- 26 Chapter Posts
- 11 News Items
Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 @ 4:35pm
Name Mikhael Kanan Stormdanovich
Position High Lord of Cymeria
|Date of Birth||31 October 3515|
|Trade||Ruler of Cymeria|
|Other Titles||Brenin: The formal Old Tongue title that originally meant King but has come to mean High Lord.
Lord of Thunder (Arcane Title)
Warder of Harkania March
1st Marshal (Serves until heir comes of age)
|Aliases / Nicknames||Mika, Misha, Mishka (Used only by family and close friends)
Mikha, Thunder Child (Used only by Gero)
Brynmor ap Caerwyn: Bryn is the name Mikhael used during his travels and the name he gave to Gero and Hawke. Caerwyn means white fort in Heniaith, but Mika chose it as a play on his grandmother’s name, Kerowyn. Additionally, there is a ruined cylch near Stormholm Caer where he and his friends used to play. It had unusually white stones and was called Caerwyn by the locals. Brynmor means large hill.
The name would likely only be used by people he met on his travels although he does still use it when it is best for no one to know his real name.
|Craft / Trade||High Lord of Cymeria (11 years)
Mikhael has reigned as the High Lord of Cymeria for the last eleven (11) years. Not surprisingly, however, this position generates more expense than income.
Mikhael is a skilled tactician and leader although he does lack the gene for diplomacy. He learned statecraft at an early age although his education in that area was interrupted when he and his father quarreled. His years abroad and wandering Cymeria, however, taught him much that he has found to come in handy as he settles into his role of ruler.
Over many centuries, House Stormdanovich has invested carefully and wisely in order to maintain their coffers and generate a substantial income. The men and women of the hold work just like everyone else. Mikhael often visits and works the coffee grows as well as other farming and ranching concerns. In addition to the coffee, the family maintains interest in a couple of shipping companies that earns a healthy income.
The breeding and sale of the Dikaya is by far and away the family’s biggest income source. As Dikaya stallions cannot be exported outside Cymeria intact, there is a healthy demand for mares and geldings. Working with the young horses due to go to auction is one of the jobs Mikhael takes great pleasure in.
Home & Residence
|Estate / Hold / Farm||Stormholm Caer|
|Region / Province||Harkania|
|Country of Residence||Cymeria|
|Town / Village||Duskhallow|
|Original Birthplace||Stormholm Caer (image in gallery)
Harkania March is the oldest settled region of what is now Cymeria. According to legend, it is where the Chimera landed at the end of their thousand years of exile in the wake of the fall of Atlantis. Harkania holds many hidden secrets and wonders waiting for the unwary to stumble upon them. There is a feeling of great age and wonder about the land of Harkania which is transmitted to all that dwell there and even visitors to the region sense something of its great age.
The region is mountainous and rugged. Dinas Ulchedir, the largest city in Cymeria, lies at the heart of the area called the Highlands and sits at the convergence of the two main tributaries of the Gwyfal River. The Chimera and the Celts are a strong people, able to survive the harshness of their environment.
Holm: (Old English) an islet, especially in a river or near a mainland.
Caer: (Welsh) a placename element in the Cymry Old Tongue meaning "stronghold", "fortress", or "citadel".
Stormholm Caer is a rocky promontory formed from a massive volcanic plug. Over thousands of years, glacial and climatic erosion led to exposure of the plug on one side, while a long slope of material remains on the opposite side. Such landforms are called crag and tail. Continued erosion removed the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remained, producing a distinctive upstanding landform and forming a holm in the middle of the powerful river now known as Daranau Afon (Thunder River). Eventually, the level of the river fell creating the craggy outcrop as it is today.
Note: Daranau and taranau both mean thunder in the Cymry Old Tongue. Daranau normally refers to place names while taranau literally means the thunder one hears.
While being built, the massive castle-fortress that seems embedded in the very rock of the promontory took its name from its location and became Stormholm Caer, though often simply referred to as Stormholm.
Stormholm is the hereditary seat of House Stormdanovich. It has stood watch over Harkania for just over 2000 years. The formation on which it rests is impervious to erosion and riddled with caverns and tunnels that were once lava tubes. The land beneath is still geothermally active and the caves are host to a myriad of hot springs and mudpots. The hot springs provide a steady source of hot water to the castle and the volcanic mudpots harden into a nearly impervious material used for facing the stones of the buildings and can be kilned into pots, pans, drinkware and dinnerware. Stormholm Caer also sits above a vast and perennial source of fresh water. A massive river flows through one of the main caverns that sits beneath the castle, is split by a massive granite formation and leaps from the cliffs to fall to Daranau Afon far below. Archways were built over the falls and parts of the keep sits directly over the waterfalls making it appear as if they spring from the very castle. The higher and larger waterfall is called the Great Thunder and the lower one is Quiet Thunder.
The only access and egress from the keep itself is via a series of tunnels, ancient volcanic lava tubes. The keep’s stable and barn complexes take advantage of the massive caverns. There are also numerous hideouts, secret passages and storerooms hidden in Stormholm Caer Caverns. Stormholm Caer uses the caverns for year round storage because of their steady and stable climate.
Stormholm Caer is considered virtually impregnable due to its physical and arcane protections. It has only been taken once in its history and that was from within when House Azarov overthrew House Tsarimov and restored the right rule of the country.
The keep literally watches over the valley below and beyond the foothills, one can faintly see Harkania's capital city, Dinas Ulchedir (Highland City). On very clear days, the spires and towers of Stormholm Caer can be seen from the northern reaches of the city and appears to float above the land. This is actually an optical illusion, a trick of the light and the eye. On the days the hold cannot be seen at a distance, most people believe the High Lord has cloaked it from sight with his powers.
Summerhold is a secondary residence for House Stormdanovich. It is also located in Harkania on a sizable island in Lake Gwynedd. It is the family’s vacation home. The island is the crest of a mountain worn down by eons of erosion and the action of the river and lake on its flanks. As is the predilection of many Cymry, Summerhold is built into the side of a cliff over running water.
