The land is ruled by five great houses. The bloodline of each house, the extended and sprawling families, have been blessed by the demon lords with whom they have ancient compacts. This grants the members of the great houses puissance and talent and magic.
The House of Death
They wear black. Theirs is the power of necromancy. They dress in hooded robes and decorate themselves with bones and skulls. They speak to ghosts and corpses, they raise the dead to do their bidding and travel through the underworld where no other dares.
The House of Storms
They wear green. Theirs is the power of the fury of nature. They dress in scaled armour and decorate themselves with lightning bolts and shark's teeth and glass fused from the sand. They speak to the ocean and they ride the winds and they call down the thunder and lightning.
The House of Flames
They wear red. Theirs is the power of fire. They dress in ragged robes and decorate themselves with burn scars and rubies and burnished gold. They summon and control the element of fire, they burn everything in their path and they walk without fear through the most dire inferno.
The House of Ice
They wear blue. Theirs is the power of ice. They dress in white mail and decorate themselves with crystals and glass and the feathers of white owls. They pull the heat from the air and make your breath appear, they encase their enemies in ice and slow them and freeze them and chill their bones.
The House of Flesh
They wear white. Theirs is the power of the body. They dress in leather of unknown provenance and decorate themselves with withered ears and fingers and icons of eyes. They warp and change the human body, they give themselves wings and claws and alarming celerity.
Five great houses and countless minor houses. And then there is hell, a dark and twisted reflection of the realm of the great houses. They travel there through their five great gates, the Storm Spiral and the Great Maw and other such atrocious portals. They ride the roads of hell and they trade with the demons.
When they are of age, the scions of each house are thrown together and made to serve the duty of riding the roads. They protect the trade, they police the minor houses and they slay the enemies of the great houses. They are called Hellriders.