Sir Dale of Havan, Baron of Knightshome, Lord Commander of the Knights of the Griffon, Knight of the Black Stag, and Captain of the Royal Guard (1685-1770 AS) was one of the celebrated members of the Company of the Crescent Moon, whose exploits are legendary to this day and are told and retold by Bards throughout Keledon and beyond.
Dale's fame was increased during the War of Two Moons, when the combined armies of Akaryth launched an attack on Keledon aimed at capturing and killing Queen Kaylia. Dale's military strategies led to a victory for Keledon and saved the life of the Queen. As a reward for his efforts Dale was granted a charter to found an order of knights dedicated to protecting the kingdom, and reporting directly and solely to the monarch. Today the Knights of the Griffon remain the most celebrated and elite order of knights in Keledon.
Dale was born in 1685 AS in the small town of Havan, a few days' journey north of Kindem Hua during the reign of King Gendar IV. His family was relatively poor, operating a small farm and working as much as possible within the local timber industry. Dale grew up learning woodcraft and carpentry as well as the finer points of farming and agriculture--at the latter he excelled. Always a precocious and mischevious child, Dale constantly found himself running afoul of the local constabulary. A handsome young lad, he was also a favorite among the local young ladies but never among their parents who felt the young man would never amount to very much.
In 1703 AS the members of the nascent Company of the Crescent Moon arrived in Havan en route to the Marches. They quickly became embroiled in a dispute between the young Dale and a local farmer; the timely intervention of the Company's members likely saved Dale from a severe thrashing for the young man had been caught (again) stealing. Despite this close call, Dale knew he'd made an enemy of the farmer, who was also well connected with the local magistrate. Fearing a possible prison term, Dale elected to flee his home with the Company, begging them to take him on and train him as a warrior. Amused by the antics of the young man, and impressed by his courage, the members of the Company. agreed.
In the CompanyEdit
Training under the warriors of the Company, Dale quickly displayed a natural ability with martial weapons and a keen tactical mind. During these early days an event occured which was to shape Dale's future as a warrior. In 1704 AS the Company encountered the ruins of an ancient monastery mostly buried within a desolate region of the Blackmoors. Dating to the ancient glory days of Alindor the long-dead monks of the monastery continued to exist as undead, due to a curse placed upon them long ago. While the rest of the Company were familiar with such foes Dale had never before encountered such creatures outside his nightmares. Disgusted with their inability to "keep lying down like proper corpses should" Dale soon found himself devoted to ferreting out and destroying the undead whenever possible.
By 1706 AS the celebrated 'simple camel herder' Azeem bin Fahad Rab-ul-Salaam had joined the Company. Azeem and Dale quickly formed a tight friendship; the southern warrior was well-educated and well-travelled and became a mentor of sorts to the young warrior. While learning a great deal at the feet of the wizened traveller Dale continued his adventuring career, inspiring later tales of his prowess destroying the undead (although there have never been as many undead as tales claim Dale has destroyed).
The destruction of the Company in 1728 AS followed the legendary Quest of the Sevenfold Staff and the noble death of Azeem. With his friends scattered or dead Dale returned home to Havan. However he was now a well-travelled warrior and man of the world, and was unable to bring himself to return to the simple farmers' life he thought would bring him peace. Soon after the War of Two Moons began and Dale found himself drawn into the conflict.
War of Two MoonsEdit
In 1733 AS, during the first few days of the War of Two Moons Dale found himself in command of a rag-tag band of peasant fighters. Despite their lack of experience Dale's leadership allowed them to drive back an initial exploratory force of Acrithean soldiers. During this skirmish Dale's band discovered letters in the possession of the enemy commander that allowed them to raise the alarm concerning the coming invasion. Riding hard to reach Kindem Hua and the Queen, Dale arrived only a day or so ahead of the main Akarthan force. However this was warning enough to allow the Queen to safely depart from the city.
When the Akarthan forces arrayed themselves for an assault on the capital the Royal forces, under the command of Curan Dwaeleth, prepared to make a stand near the town of Hawksbridge. Dale joined Dwaeleth's forces as a commander of the cavalry. The battle began just after dawn; a lucky shot on the part of the Akarythan seige company resulted in the death of Dwaeleth an hour or so into the battle. Dale quickly took his place and drew the Keledoni forces back together. While the battle raged for the rest of the day and well into the night, Dale proved himself an able and adroit military commander. By noon the following day the Akarythan forces had been routed, their commander captured, and the standard of Keledon raised high over the battlefield. For the remainder of the month Dale led sorites against the remaining Akarythan and their allies.
