How Heavy This Axe
They are sworn to House Orkwood of Orkmont.
Tradition agrees that a thousand years ago, the Drummonds were a cadet branch of House Drumm of Old Wyk. However, there is disagreement over whether the house was founded by a trueborn son of House Drumm (as the Drummonds claim), or a bastard offshoot (as the Drumms assert).
What is known is that long ago the Drummonds raised a castle on a rock formation near Wykmoor Isle. Though the island was dank and swampy, the castle, surrounded on all sides by treacherous waters, was to prove nearly unassailable. From their seat in one of the ironborn’s strongest castles they were able to subjugate several smaller “mainland” houses on Old Wyk, including House Bylge and House Whateley (now extinct).
During the succession of Qhorwyn the Cunning, Lord Rymolf Drummond gathered a cadre of religious hardliners from other houses and planned to assassinate Qhorwyn at his coronation feast, thus ending the dynasty of “black blooded” false kings (see: The No True Ironborn Fallacy). Upon learning of this, the landed freemen of House Saltbourn, least of Rymolf’s bannermen, entered the castle on false pretenses and slew the lord and his co-conspirators.
Following the aborted coup, King Qhorwyn stripped Lord Rymolf’s heirs of their lands and keep, and awarded them to House Saltbourn, now raised to lordship, as a reward for their leal service. The Drummonds, now landless and impoverished, sailed from island to island, seeking an ally to give them safe harbor. The ironborn lords, fearing Qhorwyn’s wrath, turned them away, save for House Orkwood of Orkmont, who still remembered the injury done to their ancestor by the upjumped Saltbourns. Lord Orkwood granted them a small piece of his holdings on the island’s interior in exchange for fealty.
From his small hall deep in the highlands of Orkmont, Lord Vardis Drummond can, on a clear day, catch a distant glimpse of the sea. With no coastline to call his own, he can build no ships, take no salt wives, and gain no glory. Near penniless, the Drummonds manage to support their meager household by virtue of a thick vein of lead ore which they mine from deep within their hill.
Nominally, Lord Vardis commands 300 fighting men, but these are from half-wild hill clans — the descendants of escaped thralls. Their loyalty has never been tested.