Duke Malcolm Shepherd
You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your unbelievably distant family deciding to ennoble you, apparently.
Description: Malcolm has that 'handsomeness of indeterminate age' about him. There's a soft youthfulness that has yet to be banished from the curves of his cheeks, with a still somewhat boyish grin that's already given him crinkled lines around his dark, expressively playful eyes. His brows will no doubt be wild and bushy when he is an old man -- but he is not an old man yet -- so they are still strong and dark, sketching out his exaggerated moods with perfect clarity. His hair is cut close to his head, dark and mussed, in opposition to a jawline that's only partially concealed with a week’s worth of careless stubble. Otherwise unremarkable, and a little rough around the edges, he's a tall man, but not too tall; strong, but not obnoxiously so. He's clearly not a man that spends his time lifting heavy things to sculpt overt muscles.
Personality: Malcolm is perfectly suited for being a duke, if one ignores personality, training, inclination, background, motivation and goals, but aside from that, he's perfectly suited. Being told this was his new DUTY and OBLIGATION might make something in him roll over and die in complete exasperated surrender, but at his heart, he really does try to help people, even if a hefty dose of sarcasm helps him deal with what life gives him without dying of alcoholic liver failure.
Background: Malcolm is reasonably sure that his father was incapable of forming a sentence that didn't contain 'honor', 'duty', or 'responsibility'. Bentley Shepherd was exhausting that way. Getting up in the morning would be greeted with, 'it's about time you've risen, now to see to your duties' or 'our family's honor depends on how well we see to our responsibilities'. If ever there was a man that was born trying to hard to redeem his family's line for shame from three hundred years ago during the Crownbreaker Wars, it was Malcolm's father. And it wasn't as if another sometimes spear carrying soldier in the duke's army and other times farmer really had much responsibilities! But there was no telling dear old dad that. He could be asking about the chickens and it would be, "if you live life honorably, everything will fall into place. Now collect the eggs." WHAT DID THAT EVEN MEAN? How does that even follow? This, dad, is why mother left you to become a pirate.
So it came as no surprise to anyone that knew Malcolm, or talked to his father for more than three minutes, that Malcolm and his sister Bonnie left home immediately at eighteen to make their fortune in the wide 'and oft dishonorable' world, away from a parent who seemed to have taken a secret vow to never have a trace of humor or fun in his life. Malcolm immediately fell into sellswording for a living, and Bonnie became a 'naval acquisitions specialist' in the pattern of dear old mom, who apparently had made quite a name for herself at Port Defiance and around the Saffron Chain. Malcolm, unfortunately, discovered that for some reason it seemed like he just had the kind of face that screams to people, 'I have a problem. That fellow right there seems just the person to help me out with my personal tragedy, curse, adventure, expedition, or otherwise life threatening sojourn'. He has no idea why it happens. You don't just go up to a random person on the street and tell them how you need help because Little Timmy wandered into a Shardhaven or some shavs kidnapped your dog! But it led him to forming an adventuring company named the Valiant Effort with Bonnie and some friends, to at least make official the reason they would be wandering into extraordinarily regrettable situations.
Life was just approaching something close to relaxing if regularly life threatening when he received word that his father, the seemingly now knighted Sir Bentley Shepherd, had died. Very sad, exasperating old man or no. And that he had died saving Duke Gregor 'the Butcher of Graypeak' Shepherd, and had been serving for years as the House Sword. And that Duke Gregor, now succumbing to his own wounds, had made a deathbed decree re-ennobling Sir Bentley Shepherd 'to erase the stain of honor on that distant branch of House Shepherd', and effectively making Malcolm his heir, which for some mind boggling reasons his 9th cousins are actually okay with, despite Malcolm repeatedly offering it up. The letter written by his father that Malcolm received posthumously with this news read, "It is your duty to see to the restoration of the house honor, and live up to all of your responsibilities."
Oh no. It was the trifecta.
