Name: Nedan Sandair de Franco
Physical Description: A rakish, handsome blade, Nedan is a lean man, a little over six feet in height with a well toned physique from years of training with the sword and the lance. Hailing from the mountains of Northern Belleza near the border with Hasele, his features are a mix of Bellezan and Haselean, and his dark, almost black eyes are much more expressive than is usual for Corezo. Impeccably groomed, his inky black hair falls to just above his shoulders and his short beard is oiled to within an inch of its life. Clad in well tailored, but practical clothing in the colours of House Guiate, he cuts an impressive figure with a walk to match.
Two Horses: Sugarlump and Francesca. Francesca is a fine racing mare of even temperament that serves Nedan for most of his travel requirements. Sugarlump is a fiery, coal black destrier of exceedingly violent disposition that Nedan won in a card game with a travelling trader from Eastern Quijas before he came to Qadis. For reasons unknown to even Nedan, only Nedan himself can approach Sugarlump and even he has to be careful. All others tend to get kicked, bitten and trampled for their pains, which are generally excruciating. An army with crowbars couldn’t steer Sugarlump, but he’s surprisingly effective at riding people down and serves well for Nedan’s more esoteric combat duties.
Weapons: As a member of the guard for the Pazo Guiate de Qadis, Nedan has access to any and all weapons available to the guards, but has personal ownership of a high quality fencing rapier and main gauche, as well as a lance, shield and morning star for ceremonial and official duties. For less publicized duties, he owns a more nondescript set of blades, all well used and workmanlike.
Armour: In the course of his normal duties, Nedan prefers to wear understated but well made armour of leather and mail, but he also possesses two official suits of armour, one for ceremonial duties as Captain of the Guard and one for Jousting. The Jousting armour, coincidentally, comes with a matching set for his horse.
Clothing: Nedan owns perhaps an inordinate number of outfits for one of his position, all quite well tailored.
Accomodation: Nedan stays in the barracks with the other guards and has two small chests and a locker for his things.
Powers or Strengths:
Swordsman: A trained swordsman and duellist, Nedan is as skilled in this arena as his position requires. Trained from a young age and having honed his skills through practise as a champion, a household guard and as a captain of the army. He takes considerable, of not unjustified, pride in his abilities.
Jouster: Due to quirks of regional and local laws, certain crimes and civil disputes may be settled by a joust, in addition to the tourneys occasionally held for giggles by the upper classes. For the honour of Pazo Guiate de Qadis, Nedan is required to compete in all of his resplendent, magnificent finery.
Rider: Nedan is a skilled and competent rider, and an enthusiastic patron and competitor of the races. Almost as passionate about horses as he is about women, he rides like the wind and has served as a runner and courier for the Pazo on more than one occasion.
Scion of Nobility: A lesser son of a lesser son from somewhere far away, Nedan nevertheless carries the privilege of the upper crust and is (grudgingly) accepted by them.
Shifter: A mink shifter, Nedan has two forms, that of a black furred mink and a mink/human hybrid, giving him an above average sense of smell and fine, silky hair in his human form. He has, on occasion, used this ability to infiltrate parties disguised as a scarf or a hunting trophy.
Weaknesses and Flaws:
Shifter: As a (slightly) magical creature, Nedan does have to deal with a certain amount of distrust from the masses, as well as a hereditary aversion to silverware.
Cute as a button/: In either of his mink forms, Nedan is best described as the least frightening creature under the sun, a fact which severely undermines his attempts to be taken seriously in his role. He has, to his utterly mortifying embarrassment, been required to fill in as a stuffed toy for certain guests of the estate who shall remain nameless and does not like to speak of this. Ever.
Cocky: Nedan is headstrong and cocksure. Or is that the other way around? Confidence is key, but only in measured amounts and in the right area. Nedan’s overconfidence has gotten him into trouble many times.
Slimeball: Nedan is rather fond of the ladies and is... less than subtle in his appreciations and attempts to gain the favours of said ladies.
Underhanded: There is more than one way to skin a cat, and Nedan is not afraid to try any avenue of approach to fulfil his duties to the Pazo Guiate, even those that would be frowned upon publicly. This has given him a certain notoriety among the household.