There is a roadway to the island, but at a casual glance no one would see it. It lies just beneath the surface of the lake and is the remnants of what was a natural game trail before the waters of the lake rose to cover it. There is also stabling for horses on the shore and several boats. All can be easily secured by the High Guard and a small company of Light Cavalry.
Caer Arcanus is the citadel built around and in front of the entrance to the Cavern of Light high up on Mt. Arcanus. Its function is to provide protection and security for Cymeria’s Heartstone that lies within a great cylch (Cylcharcanus) deep inside the mountain in the Cavern of Light. The Heartstone also serves as an arcane throne earning it the second name of Seat Perilous.
Cylcharcanus sets on an island of solid stone in the center of a massive underground lake. For size comparisons, see Stonehenge.
Other Holds and Keeps
Mikhael has numerous small lodges strewn throughout the country as he dislikes being a guest. He prefers his own space. These will be detailed as needed.
|Height||6' 4 1/2"|
|Hair||Chestnut Brown with red and gold highlights from a lifetime spent out of doors. It is very thick and mostly straight although it has natural body and tends to wave slightly as it gets longer.
Misha normally wears his hair long, falling just below his shoulders, and pulled back at the nape of his neck, fastened by a plain silver clasp, sometimes in a clubbed type braid, sometimes in just a ponytail. When allowed to fall loose, Mikhael wears a narrow gold band with a sapphire that appears to have a lightning bolt embedded in it.
|Eyes||Ice blue with silver flecks which lends them a chilling and cold look.
Mikhael's eyes are wide set under thick eyebrows that are darker than his hair and more brown than chestnut. His lashes are chestnut brown, gold tipped, medium length and thick. They are an intense shade of ice blue with odd silvery flecks. They tend to darken or lighten with his moods, going to a smoldering silver flecked cobalt blue to the lighter icy blue or blue-gray when angered or wary.
Usually, Misha's eyes often reflect a rather cool demeanor. People tend to find his normal icy blue gaze rather intimidating or off-putting. If they look closer, they can see a wealth of intelligence and humor lurking in their depths.
|Build / Stature||Mikhael Stormdanovich is a tall, powerfully built man with with the strong, refined features characteristic to the Cymry. He has a broad, toned chest and six pack abs that narrow into powerful hips and long, strong legs. His arms are equally powerfully muscled and narrow into supple, almost graceful wrists that end in strong, long-fingered hands.|
|Marks / Scars||Mikhael has the usual variety of marks and scars from childhood scrapes and falls and training injuries. All but one are minor and barely noticeable. There is a long scar that starts at the left scapula, runs down his left upper arm, stopping above the elbow. This was a deep, penetrating sword wound received in the Battle of D'hassa at the hands of King Darian I.
September 3550: Mikhael received a sword wound in his upper right arm, not very serious and the scar will fade.
|Style||Mikhael prefers a rather casual style of dress and is often found clad in breeches and tunics, sometimes with a sleeveless jerkin or vest. He also likes well worn and supple riding leathers which he chooses over uniform and chainmail when he can. For footgear, he normally wears calf-high boots around the keep but has over the knee boots for riding. The colors he most often picks are in the range of russets and browns and, on occasion, dark blues and greens. He favors studded tunics and vests more for the ability of the studs to nominally deflect a weapon’s blow than for decorative purposes.
For formal occasions, he will dress head to toe in black, usually with very little trim to relieve its austerity.
Mikhael normally wears his hair long with a fillet or circlet to keep it back from his face. When out working or riding, he will pull it back into a clubbed braid.
It is rare that Mikhael will allow a beard or mustache to grow, he prefers being clean shaven. Mikhael also likes to be clean. He does not mind working up a sweat, but he bathes daily and if he has to, he will jump into a freezing cold stream, lake or river to get clean when out on the trail.
|Character Looks Like||Arnold Schwarzenegger as the characters of Conan in Conan the Barbarian and Kalidor in Red Sonja|
|Personality Traits||- Charismatic and natural leader
- Will listen and take advice from others
- Dangerous when crossed
- Quick tempered
- Stubborn, strong-willed, obdurate
- Intolerant of betrayal
- Holds a grudge
- Wry sense of humor
|Personality||Mikhael is a very charismatic man and a natural born leader. His people want to follow him. His leaderships shows in that he will rarely ask someone to do something that he is not willing or capable of doing himself. He is also highly intelligent and articulate although people that do not know him tend to equate his physique with being slow - both mentally and physically. Another aspect of his intellect is his willingness to listen to others and take advice where it seems wise to do so.
While not mean or bad tempered, Mikhael has always struggled with being quick tempered. When very young, he would often be sent to his room to consider his outburst and be required to remain there until he could control himself and make an apology. As he grew older, Mikhael would take himself out of the situation and go work off his mood by riding his horse very fast, swimming, even going to the fort to walk the Wheel of Pain for hours at a time. He also kept a number of old doors in one of the hold’s caverns that he could go punch when he felt he just had to hit something to relieve his temper.
As an adult, while still having to watch his ever-ready temper, Mikhael has taught himself control. He is slower to become truly angry but he is a very dangerous when enraged. No longer hot tempered and ready to lash out, his anger is cold and controlled, it no longer controls him.
These days, Mikhael is generally even tempered, good-natured and outgoing. He smiles readily, laughs often and easily. If a person can look past his cold blue eyes, they will most likely see humor and warmth lurking in their depths. All this translates into having a warm and generous nature.
Despite being rather easy-going a majority of the time, Mikhael is a very dangerous man when crossed. Oath breaking and betrayal are likely to land one in hot water with him and rouse his ever-ready temper. Earning his trust back will not be easy. He can and will hold a grudge until it dies of old age, then he will have it stuffed and mounted.
Mikhael can be stubborn to the point of being obdurate when he gets something set in his head or wants something badly. This is when his arrogance is most pronounced.
