The Taranisaiis are an old family, and greatly respected in their ancestral homeland of the North. It is popularly thought that they are directly descended from the legendary figure King Taranis, an actual historical figure and the protagonist of the famous Epic of King Taranis. This is in fact untrue, and the actual founder of the Taranisaii line was Arddryn Taranisaii, a poor Northerner from Malvern who was originally known simply as Arddryn the Weaver. However, when Arddryn managed to become a griffiner and became steadily more popular among her people, she began to hold ambitions not only for herself, but for her entire family.
Seizing on the popular rumours circulating at the time, Arddryn set out to create a legacy by claiming to be descended from Taranis, and giving herself the surname of Taranisaii - a word she simply invented, spelling and all, since she was only semi-literate. Legend has it that she came up with it when she was asked if she truly was descended from Taranis, and replied with "aye, Taranis, aye". It is certainly true that the name Taranisaii is pronounced "Taranis-aye".
Eventually however, this posturing became unnecessary as Arddryn and her relatives - most notably her cousin Arenadd, quickly made the family name famous in its own right. Subsequently other Northerners, newly freed and wishing to create legacies of their own, adopted similar names, sometimes in order to (falsely) claim descent from one of the heroes of Arddryn or Arenadd's original rebellions.
Today the Taranisaiis are the royal family of the North, feared and hated by Southerners and revered by their people. They have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness - in the South it is said that the last person you should ever put your trust in is a Taranisaii. They are also said to be great warriors and natural leaders, with a special blessing from the Night God herself.
However Taranisaiis have a tendency to live troubled lives, and few of them have ever lived without great loss and suffering. It is said that not one single Taranisaii has ever died peacefully in their old age. A Taranisaii's end, when it comes, comes violently.