Following the pacification of the countryside, in 1735 AS, Dale was summoned to the court of Queen Kaylia, knighted and asked to name his reward. He asked for a charter to found an order of knighthood that would be empowered to mete out justice throughout the land, answering only to the monarch of the kingdom. Impressed by the selflessness and nobility of her subject, Kaylia granted his request. Additionally she gave the old castle now known as Griffon Keep into Dale's care to serve as the headquarters of his new order. To reflect this new status she also created him the first Baron of Knightshome, with the provision that this title was not passed through familial lines but rather was assumed by each succeeding Knight-Lord. In this way were the material and financial needs of the Knights of the Griffon met.
Later Life and DeathEdit
As first Knight Lord of the Griffon Dale immediately set out recruiting and training the finest warriors in the land. Unlike many other orders he did not limit membership in the Knights of the Griffon to the noble-born but instead guaged a candidate's martial prowess and potential. Within a decade of the Knghts' founding Dale had recruited and trained two full bands (24 knights).Now 65 years old and growing weary of the administrative life Dale created the roles of Senechal and Marshall within the Knights in order to allow himself the freedom to quest once more. He journeyed to Yarathera the same year (1745 AS) in order to visit with his old friend Kyriana Alqaviliya, recently called to serve the Selviliya directly. Together the old comrades undertook several quests of benefit to both their nations; their work in destroying the lich Valhandres is a tale still retold.
By 1758 Dale was 73 years of age and becoming too weary to ride out against the foes of the kingdom. He retired to Griffon Keep to finally settle into the quieter life he now found comforting.
In 1768 he was called upon by his old friend Kyriana, newly elected to succeed Lalwen Erethar as Selviliya. Drawing upon the might of Alqawen the Selviliya was able to reinvigorate Dale's flesh and spirit. Rhumed, the Spawn of Valhandres, had inherited the mantle of his master and sought to turn the momentary confusion created by the succession to his own advantage, for he continued his master's hatred of the Ashani and of Yarathera itself. This was fated to be his final quest; in later years Kyriana Selviliya would say that he seemed to know this in his soul, and to greet his final ride into glory. Rhumed was a powerful mage, but arrogant and blinded by his own hatred. Finally tracking the undead fiend down to a lair cunningly concealed and close to Yarathera, Dale and the Selviliya went forth into battle with the undead wizard in 1770 AS. Using all his considerable knowledge in combatting and destroying the undead Dale, together a force of Griffon Knights was able to occupy and distract the deadly lich in a battle hours in duration. The time he bought allowed Kyriana to undo the spells of destruction wrought by the lich, then to undo the magical protection that sustained him. However, before he finally fell beneath Dale's blade Rhumed was able to unleash a curse upon the noble warrior, infecting his wounds with a deadly sickness.Three days later Dale of Havan, the Baron Knightshome, died; even the powerful healing magic of the Emenashani proved unable to undo the curse of Rhumed. Dale's body was carried back to Griffon Keep in state, by an honour guard of Ashani warriors and the Selviliya. In honour of the bond between Dale and the Selviliya a priestess of the Swanmother tends to the knights while one of their number serves as personal bodyguard to the Selviliya.
Dale was interred north-east of Griffon Keep on the hill thereafter known as Tor-Dale; it remains a site sacred to the Knights of the Griffon, who swear their most sacred vows there.
Although a notorious carouser in his youth Dale remained single for a significant part of his adult life, preferring the quest to hearth and home. He did finally marry in 1730 AS at the age of 45, taking Brynna Alens of Culain as his wife. They had one son, Galeth, born in 1736 AS who became a Knight of the Griffon in his own right, and a daughter, Ashana, born in 1739, who served among the Swansisters at the side of the Selviliya.
Since Dale's death the Knights of the Griffon have become the most honoured and celebrated order of knighthood within Keledon. Due to his association with fighting the undead many of the order's knights are also skilled in that area.
Most Keledoni bards know a song or two concerning Dale, or can recount a poem about one of his exploits. Dale's attention to the common people of his barony has been continued by his successors to one degree or another; they enjoy a closer relationship with their baron than do other people elsewhere in the kingdom.
In the Barony of Knightshome Dale's birthday is celebrated in late summer; the knights resident in the barony join a procession to his tomb and hold a great feast to which all are invited.
Some tales concern Dale's sword, Blackflame, which the bards say was especially enchanted against the undead. Indeed his battles with the undead are the most prominent theme in songs about him, rivalled only by his friendship with the Selviliya and other Ashani.
In addition to his enoblement as Baron Knightshome and Lord-Knight of the Order of the Griffon Dale was also admitted to the Order of the Black Stag by Kaylia I. The Ashani of Yarathera called him Thalonashan, or 'Brother of the Ashani'. As a Noble Dale was offered his own familial coat of arms; however he refused it in favour of that of the Knights of the Griffon.
+Dale was a famous adventurer and warrior who saved the Queen of Keledon during the Two Moons War and founded an order of knights.
+He really hated the undead and anything to do with them.
+The order of knights he founded--the Knights of the Griffon--are the most famous and elite in all of Keledon.