While devoted to Cymeria and her people, Mikhael places an equal value on his friends and family although being related to Mikhael is not an automatic pass for being close to him. His integrity and loyalty to those he cares for is what makes him so intolerant and somewhat vindictive in the face of betrayal.
In general, Mikhael views sexual promiscuity with a jaundiced eye. He has too much respect for himself and for women in general and does not see any validation for himself as a man in solely adding notches to his bedpost. Mikhael does, however, enjoy light flirtations and the company of strong and intelligent women. He cannot tolerate the simpering and coquettish damsels in distress although he is always ready to step in and protect a woman that is in genuine danger. However, while discriminating and discreet, Mikhael is not a monk!
|Mannerisms||Mikhael is well-spoken, tending to a rather formal mode of speech. His presence is often perceived as intimidating as he carries the aura of immense power and a hint of arrogance natural to a man accustomed to command. This is integral to his nature and not something he consciously presents.
He has a deep, clear baritone voice with the lilting accent of his highland Harkania home. When he laughs, he puts his heart and soul into it and it rumbles up from his powerful chest, often making others smile at the sound, if not outright join in whatever joke has amused the High Lord. He can also be sharp spoken and quite scathing when he feels he is dealing with fools or those that take him as a fool.
His manner of speech tends to be quiet rather than boisterous or loud and when angered his voice drops to a cold, clear near-whisper. He is more likely to speak an order rather than shout it or bark it although he can make himself heard when the need arises. He also has a piercing whistle that has been likened to the scream of an attacking eagle. He taught his military unit to follow a series of hand gestures and whistles rather than spoken orders...not that he likens them to cattle or sheep dogs, but because it’s a language the enemy wouldn’t know.
By nature, Mikhael is not a man that screams or yells often whether fighting or just playing around with friends and family. He is not a man that lets anger control him. He channels it to the detriment of whoever or whatever has earned his ire.
|Education||Mikhael is highly educated. High Lord Kimber engaged the best tutors and scholars in the land to teach his children. Additionally, they attended classes at the Theurgy Guild that included Cymry history and the Morality of magic. Mikhael took an intense interest in the history of Aereth. He studied the pasts of other realms as well as that of his homeland. Mikhael continues to pursue that interest and, when his time permits, he can be found helping the Theurgy in deciphering and translating ancient documents.
Subjects: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, World Science, Animal Husbandry, History, Languages.
Arcane Subjects: Initially, Mikhael was given the minimum training needed for him to not manifest his powers accidentally. It would be his decision to pursue additional knowledge and training as he got older.
|Languages||Heniaith (Cymry Old Tongue): Fluent in speaking, reading and writing the Old Tongue. Since his period of exile, he has learned to read and decipher most runes and other arcane languages and texts. He spends much of his free time translating the ancient documents archived in the Theurgy Guild’s massive libraries.
Saesneg (Common or Trade Tongue): Mikhael is also fluent in speaking, reading, and writing in Saesneg . He finds the language rather cumbersome, but expedient when dealing with diplomats and other visitors to the Court.
Druzar: Mikhael can speak the tongue of Tynar Dazûr better than he can read it, but he is fairly proficient in both.
Vanisk Tunga: Mikhael can read and write as well as speak the language of Nordheim.
Lumiran (Aquitaine): Since the events in D’hassa the Ceremony of Oaths, Mikhael has started learning the language of the Templars.
Letanum (Aquilone): Mikhael has a good working knowledge of Letanum.
Other Languages: Mikhael knows a smattering of numerous other languages including Stygian and Xian. He is by no means fluent.
Mikhael does not trust relying on translators and interpreters when he is visiting a foreign court or entertaining embassies at his court in Harkania. He will, however, often use an interpreter even if he is proficient enough to understand everything being said. This often leads others into saying things they don’t think he can understand.
|Dexterity & Mobility||Despite his size and build, Mikhael moves preternaturally fast and gracefully. This is due, in large part, to his constant physical training from an early age.
Mikhael is a strong, virile man that prefers the outdoors to a council chamber. His physique was designed by nature to be very powerful and to take on muscle easily. His daily workouts with his sword keep him in fighting trim. Mikhael also enjoys and excels at good, hard physical labor which has helped to develop his physical strength.
|Expertise||Like many of his family, Mikhael is a natural horseman who both rides and trains. He has a natural seat and has been known to manage even the wildest and bad-tempered Dikaya war horse. His stallion, Wraith, is a prime example.
Mikhael is also able to swim, enjoys running, and is a skilled hunter and fisherman. His athletic skills include the caber toss (there's something about throwing a telephone pole that he finds fun), being hard to beat at a horseshoe toss, and considers brawling an athletic endeavor.
Along with his other skills, he learned to sail and row by working on fishing boats as a youth and on a deep sea vessel during his Heir's Journey.
Since being wounded in the upper left arm at the Battle of D'hassa, Mikhael has to do a daily series of exercises to keep his sword arm strong and flexible. He suffered no permanent loss of function, but with disuse, especially in winter, the scar tissue tends to stiffen.
Combat & Weapons
|Training & Skills||Mikhael started training in personal combat and weapons when he was a very young child and, like all Cymeri, he served in the Cymerian Guard starting at the age of sixteen.
At age eighteen, after completing the mandatory two years of service, Mikhael left Harkania and spent the next six years traveling and working as a sword-for-hire. During this period, he learned even more about swordsmanship, hand-to-hand combat, tactics and politics. He also spent time with Cymry Derwydd adding to his arcane defensive and offensive skills.
Whether in hand-to-hand or with a weapon, Mikhael is a quiet fighter. He does not waste time nor breath on yelling, screaming, or conversation. He is also preternaturally fast and extremely graceful when fighting.
Mikhael does not waste energy in general when engage in fighting. He does tend to pull his swords from their scabbards with a bit of a flourish designed to loosen up his arms rather than to be a fancy move. It also allows his opponent to see the flash of lightning that appears to travel the length of Taranau’s impressive blade.
