Count Magnus Stahlben
If divided we stand, together we'll fall.
Description: Magnus is a giant of a man, standing well beyond the average, though without disturbing human proportions. As if designed on a different scale, but one still within mortal range. While easily the first thing one notices, his muscular frame also comes with a curious habit. He moves at a slow, deliberate pace, rarely making any sudden moves, showing an awareness of his body, and a caution as to the environment around him. A quiet giant, uninterested in the watching eyes of others. His own are the colour of verdant fields, patient and tranquil, yet by no means placid. Intelligence brightens them, and good humour warms them like a roaring fire in the hearth. He wears his hair long, reaching below his shoulders, a rich chestnut hue he leaves unadorned. A far cry from the raging barbarian, till he wears his bone armour and wades into battle, where the slowness of before disappears entirely.
Personality: One might expect a man born in a land so remote to share similar traits to his environment. Yet rather than being cold or remote, Magnus exhibits a welcoming, if quiet, demeanour when it comes to others. While not prone to loud displays of exuberance, he is warm, with an easy laugh and smile, though rarely enough to lose his calm. This serenity also manifests in his patience, and even his speech, deliberate, in no hurry to rush through discussions. Indeed, he is one who wishes to hear differing opinions, hear them debated, that all viewpoints might be known, and a better perception of the world achieved. It is in this collegial manner that he rules, prefering to listen than to speak. Yet when he does, it is with confidence. He knows not all can be pleased, of course. But it costs him little to take the time to try and see the world from their perspective, understand their woes and fears, as well as their hopes and aspirations, before he makes a decision that would affect them all. In this, he is loyal to not only his people's well-being, but now the Compact's as well. Determined and certain of the course taken, he stands to prove that the diplomacy used upon Shav'arvani tribes is not wasted, and that though he remains loyal to his people and their initial purpose, loyalty to the Compact is no lesser for it.
Background: Born far from the Compact's borders, within the last mountain of the North, Magnus' life promised to be no different from his father's, and his own father's. The son of the Chief of the Stahlben, he was expected to keep the watch over the Everwinter, pay the proper respects to the ancestors as Bonesinger, that they might entreat with the Firstborn, and ensure the Stahlben and the people that depended on them prospered and thrived. He exhibited early abilities as not only a leader, but one motivated by the need to look out for others, rather than the power and thrill of leading others. These qualities, along with a voracious curiosity and intelligence, only grew further as he aged and became a man. Duties and responsabilities grew, but he never shied away from them, meeting each challenge head-on, determined and diligent. Failures and successes were met the same way, with a clear and open mind to the rich lessons taught by either. Yet he would only be truly tested shortly after his father's death and his becoming Chief.
When the Undying and their servants spilled forth from the Everwinter.
Stahlben warriors and allies were gathered, and faced the oncoming tide of destruction with the strength and valour that had seen them triumph for centuries of conflict. They lost. Badly. Forced back to their mountain stronghold, besieged by a foe whose hunger for more death seemed unending, Magnus led the desperate defense to save his people from extinction. The fortress didn't fall, the enemy moving down south instead, to the relief, and dread, of the defenders. They had survived, yes. But Magnus was all too aware of the losses of his people and allies, and their failure at containing the Everwinter's monsters.
In the months that followed the Compact's victory over Brand, another foe rose to attack the weakened Stahlben. Now facing either destruction or slavery for his people, Magnus gathered his advisors, and a third option was taken. To bend the knee to the Compact, become one with the victorious kingdom of the Silent War, and adapt to the new world only now awakening from a long darkness. The Stahlben stood unchanging for centuries, yet it is now Magnus' task to guide them during the first and difficult years of new loyalties and culture suddenly before them.
He has been tested before and shall be again. But he will succeed. For his people. For the Firstborn.
For the Compact.