House Flaud is a knightly house of the Reach located at Flaud's Ford, a commercially important river crossing just north of Highgarden. They are vassals of the Tyrells.
Seat: Flaud's FordEdit
Flaud's Ford is a commercially and strategically significant river crossing two days' march north of Higharden, located between Highgarden and the village of Rhysling. The Ford originally consisted of a large wood-and-stone bridge (tall enough for short ships to pass under) and a small attached village, along with the Flaud's "keep" (little more than a fairly large home). Since the flooding of the Spring Without Sun, the bridge and village have been wiped out, but the Ford is narrow at certain points for men and horses to wade (and at certain times even march) across.
Since its elevation to knightly status by the Tyrells, the Flauds have been given a patchwork of lands near Highgarden, and have several seats of power from which their lesser divisions hold sway. There is no clear hierarchy amongst the Flauds, so the House does not behave as a unitary actor or hold a single, central 'base'.
Prior to the First EraEdit
The Flauds have long been an important, wealthy family in the area just north of Highgarden. As a result of a series of confusing legal battles, a strip of land and village near present-day Flaud's Ford fell outside of the boundaries of the claims of Tyrell vassals, and became a self-governing polity, not directly administered by any of the Tyrell subordinates. As a result, the Flaud family emerged naturally as wealthy landowners, forming a de facto aristocracy without being formally granted lands by the Tyrells. Ambitious smallfolk, the Flauds are most known for having asserted control over a ford on the river north of Highgarden, thereafter known as 'Flaud's Ford' (and later, though not today, as 'Flaud's Bridge' for the impressive stone bridge which the Flauds built).
Over the years, the Flauds naturally came to occupy a position of relative power in their nameless village, though this was not unnoticed by their superiors: the village was later absorbed into the direct holdings of House Tyrell, though the Flauds were allowed to continue in the private administration of their own lands and infrastructure. The House grew exceptionally wealthy - relatively speaking - as a result of mercantile activities along the Mander River, and, as a result, was able to acquire a patchwork of valuable land around Highgarden. By the First Era, the Flauds had come to serve as an important part of Highgarden's military capacity, fielding more heavy cavalry from their number than any of the other knightly houses near Highgarden.
The First EraEdit
During the Ascent of the Lion, the Flauds supported their Tyrell overlords and suffered heavy casualties during the Siege of Highgarden, elevating their status in the Reach.
The Flaud family recovered rapidly from the disastrous defense of Highgarden, and became one of the wealthier and more populous knightly houses in the vicinity of Highgarden.
The Spring Without Sun devastated the primary base of the Flauds' power, Flaud's Bridge, which was lost to the massive flooding north of Highgarden. As a result, the central leadership amongst the Flauds disintegrated, and the family broke down into multiple, polycentric divisions. Nonetheless, the Flauds, though disunified, were collectively the wealthiest landowning family around Highgarden, competing with some minor local lords (such as Lord Luthor Rhysling) for status. They initially supported the restoration of Olyvar Tyrell to his seat at Highgarden and formed the largest part of the Tyrell's heavy cavalry.
Following Olyvar Tyrell's land reforms (an effort to consolidate his control over Highgarden), the vast majority of the smaller offshoots of House Flaud found their holdings expropriated. Soon thereafter, all but a few members of the House joined in rebellion against Olyvar Tyrell, supported by the forces of the mercantile guilds and Lord Seldon of House Graceford. The nominal head of House Flaud, Ser Arron Flaud, is currently marching with the guild army (estimated at about twelve-hundred sellswords) and a cavalry force of around thirty male Flauds to meet Olyvar Tyrell's force at Flaud's Ford.