One of Mikhael's biggest physical weaknesses is also his biggest tactical asset in a fight. He is left handed which has made it hard for him to train and adapt to a mostly right handed world. He is not ambidextrous, but has taught himself to function with his right hand after his sword arm was seriously injured at the Battle of D’hassa. He is not as proficient with his right hand as he is with his left. Tactically, as most fighters are trained to deal with a right handed opponent, this does give him an advantage in many situations.
Hand-to-Hand: Mikhael is a fighter at heart and can fight or brawl with the best. He excelled at all the basic military martial arts forms of fighting. As other fighting forms have been developed, he has sought training. Particularly of interest to him, more for the discipline and balance, are the martial arts forms that his young friend, Song Xiang Chai, was trained in by her Xian father. He is learning from her as time permits for them to train together.
|Weapons||*Weapons images in gallery*
Blacksnake Whip: In a fit of humor, Mikhael named the whip *Fellten which is the Heniaith (Cymry Old Tongue) word for lightning.
When a very young child, Mikhael saw a man demonstrate the use of a bullwhip (the type known as a blacksnake whip due to its resemblance to the reptile) at a Horsemaster’s once prior to one of the round-ups of wild Dikaya. He was fascinated at how they were used to herd the animals without touching them, just the sound and snake-like sight of it was enough to drive and guide the horses. He begged his father for one and for lessons in using it. Kimber, rarely indulgent, gave in to the light in his young son’s eyes and had one commissioned for him, something more his size than the ten foot length the Horsemaster used. When he outgrew the childhood sized whip, his father had a finely woven twelve foot whip made for him.
The handle is heavier than a standard whip's would be and flexible rather than rigid. The round knot (called a Butt Knot or Handle Knot) at the end is weighted, designed to balance it in the bigger man’s hands. The flexibility of the handle allows Mikhael to wear it as a belt. He has several cleverly designed quick-release (hinged) clasps that will fit over the handle and whip for that purpose. He usually only does this when he wishes to be armed but not appear armed. Many of the wide clasps can double as a whip holder and fasten to his belts.
Over the years, Mikhael’s proficiency with the bullwhip has become prodigious. He is adept enough to put out the flame on a candle or take a lock of hair from someone’s head without leaving a mark.
*Note: Mikhael actually owns several whips and all are named Fellten and have been arcanely charged. The differences are in the lengths and types of handles ranging from a shorter stock whip with a wrist loop braided into the handle knot or a non-flexible handle.
Swords: Mikhael is a master swordsman with very few his equal. In fact, his true weapons’ affinity lies with the sword. If asked, Mikhael would say that the Riddle of Steel is his religion. He has trained with several types of swords, but prefers a bastard sword, also known as a hand-and-a-half, as it can be used two-handed. He finds the majority of other weapons too light for his taste.
Mikhael is often heard to say, "I fight, I do not fence." When asked the difference, his answer is simple, "Rules." That describes his style and philosophy to the letter. Mikhael fights with his sword quite aggressively and quite without giving a nod to any known rule book. He is a fierce and skillful warrior who gets his entire body into the battle. He is more likely to use a parry to simply get his opponent's weapon out of the way than as a true defensive move. Mikhael has a very economical fighting style. He does not waste time on pretty or flashy moves. For him, it is about winning the fight, whatever it takes.
Mikhael carries two swords. One, a shorter and heavier blade is used as one would a shield.
Taranau: Length: 4’ | Blade Length: 3’ | Blade Width: 4” | Blade Thickness: .25” | Weight: 10 lbs. | Grip: 7”
Taranau (Heniaith for thunder) is a massive bastard sword (also known as a hand and a half or long-sword) which is also his great Sword of State. Taranau is normally worn in a scabbard on his back. Mikhael has perfected drawing it fast with a follow-through move that takes many by surprise. He occasionally carries a slender short sword in a belt scabbard in lieu of his long dagger.
Taranau (Thunder), was a gift from the Dwarrow Crown Prince Kaelan and his brother, Prince Falún. It cannot be wielded by any hand other than Mikhael's. The sword is Dwarrow made, therefore has its own arcane nature. it will never break nor fail Mikhael, unless Mikhael gives up on himself. Legends now say that Taranau can cut steel and stone and, to some extent, this is true although it takes more effort than the stories suggest.
When Mikhael draws Taranau, thunder rumbles overhead (in and around the High Lord, etc.) and faint lightning seems to glimmer along its length (briefly). This is not something Mikhael consciously causes. It is innate to Taranau's nature.
*Note: Both Taranau and Daranau mean thunder in Heniaith. The difference is in how each is used. Taranau is thunder while Daranau is an event (thunder snow, thunder storm).
Gwerth (Valor in Heniaith): Length: 3’ | Blade Length: 2.25’ | Blade Width: 4” | Blade Thickness: .25” | Weight: 4 lbs. | Grip: 7”
Mikhael’s every day sword is slightly large for a second or backup weapon but well suited for his size. Gwerth was a gift to him from former Seneschal Thoreson Windwalker upon Mikhael’s completion of his mandatory two years of service in the Cymeria Guard. Seneschal Windwalker also gifted his son with a blade he had made for him at the same time.
Gwerth is the sword that Mikhael wears on a daily basis and keeps close to hand while in residence at Stormholm Caer bringing Taranau out only during affairs of state. This is also the sword that Mikhael uses in tandem with Taranau on the field of battle rather than carrying a shield.
Mikhael almost always carries his favorite dagger with him, usually in a sheath near to hand, but he also has one that fits in the small of his back and in both his tall and short boots. It is a very old blade that he found as a young boy while prowling a ruined cylch called White Fort (Caerwyn).
While very serviceable, the weapon also has interesting scroll work as well as renderings of dragons in its metal work. Small faceted rubies adorn the metalwork, but are not first quality stones.
Dagr (Heniaith for dagger) carries a faint arcane aura about it, ancient and clean. Due to this, Mikhael sometimes uses Dagr when he needs a focus point during a magical working.
