The ancient and most noble House of Blackthorne is one of the most powerful families in all Aradia. Hailing from the dark, windswept Thunderlands, the cunning Blackthornes are skilled merchants, gaining vast riches through their trade of precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, as well as building materials such as granite, limestone and especially marble. The family boasts descent from the ancient dynasty of heroic sorcerers known as the Stormlords. While the practice of magic has since become rare in the Thunderlands, the Blackthornes have used their historical influence to acquire a powerful military strength through the loyalty of lesser families or "bannermen" as they are often called. It is because of this that many members of the family are often given legendary status for their achievements in battle; the most famous of these is Jason Blackthorne, the only human to have ever slain an adult Wyvern. They have a reputation for somewhat manipulative and underhanded political tactics. Though secular in terms of common religious practice, the lords of the Thunderlands have a strong attachment to the importance of their family legacy. They have an ancient rivalry with the barbarian Red Orcs, the one enemy the Stormlords could never overcome, and are known to possess a racist attitude towards all Orcs for this reason. They also share a similar rivalry with House Knox. In appearance, the average Blackthorne is tall, with reddish hair and pale eyes.
-3000BE: A small society of magically-gifted humans are recorded as having inhabited a section on the west coast on the mainland, ruled by a sorcerer named Arthur the Grey. For this reason they are referred to as the Grey Folk. A naturally peaceful people, this sect are forced to flee their lands due to constant threat of Red Orc raids. Arthur conceives the idea to travel over the sea to seek new lands. In order to facilitate this, his people build long, simple boats with which to sail West. They settle upon the mountainous, rocky islands off the coast of the mainland. The tempestuous weather the settlers face lead to this region being referred to as the Thunderlands.
-2800BE: Raids from the nomadic, tribal natives of other islands gradually force the Grey Folk to arm themselves against further attack. Using their construction prowess they create huge warships which were able to crush the raider's smaller boats, and using their sorcery they fuse the island's two most deadly predators--the mountain lion and the eagle--into one, terrifying creature named the Griffin. Their mage caste, referred to in the old tongue as the Warloki, specialize in manipulating the elements to their will--the sea, earth and sky became fatal weapons against the Grey Folk's enemies. Their society advances quickly, and they advance rapidly through the bronze and iron ages of their development.
-2600BE: At this stage, no longer known as the Grey Folk, the settlers of the Thunderlands have developed a military that proves able to conquer most of the neighbouring islets. They are also able to carve out a healthy slice of the mainland's west coast for themselves. The leaders of the assaults come to be known as the Stormlords, fabled for their shining armor, Griffin mounts and the vicious conjured storms that precede their attacks. Conflicts with both green and red Orcs, coupled with the High Elf kings to the south, result in centuries of bad blood with non-human races. Each of the most powerful Stormlords, who refer to themselves as Knights, control an island of their own. This results in the emergence of several "Knightly Houses" among the lords. The ruling family are the "House of the White Oak," while other well-known houses include the "House of the Six Shields," the "House of the Iron Sea," and (a very minor family located on the islet of Stormrise) the "House of the Black Thorn." They rule with a productive and industrious dynasty that lasts for many centuries. The society has been recorded as utopian by scholars, and influences of their culture and architecture remain prominent in Aradian society even to this day.
-474BE: The battle at the Tower of Nchurdamz occurs between an army of High Elves and the Stormlords. This resulted in a confrontation between Berethor, the king of the Stormlords, and the High Elf leader Ethelion. The two fight an epic magician's duel that is said to have turned the sky all across Aradia black. For seven days and seven nights they remain locked in battle, until on the morning of the eighth day Ethelion plays a cruel trick by having his finest archer hit Berethor's Griffin with a specially poisoned arrow. The creature, when hit, is immediately driven mad and flings its master from its back. Berethor loses control of the complex spell necessary to maintain his storm and is struck by one of his own bolts of lightening, immediately turning him to dust. Victorious, Ethelion drives the Stormlords from the mainland entirely and claims their lands for his own. The Storm Kings are embittered by the loss and cut themselves off from the mainland.
