Not as wealthy as the Alasters but perhaps more influential because of their legendary status are the three families descended from military heroes of yesteryear: Melanton, Karel, and Leigh. All three families are thought of more highly than Dortin’s rich in general. The Leigh and Karel families still live in the ancient keeps built by their forefathers, Leighfield and Karel Castle, where their family regiments are garrisoned on the rare occasion they are summoned. All three of these families can be considered ‘old money’, surviving more on their reputations and the fortunes accumulated during earlier times than their current cash flow, though each family collects rents from neighborhoods adjoining their keep. Each family also operates one of the functioning docks on Dortin’s waterfront. The military families enjoy a symbiotic but occasionally strained relationship with Alaster Compound. The Melanton, Karel and Leigh families are unique in Dortin in that they are interventionists, not isolationists. In fact, some branches of these families have maintained traditional contacts (including exchanges) with the southernmost branches of the Tuvoth Eastrons on the northeast shore of the lake. Family forces occasionally make forays into foreign lands in defense of the city’s interests, for which they often require Alaster cash. The Alasters, in turn, are generally willing to acquiesce in these rare adventures as long as the other families can prove a commercial interest or otherwise turn a profit on the venture. Alaster forces are also glad to have the extra manpower and fighting skill of the other families in the event of a large-scale campaign down The Stone Road.
The Karels gained prominence in the days of Peregrin Karel, who survived the collapse of Imperial authority after the War of 600, led a powerful faction through the period of anarchy that followed, and emerged from that time with overall command of the city’s uniformed military. This force, once ragged and demoralized, had become battle-hardened and loyal only to the Karel by the time the civil strife ended. The result was over thirty years of military dictatorship led by the Karel family, until the Alasters and others overthrew them and instituted a republic. Mistrust between these two families has remained a feature of city politics in the years since, though they have much in common.