Banner-Holder of Tewkesbury,
46 (born 3E 416)
“There’s always been a Kirth up on the hill in Tewkesbury. Quiet lot, not ones for fancy celebrations or feasts. But they’ve always been there, in fair and famine, and they’ll still be there long after we’re all dead and gone.”
- Local bartender of Tewkesbury on House Kirth
The Chevalric bloodline of Kirth has never been majestically wealthy, nor held great tracts of land. What it has done however is survived. The words of House Kirth – We Endure – have never been proven false, as while the West has been torn by eras of bloodshed and war and it’s noble houses risen and fallen, the Kirths have stubbornly endured, an old battered bloodline that refuses to die. Despite being a pledged bloodline, it was a relatively modest family with its only notable trait being its antiquity that Alistair was born into. His father, Haedrian Kirth, ensured through vigorous training that his only child would be ready to take on the responsibilities of a Chevalier and governing the Fief of Tewkesbury, a small tract of land close to the border of the March of Tamwych.
Haedrian was a member of the generation of men and women that birthed such greats as Robert Bridwell and King Gothryd Thagor (indeed, born in the same year as the latter, in 3E 381). Haedrian had played the part of a chevalier and banner-holder during those turbulent years that saw the west rise, fall and rise again. He had fought in Betony against the forces of Sentinel, and found himself taking the pledge and being elected banner-holder for his service, just as his father and his father's father, and so on. During those warped years, Haedrian eventually married a young baronial chevalier, but this was a short lived union, as she gave her life to bring her son into the world. So it was that - with the future of the west completely uncertain - Alistair was born.
Alistair's early years were spent with his father and the many retainers and chevaliers that served him. From the day of his birth he was drilled with the knowledge that one day he too would take the pledge and be a banner-holder, with all the trappings and responsibilities that came with those titles. His father would instill in Alistair the lessons he'd need to learn to prepare for a life of martial service to Daggerfall before marching out to join King Gothryd's side, then returning, then marching out again as the West seemed intent to tear itself apart. Each time his father left Alistair had to put his lessons into practice, each time forced to live the family motto - We Endure. So the pair did endure, through revolt and uncertainty and then into long peace, as Alistair grew into the chevalier that his father had trained him to be.
Oblivion Crisis and rise to Banner-HolderEdit
Alistair had only been of banner-age for a few months when the gates of Oblivion opened. One such gate opened close to Tewkesbury, and Haedrian rallied three hundred fighting men - mostly citizen militia - to repel the Daedra, choosing to meet them in the field before the horde could overrun the town, hoping that the rest of Tewkesbury's banner would arrive in time to reinforce them. While he held the line with the bulk of the army, Alistair rode with a small group of mounted chevaliers. It did not take long for the battle to go ill, the Daedra forcing the small force back. During the course of battle Haedrian fell to a Dremora arrow, and the army of Tewkesbury began to waver.
When it became apparent that a total route was on the horizon, Alistair charged his cavalry into the daedric horde, attempting to provide a rearguard action while the other forces retreated. During the course of the fighting, Alistair’s horse was shot from under him, but he continued to fight on foot. Taking up his father’s flaming sword, he drove at the daedra again and again, until he had outlived his cavalry unit. At the sight of the young chevalier charging fearlessly into the enemy, the remaining troops on the field were inspired and filled with renewed vigour. They managed to hold the line long enough for the remainder of Tewkesbury's chevaliers to arrive and tip the balance, scattering the daedric horde.
Again and again during the Oblivion Crisis, the young Alistair stood out from his peers, already admired for his performance at Tewkesbury. And when the crisis was over, in light of his dedication, the antiquity of the Kirth bloodline and the Daggerfallian love of tradition, he took the Royal Pledge before the Twin Thrones of Raven.
As time passed, Alistair’s skill in both martial and political matters earned him the respect of his fellow chevaliers, particularly his banner-holder, who groomed him for the office. When his predecessor stepped down in 4E 18, Alistair was elected as Banner-Holder, with close to four hundred chevaliers under his banner, along with just over a thousand regular men-at-arms and militiamen from his holdings at Tewkesbury.
