He was born into the Raeda clan many years ago. He learned his father’s trade, hunting, excelling in every way. Until that fateful day, when scaly monsters came down from Ben Morgh, bringing death and destruction. Being out hunting with his father, he survived, though his junior brother had been killed mercilessly and his mother and sisters captured.
Soon after that, the Bloody Spears were sent out and Cimmerian clans united against the unnnatural menace. The day of the battle was the day of trial for the boy in his early teens. He fought bravely with the Vanir and even managed to kill a red-haired warrior by himself. Before there was time to celebrate the victory, the blasphemous demons came out.
The very sight of the ungodly creatures was too much to bear for young Cael. He run away from the battlefield, seeking refuge in unaccessible mountains. He never came back to his people, knowing that he would be declared a coward and cast away from his clan. Next several years he spent out there, having to deal with the harshness of life all by himself.
In time, however, he began to seek company of others. While still avoiding contact with his own people, he traveled across the country with the Aesir, fighting alongside them against the Hyperboreans. He also served as a guide to several Aquilonian travelers in the southern Cimmeria.
Through his contacts with foreigners a new desire arose inside him. He decided to travel farther than anytime before…
His travels brought him to Brythunia recently. As on many other occasions he came to a wrong place at the worst possible time. A small force of riders caught him in an open space. He tried to make it to the nearby forest but had no real chance to succeed. Surrounded just tens of yards from the trees, he stood his ground. Doomed to die, he was saved by a surprise shot hit the enemy leader. Several other bullets sowed a moment’s confusion among the riders. Soon after though they gathered their wits and were prepared to run Cael over and then hunt down the hidden assailant. The barbarian’s hide was saved by an unexpected appearance of a squadron of knights saved. It must have been another noble’s men, judging by a different coat of arms. The newcomers chased away the initial attackers, most probably in just one of many fights over some local border conflict. Cael did not wait to know the outcome. He fled towards the trees.
There, he met his would-be rescuer, Kareus, a man of serious but friendly look. The two of them soon decided they have a better chance of survival together than they do on their own…
Caitlin was born in southern Brythunia, the daughter of a gentleman farmer. Always a farmer in the eyes of gentlemen, he was still no longer in a position where he had to work his land himself, and his daughter grew up in comfort, if not luxury. Since she was not required even to supervise the maids (her mother’s job) she also grew up bored.
She got into a series of escapades as she reached her teens, and was the despair of her strait laced mother. She also had a tendency to fall in with unsuitable young men, to the fury of her father. The last of several such was a handsome Kothic trader’s son, who introduced her to the joys of Kothic wine. So enthusiastic was she for this discovery that she drank herself into a stupor… and woke up with a pounding headache in a slaver’s caravan bound for Khorshemish.
After basic training, she was sold at auction to a wealthy merchant of Ianthe. After initial complaints she had proved docile and obedient, and her new owner quickly became a little casual in his security precautions. She fled northwards over the border into Aquilonia, where she was confronted with the need to make her own living. She graduated into a mixture of dancing and petty thievery, and then less-petty thievery as her skills grew. Once the region became a little hot for her, she moved southwards into Zingara.
All was going well until one night when her informer at a local inn let her know of a Zingaran noble staying overnight with ample cash in hand. Letting herself in at the dead of night she deftly picked the lock of his strongbox, and was just transferring his cash to her sack, when she felt an uncomfortable pricking sensation in the middle of her back. Turning around slowly with her hands in full view, she found herself looking down the length of a rapier at a most impressive moustache…
The following negotiation was slightly one sided and involved use of all the charms she could muster. Shameless flattery seemed to work well, and the interview concluded that in exchange for neither returning to servitude under a much more alert master, nor being turned in for theivery she would swear undying loyalty to the noble in question and use her skills and talents unstintingly in his service. She has been in his entourage ever since.
Lord Estavio Devante
Lord Estavio Devante (Ess-Tav-Yo, Day-Vahn-Tay) is the youngest son of Baron Giancarlo Di Castro Devante, of the House Devante, which is one of many noble Houses in the royal court of Kordava, the capital of Zingara. Estavio spent his early years as any young Zingaran noble would: learning etiquette, proceedings of the royal court, riding, sailing and attending one of the fine martial academies of swordsmanship that dot Kordava like jewels on a fine Zamorian dancing girl’s silk shift. Although he excelled at his tasks, he forever lived under the shadow of Eduardo Devante, his elder brother and direct heir to the House. Eduardo and Estavio were not friends, though few noble siblings ever are, and although their various tasks commonly kept them apart, Estavio could not stand his brother’s presence. Eduardo, much like his father, was a fool. He bumbled through his education, commonly injured himself during arms training and embarrassed himself constantly in front of maidens. However, since he was the first born, he was entitled to everything. Moreover, because his father was an imbecile himself, he failed to see the faults in Eduardo.
As time went by, it became clearer and clearer to Estavio that his possibilities of inheriting House Devante through legitimate means was not likely. Eduardo received the majority of the allowances, was introduced and paired with the daughters of various noble Houses and was privy to all of his father’s ‘negotiations’ and ‘political schemes`. To make matters worse, his clod of a father had slowly begun to deal both politically and economically with a House in the hated neighbouring state of Argos. Predicting catastrophic failure or even collapse of his House, Estavio left his family home and took up residence in the various fine inns of Kordava. This pleased the Baron, for he felt that Estavio’s ambition would hamper the success of his elder brother, and Giancarlo was more than happy to continue to pay Estavio’s allowance if he promised to stay out of the way.
