Forsilvra :: Winds of Change
Old 09-04-2011, 06:01 PM
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Default Duncan Montrose

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Name: Mike
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Character Name: Duncan Montrose
Character Age: 51
Gender: Male
Birthday (including year): 3/22/190
Current Location: Belleile, Forsilvra
House [Birth and Marriage if applicable]: Montrose
Banner Appearance:

House Description:
The Montroses are an old house, centuries older than the throne of Forsilvra. They rule as Earls of the Green over unruly clans that occupy a cold, raiy land of hills and rock. They are not overly rich, not exceedingly educated, nor well acquainted with the world. The biggest thing they have is their pride, and their swords. Their land boasts the best archers in the five kingdoms, good scouts and hunters, and lots of its men served as mercenaries, mostly in Arbrecht, but sometimes beyond. Montroses claim their descent from an ancient hero Monroe The Bold, a great scourge of Arbrecht, who was defeated by Jerrold himself, and from then on assisted the Great Warrior in his adventures.

Player Base: Charles Dance
Appearance:

Personality:
Duncan used to be a merry man. Then he changed. Thirty years past he left Maldenham in badly hidden anger. To this day, he holds a grudge toward his now dead father. His relations with his older brother, Malcolm, Earl of the Green, are difficult and often strained, but much better than they used to be. He keeps in contact with Maldenham mostly for the sake of Edme and Craig, the younger siblings that he never had a problem with, and he still holds dear the ideas behind the clan – everyone is a brother or sister, and they have to protect each other.

Duncan dislikes women who weep like geese or gossip too much, men who weep like cowards and talk too much, people of both sexes who think too much of themselves, and high lords of the south who think they’re more refined than the north. Everything in the color green he immediately chucks off his plate. He trusts nobody who deals in politics – a game he had to learn the hard way when he arrived at court. And he gets nauseous at sea.

For the likes, the Seneschal enjoys fights, swordsmanship, archery, hunting, horse rides, and the sight of blood. He also likes to dance, but only the raucuous, semi barbaric dances of Maldenham that scarcely fit the court. He tries to read a lot, albeit does it slowly, for it is a skill that he didn’t have before coming to Forsilvra. He shares a typical Montrose sense of humor, cheeky, uncouth, targeting real or imaginary flaws in the people that surround him, sometimes bawdy.

His manner is sour and abrupt. Only few ever see him at a lighter disposition, including his children, his ward and the king. When he is nice to the boy ruler, it is only because he sees an opportunity in befriending the king. And Duncan is much of an opportunist. Highly ambitious, he is abreast of happenings at court, and always has a hand in some scheme or two.

He loves his family deeply, but he is very secretive about his feelings and intentions. Of all his children, Kenna is perhaps his favourite. She reminds him a lot of her mother, a woman that he loved truly, for whom he abandoned his previous adulterous ways. He seems to be keeping faith to her, even though she’s been dead for over twenty years. He has been approached with offers of remarriage, but turned down all of them. He tries to give equal attention to both of his sons, especially that he has not yet decided which one should be his true heir. Duncan tries to keep to the ancient rules of tanistry, which make the heir elective.

History:
Apologies for the novel length

There were no great signs in the water or in the sky when Gregor Montrose’s second son was born. The child was strong and made his father proud. There was a feast in the honor of Duncan, but next day everybody went about their matters. Not only did Gregor have a son already, he was not even the Earl of Green yet, although he was carrying the title of Tanist – the heir and second-in-command of the Montrose clan.

For the first few years nothing remarkable happened. Duncan grew into a healthy boy, and slowly honed his strength doing everyday chores about the keep. He carried pails of water, sacks of grain and flour, cleaned clothes and skinned game brought from the hunt. In the evenings he listened to songs and stories given by bards, old men and wondering warrior monks. He especially liked to hear the stories about his clans exploits, their famous raids and feuds with other clans, of which they almost got victorious. His favorite was Monroe The Bold. He told all the adults that he would grow to be a famous warrior and he’d become another Monroe, famous in songs and histories. Of course, the men laughed, and after a time women started scolding him for it.