-100AE: The endless winter brought down by the spread of Obscura, coupled with the disconnection from mainland trade routes, has not fared well for the Stormlords. Famine and disease plague the islands, causing the once-beautiful paradise to return to the inhospitable place it had once been. The lords of the Thunderlands are forced to make alliances with the High Elves in order to maintain their bloodlines and prevent extinction.
-199AE: Hostilities with the Orcs remain in place, however, and this year sees the second battle at Nchurdamz with the settled Orcs pitted against a desperate Western attempt to reclaim land. The Orcs destroy the weakened Stormlords in what amounts to the most catastrophic failure in Western history. Kallahan II of the White Oak, last of his name, dies on the field, leaving the regency to his friend Gared of the Black Thorn. Many of the remaining Storm Lords rise in revolt, believing the lord to be too weak to rule--this is generally realized as the collapse of the Stormlord empire as it falls into a series of tiny, squabbling nations.
-241AE: Birth of Jason of the Black Thorn, the last of the Stormlords and one of the greatest heroes in the history of Aradia.
-266AE: The infamous Battle of the Deadlands, wherein an army of all the peoples in Aradia converge to face the Demon King Vermithrax. The Wyvern and his army are far too powerful for the Aradians to best, so they send messages asking for help to the four corners of the World. None of the splinter factions in the outer islands can offer help, save one. The lords of Stormrise Isle send forth a single soldier--their last son, a young man named Jason. Mounted on a Griffin and clad in shining silver plate armor, Jason whirls his enchanted sword Redwing about his head as he flew, conjuring a great storm. The sight of him rallies the Aradian army to keep fighting. Soaring high into the air, Jason thrusts the blade into the eye of the Demon King. Defeated, the great Wyvern crumbled to dust. The Aradian army are able to break the Demon forces, who retreat to the Silkwood. This battle is lauded as the major turning point in the Demon Wars.
-280AE: Revered as a great hero, Jason is made a member of the new senate in Everglow. Trade lines between the mainland and the Thunderlands are re-opened. Begins a dramatic turnaround in Western fortune, as markets are made for their stones and jewels required by the rebuilding of society. Knighthood also becomes a recognized discipline based on the old culture of the Storm Kings. Jason is pressured to take on an Aradian "house-" style format for his family and changes his name to Blackthorne. Following the loss of his previous elven wife in childbirth he marries a human noble named Naria Logain, and orders the construction of a vast castle made of black marble named Griffin's Peak on his home of Stormrise Isle. He declares himself lord of the Thunderlands, and several old Stormlord families immediately swear loyalty to him in hopes for a share of his sudden great fortune. Beginning of current Western society.
-298AE: Construction of Blackthorne manor and the Griffin's Gardens in Everglow. Official seal, silver griffin on blue field, becomes symbol of house.
-341AE: Death of Jason Blackthorne, who passes away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 100 years. By his first Western wife he has a son named Gawain, who was outlived by his father but in turn had a son named Agravain. However, Jason also had one son by his second wife. Known as Jarvis the Black for his renowned temper and cruelty, the second son remains renowned for his suspicion of sorcery. Scholars have theorized that this was because he had no trace of magic himself, which in a family of great wizards was seen as shameful. Jarvis claims that Agravain is a "bastard elfen he-witch," incapable of taking over his grandfather's legacy. Attempts at diplomacy prove fruitless and House Blackthorne descends into an immediate and terrible civil war that lasts for nearly a decade.
-349AE: A paranoia grips the nation, which is in the midst of a political as well as physical war. Those who side with the noble Agravain are named "Blue Griffins" while his opponents who go with the ambitious Jarvis are named "Black Griffins." The phrase "Blue or Black?" is used as a common greeting among nobles during this time period in order to determine alliance. In this, its final year, the Battle at Blackthorne Manor leads to a confrontation between Agravain and Jarvis. Despite Agravain's skill as a mage, Jarvis hacks him brutally to pieces with his father's sword Redwing. He commands that his nephew's corpse be dragged thrice around the bronze way by three charging horses--the second dragging Agravain's wife and the third his two young children--so that the poorfolk will understand the consequences of betraying him. It is rumored the bodies were placed at the bottom of Blackthorne Manor's privy tower for several months following this incident. The decisive victory of the Black Griffins brings about many changes; Jarvis ostracizes magic as a practice among the Blackthornes, adds a black quarter to the family coat of arms, and becomes aggressively competitive in his trading methods by advocating a foreign economic model that allows him to capitalize on worker productivity. House Blackthorne soon becomes obscenely wealthy and influential.
