|credit HBO GoT sigil maker|
|Characters||Arthur Pendragon, Uther Pendragon|
The name Pendragon was first heard with any sort of meaning early in the seventeenth century Annis Hominis. A man by the name of Alastor Pendragon defended a large mining camp from mountain raiders at the head of a small troop of mounted swordsmen. Upon successfully defeating the raiders, Alastor quickly took control of the camp, and it was here that the Pendragon coat of arms was first erected. A powerful orator, and expert swordsmen, he was able to make followers out of the miners, providing them with protection and provisions in exchange for the vast amounts of silver that came from the mountains in the far west of Calladahn. Slowly but surely, Alastor gained absolute control of the western mines.
Soon after this surprisingly bloodless takeover, tradesmen who relied on the silver and the freedom of the western roads began to catch wind that there was a man responsible for bottlenecking their trade. Sending a party of bold mercenaries to investigate and remedy the situation, the “remedying” went south when half a dozen of them had a change of heart. This was due largely in part to a woman named Maria Wilfred, who saw Alastor’s peaceful reign and refused to attack, convinced five of her party of this, and boldly took the initiative to see this Pendragon for herself. She spoke to Alastor in person, and a peaceful resolution was reached to solve the bottlenecked trade routes. This was one of the only bloodless resolutions reached by a Pendragon. Alastor married Maria a year later, and so the line.
When Alastor died, his second eldest son took over managing the mines. The firstborn was killed before he could take over his father’s work, having fallen from a ledge, but there was always suspicion among the locals that it was the only witness to the tragedy, his younger brother, who had committed the murder. It was said that some sort of demonic creature had taken root in the boy’s soul, rendering him harsh and merciless to the point where local townsfolk would not even speak his name, and to this day there are records describing the horrors of the second born Pendragon child, but whose name was blotted beneath thick black ink. He expanded the circle of power, unraveling his father’s peaceful transaction, enraging the citizens of Calladahn and inciting a number of brief, ugly conflicts over the course of a decade. His mother eventually put an end to his reign of terror by sending him on a fool’s errand into a cave in the mountains, and then sealing him inside by collapsing it with catapults.
The unnamed Pendragon son was childless, but his only surviving sibling, a sister by the name of Terese was not. She bore three children, two sons and a daughter, and after a brief period of unrest, the two boys rose together to once again secure the Pendragon’s claim to the western mines of Calladahn. This joint effort is likely the reason that the Pendragon name became famous. Kyros and Warren Pendragon swiftly expanded their iron hold to other mines, trade routes, and villages. Over a span of twenty years, they stealthily took over the majority of the western country, having amassed an army of followers, many of whom were worthy soldiers and horsemen. They both married into wealthy noble families, which allowed them to begin expanding south.
In 1789, the royalty of Calladahn finally saw these would be rulers of the west as a threat. For years, the Pendragons had “reigned” in a fairly self-contained manner, establishing themselves as traders and peacekeepers. With a great deal of politics and trading issues with other kingdoms keeping them busy, and a steady supply of silver coming from the western mines, they had believed for years that the Pendragons were simply powerful nobles who knew their trade well. This was not wrong; the Pendragons were master orators, and gifted in the arts of swordplay and horsemanship. The combination of skills was deadly, and in a bold move by the eighteen year old Saul Pendragon, he captured a large town not far from the capital city of Thrine. The resulting retaliation from Thrine sparked over fifty years of violent conflict, through which thousands of Calladahn civilians were killed and tens of thousands displaced. When the bloodshed finally ended in 1850, the entire Kingdom was tattered and worn, and for a few decades, both the Calladahn royalty and the still persistent Pendragons kept an uneasy truce.
In 1892, Aren Pendragon, frustrated by the stalemate, and bolstered by the fact that despite the brutal fighting, his family had still managed to secure half of Calladahn, he began to rouse up discourse. He created a swell of hatred for the rulers of Calladahn through a series of speeches laced with words of their suffering, how the royalty lounged in luxury while the people suffered, decimated by years of terrible war and gaining no support from the capital city. Aren was generous with resources, helping people to rebuild and finally amassing a force great enough to march on the city of Thrine. In 1900, he crowned himself king of Calladahn. However, power corrupted him, and he fell away from his promise to the people, which instantly sparked a ferocious rebellion that ended in his assassination three years later.
