Seventy of the defenders still lived, but the Marju host had lost most of its strength, primarily from disease and starvation, rather than battle. The entire dynasty of Tenja was dead, and so a young Captain of the defense, Bojan Abuslav, was chosen as successor.
Since that day, the lowborn Abuslavs have held to their own way of managing Tenja. The fortress is their claim to legitimacy, and should it ever fall, they believe that they will slide back into obscurity. Ruthless, obsessive, dedicated, and meritocratic, the Abuslavs choose the best among them in each generation to succeed as Count, and to head the defenses of the fortress.
Long renowned for their savagery and no-nonsense attitude, the most recent generation of the Abuslav clan, Ratko and Tychus, have reforged that image twice as severely as ever before.
Count Ratko and his title-less brother Tychus III, scions of the Abuslav clan, only sons of Bojan II. Where most of the time, one son of the clan inherits, and the rest simply leave to pursue their fortunes elsewhere (generally seeking employment in war, where their skills are valuable, or marrying into foreign families,) Ratko inherited the title, but his brother Tychus stayed on as seneschal.
It is mighty Ratko who wears the Tiger-Head Helm, and it is Ratko who wields the cursed Orichalcum Poleaxe, Hladnavrata, that was found so long ago in the depths of Tenja's catacombs. But it is bookish Tychus, his brother, who provides the cunning, the planning, and the intricate intelligence network.
The two brothers guard the fortress together, though Tychus is largely invisible, and is believed by most to be a slothful fop who spends most of his time reading poetry, eating citrus fruits, and other effeminate behaviors, while his elder brother keeps the fortress running.
Together, they have turned the Tiger's Gate into a deathtrap of supreme martial discipline, aggressive intelligence gathering, and systemic, hyper-organized procedure. Nobody gets into Tenja, or out of Tenja, without documentation of their right to do so... And this means that nobody gets in or out of Osterbija without papers.
-Tychus and Ratko Abuslav have been jokingly referred to as "X and Y," with the two letters being any two characters from any other media. Ren and Stimpy, Keenan and Kel, Ornstein and Smough, Biggie and Smalls, etc.
-Tenja in general seems to be a dual reference to David Gemmell's book Legend, and Ookami no Wulfsmund. One is a very dramatic and serious story of a small group defending a fortress against impossible odds, the other is a grim and cynical story about a sadistic gatekeeper torturing tresspassers. Ratko and Tychus may represent these two perspectives.