Prince Talwyn Valardin
Elegance is the art of manners, while refinement is their science. They are different studies at the same university. But no such education may be complete without music.
Description: Tall and lean, of a solid build, Talwyn is a young man of broad, long-fingered hands, nimble and quick, with neat, well-tended fingernails. They are a musician's hands, with hard calluses from strings across his thumb and fingertips. His features carry a classic, remote kind of beauty, with high, angled cheekbones, a strong jaw and hawkish nose. His eyes are melting brown, warmly dark beneath an absurd, sooty thickness of dark lashes, and their expressiveness is accentuated by the heavy, dark lines of his eyebrows. His hair is dark waves of a brown so deep and dark it is very nearly black.
Personality: Fire uncontained is a something of rage, a devouring hunger that consumes all, but fire contained is a tempering force, of human warmth as well as human industry. Talwyn is fire contained, and though there is a deep ambition that stokes his inner flame, it is tempered and restrained beneath layers of dignity and restraint. His is a considerable raw material of creative force, passion trammelled behind by the bonds of self-control whose main release comes from art, and his art is the playing and composition of music. He has mastered the art of being alluringly elusive to prospective suitors of either gender; his reserve is spun in layers of amusement and dignity, and what lies beneath he only sets free by choice.
Background: Talwyn Valardin was a child of the White City, and grew up pampered amongst the old stones of an ancient fortress that has never fallen to a siege. The son of a cadet branch of the house, the weight of expectation was as distant upon him as the might of the rest of the Compact. He was sheltered, but well educated, and his education was partly so extensive because he showed such an aptitude for it. Books and stories fired his imagination; song and poem fired his heart. As a boy, this was where he found his freedom, upon the written page, and he spent so much time in the library at Sanctum that it was generally anticipated that he would not be one for the court, but for the Faith.
Yet as he grew older, the gods did not seem to call him anywhere near as much as other things. Romantic literature, songs of derring do and chivalry, travelogues, anything that was about the world beyond -- music that freed the spirit and the feet for dancing. It might have been than in a world where the Faith was more relaxed a priest might have been able to catch his attention and harness him towards disciplehood, but his youth was powerful with the need to be free, and at Sanctum, that freedom was far, far from temple walls. So he learned, and learned well, but always his eye wandered towards the harp strings, or the section of the library where stories and histories were kept.
Music brought out a passion in him, as little else did, and fired his imagination. He learned to play several instruments, and began to write companion pieces to popular novels. With his musicality, his popularity grew, and he developed as a student of both the social game and as a performer. As a young man among Sanctum's elite, he became not only well-known, but a Person to Know. But a chance trip with his sister to visit relations in the Lyceum was all that saved him from the disaster of the Tragedy at Sanctum, and in its wake, he saw the youth of his generation struggling to come to grips with the weight of new responsibility, and Talwyn worked to express that in musical composition. Not for him the poetic scansion of the lyricist, but the purity of instrumental composition. He became one of the most well-known of composers as well as one of the most well-known of gentlemen, always the height of fashion, in demand and, of course, by the time he set forth to join his family in Arx to serve House Valardin, an extremely eligible bachelor whether he wanted to be or not.