A knight of growing fame, a feared captain in the Conquest of Dorne, adviser to the Young Dragon and the Dragonknight, and a noted champion-at-arms. Secondborn son of Lord Athell Connington, Lord of Griffin’s Roost. Wed for love and widowed in his 25th year. Called ‘The Dark Griffin’ by some.
+DISPLAY ALMER/DESC while in the game.
Poised, wilfull, and driven, Lord Connington’s secondborn son exudes the natural confidence of one born to face calamity as a matter of course. A talented young knight whose legend is growing, fame came early and often to him; this push for glory is due, some say, to pressure from his enterprising lord father. In Dorne his reputation took a bloodier turn; a gifted captain at ease on the field of battle, the so-called ‘Dark Griffin’ repeatedly proved his value to the Young Dragon, though ultimately at a shattering personal cost.
Though lacking neither the polish of knightly graces nor a certain cool gallantry, some find his aloofness offputting, and his esoteric notions of chivalry and honor leave others quite baffled. For a year and more he has quietly grieved for a beautiful young wife and a son he hardly knew; those wounds will not heal soon, if indeed they ever will. And for all the plaudits of war and tourney, for all his brooding comeliness, there is something rather dark in him for such a young knight; a rime of frost in every courteous smile and easy witticism that speaks of ambition, of defiance, and of sorrows unspoken.
He was born at his ancestral home 136 years after Aegon the Conqueror’s victory, the secondborn son of the Lord of Griffin’s Roost. His grandmother was a Lannister of Casterly Rock, and his mother a Tyrell, sister to the Lord of Highgarden. His father is counted as one of the great magnates of the stormlands; their bloodline ancient, their demesne considerable, and their house favored by both the Stag and the Dragon. As for Almer, he was born to be a knight, and a gifted one at that. His lord father often jested he leapt from the womb with ice in his veins and a sword in his hand; the truth is not far from it. Knightly fame came early and often to him. As a child Almer fostered at Highgarden soon after his lady mother died in childbirth, and this loss marked him. He had difficulty among the haughty children of the Reach, though with effort made many friends among his Tyrell kin. He formed lifelong attachments to his cousins Reyna, Ardon, and Garvys Tyrell. In a few years, however, Almer departed the Reach to squire for the infamous Ser Sarmion Baratheon, the Stormbreaker; he served the Stormbreaker at war and tourney, suffering and learning under Baratheon’s hard hand, and emerging with a broken nose and a deeper understanding of the true meaning of war. These paradoxical schools—Highgarden and the Marches, beauty and blood, courtliness and brutality—tempered him into the knight he was to become; a champion-at-arms, and a captain of men.
Almer won his spurs in his sixteenth year at the King’s Landing nameday tournament of the infant Princess Rhaena Targaryen, who became a sort of good luck talisman for him over the years. Though but a squire, he unhorsed a number of famous knights; he stood vigil in the Sept of Visenya, and parted ways with the Stormbreaker, a knight. Thereafter, though still thought of as a mere youth by some, Almer cut a gaudy swath through the tourney lists of the Crownlands, the Reach, the Westerlands, the Stormlands, and elsewhere besides. Bluespur, the Knight of the Fountain, the Sparrowhawk, Lord Garvys Tyrell, Arson the Bastard, the Knight of the Twilight, the Jousting Lord, Oakshanks… many and more were the famous knights he met and overthrew. The smallfolk loved the young griffin and his displays of icy gallantry; the highborn admired his strict chivalry and skill at arms. Almer developed a particular talent for humbling opponents twice his age in the lists without shaming them, and this won him a number of notable and influential allies. He likewise drew the eyes, and hearts, of ladies both noble and baseborn, and yet no scandal attached to him. Such was his devotion to his vows, and to the traditional strictures of chivalry.