Under Mainland Rule Edit
-400AE: By this stage many of the lesser houses of the Thunderlands have become well established, including Houses Karhall, Waynrite, Thormund, Rookwood and Cogworth. All are sworn to House Blackthorne, with whom they share their generous profits. Most powerful of the bannermen is the cadet branch, House Hawthorne, created from the descendants of Hawley Blackthorne who was granted the Whiteoak Plains. The Blackthornes and other Western lords have also lost their magic and are no longer able to command Griffins.
-562AE: Birth of Lord Edmund Blackthorne who later endangers the family name--he is an obese alcoholic, with over ten wives and many more mistresses. He is inept both at battle and business and yet refuses to listen to councilors, causing the Griffins to lose influence. He produces only two male heirs--the eldest, Harrison, is believed to have preferred the company of men, while Rickard, the younger, has a crippling mental ailment. The rest prove stillborn or female. His death causes a minor war of succession before the lordship is handed to his eldest daughter, Jayne.
-591AE: Birth of the Lady Jayne Blackthorne, the first woman to ever sit on the senate. Always more comfortable in armor rather than a dress, she sets about re-establishing her family name through force, swiftly conquering much of their lost land and doubling stone production in the process. She is not quite so often mentioned in current history tomes due to her gender. She marries the eastern nobleman Sir Hephaesus Knox, Lord of the Three Towers, against her will. Knox's refusal to name at least one of his sons as Blackthorne to secure succession rights causes tensions between families that will last for centuries.
-657AE: Death of Lady Jayne. She is succeeded by her only son, Narcissu Knoxs, who upon arrival at Griffin's Peak is greeted with the sight of some distant Blackthorne cousin by the name of Jasper being given the lordship. This sparks what will later be known as the Century Spat, a petty war of succession that lasts for over 100 years. It remains a matter of rumor to this day as to whether or not Jasper was actually of the Blackthorne bloodline.
-770AE: With the two original claimants long dead, the Century Spat is forgotten as Blackthorne attention turns to a Red Orc threat. Thanks to the able tactics of Lord Orson and his equally able wife Cecily Cogworth, the Thunderlands manage a victory of sorts, though the family is now significantly poorer as a result of constant disputes and infighting.
-833AE: Birth of Jaxon Blackthorne, known forevermore as the Mad Griffin. Despite possessing some form of intellectual disability, Jaxon was raised to the lordship following the early death of his father. Insisting on attending the senate meeting, the boy made repeated foolish attempts at overriding the governance of the other Lords. When refuted, he flew into a rage and demanded that his honor guard slay the "rebellious" lords, souring many against him despite the guard's refusal.
-854AE: The Mad Griffin demands the hand of the beautiful Violet Hassarath in marriage. Her House, an influential southeastern family, refuse him. In an obscene show of power, Jaxon demands that the house be culled, root and stem, for this insubordination. His soldiers have no choice but to comply, kidnapping Violet in the process as they burn House Hassarath to the ground. House Knox claim this to be a show of Jaxon's "bastard blood" and declare open war upon the Thunderlands in the hope that they make take it for themselves.
-856AE: The Blackthornes did not, at this point, have the money or power to fight the entire southeast at once, and so seemed to be on the verge of losing. Jaxon's brother, the respected but ruthless knight Simon, decides to take matters into his own hands. He misleads his witless brother by telling the Mad Griffin that he is Jason reincarnated, and that all he need do is fling himself from the top of the tallest tower in order to be able to fly. At the peak of delusion, Jaxon believes him. He jumps and falls to his death. Simon quietly takes command of the family himself, paying damages for the loss of House Hassarath and granting Violet her land back. Unbeknownst to him, she is with child from the time she has spent with Jaxon.