Estavio’s years alone in Kordava were some of the happiest of his life. As a lover of reading, he found that he had plenty of time to explore the literary works of Zingara and he educated himself on topics including history, heraldry and warfare. He also excelled at swordsmanship and spent the majority of his mornings drilling at the various academies with the noble-class Zingaran Knights. In the evenings he would relax at his ever-changing Inn-homes and sometimes would sing in the tap rooms for his entertainment and to attract a suitable bed-partner for the evening. It was in these days that he learned of ‘his’ taste for freedom, (though he extended no such courtesy to his owned beautiful slaves), for carefree relationships, with his taste for expensive wine and food and ultimately, for his desire to escape from Zingara and to make a name for himself. The fact that his father was slowly tarnishing the name of his House and that his oaf of a brother would only serve to continue the lineage of idiocy always hung over Estavio’s head. He knew that he would have to venture out into the world to seek riches, reputation and fame, and to lead a band of followers back to Zingara to help him retake his house and to cut the throats of his moronic family.
After a few months of procrastinating, fate finally decided to give Estavio the sign that it was time to head out on his adventure. One night, after a particularly rowdy evening of wine, fine Zingaran olives and a few passionate hours in the chamber of some traveling Brythunian merchant’s ravishing daughter, Estavio stumbled into his room only to find another woman rifling through his belongings. Outraged that a criminal, gorgeous as she was, could climb in through the window and pick through his precious things, Estavio drew his sword and pressed it against her shapely lower back. After much apologizing and shameless flirting on behalf of the thief, in which she revealed to Estavio that she was an escaped slave, a devious and brilliant idea came to the young noble’s mind. Staying his blade, Estavio offered the young woman a deal: she could either swear allegiance to him and join him on his adventure, or she could be taken into captivity and returned to her rightful owner in chains. It was no surprise to Estavio that the young thief, who went by the name of Caitlin, accepted the arrangement. Thus, after a few days of securing supplies, the two headed off towards adventure.
Physical Description: Estavio stands about 5’10 and is slim but toned from years of swordsmanship. His skin is deeply sun-tanned from life in Zingara and the shape of his eyes display the common Pictish traits that are so common in Zingarans. His eyes are a dark green and he wears his black hair well-trimmed and in the style of a Zingaran noble. His moustache is always well-manicured and commonly greased with fragrant oils.
I have seen them wither and die. It is horrific if you can see the picture as an outsider as I have always been. Their entire lives, they dug in the mud from dawn to dusk. They battled the harsh sun, the cold rains and winds. They pleaded with the seasons and elements to have compassion. What little the farm would eventually yield, was then stripped by the baron’s tax collector. And what was their gain? Few precious moments of joy. A lifetime of agony. My mother, undernourished, died from the fever-plague when I was eight. My father was hung for poaching during the year of the great famine before my fifteenth summer. My brothers enlisted into the baron’s ranks. The very same baron that had our father hung. My sister ploughs the wharves of Kishan nightly, hoping to earn a few coppers from passing sailors.
Being the youngest of four siblings, I packed what little belongings I had, sold the remnants of the farm’s tools, and thus purchased my way to freedom. I was young and naive when I joined a mercenary group called “The Lions”. The Lions were commissioned to help fortify the city of Arsillia. It was poorly managed – late wages were common, insufficient food supplies, pathetic accommodations in the barracks and greedy leaders who would squander every one of our coppers on their pampered fetishes. Even the diseased whores would not get two silver Drachmas at the auction blocks – not to mention favours for a night’s entertainment. I had to pick up some useful non military “skills” in order to survive.
The only blessing was the harsh winter that fell upon the city four months after my recruitment. Rations were limited to a two bowls of soup and half a loaf a day. The mounting sick that came from the freezing cold because of a lack of firewood. News of marauding troops was only too grim to bear. I remember the day that fat general Felias walked out of his steam bath and announced that wages will not be paid that month, and that rations need to be conserved (again). Oh the sweet memory of the bloody mutiny that took place. Every surviving officer was blinded and the town that we were hired to protect was looted. We each took to our own way. When the raiders arrived, all they could find was a town in ruins, anything of worth long stolen.
I had just crossed into Brythunia and decided to hide in a forest in case pursuit was coming. On my third day as I was about to come out of hiding, a squadron of soldiers were chasing an outlander from the barbaric lands right towards me. From my vantage point it seemed it to be no more than a game of sport for them to hunt him down. I don’t know what possessed me to react. Perhaps I felt he should be given a small chance to survive, or perhaps I just woke up with an aggressive streak that day; whatever it may have been I decided to awaken my sling and let loose the stone that found their leader’s skull, and a few more stones thereafter. Panic broke among the soldiers momentarily – but only so. As they were about to run the barbarian down and charge into the woods, the gods themselves have fortunately decided to release their hounds that day. A second group came out of nowhere and charged the right flank of the first, sending them fleeing in all directions. As the chase began, the barbarian recovered his wits and run towards the woods. His name was Cael from Cimmeria. A man of my age and temperament. We decided to head off together for our added protection.
I am not angry at the hand that fate has dealt me. On the contrary, I can feel the chains that have wrapped and strangled, have finally been torn asunder. I am now free to stretch my unwelcomed hand into the fleshpot of the wealthy and suck the marrow that life will offer. There is no turning back to the mud hole that bore me.
|Lord Estavio Devante||Zingaran||Noble||1||Mouchinator|