Still, when he was seven, Duncan stole into the chamber of his uncle, who was in charge of training the castle youths, and won him over. From then on, the boy had started training arduously. At first, he was not allowed a weapon, not even a dull knife, or a stick. He was still mostly running errands for his uncle, and watching in envy as Malcolm wrestled and played at swords with older boys. But that changed merely a month later, when he was approached by three boys from lesser clans, wards and hostages of the Earl. They came to bully him. By the time his uncle found him, Duncan was beaten bloody, had a broken rib and some scrapes, but one of the attackers was in even worse state, and the lead bully’s nose was broken. Duncan was tall and strong for his age, with a heart for the fight, and he didn’t let anyone less than a Montrose lord over him. After a few days of convalescence, he emerged in the training yard with a wooden sword in his hand.

By the age of ten, Duncan was as fearsome as they got. He regularly beat other boys with swords and with bows, even some of the older ones. He rarely fought against Malcolm, but when he did, they were first almost matched, and as the fights occurred, gradually Duncan increased his advantage over the older brother. It was just that he had more natural skill and determination for the sword than his brother. He grew confident and more haughty with every fight he won. He hungered to prove himself, and to earn the right to carry a sword like the adults did. In Maldenham culture, a boy becomes a man when he is given his first sword, but he must prove that he is ready.

Duncan’s chance came sooner than anyone expected. When he was just twelve, some serfs of Montrose were overrun in a raid by the Bodie clan, Montroses’ most stalwart competitors whose allegiance was only formal. Some people were killed, some cattle stolen, but most of all, the honor of Montrose lay at stake. Swift retribution was necessary for the Earl to keep other clans in check. Duncan was as outraged as any of the adults, and furious that his older brother was invited to an evening council of the Earl, his sons and chieftains. With no care for the punishment he would get if he was caught, the boy eavesdropped through a door while the men decided to move the following morning against the Bodie stronghold. With heart in his throat, drunk on the vision of glory and fame, Duncan stole a sword and a horse that night, and galloped away from the family lands an into the Bodie lands. He knew the way, as his father took him twice to the fair that took place at the Bodie seat. An hour after dawn, he spotted the buildings of the place, and lay in hiding waiting. Half the day he waited, restless and hungry, wet from the ever falling rain, until he spotted the van of his grandfather’s troops. The Bodies, alarmed by their fleeing serfs, left their keep to give Montrose battle, although they were outnumbered three to one.

The following events are known as the Lion’s Fury. The forces of Montrose and allies beat the Bodies totally. The leaders of the clan surrendered and meekly invited the victors into their castle, for their defeat to be feasted on their own cattle, bread and mead. Among the glorious fighters was one twelve years old boy, sharing places with the men of the Montrose. The old Earl of Green sat and listened to a “trial” in which Duncan’s own father described to the assembled his son’s “atrocities”: theft, insubordination, recklessness, and pressed for the righteous punishment. Half the way into the scene, Gregor suddenly changed the tune, boasting and counting the valiant deeds of his younger son, how he had slain ten foes himself, and restored honor to his family. Cheered and congratulated, Duncan was then given the same sword he’d stolen and used in battle, and dubbed the Quickfoot for rushing to the battle whilst all the grown warriors still remained at Maldenham.

Considered a grown-up by the clan rights, Duncan now started to travel round the Green with the men of the Earl, collecting due and making sure the clans were still in obedience to their lord. He liked this life, every night under a different roof, or at campfire, sometimes a fight with a brigand, sometimes a woman’s body wrapped around his own. When he reached fifteen, he was tall and handsome, able to overcome any opponent in a fight, and woo most country girls with a clan dance. The Quickfoot stood at the head of a warrior band, still delivering Earl’s harsh justice to the land, and started to gain notoriety, while rarely staying at home, with his own family, though loving them no less.

Then it rocketed, and again because of the Bodies. The defeated clan, while impoverished, still had their pride and lands, and was scheming over the years to pay the Montroses back for the disgrace of Lion’s Fury. They have managed to convince some lesser clans that the Tanist – Earl’s heir – Gregor Montrose was a silly, little man, who was going to threaten the ancient way of clan life. In truth, Duncan’s father was uncharacteristically interested in the foreign lands (even other parts of Arbrecht are foreign to the clansmen, since they have a vastly different culture), going so far as marrying a woman from outside the Green and keeping contact with bannerlords. So when the old Earl finally died and Gregor ascended as the Earl, the inevitable happened. The Bodies and their followers rose in rebellion.

