Lord Samael Bisland
All advocacy is is an aggressive exercise in empathy. There's no reason to think empathetic means unaggressive. What's more powerful than feeling?
Description: Tall and lean, Samael's energy rarely permits him to hold still. Dense black curls crown his head, cropped close to the curve of his skull. His eyes are deep black but bright as jet beneath the expressive arch of his eyebrows. His mouth is all dynamic motion, easy smiles or weaponized frowns applied to the full, soft bow of his lips. His teeth are very white in the warm mahogany tone of his skin. His nose is broad and slightly flat with a down-turned tip, in mild contrast to the high, fine angles of his cheek bones, a bone structure that bespeaks a classic kind of aristocratic good looks. When he wears a beard, he keeps it neat and trimmed
Personality: Samael is dynamic, energetic, and keenly intelligent. He loves words and wordplay. He loves argument. He loves winning argument. He loves figuring people out and learning the way they tick. He throws himself whole-heartedly into friendships, with an unfortunate tendency to get bogged down and entangled in his desperate need to solve other people's problems. He is addicted to work and struggles occasionally with that addiction and what it does to his relationships with others. He struggles with taking losses personally. True advocacy requires summoning sufficient passion and dispassion to connect with the work. The passion is the easy part. The dispassion is hit or miss.
Background: The younger brother of Gabriel Bisland by several years, Samael was raised not even the spare so much as the spare's spare. The ideals of service were inculcated in him by duty-bound and loyal family members, and his brother's example was always one to look up to, even when he was quite young. The military was not his strongest point, though of course he was subject to its study as any young nobleman would be, but he was quickly outclassed in the practice yard; his focus was always inward, and towards the shelves in the bookcases at Pridehall.
As a young man, he studied with the Seraph of Pridehall, became conversant with basic war and basic diplomacy, but found himself taking root -- as he would later describe it -- beneath the branches of the tree of justice. He stared into the faceless blankness of the Sentinel and thought about what it meant to be right and wrong. But though his passion for justice developed young, and in part sprang from faith, his practical applications of it immediately became less so. The human problems became his lure. The whys behind people do what they do fascinated him like so many puzzles.
He became a lawyer.
The Bislands brokered a marriage for him when he was 19, to Sabitha Laurent, a cousin of the main line of the Laurents. Lady Sabitha bore him his first child within the year, and the second the year after. Their relationship went downhill after that, and no other children would follow for years on end.
As a Duke's son, he was frequently enabled to join the Voice's court and to witness magistrates in action; at times, in his early twenties, he was even called upon to perform the magistrate's role. Winning a battle of brains was altogether more interesting to him than winning a war of blades could ever be. The seed of identity, after all, the seed of change, the seed of _justice_ ... those are in the mind, not the sword arm.
The more strained and exasperating his relationship with Sabitha grew, the more Samael threw himself into his career. Now, in his mid-thirties, Samael is reputed as one of the finest lawyers in the Compact. He and his wife live separately and, supposedly, chastely -- according to the marital contract, which because it was with an Oathlands House requires sexual faithfulness -- and appearing together in public only on the most mandatory of occasions. Otherwise, they continue going about their separate business, avoiding each other and doing their respective very hard work for the House and for the Compact.