Prince Talen Velenosa
Loyalty isn't just about paying others back. If you find someone really worthy of loyalty, it defines you and makes you who you are, and nothing they might ask is out of the question.
Social Rank: 3
Concept: Dark Prince
Hair Color: deep brown
Eye Color: pale grey-blue
Description: With his smooth bronzed skin and darkest brown hair, Talen's pale grey-blue eyes are a shock when he lifts them to match a gaze. Shaded by thick, angled brows, his regard is both intent and intense. His features are sharp and chiseled, softened by lashes so thick and dark they make girls jealous, and a charmingly crooked smile he rarely shows. He dresses mostly in dark leathers that showcase his rangy build, and his voice is a soft, rumbling bass.
Personality: Talen has a lot to live up to. His father died a hero, the champion and guard of the Grand Duke. Talen has no intention of dying a hero. He's not even terribly interested in living as one. He's the Sword of the Velenosa, named so by Esera upon her ascension, and it's to her his loyalties lie. Let those who called him an upjumped commoner, or a sulking, shy servant think what they want. He's happy to make them eat their words if and when their words besmirch the House and the Archduchess he serves. Serious and not given to smalltalk, his dry humor shown only to those he is most comfortable with, Talen observes. He's always looking for the hidden blade in the shadows, so he can be there to intercaept it. If most people don't know how hard he works, or even what he really does, more the better. Let them think his job is easy. Let them think he's not a danger.
Background: Captain Giovanni Artiglio was a hard man to have as a father. Talen's own memories of him are hazy at best as a young child, but even in his most fuzzy memories the powerfully built, gregarious bearded man was larger than life. A father famed for being the finest duelist in the Lyceum and a heroic captain of the guard that died saving his liege lord is an image that feels impossible to live up to, and that's without the benefit of even hardly having known the man. Talen knows the story all too well from having been told it a thousand times- his honorable paragon of a father, who had never lost a duel in his entire life, drank from a cup meant for Niccolo Velenosa... and immediately began to feel the effects of Kingsbane, that extremely rare and incurable poison from beyond the Black Wastes. Despite the excruciating agony his father was in, he still managed to rise, notice the infuriated assassin stalking closer to Duke Niccolo, and ran the man through in a duel that lasted but seconds. And his father with his dying breath had asked the duke to raise his only son in the duke's household.
Talen isn't quite sure whether to feel grateful for his father for that. Being raised as a commoner child surrounded by princes and princesses was not the easiest of childhoods, as the young ward of the duke fell into a nebulous state of being part servant and part foster child and was never ennobled himself. To Duke Niccolo's credit, he did spend quite nearly as much time with Talen as his own children and is the father he never knew, but like any high born noble most of the rearing was left to servants who were only too happy to treat an 'overfortunate upjumped commoner's son' with all the scorn they could get away with. He spent years as a young man enduring little slights and getting even when he could, but mostly he had learned to live with it while training as a member of the house guard for Velenosa. It was a miserable childhood and adolescence, trying best to live up to his father's memory without complaint, but his loyalty had not gone unnoticed.
It seemed the high lords, like the Archduchess herself, rarely needed to use their full terrifying power to get what they want. Talen has seen men and women executed for petty crimes or even at the whim of high born nobles, but House Velenosa never seemed so capricious or overt. Talen never said a word of complaint about the poor treatment he received at the hands of other servants, but the young Princess Esera noticed... and later he never saw some of those servants again. No one even dared even bring up their names in conversation, it was as if they never existed. For the Velenosa, some problems just seemed to disappear, and Talen found himself approving of that immensely leading to a fast friendship with the young Princess Esera. When she ascended to Archduchess of Lenosia and the Grand Duchess of the Lyceum after the death of her mother, the young house guard never expected it to effect much, but then she shocked him by naming him as the official Sword of the Velenosa. Not just him, as a soldier who had been coveting the title challenged him to a duel. Talen won that fight, fast and dirty. He's not overburdened by the concepts of honor, or sportsmanship. Like his Lady, he values results.
