For the next few days, Edmund spent almost every spare hour he had in the Library.
His breakfasts were solitary, which gave him a chance to plan and think about what he still needed to learn, and his luncheons were often spent in the library, enacting his plans.
Any information about the Moulde family was obviously helpful, of course, but he also found himself confused by strange adult words and phrases that his cousins seemed to constantly use. The Nine Founding Families also seemed a good subject to study, as did the city of Brackenburg itself.
In the library, he started his studies on history and heraldry, seeing what he could learn about The Nine Families and the city they had all helped to found. The books were not very helpful; they were thick and full of words that he didn’t understand. Even the grammar seemed to be in some foreign structure he didn’t recognize. Eventually, he tossed these books aside, and searched for information on the other subject he felt woefully ignorant about: the Mouldes themselves, and the massive building in which they lived.
Edmund had been fortunate enough to locate a massive black book called The History of Moulde Hall some time after he had begun picking his way through the almanacs. It was full of interesting information about the building Edmund was becoming more and more comfortable with, and a much easier and simpler explanation of the city than the thick books he had looked in before.
Moulde Hall had been built nearly twenty generations ago by Prince Mascinate Moulde, a German heir to the throne who had been kicked out of the country for sparking some rebellion to overthrow his father, the king.
Supposedly, he had built the hall to provide a barracks and central focus for his army, so he could rebuild his strength and return to Germany to reclaim his rightful place as king. It wasn’t until a footnote on page 375 that it was revealed that the Prince had been defeated, imprisoned, and messily decapitated one week after he returned to his homeland.
After his death, Moulde Hall was then taken over by his surviving mistress, Orpha, and from there given to surviving offspring after surviving offspring, periodically to in-laws, but always to a Moulde, and always–always–after a long and bitter struggle with relatives.
The town of Brackenburg was formed after the Mouldes along with eight other families including the Bonnes became involved in a decades long struggle over a vein of coal found under Haggard Hill. Coal had become a very valuable commodity, and fortunes were born on the coal trade.
Sadly, since each family was either rich, powerful, or royal, there was no legal authority that all nine were willing to agree to. With no acceptable claim to the land, each family created their own mining and refining operation, hiring miners, blacksmiths, farmers, tailors, innkeepers, barkeeps, and the like, until the city of Brackenburg emerged as a diverse conglomeration of the nine families’ entrepreneurship.