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"Steffon Blackgard is a dangerous man to cross. "
Meryanne Heartley

Black King Althurin I (Wastelandic: A.svgL.svgT.svgH.svgUr.svgI.svgN.svg Al-thur-in "Destroyer-Overlord-Master") was the eldest son of Dyron Blackgard and his wife, Talya Blackgard, brother of Aeron and Anera Blackgard. He had an unacknowledged bastard half-brother named Ethon. He was married to Queen Lyessa Garrigon. He was the self-proclaimed Black King of Ebonheart and following his coronation, was renamed as King Althurin of House Blackgard, First of His Name, the Black King of Ebonheart and King of the Bordermen. After adopting this new moniker, Althurin chose a personal sigil, created mainly to symbolize his new position as king. He chose a dark blue cross, surrounded by four smaller crosses on beige. The sigil is said to mimic the look of the Jagged Crown.

Althurin had a rare, early-onset, slow-progressing form of Crippling Decay, commonly known as the "Highborn's Disease", that has gradually physically deteriorated him for months. Because of this, Althurin was required to wear a mask that hid his facial deformity.

Despite being it a great taboo in the Borderlands, Althurin was openly bisexual, and prior to his illness has had many affairs from both men and women.



King Althurin was born as Steffon Blackgard, the eldest child of Talya and Dyron Blackgard. Dyron was the firstborn son of Lord Trevyr Blackgard and Lady Laenah Blackgard. Trevyr was the head of House Blackgard, Lord of Ebonheart, and Lord Paramount of the Borderlands, one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. The Blackgards rule the region from their seat of Ebonheart, situated in the eponymous port city of Blackgard. Trevyr was also, long before, Althurin's birth, the Hand of the King to Aegon the Unlikely and briefly to Aegon's son and heir, King Aerys the Second, who is nowadays commonly known as the "Mad King". Althurin was born at Ebonheart in the year 279 AL, or 8841 AB according to the Bordermen Calendar. He has two younger siblings, Aeron Blackgard and Anera Blackgard.

As a baby, Althurin contracted pneumonia, one of the starting symptoms of Crippling Decay. The Lok-Sonaak told Dyron and Talya that Althurin would contract Crippling Decay somewhere nearing his 30th nameday. However, as it was soon discovered, Althurin would catch the disease much earlier on. Dyron and Talya decided to keep this a secret to Althurin, as they didn't want this shocking revelation to affect his childhood in any way.

Although Althurin was cured of his pneumonia once he became a toddler, he grew up an aggressive boy. Althurin was smaller and weaker than the other children, and because of this the master-at-arms of Ebonheart initially refused to train the young boy, claiming the training would be too hard for him. However, Dyron kept pushing the master-at-arms to train his son, to the point that he even threatened him by placing a knife on his throat.


Almost from birth, the Black King was unusual in that he seemed to lack emotion and empathy—something that would remain constant throughout his life, regardless of the situation he would be thrown into. The child Steffon felt no affection for his mother, father, or siblings, although his family cared deeply for him. This apparent lack of emotion resulted in him being nicknamed "the Faceless King", for he feels no emotion or and has no personality (and therefore, possesses no true "face"), and for the fact that he wears a mask, hiding his true, albeit horrifically scarred, face. As King Althurin, he was a cruel ruler, enforcing his rule on his subjects in any way he saw fit. Prior to becoming King, Steffon became known as more of a scholar than a warrior, as he spent much of his time delving into the mysteries of the Bordermen.

While other Bordermen of his generation became feared warriors and guardians of their homeland, Steffon was content to remain in Blackgard even when the rest of House Blackgard went to war against House Lannister. However, his public persona of a scholar was merely a sham: by the time he entered his 25th year, he was calculating, manipulative, and patient enough to sit by while his plans took years to reach completion. When news of Lucan Blackgard's death reached the ears of the people, Steffon was able to carefully drive the rest of the Bordermen into a frenzy of panic and herd them as he wished. He also revealed his true persona to the eight thousand Bordermen who heeded his call for revolution—the reclusive scholar revealed his true intentions to bring about the downfall of his uncle Eddin Blackgard, to overthrow the Lordship of the Borderlands and replace it with a monarchical and totalitarian Kingdom of the Borderlands.

