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The House of Pendragon

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by Janos Pendragon, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. The House of Pendragon
    Compiled by: Perrin Axemere

    I have taken the task of writing the history of this noble family as my master and friend, Janos Pendragon, has asked me to do. When I humbly asked why he, a famed Bard and storyteller, would ask a humble craftsman to take this task he simply smiled and said, “My dear Perrin, the history of my family is more dear to me than you could know. So dear in fact that I fear I could not look upon it with the objectiveness I believe it would require of me. Thus I leave all of our past, good and bad, into your capable hands.”

    I am humbled beyond words to hear my master speak so highly of me. The trust he has placed in my judgment and opinion is almost more than I can bear. Thus am I to recount the tale of Pendragon as best as I can with what materials and story are left to my devices. Where there are gaps in the record or mistruths, I will point them out. For I shall tell thee at the onset that the story is not all of glory.

    The house (or family) of Pendragon traces its roots to a time before the appearance of Lord British. Family historians say that the first Pendragon in Sosaria was a traveler from another realm, brought to these lands by a coven of druid women. They resided on an island called Avalon, an island which his since been lost to the maps and histories of our world (if it were ever there to begin with).

    The descendants of this first Pendragon, a man named Arthu were born from his union with these women. There were three children born of Arthu, each by a separate mother.

    The first child born was Jerrick. He was a wild child with lust for adventure and exploration. He left the island by boat when he was eighteen years old. He never had any children, as far as I have been able to find. He died at sea at the age of forty and nine. He was a treasure hunter and adventurer to the end. He died locked in battle with a leviathan he had hunted for nearly three years.

    The other two children born of Arthu were Kuris and Janos, the latter being my master’s namesake. Both were powerful magicians. Kuris was said to be the most beautiful of women, and prized among the coven for her long red hair. Like his older brother, Janos longed to seek his adventure away from Avalon, but remained to care for his aging father.

    Arthu died when Janos was twenty-one years of age, and the loss of his father nearly killed him. He found the island to be full of bad memories and so he bade the women there to let him go. They agreed, although reluctantly. Before he left, the druids of Avalon gave Janos a rare green gem, said to have come from the pommel of a magical sword, a sword of such great power that the druids guarded it jealously. The gem, they said, would always draw its bearer back to the sword, and back to Avalon. The gem was called the Dragon Gem, and it was the crown jewel of the Pendragon’s short lived kingdom.

    Janos traveled the lands of Sosaria extensively and took part in many adventures, building his fame and wealth all his days. He finally settled in the mountains to the north of what is now Britain and married a local nobleman’s daughter. He had six children.

    [For the purpose of this post, I am deleting much of the genealogy of the Pendragons. Perrin was quite thorough and some of his accounts are…well, boring. Suffice it to say that for many generations, the Pendragons became a family whose name was synonymous with honor and nobility. Sadly that was not to last. It was at the birth of Arkis Pendragon that things began to go awry…]

    Arkis was born under a blood moon. It was the first such moon after the great cataclysm which shifted the world and merged the great continents.

    On the midmorning of his birth, a strange man dressed in rags approached the castle and told the guards that he must speak with Master Aurin immediately. The guards turned him away, as the house was preparing for the birth of Aurin’s firstborn. Before he could be ushered from the gates, the old man began to weep and cried out in a loud voice, “I beg thee not to go to her! Tell him that he must not go, for he shall bring destruction upon this house!”

    To my knowledge, Aurin was never told of this episode that day. He was a very superstitious man, and the signs and portents were not good on that day to begin with. The appearance of this bedraggled man might well have changed the course of events that followed.

    Aurin was advancing in years, and had no children. Much of the line of Pendragon had died during the time of darkness brought by Minax. Aurin knew that it was his duty to create an heir to carry on the name of Pendragon. He was desperate for it. Therefore, I cannot blame him for wanting to do anything to ensure the child was happy and healthy. I cannot imagine the sorrow and pain he felt when the midwife emerged from his wife’s bedchambers with the stillborn child wrapped in bloodied cloth.

