Absalom, Grand Lodge or Blackthorne Manor House in Eastern Taldor
Guardian of Daikitsu Priestess Sierra Vadalis
About Kaleb Blackthorne
Kaleb was born in eastern Taldor to Lord Kendrik Blackthorne and his wife Michiko. Lord Blackthorne met his wife while in diplomatic service to the Taldan throne in Tian Xia. At the time, Michiko was a bard geisha and (unknown to Kendrik at the time) a kitsune. Their romance and the ensuing political intrigue created a lasting alliance and a marriage. It wasn't until Michiko became pregnant that she revealed her identity fully to Kendrik and it left the couple with what would always be an unspoken wound of mistrust that festered through the years of Kaleb's early childhood.
Lord Blackthorne would often find reasons for being away in these early years of his only son's life- diplomatic trips or small conflicts of Taldor's interest could easily excuse his absence. Kaleb grew close to his mother, who delighted in his precocious nature and instilled a very strong faith in Daikitsu- Kaleb helped his mother perform missionary work among the farmers in his father's fiefdom. Together they would travel and teach what secrets Michiko knew of agriculture from the farmers of Tian Xia. The Blackthorne family's holdings became, under Michiko's careful guidance, an agricultural power house and the poor farmers' quality of life improved dramatically.
By the time Kaleb was 12, he worshiped Daikitsu fervently at his mother's side... but he also became aware of the heartache and distance that had kept his mother and father apart. He began praying to Shelyn, his father's patron deity, to restore his parents' love for each other. It was only after a near brush with death- when Kaleb was thrown violently from a horse- that his prayers were answered. As he lay in bed, feverish and half-unconsious from a broken leg and arm, awaiting a cleric's attention, that he mumbled ferociously all the pain he felt in his heart over his parents' estrangement. Joined together in concern over their son, the two found forgiveness in each others' teary eyes and from that day forward their love again blossomed.
His parents united, they poured their hearts into each other and their son- together they presented Kaleb his own colt, Beaujolais, on his 16th birthday and his training as a mounted knight began. Though his mother had hoped Kaleb might take to the priesthood of Daikitsu, she thrilled at his enthusiasm for the saddle. Kaleb took to this calling easily and within a few years had served as squire to his cousin Sir Reginald Brightsword V in several campaigns. He was charging full force into manhood, and his parents' pride swelled.
By his 18th birthday, Kaleb was becoming restless and would travel the borders of his father's lands more and more, waiting and watching for what the future would bring him. In the end, it was a letter to his mother from the aging Priestess of Daikitsu from her homeland that would create Kaleb's destiny. A mysterious priestess of Daikitsu would be travelling through Taldor to Absalom in secret and his mother was asked to provide a suitable guardian for her. Michiko knew at once it was Kaleb who would be the man she would choose. While it wouldn't make Kaleb's father very happy, for now they shared a kindred love of riding and this would take Kaleb far away, she knew what must be done.
And so it was that the blind, white-haired kitsune Priestess came to Blackthorne Manor. Young and beautiful, it was not what Michiko had pictured; her mind had conjured an elder- frail with age. Kaleb's eyes lit up upon first glance of the woman and Michiko's heart felt a pang of regret that she had agreed so readily to help. Kaleb took the woman's hand, and bowing, humbly introduced himself as "Kaleb, your servant." The young woman's name was Sierra Vadalis and while raised kitsune in Tian Xia, had some relations in distant Cheliax. Priestess Sierra kept her purpose for journeying to herself during dinner conversation, but only Michiko dared to pry in that direction. Kaleb, for his part, was quiet and focused on the young Priestess- too focused, though his mother.
That evening, the four of them retired to the library for wine (the Blackthorne vinyards had miraculously thrived under Michiko's careful eye) and conversation mainly focused on politics of far-off Tian Xia, light philosophical debate, or deeper discussions of Daikitsu's church. Kaleb didn't have much of a brain for politics and his mind wandered while his eyes did strayed not from the white-haired girl.
When the conversation lulled, Kaleb (who had been fairly silent up to that point) blurted out, "Where are you travelling, Priestess? And to what end?" Mitchiko's face soured- hadn't she taught him better?! Lord Blackthorne chuckled gently at his son's indiscretion but all were suprised at her quick, calm response "I travel to Absalom where I have business with the Pathfinder Society... but that business is my own."
Michiko thought she caught a far off look in Kaleb's eyes... she recognized that he was already dreaming of far-off places and mysteries. At least he'll have Boujolais to keep him out of trouble, she thought grimly. And so, with heavy heart Michiko and Kendrick bid their son farewell and held each other as they watched the two ride off into the mist.