After Steffon killed Eddin, was crowned Black King Althurin, and contracted Crippling Decay, he became only motivated by the solely two emotions he could still feel: hunger for power and fear of losing it. He is relentlessly ambitious and is utterly willing to betray or otherwise murder others to achieve his long-term goals. Althurin has no problem with committing socially heinous crimes such as kinslaying, treachery, torture, or murder, as was revealed during the Black Day.

Despite his shortcomings, Althurin proved to be a cunning diplomat and strategist, singlehandedly orchestrating an event that reshaped the political power and structure of the Borderlands entirely in a relatively short period of time. He is able to think on his feet and his aristocratic background and charismatic personality proved useful in gaining the trust of those around him, only to betray it in the long run once they had outlived their usefulness to him.

His lack of emotion also proved to work in the Black King's favor. Althurin, unrestrained by emotion or personal feelings, made him a cold realist, but also gave him a rather cynical and black-and-white view of the world. The resulting effect was the Black Day and the short, but powerful rebellion that existed prior; Althurin was convinced, with good reason, that Eddin would lead House Blackgard to ruin if it continued to pursue their revenge in a passionate fashion. Althurin, instead, holds a very conservative view and his naturally distrustful of anyone who isn't a Borderman. Ironic, considering that Althurin's Black Council include both ironborn and Andals. This, again, is a good example of Althurin's realistic interpretation of his rule; he was willing to set aside his racist and xenophobic nature and was willing to openly accept non-Bordermen into his ranks, as their combined ideologies and experiences would surpass that of a Bordermen-only group.

Physical appearance

Before he contracted Crippling Decay, Steffon was considered to be very handsome. He was broad-shouldered, tall and sinewy. Eddin notes that Steffon inherited his grandfather's stature and that sometimes he even towers over his uncles. Many note that his father, Dyron, looked more like a dornishman than a borderman, and this Steffon inherited. He has black eyes, black hair, an olive skin, and thin brows. He has a lined face, a sharp nose and thin hair. Anera claims that Steffon never smiled in his life, and that he constantly has a surly look, even from birth.

After Steffon, now renamed King Althurin, contracted Crippling Decay, he was forced to wear a mask. No one knows what is behind his mask. The only way to view Althurin's face now is behind the gapes of his mask, where scars surrounding his eyes can be seen. Over time, Althurin was forced to use a cane, as a result of the disease now affecting his muscles. He constantly walks with a bowed back, and some are even beginning to see a hunched back appearing. Furthermore, Althurin lost his broad shoulders and some are even claiming that he is shrinking. Nevertheless, Althurin never lost a grip on his mental state, and although he is aware that his body is failing him, he is still convinced that he is immortal.