    They say that the clouds gathered late that night, and that the sound of Aurin’s wail was answered by a deep rumbling of thunder. Many of the guards were frightened when their master emerged from the castle, his dead child clutched in his arms. He mounted his horse and rode into the woods at full gallop, his silhouette visible in the flashing storm.

    He returned less than an hour later, mumbling and, according to the accounts of his servant Froack: “His eyes were wild and restless. Many of us tried to speak with him, but he ignored us and set to his work, as if we could not be seen or heard at all.”

    Aurin returned to the castle and took the greatest treasure entrusted to the firstborn of each generation of Pendragon. He took the Dragon Gem. That same gem given to Janos by the druids of Avalon. His sister, Portia, tried to stop him and he struck her hard enough to break her jaw, and left without saying another word.

    Before the first light broke the next day, Aurin emerged from the woods. They say that it appeared he had aged twenty years in a single night. His face and hair had grayed and thinned. In his frail arms, he clutched the now very alive form of Arkis Pendragon.

    The noble family of Pendragon would never be the same again.

    Less than a year passed before Aurin began showing signs of true insanity. It began when Aurin would wander off in the middle of the night and would not return until early morning. After many of these wanderings, Aurin would be bloodied and bruised. The guards of the castle would search the woods and, most of the time, find a wild animal Aurin had slain in ferocious hand to hand combat, but on a few rare occasions, nothing was found at all.

    The people under Lord Pendragon’s leadership suffered his increasingly strange behavior for years before the unthinkable finally happened. A child was discovered in the village, torn to pieces and partially eaten. It was determined that the attacker was human.

    Dangerous rumblings rippled through the tiny settlement. “The Lord has gone too far,” they whispered. “Something must be done.”

    Lady Miertras, Aurin’s wife and mother of Arkis, begged her husband to flee. By this time, Aurin was convinced that he was cursed for his failure to protect the Dragon Gem. He had no recollection of his nightly jaunts and he had convinced himself that he had slain the child. (Although I have found no evidence to support this view. In fact, I have found record of other murders similarly committed around Britain around the same time that have no connection to Lord Aurin at all.)

    “Let them come,” he said. “We have no more place in this world. I have given my son life, but I have taken the life of another. The cost was too great, and I am lost. This land will forever be tainted by what I have wrought.” These sorrowful words were overheard by one of the Lord’s servants. It was this supposed confession that finally turned the tide of rebellion.

    Lady Miertas, fearing the time was near, sent her sister-in-law, the Lady Portia away from the castle with young Arkis, then seven years of age. On the same night, the people of Lord Aurin’s village, led by many of his own guards, sacked the castle. Lord Aurin and Lady Miertas were hung from makeshift gallows erected in the main hall.

    The line of Pendragon, it seemed, was all but gone. For nearly thirty years, the name was spoken of only in punch lines and ghost stories. “Don’t go wandering in the woods after dark,” fathers would tell their children, “For Lord Pendragon still roams those woods, seeking after children that he may eat out their eyes and chew off their tongues!”

    Soon after the sacking of the castle, Lord British heard of the events that had transpired there and he issued a decree, claiming the lands of Pendragon for the kingdom. He gave the lands to his brother, Lord Robere, who ruled there for many years.

    There were some in the land that still recalled Lord Aurin’s final decree, shouted from the gallows just before leaping gladly from the stand and into death’s embrace.

    “Burn this place!” he had shouted. “Leave no stone left atop another. Destroy everything or it shall surely come for thee all!”

    What “it” was, remains a mystery.

    Lord Robere’s descent into madness and the ensuing war that transpired upon the Crimson Plain are well known to us all, so I shall not recount it here. I cannot say if the family of Pendragon or the castle itself was cursed by Lord Aurin’s actions. If it is so, then surely the Fates are evil mistresses. Until the time of Arkis’s birth, Lord Aurin led an exemplary life. He was a noted warrior and protector of his people. He was trained in the ways of the Paladin by the mighty Dupre himself.

    I have found that the stories of Lord Aurin’s might and honor far outnumber the stories of his final days of madness and depression. Lord Aurin was a good man who made a horrible deal with some devil, and it cost him not only his life, but that of his wife and the honor of his family.

