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Stunts & Powers
Virgil Angelos was born the third and final child of Lord Peter Angelos, the High Lord of House Angelos. Virgil was born premature and was always a somewhat sickly child. Lord Peter’s other children Claudius (the oldest) and Julia dedicated themselves to more physical pursuits such as warfare, strategy, riding, taxidermy, etc. This led to the lavish approval of their father because these were the traits he valued. Conversely, Virgil always dedicated himself to intellectual pursuits and became a voracious reader because of his physical inadequacies. His father did not tend to value these things and mostly ignored his enigmatic child. However, Virgil’s mother, Christina, nurtured these traits in her son. She taught him that while he may not have the physical prowess of his siblings he can still mold himself into a virtuous and gifted man.
As Virgil grew into adulthood he gained a reputation first and foremost as a man who was uncompromising in his virtue and integrity. Second, he gained a reputation for an acerbic wit, a sharp tongue, and a genius for managing house funds. These skills were of great value to his father. At a young age Virgil fell in love with the daughter of the High Lord of Algar, whose name was Caitlyn. This was against custom because Virgil married her without permission from either of their fathers. However, neither was overly angry because the marriage helped cement relations between their houses. Soon after their marriage she became pregnant. Virgil was overjoyed when his daughter was born. However, this soon turned to grief when his wife died in labor. From that day forth, his daughter became the apple of his eye, and he would refuse her nothing.
Virgil’s physical limitations were worsened due to a failed kidnapping aimed at him and his mother. The scheme failed, but not before Virgil took a knife to the back and his mother died in his arms. It seems that he took nerve damage because he has walked with a limp and a cane ever since. Lord Peter blamed Virgil for failing to protect his mother. Therefore, shortly after her death Virgil was sent off to the capital to be the House Angelos ambassador to the King.
Shortly after arriving in the capital Virgil started gaining a lot of attention. First, he used his oratory skills in the Royal Courts of Law. He represented rich and poor, plaintiff and defendant, prosecution and defense, and he did so free of charge. He picked the side he would argue on based solely on ethical and moral considerations, even saying “that it is his duty to his house, his god, and his kingdom to do so.” His side never lost. His reputation was such that the side opposing him would usually capitulate when they learned that Virgil opposed him. However, the popularity of his oration was such that he often gave his arguments anyways to appease noble and commoners alike.
Second, he started giving speeches in various locations on a variety of subjects. However, the themes of honor, integrity, morality, ethics, and duty figured prominently in all his orations. Initially, he gave these orations unprompted at various locations. Eventually, he received so many invitations to speak that he was usually invited to speak at several venues on a given day. He would speak to both commoners and nobles, and refused any payment for his services.
Finally, he quickly gained recognition for his skills in estate management and financing. Also, he became an adviser and friend to the king. The king often would seek his advice on various matters of state. Eventually, this lead to him receiving a spot on the King’s Small Council as Master of the Coin. As Master of the Coin, he immediately gained a reputation as a hard worker with a keen eye. He immediately began an audit of the kingdom’s finances going back to the inception of the kingdom. Many people tried to tell Virgil that this was unnecessary because no audit had ever gone back more than a generation. Virgil would only reply, “That is because Virgil has never been in a position to audit, and the duty and honor of Virgil is not determined by other men.” It took over a year, but Virgil did finish the audit. The audit revealed numerous irregularities, which Virgil fixed, and he discovered the location of various treasure houses. This increased the income of the kingdom and helped reduce the tax burden of the Noble Houses and commoners alike. Moreover, it revealed several documents granting several tracts of land to the Church. All of this increased the popularity and reputation of Virgil.
The greatest boon to Virgil’s reputation and standing occurred during what has become known as the Royal Conspiracies. The king was holding Royal Court and Virgil was supposed to be there as the representative of House Angelos and Master of the Coin. However, Virgil was late for the first and only time. After about an hour, Virgil burst into the meeting his clothes bloody and torn, his hair disheveled, and his eyes widened with passion. The King commanded the attendants to go to Virgil and see to his wounds, but Virgil waived them off, as the King’s Court stood silent watching Virgil as he requested leave to address the Court, which the King granted. Virgil spoke, his voice a whisper as he began, but a whisper that the whole Court listened to intently.
“You will forgive me of a bypass to the normal formalities of speaking to such an august group. As you all can see I have been attacked. I was attacked by thugs and assassins because the mission that I believed my duty had set before; a mission of extreme importance but also one that required great discretion and caution. These killers would have succeeded on their mission if I had not been saved by the common folk who sacrificed their lives to save mine. In the commotion, both my attempted murderers and those who came to my aid died, with me barely escaping with my life. I now stand before you all a man full of sorrow. I am not grieved at the attempt on my life, but at the heinous actions this attack was meant to cover up.
I have been investigating a monstrous conspiracy that is aimed at the heart of the kingdom. There are those amongst us that would strike at the heart of our way of life. That would undo our time honored customs. They would take licentious license with our liberty and our lives. They would lash out at the common people and grind them into the dust; for they would blame the evils of their conspiracy as a pretext to strike out and murder the common people who are the foundation of our lands. They would abduct church personages and profane our holiest places and objects. They would commandeer the mages and force them to use themselves up with forbidden magics. Their ambition knows no end; for they plan to unseat the high lords of our noble houses and place the members of their depraved conspiracy upon the highest seat of our noble houses. And worst of all their ambition goes so far that I can barely speak of it. They, they would deign so low as to KILL THE KING, AND STEAL HIS THRONE. I now hold in my hand a list of the conspirators. It is stained with my blood, the blood of my attackers, and those honorable commoners who sacrificed themselves for the kingdom. Although, it breaks my heart I know it is my duty to bring this directly to the King in open Court.”
