Eventually the coal in the mines dried up, but the city remained: a powerhouse of industry fed by the competitive fury of the nine families. For almost a century, Moulde Hall received money from taxes from surrounding farms and industries, until the early seventeenth century.
Then, against the express wishes of their parents, A young Feddric Bonne married an even younger Pollina Moulde. At first, the marriage was scorned and shunned by both families. Neither was willing to give the newlyweds any blessings, lest legitimacy would follow. Feddric and Pollina left the city, and vanished into the west, with only periodic letters to both families as any kind of correspondence.
But then, the Patron of the Moulde Family died.
Within the week, the Bonnes used the wedding to demand ownership of the entire Moulde estate, including all mining rights to the coal vein under Haggard Hill. Not half a year later, the head of the Bonne family died under mysterious circumstances, and the Mouldes made a similar claim to the Bonne estate.
This harsh land despite between the Mouldes and the Bonnes resulted in a sixty year feud of duels, insults, legal battles, tragically doomed love affairs, and–at least three times–full on brawls in the middle of the Brackenburg streets.
Finally, the other seven founding families agreed that the blood feud between the Mouldes and the Bonnes was bad for business. All seven stepped in to demand an end to the conflict by the signing of the Great Agreement, which gave the Mouldes and the Bonnes a simple choice. Both families had to either sign over all of their claims to their holdings and industries inside the city, crippling their financial income; or spend two months in a commoners prison.
At first, the two families simply laughed at the idea. As before, there was no authority that could compel the Families to do anything they didn’t want to do.
The idea of any member of the Families being labeled common criminals was too much for the head of the Bonne family, so they signed their deeds over to the city of Brackenburg, giving up their only source of income. This forced the Bonnes to spend the next few years marrying their heirs out to New Money, much to their chagrin, and the perverse amusement of the other founding families. According to much of the correspondence Edmund could find, the financial security of the family never truly recovered.
The head of the Mouldes, either out of a sincere conviction or stubborn contrariness, disagreed with the Bonnes choice. For two months, every member of the Moulde family was held in the Brackenburg gaol, and so the Mouldes were branded as criminals ever since, though no one could doubt they were rich ones.
From that day forward, the Mouldes had lost much of their respect and standing among the founding families and had suffered for it.
It seemed to Edmund that the Mouldes got the worse end of the deal.