The uprising was a total surprise. The Bodie Clan and their supporters marched quickly to Maldenham with a strength that could easily overwhelm the Montroses. They meant to repeat the events of Lion’s Fury, only with reverse results. However, to their great surprise, Gregor did not choose to face them in open battle, as was the custom. Instead, the new Earl of Green shut the gates of his castle and, forcing the enemies to start a siege, for which they were drastically unprepared. The situation of the Montroses was not good though. The food was scarce, the defenders few, and the news of Montrose hiding in his castles were a threat to the Earl’s authority, a possible incentive for more clans to join the rebel cause and seek their independence. To make matters worse, almost every man of the Montrose was trapped inside the castle.

It was blind fate that Duncan was not among them. A day before he’d heard about some raiders wreaking havoc in the west, so he departed to deal with them. When he learned of his family’s predicament, Duncan didn’t spare a moment. Many a man would rush head-on to help his kin, but Duncan wasn’t stupid. He knew that the little power at his command would be overwhelmed and destroyed by the size of the enemy. He decided to divide his men to quickly dispatch the message to the loyal clans of the area. At one place it was the power of the name Montrose that gained him swords, at another his personal fame brought him volunteers, and one or two clan chiefs were bought with the promises of marriages, wealth and influence. Whatever he promised, Quickfoot proved his name was apt. Within a couple days he had a number of men that he would dare to throw against the Bodies. And so he did. He fell upon them in the night, managing to surprise them, alas the battle was fierce. In the middle of the fight, Montrose men emerged from the castle gates, led by Malcolm himself, and that was when the foes decided to flee. Maldenham suffered pillage, but the Montroses were free.

Duncan did not wait. The same night, he pursued the fleeing foes hard, giving them a taste of the sword several times. Although the Bodies returned to their stronghold and close the gates, Duncan immediately ordered an assault, which he led himself. The defenders didn’t expect the need to hold their castle, and were easily overwhelmed, although many of the attackers died, and Duncan himself was wounded in the arm and leg. Bleeding still, he stood before the still living members of the Bodie clan: the old chief, his great grandson, women and children and infants. Without remorse he commanded their execution and watched his men slay the defenseless with a malicious smirk on his lips. Later in the day, Malcolm Montrose arrived at the castle, and saw the bodies strewn upon the battlements. He chided his brother for the deed, and they quarreled. The Quickfoot and his band left the grounds in a fiery temper.

Over the next couple of years, Duncan decided to leave the Green and explore Arbrecht. Monroe roamed the entire province, it was said, performing extraordinary things. Quickfoot wanted no less than the extraordinary hero. He was seen everywhere except Ernsaw, due to his despise of the people. He had not truly returned to Maldenham until four years have passed, and his father called in the family for the election of the Tanist, the Earl’s heir. Duncan arrived in good spirits. He was sure, despite being the second brother, that he would be chosen. He was better in sword and war than Malcolm, and his fame among the land was much greater. He was the fierce Quickfoot, loving and observing the Green’s customs, rituals and laws. Surely there could be no better next Earl than him. But to his greatest dismay and anger, Gregor Montrose decided upon a travesty. Having secured the support of the major clans (there was no major opposition since the Bodies were destroyed), the Earl decreed from then on and forever the Tanist shall be the Earl’s oldest son. It was clearly influenced by the traditions of other lands were such successions have been practiced for ages. But it was not the way of Maldenham. Duncan felt betrayed, and didn’t waste the time to make it known.

His father explained to him in private, that without Duncan’s knowledge he had secured him the post on the king’s council far away in Forsilvra. Gregor’s idea was that the family needed to make a mark on the world, be known, and Duncan’s fame and battle prowess were perfect for that task. But Duncan was not amused, especially when he learned what kind of post he was supposed to take. The Seneschal. A glorified servant! To look over feasts and if the king’s privy was clean! He felt affronted, and stormed out of the room, bitterly disappointed and filled with wrath. He had not spoken with his father ever again. The following day he left with an escort of two score clansmen, clad in what was supposed to be the best attire. He hardly looked at his father and brother, but he did briefly speak to Edme and little Craig, promising they would see him again. Then he rode on to Fyrsbruck, and boarded a ship south.

His voyage was a terrible one. He was distrustful of the ship and the sea, since Maldenham was a landlocked place. He quickly turned sick and rarely left his cabin. To make matters worse, there were storms on the way, and the trip was long. When Duncan finally arrived at Forsilvra, he was green from the sickness, lean and weak. He tried to muster all his pride and glamour for the meeting with the king, but he did not make much of an impression. He blundered over the foreign etiquette, was laughed at, and nearly drew his sword in the presence of the king, but luckily was stopped in time before the crucial trespass was made. From then on, Duncan started to drink and disregard his duties, passing them on to his deputy, a seasoned old courtier who served the previous Seneschal. He shirked a courtly education and preferred to venture to town with the friends he brought from the Green. Their exploits were widely known and colorful, and often reached the ears of the king. He killed a few men in swordfights, disrespected some priests and affronted wealthy merchants. It was only to the eccentricity of the king that Duncan was not severely punished. But his reputation was tattered and he didn’t seem to mind, utterly disgusted by the people and surroundings.