War of Tulunese SuccessionEdit
“Send for my chevaliers.”
“How many, my lord?”
“All of them...”
- Sir Alistair and his Steward upon receiving the call to arms
Alistair was among the first to muster his banner and ride out to join the Lord-Marcher’s army when the call for war was made. As he commanded quite a large banner and had taken the Royal Pledge, he was given command of part of the vanguard, and as a result the Glennish became quite familiar with Alistair’s fiery blade, and it was not long before the sight of his banner brought about a certain sense of dread, as it meant facing either a near unstoppable cavalry charge or an implacable wall of infantry.
Being part of the Lord Marcher's vanguard, Alistair and his banner fought in nearly every major engagement in the war. His experience in battle and the skill of his chevaliers, as well as the size of his banner, meant that he could be counted on to perform pivotal roles in the grand strategies of Lord-Marcher Bridwell. While he fought in many battles in the bloody campaign, there were some where he stood out. During the Second Battle of Kirkborne, Alistair lead the charge that shattered the Barional rearguard of Percival Morwig's army. His role in the Siege of Cathwood was a more subdued affair. While his banner was able to take hold of one of the walls, this act was overshadowed - and rightly so - by the act of heroism and tenacity that was conducted by a lowly baronial chevalier named Emiline Penlan (who's career would skyrocket to great heights from here).
His greatest achievement was at the Battle of Cathwood that followed. Despite his usual place in the vanguard, he was instead placed in command of a huge cavalry contingent and held back at Lord-Marcher Bridwell's command. The battle unfolded before them, and then at the right moment, the word was given, and Alistair led the cavalry in an earth-shattering charge, one of Bridwell's many well timed assaults that ploughed through the Glennish lines. With similar effect to his actions at Kirkborne, the Glennish were forced into retreat. While he had already earned a reputation among the Glennish as Brightsword, he also now earned the nickname among his Daggerfallian compatriots of "Bridwell's Battering Ram". While Alistair served dutifully for the rest of the war, his involvement was not as worthy of distinction as his acts at Kirkborne and Cathwood.
Glenpoint fell and its territories were nominally dismantled, but there was little time for recuperation. Within the year Glenumbria was in turmiol, and so Alistair rode out again, one of the hundreds of chevaliers that went forth to take part in the Voiceless Moorstag of Glenumbria, and again was an instrument that expanded the soverienty of Daggerfall. His service in both circumstances did not go unrewarded, and his sphere of influence widened as he was charged with the upkeep and defence of more territory, his banner expanding to number over five-hundred chevaliers. Since that day, he has spent his time ensuring that his chevaliers are well drilled and ready for anything, as well as supporting his family and reinforcing the lessons that his father passed on to him. And so the children of Alistair Kirth find themselves under the watchful eye of their father, the living embodiment of their family words.
Unlike Haedrian, who saw his wife die in childbirth and raised a single child, Alistair has a brood of five children and a wife still living. He is a loving husband and father, equal parts gentle and stern. As a Chevalier, his expectations of them to uphold the family virtues and lifestyle have always been abundantly clear, though this has been expressed to varying extents among his offspring.
Sienna Kirth (née Mornay) is still considered a beauty among the people of Tewkesbury. Even as she approaches her thirty-eighth year her figure remains curvaceous, her skin pale and her hair like a field of burnished gold. A member of a fairly destitute chevalric house within the Kirth banner, she was used to making do with little and yet remaining stubbornly proud of her heritage. Alistair had been promised to Sienna from a very young age, her father Sir Hurin Mornay and Haedrian having established the union years before the Oblivion Crisis took place. However the pair did not actually marry until Alistair had fully consolidated his place in Tewkesbury, finally tying the knot shortly after Sienna’s twentieth birthday.