Sword and shield are standard weapons of war. Mikhael is proficient in the use of the shield for defense and offense, however, he dislikes using them. He considers them bulky and clumsy as well as getting in the way! He is not suicidal, however, and if carrying a shield makes more sense than not carrying one, he will do so. However, he prefers to use a second sword in lieu of carrying a shield.
He does have the great shield of state that he carries when occasions demand it. This shield is more ornamental than functional. It has the coats of arms of both Cymeria and House Stormdanovich carved into its face. The images are inlaid with precious metals and carved in such a manner as to stand out in 3D form.
Daggers / Knives
Less proficient than with a sword, but his strength and reach still make him formidable with any type of bladed weapon.
Carries: Long dagger in a sheath on belt, short dagger in boot sheath, stiletto in special spring loaded wrist sheath.
Mikhael has trained with various crossbows and recurve bows. He carries whichever suits the upcoming situation. He is a fine archer, but he would be the first to state there are many in the realm far superior in skills.
Carries: Mikhael only carries a bow if he knows he is going hunting or is being detailed for military duty with the archers.
Mikhael loathes the spear, almost as much as the shield. He learned the basics of its use because he had too. Other than the short, carved on the spot spears he uses for fishing, he would rather never be near the things.
Mikhael has studied all of the war machines in use and routinely reads up or goes to demonstrations of those being designed. He has little experience with their actual use, however, and beyond having a good tactical knowledge of what to do with them, would not consider himself skilled.
Arcane Skills & Abilities
|Arcane Source||Arcane Race|
|Arcane Title||Lord of Thunder, Derwydd|
|Affinity / Nature||Storms: Mikhael’s affinity is to all the elements of storms with his two most pronounced being thunder and lightning. This is a trait that is predominantly found in the Stormdanovich bloodline. So far, only the High Lord exhibits an affinity for all of the storm elements.|
|Arcane Abilities||The bloodline of the House of Stormdanovich is aligned with all the elements of storm (wind, rain, thunder, lightning, snow, ice) and is usually personified in the land's response to the High Lord and his moods. The two that are Mikhael’s strongest affinities are thunder and lightning with rain, wind, snow, ice, etc. all falling into an equal line below those two.
This is the most basic and most intrinsic ability all Cymry are born with. They can sense, on a psychic level, anything or anyone of an arcane nature and its affinity (good, evil, neutral, etc.). Like all other abilities, training can enhance their use and control of this ability to some extent. It also appears in each Cymry at varying intensities.
Mikhael can use arcane shields to briefly cloud other sensitives to the fact that he is arcane. This is not a form of arcane self-defense. All the shields can do is to mask what he is for a brief period of time. He is an adept so he could probably deflect even a determined Cymry's probing of his arcane nature. He rarely bothers erecting these shields as he is mostly unconcerned with who knows what he is and who doesn't. He might use them if he needed to keep another person from knowing his actual arcane nature (i.e. good, evil, Shadow-Touched, etc.).
Because of their connection to the land, most Cymry can and do unconsciously affect their environment at a very low level. A good example of this would be a Cymry working out of doors and becoming too hot. It is likely a light breeze will be arcanely generated to ease their discomfort.
This ability will not respond to the average Cymry as a defensive or offensive weapon.
Enhance: Can enhance any of the storm elements with no effort beyond the need to do so.
Summon: Mikhael can summon any of the elements of a storm or a storm itself.
Create: This skill is harder to use and requires far more energy. Mikhael can create a storm or any element of a storm. The only caveat is that he cannot create an ice storm in the middle of summer although, if the atmospheric conditions are right, he can create a hailstorm.
Control: Mikhael can easily control the intensity of his elements.
Channel / Direct: Enhanced by his training and natural talent, Mikhael has learned to channel and direct the elements he controls with relative ease. Most notably, he is known for channeling lightning through the twelve-foot bullwhip he always carries. Taranau, his great sword, also appears to ripple with lightning when drawn and that action is usually accompanied by low rumbles of thunder.
Warding: Mikhael is very knowledgable on Wards and Warding. The Penhallows gave him a set of ancient wards when he left their home after first meeting them. His Wards are tiny, dice-sized black and white cubes.
Scrying: Mikhael cannot use Scrying for anything other than limited distance. He finds it easier to manage with droplets of water or in a basin with clear water. It is most effective if the water is from rain that he has generated.
Portals: Mikhael has had intensive training on the use, creating, warding and trapping of Portals from Riordan and Ynella. He has pursued learning more about them on his own. He has, with their help, created a number of warded and trapped portals in and around Stormholm Caer, most notably in the capitals of each March, Arcanus Keep (the entrance to the Cavern of Light where the Cylcharcanus is located), and Sanctuary. He has learned about existing Portals (at least rumored to exist) in other lands.
Illusions: One of the higher magics and one of the most taxing to use. Mikhael can use natural objects shaped to suit and create an illusion of them being real. The illusions will not last for long and can fade if tested too severely. This magic is also very taxing as it requires drawing on solid elements and shaping them into the vision he wants others to see. Using this is a last resort as it will exhaust even an Adept of Mikhael’s training and skill.
|Arcane Defenses||Mikhael, while more open regarding his Cymry abilities, is still bound by the Rule of Three. He understands and believes that if he causes inadvertent harm while using his powers, it will backlash on him threefold. He has since learned that Molaster is not such an unreasonable and harsh Judge. If the powers are used for self defense and in the defense of others, the rule seems to not apply although it has always been stated otherwise. The other thing he keeps in mind is Riordan's not so subtle warning regarding the Mathian Council and their self-appointed task to police all actively practicing Cymry.
Mikhael has never fought a *Duel Arcane, but under Riordan and Ynella's tutelage, he knows the theory and could answer a challenge if he needed to.
*Note: Technically, the battle with the Black Templars during the 3550 Gathering for the Ceremony of Oaths was not a formal Duel Arcane. It was an all out battle using both magic and weapons.
