The High Houses are political organisations which originated as tribes under the Eight Demons. Throughout ancestral history, each of the Houses was founded to reflect the appropriate political situation at that time and power struggle between various factions. Though joining a High House was always optional and at the request of an individual, this notion changed after the incident at Green District. Finding themselves severely weakened after the war of Tykaru's Tyranny, the Enclave understood that they needed manpower should another war or disaster ever occur. It was decided that Citizenship would not be automatically handed over upon coming of age, but rather after being conscripted to serve in the Enclave Militia and having joined a High House. It is through these means that the Enclave hopes to strengthen the High Houses, its own capabilities and to bolster the people's own resolve into making the Enclave a better place. Time will tell whether this decision of drafting many more people into the High House ranks is a good solution or not.
At level 9, you can receive the quest "The High Houses" from Enclave Delegate Mitran Tam in Aldenvault Village. This quest requires you to travel to each of the High Houses and speak with their respective Ambassador to learn what each House stands for. At this point - even before completing the quest - you will be allowed to being the process of choosing a House and finally earning your Citizenship.
In the years after the Awakening, almost 500 years ago, the eight High Houses Maul, Onyx, Pale, Rune, Shroud, Silver, Torque and Void, vied for power and control over the combined might of the human and daevi survivors. The indifferences from before the Great Collapse had not diminished in the slightest and the struggle for dominance continued. But as time progressed it became clear that some of the Houses had similar goals and as such started to form allegiances. Pale, Onyx, and Void formed the Deadspell Alliance though history refers to them as the Traitor Houses whilst Shroud, Maul, Torque and Silver opposed their ideas with such vehemence that war was inevitable.
The one High House caught in the middle was House Rune. While initially veering towards the Deadspell Alliance, House Rune was not completely sure if this was the right course to take. It was not until the Deadspell Alliance made known that they would rather take their right by force than to let it trudge on under the rule of House Torque that House Rune started to support the four Houses opposing High Houses. Why House Rune suddenly did so, remains a mystery to this day. Some scholars say it was the pressure of abandonment and others speculate that House Shroud might have had some influence in the choice.
When House Rune openly supported the four other Houses, the Deadspell Alliance saw themselves as a minority. Seeing they could not possibly hope to win against five High Houses war was not an option. As such they left for the Deadspell Storm by Vhelgar steed. They would find a shard for themselves and build their own civilization there. Whatever became of the three “Traitor Houses” is as big a mystery as the creation of the Deadspell Storm. Some say they did end up on a Shard of their own, while others say that they were destroyed by Vhelgar roaming the Storm. One thing is certain however, that somewhere within the darkness of the Deadspell Storm, whatever is left of the Deadspell Alliance is plotting its return.