A tale of Blood and Honour
Blazon: Gules, a dragon or.
Elwain is an ancient family harking back to the tribes and chieftain-kings of old Durotriges from before Salisbury as a county was formed.
In recent years, the family has been in decline and plagued by internal strife, deaths and the wheel of fortune. In spite of this, the family has spawned some of the British islands finest knights, such as the great sir Carangeir the Pagan, sir Branan the Blessed, and the late sir Brehus
Heads of family
- unknown: Elwynn, the elf-friend
- 389-432: Sir Cian, the Wolf Knight, (the first knight in the family)
- 432-463: Sir Gaharet
- 463-511: Sir GIlbert
- 511-ongoing: Sir Carangeir, the Pagan, the kinslayer
- Elwynn, the elf-friend
- Sir Cian, the Wolf Knight, (the first knight in the family)
- Sir Gaharet
- Sir Gilbert
- Carangeir, the Pagan, the kinslayer
When the Romans came to Britain the old tribes where forced to submit to the rule of mighty Rome. Soon most of the island’s natives had adapted the Roman way of living. But not all Britons forgot their old languages, their old gods and their old customs. In the countryside, most things remained the same. In the eastern parts of Morgain’s forest lived a clan of warriors who proudly held on to the old ways. They called them selves Elwain, “Elf-friends” and they saw them selves as the rightful heirs to old Sarum Rock, where the stories told that the old warriors lived.
The tribe’s home was centred on an old burial-hill in Naddar valley. Tisbury, or Tissebury as it was then called since it was the burial place of old. It had been in the families hands for as long as could be remembered. It was said that Elwynn, the son of Sarum herself, made his home here after Salis married Elwynn’s mother after conquering the plains from the giants that ruled. According to the old tales in the family Elwynn found an elven princess (some versions of the tale she was a goddess or a priestess, in others an fox or a wolf). She promised him that whomever could defeat her in single combat could lay with her on the hill. Elwynn fought and lost the combat (a tale still told today to some of the children, never to fight for the right to have sex with a woman. It’s a battle that cannot be won.) but in her cunning the she-elf offered to keep her promise, as long as Elwynn layed on his back, let her take him and to promise to always return to her when she called. The family stories say that the children of that night are the Elwynn tribe. Elwynn built a home on the hill, and with his new family and old warrior friends he layed grounds to the new tribe.
During the Roman occupation, Elwain paid tribute to the Romans, who left them alone in the deep forests. When the Roman forces where pulled to back, and the Britons told to tend to their own devices, Britain was beset from all angles by Irish, Saxons and Picts. In this dark moment, Britain’s nobles where gathered and chose the wises amongst them, Constantin, to High King. Constantin founded the British knighthood to protect the kingdom against their enemies. Soon Britons, and Romans like, gathered around his banner in combat against the enemies that beset the kingdoms.
Cian the Wolf as ruler
One of those that stood by Constantin to protect Britain was the barbarians led by a certain Cian the Wolf (b. 386), Elwain’s current chieftain and descendant to Elwynn. He swore Constantin loyalty in 431, but died the next year. As a reward for his loyalty in combat he was given his old lands as a Barony under the king. Cians son Gaharet and the best of his warriors was raised to the noble cast of knighthood, and Gaharet inherited his fathers Barony.
Gaharet as ruler
But not all was happy with Constantin’s rule, and behind the unity against Britain’s enemies, discord, disagreement and greed bred. Baron Gregor of Warminster, another of the new Barons of Britain, was not happy with what he had. He conspired with Vortigern and hoped to win much on the new alliance. In secret Baron Gregor took part in the conspiracy that cost Constantin’s son Constans his life. Many of the Picts that served as Constans bodyguard was given land or gold as reward for their ill-deeds.
One of Baron Gregor’s plans was to take control of Gaharet’s lands after the murder of Constans. But Gaharet, wise and quicker than his father, sensed something was amiss and chose to stand behind Vortigern as a new king. This way, Gregor would not be able to touch him or his lands.
Gregor did eventually manage to convince Vortigern to not trust Gaharet and his men. It was not as hard as one would think, since Gaharet was an honourable man, if still a pragmatist, and he had a hard time following the dark king Vortigern. When Vortigern’s son Vortimer in 462 raised the banner of an uprising, Gaharet chose to join him against his former king. Gregor, who stayed by the side of Vortigern, managed to manipulate Gaharet to come to the “peace-talks” at Stonehenge. Like so many others from Britain’s nobility, he died at The Long night of the Knives in 463. A memory that still lingers in the minds of the Elwain tribe.
