Title: Duke of Thorkan, Knight-Commander of the Knights of the Old Gate, Councilman and the Knight of Ebony of the Fraternal Order of the Knights of the Mines
The Duke is the epitome of a typical Thorkanian male. He is rather tall for most Bretons, standing around six feet and two inches. Throw in a set of broad shoulders, and you have a rather large frame in need of filling out. This frame, however, is filled out in true Montrend style with a powerfully muscled upper body, yet little definition. Like many of his line, he could easily be described as a mountain of a man.
His hair is a very dark brown, close to black, and is kept quite short and close to his skull. In his youth, it was longer and swept to the side, but that was before the war and when he had time to gallivant around. His eyes are the color of the iron that is found in abundance in Thorkan's mines. He also has several noticeable scars, the most prominent, and most recent, being one that reaches from his right cheekbone almost to his ear. Another notable scar lies on the left side of his ribs, just above his fifth rib. It is a jagged, yet small scar, and has a twin on his back, received when he was a young boy caught in a failed assassination attempt.
Through years of training and fighting, Veric has honed his skill with the sword and shield, his sword an extension of his arm and his shield almost as formidable a weapon as his sword. Perhaps due to his near-death experience, he never fared well with the bow and other marksmanship weapons, but did manage to develop intermediate skills with the spear. Accompanying these skills of war, Veric was able to learn a simple healing spell and also one that could enhance the volume of his voice.
In his younger years, he developed a strong affinity for military history and also anything pertaining to Thorkan. This resulted in a large collection of books from various corners of Tamriel expounding on one military campaign or another, and even a small collection of scrolls and tomes on mining theories, maps, and basic knowledge on most known minerals.
The Duke's primary weapon is a sword made of ebony, which was mined from a vein of the ore near the Granite Keep which had gone dry sometime in the 2nd Era. It was smelted and worked into a beautiful blade by Veric's ancestor and the founder of House Montrend, Rurn. For the grip, Rurn had turned to a local carpenter, whom he knew to be a master at his work. The man had found a beautiful dark walnut tree mere days earlier and had not known what to do with it, until the sword had come to him. A beautiful hilt was thus crafted, and the symbol of the Ebonarm etched into the pommel. For the crossguard, Rurn had turned to a fellow member of his secret order and the Altmeri master-smith had fashioned a beautiful crossguard of Quicksilver. The grandson of that same master-smith, also a brother of their secret order, had given Veric a dagger of purely Elvish design upon his initiation into the fraternal order following the death of his father, Edwinn. If asked about its origins, however, Veric claims that it was simply found deep in the vaults of the Keep on one of many explorations as a young boy.
In terms of clothing, Veric prefers to wear varying shades of grey or black, but only when the wearing of his armor was frowned upon. Speaking of the armor, he regularly chose to don that of the Knights of the Old Gate, which resembled regular steel plate, but was slightly more decorative and also bore resemblence to an armor from the province of Skyrim (Nordic Carved Armor). Regardless of regular clothes or armor, however, Veric always donned the cape of the Knights of the Old Gate. Trimmed in grey wolf fur, the cape was pure white with a depiction of the Old Gate in black.
Veric was the firstborn, and only, son of Duke Edwinn Montrend, and as such, had been 'groomed' to rule Thorkan since birth. Groomed is not a good word to use because Edwinn, just like his father, and his father before him, was a hard, stern, and tough man. There was a gentler side, but that was only for his family and closest friends and Veric could remember many a smile that the public and average Thorkanian would not believe. As soon as he could walk, he was carrying a small knife, no bigger than one used for eating, but a sharp, pointy thing nonetheless. Almost every male Montrend had some amount of military experience, whether it be in the wars that have shaped Tamriel, petty squabbles with other minor states of High Rock, or simply dispersing of bandits, pirates, or smugglers.
The Granite Keep, which was situated on the pinnacle of a mountain between Thorkan Park and Old Gate, was a challenging place for a young boy to grow up. It was not vast or grand as one would expect, but rather small. In other words, it was almost impossible to get away with the mischief that most young boys get themselves into. This raw energy needed a focus though, and his father was able to direct it into learning, succeeding where most parents did not. In Veric, he found a student yearning to learn how to rule, how to fight, and anything else he could learn. His mother wanted him to have some affinity with magic, but Veric was simply uninterested in it for the most part, and discouraged by many others. He would take hours upon hours of swordsmanship practice over one hour of magic, and he often did, alternating tutors, so he could practice against many different styles. It was during one of these lessons when he was around the age of thirteen that he witnessed his first real taste of political intrigue. It was much more up close and personal than he had expected however.