Almost all of Mikhael's abilities could, in theory, be turned into a weapon of offense or defense. This is a last desperate measure, however, that he would never use lightly. His first preference is always his sword.
Illusions: The last talent he would resort to using due to the physical drain is also one of the most useful as a distraction. It is not truly an offensive weapon but can be used quite efficiently to obfuscate and deceive an enemy long enough for escape or to provide an advantage to the user.
Blacksnake Whip: The weapon itself is not of arcane origin although it has become arcanely charged. It has become the physical emblem of Mikhael's arcane power. His skill with the whip is beyond proficient, he is an expert in all its uses.
Mikhael is not above displaying his power as a warning to others by demonstrating his ability to channel lightning through the twelve-foot whip's lash. He cannot, even if he wanted to, smite entire armies with it. He can injure and kill a small number of opponents. Normally, however, just the display is enough to deter people.
Taranau: Mikhael's sword, named Taranau (Thunder), was a gift from the Dwarrow Crown Prince Kaelan and his brother, Prince Falún. It cannot be wielded by any hand other than Mikhael's. Like with the whip, Mikhael can summon and channel/direct lightning along the sword's length (more for display but could be a potential weapon). The sword is Dwarrow made, therefore has its own arcane nature. it will never break nor fail Mikhael, unless Mikhael gives up on himself, and it is a blade that cuts Steel and Stone - at least so the legends say. In reality, Taranau is far more resistant to breakage than an ordinary weapon but it will take several blows for it to break an opponent’s blade. The more superior the blade, the more it takes to break it or damage it sufficiently to disarm an opponent.
When Mikhael draws Taranau, thunder rumbles overhead (in and around the High Lord, etc.) and lightning plays faintly along its length (briefly - unless being channeled). This is not something Mikhael consciously causes. It is innate to Taranau's nature.
The King is the Land: It is said that the High Lord can arcanely seal Cymeria's borders by seating himself on the Throne of Ages and impaling his left hand to the arm of the throne, thus allowing his blood to seep into the stone and hence into the land. This is a measure of desperation and last resort and is usually fatal to the High Lord.
Dagr: This is Mikhael’s dagger which he creatively named dagger in Heniaith, the Cymry Old Tongue. It carries a faint arcane aura, but the aura is so ancient and faded, even the best Gyfrin of the Theurgy have been unable to to get a read on it beyond that it is clean.
|Weaknesses / Limitations||Mikhael is subject to any of the inherent weaknesses of the Cymry adepts. Their magical powers are not an instant on and off type of ability and they do not make him invincible. To generate any working takes a bit of time and considerable effort. Depending on the magic used, it can render the user exhausted to the point of collapse. In some instances, it can even kill.
Outside of Harkania, Mikhael’s powers are weaker, although not detrimentally so while he is within Cymeria’s borders. On foreign soil, however, there are noticeable effects that could be life threatening where he to depend solely on magic. Generating workings takes longer, takes more effort of might fail entirely. The physical power drain is enormous.
Merasha Poisoning: Like all Cymry, no matter their power level and training, the effects of merasha will disable them. Mikhael has been given the drug so that he would recognize it if encountered again and so that he could learn to mitigate some of its worst disorienting and hallucinogenic effects.
|Children||Vasily Tregarth Stormdanovich
Birthdate: 19 February 3545, 5th Year of the Deep Kraken
Mother: Morgelyn Tregarth
Raiders attempted to kidnap or kill baby Vasily within days of his birth. His mother managed to contact his father’s Ryndar and he brought the baby to safety. Unfortunately, Morgelyn did not survive her injuries.
Vasily is a sturdy boy, charming, inquisitive and outgoing. He has his father’s dark chestnut hair and his mother’s sea-mist colored eyes that constantly shift from pale gray to pale green.
|Father||Father: Kimber Alwyn Stormdanovich
Born: 25 December 3383; Crossed: 13 October 3539 (a. 156 yrs.)
Ruled: 3399 - 3539 (140 years)
High Lord Kimber Stormdanovich was grievously wounded during the Battle of D’hassa (13 September 3539). He chose to take the White Road a month later at Stormholm Caer in Harkania. Note: Alwyn means great white in Heniaith and was chosen as Kimber already had the fair complexion and near white hair peculiar to his mother’s bloodline.
|Mother||Mother: Sonja Ivanova Stormdanovich
Born: 21 March 3480; Crossed: 21 December 3539 (59 yrs.)
Sonja Stormdanovich, former High Lady, survived her husband only long enough to see her son confirmed as High Lord. The loss of her husband, Kimber, devastated Sonja and the pull of her marriage bond to Kimber was too strong.
Oksana Stormdanovich D’Corwyn (6 years older)
Oksana is the eldest of the Stormdanovich children and married to Gareth D'Corwyn of K’harsten March. They have three children (2 boys and a daughter). Oksana and her husband took charge of the younger siblings when Kimber, and soon after, Sonja, both died. Gareth has K'harstenian estates, but they are well-managed, allowing him to spend a good amount of time in Harkania with his wife.
Oksana is also the Chatelaine of Stormholm Caer and has been the maternal guardian of Mikhael’s son, Vasily. Along with Hawke and Anastasiya Windwalker, Oksana and Gareth would serve as Vasily’s regents should the need arise.
Oksana and Gareth's Children
Arwyn D’Corwyn (son, a. 10, b. January 3540)
Alwena D’Corwyn (daughter, a. 10, b. January 3540)
Cai D’Corwyn (son, a. 4, b. March 3547 )
Aneira D’Corwyn (daughter, b. 31 March 3551; Aneira means snow and is fitting for Oksana’s youngest and final daughter who was born during a violent blizzard).
Darya Stormdanovich Wyncett (4 years older)
Married to a younger son (Liam Wyncett) of the Warder of Torrenth and resides in Mawrth Torrenth near the capital city of Dinas O'aur. Darya and Liam have five children (three boys and two girls).
