Welcome to my most humble quarters, noble hero. Come, have a seat, I've just lit a fire. It'll keep us warm. Here, drink something and make yourself comfortable. Allow me to tell you something about my family, the House of Marblethrone. Yes, what a story it is. Great deeds, greater heroes. I've always wondered how I could possibly be a member of such a great line of men and women. Now, where to begin...
Ah yes, how could I forget? It was the year 330 YSD. A long time ago, isn't it? Cold shivers creep up my spine every time I hear about what happened back then. It was the first Eclipse, the likes of which the world had never seen before. It is said a massive earthquake shook the very foundations of our world when the demon prison of Sheogh split open like a smashed coconut, releasing evil into our realm we thought impossible, until then. I speak of 'we' in the sense of 'us humans, us surface-dwellers', it's not like I was there at the time...or was I? You know, I have strange dreams, strange memories, things I remember that have happened in ages past, like I was there...sorry, am I drifting? Yea, that's a habit of mine these days, sorry about that. Where was I? Oh, right, that demon invasion. Cities, villages, fields, towns, nothing could escape the fiery wrath of these hideous creatures. Yet one man and his band of private mercenaries held their ground, stood tall and repelled whatever came at them. This man, a true chosen of Elrath, went by the name of Teren Silverbow. You may think that 'Silverbow' is something typically Elvish. Well, given the fact that he was the eldest son of an elf father and human mother, that name isn't all thát strange. Living up to his name, he used an ancient bow, made of the finest wood and cloaked in silver to fend off his foes, while his most skilled swordsmen and one magician did their part. The small town they were defending, its name no longer known to man, was of strategic importance for supplies and information. Demons in their stupidity didn't seem to realize this and never launched a full assault. Had they done so, Teren would have died before founding the most prominent line of the Marblethrones.
Marblethrone. Ha, that name sounds a bit odd now, doesn't it? Who in the sane world bears the name Marblethrone as a family name? As with many things in history, whenever something or someone is given a name, it tends to survive the ages and is passed down to whatever successor is born or chosen. Well, after the demon invasion had come to an end, and the massive, extensive damage became apparent, Teren and his surviving soldiers, who were the best of his friends, decided to salvage whatever they could. Books, knowledge, people, materials to rebuild their lost homes. They did not care about what Duchy they were in, the first thing they wanted to do was establish a strong albeit temporary form of government to make sure everything was planned and thought through carefully. Impressed by Teren's leadership and acts in battle, three sculptors carved him a marble throne, of such beauty that even the Elves of Irollan would have envied it. On it were scenes from the war, for instance, depicting Teren as the true hero he had become. There were scenes from his life, the aftermath, and several figures representing certain virtues. I've seen the throne, or at least...I remember seeing it. What intrigued me most of all was a scene showing Teren with a book on his lap, directing the construction of a small temple. Everything on that throne pointed to his righteousness, faith, good will and power. From his throne he oversaw the rebirth of the Imperial lands around him. The name Silverbow became obsolete in this time of peace, and nicknames such as 'Marblethrone' first came into being. Teren was at first not really impressed by that name, but advisors told him that from that very throne he made the decisions that picked up the shattered remains of a nation and glued them together to a new cohesive whole. They argued that this name was of much greater power, nobility and honor than Silverbow had ever been. That was just an old family name, now he had found one of his own. And so it happened, Teren was soon after raised to the ranks of the nobility and appointed ruler of a whole new Duchy, although he never forgot his most honorable duty to the people. He adopted the name Marblethrone for his offspring to come, and fashioned a most beautiful crest to be placed above his throne.
So the House of Marblethrone was born, and Teren married to a jewel of a woman, herself quite skilled as a warrior, strategist and ruler, truly the most perfect match ever to have existed. Being a half-Elf, Teren did outlive his wife, but not for very long. He knew he could not live for long without his treasured partner, and by grace of Elrath he soon followed her to the realm of eternity. His son, Terenar, succeeded him and continued where his father left off. What seemed to last forever finally came to a most tragic end so many hundreds of years later. I wish not to speak of it, for it aches my heart greatly. The throne which gave me my name has long been destroyed, the line reduced to one direct descendant. Me. The burden of a family, of keeping the name alive, rests upon my shoulders. I am Vàilan Marblethrone, it is an honor to meet you.
So, guess that's enough about my ancestry, I can see in your eyes that you wish to know more about me. Well, by all means! I spent my youth, most of it at least, in the Griffin Duchy. That's where my father, and his father, had settled. I know little of my father, actually...what I know of him mostly comes from stories, and what others have told me. My mother died when I was only a small child. My father had 'business' elsewhere, and to this day I still don't know what that could have been. They say he rode north, but has never been seen again. Anyway, being a Marblethrone and still of noble birth, I received proper education and training in the arts of war, diplomacy, poetry, art, music, politics.... yes I was quite a zealous student. At a young age I not only wielded the sword, but the brush and pen just as much. I've always preferred a peaceful life, reading poems and spend time with friends. From time to time I would take a hike and watch Griffins fly overhead as they busied themselves with hunting, building nests and grooming each other. I've always preferred watching these wild, untamed ones over their domesticated brothers and sisters. Training a Gryphon is a hard and noble task, I was told, but even so....I feel like you shouldn't force them into things, they need to be free and willing to give their lives for the safety of their realm. I've always respected, admired and loved these majestic creatures, and adopted their likeness for my coat of arms. I never dared to change its main design: the marble throne with the motto of the House below and the crossed sword and rose above it. Yet on either side of the throne I added two Griffins, each facing the throne as if holding it in place. I didn't receive any complaints from even the Griffin family itself, so I take it that they don't mind it at all. Such are the things I do when there is peace all around.
However, times have changed, and not for the better. War is coming, a nation is at stake. It's like Ashan can never have a moment without tumult! I mean...I don't know how but I vividly remember the Second Eclipse, the children of Griffin dealing with...demons. It is as if I was just...there, you know? And somehow I feel there will be even more in the future.
Anyway, when I was told of this...Shadow Council, by one of my mentors, I went to see what it was. I didn't like the name very much...Shadow...kind of gives me the chills. I've always been a follower of Elrath, although I always said I would keep my mind open to other possibilities. In the end, we are all but pawns in Asha's game and she will receive our souls when the time comes...but I'm drifting again. I became a member of the Council, and together with the rest I hope to put an end to this war. No dynasty, no empire, no duchy lasts forever, of that I am certain, but as long as there is no peace, no joy and no sound of harps and lutes, we can't work on our future. We must face and destroy this threat. For if we fall, the rest of the world may surely follow. Councillors...good luck!