Updated: Sep 5
Within the world of the Griffin Legends, you will meet many knightly characters. Many of them come from noble houses or are part of military orders. Here are some depictions of the heraldry associated with these characters.
While the Chronicles of Galan the Svalian state that Bran Brogile rescued Princess Clarimond and slew the great dragon, Eldror, only two years after the first crusade to the Nordslands, Bishop Jari's "Histories of Azgald" claims that Bran's younger brother, Laudus Brogile, died killing Eldror, and Bran merely took credit for the deed after returning alone with Clarimond from the Wyrmwind Peaks. Whichever of the two brothers actually defeated the dragon, House Brogile's notoriety increased significantly after that day, and Bran's subsequent marriage to Princess Clarimond saw many important estates surrounding Vindholm fall into House Brogile's hands. Though House Brogile has not always held the crown of Azgald, when the fourth crusade to Azgald put down Loic the Pretender and restored Daromir the Wise to the throne, House Brogile's position became secure. Few serious succession disputes have interrupted House Brogile's reign in the seventy years since then, and Lothar of House Brogile is now viewed as the just and beloved warrior-king Azgald needs in this dark hour.
Many of Azgald's nobles can trace their ancestry back to a few legendary dragon-slayers (if only tenuously), and members of these houses have adopted the dragon in their heraldry. One such family is House Drois. Tancred, Duke of Pavik, is a powerful leading member of House Drois and will do anything to enhance his family's position.
The griffin has long been a symbol of this noble house. In ancient times, griffin cataphracts were a rare but not unknown military formation. Now that the Empire is no more, griffin riders have all but faded into legend. But members of House Cretus are descended from some of these elite griffin riders, and they remember their ancestors by using griffin charges on their shields and tabards. Godfrey de Bastogne is the last surviving child of Duke Ulric of House Cretus.
Ancient myths tell of how Adalbert Eist's pet eagle helped his people find food during a time of famine. Ever since then, House Eist has been known to provide for its people, and through the years this house has become known for its wealthy merchants. While Rodolf Eist often travels with the caravans, protecting them from brigands, orcs, and other monsters, his wife, Seda, has become the head of the Eist mercantile affairs.
House Gramon was established two-hundred and seventy-five years ago during the last of the great Nordsman invasions of Lortharain prior to the first crusade. While Thorismund son of Valomir proved equal to the task of driving back the invaders to the Kingdom of Ermstad, his descendants would forever live in the great King's shadow. While some kings and queens of Thorismund's line proved competent successors, others were notoriously divisive figures. King Theodoric's authoritarian-and some might say tyrannical-reign lasted too long grumbled many of his nobles after his passing at the age of seventy-two. Theodoric's son, Wilhelm, now rules Lortharain, but many of the dukes and counts of the realm clench their teeth at the idea of enduring the new monarch's rule long.
The charge in House Vred's coat of arms has been the Golden Tree from which all life sprang since the foundation of this noble house, symbolizing both prosperity and piety. It is headed by the elderly Baron Jasper of Lagress. He has been a widower for many years and governs the river island trade hub of Lagress . Lagress trades very lucratively in wine, textiles, and silver. Jasper is the father of one son, Frederick, and four daughters, Lisette, Collette, Aubrine, and Dinetta. Lisette, who is now deceased, became the second wife to Duke Tancred of House Drois and is the mother of Madeline. Both Lisette and Collette were proficient in sorcery, though it is difficult for many to gauge whether magic runs in families or not since many magic users in the Nordslands choose to hide their abilities.
The wolf is the symbol of House Talhout. Members of this noble family aspire to the virtues of cunning and resourcefulness, but many prominent members of this house have also been known to share some of the wolf's worse qualities as well. Conrad the Wolf, the new Duke of Errans and head of House Talhout, must be fierce if he is to earn the respect of his peers.
House de Valois
House de Valois is distantly related to House Talhout, though the former split from them many generations ago. The Marquis de Valois, is a small but wealthy march within the Duchy of Errans. The house's wealth mainly comes from their residence and ownership of the port town of Moisson D'or. From there the de Valois defend the ocean from raiders, pirates, and rival families. Although it is rumored that the sitting Marquis is more than happy to sell his services to other Lortharainian nobles. Moisson D'or, apart from being the most powerful port in Errans, is also known for the shipping of coal, wheat and ships. The port also has a reputation for selling and buying prisoner contracts to aid in filling the ranks of galley oarsmen.