Spoken by Steffon/Althurin

"Steffon: Uncle, you're making a big mistake by doing this!
Eddin: Well, Steffon, you are entitled to your opinion, but my decision is final.
Steffon: For goodness' sake, Uncle, look around you! Our people are still licking their wounds from what happened with the Greyjoys! They're all exhausted! And our finances have been reduced to almost nothing!
Eddin: I am well aware of how much this has cost us, thank you.
Steffon: Are you, Uncle? Because if that truly were the case, you'd see that we are in
no condition to fight another goddamn war! I want justice for Uncle Lucan as much as the rest of us, but we need to regroup. We need to rebuild our armies and restore our finances. We need to wait until we are ready!
Eddin: Do you think I
want to do this, Steffon? Because I don't. But I don't just want to avenge my brother. If she gets her way, that murderous cunt Cersei Lannister would have the whole of the Borderlands burned down to nothing if it meant she would be queen of the ashes. And I'm not about to let that happen. Westeros has one great hope left, and that is Daenerys Targaryen.
Steffon: Do you remember what happened the last time a Targaryen sat on the Iron Throne? Half the country burned!
Eddin: Daenerys is not her father. Slaver's Bay has been liberated because of her.
Steffon: Uncle, you know very well that Westerosi politics and Essosi politics are two
very different things. And how do you that Daenerys isn't like her father? You've never even met the girl! Grandfather never even met her! If you're so willing to put blind faith in someone you've never even met, then you're just a fool!
Eddin: My father sacrificed things you could never
imagine so that girl could save Westeros from itself!
Eddin: [slaps Steffon across the face.] Don't you
ever insult my father like that ever again. I am aware that not all of my decisions have been - or will be - popular. But last time I checked, I was lord of this House, not you, nephew. I am aware that our people have lost much in the last war - much more so that you give me credit for - and marching off into another one so soon seems like too much of a gamble. But if we do not act now to bring down Cersei, we stand to lose even more. You don't have to like it, but Daenerys Targaryen is our future, and she needs the Borderlands behind her if she is to succeed. Now, I have quite a journey ahead of me, so I must leave."
―Steffon argues with his uncle, Eddin.
"A man can have anything. If he's willing to sacrifice. With your birth comes a solemn vow. You will have nothing. Your privilege, is the dirt. In the darkness, only ambition will guide you. The oath you swear, the promises you make, they are yours alone. Your freedom will be the wars you wage. Your birthright, the losses you suffer. Your entitlement, the pain you endure. And when darkness finds you, you will face it. Alone. "
―King Althurin to his son, Prince Emeric
"Vumir: Thuri. (My lord)
Althurin: Pruzah, fahdon. Fos tinvaak hin Hahnu-Paagoliikke? (Good, my friend. What did your Dreamwalkers say?)
Vumir: Nust nun ahrk wah Strunvahlok. (They have seen Trevyr Blackgard).
Althurin: Ahrk? (And?)
Vumir: Fodos Hahnu-Paagoliikke. Strunvahlok taavin tinvaak. Rok koraav hi ol vax. Rok pogaas vosotiiv. (According to the Dreamwalkers, Trevyr Blackgard refused to communicate with them. He sees you as a traitor. He is disappointed in you.)
Althurin: Vosotiiv? Rok tozein. Zu'u zin tul mok. Dreh pogaas, rok taavin wah tinvaak wah lotkiir? (Disappointed? He is mistaken. I still honor him. After I did so much, he won't even speak to his grandson?)
Vumir: Nii los Strunvahlok ven. (It is Trevyr's way)
Althurin: Trun dreh ni. Praag mok mu dreh ni. Waan hind fil ahst Barran graadnah fah ul ful kos nii. Zu'u pruz wey Strunvahlok (It does not matter. We do not need him. If he wishes to stare at Barran's gardens for all eternity then so be it. I am better than Trevyr Blackgard.)
Vumir and Althurin
"Althurin: So. You have come here, hooded, claiming to be of service to me.
Hooded figure: I am.
Althurin: Any particular reason
why you would aid me?
Hooded figure: My reasons are my own. They will not trouble you.
Althurin: Well then, what services can you offer me?
Hooded figure: Kill anyone that you wish killed.
Althurin: I already have my Wrath to do that for me.
Hooded figure: Take anything that you wish taken.
Althurin: I am King. I already possess that power.
Hooded figure: Access to Storm's End...
Althurin: Well now, Ser. You had my curiosity. Now you have my attention. My people suffer an age of turmoil, all help is appreciated. But, I expect you wish something in return?
Hooded figure: That I do.
Althurin: So, what is it that you want?
[The hooded figure removes his cowl]
Harrin Smithe: House Harrigon destroyed.
―Althurin meets with an unexpected guest
"My time has come. For ten years, I've prepared, I grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power. Believing yourself to be safe, and protected. You were trusted to lead the Borderlands. But you were deceived. As my true powers have blinded you. You assumed no force could challenge you. And now, finally, we have returned."
―Steffon Blackgard to Eddin Blackgard's corpse
"I have renounced the name "Steffon". It is an Andal name, unfitting for a king from the First Men. "
―Althurin, on his choice of renaming himself

