Lord Gustave Blackram
Iron and Bread. The builder and leveler of nations. Some speak of ideals, of secrets, of statecraft, but in the end it all comes back to Iron and Bread.
Description: Sometimes they build colossi out of flesh rather than granite and stone. Standing head and shoulders and head again over some of the tallest men in the Compact, he is long and sturdy of limb, conjuring up imagery of mighty timbers. Features that were once more clasically handsome have been weathered by callouses, sun tanned skin marred by a jag of pale flesh across his right eye, and the first signs of creases in the brow that do not recede. What may have been resplendent has given way to a rugged, lived in countenance. His hair is long and flowing, a cascade of midnight black with the first signs of early gray, kept clean if not terribly well organized. His nose is perhaps a half size too small on his face, particularly when compared to thickness of neck, though these features are mellowed by a sheaf of stubble. If there is any hint to something deeper, some greater complexity, it is in the pair of deep emerald green eyes.
Personality: Gustave is the very incarnation of the Blackram folk hero: a practical, unassuming, and laconic counterweight to the chivalrous ideals of the Valardin lieges. Often mistaken for an overlarge squire or a chronically misplaced serf, Gustave has done little to dissuade others from their preconceptions. This should not be confused for reservation or a lack of social grace: he simply allows others who want to fill gaps in conversation do so out of personal preference and to better know the situation at hand. He approaches life as a counterpuncher: a mild and pleasant figure all too quickly turning into an avalanche of activity and purpose at the right stimulus. Whether it be in cleaning up the messes of others or to take advantage of an overstepping rival, Gustave is a creature of extremes: he destroys or he lives and let live. In between is a dangerous place that he would rather not visit.
Background: Towering over man and beast (and even his fellow Blackram's, if by a less considerable margin), Marquis Gustave Blackram has strived to fit in a world that is often too small for him. Hitting ones head on doorframes and having to carefully deliberate ones choice of chair may seem like minor choices, but they quickly disabused the boy of too many notions of noble privelege. This would be further reinforced by the influence of his grandmother Ingrun, who despite her advanced years remained matriarch of the Blackram family even if his father held the title. In spring and autumn he was turned out into the fields to herd and plant and harvest with the serfs, and was trained and fought several battles in the traditional Blackram style of combat: the push of pike and halberd and the greatsword, drill and discipline meant to banish lofty delusions of glory from his mind. The block, and the Blackram as a whole, survived and conquered or it perished. As his father and his father before him he provides an anchor for Telarn and Valardin as a whole: a brief lapse in an otherwise disciplined life saw him married to Achena Timberhold, the daughter of his fathers favored vassal, at the age of 20. They had a single daughter together, Sigrun Blackram, though Achena and his father would pass away just four years later from plague. He knows he should remarry should tragedy strike again and take away his beloved Sigrun, he knows that things are change. He seeks stability and continuity, but he is a man with deeper roots than most nobles do to his friends and neighbors (even if they work his land), and a ferocious desire to protect what he is left.
After an extensive leave away from the city he quietly abdicated to his kinsman, Lord Gaston.