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HOUSE VALGON IN ELTABBAR, 1300s DR

from the archives of House Delizan

 

 

The family tree below shows the five most recent generations of House Valgon in the capital city of Eltabbar, in birth order. Valgons born into this branch of the family are listed with no surname, while those who married into the family have their birth surnames included. Members who originated in other branches of the family but live in Eltabbar now are not included here; please see their branches of origin. Portraits reflect the most recent (or last known) family portraits commissioned for each person.

Player character names are marked with an asterisk. Click on the names for more information.

All of the character portraits on this page were created with Worldspinner Portrait Workshop (beta version) 

Members who currently live in the household and are counted in the Eltabbar census are named in bold print below; the deceased are in italics.

Please note that this is the saga of a predominantly evil family in a largely evil country, made for a mature campaign; reader discretion is advised.

 

Boris ValgonBoris, LE Wizard / Red Wizard, 1306-present

Boris is a cruel, bitter old man who kept House Valgon in Eltabbar running in an orderly fashion for decades, if only to maintain the resources and privacy he needed. He's credited with getting the family business back on track by making sure that everyone in the household performed a function related to it. In his younger years, he would visit other branches of the family, manipulating them in ways that were only understood decades later. He seems to have been seeding the family with ideas about breeding with outsiders or those of outsider extraction. Just why this is, no one yet knows. Recently, it was learned that he had an affair with a favorite cousin and sired a daughter in 1341, Uskura, whose true parentage was kept a secret (until it was revealed in court in 1377). He spent much of his later years in private, working on magical experiments that no one else knew about. He would take what he needed from the family coffers without explanation, but he also maintained the order that kept money coming in. 

In 1374, he approached his family with generosity and redecorated the family estate, shortly before disappearing altogether in 1375. After finally reaching him with Sending, some members of the family now know that he vanished the night that Eltab broke free of his prison, and that his experiment was part of what set Eltab free. Boris has been kept under the watchful eye of Eltab's forces ever since, much against his will. Where he's being held is still a mystery, but he's relayed detailed and difficult instructions to gather a list of magical spells and items. He hasn't shared his escape plan yet, but it appears that he has one. In the meantime, those who know what happened have kept the secret among a small group. They found the magical mansion that housed Boris's secret lab, but the new head of house, Rayek, has only been able to understand some of what Boris has there. Whether or not his family will follow through once they obtain the last items is yet to be seen.

Physical Condition: Before he vanished, Boris only took care of himself so he could continue his work. He ate but didn't relish food. He slept but didn't linger in bed. He had slaves help with his grooming, but only so his beard wouldn't get singed in his experiments. There were times when it was clear he hadn't changed clothes from the day before; this could go on for a few days, but was sporadic. Since he's been fairly active, he was in pretty good shape overall - at least, before he became a prisoner of a legendary demon lord. There's no knowing what shape he's in now.

Appearance: Boris's scowl and eyes have powers all their own. In portraits, his eyes feel like they're following you hatefully. In real life, he rarely smiles, but his scowl of disapproval is notably harsh. Boris is known to wear white, the Thayan color of mourning, since his wife Derogna died. Only when he's forced to wear red will he do so, and those occasions have become increasingly rare.

Education: After passing the magical aptitude test at 10, Boris was trained by his mother Aludira until he was sent away to be schooled at the age of 15. Instead of returning home after 7 years, which is the norm, he was kept there until 1333.

Motivation: As far as anyone can tell, Boris is motivated by the need to seize power and use it "properly." He believes in his abilities and plans and has little faith in the wiles or methods of others.

World View: Boris seems to sort everything in the world into two distinct categories: the useful and the useless. He doesn't care much about what you are but rather what you do and how you do it. He usually makes this judgment after a period of observation (so he can tell you in the harshest terms how you fall short). This measurement is based on what's most beneficial to him but also extends to what's best for the family, city, and country. It's doesn't prize any single trait, but assigns most value to observing your environs, planning ways to gain power, timing your strikes carefully, and knowing how to use all of your traits well. And of course, it matters if you're successful in your endeavors.  

Oddly enough, Boris isn't impressed by those with purely self-centered goals. He believes everyone has their place, will have to serve someone, and should benefit more than themselves, at least if they want a world that's tolerable to live in. Boris doesn't give out high or indulgent praise, but he'll tell you directly that you've performed well enough to be useful in a general sense. And if you're useless, he'll dress you down for it, often out of the blue and when others are around. If you're a member of his household and continue to be useless, he'll find ways to make you serve - and you probably won't like them at all.  Although his judgments seem to be set in stone, the very harshness of his criticism might be a challenge to pull yourself together and make him change his mind.