Ysgaran as ruler
Gaharet’s barony now fell to his son, Ysgaran, who had survived the night of the long knives because he was with a force in Cornwall to hunt runaway Irishmen who had stolen his mothers locket. Ysgaran was a proud pagan, promised since some years back to Dwynwen, daughter of one of his fathers strongest warriors. He married her and had a daughter, Meleri, and two sons, Carangeir (b. 465) and Gwanon (b. 466). He refused to have anything to do with Vortigern the usurper, and was forced to renounce his barony. Instead he swore loyalty as a Banneret knight under the Earl of Salisbury. To protect what was left of his lands.
Ysgarans’s half-brother, Gilbert, realised how difficult their current state was, when Vortigern ravaged the lands with his Saxon mercenaries, all in the name of protecting the lands from the Irish and the Picts. He talked to Ysgaran about swearing loyalty to Vortigern as his father had to save what was left of the family lands, but Ysgaran was proud and refused to listen. Ysgaran was convinced that Aurelius Ambrosius would soon come and hunt Vortigern the usurper down. He prepared for exile.
The Hunting Accident
Gilbert, since he now realised that Vortigern could be destroyed, conspired with Baron Gregor. In exchange for a part of his dead brothers barony, he would make certain that Gregor would be able to capture Ysgaran before he was able to join Aurelius Ambrosius forces in Bretange. And so it happened, that Ysgaran was hunting in the autumn of 467, surrounded only by a few loyal men led by his second Barnsworth, he was surrounded by Baron Gregor and his Pictish mercenaries. Ysgaran was forced to renounce his remaining lands, which Gregor then gave away to several of his loyal friends and created the banneracy of Wiltshire. Gilbert’s treason was rewarded with several of the farms and the title Banneret knight. After this, GiIlbert and Ysgaran never spoke again, for Ysgaran suspected Gilbert’s involvement, even if Gilbert denied everything and acted hurt when Ysgaran confronted him with his suspicions.
But the bitter grail Ysgaran was forced to empty to keep a simple part of his fathers barony was deeper than that. To bind Ysgaran to himself, the Earl of Salisbury forced him to renounce his wife (who had disappeared the same winter) and marry the Earls cousin, and at the same time renounce the old gods and baptise. The baptism, the marriage and the oaths of loyalty was celebrated with a large feast in 465 in Sarum Rock. And the same winter Eleri birthed two twin sons, Brehus and Branan, and a few years later a son named Cian, named after his grandfather.
But when Ysgaran renounced the old gods, he was challenged by powers he could not understand. As his father had been poisoned during the feast at Stonehenge many years earlier, he had been unable to tell Ysgaran of the oaths sworn to the forest queen.
The ancient oath
Since ancient times, the queen of Modron’s forest, Angharad, had to by oath marry a man of the elvish line of Ungwen, a neighbouring land. In a twisted rule of fate, the Ungwen king promised to her was murdered and she found herself unable to marry him as was promised. And since the land is tied to it’s king a war erupted in Faerie Land, and the king’s seat remained empty. The queen grew cold and a curse fell upon the lands. The land was poisoned, and monsters were born instead of healthy elvish children. And now there was no children of Ungwen that she could marry. The oath was broken and her kingdom would soon fall to an even greater curse.
But the queen of Modron was not weak or slow to act. She knew that one of the daughters of Ungwen, a witch and a fox, had many times fled to the land of the mortals. There she layed with men and women alike in a twisted game of hers. But she also knew that one of these nights had birthed children, the children of Elwynn. The queen sought out the ruler of the Elwain, and offered him the ritual to marry her. Their children would rule the Faerie Kingdom, as his mortal children would rule the land of the mortals. If he did this, she promised him two crowns. A Golden Crown to wear in the Kingdom of the Fearie land, and an Iron Crown, to rule the lands in the mortal realm. As long as he, and all his first born relatives held the oath, their land would stay healthy and strong.
And so it was, that all kings of Elwain married the queen of Modron’s Forest. The first generations of kings spent their youth in the land of the faerie. But they soon realised this took too much tole on their bodies and future generations stayed in the mortal realm. The heir usually left when he was older, and took his own father’s seat when the he had died in faerie. So it was, that men of Elwain served two terms, one in the mortal realm, and one in the faerie realm. Many years went by, and the kings of Elwain held their bargain.
