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 Post subject: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
The val'Holryn family seem like a fairly straightforward group: noble, kind, and willing to sacrifice themselves to protect others. At the same time they are one of the most mysterious families in Arcanis, with no known divine heritage and the unique ability to mimic other Bloodlines (with exceptions). Despite the rather storied history of them and the Knightly Order of The Phoenix (which acts as a personal order of knights at their command), their early history is either largely ignored or simply unknown. As such, I will try to compile a somewhat chronological history of the family, and help would be greatly appreciated.

Note: While I would enjoy as much information as possible, there is a reason dead men keep secrets. If there is any information that would be a major spoiler to players, please refrain from sharing it here. Thank you.

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


Last edited by vandom43 on Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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First of all, let's start at the beginning with their first recorded appearance in history: The Imperium of Man. When we start we immediately encounter a problem or two: the val'Holryn might not be an original family and we don't know what god ordered their creation. Maybe it was the slain "Gentlest of The Pantheon"? Maybe a collaborative effort from the whole Pantheon? Something else...? Whatever their origin, we don't find records of them until the latter years of the Imperium, maybe as a minor family. What is known is that they, during the Theocracy of The Cleansing Flame, decided to do something so outrageous that no one else would have tried it: fight the Sword of The Heavens. Now, you may know that any army lead by Leonydes val'Virdan is impossible to defeat while he is in command. Prince Volthar val'Holryn decided to sidestep this entirely and spent the next seven years engaging the Swords of Nier in guerrilla warfare: ambushing sentries, destroying supply chains, killing of patrols, and generally causing mayhem with little-to-no losses on their end. Sadly, he and his army were eventually destroyed in open battle, but it was enough: the rest of the Imperium rose up in defiance against the no-longer invincible Sword of Heaven. After the fall of the Imperium, they disappeared from recorded text until the Axunite Empire, where a figure known as a "Phoenix Warrior", a predecessor to the Legion of The Rising Phoenix and Order of The Phoenix, slew an Axunite Priest-King. Something to note: this possibly makes the Order of The Phoenix one of the oldest surviving organizations on Onara, about 1500-2000 years old. Talk about dedication

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
The next time they show up is the First Crusade of Light, where surviving texts talks about a man named Tremane and his "odd demon-dog" who reportedly died at the Battle of Treslandia/Treslau, but showed up alive and well at the Battle of Hopes End. The val'Holryn would yet again take center-stage of history during The Children's Crusade, also known as the Coryani-Ymadrake War. During this time, Palic val'Holryn took command as the Defender of The Empire and performed a shockingly successful counter-attack against the Ymandrakes, making them go from approaching Grand Coryan to running back to their Black Ships. Palic then took 500 Legionnaires from the Legion of The Rising Phoenix, and the Standard, and chased them back to Ymandragore, but never returned. The val'Holryn then took a short leave (if you could call 1000 years "short") until the Second Khitani-Coryani War, where Milandir seceded to protect against their new and somewhat violent neighbors in the north, the Theocracy of Canceri. The Order then fought in the Heretic Wars, along with the 5th and 6th Crusade of Light, although they participated considerably less during the latter.

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


Last edited by vandom43 on Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
Now that we had a short marathon through their history, let us look at their allies, organization, and some notable persons: Starting with the frequently mentions Order of The Phoenix. The Order (as I shall refer to it for now on, as its name is rather long) has a simple hierarchy: the Sovereign of The Order, also the Duke of Tralia, is second only to the Monarch of Milandir, and is responsible for the upkeep of the Order. The Grandmasters of The Order, a group of six veteran knights are responsible for general command of the Order, as the Sovereign is often to busy for most matters, and are effectively the second only to the Sovereign and Monarch. The Knights of the Order are those who are bonded to their signature mastiff (more on that later) and are effectively the backbone of the Order, and they number about one-hundred total. Then there are the Aspirants, who maintain membership in the Order, but do not have a mastiff nor have they learned the signature Combat School, and there is no set limit on how many Aspirants are in the Order. The Squires aid the Knights in maintaining their arms, armor, horse, and mastiff, ensuring they are always combat-ready. Those that show exceptional qualities and skill may be invited as an Aspirant. Finally, there are the Men-at-Arms, numbering 500 soldiers who are the equivalent of exceptionally well trained and equipped cantons, and receive a stipend before harvest. The Order also has two unique traits: their Bonded Mastiff, and Combat School: Phoenix's Wings. The mastiff is magically bonded to the Knight and grants them a preternatural bond, as well as granting the Phoenix in the name meaning: should the Knight die, their mastiff will immolate, and the Knight will rise from the ashes anew. Finally, the style of combat, Phoenix's Wings, utilizes a quick-release handle in the shield to throw into their opponents line-of-sight, distracting them so they can drive their weapon home.