Virtues and Vices: Boris is a patient, industrious bastard who studies thoroughly and plots with care. He also has a keen eye for what people are best suited for and finds opportunities in just about everything. On the other hand, Boris is too harsh to take except in doses. He might not have to force people if he cared enough to woo them a little. He's also paranoid and works alone, which leaves him more vulnerable when things go wrong.

Family Ties: Boris openly ridiculed his younger brother, Gulyas, from their earliest youth; he only suffered him in the house because Gulyas supplied reports from the high society events Boris loathed. Boris traded mild barbs with his sister, Vadalma, but that was a sign that they were wary but mostly okay with each other. He was always short and civil with his elder brother, Antek, but that was to be expected, since Antek became a Red Wizard first. Boris was careful never to be too harsh with his elder brother, Falda, or Lee'voth, but was happy to put Antek's other two children in check. 

To everyone's surprise, Boris found his own marriage partner and didn't try to marry above his station or leave House Valgon. Instead, he married a woman who was able to check him anytime, and when she explained why, he always listened. He never contradicted Derogna in public, but would quietly process what she said before answering in private. He never raged at her; instead, his years with her were the kindest of his life (not that he was ever nice, per se). 

His record as a father was much more spotty. His firstborn son wasn't even named before he vanished, along with everyone who attended the birth except Derogna. Boris never said he sacrificed the boy outright, but he said enough to let the family know that was likely what happened. His second-born son, Balogh, found favor in his father's eyes and worked hard to keep it. His last child, Berach, however, was picked on almost from the day he was born. 

His wife died suddenly and refused to be called back, which Boris accepted stoically, as they served the same god. He eulogized her simply as "the most useful human I have ever known." After that, he became especially withdrawn and hateful. Then, his favorite son died in the Salamander War, and Boris withdrew from doing much more than giving orders for business (and to leave him alone). The birth of his great-granddaughter, Thurisa, seemed to bring out what life remained in him. He paid more attention to what was going on in the family's everyday life - whether they liked it or not. Return to family tree ^

 

Derogna Shanived, LN Wizard, 1308-1354

Derogna was a hard, cold woman, plain in appearance and speech, with an uncommon blend of intelligence and wisdom. She was the only person who could check Boris and keep the peace in the family with but a few words; her untimely death in a city block decimated by a magical accident - and her subsequent refusal to be resurrected - marked a sharp decline of his temper.

 

Unknown Son, 1335

Family legend says that Boris Valgon sacrificed his firstborn son to Bane, and in some ways, that makes sense. His brother Antek had just become Head of House and Boris hadn't been back home for long - in short, he could have used some extra support. But the rumor has remained nothing more than that. As far as the family knows, one day, the very pregnant Derogna was confined to her quarters to give birth and two days later, she reappeared, healed and without child. No one knows how he was taken from the house or where he went. The slaves who attended his birth were likewise never seen again.

Boris and Derogna confirmed that the child was a boy, but they refused to reveal his name or whether he was delivered alive or still. Boris was forced to answer his brother's queries, but would only do so in the briefest terms: The boy was born and surrendered as part of a deal, the details of which Boris wasn't at liberty to discuss, having sworn an oath. The slaves were a necessary loss (for which Boris paid restitution). None of them would return, short of a miracle. Trying to inquire into the particulars would likely have unpleasant consequences for anyone who couldn't mind their own business. (Antek privately confirmed that there really was an oath concerning the boy and secrecy, but didn't dig further. After that, he forbade the house from prying into his nephew's fate.)

Neither Boris nor Derogna appeared unduly upset in the days after or brought up the boy in conversation with others. Life returned to normal soon afterward, and any speculation was done well out of earshot. It may have seen like a fool's bargain, since there were no immediate or obvious signs of favor from Bane - unless you count the sudden death of Antek's wife, Falda, the following year, and the birth of Boris's favorite son, Balogh, the year after that...