Anastasiya Valeria Windwalker (2 years older)
Seneschal of the Cymerian Guard. Married to Ryndar Hawke Windwalker
Ekaterina Stormdanovich Karamanova (2 years younger)
Married to William Karamanov and resides in Mawrth Coedwig. William is a Cymry shipbuilder and designer. William also inherited a large merchant marine fleet from his father and spends a portion of his time at sea. Katya has developed a deep love of the ocean. Their home is in Dinas Afon. Katya is expecting her first child in 3550.
Elyana Stormdanovich (11 years younger)
Training to be a Mage of the Theurgy. She is a natural scholar and scribe and a wealth of arcane knowledge. She is betrothed to a young lieutenant in the Guard who now serves as a Sentry for the Theurgy Guild (Darren Bledri, age 27).
Laryn Stormdanovich (16 years younger)
Cymerian Guard, High-Level Courier; recently attached to the High Lord’s service.
|Other Family||Paternal Grandparents
Kerowyn Snowspirit of Ghostwalker Pack
Born: 14 January 3405, 1st Year of the Deep Kraken (a. 145)
Kerowyn is the dowager High Lady of Cymeria, wife to High Lord Mathias Stormdanovich. Upon his Crossing, she chose to abdicate her title and live with the other Wyr in Caer Draenár. She is an independent woman and not the cuddly grandmother type although she is passing fond of her offspring.
Highlord Mathias Stormdanovich
Born: 21 June 3220; Crossed: 12 November 3398 (a. 307)
Mathias Crossed to the White Road before Mikhael’s birth, but he enjoys hearing the tales of his grandfather. From what Mikhael has learned from reading his grandfather’s journals and hearing the Wyr speak of Mat, he feels he knows him a little bit. It is also apparent that Mathias was well loved and respected. Mikhael hopes to live up to people’s memories of him.
Garth of Ghostwalker Pack (Crossed 3539, Battle of D’hassa)
Ceridwen of Bloodfang Pack (Crossed 3539, Battle of D’hassa)
Both Garth and Ceridwen were killed at the Battle of D'hassa. Mikhael spent a couple of months with Ceridwen and Garth while traveling Aereth during his exile. He found them to be kind and caring as well as very much pack oriented as are most canids, the exception being Kerowyn. He was saddened to find their names on the roster of those lost at the Battle of D’hassa.
Renestrae tyr Vashti
Cousin; daughter of Lorcan up Gwychellian
Lorcan up Gwychellian
Paternal uncle; b. 1 August 3363; Crossed: 13 September 3539 (176 yrs.)
Lorcan, High Lord Kimber’s brother, was killed at the Battle of D’hassa in the same engagement where Kimber was wounded. Lorcan was a member of Ryndar Gero’s High Guard. Despite the sorrow over his father’s death, Mikhael also felt the loss of his outgoing and high-spirited uncle.
Nieces and Nephews: See Siblings.
|Former Spouse(s), Partner(s)||Morgelyn Tregarth
Birthdate: Unknown; Deceased: February 3545
Mikhael met Morgelyn after leaving Stormholm Caer and setting out on his own. He was eighteen and Morgelyn a few years older. Morgelyn made a living as a healer and wise woman. In and around Maridunum, she was heralded as a sea witch, able to read the seas and foretell what was coming. Although they initially intended to spend only the one night together, Mikhael and Morgelyn later renewed their relationship and it continued until her death in 3545.
For more details, see Personal History: [a. 25 - 30] 3540 - 3545: The Heir’s Arrival and the Sample Role Play.
|Family Relationships||Mikhael hates the word complicated when it comes to describing relationships, particularly familial ones. Still, there is no getting past the fact that his relationship to his family is complicated.
For reasons that Mikhael has never been able to fathom, his parents had stringent and rather archaic views on raising children. They were not cruel and loved all seven of their offspring, but life with Kimber and Sonja was regimented and structured around lessons and household duties. They also reared Mikhael almost entirely separate from his brood of four older sisters and two younger ones. Dinners with his mother and sisters were scheduled on the rare occasions that Sonja was not dining with her husband in the great hall. The one exception to this state of affairs was his older sister Anastasiya. Two years his senior and as wild as any Dikaya captured in the mountains, Stasya, along with Hawke - the Seneschal’s son - were Mikhael’s near constant companions.
The fact that Mikhael was raised and educated almost entirely separate from his sisters meant he never grew very close to them when they were all children. He hopes to remedy that but he is still a tad unsure about how to break down the barriers Kimber and Sonja inadvertently reared between himself and his sisters.
Mikhael loved his mother, but early on realized that Sonja’s one great love was his father. Next to him, she was devoted to her daughters. He knew that she loved him, but could say they only became truly close during the few weeks after Kimber’s Crossing before Sonja too chose to take the White Road.
If all that was not enough, Mikhael’s relationship to his father was truly complicated. Mikhael loved, admired and respected Kimber and had no doubt that his father loved him. Yet two men of the same bloodline could not have been more different in personality and personal beliefs. Mikhael had always been, and still is, open, generous, good-natured and rather gregarious. While also kind and generous to a fault, Kimber was quieter, far more reserved and scholarly. Yet the biggest difference between father and son was their view on the Cymry’s arcane heritage.
Mikhael was always an arcane prodigy even long before his Quickening to High Lord. It was the one thing that he and his father could never come to terms on. Highlord Kimber felt a Cymry should never use their powers and all training should be geared toward not inadvertently doing so. Mikhael, on the other hand, felt his race should embrace their arcane heritage. To his way of thinking, not training a Cymry to use their abilities was asking for incidents and accidents. Far better to know their powers and how not to use them than to harm someone by accident due to a lack of knowledge. This rift in their views on the arcane would lead to father and son not speaking for several years.
When he could manage to slip away unattended, Mikhael would make his way to Sanctuary, the seat of the Theurgy Guild where he would lose himself in their vast archives and seek out the Guild’s Mages to teach him what they could. By the age of sixteen when Mikhael had to report for his two years of service in the Cymeria Guard, he was already well versed in the basics of the Cymry’s arcane abilities.