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
Next is the val'Holryn's strangest arrangement: the Black Talon Ss'ressen of the Sulfur Marsh. If you look into their history, you'll find the Black Talons seceded from the Ssethregoran Empire to abandon their exceedingly violent ways, and worship an ancient deity known as the Fire Dragon. Their home, the Sulfur Marshes, were settled by the Black Talons, leading them to become sworn allies of the Duchy of Tralia and, by extension, the val'Holryn family. The Black Talons are known to be loyal, honorable, and have strong bonds with those they see as family, as well as being good warriors, hunters, scouts, and trading partners (fun fact: when their eggs hatch, they collect the shells and sell them to Altheria so they can make Blast Powder). The Black Talons have a few good points going for them: the Warlord of The Clutch is also the King's Champion, having held the position for over four decades, and have the very unique Brood of Ven val'Sosi, which, to put it bluntly, are psionic Ss'ressen. The Ss'ressen are largely matriarchal, with the Mother Matriarch holding the highest position of power, and the role of Priest of The Fire Dragon belongs solely to females. The Brood of Ven val'Sosi are a group of Ss'ressen that manifest psionic powers, descended from Ven after receiving the power of The Serenity of Beltine and the blessing of the Fire Dragon, and those that Awaken are trained by val'Holryn or older val'Sosi psions. There isn't much to be said about the Black Talons other than that most people would agree that they are some of the best allies a Milandesian could have.

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With regards, signing out.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


Last edited by vandom43 on Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
Let us very quickly take a detour into the val'Holryn themselves, their psionic powers, and Bloodline Abilities.

Bloodline Powers: The val'Holryn have the unique and amazing ability of mimicry: when they are born, imagine a 13-sided die is rolled, and that determines which of the 13 major families that they can mimic and manifest the abilities of i.e. a val'Holryn, with exception to appearance, is pretty much the same as any one family, potentially manifesting lightning like a val'Tensen, or fire like a val'Virdan. Whether or not they have their own Bloodline Powers is a matter of serious contention, as they are either very subtle, only used around other val'Holryn, or if mimicry is their only gift. Something to note: val'Holryn can ONLY manifest Bloodline Powers from the main 13 families in the main book; whether or not they can manifest Ul Bloodline Powers or younger family powers is up for debate, and the answer seems to be "no". One could only imagine the power of a val'Holryn who could manifest every known Bloodline.

Psionic Powers: The val'Holryn are unique in the sense that, like their Bloodline Powers, they can also mimic psionic powers that they have seen. The way you could describe it is like copying someones answers during a test: you see it, use it, then forget it as you haven't actually "learned" anything. Some val'Holryn psions, if they get powerful enough, can permanently learn psionic powers they have seen. Their last gift is the ability to learn psionic traditions from other families, assuming they have the proper training.

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
The Order of The Phoenix is known for its members being bonded to a magical mastiff, so let's go into detail about the mastiffs in question:

Tralian Mastiff: Bred by the val'Holryn's vassal family, the Woodszif. Tralian Mastiffs are massive animals with males ranging from 36" to 40" at the shoulder and averaging at around 250 lbs., it's no wonder that this is the favored breed of dog used by the order. It gets better from there: when bonded to a knight, the mastiff's fur goes black and its eyes start to glow green, giving it a demonic appearance that is sure to scare foes. It also won't die of old age, as is seen by Simon val'Holryns now 40-50 year old mastiff. The binding ceremony is also a mystery, being closely guarded by the knights inducted within the order. Indeed, the people who can actually perform the ceremony are very small: val'Holryn born with the powers of a val'Mehan. In addition, whatever is bound to the mastiff is a complete mystery, it being neither spirit nor devil. Even most of the Knights of The Order don't know! That aside, consider this line of text: "True to our Pact, another of your children is needed..."

