Althis (pronounced ăl·thĭss) comes from a prominent family, originally from Ship. When he was 19 years old, in 884, they were among the founders of Port. His father, Reginald, was the captain of the Victory, the lead ship of the exploratory expedition that discovered Rain Isle. Althis had been a member of Reginald's crew, and by the time The Order began raising a navy in 901, he was its captain (having assumed the position in 900). His clan maintained a major trading business in Ship, which supplied goods to various coastal villages, including Port. The Victory was the flagship of his clan's trading fleet, and had a reputation for having defeated a number of pirate ships that had dared attack them over the years (the only one he ever failed to beat was the Kaizoku Jidai). During the Coming of the Order, Althis joined the navy as a captain, and was given a new ship to command (while his cousin Sebastian assumed command of the Victory). However, at one point during the course of the war, General Poss made Althis one of his three majors in the army. Following the Battle of Triscot in 903, Althis returned to the Navy, promoted to rear admiral. After Admiral Drake was killed in the Laser Plot of 904, Althis was promoted to Admiral of the Navy. (He also retained his position as commander of the Port fleet, rather than appointing a new rear admiral.) Later that year, when the surname law was passed, Althis's clan chose the name "Portman."
Althis had always thought quite highly of his clan, and so was strongly in favor of the class system that was introduced during the Coming, and greatly disdained anyone who disagreed, particularly if they were of the nobility themselves. This led to a deep dislike of Adam of Triscot, whose own clan were at least as great as Althis's, but who completely rejected the concept of nobility. His sense of superiority to the peasantry was strengthened after the establishment of the Second Order, when his father became Chief Councillor of Port. This sense of the inherent superiority of the nobility led him to join a secret society called The Cabal, sometime after the war. However, when he learned in 912 of certain actions taken by the Cabal prior to his joining, he was shocked and disillusioned, and, though loyal to the Second Order, took part in a temporary alliance with The Chaos (whose own navy was made up chiefly of pirates), against the forces of the Cabal, who were loyal to Demos Royal.