He had begun an elaborate ruse to sneak in his blade and catch his tutor off guard, but after the first turn, he found himself spinning in the opposite direction due to a sudden impact in his chest. It took a second to comprehend what was happening, but the yell for guards from his tutor, as well as the massive bulk of the man covering him, soon made him feel the pain that was growing in his chest. Looking down, he discovered an arrow sticking through his torso.
The healers said he was one of the luckiest cases they had ever seen, for the arrow had gone straight through, without hitting anything vital. The sudden turn that he had used to begin his elaborate ruse had been what saved him. The assassin had let fly of his arrow and watched it, instead of firing another, and was soon caught as he tried to escape the keep. When Veric was recovered enough to stand for an extended amount of time, he put on his best clothes, strapped on a short-sword that was already starting to look small on the growing boy, and attended the sentencing of his would-be assassin, showing no fear or pain. In a move that shocked many, his father, Edwinn, had asked his opinion on the matter, in front of everyone. The young boy had looked really hard at the assassin, and he remembered everything about the moment. He looked scared. He was on his knees in front of the throne and the raised dais that served to separate the Duke and his retinue from everyone else. His pale blue eyes were flitting about and his light yellow hair seemed stringy and frayed. He almost looked like a common beggar, but a common beggar did not simply infiltrate the Granite Keep with a high quality bow, and an Elvish knife. There was something more to it. The young Veric had slowly stood, but did so firmly, and made his way to the kneeling prisoner. "Look up." Once the prisoner had accomplished that and their eyes had locked, Veric simply stated, "You have but one chance to save yourself. Tell us who paid you, and you will not swing from the gallows." The prisoner looked as if he was going to say something, but instead, he gathered saliva in his mouth and reared back to spit in the young boy's face. The spittle missed it's target by a long shot, however, as the boy's fist connected with the man's jaw a split-second before. Taking that as his answer, Veric returned to his father, his judgement clear on his face. The man would hang.
Several years later came Veric's first experience with killing someone with his own hand, as his father charged him and several other Knights of the Old Gate to travel into the mountains and disperse a bandit camp that had been harassing traders. The Duke had only tasked his son and the others of dispersing, and had not given any guidelines or anything else to work with, leaving all of the planning to Veric, who had already begun to garner respect from not only the other knights and nobles, but also the commonfolk. The victory was flawless, with no casualties sustained, and every bandit taken down. Veric had personally killed their leader in single combat. The search of the camp had even turned up a large crate of precious jewels that were freshly mined and uncut, being smuggled out of Thorkanian mines, which led to the disruption of a large smuggling ring.
It was several more years later when the war between Northpoint and Shornhelm began. The Old Gate was a key location and several very large battles took place there, since it straddled the highway that connected the cities of Shornhelm and Northpoint. The Gate had been there for as long as anyone could remember, sealing off passage into the Wrothgarian Mountains. When the forces of Shornhelm and her vassals had amassed to come down the Wrothgarian's and surprise Thorkan and Northpoint, they found a smaller number of troops, but that smaller number were well dug-in, with fortifications stretching up into the mountains along the road, leaving the actual Gate as the final barricade. The entirety of the Knights of the Old Gate and every able-bodied Thorkanian that could be mustered were in this first massive battle. The battle lasted for several days, but the force from Northpoint that the King had sent to help delay Shornhelm and the whole of the Thorkanian army held off the much larger horde of Shornhelm and broke wave after wave on their spears, pikes, halberds, and arrows. And when those of Shornhelm somehow got past those, they were cut to pieces by the fierce guardians of the pass.
The victory was widely celebrated as it had also provided cover for the main force of Northpoint, and her other vassals to strike along the coast and take Shornhelm's coastal vassals, leaving Shornhelm herself for the final prize. Veric had escaped the war with a couple of scars but nothing severe, and had gone far beyond what had been expected of him by his father and the majority of the war council. This had earned him a high standing in the Knights of the Old Gate, along with several rewards from his father, including one of the Ebony mines and land near the city of Thorkan Park, which was where most of the wealthier class spent their winters. The Duke, however, did not come out for the better, after sustaining a severe injury in one of the final skirmishes with troops from Shornhelm. The healers did all they could, but Duke Edwinn was nearing his sixtieth year, and his body was not as strong as it had been. On his deathbed, he spoke to his son one final time. What was discussed between the two has never been told to anyone, but part of it involved a ceremony meant only for a Knight of the Mines. The next meeting of the secret Order was in the near future, and the new Duke was charged with attending and giving a coded, verbal report to the council from the now-deceased Knight of Ebony.
