Known as the Blacksmiths of Vahalia, House Blackwood is famous for producing Lords and Ladies who sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, for a Blackwood ruler is either the cruelest of the cruel or the kindest of the kind.
However, the history of Vahalia has shown that, whether kind or cruel, Blackwood rulers are a force to be reckoned with and will fight with iron in their veins.
- Lord Edmund the Merciful (r.673 AS – 707 AS)
Childhood: The only child of Lord Arthur and Lady Adalie of House Silverstone, Edmund was raised by his governess, Mistress Elisabeth, and his tutors, Master Chervil and Fennil, who were Mistress Elisabeth’s older brothers. Edmund had lost his mother on his fourth birthday after his father experienced an episode of the Blackwood Fury. Unable to look into the face of the woman he killed, Lord Arthur sent Edmund to a castle in the country, bringing only Mistress Elisabeth, Master Chervil, and Master Fennil to keep the prince company.
Reign: After his father’s death – a most gruesome ending – Edmund returned to Castle Blackwood from his exile in the country as a young man of twenty-two. And like any young and healthy man whose been without the company of women for nearly two decades, Edmund was quick to find companionship and married Gabriella, the butcher’s daughter, within three moon cycles of being Lord Blackwood. However, as happy as their marriage was, the couple experiences a period of emotional turmoil when Gabriella confessed to Edmund that her father was a heretic and did not believe in the Lunite faith.
Claim to Fame: Allowed the heretics who lived within the Blackwood Realm to escape execution and travel across the Balkin Ocean, where they made a settlement called Iceguardia and were free to practice their faiths.
- Lady Beatrix the Trader (r.1992 AS – 2032 AS)
Childhood: The youngest child and only daughter of Lord George and Lady Valeria of House Navarre, Beatrix was raised beside her three eldest brothers: William, Henry, and Charles, as well as, her bastard half-brother, Nathaniel the Bastard. Despite proving herself to be fearless and having a strong stomach for bloodshed, Beatrix was unallowed to train with her brothers in the art of sword fighting and archery, which her father felt unbefitting of her sex. And so, when Beatrix wasn’t forced by her governess to practice her needlework, she would sneak into the library and read stories about wars and adventures, training her mind in the art of strategy.
Reign: When her father and legitimate brothers went off to fight in the Battle of River Horse and never returned, Beatrix was crowned Lady Blackwood. She was the first woman to ever hold the title of Lady Blackwood in her own right. This caused a string of rebellions to take place throughout the Blackwood Realm. The members of these rebel groups cried out for Beatrix to step down and for Nathaniel the Bastard to be crowned, deciding that they would rather have a male bastard on the Blackwood throne than a legitimate female. With more and more rebels crying out for Nathaniel to be Lord Blackwood, Lady Beatrix knew that her options were limited and that there was only one course of action she could take. Not able to kill him – for she did not want to curse herself by kin-killing – Lady Beatrix invited her half-brother to the castle under the disguise of friendship, where she had him knocked unconscious and sold into the Applani Slave System.
Claim To Fame: Creating a system where criminals are sent to the Kingdom of Applani across the Calipso Sea, where they are bought and sold as slaves.
- Lord Bartholomew the Blacksmith (r.3111 AS – 3169 AS)
Childhood: The nephew of Lord Howard and Lady Mathilda of House Borgen, his father was Lord Howard’s younger brother and his mother was Lady Mathilda’s aunt. Despite his mother being twenty years older than his father and suffering thirteen miscarriages throughout their marriage, the union was a happy one. Unfortunately, his parents desired the finer things in life and could not afford to live their lifestyle on the measly allowance of 1, 200 shillings a year, which was given to them by Lord Howard. Struggling to pay their debts and provide the education that was befitting of Bartholomew’s noble blood, his parents sent him to be the ward of Lord Howard and the companion of his son, Prince William.
Reign: Bartholomew never wanted to be a lord. Of House Blackwood or any other Grand House in the Kingdom of Vahalia. During the seven years that he was Prince William’s companion and the five years that he was Lord William’s closest friend, Bartholomew took pleasure in the blacksmith forge of Castle Blackwood, learning the trade and hoping to create the best swords in all the land. But faith had other plans. Lord William had died in a hunting accident and, with no heirs or siblings, the Blackwood crown passed on to Bartholomew’s unwilling head. And though he was said to be a good Lord of House Blackwood – a ruler who was kind and just – it was not unheard of for Lord Bartholomew spend days on end in the forge of Castle Blackwood, leaving his duties to his mother.
Claim to Fame: Forging a great sword for each of the Grand Houses of Vahalia. Some of these swords are still possessed by the Lords or Ladies of the Grand Houses.
- Lady Natalie the Bride (r.4332 AS – 4391 AS)
Childhood: The oldest child of Lord Edward and Lady Colette of House Silverstone, Natalie grew up with her two younger brothers, James and John, who were Gemini and wielded the blood gift of House Blackwood and the blood gift of House Silverstone. Due to her younger brothers being Gemini – the highest blessing a pair of twins can receive for it gives them the blood gift of both the mother and father’s blood line – James and John spent their youth perfecting their abilities, rather than learning how to rule and govern a realm. However, as her son’s learned how to grow vines and break irons, Lady Colette taught her daughter to do just that.
Reign: After Lord Edward became sick with the Golden Plague and was believed to die within a few days, James and John sent a letter to each Grand House and the Orders of Vahalia, stating their abdication from the Blackwood throne. With her brothers stepping down, Natalia was crowned the Lady of House Blackwood with the support and love of the Blackwood people. However, other Grand Houses of Vahalia did not share the sentiments of the Blackwood people and raised armies the hope of invading the Blackwood Realm and taking it under their control. Thinking fast, Lady Natalie sent secret envoys to the Diagon Realm, the Borgen Realm, and the Navarre Realm, who delivered letters to a prince from each of these Grand Houses. In these letters were a proposal of marriage and a plead for the princes to come to the Blackwood Realm in secret. When they arrived, Lady Natalie married all three princes in a single ceremony, thus preventing the armies from invading, for they all believed that their kin’s child could be the next Lord Blackwood.
Claim to Fame: Marrying three princes in order to secure her place as Lady Blackwood. She would later go on to marry a member of House Marlowe and a prince of House Windermere after her first three husbands died in mysterious attacks.