When war came in Dorne, great glory and great sorrow awaited. He commanded a company in his cousin Lord Tyrell’s van, and proved himself a gifted captain of men with an adeptness for audacious stratagems. Darkening his banners with soot, he and his company terrorized the Fowler lands at night; the Dark Griffin became a watchword for fear in those weeks. There he slew the skull knight of Manwoody and destroyed his bloody reavers, though he lost his young squire and cousin in the doing. He saved the Lady Keira Sand, a young Dornish beauty, bastard-born; theirs would be a long and bittersweet romance, and a fateful one indeed.
Then came the Dornish Conquest. Almer accepted his cousin Lord Garvys Tyrell’s invitation to accompany the Prince’s Pass expedition, eschewing a place with the Stormlords for a command of his own. Garvys gave Almer a small band of sworn swords, hedge knights and freeriders, with vague orders to scout and counter-raid. On campaign he made many friends, including the Young Dragon and the Dragonknight; he also made enemies, among them his cousin Lord Tyrell and the Iron Serpent, a famous ironborn knight. In the quagmire of the Prince’s Pass, Garvys ordered Almer to divide his company in the face of a superior enemy despite strenuous objections from Almer, Ardon Tyrell, and a number of his lieutenants. Thereafter, his beloved riders were ambushed and many were slain, and his young squire and kinsman Lymond Buckwell was captured and executed by a rogue Dornish captain, Ser Dagos Manwoody.
Almer confronted Garvys openly, and demanded permission to go after the enemy responsible, but after a shouting match between the cousins, was refused. He took matters in hand and hatched a daring plan to avenge the dead and help end the stalemate in the Pass. In order to maximize stealth, the company blackened their flags and livery with soot and launched a series of night raids deep into Fowler lands. Giving no quarter to the enemy, Almer and his men fell on those responsible and destroyed them, and the ‘Dark Griffin’ banners became a talisman of fear in those weeks. The bodies of Buckwell and the rest of the fallen were recovered and Connington personally slew Ser Dagos. Almer also rescued a mysterious Dornish lady who had been held prisoner by Manwoody’s men. This was a fateful moment, and little is known about its circumstances, save that it would lead to a long and bittersweet romance.
This led to a bitter falling-out with Lord Tyrell, who had Almer placed under arrest; when another of Almer’s cousins, Ser Jaesin Lannister of the Kingsguard, heard of these events, he warned the Dragonknight and the King and urged them to intervene. Prince Aemon personally ordered Almer’s release, and the remnants of the Dark Griffins joined the King’s column in the Boneway. Thereafter, with the Stormbreaker, Almer helped shatter the Prince of Dorne’s flank at the Carrion Woods and open the road to Sunspear, though he saw many friends die there; among these were his boon companions Ser Colyn Rowan and Ser Jerion Penrose, and many of his comrades from the Reach and the Stormlands. It was a dark day, and he will always carry the memory of what transpired on that bloody field.
The war ended, and Almer was chosen by the Dragonknight to join the honor guard that brought home the seventy-seven Dornish hostages to King’s Landing. The transition from war to peace was not a simple one. Soon enough Almer was in the tourney lists again, apparently not content to rest on his laurels. Some he is an ambitious young knight, and that his drive for glory is due, in part, to the complex three-sided relationship between Lord Athell, his bookish elder brother Gallard, and himself. But such is the lot of secondborn sons.
Whatever the case, he acquitted himself brilliantly once more in tournaments large and small. Notably, in his 23rd year he rode in the Royal Tournament at King’s Landing, one of the largest in many years. After being named champion of the Joust of Love, Almer bestowed the crown of Queen of Love and Beauty on the Princess Rhaena Targaryen, his good luck charm, to much public acclaim; in return the modest young princess gifted him with a dragon brooch as a sign of favor. As one of the Seven Champions in the Grand Finale he broke eighteen lances with his old friend the Jousting Lord, fifteen with the Stormbreaker, and twelve with the famous Iron Serpent, unprecedented feats of arms at the time.
