Thought I'd buy that bluff, squire? Have a tip: Never come at a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a goatherd sideways. Oh, next blind is yours, by the by.
Description: Cato cuts a short, sturdy figure, bald, with a large, grey-flecked beard of black hair. His left side is visibly weakened; he walks with a noticeable limp, and often uses a walking stick to aid his gait. His right arm flashes black blotches, long-faded regimental tattoos from decades ago, and the same arm is often found holding up a rugged smoking pipe. Age weighs heavily on his features, with sun-blasted lines etched into his darkened skin. Despite this, his posture is superb; he stands straight-backed as a royal guard, with the even center of gravity of one who's spent many years in the saddle.
Personality: A guarded, pragmatic fellow, Cato can sometimes come off rather blunt. He speaks simply, and prefers relative solitude; he openly detests group meetings, preferring to meet one-to-one. Nevertheless, his manner is kind and generally well-meaning. Avarice does tend to edge his speech, and he approaches honesty as more of a luxury than a necessity; to him, telling the truth is fine when it's convenient, but foolish when it's not. This attitude often leads to him being skeptical of other's assertions in kind, and while his enquiries are often penetrating, he is loath to do more than pay lip service to all but the most accepted "truths".
Background: A native of a hamlet outside of Tor, Cato's early life was identical to that of his forefathers for generations: The halcyon existence of a goatherd. A poor but idyllic life was his for some time, until his father perished in a riding accident when he was 16, and his mother died five years later to a pox. With no family and few prospects, Cato sold off the last of the family's assets set off for the city to find work.
At 22, he found work as a drover; at 24, he found love, and a wife in the Corsetina family. A few short years later, war found him. The Tor-Southport conflict kicked into high gear, and Cato was among many of the eligible young commoners levied for the troops of the Fidante. The mud on his hands was traded for blood, and Cato found no glory or happiness in combat. Fortunately, he discovered something else: An uncanny knack for gambling and reading eyes at the card table. This skill would stay with him for life; gambling remained a side hustle for him throughout the campaign and after it. At the conclusion of the war, Cato ended his service at the earliest possible opportunity, eager to return home, only to find that his wife had perished in childbirth, along with their unborn child.
Widowed, childless, and now out of a job, Cato's fortunes were only improved by profits from war spoils, and his veteran's dispensation. These, he used to return to a life familiar to his old one; at 31, he purchased the beginnings of a goatherd, and worked a spit of land just outside the city. Time and patience brought rewards; for the past two decades, he has tended and expanded his goatherd, and brought up small pools of other livestock as well. The wheels of his progression have been greased considerably, however, by the card table. Huddled over eights and aces, Cato came to rub shoulders with the jacks, queens, and kings of Tor's lower elements, and in place of a second marriage, he became wedded to complex trade networks which shy away from prying eyes, from Arx to Tor and back.
It was here that Cato began to shine. After all, when the guards were searching for smugglers, why would they suspect the old guy who sold them their evening mutton? All the better for him; at 53, Cato has already outlived both of his parents, and for all the connections and satisfaction his day and night jobs bring him, he still has no legacy to show for it. Who shall tend to his goats when he passes? Who shall manage his complex finances? To whom shall he teach which guards to bribe and which to blackmail? And most of all, who's gonna look after his dang horse? Cato's made his life by reading eyes at the card table, but the glassy gaze of Arvum is, so far, opaque.
And worst of all, the gambler's temptation never fades. There is always more to be won. Perhaps, in his twilight years, it's finally time to double down...?
|Mabelle||A well seasoned man. Long lived. A good reminder not all the good die young.|
|Pasquale||A veteren of the setarco-tor war that approached me in the Black Fox one day. He's polite, and fine enough company, but surely wants something. I wonder what that might be.|