House Pelgrove broke away from House Asquith when the King of Dyfred, Derec II, refused to acknowledge the marriage of his nephew, Maelog, to Madin of House Hracour. Though this split occurred more than three hundred years ago, House Asquith and Pelgrove have remained intense rivals ever since with House Asquith retaining the throne of Dyfred for much of this time while Pelgrove has managed to secure the important Duchy of Gwyn for itself in addition to many valuable allies both within the realm and abroad. Surprisingly, this rivalry has rarely led to bloodshed and has largely been contained to political intrigue and popularity contests. When Duke Gunthar the Red learned that King Aostin would not be participating in the latest crusade, many wondered whether Gunthar was motivated more by piety, his other rivalry with Torcul of Cumbria, or the chance to prove Pelgrove's superiority to House Asquith once again.
The alicorn is considered to be one of the most sacred animals in Ostman culture. It is a truly rare breed produced by the union of a pegasus and a unicorn. This fey creature is said to be a messenger of the celestial gods and brings good fortune to any pure soul fortunate enough to see one. The lords of House Urach, living deep in the dark forests of Gothia where alicorns have been known to nest, have adopted this beautiful and highly intelligent creature in their heraldry. If any member of House Urach can be said to have lived up to the ideals the alicorn represents, it is Henry the Pilgrim. This veteran campaigner has participated in four crusades over the course of his long life.
House Buise-Elst was formed during the last great orc invasion when the houses of Buise and Elst were devastated and forced to combine their strength in order to repel the monsters. Despite months of unrelenting assaults against the castle walls, the battered defenders were said to have held the fortress like lions. Since those days, Buise-Elst has remembered its shared heritage by combining the blue of House Elst with the burgundy of House Buise in its coat of arms. Baldwin de Ghend has joined the latest crusade in hopes of living up to his ancestors' reputation.
House Rogverd has long ruled the island of Kalscony. Its knights are charged with protecting their island and local merchant vessels from pirates, raiders, and monsters of the deep. Baron Oksar is famed for once killing a great sea serpent, defending his galley from the beast's attack while out at sea. However, the injuries he received in that clash would trouble him for the rest of his life.
House Zahrin has long held the throne of Styria. Though the burgs of Styria are mostly known for their wealth, the warrior-kings of House Zahrin do not sit idle in the comforts of palace life. King Orban, the latest in a long line of House Zahrin's monster hunters, single-handedly slew the dreaded hill giant, Dolum, at the Battle of Vulsburg early on in his reign, and his hefty war ax has tasted the blood of many a monster since then.
The winged lion, sometimes called a lamassu, is considered to be a sign of good fortune. A dangerous predator, it is fiercely territorial and will incidentally drive out beasts men consider to have a more evil temperament. When Ivo Loridan established the Duchy of Oblarv in Azgald, he recognized he had too few knights to protect his realm, and he introduced the lamassu to his lands as a way to safeguard travelers from worse monsters.
House Sleus went all but extinct with the fall of the Empire. Its last surviving member, Lady Teske, was said to have fled the flaming ruins of Belg with a bloodied sword in one hand and her infant son in the other. She found herself deep in the black forests surrounded by bugbear raiders with foul intent gleaming in their eyes. She fought bravely and struck blows worthy of any bard's song, but she was outnumbered. Just as the bugbears pinned Lady Teske to the ground and had nearly pried her babe from her arms a unicorn appeared. Legend tells of how a single white unicorn may come to the aid of the pure in heart when confronted by mortal danger in the woods, and this unicorn lived up to its reputation. Hoof, tooth, and horn lashed out, and the unicorn's white coat was soon stained red with the blood of bugbears. House Sleus survived that day, and the heirs of Lady Teske went on to honor the blood-soaked unicorn in their heraldry ever after.
House de Rode
Along the coast of the Freezing Sea lies the Kingdom of Ermstad and has been ruled by Kori de Rode and his ancestors for centuries. This modest realm, nestled between the much larger kingdoms of Gothia and Lortharain, was settled by Nordsman raiders after the calamitous fall of the Empire. They have since adopted the Ostman gods but retain the fighting spirit of their forefathers.
Though a rare beast, the tyger is one of the most feared predators in all of Cardigal. Armed with razor-sharp claws and a horned snout, tygers can outrun and slay even the fastest warhorses. House Kerri from the Kingdom of Ogledd adopted the tyger as its charge after infamously running down the knights of Dyfred at the Battle of Stonro Island. Torcul of Cumbria proudly bears a golden tyger on a green field in remembrance of his home and kin while off on crusade.
Though some may mistake the protrusion emanating from the griffin's mouth on the House Asquith coat of arms as a tongue, it is actually a gout of flame. It is said that the oldest griffin breeds at the creation of the world could breathe fire like dragons, however, no living griffin can do this today. House Asquith, one of the founding houses of the Kingdom of Dyfred, prides itself as being one of the oldest noble houses on the Island of Cardigal, even predating the Empire. It remembers its ancient heritage by depicting the noble griffin breathing fire on its foes.