At this time Almer became involved in a matter of honor over a scandalous matter that transpired between his cousin the Lady Reyna and Jonn Lannister, soon to be heir of Casterly Rock. In those difficult weeks, the deep friendship between Almer and Reyna was altered forever, though the details of these events are kept close. And though linked to a number of prominent highborn ladies himself, all this proved a facade; on the 7th day in the 7th month, in the 159th year since Aegon’s Landing, Almer wed the Lady Keira Sand, the Dornish lady who had accompanied him back from the Conquest. This match was against the wishes of Lord Connington and counter to the advice of many, but it was a match of reckless love, and the headstrong young knight would not be swayed. The marriage came with heavy consequences, as erstwhile friends turned upon him, spreading malicious rumors and engaging in mockery and unbecoming insults about the lady’s past. The knight and the lady bore them with good grace, until they grew so weary of the vicious gossip as to leave King’s Landing for good. The couple quietly departed for Griffin’s Roost to take up residence in a manor and lands provided by Lord Connington.
The next year they were delivered of a healthy son who would be called Asher, and lived happily together for a time. But soon enough, the Young Dragon called again; sedition flared in Dorne, and the idyll would not last. And so Almer accompanied the Young Dragon’s host to Dorne in the ill-fated effort to put down the spreading rebellion in that restive land, serving as military advisor to the king. At Godsgrace, Almer commanded a heavy column of horse, and slew the famous Dornish knights Ser Llharys Sand, Ser Galayne the Golden, and Egbert the Mighty, a freerider captain. He also slew the famous War Hound, Ser Warren Ladybright, Captain of the Guard at Sunspear, in a vicious single combat before the walls of Godsgrace. He helped lead the rearguard at the Battle of Salt Shore, and was on the field at the tragic death of the Young Dragon.
That terrible war ended, but more tragedy would come. Within a few months of his return, the Lady Keira Connington and their infant son were taken captive in the Kingswood, abused and slain by the bastard outlaw called the Starveling. Almer and the Stormbreaker ran the outlaw to ground; Baratheon urged Almer to kill the man outright, but he refused, instead placing his trust in the King’s justice. The Starveling died hard on the gallows, a year later, with mockery and contempt for the memory of Almer’s lady wife on his lips. He seldom speaks now of the loss, for there is no need. It is written on him in the gravity of his manner, the sobriety of his aspect and dress, and the odd reticence he displays at times.
While in mourning he appeared seldom at court. But when a year had passed, Almer emerged at last at a tournament at Highgarden; riding with a vengeance, he defeated all of his foes in the Joust of Champions. There the queen bestowed upon him a rare Valyrian steel dagger with a dragonbone hilt, a dark and priceless artifact. After war, love, and loss, he is not the same young knight. Even so, he dwells in King’s Landing once more, biding his time and serving the Dragons and the will of his lord father when called upon. For now his morrows are veiled, and none know what is next.
From the day of his knighting at age 16, Almer Connington’s fame as a tourney knight has only grown. He is known for gallantry and scrupulous adherence to the strictures of chivalry; these things, and his skill with sword and lance, have won him quite a following. Some of Almer’s more notable appearances in the lists include the Name Day Tournament of Princess Rhaena Targaryen in 152, where he won his spurs; the Tournament at Highgarden of 154, his appearance as a mystery knight in the Royal Tournament of 156, the victory in the Joust of Love of 159, and the Grand Tournament of that same year.
Almer is also a respected leader of men, and his name is spoken with fear in Dorne. His battle exploits during the First and Second Dornish Wars included actions in the Dornish Marches, the Prince’s Pass, the Southern Boneway, and the Yrnwood Marches; the First and Second Sieges of Godsgrace, the Siege of Yrnwood, the Battle of the Carrion Woods, the Submission of Sunspear and the Battle of Salt Shore.
He served in the Honor Guard of Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, and as an adviser and counselor to the Young Dragon in Dorne. In both wars, Almer faced and killed a number of famous knights; among the many are Dagos Manwoody of Kingsgrave, Sunspear’s Captain of the Guard Warren Ladybright, called the War Hound, Egbert the Mighty, Lharys Sand, Galayne the Golden, and Dornish riders and men-at-arms beyond counting.