Driven: Often incorrigible in his pursuit of his duty, Nedan’s insistence on performing his duties has frequently brought him into conflict with members of the Pazo accustomed to a more relaxed style of supervision, or just those who try to move in the shadows.
Pilgrim in an Unholy Land: A scion of North Eastern Belleza, Nedan is a perpetual outsider among the more clannish elements of Qadis and Quijas society, who feel that his mannerisms indicate judgement of them for the magical nature of their homeland, when in fact he just plain dislikes them.
Overbearing: In his social interactions, Nedan comes across as quite a florid and overbearing personality in his efforts to be friendly, which more often works against him.
A lesser son of a lesser house, Nedan is the sixth son of the youngest grandniece of the Marquessa De Gizupola. Born in the Pazo Alvaro de Pyranne near the border with Hasele, he was a happy, if demanding, child, and was given the education required of one of his station. A social child, he made many friends at his family’s endless array of social events, though he was deemed unsuitable for marriage due to being a little slimeball most of the time. That didnt stop him trying though, and conversely helped him make friends among the more jaded and foppish boys. Who says the Upper Classes have no Class? Talented at swordplay, riding and tactics, he took part in contests as soon as he was of age, travelling throughout Southern Hasele and Northern Corezo with his siblings. Though both talented and successful, he was entitled to little beyond the love of his parents, and so, like many a boy before him, he set out to make his name in a more lasting fashion.
At six and ten, he joined the provincial army, dreaming of service to the Empire, where he displayed a knack for leadership. Initially trained to address local problems and to bolster the forces of local Pazos to keep the peace, he rose quickly through the ranks, displaying a mix of shrewd tactics and underhanded ruthlessness in his execution of his duties and his prisoners. Aware that only success and deep pockets would guarantee holding onto his position in a buyer’s market, he branched out into freelance problem solving for the nobility, gaining leverage and no small amount of influence in the process. The ladder of social success was slippery and labyrinthine at the best of times, rife with small, petty scandals that could forever destroy one’s reputation, but thanks to his extensive familial education, Nedan navigated it with ease, managing to always be elsewhere when things went sour, or in a position to take advantage. Aware of growing tensions between his brother and several noble clans over hunting and mining rights in the region, he made the decision to relocate to the mountains to deal with the mountain clans there.
Not yet twenty and one and by now a captain in his Imperial majesty's infantry following a number of dashing raids on the High Road Bandits around the trade roads in the Mountains, Nedan was head hunted by Consul Garavel for the defence of Southern Eyropa from the heathens of Setkhantos. Despite the guts of a millenium of mostly peaceful Imperial Rule, Southern Eyropa was still the subject of year round attacks by displaced and disgruntled inhabitants they’d thrashed soundly the first time they’d invaded and who hadn’t had the good grace to die that time. The good and noble Consul was assembling an army to secure and reinforce the southern coast of Mandinia once and for all. It was an ambitious plan, and the Consul was enthusiastic and charismatic in his espousing of the endeavour. Nedan was rather less certain about their chances, but with the primary force for il dealth with in the mountains, things were quiet and people would start asking questions, and more to the point, attaching his name to this would be an excellent chance to elevate himself. Recruiting as many soldiers as he could on his journey to Port Barce, he boarded ship there and watched as his homeland slunk away into the distance.
The journey by sea was hellish, but he arrived in one piece and lead his troops East up the coast, sweeping up pockets of resistance to Imperial rule. What the Consul had not taken into account was that the local reavers had also decided that this was definitely their year to shine, and the entire southern coast was a warzone, with local militias and officials hard pressed to defend their own borders. The battles to reclaim the coast from the invaders were long and bloody, and the army advanced by inches. Naval support was crucial to their success, but the nature of the enemy meant that they were not predisposed towards large fleet engagements. To that end, the Consul devised a strategy to harass and herd the enemy towards a central point on the coast where they could be surrounded and destroyed. Nedan led his men south and west with half the army, he and his fellow officers driving the reavers back to the sea, whereupon the fleet fell upon their ships as they fled. It was hellish and brutal, but Nedan did not shrink away from combat, seeing it as a chance to increase his resources with plunder. They took heavy losses halfway to the rendezvous, but the plan as unforgiving and they couldn’t afford to wait.
