Lord Kaiden Shepherd
The mountains never forget, and they do not forgive either.
Description: There's a rugged refinement to this man, a lordly demeanor mixed with the presence of a man who has been much in the world and knows how to watch after himself. Standing a few inches past the six foot mark, his build is that of a man accustomed to the training field and battle grounds, muscular without being bulky. His dark hair is cut relatively short and kept back away from his eyes, which seem naturally narrowed as though he spends much of his time in the outdoors. Pale blue orbs watch from those narrowed eyes, ever aware of what is going on around him in the cautious way of a veteran. His beard is trimmed short with a slight mustache, giving him the meticulous appearance of a man who pays attention to the details.
Personality: It has been said of Kaiden that he would be far easier to understand if he were a set of twins, alternating which arrived depending upon the moment and occassion. The truth is that he really does -try- to be the outgoing, sociable, friendly fellow that he seems to believe he's supposed to be. He's just not that good at it. His isolated childhood made him quiet and prone to withdraw and listen, rather than be more actively involved in conversations. He tends to think before he acts, sometimes far more than he ought to, making him at times seem hesitant. He is slow to anger, preferring to try and solve problems rather than escalate them.
Background: The son of Duke Gregor Shepherd's younger brother Wilhelm, Kaiden's childhood was not what might have been called a happy one. Wilhelm was a man of skill and some leadership ability, but when his brother passed him over for Sword of Graypeak in favor of a Knight by the name of Sir Bentley Crownfall, his father became bitter and nursed his resentment. While Kaiden was still young, Wilhelm's resentment manifested disastrously when he ignored the Duke's orders and led nearly a third of the forces of Graypeak into an ambush. Duke Gregor was robbed of seeing justice upon Wilhelm though, as Wilhelm himself died in the battle. Not wishing for the reminder of his foolish (or some said traitorous) brother, Duke Gregor wasted no time at all in arranging a marriage for Kaiden's mother in the nearby Lyceum, sending the mother and her young son away, though Kaiden retained the name and lineage of Shepherd since it was specified such in the original marriage contract.
Growing up the only one bearing the name of Shepherd in a land strange to him from what he had known left Kaiden isolated, learning to rely upon himself and trust slowly. The isolation was no better in the times when his mother would send him to visit his kin in Graypeak, to retain the ties with the family he would return to upon adulthood. This is not to say that he was not loved or seen to by his mother and step-father. He had excellent tutors as a child, and in time arrangements were made for him to squire in Bisland like so many of his generation.
When he reached adulthood, he returned to Graypeak as a Knight and resumed his father's title, but the gulf between he and his uncle was vast and bitter. He spent much of his time away from Graypeak, on various adventures or quests, but he seemed just as willing to be gone from 'home' often, travelling far and wide for over a decade. When Gregor died and Malcolm ascended to the title of Duke, suddenly ennobled and named heir, Kaiden showed no discontent and traveled back to Graypeak, to be among the first to swear to the new Duke.