thilien Silvershield was born Ithilien Thaspardian, heir apparent and eldest child of Obarthon Thaspardian, Duke of Valoir, of the Kingdom of Dwinovar. The Duchy of Valoir comprised much of the plains west of the great city of Ilowan, capital of the Dwinovarian kingdom, and home of the royal court of Dwinovar.
Throughout history, the Duke of Valoir had always assumed a strong presence within the royal court due to his duchy’s close proximity to the throne. Duke Obarthon was no exception. His opinion and personal counsel held much sway in the decisions made by the High King of Dwinovar. Much of his time throughout the year was spent within the city of Ilowan, politicking amongst the other nobles of the kingdom. As soon as the Duke’s two sons were of age, they traveled with their father to the great capital city.
From a very early age, Ithilien was trained and groomed in the arts of nobility, etiquette, and chivalry. His father was thought to be one of the greatest knights of the realm, loyal to the crown, and always a favorite among the jousting lists. It was the knightly tournaments that Ithilien looked forward to most whenever his father took he and his younger brother Deneron to Ilowan. At the tender age of eleven, he had already replaced his father’s usual squire during the tournaments. He studied all the knights assembled throughout the lists, studying their mannerisms, as well as their techniques. Swordsmanship and combat maneuvers came almost as second nature to him.
His younger brother Deneron however, did not share in his enthusiasm for the knightly arts of combat. Not gifted with the strength, coordination, and stamina that the Duke passed on to Ithilien, Deneron received in abundance, that which made Duke Obarthon such a powerful political figure among the royal court of Dwinovar… ambition. Deneron craved power above all else, power to control and have sway over others. When they were children, gregariously chattering to each other as young boys often do, Ithilien would speak about how he would command his father’s vast army as a powerful general, whilst Deneron would speak only about being the Duke of Valoir, a title which he would never be entitled to, being the second son.
When Ithilien reached his eighteenth birthday, he started to experience wildly vivid dreams, which would recur night after night. The main continuing theme of all these dreams centered around a figure, a large well-muscled man dressed in shining silver plate armor. His skin color was that of bronze or light copper, like the color of the sun as it first splashed against the morning sky. The long flowing cloak upon his back was the color of the sun itself, glowing red-hot and fiery in its magnificence, and upon his head was a wreath which resembled a halo of glowing sunlight. In his hands was a giant broadsword, almost as long as the figure himself, the hilt and pommel were made of gold and the blade itself looked like flowing liquid silver. Prominently set into the pommel of the great weapon was a giant fire opal, glowing fiery red, different from the glow upon his head which was warm, the glow from the opal was intense and powerful.
Ithilien knew the figure in his dreams was Arnulad, the Ilad of justice. Even if he had not recognized the figure from various images and statues, Ithilien knew in his heart who he beheld. What he did not understand is what the dreams meant. He asked his father for leave so that he may spend time within the temples of Arnulad throughout their kingdom and learn what portent his dreams held for him. His father told him no, stating that now he was grown, he needed to always be by his side, if not for the image this conveyed to his people, then simply to learn all that he could about rulership. Also, the Duke told his son that something was amiss within his circle of trusted allies. Twice now while traveling to the capital city, the Duke’s caravan had been ambushed. The second time, the Duke, at the recommendation of his general had changed their travel route, yet still they were ambushed. The Duke told his son that none of their immediate family would ever be out of his sight or outside his power to protect.
By this time, Ithilien had already become a highly accomplished swordsman. His confidence in his martial abilities, coupled with his natural wanderlust caused Ithilien to argue frequently with his father and repeatedly ask to leave. He was always denied. One day, Ithilien’s mother, the Duchess Eventine Thaspardian of Valoir, spoke privately with Ithilien, pleading with him to let go of his desire to leave the castle. She told him that his father was no longer the warrior he had once been, she now feared for his safety and knew that there was no other in the kingdom more suited to protecting the Duke than he. With this request from his mother, Ithilien capitulated and vowed to his mother that he would protect his father with his life and no harm would ever come to him.
After several months of continually having similar dreams of Arnulad, the image of the Ilad spoke to Ithilien for the very first time. He stated that Ithilien was one of his “chosen”, that he would not serve Valoir, but serve him directly. He bade him to go once to a monastery nestled in the mountains near Eludwinan. There, the clerics of his faith would start his education towards becoming a paladin of Arnulad. Ithilien knew that his father would never let him go, and he had made a vow to his mother to always be by his father’s side to protect him. But Ithilien’s heart longed for adventure, he yearned to be free of the yoke of rulership and responsibility. His strong, yearning heart decided to forego what his wisdom demanded and he decide to leave. In the cover of darkness, Ithilien left his castle, his home for the past eighteen years. He told no one of his plans except for his younger brother, to whom he gave the Dukedom. He told his brother that his calling was elsewhere and that if he left, they would both get that which they longed for most. His brother gave him a peculiar smile, then gladly accepted his offer.
Ithilien traveled in disguise, never using his real name, until he finally reached the monastery of Arnulad near Eludwinan. He was greeted warmly by the priests, who had been expecting him. For the next two years, Ithilien lived in solitude, learning the teachings of Arnulad and honing his paladin skills. During his training, Ithilien knew nothing of the outside world, nor did he care. When he was ready, the high cleric of the monastery bade him to leave and go out upon the world so that he may be the hand and sword of Arnulad.
Ithilien humbly thanked the priests for the time and commitment they had placed upon his education, then proudly strode forth onto the world. He first set out for the village of Eludwinan itself, still disguised, he wanted to gather travel items for his journey back home. He did not know how his father would react to his actions, but he did not care, for he yearned for home and he firmly believed that with time his father would eventually forgive him. What Ithilien learned in Eludwinan would change his life forever. Ithilien’s father, Duke Obarthon Thaspardian had been viciously murdered by brigands on the road to Ilomar almost two years ago, shortly after Ithilien left. His younger brother, Deneron had been named Duke Regent until the whereabouts of the true heir could be learned. Worse still, there were rumors circulating among the citizenry of the kingdom that Deneron had some sort of involvement in his father’s death and further rumors that Deneron had likewise killed his older brother and rightful Duke of Valoir, Ithilien.
Never had Ithilien felt more helpless or more lost. Of course the rumors were not true, Deneron had absolutely nothing to do with his own disappearance, so he likewise could not have had any involvement in their father’s death. He did not know where to go, surely he should return to his dukedom at once, set right the horrible rumors, and pay his respects to his dead father. But Ithilien then thought of facing his mother, and at once he was a little child again, scared to death of what she would say, so ashamed of his ultimate betrayal to her and the vow which he had broken.
Alas, Ithilien’s mind and heart were lost, and so his life wandered, aimlessly and without direction for a great long time. Slowly, but surely his dedication and service to Arnulad brought back the proud man he had once been. In his humility to serve his patron lord, Ithilien found pride and inner strength in himself once more through his deeds and subservience to the mighty Ilad of justice.
As the years passed, Ithilien learned more and more through rumors and happenstance about his faraway home. The more he learned, the more he started to question the motives of his brother. Could he actually have killed their own father? No, his mind always convinced him otherwise, yet Ithilien knew that what his mind realized, his heart continually questioned. But that was another life, no longer his own, the farther Ithilien traveled north, the less he heard any news about the Kingdom of Dwinovar, the more he could dedicate his will to his chosen life, and not the one he was born to, the one he left behind…