Aurelius Magnus the ExplorerTitle:
Prince of SeliciaFaction:
To neutralize the enemies of the Empire to allow the Empire to refocus its energies internally, restoring good administration to the metropole and defend the remaining periphery.Personality:
Aurelius is a quick witted man and he knows it. He has great confidence in his own abilities, his position and he seems to have an absolutely certain knowledge of where he's going and how to get there. In public, he is fond of wit, athletic contests, fine wine, music. In private, he is interested in navigation, astronomy, mathematics, geography, history and their intersections in politics and war.Appearance:
Aurelius is a big man, broad-shouldered, long limbed with big hands. He smiles a lot, his eyes are piercing blue and he laughs loudly, his hair is light brown. In court, he is a bit of a peacock - he shows off his immense wealth by dressing to impress. At sea, he's all business, but almost no one other than his sailors see him there, it is the general consensus among aristocracy that he's a popinjay.Biography:
Aurelius, though a prince, is the third son from the throne. His mother died in childbirth and his father has never forgiven him for it. His early years were spent entirely in the company of nannies and the children of lesser imperial noblemen, but even then his proclivities showed. By the time he was ten, he was organizing the boys into regiments and setting them into battles against each other, making siege engines that threw leather balls instead of stones and commandeering small watercraft to act out naval battles and marine landings.
He was also a big, athletic boy. He was always running about, full blast, climbing and jumping over things, getting into wrestling matches, swordfights with sticks. He was full of energy, often frenetically so, often unable to sleep due to his restlessness where he snuck around the castle, hearing and seeing things no young boy should.
When he started to train in arms, he took to it as a natural. He not only did the physical exercises, but he devoured arms manuals and books of combat ranging from archery to wrestling. He found that fighting was as much an exercise of the mind as the body and developed a concentration that would serve him very well, indeed, in the years to come. In time, of course, he would develop preferences - the longsword and an anelace, an aggressive grappling style, time spent climbing mountains and exploring the heights of the world around him.
Initially, he was paired against his elder brothers in order to set off their skills, but even at a younger age, Aurelius was time and again able to overcome his brothers' achievements. He would unseat them with the lance, beat them in melee. He could pick up a glove on the ground at a full gallop. He was strong and charismatic, seeming to thrive in his father's dislike, all the while getting a group of loyal men about him. It was becoming a serious problem.
When he was nineteen, the age at which a younger son often becomes dangerous, when they start to feel their power and dream of a crown, the Emperor put Aurelius at the head of a fleet with orders to explore the southern waters. It was considered a death sentence. He left with nine ships and almost a thousand men.
Six-and-a-half years later, he returned with three ships, and half of the remaining crew exotic foreigners. Only a hundred Imperials survived. But the holds of the ships were filled with gold, jewels, ivory, spices. He had explored two-and-a-half thousand miles of coastline, not even counting the rivers. He returned with maps and journals of his explorations and even conquests of strange places and strange peoples. He brought back the hides of exotic animals and even a few living ones. Even after the crown took sixty percent, what remained was enough to make Aurelius one of the richest men in the world. It was a total triumph for the young prince, who afterward was nicknamed "the Explorer" and his journey "the Grand Expedition".
Since then, he has made it a point to support the crown prince. He has been a model aristocrat, performing all tasks with great efficiency. He has made an additional trip, lasting a year, to southern waters, returning to expand his fortune, he has lead armadas against the Empire's enemies with valor, daring and wisdom . . . the plunder of cities also tending to increase his wealth and prestige.
He is considered the foremost sailor in the Empire and a skilled general, too, using rivers and seas as highways to transport large numbers of troops across large distances swiftly, to strike against undefended or unprepared targets and escaping. Against the rebels, he has the nickname of "the Barracuda" because his ships turn up in unexpected places in a bloody frenzy - but have vanished by the time the Empire's enemies arrive in force. Some people say he only fights easy battles and gains easy victories - he laughingly agrees, turns it into a joke that he is smart enough to only fight those battles he can win. (People who know him better, especially those who were the Grand Expedition, realize this is nonsense - he wins battles because he is a master navigator and admiral, showing great fortitude and leadership at sea to project overwhelming force where he needs it to be. But the land armies favored by so many see only the end result - destroyed cities and surprise attacks in supposedly safe places, then a rapid retreat. He doesn't want to conquer the land of the Empire's enemies, simply destroy their ability to wage war.)
He is now well past the age where he would be expected to have a wife. He has had plenty of mistresses and more than one bastard, but marrying him has political complications. He is already a powerful and extremely wealthy lord. If he marries into more land, wealth and titles, he would rival the Emperor in power. But a lesser marriage would be an insult to his power and wealth. It is an intractable situation, but also politically useful because whoever did marry him would be party to his political power and incredible wealth - so the idea
of marrying him is a good political bargaining chip.
He is also a noted duelist. He's fought seven duels, including one against three brothers with on him and a single second, and won them all. He loves athletic contests of the catch-as-catch-can variety, and boasts of only having lost twice in all his bouts, as well as footraces across difficult terrain and steeplechases. He jousts when he can and is considered excellent.