She is renowned for her good looks and fertility, as well as sharing a similarly stoic outlook as her husband, although she is noticeably softer than Alistair, with far less of a temper. Although unable to become a chevalier due to a lack of funds (a problem not faced by her older brother), she is a highly intelligent and – despite her impoverished upbringing, or perhaps due to it – very good with coin. As a result, she often takes on administrative duties when her husband is unable to attend to them.
She is one of the few people that Alistair lets his guard down for, and the pair share a strong, genuine love in which few words need be spoken. However, it wasn't always thus; though Sienna was quite heavily enamoured with him, Alistair wed her more or less out of duty, and they had a very rocky start due to Alistair's near constant emphasis on training. However, bit by bit, Sienna slowly grew on the stoic chevalier, and came to love her just as much as she him.
Looking at the new scions of House Kirth, it is clear that most of them favour their father in term of appearance.
Tristan Kirth, the eldest, favours his father in every way aside from the colour of his hair, inheriting golden locks from his mother. At a year past banner age, he regularly takes part in banner-drills, and during such drills he is treated no differently by his father than the other chevaliers. However, outside of this, he is groomed to rule the fiefdom and take up Alistair's responsibilities as Banner-Holder. In terms of temperment, he combines his father's sense of duty and honour with Sienna's temper. He has long prepared himself for the duties and responsibilities that being a royal banner holder contains.
Lyra Kirth, aged sixteen, is a year out from banner age, and set to become a chevalier also. She vaguely recalls her mother in the shape of her face, but her eyes, hair and mindset are all her father's, possessing both his temperment and stoicness. Of all Alistair's children, she embodies the stubborn Kirth aura the most. She hopes to be a chevalier of great respect and service, aiming for nothing less than a member of the Royal Dragonguard. One of her heroines is Emeline Penlan, for obvious reasons.
Edward Kirth, unlike his older siblings, shows little interest in becoming a chevalier. Instead, he seems destined to walk the path of the mage, as even at three and ten, he already has quite the aptitude for spellcraft. However, Alistair has ensured that he is also trained in the way of the sword, and as a result, Edward may grow up to become a fierce battlemage. He is spitting image of Alistair, with the exception of having his mother's warmer eyes. He also favours his mother's more gentle and expressive temperment.
Igraine Kirth is only ten years of age, but carries herself much like her mother did at her age. In looks however, she appears to borrow more from her father than her mother. Though still young, it is clear that swords and spells do not interest her, and it seems more likely that she will persue mercantile endeavour, and is already quite good with coin.
Harlon Kirth is the youngest child, and at eight years of age, it is hard to tell where his interests will take him, although his quiet nature suggests he will take after his father as he grows up. Curiously, he is the only child that favours his mother in appearance, though he has his father's dark hair.
“He’s never been a hard-spoken man.”
“Clearly you’ve never missed a pass with the lance during a banner-drill.”
- Two Chevaliers on Sir Alistair Kirth
Alistair’s voice when speaking in casual conversation is a gentle rumble, reflecting his typical mindset. As a rule, he is a good and honest man, capable of great empathy and humility despite his rank and reputation, with a rigid moral code. He seldom raises his voice, even in anger, with a rage that is usually slow building, but formidable when unleashed (something the Chevaliers in his banner can attest to). Most of the time however, he is a polite and honourable – even if not the most well versed in noble etiquette – individual, if perhaps a bit stern and aloof.
On the battlefield and in the training yard however, it becomes a very different story. His gentle rumble turns into an earth shattering roar, and it becomes glaringly obvious that this is not a man to be trifled with. In banner-drills he ensures that every chevalier under his command is able to take a hit, fight on when others break; in a word, endure. He makes his expectations clear and shows little public sympathy for those who cannot meet them, though may address the matter privately in a more empathetic manner if he feels the need. In short, while he does care for the chevaliers under his command, he sees no reason to coddle them.
Having spent his whole life killing others, he has seen firsthand the atrocities soldiers commit in the name of king and country. As a result, that has led him to shun the tourney scene entirely for two reasons; time preparing to fight in tourneys could be better used in preparing for war, and that the existence of tournaments trivialises violence, resulting in men who have the baring of fighters and yet haven't been in a real battle, deluding themselves with grandeur.