As he spoke, Virgil’s voice rose from a mere whisper at the beginning to a boisterous shout as he said “KILL THE KING, AND STEAL HIS THRONE,” but then he quickly lowered his voice again. The King rose and immediately demanded that Virgil tell him who led this conspiracy. Virgil weakly said in a shouted whisper the whole room could hear “it is your brother.” And with that Virgil passed out. The king ordered his brother and the conspirators on the list be arrested, and set the matter for public trial. The list of conspirators included prominent members of all the high houses, including Virgil’s sister Julia. The conspirators planned to eliminate the members of their houses ahead of them in terms of succession so that they could rule.
The old laws required that the accused be given a speedy trial. However, few people were willing to come forward and prosecute, and there was general apprehension that the jury and prosecution might be bribed or threatened. This prompted Virgil to leave his sickbed and prosecute the case himself, even though the doctors and healers begged him to stay in bed. Virgil prosecuted the case, stopping from time to time so that the healers could change the bandages on his body and when he would pause and cough up blood into white handkerchiefs. His prosecution was so thorough and moving that it is said that all who listened were moved to tears; everyone from the audience, to the jury, to even the accused. At first, the accused maintained their innocence, but when it was clear that this was futile many claimed that is was not their fault and that the conspiracy was not their idea. Moreover, some were so desperate to claim they were pushed into it by a dark mysterious figure, but none could name them.
The king and the jury brought back a guilty verdict in a mere 10 minutes. The king announced death for all the conspirators, and that their property and estates should be given to Virgil Angelos in reward for his service to the kingdom. Moreover, the king declared that the guilt of the conspirators along with the heroism of Virgil be declared across the land at all the seats of the high noble houses. Lastly, Virgil would be declared a hero of the realm, and his person would be sacrosanct, and any person guilty of high treason.
Virgil asked for leave to speak, and the king granted it saying “Anything you ask that is within my power to give, it is yours.” Virgil responded,
“Thank you, your majesty. I fear that I am not worthy of the praise you heap upon me. I am simply one man doing his duty as honor demand. If it would not be too much, I would humbly make a request to you. First, I would ask that the property you would give to me be given to the people in remembrance of the honorable commoners who sacrificed their life for the kingdom. Second, while I agree that the leaders of the conspiracy must die, justice demands no less, I would request mercy for the lesser members of the conspiracy. For I believe nothing is more praiseworthy, nothing more suited to an honorable and decent man than to a placable and merciful disposition. Lastly, please do not declare me a hero. If anything must be said of me, merely say that I am a man who simply did his duty, as all men should do.” The king responded that this, above all, showed Virgil’s magnanimous and noble nature, and that he would grant all of Virgil’s requests.
The aftermath of the conspiracy left Virgil widely respected and/or loved in all quarters. He was known as a man who would not back down from duty, even if it led to his own sister’s execution. The commoners loved him because the money he requested be given to the commoners was a great sum. The church thanked him because the conspiracy was going to take back grants of land recently given to them. The mages were grateful that he had kept a regime from coming to power that would deal with them harshly. The Noble Houses were grateful that he stopped numerous assassinations as well as have mercy on their members. Lastly, the king expressed his eternal gratitude that his crown and kingdom had been saved. There were some who suggested that the conspiracy was not so widespread or dire as Virgil had said. However, they were mostly ignored and looked at as crackpots.
Virgil had little time for his life at the capital to return to normal. In recent years, misfortune had befallen his immediate family. His brother Claudius had lost several of his children in a series of events. One child died in a hunting accident, another fell through thin ice and drowned, and his last child died from a sudden pestilence. Julia’s two children fared no better. One of her children had been one of the would be assassins that died trying to kill Virgil, and her other child committed suicide when Julia was executed. Thus, all that was left was Lord Peter, Claudius, Virgil, and Virgil’s daughter, Mirren. Virgil was soon informed that his father had fallen ill, and was dying. His sister Julia had been executed as a conspirator. Thus, it was clear that his brother Claudius was to take the position as High Lord of House Angelos.
Virgil hurried back to his ancestral home to see his father before he died, and to be there for his brother’s ascendance to the High Lordship. However, while he was on his way home tragedy befell the House. Virgil’s brother Claudius had a horse riding accident. In this way, Claudius died on the same night as his father Peter. Therefore, Virgil arrived home after many years in the capital not to celebrate his brother, but to bury him, and take on the High Lordship himself.
Virgil ascends the high lordship with a heavy heart. He is a man renowned across the kingdom as a man of integrity of honor, who always does his duty. In the past, he has made a difference through reputation and by persuading those in actual power. Now, he had power. The King welcomes the fact that such an honorable man is now a high lord, but is saddened his friend is gone. Nevertheless, no one knows what Virgil will do when he has direct power, but some worry that he is too noble to be the head of a noble house.
Virgil is home now with his daughter, and making sure that his house is in working order. He is somewhat upset at the disarray his brother and father have left the house in. He was accompanied from the Capital with his personal butler, and an apprentice mage that he requested run the library. He is overjoyed to be reunited with many of his family members, but he is still vigilant against all dangers.
Virgil is a man that is more complex than he seems on the surface. He is indeed a man committed to duty and integrity. However, his interpretation of his duty might be different from how others would interpret it.