Trevyr Blackgard opens his narration stating that, like the Starks, the blood of House Blackgard runs back to the First Men. Singers call those times the "Age of Heroes". He dismisses this nomenclature as a mask for a savage world that bred savage men. He starts with Asterion the Black and Durran Godsgrief and details their close friendship and Durran's choice to give Asterion the wild and rugged Borderlands for Asterion to rule over. He continues about Asterion's discovery of a ruined fort north of the wasteland and his men who nicknamed the fort "Blackgard", in honor of Lord Asterion.
Trevyr Blackgard: "A king isn't born, he is made. By steel and by suffering. A king must know how to hurt those he loves. It's lonely. Ask anyone. Fate is cruel. No man or woman can be too powerful or too beautiful without disaster befalling. They laugh when you rise too high. And they crush everything you've built with a whim. What glory they give in the end, they take away. They make of us slaves."
When I was a boy, my father taught me this rite. And he was taught this by his father, and his father before him. We have been both slaves and rulers. Kings and servants. Warriors and diplomats. Killers and saviors. We are House Blackgard.
To learn about our history, we need to go back a few thousand years, to the formation of the Borderlands. When you look at it now, you'll see nothing but barren plains, lifeless hills, and eerie canyons. But, some 12,000 years ago, during the reign of the Children of the Forest, the Borderlands were once the pinnacle of all life. Where plants and animals flourished under dense forests and breathtaking vistas. Of course, that was long before the birth of our House, but to understand our formation and our doings, one must also understand our culture and our struggle.
This paradise on earth did not last. Everything changed when the First Men appeared on the world. As is custom with men, war occurred. The First Men believed that everything the light touched was theirs to rule. But the Children thought differently. They believed that all living things must be kept in balance, and not to be exploited. So war was inevitable.
In order to stop the advance of the armor-wearing, bronze-bladed Men from the south to the North, the Children utilized different weapons. First, they broke the Arm of Dorne and created what is now known as the Stepstones. After that, they took their attention of a small piece of land separated from nothing but mountainous hills. And so they combined their magics and literally destroyed an entire landscape. They exterminated all life and what was left of a paradisaical land, was now transformed into a barren field of nothingness.
Whether you believe this story or not is irrelevant. What you must understand is that in history, we have always battled with hardships. Whether it be an unholy form of magic or just a rival House trying to claim what is theirs, it all remains the same; at times we barely survived anything.
Most know the tale of King Durran Godsgrief, he who married a mermaid and angered a Storm God. Well, what if I told you that Durran had a cousin? That cousin was named Asterion, and just like Durran Asterion was a hot-headed man. Stubborn, adventurous, and sometimes foolish. But the man had a brave heart, a trait which can still be found today.
Following the destruction of the Borderlands, Durran, mockingly, said that his little cousin will be granted full dominion over the Borderlands if he were to survive there for one day. Asterion lasted ten.
Say what you want about King Durran, but the man did hold to his promises. Asterion was made the Lord Defender of the Stormlands. He would guard the borders that separate the Stormlands from the rest of the mainland and anyone who dared to invade Durran's lands would be met with the wrath of Asterion the Black.
Indeed, Asterion is the founder of House Blackgard, and therefore my ancestor. His blood, the "black blood", as some call it, runs in my veins, in the veins of my children, and in the veins of my grandchildren. It is because of us that since the day the First Men set foot in the east, no one has ever succeeded to conquer the Stormlands. Many people think of us as dirty hermits who are nothing but a lesser branch of the Northern House Stark, but our pride and honor has kept us alive for almost eight thousand years, and it will continue to do so for another eight. Like my family always likes to say, None Shall Pass. None shall enter the Borderlands without our say, and none shall destroy what we have built.