The Masks of Vyn Morrad
Hexblade of the White Well, Bladesinger of House Caerfen, Weilder of Caer-Seran
Telthoris Caerfen is the second child of Diliiri and Elloronn of House Caerfen. Diliiri and Elloronn were somewhat regarded as misfits within House Caerfen – In a family where mastery of magic and mercantile success are of utmost importance, Diliiri earned only a passing respect for being a priestess of Sylvadrelle (sp?); Elloronn earned none for being interested in sculpture and arts (despite the fact that his work was sold post-mortem for a tidy profit). His embarrasing death – crushed by a floating sculpture of a phoenix when the levitation magic failed – didn’t help his standing in the House either. Diliiri was greatly saddened by the loss of her beloved, and eventually retreated to the abandoned Caerfen home in the Feywild. She has not been seen since.
Telthoris and his older sister, Aldara, were both “rescued from their father’s influence” when they were still young. They both quickly adopted the arrogance demonstrated by their uncles and cousins, and chose not to accompany their mother when she left. Aldara began training with the other swordmage initiates of the House, eventually surpassing even her tutors and earning the position of House Captain. Along with that honor came the right to wield one of the House Caerfen swords, Caer-Desh’miriai.
Telthoris began his studies under the tutelage of the wizard Antarias Caerfen and quickly rose to the position of first apprentice to the Master Wizard of the House. This was a cause for great pride to the young eladrin….until his sister earned a Caerfen sword. The jealousy sparked by this event awoke in Telthoris a strong desire to prove himself her superior in her own art. However, dividing his time between swordmage training and his wizardly studies proved to work against his mastery of either field. He lost his title of first apprentice when he began slipping in his magical studies, and suffered a very humiliating public sparring match with his sister.
Having learned a harsh lesson, Telthoris stopped trying to be the best in both fields individually and instead began teaching himself how to blend the two arts into one. The turning point came one night while lying on the floor of one of the training rooms, exhausted from hours of practicing. In a strange fever-dream, he received a vision of the Lady of the White Well. Within weeks, he learned to use his newfound powers and summon the sword of the white well. He regained the position of first apprentice to Antarias and earned enough respect from his sister to gain the rank of House Myrmidon, making him the only member of the House to be granted a rank before completing all the required training cycles.
It was then that destiny, or perhaps some other power, exerted its fickle whim. On the day of his ascension from acolyte, Telthoris participated in a series of sparing matches designed to be the final examinations for students of the bladesong. However, much to everyeone’s surprise (including Telthoris), in his first sparring match he called forth the sword of the white well…but Caer-Seran, the scion’s sword, appeared instead!! He won the match, and immediately became the target of fierce criticism and disdain for daring to wield a Caerfen Sword without it being granted to him by the House Elders. The comments were silenced, however, when Lexael Caerfen unexpectedly declared, right then and there, that Telthoris would now be the rightful wielder of Caer-Seran. To this day, no one knows why he made such an unorthodox decision…
Telthoris is not known for his people skills. The humiliations he suffered when he was young, coupled with the shame of being Elloronn’s offspring, made him very defensive and sarcastic. Worse yet, the fact that he learned to compose his own bladesong (a rare occurrence) made him even more smug and elitist. The years have softened his demeanor somewhat but his “charming” personality surfaces whenever he loses his temper. He regards divine power as a “crutch from the Gods for the weak” and non-arcane sources of power as “crude and vulgar”. However, those who earn his respect are treated as equals.
His great interest in all things arcane leads him to travel as frequently as his studies and duties within the House permit him to. He was most likely on an errand for the House or on his way to visit a wizards’ enclave when he was taken prisoner.
The House Caerfen Swords
The House Caerfen swords are the highest status symbols within House Caerfen. Each blade was first crafted for its original owner when he or she accomplished a momentous event in the history of the House. From that point on, the swords are handed down to other members of the House when they accomplish a great event of their own or when succession due to death is required. Throughout the House’s history, eight blades have been crafted, but more may be created in the future to honor someone’s epic deeds. The swords are almost seen as living entities, and even have their own room in the main Caerfen estate, a pavilion known as the Sword’s Rest.
Each sword is regarded as an extension of its wielder, and so each wielder “signs” his or her sword by enchanting it to suit their needs. This is considered a very personal choice, and so whenever the sword is passed onto a new wielder, it is first completely disenchanted (except for the House Sigil, described below). The new wielder then enchants the blade as he or she sees fit.