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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Now, let us talk about some notable members and allies of the val'Holryn family:

Boric val'Holryn: Boric was born a distant relative of Konrad val'Holryn (more on that later) and could trace his lineage to one of 500 souls that served with Palic val'Holryn that invaded Ymandragore. He is a very dedicated and honorable individual, and a peerless warrior and swordsman. Unfortunately, and hilariously, this proved to what cause a major scandal in Milandir: a very drunk Hilam val'Ossan (cousin of Osric IV) made the unfortunate mistake of insulting him. This wasn't just any insult: he was completely wasted and was heaping insult on insult against Boric, and failed to notice that he was absolutely seething with rage. When Boric challenged Hilam, and he refused, he took matters into his own hands and beat him so hard that Hilam went blind in one eye and lost most of his teeth. Now, this would normally would have lead to Boric's execution, but witness reports state that "Yeah, Hilam kind of deserved it". Unfortunately, it was not without consequence, and he was then stationed in Drakenfast Keep, where it's sealed lower crypts house numerous undead that continuously attempt to scrape their way through concrete walls for freedom. Listening to that for three years straight would take a toll on anyones mind.

Konrad val'Holryn: Current Duke of Tralia and soon-to-be Sovereign of The Order, something that he continuously avoids. You see, Konrad is somewhat terrified of bonding to a mastiff (probably shouldn't say it to his face) due to the fate of his (assumedly) late grandfather, Simon val'Holryn. While he technically is a member of the Order, his fellows are not amused by his hesitancy. We can only hope he can get over his fear and actually commit.

Leona Darten: First notable character that isn't val'Holryn, but not the last, Leona's father used his influence to make her a squire for one Bernhardt val'Holryn. Bernhardt initially responded poorly to this, but eventually a close, familial bond was formed between the two, and they became good friends. He later became her sponsor, and she became an aspirant in the Order. Unfortunately, there were those against her, seeing her as an upstart who was above her station, and was constantly looked over for induction as a full member. That is, until the 5th Crusade of Light, where she held off a dozen infernal warriors and saved the life of future Queen Marixa val'Haupt. She was then promoted as a full member of the Order by the King's recommendation, and has faithfully served for many years training aspirant of the Order.

Ven val'Sosi: The first notable Ss'ressen character, Ven is the first psionic Ss'ressen to ever live, and progenitor of the Brood of Ven. Ven was originally a young, adventurous male of the Black Talon (or "Thulluss", for you Ssethragorans) Egg Clutch, and set out upon the world to learn about the those inhabiting it. Ven eventually fell in with a group of heroes, and they traveled much of the know world performing acts worthy of song. It all came to a head when they were all blessed by the dying Serenity of Beltine, and they became the first 6 val'Sosi. When Ven returned to the clutch, he undertook a rite of purity to determine whether or not he could breed. This led to his death via incineration and his resurrection from the ashes, becoming the prophesied Pyros Morellia. Nowadays, his brood can be found in the Sulfur Marsh, but it has some difficulty growing due the the frequency of deformation and death in hatchlings, regardless of ss'ressen reproductive rates.

Arnous val'Holryn: Congetitio Basilios, holder of the family Mentagi and coordinates the training of the Brood of Ven.

Prince Volthar val'Holryn: Began the rebellion against the Theocracy of the Clensing Flame.

Achabades val'Holryn: Leader of the rebellion after Volthar's death.

Walport val'Holryn: Captain of the Honor Guard that protected the First Emperor of Coryan.

Andreas val'Holryn: A Duke that lead Milandir to victory in the Barbarian Wars.

Bernar val'Holryn: Duke during the Interregnum.

Tretan val'Holryn: Served Osric, son of Osric of Vulgast, was later named Duke for his actions in the Pretense Wars.

Aeorin val'Holryn: Led the Second Heretic War, led his armies to victory after victory before he and his mastiff disappeared one night, causing the crusade to fall apart.

Simon/Sigmund val'Holryn: Late/missing Duke of Tralia, notable for disappearing late at night, with no sign as to where he went. His bonded mastiff continues to survive. He ruled justly and apparently had an ironic sense of humor.

Victor val'Holryn: Son of Simon and father of Konrad, he was the most prior Duke before his death during the 5th Crusade of Light.