 

Balogh, NE Knight, 1337-1357

While he lived, Balogh was a fierce horseman and sword arm, bearing the house standard with pride. He fully embraced the power of Bane's teachings and his father's example, even though he wasn't a cleric or wizard. He had nothing but contempt for his younger brother and though he had no magical aptitude, his father did not despise him. Balogh died fighting in the Salamander War and, like his mother, would not agree to be returned to life. It was discovered via magic that Balogh never fathered issue, even of the bastard variety, which effectively ended his branch of the family tree and Boris' legacy. This final straw marked his father's retreat from much of public life as he dove into studies and - some say - schemes the likes of which he had never tried before. Return to family tree ^

 

Berach ValgonBerach, LN Wizard, 1339-present

Berach lived in constant fear of his father's scorn, which is what he usually received. Compared to his older brother Balogh, Berach was weak, timid, and unimaginative - and he was always compared to Balogh. His mother was disappointed in him, too, but to a lesser degree. She even suggested he build his natural talent for memorization and learn the magelore his father craved. That bought him some approval, but only insofar as Boris liked having a living dictionary. Although he possessed magical aptitude, Berach became a nervous wreck under Red Wizard scrutiny and bungled anything they asked of him. For that reason, despite his father's solid reputation, he was never invited intothe ranks of the Red Wizards. That snub sealed his fate as an eternal underling and disappointment.

The one bright spot in his life was meeting Jaka. Berach didn't expect his father to approve their match, Boris offered no hesitation and even gave them a decent wedding. Although the wedding was more about showing House Valgon's wealth and wares, the deep gloom of his mother's death two years prior parted for the day. That's when a new sense of unease settled into Berach's heart. What was Boris plotting for them? Berach and Jaka quickly produced a child in a bid for some respect, and to their surprise, Boris welcomed his granddaughter without disdain. Boris insisted they try again soon. That's when Berach understood that he finally had a use to his father: as a factory for heirs. When the Salamander War occurred, Berach used Jera's recent birth and Balogh's involvement as an excuse to stay home. He never expected his brother would fall in battle, but the darkness that settled over his father didn't surprise him. Berach knew it was only a matter of time before his father would turn on him. When the Tuigan Horde needed an escort out of Thay, he jumped at the chance, but could only take his wife with him. It's unlikely he was surprised when his father never pursued them. Return to family tree ^

 

Jaka Quantoul, LN Aristocrat, 1339-present

Jaka grew up in silent fear of the power her relatives wielded and their bizarre experiments. She was grateful when she failed the test of arcane power as a child and studiously avoided being involved in her family's schemes. Her plan was to find a man she could stand and marry into another noble house, maybe even moving to live in an enclave. She hardly dared to dream of leaving Thay behind altogether. But then she met the quiet Berach while their elders were working together. She discovered an observant mind but more importantly, a hidden heart. He shared her secret disgust for much of Thay's culture, and they agreed to marry, as much for company as to protect each other from other matches. They dutifully produced a child, but then the chance came to escape. She went with her husband when he pushed for them to join the escort of the Tuigan Horde in 1359. She and Berach fled far away and never returned, leaving behind their daughter, Jera, in exchange for their freedom. How they felt about that sacrifice is anyone's guess. Return to family tree ^

 

Jera, CE Aristocrat, 1357-present

Jera could never remember her parents, since they both abandoned her when she was only two years old. But she decided she hated them early in her life, and not just because her grandfather Boris insisted she should. Yes, she despised them for being cowards, but most of all, she blamed them for leaving her behind as their get-out-of-Thay-free card. She knew she was paying for their freedom by being restricted and berated on a regular basis. As the only grandchild of a Red Wizard Head of House, more lessons were forced on her sooner than other children her age, and she rarely left the estate, lest she be kidnapped or worse. As the daughter of disappointments, Boris's disgust at her parents spilled over onto her. Jera was bored - so wretchedly bored - and discovered that nothing she tried would soften her grandfather's stance toward her. So what was the use in trying to play nice?

Jera began to balk at her studies, resist the slaves who tended her, and sneak outside whenever she could. What's more, she didn't seem to care about being punished. At least if she was being struck or yelled at, she was getting some personal attention, and her elders were forced to show strong feelings toward her. Taking away her possessions never worked because she knew that they'd be returned eventually; there were certain things a noble young lady couldn't be seen without. The thrill of exploring outside of the estate was worth every risk. She only returned because she had no means to afford to flee or was captured by family members sent to find her.