    I do not know what happened to Lady Portia with any amount of accuracy. For his part, Arkis never spoke or wrote much of anything of his time in her care. I have found one entry in the wedding registry of Lord Poulain and Lady Marian of Vesper. It mentions that the Lady’s wedding dress was hand sewn by the Elves of Lorian and that the veil was “hand stitched by Mistress Portia from the finest Elven silks”.

    I also know that Arkis’s first born daughter, Laurel, was said to be a “halfling of elven blood.” She was raised in the woods of Lorian. Was Portia a friend of these noble elves? I believe so.

    Arkis reappeared in the pages of history during the time of the historic burning of Trinsic. It was recounted that “the Paladin Arkis Pendragon, of Cove, fought bravely, cutting down two and three orcs at a time with each swing of his mighty axe.”

    Arkis survived the battle, and thereafter set to work rebuilding the city. During this time, he met and married a woman named Grenna. They had two sons, Harrian and Arthur. Arkis and Grenna lived in Trinsic the rest of their days.

    Arkis was buried in the woods of Lorian. It was said that at his funeral, Laurel sang a song of such sweet sadness that all those gathered “shed tears which could not be stopped for many days.”

    Harrian took an apprenticeship with an alchemist in Vesper named Morningsun. Morningsun was said to have created a potion made from the extracts of a powerful mineral which could open gateways into other worlds. It was through one of these gateways that Harrian left with his mentor, and so walked out of our history forever. Neither he or Morningsun were ever seen again.

    Arthur, Arkis’s second born, forsook the life of the warrior. Arkis had learned much of stone crafting and so Arthur took to the trade, becoming famous throughout Britannia for his skill with chisel and hammer. His work can still be seen in the great halls of places like Empath Abbey and the castle of Lord British.

    It was during his travels that Arthur came to be acquainted with the great Dwarves of Kraggen Kor. The great dwarven city was still under construction, and the Dwarves were so impressed by Arthur’s skills, he was invited to ply his craft in the construction of the city, the only non dwarf to receive such a high honor. The friendships he established there remain true to this day.

    Beldin Brightaxe, in speaking of Arthur at his funeral many many years later would say, “He weren’t as good a craftsman as we Dwarvin be, but he comes as close as any man can, I s’pose.”

    Arthur married a woman named Doria, and their union provided the world with four noble sons. The first was Janos, named for the son of Arthu. The second and third born were the twins Karnas and Kanon, born less than a few seconds apart. The final in the line of progeny was Aurin, so named in honor of Arthur’s grandfather. Doria died shortly after the birth of her last child. Arthur once told Janos that Doria held Aurin before she died. She cuddled him to her breast for the first and last time before looking up into his tear streaked face and saying, “I expect great things from your sons, m’lord.”

    Arthur was never really the same after Doria passed on. He gave up his stone crafting and spent much time with his dwarven brethren, drinking in the pub at Kraggen Kor and swapping war stories. Janos says that he was a great father and mentor, but it seemed that much of his lust for life died with his one and only Love.

    When Janos came of age, he traveled to Minoc, where he took an apprenticeship with Kellias, the blacksmith. Janos knew much of mining and spent his younger days swinging a pick in the fertile mountain caves. It was during this time that I first came to know my lord. We spent many hours together smelting and hammering. It was also during this time that I came to learn that Janos had quite the ear for music. Many were the hours that I spent listening to his smooth, rich voice ringing and echoing off the cave walls.

    One day, Janos was alone in a dark cavern, hacking and cutting out a rather large piece of rare valorite granite. As was his custom, he was singing as he worked. His voice carried out of the cave and caught the ear of the famous bard, Xosis, who happened to be traveling that way. Janos’s lamp gave out and he was suddenly plunged into darkness. As he reached for his lantern to refill with oil, a deep grumbling issued from the bowels of the cavern. Janos snatched a potion from his waist pouch and drank quickly, the magical potion filling his eyes with light to see into the pure blackness.

    Standing not two feet away was the dark, hunched shape of a cave troll. In its vile hands was clutched a wooden plank and a necklace of human bones clattered at its neck. The monster eyed Janos hungrily and then charged forward, howling in rage. Janos fell backward, raising his only weapon, a shovel, in defense.