And so Veric, now with the title of Duke and already having sworn fealty to the King of Northpoint, rode towards his home at Thorkan Park, but under cover of darkness, he passed the estate and kept riding. He rode until he reached the ruins of Sancre Tor, riding under the guise of an Ebony merchant. He remembered very clearly the report his father had relayed to him and the instructions he had been given. He found the hidden entrance and descended through passages that seemed to have not been used in many years. The tunnels dumped him out behind a specific seat that sat empty, while the rest of the seats that formed a semi-circle reached to his left and right were occupied by robed figures. Straight ahead was a raised dais and table with three more seats, of a more ornate appearance, and behind them was a massive statue that Veric had never seen before, but assumed was Reymon Ebonarm, by what his father had told him. After he gave the report and allayed everyone's fears, he was inducted into the secret fraternity of knights.
Since that night, he has been a changed man, but not so much as to raise suspicion. That had been just several years ago, and the Duchy had prospered since then, increasing their production in the mines and the smithies. A few minor skirmishes with Shornhelm patrols still happened every now and then, but never anything major, and they usually end up even with one or two of each side getting killed or seriously injured.
- Gavanicus is a Nibenese Imperial, thirty two years of age, and a former merchant that specialized in Quicksilver. He stands a full six inches shorter than Veric and is nowhere near as stout, but the man is made up of lean muscle, which is covered in flowing tattoos that depict various geometric designs, one flowing flawlessly into another. His hair is a rather common shade of brown and kept loose, with a length that ends just above his shoulders. His eyes are as noteworthy as his hair is not, for they are a vibrant mixture of blue and green, and a majority of his clothing includes these colors, keeping true to the Nibenese fashion.
- The merchant had lorded over a small, yet rich trading post and company, based on the banks of the Niben Bay between the Corbolo and Silverfish rivers, focusing on the Quicksilver that could be found in the nearby Valus Mountains. With the fall of the Empire and the bloody civil war that followed, Gavanicus did what he could to protect his family and the families that resided at his trading post, but it was all for naught. During a business expedition to secure more trading rights in Bravil and Leyawiin, a band of marauders from the old Fort Cedrian had raided and pillaged the trading post, slaughtering everyone they could find, stealing what was not nailed down, and burning the rest.
- Upon his return, Gavanicus had found nothing but smoldering ruins and dead bodies. He had grieved for several days, cremating the bodies of his wife and three children, and praying to his ancestral cult of Heroes, but also to his adopted deity, the Ebonarm. It was during his prayers to the Black Knight that he found direction, and after ensuring that his secret vault, which had remained undiscovered during the pillaging, was sealed and disguised, he sailed up the Corbolo river, bought a wagon and horse and drove to his Quicksilver mines and smelter. His wagon loaded with as much Quicksilver ore and ingots as it could carry, Gavanicus returned to his vault, deposited his cargo, and went in search of the only other Knight he had been able to identify, Veric Montrend, whose identity was known to the entire order.
Cienele, Duchess of ThorkanEdit
- Cienele is a lowborn Breton woman from a small village in the Southern District of Thorkan, twenty four years of age, who is remarkably skilled with a spear, and also with daggers. Her father had been a senior Knight-Brother in the Knights of the Old Gate and when her mother and brother died of illness, she went to live with her father in the city of Old Gate, spending most of her time with him at The Barracks, preferring to learn martial arts and how to wield a weapon rather than how to cook or be a maid. It was at The Barracks that she first met Veric, and fell head over heels, as many young girls often do.
- As far as looks go, Cienele is an average Breton female, with an average height, yet athletic build, pale skin, and long blonde hair that she kept braided. What really sets her apart is her attitude however, which, while it can be caustic at times, is a tool she uses to warn others that she is not to be trifled with. Since she was not allowed to join the Knights of the Old Gate, she assembled a suit of armor that vaguely resembled their's, with predominantly steel plate, but also an open-faced, Orcish helm. Truth be told, she was a magnificent sight in battle.
- Before her marriage to Veric, she wore a simple pair of breeches underneath a rather common blue dress, held together with a dark brown leather corset. After her elevation to Duchess, however, she has taken to wearing more regal gowns of a vibrant blue or red, but always with her Ebony ring, which had been Veric's first gift to her, partially symbolizing the unbreakable bond their unbreakable bond, but also her devotion to the Ebonarm.