So did Gaharet, and he had survived the night of the long knives and crawled out into the forest and fled to fullfill his promise to marry the queen. But on that fateful night in 465, the old king died in faerie, still suffering the poison from the mortal realm, and the queen sent for his son Ysgaran to marry him as the oath told. But Ysgaran had renounced his gods and his elvish bloodline was cursed. He soon realised he had to flee to the forest, and to fullfill his oath, lest his lands fell to the curse. But Gregor’s men watched him like hawks and he was unable to escape. His wife promised him his new God would protect his lands, and he choose to stay. He broke the old oath, and a great curse fell upon the lands.
The Queen’s land in faerie was beset by evil, and the rightful king was nowhere to be seen. She was furious and she let the curse be shared in the land of the mortal. The harvest fell bad, monsters spread from the forests and attacked his farmers, the daughters fell sick and would not carry children. But worst of it all, Modron’s forest itself spread and took over many of the farms in the real world. The dark forest, filled with rotten oaks and deep thorns grew too fast to be stopped. And those that tried to stop it was unable to. Fire would not hurt it and people that touched the thorns fell ill or died.
In his wrath, Ysgaran took an axe in his hand, and tried to destroy the forest with his own hands. His loyal squire saw the forest trying to eat his master, and threw himself into the thorns, not to be seen again. Ysgaran was cursed and began to age rapidly. Ysgaran realised he had to abide by the old oath, lest all hope was lost. And on Christmas day, 480, he stood up on the court of his Earl and left. He left for the faerie lands and swore he would not return until he had lifted the curse, or until his son had.
But he never succeeded. In the faerie land, Ysgaran was captured and held in chains by the Iron King, the true ruler of the Ungwen line. The Iron King, not as soft and gentle as his daughter, who had birthed the Elwain tribe, he tortured Ysgaran and he was chained by his vices. He knew, that if Ysgaran would escape, he could marry Angharad as the oath said, and her lands would heal, something he did not want to happen.
Unable to take the shame of the event, Gilbert spread that Ysgaran had been wounded in battle against and died. And he dug a fake burial-mound in Tisbury.
During the Uther era, the family is headed by Sir Gilbert of Tisbury, who serves under Baron Gregor of Warminster. Sir Gilbert holds the majority of the old family lands. After encountering Sir Ysgarans old squire Sewell at Burcombe Manor in the year 489, Sir Carangeir and his brothers began to investigate the Hunting Accident and Sir Ysgarans loss of the Elwain lands.
After encountering some beings of Faerie who in cryptic and prophetic terms spoke of old oaths and broken promises, the sons of Elwain were pointed towards Faerie, where Sir Ysgaran still might live. The knights discovered, however, that the way to Faerie on the old Elwain Lands were guarded by a mighty boar, the Guardian Beast.
Rumors had it that it was a spawn of the Troit Boar. A beast that could only be slain by the hunting weapons of the fabled hunter Gwyddion Ab Nudd.
During the anarchy, the Elwain kinsmen searched for the weapons of Gwyddion Ab Nudd, enlisting the aid of Nyneve of Avalon in the year 500. She entrusted Sir Mordwin with a rook that could guide him through the Forest Sauvage. In the year 501, the knights of Elwain entered Forest Sauvage, found their way to an ancient burial place and entered the otherworld. After many trials (also ghosts) they emerged with Gwyddion Ab Nudds hunting weapons.
In the year 503, the Elwain kinsmen entered Mordrons Forest and defeated the Guardian Beast. They travelled to the lands of Faerie, rescued the captured Sir Ysgaran from the Iron Castle and returned him to the court of the Elf-Queen whom sir Ysgaran then married. Afterwards, there was the Battle of the Plains of the Stars, where they fought the King of the Iron Castle and defeated him. These events led to Sir Carangeir and his kin bringing back the Iron Crown of Elwain to the mortal world.
In the year 511, the whole of the Elwain family was gathered together at Winterbourne Earls as guests to Sir Carangeir the Pagan. During this feast, a family court was held where Sir Carangeir was named the new head of the Elwain family, an honor that was previously held by Sir Gilbert. During the year 513, Sir Carangeirs manor Winterbourne Earls was raided my Sir Gilbert and Elad the Mad, and they murdered Sir Carangeirs wife and several of his children. Sir Gilbert was killed by Sir Carangeir in a duel the same year.