The High Houses of Ishgard are the four noble Houses that retain most of power in Ishgard in Final Fantasy XIV. Each of the High Houses was founded by one of King Thordan's twelve knights and are depicted on the Ishgard flag.
House Durendaire is currently the greatest of the High Houses. They are responsible for protecting the Whitebrim Front and the Observatorium. Known for its military might and superior dragoons, House Durendaire was tasked with defending the Dusk Vigil until its destruction in the Calamity, as well as reclaiming the Stone Vigil when it was lost by House Haillenarte shortly after. In addition to these responsibilities, the house has also joined with their staunch allies, House Dzemael, to secure and rebuild the Falcon's Nest.
In the Ishgardian flag, the House Durendaire is represented by the bell, the same seen in Whitebrim.
The House Fortemps is responsible for the protection of Camp Dragonhead, the heart of the Coerthas Central Highlands. The house is also oft called upon for aid by the other High Houses, duties seen to by the count's sons Artoirel and Emmanellain. While the other High Houses scorn outsiders, House Fortemps has no objection to employing adventurers and sellswords.
In the Ishgardian flag, the House Fortemps is symbolized by a unicorn.
Despite being one of the High Houses, House Haillenarte has fallen considerably behind the other three in terms of influence and respect due to the loss of both the Stone and Steel Vigils, which were under their care, as well as suspicions of heresy and collusion for allowing the fortresses to fall to the Dravanians. Nevertheless, they remain the steadfast friends of House Fortemps. The house is responsible for the protection of Skyfire Locks and the Monument Tower, as well as the oversight of the Skysteel Manufactory, which produces ballistae, cannons, and, more recently, magitek-inspired creations based on technical innovations by the Garlond Ironworks.The house is also responsible for the protection and development of Camp Cloudtop, though even those stationed there admit that it is busywork for those unsuited for more dangerous tasks.
In the Ishgardian flag, the House Haillenarte is symbolized by a rose.
House Dzemael is a powerful family whose talent for the building of fortifications has brought them vast wealth and influence. Staunch allies of House Durendaire, they have also been party to a number of significant victories, and the pair have recently joined to secure and rebuild the Falcon's Nest. The Dzemael family is also responsible for the operation of The Lightfeather Proving Grounds, which host matches between battle-trained chocobos and other public spectacles. The house, however, is known for manipulative and petty politics when it comes to dealing with their rivals, houses Fortemps and Haillenarte.
In the Ishgardian flag, the House Dzemael is symbolized by a tower/rook.
When Haldrath's vengeance for his father's death is concluded, Haldrath feels remorse for what happened and decided to abdicate the throne and atone for their dark deeds by defending the people from reprisals against Nidhogg's minions. When Sylvestre de Dzemael and the other knights asked them about the people, Haldrath felt reassured they were in capable hands, stating that if they must bow to tradition, they would have to look to themselves for a king. As Haldrath took his leave, three other knights decided to go their separate ways, leaving the remaining four knights to found the High Houses of Ishgard.