|Aella||Fire and Booze. Dislikes boring stuffy meetings. I like him.|
|Alaric||I hope he's the sort that's happy to be grouchy, because if he's not he doesn't seem to be enjoying his rise to prominence as much as he should.|
|Alarie||Seems to think that generously overpaying for feathers will keep my poor little shop from going out of business. He's okay. Lycene, Velenosa to boot. He's got his father, I make a tidy profit and I'm going to go eat at the ambassador tonight instead of the crow thanks to his pockets, and his freezing balls.|
|Alarissa||It's surprisiing really. The ease wiith which the man can go from foul mouthed to unfailingly polite in one second. But there it is. The man needs a little refinement and really, it shouldn't be too hard. But that fucking snake. No. The acutal snake. It wll be interesting to see what very cautious relationship will develop from this.|
|Aleksei||I had the pleasure of putting his face in the dirt in exchange for a generous donation to the Faith from his wife. Actually, I don't think his face touched the dirt, but I seem to recall that being part of Eleyna's job description.|
|Calaudrin||He really does eat a lot but yet... is incredibly trim. Good for him.|
|Calista||I'm not entirely sure it's proper to put into words my first impression of Talen; When we first met, he was a ward and Sword of Lenosia. He cheated by throwing caltrops on the ground during my tournament's joust. But he gave me a wonderful book I still adore and over the years, he's become a good friend.|
|Eleyna||He's the best at being the worst.|
|Ferrando||Life keeps throwing obstacles in his way, and he keeps finding a way past them. No matter how long it takes, he always proves the doubters wrong in the end.|
|Isolde||My brother needs to leave the poor unicorn and his wife alone.|
|Jael||A fine rider, and stronger than I am though I managed to dodge him well enough to win our first match. Terribly sorry about the shield, but I get the impression that I shouldn't bring it up again.|
|Joscelin||The prince of darkness. I expected him to be taller.|
|Leola||Hard to know what to make of this one. He very much enjoys the role of the dark knight, brooding and antagonising others to give himself cause to challenge them to duel, where, admittedly, he excels. Since his time as a knight, and his rising to a prince of Velenosa, Talen is a fine example of the worthiness and strength ambition can lend|
|Magpie||Is this a kindred spirit? Magpie had heard about Talen more than once, but now that he's met the prince he's very much looking forward to talking to him further in the future. They have a lot of similar interests and he can respect a royal that isn't afraid to be himself. It makes everything so much less stuffy.|
|Malesh||The champion of our pig bladder team. He lead us to a rally, but we couldn't hold our ground after he was eliminated.|
|Merek||Merek thinks that Talen is quite fervent in serving his country, and respects that. He can also be a bit intimidating at times as well.|
|Mira||My cousin, Archduke of the Lyceum. Never thought I'd ever be saying *that*. He's more or less as he always has been, if just a little more intense. And maybe a little burdened by the weight of his responsibilities.|
|Mirari||The dark prince- snarky, cutting, and brilliant. He'd have to be to have caught Princess Eleyna.|
|Orathy||Funny guy. Heard he be climbing the ladder from the gutters and made himself a crown. Reckon that be something. Could be a traitor or could be someone to look up towards, ain't knowing which yet.|
|Petal||He is Princess Eleyna's husband. He seems pretty wise, given his letters and the like. He seems to be fully in love with the princess and I can't blame him.|
|Reese||He is my cousin-in-law by marriage. I dueled him before. He was gracious to me in the duel, allowing me to wear the armor that I depended on at that time and he treated me well even when I won and it was awkward win for various reasons. He then married Luca's cousin and so kind of sort of is family to me. He spoke to me after the melee and mentioned my fighting when few did. Nine on one rough, but he saw that and reached reached out. He won that melee too! He is great fighter, but he is also a clever fight, wise and king of mind and feet.|
|Sebastian||It was nice to see the Prince at the House meeting. It seems that the Archduchess did, however, a very specific job of making sure that he had more to eat than allowed him to speak. Perhaps that won't be the case next time. I think it would be more interesting.|
|Silas||Another fellow lowborn who apparently refuses to accept the limitations of his birth. Silas's first exposure to the talent known as Talen occurred when the man nearly maimed Lady Kima's horse with caltrops during a tournament joust. Since then Silas reminds himself that Talen plays by a far less honorbound set of rules than he does, even if it's affable and friendly on the surface. He admires the man for his skill with the sword and his political savviness, even if he doesn't trust him any further than he can throw him.|
|Skapti||Don't skip the legs, eh? Aye, I'll be sure of that... Supposed to be the fuck off Grand Champion of the Melee, now, ain' he? Wonder if maybe he could give me some pointers on how to avoid takin' those hits. Or hell, just how to be an underhanded bastard. Cheat to win, right? I don't care if I don' win clean.|
|Stefano||I've known him since we were young and he wasn't a prince. He was always better than me with the sword, just like Luca, but that doesn't bother me. Everyone has their own strengths. He's married to Eleyna and they seem happy enough together, which is what counts, right?|
|Tallius||As unlike the way most nobles act as a fellow could be, but certainly a fair lot more interesting than many of them as a result.|
|Torian||Doesn't screw around with veils of niceties. I like that. Funny too.|
|Valery||The first time Valery met Talen he tried to buy her mice to feed a snake! This time at the Grotto, he's been nicer, but still a bit scary.|
|Victus||You can tell a lot from a man by how he holds his blade. Both of them that is. I can tell this one has got a strong-arm for many things and no doubt keeping his wife safe is gonna be one of them. I feel sorry for the sad sack that gets stuck on the end of his fucking ire, that's for sure. If they ain't getting run through they'll be getting penetrated by a wall of awful jokes and puns.|