All the Caerfen swords bear the Sigil of the House. Except for Caer-Celebreth, the Sigil is always etched onto the sword’s blade. The Sigil is enchanted when first created through an old ritual performed by the House Master, The Master Wizard of the House and the Craftmaster.
Sigil of the House
The Sigil is empathic to the sword’s wielder. Whenever the wielder of a Caerfen sword is expressing a strong emotion regarding House Caerfen while dealing with a non-member of the House, the Sigil glows with a fierce blue light and a low humming sound emanates from the blade. (Some examples include a heated discussion about a business venture, or defending the House’s honor in an argument.) This is meant to be a reminder of which House the offending party is dealing with. (It is not meant to have any other game mechanic and is just for flavor. The Caerfens can be intensely dramatic at times.)
Needless to say, being appointed to wield a Caerfen sword is a tremendous honor. No one’s ever even dared to ask what the repercussions would be for losing or destroying one of the swords. To date, no one’s ever lost or destroyed a Caerfen sword – at least, that’s the story the Caerfens tell outsiders.
The eight Caerfen swords crafted to date are described below.
Caer-Tano’ra: The Craftmaster’s sword. This was the first Caerfen sword created and is wielded by the head weaponsmith of the house. The blade is said to be over 3,000 years old, yet the unknown metal it is crafted from still gleams like it was forged and polished mere moments ago. Current owner: Briadiel Caerfen.
Caer-Desh’ketai: The House sword. This sword is wielded by the House Master, the head of House Caerfen. It is said this sword is almost as old as Caer-Tano’ra. Rumors tell of a great magic stored within its adamantine blade that is said to imbue all the other Caerfen swords in close proximity with incredible destructive capabilities when the blades are brandished in the defense of House Caerfen. Current owner: Lexael Caerfen.
Caer-Desh’miriai: The Warrior’s sword. The privilege of carrying this crimson-hued steel blade belongs to either the leader of the Caerfen house guard, or the House’s greatest swordmage; both roles are usually held by the same person. Its owner also represents House Caerfen when war councils are convened. Current owner: Aldara Caerfen.
Caer-Celebreth: The Merchant’s sword. Arguably one of the most expensive items ever crafted by House Caerfen, this sword’s blade is made from pure platinum and is probably worth well over 50,000 gold. While the most successful merchant of House Caerfen has the right to carry this sword at all times, it’s usually kept under protective wards and armed custody, or in the Sword’s Rest. Its owner will usually only carry the sword when negotiating an extraordinarily lucrative deal, or when meeting with the heads or particularly wealthy and influential merchant guilds. The wielder also serves the secondary role of diplomat for the House and is usually the one to interact with other groups in general. Unlike the other Caerfen swords, the Sigil of the House is branded onto the sword’s flat pommel, rather than on the blade. Current owner: Leawynn Caerfen.
Caer-Istar: The Sword of the Spellfury. This sword is carried by the Master Wizard of the House, who is in charge of selecting and training the House’s other mages. Whoever carries Caer-Istar rules House Caerfen in the absence of the House Master, Lexael Caerfen. Current owner: Antarias Caerfen.
Caer-Elendil: The Sword of Alliance. The only sword that may be wielded by a non-Caerfen, Caer-Elendil is awarded to individuals who have proven to be allies of the House (or to the head of a group of allies) until their dying day. Its mithril blade is covered with the symbols of all its past owners. The wielder of Caer-Elendil is almost considered family, and may request aid from any member of the House. There are certain expectations for the wielder; for instance, he or she may never decline an invitation from a member of the house unless there are dire circumstances preventing his or her attendance – in this case, the inviting Caerfen may even cancel his own plans in order to assist Caer-Elendil’s wielder. Unlike the other swords, Caer-Elendil has one permanent enchantment: should the House Leader ever declare its wielder to no longer be worthy of carrying the blade, Caer-Elendil is instantly teleported to the sword’s rest, and that individual’s symbol is instantly stricken from the blade. The sword also instantly teleports if its current wielder dies (but his or her symbol is not removed). Current owner: Phyrian Blackwood, A human paladin who defended a Caerfen caravan from marauding ogres, tended to the wounded, and convinced the head of a local temple to provide shelter for the wounded until the House sent aid.
Caer-Seran: The Scion’s Sword. This sword is given to the eldest, or most talented, son or daughter of the current generation of the House. Its wielder is expected to someday succeed one of the wielders of the other Caerfen swords, at which point Caer-Seran is passed to the next generation. Current owner: Telthoris Caerfen. Telthoris is expected to succeed either Aldara or Antarias Caerfen.