Spoken about Steffon/Althurin

"Tyrion Lannister: And again, the Queen must not know.
Eyron Morvayn: What is it exactly that you do not want me to tell your sister about?
Tyrion Lannister: I plan to wed Princess Myrcella to Steffon Blackgard of the Borderlands.
Eyron Morvayn: Forgive me, my lord, but you're mad.
Tyrion Lannister: Why not? The Blackgards are financially powerful; they control two-thirds of the Seven Kingdom's finance, plus their army contains some of the fiercest warriors in all of Westeros. An alliance-through-matrimony would be very beneficial. Also, the Blackgards have not been involved in the Crown's affairs since Robert's Rebellion. With war on our doorstep, it's high time for them to be brought back into the fold.
Eyron Morvayn: But, my lord, you're forgetting one tiny little detail: Steffon Blackgard is almost twice Myrcella's age.
Tyrion Lannister: And what of it? There are many noble lords who like their brides young.
Eyron Morvayn: I don't reckon Trevyr Blackgard's grandson is one of them.
Tyrion Lannister: Regardless of what you might think, Lord Morvayn, I still think this marriage to be of great importance to the... financial stability of the realm. Also, Steffon is next in line to the lordship of Ebonheart behind his father. We marry him to Myrcella, and their army and gold will be ours.
Eyron Morvayn: I see.
Tyrion Lannister: I do trust in your complete discretion, of course.
Eyron Morvayn: Of course.
―Tyrion Lannister and Eyron Morvayn[src]


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Lord: Ethon Blackgard Heir: Rendal Blackgard
Seat: Ebonheart, Blackgard Lands: The Borderlands
Title(s): Lord of Ebonheart · Chieftain of the Bordermen · Master of Blackgard · Lord Defender of the Stormlands · Lord Paramount of the Borders
Ancestors: Asterion the Black · Lenya Blackgard · Orroman Blackgard · Saloman Blackgard · Darreth Blackgard · Myrion Blackgard · Dallon Blackgard · Dirron Blackgard · Stevron Blackgard · Torvan Blackgard · Kennard Blackgard · Arwynd Blackgard · Andaren Blackgard · Andyron Blackgard · Gerion Blackgard · Harald Stark · Grenn · Sanah Blackgard · Rickard Blackgard · Meralith Blackgard · Morden Blackgard · Maron Blackgard · Marinah Blackgard · Arthur Blackgard · Vickon Blackgard
Current members: Talya Blackgard · Elyse Blackgard · Ardrew Ashes · Anera Blackgard · Sofina Blackgard · Tregar Blackgard · Mertha Blackgard · Mercyl Blackgard · Aeron Blackgard
Deceased members: Laenah Blackgard · Trovar Blackgard · Trevas Blackgard · Aurola Blackgard · Tragen Blackgard · Dyron Blackgard · Lucan Blackgard · Anya Blackgard · Trevyr Blackgard · Jenelyn Blackgard · Elen Blackgard · Edwyn Blackgard · Eddard Blackgard · Eddin Blackgard · Oberon Blackgard · Dagon Blackgard
Household: {Dalton Ashes} · {Archmaester Lorgan} · Brant Tymber · Orran Luxford · {Asten Wylde} · Eyan Whent · {Cayman Croft} · Theos Tymber · Codin Bruckstone · Markas Warth · {Arton Lannister} · Gerrad Storm · {Helenys} · {Harrion} · Vumir · Hathor · Gidden · Ammett · Hugar · "The Gravedigger" · Carron Heartley · Harrin Smithe · Nathaleya (infiltrator)