Despite his occupation - or perhaps as a result - he shows great distaste for unnecessary conflict, believing that war should only be used when all other methods have been exhausted. However, in war he is not afraid to make the hard choices in order to get the job done.
Standing at a fairly commanding six feet, Alistair’s height gives him a certain gravitas that when combined with his fairly broad build leaves little doubt to his profession. His physique is that of an endurance fighter; well-built and sturdy but not ungainly. However, at an age of five-and-forty, he isn’t as young as he used to be, and nor as fit, and his best years are now behind him. His body is covered in many scars, each one earned as a result of a life-time of violence.
His face too is similarly weathered, a few scars here and there further highlighting Alistair’s history of warfare. Light blue eyes look out from under a stern brow, eyes that give very little away. A thick brown beard coats his anvil of a jaw. Unlike many Daggerfallian nobles his face is fairly heavy set and lacking in elven features, hinting at a more northern ancestry somewhere in his bloodline. His nose too has been broken at some point, adding to his battle-weary appearance. His brown hair sits just above his shoulders at its longest, though part of it is tied back out of his face.
Attire and equipmentEdit
Like so many other chevaliers, Alistair considers himself a soldier first and his garb reflects this. Very rarely does he go anywhere without wearing some form of armour. Most commonly, he is seen wearing a long coat of plates, made of brown leather and inserted steel plates, which he also wears with a heavy plate cuirass, gorget, pauldrons, greaves and vambraces when fully dressed for battle, coupled with barbute helm with small wings at each temple. Otherwise, Alistair wears simple tunics, leathers and surcoats. As with many chevaliers, Alistair possesses a long duster style coat. Made of a drab, greenish-brown leather, it appears well worn and designed for practicality rather than appearance, but it's simply and utilitarian design belies the fine make of the coat. This implies that while it appears simple, the wearer is a man of importance. Often when travelling he will pair this with his coat of plates.
He is virtually never seen without his longsword; a three foot long weapon with an elongated handle and wide hilt. The weapon also features a runic enchantment that allows the blade to catch fire, but it requires a conscious effort by the wielder to activate and maintain the flame. He is also carries a heavy dirk on the opposite hip as a backup weapon. Alternatively, he has been known to wear a shortsword on his left hip, dirk on his right and his longsword slung over his back. While preferring to wield his sword in both hands, he also possesses a round shield.
“Sir Alistair? The man’s a juggernaut. So many other soldiers charge in with zeal and fury, and end up spent by the battle’s end, but not him. I’ve seen Sir Alistair cut down just as many men as the others, take hits that would stagger a lesser man, and by the battle’s end look only slightly worse for wear then when he started. He just refuses to tire, and refuses to die.”
- Sir Cuthbert, a member of the Order of the Dragon
Alistair has spent his whole life killing other men in the service of the Thagor crown, and as a result has gotten very good at it. He may not be as fast or strong as he used to be, but his experience results in him being able to predict an opponent’s moves faster. However, his signature skill is his supreme endurance and ability to take a hit, allowing him to defeat his opponents through sheer attrition. Whether on foot or in the saddle, Alistair is a formidable foe, though past his prime.
His skill in command, strategic and tactical thinking is also impressive, knowing how to command soldiers and counter whatever the enemy throws at him. This skill has made him part of a great many war counsels during his time, and each time his advice – while hardly revolutionary – has been considered sound. He is however not the most politically savvy of individuals; he knows enough to ensure that his own holdings prosper and grow – or at the very least endure – but he is no political mastermind tugging the strings of hundreds.
As well as command and combat of mundane nature, he is also somewhat linked to the winds of magic, as evidenced by his ability to manipulate the flames on his family blade. On a more innate level, his already considerable constitution is amplified by a strong (even for a Breton) magical resistance to various spells. Although he has a sound grasp of magical theory, he himself is unable to cast any spells himself.