The kingdom fell into unrest, and it wasn’t until Aren’s only son Alexander recaptured it several years later. Alexander was the oldest Pendragon to come to the throne, having watched his father’s downhill progression and realizing he would have to take a different path if he was going to successfully move beyond his father’s deceit to keep the Pendragon’s legacy alive. So he worked directly with the people of Calladahn, carefully regaining their trust and reunified the kingdom under his leadership. Yet the restlessness and anger of the people was too much for him to control, so his son, Uther Pendragon took over. Uther is widely considered to be the greatest Pendragon as far as his ambition, power, and political savviness were concerned. He tightened his hold on the people of Calladahn by a tremendous display of wealth; he built up the roads, giving citizens jobs and places to live, terrorized the lawless of the country and built up Thrine as a grander city than it had ever been before. He won the people over by giving them all the comfort and security that he could manage…which was substantial.
Reclaiming the throne was easy at that point, and slowly Uther began to amass the greatest army Calladahn had ever seen, and soon, it would be the greatest army in the world. He discovered a town in the hills to the east of Calladahn on the Dokrayth boarder, set upon a high, nearly mountainous hill that was rich in precious metals, and began to build a larger city upon it. Then, his army at the ready, the red dragon sigil flying high, Uther set out to conquer the rest of Ga’Leah. He began in Dokrayth, and already having a foothold in the growing city he had deemed Caerleon, the fighting was brief and not terribly dramatic. However, when he launched off from Dokrayth to the rest of the kingdoms, what followed was one of the greatest wars of the Annis Hominis age. However, despite the terrific fight put up by Xehacora and Solhara, Uther Pendragon was an unstoppable force, bowling over his opposition, and in a few years he had conquered all of Ga’Leah, and crowned himself High King at the vast castle he had built at Caerleon.
For several years, the kingdoms lay exhausted from the brutal wars, and Uther, ever generous, focused his efforts on rebuilding what he had destroyed, appeasing many that he had displaced, making safe the roads between kingdoms and forcing peaceful relations between them. Caerleon was finished, peace seemed to be at hand, and to ease some of the tensions, Uther took a noblewoman of Xehacora as a wife. Ygraine Pendragon was extremely successful as the first High Queen, and immediately developed a relationship with the people of Caerleon. Her work was largely behind the scenes, but she not only was beloved by the people for her spirited, humorous, and kind nature, but she also kept her husband’s pride and anxieties in check for the first few years of his reign. However, despite her charisma, power went to Uther’s head, and he became gradually more and more paranoid and greedy.
Soon, Uther’s reign became nothing shy of tyrannical. He began to focus his attention more on who his closest allies were than appealing to the needs and desires of his people. Soon, he was executing those he deemed traitorous, sometimes for offenses as simple as stating their displeasure or discomfort under one of Uther’s laws. People began to live in fear, and the situation quickly devolved into a reign of terror. Uther’s soldiers and sorcerers were utterly loyal to him, and they prowled the kingdoms, ever on the lookout for people to capture and torture if they voiced any sort of complaint. The hostile environment bred a number of quiet rebel groups, and one of them stood out as the strongest. It had called itself the Red Dragon, and when Uther got wind that a bunch of rebels, some including his own soldiers, he went absolutely mad. He discovered and attacked the rebellion, destroying much of it but also laying the foundation for his demise.
The survivors of the Red Dragon continued their efforts, but deeply undercover. Eventually, they were successful. When Ygraine died shortly after their first and only son was born, Uther was reminded briefly of the humanity that he had lost, and in his moment of mourning, the Red Dragon seized the opportunity. Two days after his Queen’s death, the High King was assassinated. His son Arthur was whisked away into hiding by a few close friends of the late Queen, and for fourteen years Ga’Leah was left to its own devices. Some of that was chaos, and some was peace, but regardless it was an uneasy fourteen years before Arthur reappeared, freeing a sword from a stone to prove his lineage and his worth, and was crowned the new High King.
For nearly a decade, Arthur struggled to unify the Kingdoms again. The youngest Pendragon ever to rise to the throne, as well as the least experienced, he grasped at the examples of his ancestors, Alexander and Alastor as a means of unifying the Kingdoms peacefully. Eventually, through many years of turmoil and scattered, gristly fighting led by an inexperienced, yet clever strategist he obtained his goal. Royal families were re-established, nobles who had become out of control in their greed and wealth were put in their place, and the roads, cities, and towns were patrolled by an elite force of fighters hand-picked by the High King, known as the Knights of the Round Table. During these years, Arthur also changed the family sigil from the red dragon, which had become an inspiration of rebellion and a symbol of Uther’s bloodlust, to gold, as a mark of a new, and hopefully golden era of peace. Four years later, he met Gwenhwyfar, and in a surprise break with noble and royal tradition, he married her, a young woman of common background. The years following their marriage marked one of the longest uninterrupted times of peace since before Uther had invented the position of High King.