Count of Haslau, Master of Coin in Denzegk, Patriarch of the Gosteli
“The legacy of the Red Men lives on in our blood. Who better to make true the words of the prophet? We will take what is ours, and the Novíla will run red as death one again.”
-Janos Gosteli at the Battle of Three Kings
Other Titles: Lord of Haslau, “The Snake”
János Gosteli was born in the Brakenvald near Moq, the second child of Viscount Alfonso Gosteli III and his wife Petra in the year 1043. Alfonso was captured 2 years later at the Battle of Lyapov River by his sworn enemy Peter Isias. To obtain his release, it was agreed that János and his brother Uberto would be sent to Burning Peaks in his place. They remained there for 2 years, until the war ended. It was noted by his tutors that János excelled in literature and the arts.
Alfonso was a skilled merchant, and expanded the previously military-rural family into successful mercantile exploits as well as banking(namely the Blue Feather Bank), far ahead of the marshlander nobles at the time who saw mercantilism as an artisan skill. In this time, János learnt valuable skills in finance. However Alfonso wished for Uberto to take the Family trade and lands, and for János to take up the Cloth. In reality, what happened was the reverse. János quickly climbed the ladder of both the brendenburgh standing army and the Zerollean merchant’s guild, establishing with his father the Gosteli name in finance.
Around this time, Alfonso raised the young Phillip of Anjora in his household, hoping to use him to establish a dynastic claim to the house, which seemed to be almost extinct at the time. However Alfonso had no daughter to wed him to, leading to a dispute with the Anjora as to the custody of Phillip. This was one factor that led to the Gosteli-Anjora Feud. János’ refusal to trust the del Bove family in this feud led to an attempt on his life many years later.
Marriage and Warfare
János by now was in his early twenties; an icon in the court and already renowned for his financial skill, as well as his astute and perceptive nature in times of war. Having bought the Black Brothers Band, János was a key player in the arrangemed marriage between Maria Ceratis and Anthony Lugus against the wishes of the powerful Anjora family. Lugus thought highly of the young Gosteli and kept him in the courts; even promoting him to Generalisimo in order to give him the position of Strategos; preventing him from going to war. Soon afterwards János was arranged a traditional marriage with Catalina Visconti, who would bear him 2 children, Bernardo and Maria (the latter was indeed named after the famed Ceratis). Over the next few years János would consolidate power, befriending the Duke of Denzegk, placing his brother as Master of the Silver Order, discovering two plots against Lugus, serving as a moqolese emissary and most notably absorbing the Bank of Svalos into the Blue-Feather Bank, thereby creating a two-city wide banking monopoly.
Shortly after the birth of Maria, Catalina was killed during travel by bandits. János remarried to Anna Vettin in a hastily arranged marriage. She bore him three children: Piero, Kallisto and Clara. Around this time János settled an unknown dispute with Antonio Anisari, notable due to the result of allowing the Anisari family duty-free trading during the spring, a key factor in the Marshlander Civil War.
A few years later, János was charged with fraud by the del Bove family. Bernardo proved the family innocent via trial by combat, in which he slew Franco del Bove II in single combat.
János was a vital player in the Marshlander Civil War
A closeup of a large painting in Haslau, depicting János and his son Kallisto