More to be added at a later date.

_________________
With regards, signing out.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


Last edited by vandom43 on Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:10 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:14 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
Posts: 53
This will be somewhat short, but rather important: the Kio and the val'Holryn connection. With a quick glance, it should be obvious: there is no connection, but look closer, and there will be something amiss.

Order of The Phoenix: If you want to join the Order of The Phoenix, there are almost no restrictions, except for Ss'ressen, which don't have a culture of working with animals, and the Dark-kin, who'd probably scare the dogs and horses off. All in all, no one is barred from joining the Order... except Kio. Kio are the only people explicitly banned from joining the Order, for no discernible reason as well. Is there a long forgotten vendetta against the Kio that is still upheld? Does it have to do with the nature of the Bonded Mastiffs? No one knows for certain. But there is also another side to this...

The Kio Side: Again, there is a weird, unexplained connection between the Kio and val'Holryn. The Kio often refer to the val'Holryn as their "little cousins". This is not extrapolated further upon, and, combined with the Order of The Phoenix banning Kio from joining the order, really just makes your head hurt. Nothing conclusive can be said, but I personally think that [(I)][REDACTED][(I)]

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With regards, signing out.


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Sigismund Jupiter val'Holryn von Tralia, Veteran of the Citadel of Silence


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 Post subject: Re: About the val'Holryn Family
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:12 am 
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Location: Portland OR
A fellow scholar of the val'Holryn family!

You are right that the first reference in Arcanis History to the val'Holryn is Volthar, who battled the Sword of the Heavens by maneuver and counter maneuver...always staying one step ahead of his armies. It was only after several years of combat that the Sword of the Heavens managed to pin him down by threatening civilian populations trying to cross a river.

But clearly the val'Holryn are at least somewhat older than this since Volthar is a Prince or Governor of a territory. Presumably the lands he governed were more or less where the duchy of Tralia is today. Indeed the ancient city of Tralia was on the North side of the Tares river and was destroyed by the Sword of Heavens. It was rebuilt on the south side where it exists to this day.

There is no mention of the val'Holryn during the Blood War (the civil war in the First imperium where the val families turned on each other in a grizzly attempt to seize each others Bloodline Powers). So most likely OOC I think the val'Holryn family came into existence, or in the alternative - political power, sometime between the Bloodwar and the Theocracy of the Cleansing Flame.

As speculation: if the val'Holryn family came into existence at this time ... how did they form? Was there an experiment by one or more families to combine all the bloodlines into one family? The val Mehan family might be a candidate as the masters of Blood Magic. Could this be an explanation for the nickname as the Bastard Children of the Gods? If so though, why don't the val'Mehan (or anyone else) seem to remember this? (If I was running a home campaign, I would personally make this reality for my world. But that's just because I like this idea.)

Or as alternative speculation: if they have always been around, then why haven't we heard of earlier references? Might they be the children of the Other who stole some of the power (and valinors) from the Pantheon of Man? They might have laid low and only emerged after the Bloodwar, or similar calamities, created an opportunity to assimilate into society. But the vals were only created AFTER the Godswar. The Other is imprisoned by this time, and not around to order their creation. There are some reasons to speculate that the Other is Kasegore (or at least connected to Kasegore via the "Cosmic Dragon" from For the Lesser Gods). If so it helps explain how Artur made peace with the Black talons who happened to settle right next to Tralia...

...so much confusion on this point! The val'Holryn themselves claim not to know, and for PCs this is certainly true. BUT. And its a very big but! The val Holryn have a psionic Mentagi that contains/is imbued with their collective history. The secret existence of the val'Emman family was revealed (many many years ago) in an adventure called Sibling Rivalry. Given what we know of Mentagis from that adventure I am very suspicious that the valH origin isn't in there somewhere. I assume IC & OOC that most val'Holryn don't know their origin, but that the Ducal line does ... and chooses to keep it a secret. Presumably because the truth would hurt them.

The current Cognetitio Basilios of the val Holryn is Arnous val’Holryn. He is the keeper of the family Mentagi and presumably is the most powerful psion in the family. He would also be a powerful person in the Tralian court, who takes orders directly from the Duke. Arnorous also coordinates the psionic training of the Black talon Ss'ressen who are part of the Brood of Ven.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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