The Griffin Dynasty, Part 2 09/09/2015 | 80 kommentare

Greetings, shadow councillors.

The time has come to discuss the fates of Cate and Slava’s children, as well as several other members of the great Griffin dynasty.
 
Please note that I won’t talk of Anastasya today, as her life has already been discussed at great length in this very Council.




Sandor



Born of Slava and his mistress, Elisabeth, Sandor grew up as a perpetual shadow hanging over the ducal court. While he inherited his father's rough strength and his mother's intensity, Sandor's circumstances of birth prevented him from hoping for any sort of respectable position or role in the Duchy.

Sandor found an outlet for his frustration and anger alongside the Orc Kraal, Slava’s master-of-arms. Never considering Sandor anything less than his son, Slava raised him as a shadow right hand, able to do the things that Anton could not do politically or for reasons of ethics.

For his part, Sandor had tired of needling Anton, who was always serious, and teasing Anastasya and Kiril, who were too young to be any fun, so he ended up befriending Irina and spending most of his time with her. The two of them became inseparable, crossing swords, knives and axes with Kraal.

When Irina was married to Gerhart, the Duke of the neighbouring Wolf duchy, Sandor had hard words with his father over that and decided that the Griffin duchy was too small to fit himself, his father, and the rest of his siblings.

Sandor enlisted Kraal’s help to rescue Irina from Gerhart’s clutches, an incident that made him an outlaw in the Holy Empire. He rebuilt his life among the Orcs of the Pao Islands, eventually rising to the position of warchief and earning from the Orcs the nickname Kunyakti, “small Kunyak”, which is high praise indeed.

Deciding he was never made to be a Griffin, Sandor chose a new name for himself: Raven, and it is as Sandor the Raven that he was known in his last years. His descendants have all been great warriors in their own right, often fighting as mercenaries and Windswords in the Free Cities.

Anton


Anton was the first legitimate child of Duke Slava and Duchess Cate of Griffin. His early childhood was ideal: loving parents, healthy siblings and an earnest education in swordplay, politics and the dominant religion of the Holy Empire, the Church of Light. There was one sour note, though: Anton was plagued by mysterious voices as a child, a mystical affliction he had inherited from his mother, Cate… or rather Deirdre. His father hired a special councillor to help him block the voices out of his mind. I was successful in this endeavour… to an extent.

Cate left the family one day and was never heard from again, with her children still too young to understand. Soon thereafter, Slava had to give the hand of his daughter Irina over to Wolf. Anton grew bitter, and though he continued to learn the skills necessary to assume his future function as heir to the Duke, he began to question his father’s priorities, but he never had the time to confront his father man to man. On Anton’s 21st birthday, Slava was assassinated by his younger daughter, Anton’s little sister Anastasya. Suddenly the Voices that Anton had nearly forgotten returned to him, blaming the Faceless. Anton, as new Duke, went on a witch-hunt to rout out the Faceless from his lands, declaring that the only religion acceptable in the Griffin Duchy was faith in Elrath, the Dragon of Light.

This proclamation certainly pleased Emperor Liam and his Angel councillors but caused Anton to lose the support of many of his vassals. Several counts and barons decided to take up arms against their lord to defend their right to worship Ylath as well as Elrath, and soon the whole Duchy was in a state of civil war. Hoping to put an end to this madness, I revealed myself as a Faceless to Anton, an act I do not regret as I believe it eventually helped him realize the error of the path he was treading upon… although it did earn me a rather unpleasant stay in the Inquisition’s dungeons.

The wars of the Second Eclipse finished breaking Anton’s fanaticism as he pieced together how the Angels, led by Uriel, had been deceiving his family and himself for decades with the goal of engineering a new Elder War. Anton took part to the battles against Ahribban, the Demon Prince of Hatred, and saved the life of princess Gwendolyn – although he was too late to save her uncle, the Emperor Liam. As the extent of Uriel’s Deception was fully revealed, Anton became a vocal advocate of the separation between church and state. These reforms would later be called the Charter of the Griffin.

After the war, Anton became Gwendolyn’s consort. They had three children: their first son, Morvan, became the next Emperor. Their second son, Vyacheslav, inherited the Griffin Duchy. Their last child, a daughter named Sorsha, enlisted in the military and became known as a strong defender of justice and honesty.

Irina


Though not particularly unhappy as a child, Irina understood from an early age that her value was in her beauty and in whom she might marry. Disgruntled at her lack of opportunity and disinterested in sewing, music, poetry, and dance, she fell in with her rough-and-tumble half-brother, Sandor. Sandor was the first who convinced her to study swordplay on the sly; they trained together with Kraal when nobody was looking.

Despite her feisty nature, Irina would have been ready to respect her father’s wishes and put up with her married life had she not been betrothed to Gerhart, the Duke of Wolf. She found him odious and repulsive, and these feelings were intensified by his actions on their wedding night. A rough man overwhelmed by lust, Gerhart forced himself upon Irina who in turn wounded – and scarred – him severely. Rather than hatred, Gerhart's desire turned to a need to dominate and control his fiery wife. Locked in a dungeon, Irina would have died there out of pride had Sandor not come to her rescue.

