Octavian Lucius John Augustus the NavigatorRole:
Duke of YnysiaGender:
Octavian Lucius John Augustus was born in the fortress of Maegonstat, ancestral seat of the House of Balar, on the first day of spring. He was the second son of his father, James VI, Duke of Ynysia. His mother died in childbirth and his father never forgave him for it.
He was supposed to be his older brother's foil - someone for Julian to overcome, to make Julian look good. Pretty much the exact opposite happened. Octavian made Julian look very bad because Octavian was one of those people who did everything well.
As a child, Octavian organized the children of Maegonstat into brigades, equipped them with well-made wooden swords and cloth armor, built siege engines that threw leather balls instead of stones, marched them in formation and set them in battle against each other. Julian took the greater part of the force as his own, claiming his right as heir to the proud House of Balar, but with half as many boys, and the smaller ones to boot, Octavian overcame his brother, time and again.
When they trained, Octavian learned faster, hit harder and with greater precision. No one could remember a time when Julian won a wrestling match or footrace against his brother, younger by two years. Octavian could ride a horse at a gallop and pick up a glove on the ground. He broke his lance on his brother's breastplate nearly every time they stood the lists. In Octavian's spare time, he played musical instruments and wrote excellent poetry, or discussed philosophy and law with learned men.
It wasn't even that Julian was bad
at things. It was merely that Octavian was better, even when he was younger.
Their father, James, found this situation intolerable. So when Octavian was twenty, James sent his younger son to Drosnya, to chart the southern reaches of that far-off land. It was considered a suicide mission. The tribes to the north were bad enough, but to the south were cannibals and worse. Expeditions to southern Drosyna did not, in general, return.
And since Octavian was gone for five years, it was assumed that Octavian would not return. But he did. He left with nine ships and returned with three, but their holds were filled with gold, silver, jewels, ivory, and he had all manner of prisoners, including a cannibal king with teeth filed to points, red hair and painted skin. Octavian also had maps and a journal that described the political makeup of southern Drosyna for two thousand miles, what each kingdom produced, their principal cities, rivers, kings and endless observations. It was a triumph. Afterward, he was called Octavian the Navigator.
What happened next is open to endless controversy. The official version is that, jealous of his brother, Julian tried to assassinate Octavian, who reversed the situation and killed his brother. This so outraged his father that James tried to have Octavian executed, but the lords of Ynysia sided with Octavian over the insult, that Octavian should be executed for self-defense
. There was a battle in the castle and James escaped on a ship that was sunk not too far away from Maegonstat.
What is known for sure, though, is that there was a fight in the castle where James and Julian were both killed, leaving Octavian the sole legitimate claimant to the Duchy of Ynysia. There were a few battles as loyalists tried to paint Octavian as a usurper, fratricide and patricide, but he proved himself as skilled in the field as at the helm of a ship - his victories were decisive. He lead several charges, too, and after several flanking manuevers, he got a second nickname: the Deadly Ghost, due to his ability to have his cavalry appear out of seemingly nowhere, right where they will do the most damage. With his personal wealth from his southern expedition, he bribed those who were on the fence with public works - with bridges, canals and other enhancements to their land. Victory and largesse made him very popular and soon none disputed his claim. By the time anyone else learned what had happened, it was a fiat accompli: Octavian was Duke of Ynysia with the support of both the people and the chiefs of the subordinate houses to Balar.
Now, as part of his feudal obligations, he has come to the capitol. Many people see him as the worst thing to happen to the kingdom in generations - an obscenely wealthy Duke of Ynysia, skilled in all the arts of politics and war, popular with his people and lords who rose from a second son to a great duke in short order. They worry that Octavian might crown himself king in Ynysia, or, worse, desire the whole damn kingdom, ruled from Maegonstat.Ynysia
Ynysia is an archipelago in northern seas. Maegonstat is on a peak that commands a harbor out of which whalers go on the primary island of Ynys, which has never known conquest. When the kingdom was unified, Ynys swore fealty but with a great many conditions, prime among them that the Dukes of Ynysia would be regnant - they would owe a feudal obligation to the crown but the crown would not rule them, creating a nearly autonomous state inside the kingdom. And everyone knows that the Ynysians wish to be free.
The economy of Ynysia is almost entirely nautical. They make money from the sea - they render the blubber of whales for oil, they collect ambergris, they trade and they raid. There are probably no greater explorers in the world and their ships trade with foreigners that no one else has ever seen, but are reputed to have red skin, and they deliver to the Ynysians great quantities of beaver pelts, sable and castorum.
This is the secret to their power - their control of northwestern passages to foreign lands that no one else knows about, where they have exclusive trade with the natives of these far-flung lands. Other people have tried finding these lands across the sea - the Ynysians call them Drosyno, literally "over there" - but no one has ever returned that was not Ynysian. (Occasionally, a defector captain of Ynysia will try to lead a foreign expedition, but to date they have all been destroyed by the Ynysians. There is a fairly specific set of ways to get from Ynysia to Drosyno and all the ways are controlled by sea forts in difficult waters where foreign sailors would be at a massive disadvantage.)
Ynysia, itself, is a craggy island with several fertile valleys. It produces all the grain it needs, and there seems endless wood for shipbuilding, and sufficient metals for their industry. They are master shipbuilders and renown smiths. They trade for everything else. Their wealth is the sea, trade, raids and whaling.Ons:
He likes his lovers to be smart, able, fit, strong-willed and elegant. In bed, he likes them to be aggressive, exciting and experienced.Offs:
He abhors stupidity, inability and weakness. In bed, he dislikes passivity and lack of confidence.