The change, as often, came with a woman. Giverny Fleurant arrived at court roughly three months after Duncan did. She accompanied her father, who wished to find her a good marriage prospect. Duncan was immediately taken in by the girl’s beauty. It was the first and only time he had really fallen in love, but it was not with the beauty, but the temperament. At first, the warrior thought he could easily win the woman over like he did with many in Arbrecht. He decided to choose a courtly ball to impress her. The appearance of Duncan Montrose at such an event was already a matter for gossip. He never arrived at them before, a he was always an object of quiet irony. However, this time Duncan was sober and prepared. Lady Giverny was as always charming at the dance floor. At a time he thought right, Duncan called the carefully picked musicians to play a Maldenham tune, and he made clear advances on the lady while dancing a clan’s dance. He hardly got to the half of it when laughter and mockery ensued. And worst of it all, Giverny herself laughed the loudest.

Duncan fled that room but he didn’t give up. It was then that he decided he had a battle to fight, and a war to win. He would become the most refined courtier of them all and win Giverny’s heart despite all. It took him months of hard study, stumbles and pains. The new customs were hard to understand, and worst of all, he knew not how to read. But he had a great teacher in the person of the man who was performing his duties for him. His name was Aterstan.

Aterstan convinced Duncan of the importance of picking up his duties and appearing in court more often. Under the tutor’s guide, Duncan even learnt to soften his hard northern accent that was often an object of teasing. In only four months Duncan has proven the impossible, but sheer determination transforming from a wildling to almost a refined courtier of the south. He still did stumble, his knowledge of the culture was shallow, but he could put a mask of manners on. And, more importantly, he learned how to dance proper. While he does it rarely, Duncan indeed know the steps of many Forsilvran dances, and it was again on the dance floor that he approached Lady Giverny four months after the disastrous ball. Her father was still looking to find her a husband, for Lady Giverny was very hard to please and a menace to her suitors. But Duncan always thrived on a challenge. Their first real dance went on much better, indeed the court was gobsmacked by the changed Seneschal. Duncan also started to repair his reputation by getting engaged in castle and council work. And soon he actually struck a sort of friendship with the Authority of Diplomacy, and started to learn politics.

Seven months after he first laid his eyes upon her, Duncan Montrose wed Giverny Fleurant in a splendid court ceremony. Her father agreed to the match, relieved to finally give her away. Duncan was a councilor, and a changed man, so it was not that hard to strike the match. The couple lived very happily. Duncan’s marriage were the happiest days of his life. He loved Giverny madly, for her he curbed his drinking and fighting, limiting himself to sword and bow practice, and to hunting in the nearby woods. As Duncan grew into influence and a rather fearsome reputation (he was never meek in front of his enemies), the court started whispering that the Seneschal ruled the castle, and Lady Giverny ruled the Seneschal. Soon they had their first child, a son he named Cameron. But they had no more children for the next even years, although they tried. Finally, Giverny became pregnant again, and the couple was overjoyed, even more when not one but two children were born, a boy and a girl. The happiness however was cut short by Giverny’s illness. The labor was very hard for her, and she perished several days after, beseeching her husband to take good care of their children. She also commanded him to name the twins for beauty, not for courage or anything else. Obediently, Duncan named his twin children Kenneth and Kenna, “the fair one” in the ancient language of the Green.

After his wife’s death, Duncan changed again. He did not return to the way he was before he knew her, for it would not suit his surroundings, and he had forgotten how to be truly “wild”. Instead, he focused on the good of his children. And this he saw in a peculiar way – by ensuring they had riches and power. Duncan grew more and more grim and quiet, more fearsome than ever. He became the “iron Seneschal” for the way he treats his duty and his subjects. He has found countless ways to bring saving to the royal coffer by scanting on the servants and functions. Quietly though, he was siphoning some of the money to his own coffers, for the good of his family. His oldest son was married to a Harcourt without his influence, but forced by Malcolm, which is a topic of some animosity between the two. But, for the good of the family, he reestablished contacts with his brother the Earl. Although Malcolm and he don’t see eye to eye on many things, Duncan has abandoned any grief about the issue of succession in Maldenham. He was never seen in better mood than when Kenneth became the Horn of Arbrecht, and Kenna married one of the councilors. And now, after the plague hit and a boy king is left on the throne, Duncan is trying to win the young monarch over, especially hoping that the boy will choose Kenneth Montrose to be his personal guard, friend and tutor.