Over-riding his fellows, Nedan ordered his men forwards without delay, arriving at the battle in time to smash into the flanks of the remaining reavers. It was hard fought and touch and go, as he and his forces had to hold the enemy until the remainder of their allies arrived to begin the push. The battle was won, but the losses taken, coupled with the injuries he’d received put a dampener on the victory for him. He was awarded medals and commendations for meritorious service and bravery in the face of the enemy, and was given the command of the Garrison at Port Arcturus to rest up while the remainder of the army regrouped. While the Consul was adamant that the army be held together for a first push across the Great Scar, the Imperial Senate disagreed and the resources dried up, and so Nedan was sent home.
Returning home was a bitter pill for Nedan. With his brother Barthames in charge of the estate and his other siblings either married or scattered to the wind, he returned at twenty-three to find that two years had made Pyranne a very different place to when he had left. Accepting his brother's hospitality while he regained his strength, regaling his nephews with stories of the war. While the war had been good to him and his finances, he resented once again living in his brother's shadow. His service and status allowed him to regain position with the local army, but glory and heroism had a short half life compared to wealth and marriage, and his time away had allowed others to grow in the eyes of the nobility. Bereft of opportunities for glory to stake his claim and unable to outspend the other candidates, Nedan found himself in the rut he’d been in when all of it had started.
Deciding to travel to gain a fresh perspective on his life, at twenty four he joined the tourney circuit as a jouster and melee exhibitionist entertaining local nobility and peasants throughout Corezo with displays of martial skill and noble charm. It was far from what his father would have deemed acceptable work, but there was little pressure and it kept his skills honed, as he met the most remarkable collection of people. However, while the earnings from this venture were not unimpressive, he never missed a chance to earn a little extra on the side, acting as a courier, hired muscle or even a champion of one party or another in duels of honour. It was risky work, but exciting and added a touch of drama and mystique to an otherwise boring role, plus it helped him spin some interesting stories for those wonderful young ladies he hoped to impress, and they were impressed, which got him into no end of trouble.
Moving south to Quijas was something of a revelation for Nedan, as the province of endless change was strikingly different from the fastidiousness of Morua and the predictable passion of Belleza. He’d heard the stories about Quijas of course, everyone had, but the reality was very different from the cautionary tales told by tutors or the boastful tales of conquest told by drunken nobility. It was a place of opportunity and ambition, reminding him of the atmosphere in Southern Eyropa during the war, where the right attitude and application of force could get you anywhere, and Qadis was the jewel of the province. An absolute melting pot of a city, it distorted the land for hundreds of miles around, drawing in people and resources and shitting out money and scandal and interesting stories. Aware that the pickings from the tournies were growing slim and that he had worn out his welcome at more than a few locations, he decided that Qadis was the ideal place to put down roots while he waited for the next opportunity to come knocking. Finding work wasn’t hard, as he had only to do exactly what he had been doing before, but finding steady work was more challenging by far.
While there were no shortage of shady people looking for protection, or nervous fops who’d slighted someone above their station, Nedan did not want to spend his life wondering where his next meal would come from, nor was he under any illusions that his money would last him. Thus, when a dispute over trading papers allowing House Guiate to threaten House Concid’s monoply supplying the Golem Makers of the Articifiers Guild threatened to spill over into bloodshed, he saw his chance to ingratiate himself with the household. While Concid was the safer bet, they were in a position of power and were unlikely to welcome outside aid, while Guiate ambition was well known. Coming to the defence of the Guiate’s people, he offered his services as a go between during the negotiations, carrying paperwork and correspondence between the Guiate and other parties or acting as muscle when they did not wish to use their own people. It was unexciting in the extreme, but it was a step, and while the deal eventually fell through, his reliability had put him on the Guiate’s radar. Thus, whenever they needed a little extra muscle for an escort, or required a rider to carry something sensitive, Nedan's name came up more than once, and he served with distinction each time. When an opening within the Pazo’s guard presented itself after a year of odd jobs, he accepted without a second thought.
While the two years since have been quieter than he might otherwise prefer, the position does allow him a certain degree of autonomy and he uses that to pursue his other interests as best he can.