Jera became defiantly useless to Boris to punish him for his treatment of her. She viciously celebrated failing her magical aptitude test. She refused to show what, if anything, her tutors had managed to impress upon her. She showed no social graces to guests. As a teenager, she spoke of entering a monastery so she'd never have to marry or have children and the curse of her line would end. Perhaps that was what spurred Boris into action. One day, he seemed to be summoning her for punishment, but something else was summoned, as well. When the encounter was done, Jera had been savaged and left to mend her wounds without magical aid, which left scars on her for the first time. Not long after, she discovered she was pregnant and became a veritable prisoner until the birth of her very special child - a half-fiend of some sort.

Jera refused to be forced into acting as a mother to anyone; she ignored her baby once it was drawn from her. She loathed how Boris doted on his great-grandchild and ignored her, since he'd forced Jera to be useful to him and she'd served that purpose, whether she liked it or not. Jera was thrilled when Boris vanished but she'd spent so many years defying everyone that she had no allies to help her take advantage of his absence. Once it seemed as though Boris wasn't returning any time soon, Jera grudgingly enlisted the aid of her cousins and made her bid for freedom by marrying Imri Volkos and moving abroad, leaving her daughter behind as incentive to leave her alone - the way her parents did with her.

Facial Features: No one has seen Jera smile with joy since she was a toddler; instead, her every glance is cutting, hateful, and distrustful. She does not have resting bitch face - she has active bitch face, 24 hours a day, 10 days a week, even on Shieldmeet.

Identifying Marks: She has some scars formed from claw marks on her arms (and perhaps other locations on her body). This makes her stand out among nobles, who generally are healed with magic before any scarring can take place.

Motivation: Her only drive in life seems to be to spite her grandfather. Now that she's free of him and living outside of Thay, who knows if she'll be able to start enjoying her freedom to spite him? Return to family tree ^

 

Unknown Fiend

No one in the house ever saw Thurisa's sire, but everyone knew something awful had been summoned when they heard the screams. They thought perhaps Boris had had enough of his spiteful young granddaughter, Jera, and brought forth a demon or devil to punish her, as only such outsiders can. (Gods knew that nothing else Boris had tried had ever worked; Jera was certainly his blood.) It seemed they were right when they heard Jera's howls and the growls of...something else, and the house guards had been instructed not to let anyone interfere. But whatever was going on was happening in the study rather than the lab for a reason: so the entire house could better hear what would happen to anyone who repeatedly disappointed the Head of House - even his own flesh and blood.

If Jera was healed at all, it was hard to tell; she was eventually carried out and left to mend on her own. Her deep, hateful silence spoke volumes in the following days, but even when she did speak again, she never said what happened. Not long later, when Boris announced that Jera was pregnant and would be confined to the house - where she could be cared for and watched - until she gave birth, the worst suspicions seemed true. And when Thurisa was born, her fiendish features made the stories real. While there has been plenty of guesses as to which creature was the father, it's impossible to tell, including whether or not the creature was a demon or devil. Return to family tree ^

 

Thurisa, Half-Fiend?, 1374-present

Although no one knows who or what her father is, it is evident that Thurisa is the product of a demon or devil. She was born with small wings that have since sprouted black feathers, and she has red eyes and small horns. She speaks both the Infernal and Abyssal languages (even though no one can remember speaking in them much around her or teaching them to her), and is being reared with the other children in the house peaceably so far. It is easy to be charmed by her youthful and unearthly beauty, and her delight at her flapping wings, which may someday grow strong enough to bear her weight. In any event, her winged cousin Vik has been trying to teach her to glide and get used to the air.

 

Imri Volkos, LE Aristocrat, 1345-present

Since Azonia Valgon pitied her cousin Jera, she helped find a match that would help Jera get away from Thay. Azonia's grandfather was born into House Volkos and died in diplomatic service abroad; she figured that noble house had great potential for moving outside the country. It turned out that she was right.

Before discovering Jera, Imri Volkos had been having real difficulty in finding a noble wife who wanted to live far from the luxury of Eltabbar. And although he was warned about Jera's temper, he's also a patient man who's used to dealing with hostile people. After laying out his proposal to her, however, Jera responded with immediate enthusiasm. All she wanted was to seal his promises to her (by contractual Thayan law) and leave. They set forth with no delay, and as far as the Valgons know, they're still married - but just where they're living is anyone's guess. They serve House Volkos now and could be maintaining relations at established enclaves or bargaining for new ones. Return to family tree ^

 

All of the character portraits on this page were created with Worldspinner Portrait Workshop (beta version)

 

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