Sandor delivered Irina to a Naga temple, hoping Irina would find safety and solace among the Priestesses of Shalassa. But Irina was done letting others make choices for herself. She lent her services to a local Daimyo, Lord Hiroshi, who wanted to take control of the nearby trading post of Strandholm. It is during this time that Irina discovered she was pregnant, and from there an audacious plan for revenge hatched in her mind: her son would become the next Duke of Wolf, but Gerhart would not live to see it.

Hiroshi made Irina one of his vassals, and trained her in the ways of the Nagas. He trained her so well that before long she had challenged him and taken his place. Known as Daimyo Jubo among the Naga, Irina used the Second Eclipse as an excuse to lead her forces to the Wolf Duchy. She crushed the Demons’ forces in the Duchy by destroying the abomination known as the Breeder Queen, then proceeded to eliminate Gerhart himself.

Now the Duchess of Wolf, Irina removed – sometimes with great prejudice – all those who had been loyal to Gerhart from positions of power. Soon after the Second Eclipse, her son Alexander was born, cementing her claim to the Wolf’s throne. For the rest of her life, Irina ruled the Wolves with an iron fist and a Griffin’s heart.

Kiril


Anastasya’s twin brother, Kiril is one of the most mysterious members of the Griffin Dynasty. After their mother’s departure when they were only 8 years old, the twins were assigned Angel tutors by Emperor Liam himself for their religious and military education. Anastasya became the student of the Angel Uriel, while Kiril was given over to the Angel Sarah. Weeks of study turned to years, and the brother and sister grew apart more due to circumstance than any desire on either’s part.

Kiril came to adore the beautiful, legendary angel, Sarah. In spite of Kiril’s questioning, and all-too-Griffin, nature, Sarah – masterful in swordplay and patient in religion – succeeds in forging within his rebel soul a devout love and faith for the Dragon of Light, Elrath. By all accounts Sarah appreciated Kiril’s dry sense of humour and his tremendous temerity, and often encouraged him, saying that he was destined for great things.

When Anastasya was controlled magically and used to assassinate their father, Slava, Kiril was broken with rage. Believing the Faceless to have come back and attacked the house of Griffin,        Kiril accepted a perilous mission proposed by Uriel and Sarah. Sarah sought to forge a weapon of Chaos in order to destroy the Invisible Library, the source of the Faceless’ power. Kiril saw it as his duty to avenge his father and clear his sister’s name, while protecting Sarah on her quest, especially as said quest would take them to the bowels of Sheogh itself.

And that is when Kiril disappears from history and enters the realms of legend. There are some who claim to have met him at various points through the centuries, sometimes with a fiery Angel at his side, sometimes accompanied by a seductive succubus. Some stories claim he became a Demon himself, or that his soul was fused with one. One thing I can say for sure: he did succeed at removing the Invisible Library from Ashan. But rather than destroying it, he somehow managed to transport it to Sheogh, out of reach of both Angels and Faceless. What happened to him after that, or what he became, are not things I can confirm.

Vassily


Ivan’s father, Duke Vassily was a just but stern ruler. It is said of him that he never unsheathed his sword without good reason, and under his guidance the Griffin Duchy knew many years of quiet and peace. In his private life, too, Vassily was blessed, for he was able to marry his childhood love (and distant cousin) Ilona, third daughter of Duke Ekhard of Wolf. Ilona soon gave birth to two strong sons, Fedor and Ivan, who filled Vassily’s heart with pride and joy.

But the Blind Brothers’ predictions, foreseeing a new Bloodmoon Eclipse in the next three decades, cast on the children a rather ominous shadow. Not wanting to increase their son’s considerable burden, Vassily and Ilona were probably too lenient and permissive when raising Fedor who as a result never quite showed his father’s morality and strength of character. Ivan, sent to the seminaries of Flammschrein at a young age, fared considerably better, all things considered.

Fedor managed to hide his darker side to his parents, but to those who thrive in the shadows his frequentation of the seedier districts of Eastalon was well known. A taste for gambling and a competitive strike proved his undoing, as he found himself indebted to the criminal organization known as the Blackfang. Rather than repay the fortune he owed them, Fedor raided the Blackfang’s hideouts across the Duchy and had the organization’s leaders publicly executed, making it look like justice was guiding his arm.

If Fedor had been smarter, he would have known that the Blackfang is not so easily destroyed. The thieves and cutthroats simply went into hiding, waiting for the storm to pass.

A couple of years of safety dulled Fedor’s vigilance, until the organization finally struck back. As Vassily and Fedor were hunting a Wyvern said to terrorize the eastern borders of the Duchy, they were separated from the rest of the party and ambushed by the Blackfang’s assassins. Both father and son were slain. As we all know this tragic turn of events led to Ivan inheriting the Duchy.

Ivan always suspected Vassily and Fedor’s deaths were not a simple hunting accident, despite the Blackfang’s best efforts to make them look that way. At the time, I was serving the Duchy as a simple spy and informant, but Ivan immediately guessed there was more to me than met the eye. He enlisted my help to discover the truth, which I did. I won’t detail what he did to the assassins – as well as a couple of corrupted nobles – when we tracked them down, but I will say as much: all debts with the Blackfang were settled, there and then.

You might wonder why Ivan didn’t go on a vengful rampage against the Blackfang as a whole, but even in his young age he understood that a thieves’ guild has its use… especially with a skillful Spy Master like myself to keep them on a leash.
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