    Suddenly, the cavern was filled with the most stunning music and the troll froze, its weapon still raised for attack. The troll just stood there, seemingly transfixed by the striking melody. Janos turned and saw Xosis standing in the center of the cave, strumming merrily on a small lute.

    “Were you the one I heard singing, sir?” Xosis asked.

    “Yes my lord,” Janos stammered.

    “What if I told you that I could teach you to transfix any audience in the world with nothing more than the notes played on this very instrument?”

    Janos looked around at the still stupefied troll, who was drooling and smiling happily. “I would believe you,” Janos said.

    Thus did Janos Pendragon leave the caves of Minoc and set about under the tutelage of Xosis.

    During this same time, Karnas and Kanon traveled to Magincia, where they set about learning the ways of the mage. Magic, as I have said before, runs strong in the Pendragon blood and the twins were no exception. It was during their training that Kanon discovered a book of dark spells used by the necromancers. Kanon was fascinated by necromancy, but Karnas urged his twin to toss the book and return to his studies of “pure” magic.

    The mages of Magincia soon learned of the dark grimoire and Kanon was banished from the island. Karnas was given a choice of leaving with his brother or staying and continuing his studies. He chose to stay, a decision that he has regretted since. It was around this time that the lands of Malas were rediscovered and so Kanon traveled to Umbra to study the ways of the dead. What happened to him there remains a mystery that Karnas is still unraveling.

    What I can tell you of Kanon’s fate is merely rumor and speculation.

    It is said that the study of speaking with the dead is but the first step on this path. Some true followers of Spirit Speak claim that it is possible to leave one’s body and travel across the eternal void into the lands of the dead themselves. This is called astral projection and, to my knowledge, it has never been accomplished and thus remains unproven to the magical community.

    Kanon claimed to some that he had learned a “new art” he called carnal projection, that is the projection of one’s whole self across the void without the need for moongates at all.

    On the day of Kanon’s disappearance, Karnas awoke with a start. The connection that he had long felt with his brother had abruptly vanished. Karnas knew the truth immediately. Kanon was gone. Karnas left that very day for Malas. Using what little he knew of Kanon’s studies, Karnas began a search for his brother’s whereabouts, a search that continues today.

    I do not know why Karnas began to practice necromancy himself. Perhaps his study in the dark art began so that he could better understand what had happened to Kanon. Perhaps he did it as a way of honoring his brother’s memory. Whatever the reason, Karnas has immersed himself to such a degree that I do not know if there is anything left for him to learn of the ways of necromancy.

    One thing is for sure, necromancy has hardened his heart. I do not believe that Karnas is an evil man, but I do know that he now delights in his study of the dead. He has traveled the highways and byways learning from anyone that will teach him.

    If anything, Karnas is haunted by the memory of his brother. He refuses to wear any color but black, as a constant reminder of his own grief and pain.

    The last brother of which I can speak is Aurin. Aurin has joined the brotherhood of Paladins in Luna and has become quite the bowman. Aurin is a untamed adolescent. Like his father, he loves to drink and carouse until all hours of the night, though this habit has done little to stymie his efforts at the bow. He has a sharp eye and even sharper tongue. It seems as though he simply refuses to grow up. He has the heart and innocence of a child, but the ferocity of a warrior. Time will only tell what the world has in store for him.

    Janos completed his journeys with Xosis and returned to his family as a Lord. It seems his efforts at protecting the peoples of Britannia have not gone unnoticed by the crown and he has reestablished a respectable home in the Umbra.

    Several years ago, Janos found me repairing armor for the warriors in Haven and asked if I would consent to work for him. I agreed immediately.

    Thus our history brings us to the present. At the time of this writing, Janos Pendragon is courting a woman he met during his travels. Like him, she is a bard and mage. I do know that they love each other deeply, and it is only a matter of time before he finally asks for the hand of Eryn Darkthorn.

    Janos and Karnas, it seems, have brokered some amount of peace. Janos does not understand his younger brother’s obsession with necromancy. He feels that it casts a pallor over the name Pendragon, a name that is still tarnished by past sins. Karnas does not seem to care what Janos thinks.