-870AE: Simon has proved to be a much-loved leader until The Night of Broken Wings. Balor Blackthorne, son of the Mad Griffin and hitherto believed to be the child of Violet's second husband, is aided by House Knox and House Hawthorne in instituting a coup; at a family gathering, rebel forces storm the castle, slaughtering every man woman and child bearing the name Blackthorne. With no heir apparent, it seems House Blackthorne is at last broken. However, through careful tracing of birth records, a successor is finally found. The rejected bastard son of Lord Simon, this man, by the name of Eamon, has been reduced to fighting as a poor footsoldier in the Thunderlands militia. He would come to be known as Lord Eamon the Pauper. With a challenger to the rebels at their head, the Loyalist forces of Houses Cogworth and Rookwood declare war upon the Rebels. This sparks the events known as the "Second Blackthorne Civil War."
-880AE: The "Battle at the Storm's Eye," during which the Rebel armies of Balor are defeated for good, and House Hawthorne is destroyed--their last daughter, Joanna, is married to Eamon. The war is not without its costs; House Blackthorne is weaker than it has ever been, and their infighting has isolated them from mainland politics, leaving them with few friends. Lord Eamon grants the lands of House Hawthorne to his friend, Waynrite, whose descendants are thereafter known as House Waynrite.
-901AE: By the reign of Eamon and Joanna's only son, Aron Blackthorne, the family has lost much of their influence and several of their largest quarries to rival Houses. Aron, called the "Red Griffin" for his volatile temper, proposes a match between his daughter Alyssane and Lord Poe Manford of the Great Riverford. At a feast, however, Poe scorns the union and insults the girl within her father's earshot, causing the Red Griffin to fly into a fury and challenge Manford to a duel. Poe is slain in the resulting fight, and Aron orders his kin to systematically exterminate and seize the Manford family's holdings. The acquisition of the Great Riverford vastly bolsters Blackthorne income.
-968AE: Marriage of Giacomo Blackthorne and Isabella Karhall, the lady of Frostfall. The bride is claimed to be the most beautiful woman in Aradia and beyond, and is also championed as a great wit with a hauntingly beautiful singing voice. Though he could have chosen any bachelor, Lord Karhall selected the Jolly Griffin Giacomo Blackthorne as the ideal candidate. The marriage won House Blackthorne a new respect that it had not seen in years.
-970AE: Birth of Arthur Blackthorne, said to be the greatest hero the house has produced since Jason. His brothers Dominic (971AE) and Roderic (974AE) soon follow. Arthur soon grows to share his mother's beauty and wit coupled with an astounding aptitude for combat.
-990AE: Battle of the Great Riverford. Considered to be one of the most significant victories in modern Aradian history. The port in question is the seat of the northern House Manford, and an incredibly important trading route for the mainland. A Orc army has gathered, lead by the feared monster Bolzog. This chieftain was a demon in mortal skin, ten feet tall and clad in armor cut from the bones of his enemies, with a cloak made of their skin. Three battles are fought against this amassing force, who seem set to take the entire west side of the mainland for themselves, and all three of them were fruitless. Bolzog himself single-handedly kills many of Aradia's finest knights, fighters and commanders. The beast is also a capable strategist, knowing that by cutting off the Riverford it can halt trade to Everglow city. The Manfords call out to the Thunderlands for help, as the main Aradian army is still recovering, and Stormrise Isle answers with three hundred armored knights. At the head of the column rides Arthur, armored in pure silver and with his ancestral blade Redwing in hand. As the Orcs descend on the port, the Blackthorne host charges right into their left flank, scattering them. Arthur rides untouched through the fight, right up to Bolzog, and slices the monster's head off. The Orc force breaks and retreats, lost without their greatest asset, and the Ford is saved with hardly any casualties. Arthur is lauded as the greatest hero in Aradia and is showered with gifts and accolades, named hereafter as "The Great Griffin". The cunning young knight was able to subtly use this to boost the standing of his House, soon restoring the Blackthornes to something that surpassed even their old glory. He was able to use the influence to buy out huge swathes of land and gain several major new bannermen. One of those was the southern House Monmoth, whose firstborn daughter Alyssa he took to wife. Arthur's brother Dominic, meanwhile, continues a military conquest of lost islands beneath the personalized banner of a red falcon earns him the sinister nickname of "Bloodhawk."
