House Cannith arrived on the island of Dread more than 50 years ago. They were led here by the infamous privateer Rory Barbarossa. It is clear that House Cannith knew about Black 13, which of itself is a mystery as the elves and dragons took great pains to expunge every mention of the Mark of Death from history. As the Mark of Death was exterminated hundreds of years before most other Dragonmarks even appeared, elimination of all memory of the mark was an achievable goal. It is a mystery how they failed.
However Cannith somehow came to know about Black 13 and secretly offered a reward for its recovery. Rory Barbarossa found Red Carnival and the Isle of Dread, purportedly by accident. House Cannith wasted no time in claiming the island as their own. As the secrets of the Isle were revealed, House Cannith put more and more resources toward claiming all the island might contain. In time, two heirs to the house, the young Arren and his uncle Zorlan d’Cannith, grandson and son of patriarch Starrin d’Cannith respectively, were hard at work on the island.
Arren d’Cannith was dedicated to building a golem army to sell to combatants in the Last War. It was here that autonomous warforged were first developed, using ambient energy from Black 13. Once the trick was learned, creation of warforged became possible elsewhere.
The forge on the Isle of Dread was too small to make very many warforged, and was tasked with experimenting with new kinds of warforged and generating prototypes. One problem was that every 20 warforged or so would be ‘born’ with the personality of Minnara d’Vol, who still ‘lives’ within the tomb and is bent upon revenge against dragons and elves. These warforged were destroyed at once upon discovery of this dangerous ‘flaw.’
Zorlan d’Cannith was tasked with running the Island – he made many deals with the native tribes, including the goblins and dragonborn- and also with recovering Black 13. He spent 25 years, half of his life, testing the defenses of the tomb, before finally succeeding in claiming Black 13. One factor in his success was the creation of a duplicate tomb in a secret Cannith enclave far beneath the city of Sharn. He also sent countless warforged to their destruction within the island tomb.
Black 13 was taken to the Cannith enclave in Cyre (codenammed ‘Amber’ in the notes but Tolstoff had deduced the true meaning here). The tomb was ‘dead’ while the shard was away. Two years later the Day of Mourning happened.
Sometime in the past four years, elven agents of the Undying Court recovered Black 13 from the Mournland, and put it back in the tomb. Minnara killed them, and one stalks the Isle of Dread as a ghost dedicated to killing all sentient life on the Island.
Arren and Zorlan d’Cannith both survived the Day of Mourning. Zorlan is a baron of the House and oversees Cannith East. It was he who ultimately approved the commission of the Cannith forge in Serenity.
Arren has disappeared. He is rumored to be in the Mournland, creating new warforged and building a nation of what he considers to be an autonomous, if very young, race.