He has also won great glory in tournaments across the South. Many and more are the names of the great knights he has faced and vanquished; the Jousting Lord, the Sparrowhawk, Bluespur, Arson the Bastard, the Knight of the Fountain, the Knight of the Twilight, the Iron Serpent, Oakshanks, Prince Cadan Martell, Blackbolt, Dareon the Daring, Stevyn Locke, Mad Meros Tyrell, Eddam Frey, Orell Bar Emmon, Josten Arryn, the Kingsguard called the Green Oak, as well as lesser knights such as Jossart Vaith, Corrent Gargalen, Janden Melcolm, Ethos Mertyns, the Black Lion of Lannisport, Tancred Baratheon, the Northman Seth Blackwood, Elmer Crakehall, Josmyn Reyne... the list goes on and on. The fruits of these victories have been substantial as well; riches and fame, as well as a favor from the Princess Rhaena, and a priceless Valyrian dagger from Queen Daena Targaryen.
His wife having been captured and held for ransom by the kingswood bandits under Starion Flowers, Almer recruited a band of knights to ambush the outlaws at the exchange. The outlaws were routed and destroyed, but the lady and Almer’s infant son were alread dead, executed at Flowers’ command. Almer delivered the Starveling into the custody of the justiciar Stevyn Locke for trial instead of slaying him, as Sarmion recommended; a year later, Flowers swung from a gibbet.
Almer’s late mother Galissa Connington was the late Lord Loras Tyrell‘s younger sister, and his grandmother Shella Connington is a sister of Lord Loreon Lannister. He was fostered at Highgarden from childhood. As such, his affinity for the Reach and for his Tyrell cousins tends to be stronger than the connections with his own family and his kinsmen in the Stormlands, though he is known and loved there as well. Almer has a reputation as a staunch loyalist, devoted to the service and defense of House Targaryen, and held in regard by many in the royal household.
He is also known as a talented and audacious commander, and the company of knights and freeriders who rode under his dark griffin banner in Dorne are quite devoted to him. This is a relationship that goes both ways; upon his return to King’s Landing after the Conquest, Almer saw to the pensioning of his veterans’ widows and orphans at some personal expense. The men under his command, including the roguish hedge knight Crispyn of Tarth, petitioned the Hand of the King Viserys Targaryen for permission to wear and display the badge of a black griffin segreant, which many still do with pride.
Almer is a scrupulous devotee to the oldest and best traditions of chivalry. As such, he is among the more prominent members of the knightly association called the Company of the Lance, a society of like-minded champions.
Almer’s squire is his young good-brother, Rease Trant. He has a hot rivalry with Dagur Saltcliffe, though the two seem to respect one another. Almer is also close to his cousins, the Lord-Protector of Highgarden, Ardon Tyrell, and in particular, Reyna Saltcliffe. He is friendly with another cousin, the Kingsguard Jaesin Lannister, and a number of prominent lords and knights in King’s Landing, including Conrad Arryn, Myles Hightower, Malard Beesbury, Nicol Beesbury, Joslyn Beesbury, Stevyn Locke, Whalon Rosby, the Kingsguard Alyn Florent, Falon Tyrell, Jace Rollingford, and Balian Blackwood.
Almer is on cool terms with Jaesin Lannister‘s brother Jonn Lannister, heir to Casterly Rock, with whom he once nearly fought a duel of honor over his treatment of Reyna Saltcliffe. Having once squired for Sarmion Baratheon, Almer is respectful of the Stormbreaker but is not particularly close to him. He has been linked to a number of ladies of the court; among the more notable of these are Jyana Arryn, the Jewel of the Eyrie, Elanna Baratheon, sister to the Stormbreaker, and others of varying prominence. And Almer has a particular attachment to the young Princess Rhaena Targaryen, who has been present at several key moments in his knightly progression, and whom he seems to see as a sort of good luck charm.