-996AE: Birth of twins Jaster and Talia, to Arthur and his wife Alyssa Monmoth. They have other children also; eldest daughter Joanna and sons Gordon and Murtagh. Jaster, formerly third in line, is the current successor; Gordon is killed while squiring for House Knox and Murtagh has been exiled overseas. Joanna has been married to a rival lord. Arthur is believed to have sired an elven bastard named Arianne. It is also occasionally rumored that his brother Dominic's children are sired by Arthur.
-1004AE: Arthur arrogantly presumes to command a wild Griffin, which viciously attacks and maims him. The lord of the Thunderlands spends the next decade a bedridden cripple, and orders his wife executed when she is scared of his monstrous physical appearance. Brother Dominic, named the Bloodhawk, is made his representative on the mainland.
-1014AE: Jaster Blackthorne knighted by his uncle Yven Monmoth. The twins are sent to Everglow in order to find suitable marital matches. It is here our story begins.
Recent Events Edit
Jaster is matched to Rivka Vennet, and Talia to Titus Sabre. At the 1014AE Everglow Festival, both couples are married; however, Preston Knox storms the reception of Jaster's wedding and in the ensuing battle Lord Arthur is slain. With Jaster as the new Lord, the Knox-Blackthorne War begins. During the Massacre at the Riverford, Jaster is seemingly killed; Dominic Blackthorne seizes power for himself.
Known Members Edit
At the beginning of 1014AE:
- Lord Arthur Blackthorne, the "Great Griffin," Head of House Blackthorne and Lord-Paramount of the Thunderlands;
- Lady Alyssa Monmoth, his wife, deceased;
- Lady Joanna Blackthorne, this eldest child, now Lady of Tumbledown Falls;
- Gordon Blackthorne, his eldest son, killed in an accident while squiring for House Knox;
- Murtagh Blackthorne, his second son, exiled from the family because of a dispute with his father;
- Sir Jaster Blackthorne, his only remaining son and heir apparent, a knight engaged to Rivka Vennet;
- Lady Talia Blackthorne, his youngest child,twin to Jaster and engaged to Titus Sabre.
- Lady Alyssa Monmoth, his wife, deceased;
- Sir Dominic Blackthorne, Hand of the House, brother to Arthur and a formidable warrior;
- Sir Roderic Blackthorne, Arthur's youngest brother;
- Lady Briona Manford, his wife, lady of the Great Riverford;
- Arianne West, a baseborn elf and mercenary captain with a possible familial link to the main branch of the family.
- Edwyle Blackthorne, uncle to Lord Arthur and master of Coldharbour;
- Edwyck West, his bastard son and man-at-arms.
Family Tree Edit
- A full family tree can be found here
- Sir Valar Druun, Captain of the Guard and Master-at-Arms, presently sworn sword of Talia;
- Mr Sixx, Dominic's Spymaster and Mage Advisor;
- Sir Geralt Warthorne, Castellan of Griffin's Peak;
- Syrena de Lautrec, arcane advisor to Lord Blackthorne;
- Lena, handmaid to Talia;
- Harriet, handmaid to Talia;
- Sir Boros Hill, honor guard in service to Talia;
- Sir Tybalt of Volmark, honor guard in service to Talia.
Sworn Houses Edit
In the Thunderlands;
- House Karhall of Frostfall;
- House Cogworth of Longbarrow;
- House Thormund of the Thunderclap Mountains;
- House Rookwood of the Shadowwood;
- House Falmar of Fallowfield;
- House Waynrite of the Whiteoak Plains.
Outside the Thunderlands;
- House Monmoth of Crystanthium;
- House Pentaghast of Dimholllow Mire;
- House Manford of the Great Riverford;
- House Warthorne of Nchurdamz.
- House Hawthorne of the Whiteoak Plains.