The accepted history of family of the Noirs of the Dark Woods is rather sketchy at best. In fact, their beginnings were rather humble. Through perseverance and good timing - not to mention luck - their line attained recognition that was rather unheard of for the time.
The genesis of their line dates back a few centuries to a time when the clans of Bisclavret were still very disorganized and prone to infighting. Most say that the infighting never ended; rather, the Bisclavret turned more to intrigue than outright conflict, though occasionally the conflicts turn to pitched battle.
The great Lion that started this household is rumored to have once been a mere slave or servant. He somehow made his way far west of Triskellian - where he first came to the lands of Calabria - and made his living preying upon travelers and the wild creatures that had the misfortune of wandering into his domain. He did have his morals, in that he didn't single out families, or groups of females. That amounted to not killing them outright, as he would, on occasion, capture and ransom them.
This latter practice became rather lucrative for him, and he managed to gather a following. In time, his sons became successful "robber barons," and became quite a thorn in the side of any gentry or wealthy merchants that traveled without benefit of a sizeable caravan. They also policed their domain quite well, keeping most (other) criminal elements at bay. After all, why should anyone else get the wealth that they felt was their own for the taking?
With the added tensions posed by skirmishes with the Avoirdupois and the Doloreaux, the Bisclavret were unable to focus their attention on these freewheeling bandits, allowing them almost free rein, with only the occasional attempt to bring them into line - usually halfhearted, or with outright incompetence. There were occasional successes, but ultimately this posed no serious or long term impact on the flow of wealth to the lions.
As the years passed, a great bandit Lion emerged to be recognized as leader of the family of the Black Manes or Pelle Noir. He was known as Leodogran the Fair. It was an apt title, for in spite of his notoreity he was quite honorable, never once going back on his word, once given. He was also quite fair to his band, for whom he genuinely cared. True, as all creatures of power, he had his vanity and haughtiness with the occasional fits of rage and bloodlust, and showed cruelty to those that crossed him, but he was known as being fair - not saintly!
His rough edges were smoothed over somewhat by his lioness and lady, Graenelle, a practitioner of Green and Purple Magic. He also took on a consort, the lioness Brimaur, a talented bard. She was known to be quite a charmer, but never attained the stature and grace of Graenelle. Both lionesses were given the task of organizing Leodogran's affairs of household - a task they accomplished well. It was due to their influence that he sought out an unlikely alliance with the Bisclavret, and that they succeeded is credited to the charm of Brimaur.
The Bisclavret were consolidating their position, absorbing vast tracts of forest lands along the borders of the Avoirdupois, and they found Leodogran's knowledge of such areas invaluable. They offered recognition of his title as Baron in exchange for his house's allegiance and full cooperation. Thus, Graenelle finally achieved her true goal: recognition of her family as nobility. Leodogran was also quite aware that his bandit days were numbered, and thought it better to be accepted as a legitimate member of scoiety. He secured a favorable tax rate for himself and his kin, and, in turn, they would all be formally schooled.
Leodogran had good and able sons, though none would quite measure up to his exploits. They have all inherited his toughness and bravery, but how can one compare to a legend? In spite of living in rather opulent comfort, his sons have always been mindful of the difficult times their family patriarch had. In his honor, they have taken care not to squander the family fortune, and they follow his example by taking competent wives - and consorts and mistresses - just as he had.
Tremaine LeNoir is the third son of the present head of the family: Baron Bronwynn II. Tremaine is the great grandson of Leodogran, and is the one that many would say inherited the legendary Baron's curiosity and toughness. He is also of good size, so with a flowing mane that is the hallmark of his race, he is also quite intimidating if he feels put out or angered. He excels in being resolute and has often outlasted the toughest of his kin in many a physical challenge. Unfortunately, he isn't as smart as his older brothers, sometimes finding himself manipulated by their schemes.
As part of the agreement of their great-grandfather's alliance, Tremaine and his brothers (the sons of the Baron's line) are all sent away for proper education at Harrowgate. This also serves as a way of keeping the free-spirited and independent Baron reined in as much as he can be, for, if he truly has a weakness, it would be his love for his kin.
Harrowgate is where Tremaine learned to handle the blade with flair and refinement; his father has also made sure that he - and his brothers - are just as skilled in the use of their natural weapons. Like so many adolescents, Tremaine has had his adventures that - if found out - would surprise those in his clique, for he has often ventured out into common society, using his innate ability of stealth to sneak past the academy's guards. He has visited many a tavern or inn - as well as a few good brothels. Although it may be a wonder, therefore, that he finished his studies, this still served to teach him about the "other side" of society, the folk that lived on for a year of what he would consider his weekly allowance.
It was here among the common folk that he finally learned what hardships his forefathers truly endured. Being curious, he would observe, or blend in with some group, and loved to hear of their exploits as adventurers. Tremaine also appreciated company, noble or commoner, and is a gregarious lad to this day. Although he lagged behind his brothers in smarts, he did, nevertheless, manage to learn what was required of him scholastically. He is better at reading and writing than most, almost comparable to the best learned people, if he would just harness the power of his mind.
After finishing his studies, Tremaine resolved to make a name for himself, and do his family proud. He would venture forth to a world and society he had only begun to understand, and - rise or fall - live life on his terms as all the legendary leaders of his line had done before him.
Ironclaw and Jadeclaw are copyright 1999, 2002 Sanguine Productions, Limited. Used with permission; all rights reserved. Images and artwork on this page are copyright by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock. Tremaine LeNoir and this article are (c) by Martin. This site is not official, and should not be considered representative of the quality of products of Sanguine Productions, Ltd.