House Hracour has always been small and obscure; however, its members claim descent from Louis the Blue, a valiant paladin who took part in the first crusade to Azgald. Among the many great deeds Louis was said to have accomplished then was slaying the pale, twin-headed wyvern, Currog. After vanquishing the beast, Louis recognized the best way to protect the newly formed Kingdom of Azgald was to ensure that there would be future generations of knights loyal to the realm. He discarded the fleur de lis blazon he had born as a paladin and took upon himself a new coat-of-arms bearing the twin-headed wyvern as its charge. Soon, he built the mighty fortress, Skasgun, married a beautiful and courageous woman, and set about expanding the realm. But Skasgun lay too close to the Nordsmen, orcs, and undead, and House Hracour struggled greatly in the years after Louis' death. When Badian of House Hracour died defending Skasgun against a combined army of orcs and Nordsmen, the few remaining members of this house scattered to the far corners of Azgald.
The Duchy of Friodlad is a heavily forested realm within Azgald, and the noble stag has ever been the lord of these mist-shrouded woods. Brave adventuring knights gather here for the annual great hunt hosted by the lords of House Drechov to be the first to return with a majestic stag as his prize. The forests are perilous, and some who enter are never seen again, but the winner of each year's great hunt is granted the honor of wearing the stag's antlers atop his helmet for the rest of his life. Knights from all over Azgald and beyond compete to be numbered among those privileged few who can be called victors of the great hunt. Friodlad's few roads are guarded by mighty castles mostly in the possession of House Drechov. Unlike most houses governing Azgald, Drechov was present in the Nordslands before the first crusade and is of Nordsman ancestry. Drechov quickly sided with the Ostman invaders of the crusade and soon adopted the culture and religion of the crusaders in exchange for continued possession of their ancestral lands. So long has House Drechov been in the heart of Azgald that few remember these origins and, after years of intermarriage, the members of this house have become indistinguishable from the other nobles of the realm. Rayner son of Hamelin is the head of House Drechov and is the current duke of Friodlad.
The Order of the Silver Sun
One of the major monastic military orders, the Silver Suns fight under a banner bearing the four-pointed star. A voided star marks the senior knights of the order. The four-pointed star is the symbol of the celestial gods, symbolically pointing north, south, east, and west. Morgan the Bloodied is the current Grand Master of the order and is a veteran of many campaigns in the Nordslands.
The Order of Saint Pelegius
The Order of Saint Pelegius was once the most powerful of all the military orders. However, their long wars against the necromancers of the Blighted Lands have greatly reduced their numbers over time. Now they only control the island of Tisgy. Their Grand Master, Cailor of Navan, is rumored to be plotting a new offensive against the necromancers and their undead thralls, but do the dour Knights of Saint Pelegius still have the will to fight?
The Order of Oviedo
It is said that when the four paladins, Osoric, Dorio, Eudon, and Zarondo swore mutual oaths to defend the city of Oviedo to the death, they formed the first of the monastic military orders. For years, they protected the people of Oviedo from Sudman invasions, orc raids, and worse. Eventually, more paladins, knights, and others willing to pick up a sword in defense of their homes joined their ranks and the Order's mission grew from defending one city to reconquering all of Iberland from the myriad forces that had invaded over the centuries. However, the Order's capital would remain at Oviedo, and other orders would soon overshadow the Knights of Oviedo in numbers, wealth, and prestige. However, the Knights of Oviedo remain focused on their goal rather than gaining the glory of the world, and they honor the Order's four founding members by bearing a cross joining four fleur-de-lis together.
The Order of Paladins
As the elves' empire went into decline, chaos reigned in every territory the oligarchs ceded. Monsters, witches, and barbarian hordes were but a few of the terrors the legions could no longer hold in check, and it seemed certain that the end of the world was at hand. Yet a few brave knights rose to resist the evils plaguing their realms. Forsaking all lands and titles, these knights dedicated their lives to the gods and the eradication of the forces of darkness. Fighting singly or in small groups, these knights became known as paladins, and legend says they were blessed with divine protection for their courage and sacrifice. The paladins adopted the fleur de lis as their heraldic charge and gave people hope in an age of darkness. Though these divine warrior hermits are now far less common than their brethren in the monastic military orders, a lone paladin occasionally may still be found patrolling a dusty wind-swept road in the desert, protecting a sacred spring, or fighting in the vanguard of a crusade.