the legend of Taeron Xandros
On an ancient throne in an ancient castle, now long fallen into dust, sat haggard old Anchises. The agéd lord looked out a sad wide window wreathed in vine out across the ruined lands of his crumbling estate. But old King Anchises saw naught of the thorny hedges and weed choked moats and places where once stood mighty walls of stone, stolen long ago for a charcoal burner’s shack. Alone he sat in his ancient, crumbling castle, abandoned by all but one – his loyal servant Agni, more elder than the king who tended to his master faithfully for his long and lonely age. There sat old Anchises, and his eyes like stones were blind.
It had been long prophesied that the King would have a son and that the woman who would bear him the son would find him waiting in this place, so there he had stayed for 500 years, waiting for his bride. And there it was, on the night of unfailing Agni’s death, that She came to the keep of the Blind King, a goddess about a goddess’ business. There it was that She loved him, and restored his youth and beauty, for the first time in half a millennium, there was great happiness in the ruined fortress of Anchises. But for all She brought the ancient king, there was one thing still he lacked – his sight.
“Anchises, do not ask me to rekindle your eyes,” She once told him, “for you see so much without them. If I were to restore your sight, though you could look upon some portion of your heart’s desire, you would fail to see that which is before you and would forever lose sight of something most precious to you. You would also see so many things you would not want, for sight is cruelly unselective. If you ask me, I will grant your wish – but I beg you, ask not this last gift from me.” The Blind King therefore held his tongue, and was content to know the presence of his beloved. After a year, She bore Anchises a son, whom they named Taeron, which means “beloved of heaven and earth.” The venerable lord of the crumbling manor was overjoyed at the birth of the son for whom he had waited so many centuries.
But in his heart Anchises was sad, for he wished desperately to lay eyes on his son and his lover. They were the stuff which fed his every day and night, and he wanted to suffuse them into all his senses. One cold night as they sat before the great fireplace in the throne room drinking wine of a vintage long forgotten, Anchises in a fit of alcoholic melancholy turned to his love and asked her to return his vision. For some time, he heard nothing but the crackle of the dying fire and the suckling of their child. Then She flew into a rage, “My old fool! I promised you that I would grant you this wish if you asked for it, but I begged you not to ask! Now you have asked, and I am bound fulfill my vow to you.” She grew quieter and said, “When next you open your eyes, all I have said will come to pass. Only our son, Taeron, can mend what will now be broken.” And though Anchises begged her to allow him to change his mind, She bent forward and tenderly kissed the king’s eyes and whispered to him, “I truly loved you, my Blind King.” Anchises opened his eyes and saw the ruined throne room, the fire kindled with broken furniture dying in the hearth, and the beatific child sleeping on an embroidered red cloth beside him. She was gone. And old Anchises, suddenly older than all his years, knelt down, took his beautiful son into his arms and wept for his lost love.
Taeron matured quickly, watching his father age just as quickly. He practiced with the ancient arms found in the castle and became a passable warrior. When he asked about his mother, Anchises could not tell him who She was, only that she was a goddess of the greatest kind and that she had foretold that Taeron could set right that which the Blind King had reduced to ruin. Eventually the old king lost all will to live and simply faded away into nothing, but not before he begged his son to fulfill his mother’s prophecy. So Taeron took the surname Xandros “The Sundered One” and dedicated his life to finding his mother and reuniting her with the spirit of her blind and lost lover.
Taeron became a paladin of Selune, believing the goddess of the moon to be his mother. He fought evil in her name and made a great name for himself, but in the end, he found she was not his mother and so he gave up his questing and settled down in an old manor house. It was there that his eyesight began to fail and there that he eventually married, but his spirit was broken after his failure of questing and he died just before the birth of his first child. His wife died in childbirth and the halfling midwife, who knew of the life of Taeron took the girl child to a nearby temple of a forgotten goddess where she was fostered and raised to be a paladin in the manner of her sire. She too took the name of Taeron Xandros and spent her life in much the same fashion as her father.
And so it has been for thirty-six generations. They have no knowledge of their previous lives save that which they gain from history and legend, each serving a different goddess in hopes that they will one day find She who originally bore him. The eighteenth Taeron Xandros served the goddess Waukeen as a cleric and divine champion. The twenty-fifth Taeron Xandros was a particularly effective and notorious arcane devotee of Shar. However, their pattern of long service (their divine blood makes them particularly long lived – the sixth Taeron lived to be 1467) to a goddess then retirement, decline, blindness and death allows for enough time between regenerations for memories of the last to fade before the next comes of age and takes their rightful name. How many years this cycle has been taking place is not clear – many of the elder Taeron exist only in legends. It is not even clear that the Taeron cycle originated on Toril. Nevertheless, each incarnation of Taeron Xandros spends its life seeking to find its parents, thus ending the cycle and rejoining that which was torn asunder so many countless years ago.
The Thirty Sixth Taeron Xandros has lived in and around the city of Silverymoon for many years. It was there that he became a paladin of Sune and found the young orphaned drow Eban Illistyn. He has always counted Eban as a friend if not younger brother, and has always been on the lookout for the drow. Taeron knows that Eban suffers from narcolepsy and somnambulism, but is still confused by Eban’s sudden disappearances and just as sudden reappearances. More than once, it put Eban’s life in danger in Silverymoon and more than once, Taeron was forced to explicate the young drow from embarrassing and sometimes life-threatening situations. The worst was when he awoke crawling through a Svirfneblin warren and was almost torn apart by the angry gnomes. He was chased through the city and if it were not for the timely appearance of Taeron (who had been following Eban but had lost him) who delayed the angry mob long enough for Eban to make his escape. The next day, several homes in the drow ghetto were burned and a young drow male was lynched, presumably his crime being having been mistaken for Eban. The eternal quest of the Taeron seemed to pair nicely with Eban’s imposed “vision quest” as the first male priest of Eilistraee, so Taeron gladly consented to accompany his longtime friend on his journeys.