It's clear to see that the Avalon Kingdom is a highly-coveted demesne; with magical seismic crystals that allow its capital to float (possibly unasssailably?) in the clouds, and wondrous mechanical devices which grant the keep's owner the power of autonomous flight and even control over the cerulean raiments of the heavens themselves, it is clear that whomever controls the Keep wields tremendous power. Indeed, perhaps the Keep's deepest secrets only reveal themselves to the right person (the apartment's owner), much as the Siege Perilous could only be occupied by the perfect knight in Arthurian lore.
So much of the keep yet remains a mystery. If Gisele is able to inform you of items to be scavenged, that implies the keep was abandoned for a time. Barlow's presence, along with that of the NPC guards, suggests a new ascension for the Avalon Kingdom. Sections of the keep are still unavailable; perhaps it will require that the owner prove himself through various knight-errantry tasks, akin to Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain, the Knight of the Lion saga or other such works.
The real mystery, though, is Evelyn. She can, in an instant, change your entire keep's livery to whichever house you swear fealty unto. Right now, those changes are purely cosmetic; the keep's owner can fly the colors of the entire Avalon Kingdom or any of the four great houses within it without consequence. However, there may come a point where fealty becomes a much stronger issue, and you may as the keep's owner ultimately be forced to make choices as to whom to support.
To that end, a summation of the four great houses which are part of the Avalon Kingdom:
(Reference source material: Heavy Water Blog, written by Stephen Grose)
The Dragon House: Thaon
One of the oldest houses in the kingdom of Avalon, those of House Thaon are often attributed with being clever, aggressive, and rash at making decisions. Legend supports popular belief that house Thaon rose from the ashes of the Ancient Lands, where the ancestors of house Thaon worshipped the dragons as demi-gods. Today, they have molded their existence in accordance with their strong ancestral ties and covet an alchemic compound known as Dragon Fire that has laid waste to entire armies on the field of battle. Because of this, they routinely strike fear into those that would dare call themselves foes.
The Raven House: Dumont
If it’s a clever and profitable life you seek, then House Dumont is right for you. Formed within the last few hundred years by two lesser noble houses, house Dumont has risen to prominence throughout the kingdom. Manipulative, clever, and always seeking a profit, those of house Dumont have made a names for themselves in markets around the world, often controlling the most lucrative trade routes and trading cities. If there is a business contract being signed, there is a good chance that a Dumont has had their hand in the pot at some point.
The Wolf House: Grimoult
To fight alongside your brothers and sisters is an honor bestowed to those of House Grimoult. Having clawed their way to their current seat of power, it is said that every plan hatched by other houses has failed due to the Grimoult’s prowess on the field of battle. Loyal, trustworthy, and trusting their instincts above all else, the Grimoults are a force to reckon with. When they enter the field, their enemies know that they will be in for a fight for their lives.
The Lion House: Raleigh
If fine riches and politics sound appealing to you, House Raleigh is the choice for you. House Raleigh is undoubtedly one of the most regal of the four houses, often sporting fabrics of the finest red and golden cloth. Often politically-motivated and displaying traits of narcissism, those of house Raleigh carry an enormous amount of power. Often working themselves into high-ranking seats in cities and towns, a Raleigh is accustomed to a life of extravagance and power.
So. Which house appeals to you? If the time should come when you stand to gain something by aligning with a particular house, which will you choose -- or will you continue to fly the royal purple of the unified Avalon Kingdom as a whole?
Remember, we know that a public space which ties into Avalon Keep is on its way. There may, perhaps, be some benefit -- or consequence -- to aligning oneself with a particular house. As the story continues to unfold, be on the lookout for such clues.
Many thanks to Heavy Water for reinventing the personal estate as a game unto itself, which grows and develops over time. This is a remarkable achievement which, given the obvious cost and time sunk into it, I hope proves to be a wild success. Home needs more of this concept.
Hm? What's this? Teaser images of the upcoming Avalon Keep public space? Given exclusively to HSM? What?
I wonder how fealty to a particular house will affect certain things here, including Ballista Fields...