|Adora||Good taste in furniture. But he's not buying more when prompted. I don't like him.|
|Ajax||An easy going Duke, promised work. He seems alright. I wouldn't mind workin' for him either.|
|Alessandro||Personable, and interested in learning, which is always an asset. I would be interested to see the library.|
|Amari||Affable man, perhaps lacking polish and courtly refinement, but that's charming in itself. He's not dour and boring either; a common trait in Dukes, unfortunately. It must be a result of all the responsibility heaped on them. Hopefully he can endure it all and keep smiling.|
|Arcadia||Oh so serious! But he must be fun of he puts up with Delilah's antics. Plus, he has the most adorable puppies.|
|Austen||A rather talkative duke. He seems new to teh position, and anxious to redeem the name of his family. An honourable urge, I hope it works out well for him.|
|Beatrice||The reluctant Duke. A simple man with an unbelieveable story. Common down to his excellent bone structure. Pleasantly candid.|
|Berenice||Oh he does /try/, doesn't he? Darling.|
|Bonnie||Just like I remember him. Just dressed better, looks like he remembered to shave, and.. and oh no, my brother's starting to be respectable!|
|Calandra||He says he's not the Butcher Duke. He /says/. It's probably true. /Probably/.|
|Calarian||Quite the character. I imagine the Duke will be injecting some life into House Grayson over the coming months.|
|Caspian||I like this man! He seems to be craving adventure. I can understand his feelings. Maybe we can go on an adventure some day together?|
|Cedric||The poor man needs help and is very wise indeed to readily and obediently take wise direction.|
|Cirroch||For someone who is a Crownlander, he is quite good with snowballs!|
|Dariel||A talkative, friendly duke who loves a drink and a joke.|
|Delilah||A duke with the common touch, he dislikes paperwork, prefers rushing off into trouble, and high adventure shines in his eyes. I don't know that his coronet will ever wear him down, and I hope it won't.|
|Domonico||A rough and ready Duke. Hopefully soon I will be able to demonstrate the advantages of regular sparring and training sessions.|
|Draven||He didn't pay! The Hug Tax! It's okay! He seems nice! I like him lots! Maybe too serious! Too sly and serious!|
|Duarte||The newly ennobled! Who is EVERY bit as charming as Lady Jennyva said he was. How fine!|
|Evaristo||Duke Shepherd - and what a duke. Seems like the man you'd meet at a shady bar and that would drink you under the table and then helpfully carry you to your bed and pay your bill, and when you wake up day after all hungover and really, really tired, he'll be up at dawn climbing a mountain and come back before you even have breakfast, and speak really loudly and cheerfully at you... Ah, perhaps I should avoid drinking with this guy.|
|Fiora||Going to give me a dog? We'll see if he's worth his word. If he does, maybe he's not so bad. If he doesn't. Well. Then.|
|Giulio||I do so enjoy new men. They are filled with drive and lack the sense of entitlement that is so common our class.|
|Harlex||Doesn't seem like a Duke. That's good. Amicable, too.|
|Iseulet||One of those men that you can meet and tell he is good to his core. He laughs from his belly. I like that - I hope being a member of the Peerage doesn't steal that away from him. Keep smiling, Duke Shepherd!|
|Jeffeth||I don't really know who he is. But I liked him. He didn't really know what to do with himself at a memorial. Some people would think that's bad, but I think that shows a good heart. So he probably has a good heart. Or I'm totally wrong and he's terrible. Let's hope the first!|
|Jennyva||I'm confident he'll be a wonderful Duke. You can tell he's just a big softie.|
|Joscelin||Rather joyous in the mantle of Duke, if also very new to it. Certain about some of his new role and learning about everything else. He has the makings of a great leader, in that he quite possibly could command without being demanding. A useful skill, that, one that he can hone into an impressive tool, like ... well, rather like a Shepherd, leading his people where they -want- to go, rather than forcing them somewhere they don't.|
|Jyri||A great guard, a good man, and just the sort of person I like to spend time with. I'm quite chuffed we'll be related in a manner, soon.|
|Kaia||A friendly and talkative man; he seems nice!|
|Kenna||I feeeeeellllll like he really doesn't want to be known as the butcher. Cuz that's understandable.|
|Lou||Easily excitable, but very interested in exploration. New to his position, but much room for growth. I'm sure he'll do his family well.|
|Luca||I'd heard there was a new Duke come to Arx and it took me a bit to meet him, but he seems like.. he's.. working on it? He's amiable, and I think that will carry him a long way in the places where he's not quite polished yet. I bet he'd be fun at dinner.|
|Martino||The Duke certainly has a laid back attitude, that surprised me as one is not used to that. However, very friendly and easy to converse with. Good taste in Whiskey as well.|
|Miella||If he hadn't been introduced as a Duke I would not have known. Not sure if that's a point in his favor or not.|
|Miranda||Talking to Ribbons about her eyes... He has a dry wit I admire.|
|Mirk||I can't trust anyone who uses a phrase like 'ominous fun.' But we'll see how the trip goes.|
|Orrin||It is rare to see men of his station retain such a good-natured affect.|
|Petal||He comes into my shop and buys lots of stuff, but I didn't know the Duke also throws pies!|
|Pharamond||Assuming the newest Duke doesn't get eaten alive I have a feeling I could come to enjoy knowing this man. He seems enthusiastic for his family.|
|Quenia||New to his position, but not exactly in the same way I was. Still, it abrupt all the same. I couldn't help but give him a bit of advice I wish I had before taking things over. Hopefully he puts it to good use.|
|Ras||He talks fast and he's funny. I like him, for a silk.|
|Reese||He seems like a well spoken, charming and intelligent Duke. He seems to get things and has an alertness about him.|
|Sabella||He seems like a man with a very creative mind who is not afraid to ask for something that he wants even if it is not on the menu! I can't wait to get to know him better! I love it when our vassals turn out to be imaginative go-getters!|
|Samuele||Sometimes being awkward in greetings is the best way to make them. He seems cheerful at least.|
|Sebastian||He displays in many ways that he was not born to nobility, and yet there is something appealing about the raw honesty of a man saying and doing the things he wants without fear or favor.|
|Sorrel||This charming Crownlands duke is quite social and friendly. I hope to continue to consider him a friend in the future.|
|Venturo||A warm enough soul, and a Duke at that. It's always a pleasure to meet those who might be future partners in the endeavors of the Raconteur and bringing food and entertainment to all of the lands of Arvum.|
|Videl||The Duke Shepherd seems unaccustomed to his position, but well-meaning and hard working. Let's hope he learns to swim before he sinks.|
|Willow||We've met a few times but rarely had the chance to talk. He seems to have a nice smile and a pretty killer sense of humor though.|
|Wyatt||He's a great new cousin, and that pained expression when I start talking about trade law just shows that he bears the weight of his responsibilities seriously, and is steeling himself against missing any of it. It must continue.|