Writing Sample:
There were not many happy days in the life of Duncan Montrose. His life was constant work, for the king, for Malcolm, for his house, his children, and for himself, not necessarily in that order. But today was the day Duncan Montrose was truly happy. His only daughter, Kenna, was finally getting wed, and her betrothed was a councilor, just like him.

It’d be a massive lie to say this match was dictated by love or any such silly concepts. Duncan has driven the idea to strengthen his family’s position, to make sure that Kenna was cared for when he was no longer around. And that she could be married to power while staying in Belleile. She was his favorite child, although she could not be his heir. She reminded Duncan of her mother, and he hoped that she could be as happily married as Giverny was.

The temple was full of people, expecting to see the bride very soon. Waiting near the entrance, Duncan was a bit restless. He looked sideways to where his sons and Cameron’s daughter were standing. ”Remember this is a very important day for our family,” he told them in a very strict way. ”See to it that our name is not covered in shame.” He didn’t have more to add. He was sure that his sons would behave accordingly, and only hoped that Cameron’s Harcourt wife was not going to start weeping uncontrollably, as a lot of women seemed to be inclined to. Really, he couldn’t understand how such slight creatures could produce so many tears, and squeal so loud. Giverny hardly ever shed a single tear.

[Time Line Events]

Year 190: Duncan is born.
Year 202: Duncan earns the right to carry a sword.
Year 206: Gregor Montrose becomes Earl of Green. Duncan defeats the Bodie Clan.
Year 210: Duncan leaves Maldenham over a conflict about the succession laws; Duncan becomes Seneschal.
Year 211: Duncan marries Giverny Fleurant; Cameron Montrose is born.
Year 216: Cameron is betrothed to Ashleigh Harcourt.
Year 218: Kenneth and Kenna Montrose are born; Giverny dies.
Year 225: Gregor Montrose dies. Malcolm Montrose becomes Earl of Green.
Year 229: Cameron marries Ashleigh Harcourt.
Year 237: Kenneth becomes Horn of Arbrecht.
Year 238: Kenna marries _______
Year 241: Game begins.

Family Genealogy:

Gregor Montrose - - Wife
-- Malcolm Montrose 55, Earl of Green [Collette]- - Scot First wife (1) - - Second Wife (2)
--- Iona Montrose Harcourt (1) 38- - Ian Harcourt
---- loads of Harcourts
--- Daughter Montrose [married name] (1), plague - - Husband, plague
--- Catriona Montrose (2)
--- Bruce Montrose (2) 23 - - Mairwen Kyffin Montrose
-- Duncan Montrose 51, royal Seneschal [Mike]- - Giverny Fleurant Montrose
--- Cameron Montrose 30 [Andre]- - Ashleigh Harcourt Montrose
---- Douglas Montrose 10
--- Kenneth Montrose 23 (twin) [John]
--- Kenna Montrose [married name] 23 [Jenn] (twin) - - Husband Merrick [Collette]
---- Merrick twins
-- Edme Montrose Fitzwulf 47 - - Scot Husband (1) - - Thomas Fitzwulf [Friday]
--- Son Fitzwulf
-- Craig Montrose early forties [Luke] - - Scot Wife (1) - - Wife (2)
--- Nessa Montrose (1) 24
--- David Montrose (1) 22
--- Daughter Montrose (1) 21, plague
--- Neil Montrose (1) 20
--- Heather Montrose Fleurant (2) 17 - - Marquis Fleurant [19]
--- Ailie Montrose (2) 15

+ Duncan's ward

+ Craig's bastards:
- Blair Lyon 18
- Keith Lyon 13

Last edited by Mike; 09-08-2011 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:46 PM
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Finito!
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:01 PM
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Jon Fitzwulf
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Approved by his Province Lord. Ach! Yer claymor's'll be mighty!
...Don't worry, I'll never say that again.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:35 PM
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Malcolm Montrose
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Big brother approves!
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:56 PM
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Jenn
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Kenna and Jenn both totally and completely approve! <3
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