Mikhael left Harkania at age eighteen after a serious row with his father. Kimber forbade Mikhael to pursue further training in the arcane arts and the two had a violent argument that culminated in the High Lord sending his son from his sight. For the next seven years (+/-), Mikhael wandered the lands of Aereth taking work as a mercenary or other jobs - he made a formidable bodyguard - as needed. During this time, he encountered other like-minded Cymry and added to his store of knowledge.
The majority of his intense arcane training was conducted by the Derwydd Adepts, Riordan and Ynella Penhallow.
Mikhael was able to repair his relationship with his father to some extent when he returned to Stormholm Caer in the spring of 3539 although Kimber did not live long enough for them to truly mend all the fences that had been broken. And, while he is still trying to establish relationships with his siblings, he is making headway in fits and starts.
Mika would say that he had a good and well balanced childhood and feels that his life could have been so much worse than it was. He knew he was loved and grew up in a wealthy and powerful family. What was lacking in closeness was made up in the household of his closest friend’s family. The Windwalkers treated Mikhael and Anastasiya with the same warmth and discipline as they meted out to their son, Hawke. Still, his childhood has left Mikhael determined that his son and any future children never grow up with the same barriers between them.
Although his duties to the land keep him busy and he is often away from home, when in residence, he is a devoted father and caregiver to Vasily.
|The bloodline of House Stormdanovich traces in an unbroken line to the ancient and noble House Azarov. The Azarov could trace their line back to Atlantis - so the legends say. Throughout the millennia, the bloodline has been very powerful and genetically true. Despite intermarrying with other races, the Cymry arcane traits dominated in the offspring. It has only been in the last two generations that Wyr traits have manifested (Kimber Stormdanovich and Anastasiya Stormdanovich, although it appears that Kimber’s ability to shift to the form of a white Dire Wolf (his mother’s pack) was released by his Ddyrchafael).
High Lords of Cymeria
Since the age of Matvei, approximately 1300 years ago, the Stormdanovich have held the High Lordship of Cymeria. While others have challenged for the throne on occasion, the Land has, to date, rejected all others in favor of the Stormdanovich.
2070 - 2145 (75 years): Matvei Azarov
Matvei challenges his insane brother, Valentin, to a Duel Arcane and defeats him. Matvei then retired the name Azarov that, until Valentin, had been untainted by the excesses that marked many other Cymry bloodlines. As the bloodline seemed particularly aligned with the power of weather and storms, he chose the name Stormdanovich thus establishing the current bloodline.
2145 - 2435 (290 years): Rhys Mikhael Stormdanovich
2435 - 2645 (210 years): Oksana Stormdanovich
The only High Lady to assume full power due to no male heir. She took a consort to sire an heir but never married keeping the Stormdanovich name-line unbroken. High Lady Oksana was much loved and almost every generation gives her name to the eldest born daughter.
2645 - 3000 (355 years): Rhys Kanan Stormdanovich
Died on the day the Age of Iron ended. There was a regency for one year due to the Heir (Garth Kanan Stormdanovich) being too young to ascend to the throne.
3001 - 3220 (219 years): Garth Kanan Stormdanovich
3220 - 3398 (178 years): Mathias Stormdanovich
(b. 2991, a. 407 at time of Crossing)
Wed to Kerowyn of Ghostwalker Pack of the Wyr. Mathias Stormdanovich was reigning High Lord when Gero of Dawnrunner Clan brought the surviving Wyr to Harkania and gave them the large alpine valley of Caer Draenár on Daranau Eira to settle.
3399 - 3539 (140 years): Kimber Stormdanovich
(b. 25 December 3383, c. 13 October 3539; 156 years old at time of Crossing.)
Mathias Stormdanovich crossed a year prior to Kimber’s 16th birthday. For the year from his father’s passing until age sixteen when he could legally ascend the throne, Lady Kerowyn Stormdanovich and Rytsar Gero of Dawnrunner Clan shared guardianship and regency. Upon his coming of age, Kimber named Gero as his Ryndar. Kimber died of wounds received at the Battle of D’hassa (13 September 3539) although he lingered for some weeks before succumbing and Crossing.
Kimber also has the distinction of being the first known Stormdanovich to carry the arcane abilities of both his mother’s Wyr race and his father’s Cymry race.
31 October 3539 - Present (11 years): Mikhael Stormdanovich
Heir: Vasily Morgan Stormdanovich (b. 3545); cannot assume rule until age 16 (19 February 3561).
Highlord Kimber Stormdanovich evaded matrimony and his dynastic duties until the hundredth anniversary of his ascension to rule. During those years, while not celibate, he did not sire any children. By 3483, advisors and friends alike were adamant that he needed to wed and provide the Land with an Heir to the Land. In 3504, Kimber agreed to an arranged marriage with a Cymry noble from K’harsten. With considerable reluctance, the High Lord agreed to start vetting potential candidates for the role of High Lady of Cymeria.
The search for a prospective bride did not yield immediate results. While many of the noble ladies brought forward for Kimber’s consideration were lovely and intelligent women, none of them appealed to his deeper senses. If he were going to spend the rest of his life bonded to a mate, he needed for her to really connect with him. More than that, she needed to be connected to the Land. At last, feeling the search to be futile, Kimber agreed to an arranged marriage. All he requested that it not be too any of the women that had been presented to him to date - and that Gero of Dawnrunner Clan, his Ryndar, make the final choice. By mid-summer of 3500, a name had been put forward, an agreements made and Kimber prepared to meet his bride to be.
On Samhain’s Eve, 3500, Kimber put on a smile and descended to the Great Hall to meet his soon-to-be wife only to fall instantly and irrevocably in love. Sonja Ivanova was a vibrant and startling beautiful woman with hair the color of flame and emerald eyes. For the first two hours after being introduced, the usually glib and debonair High Lord was tongue tied and almost shy. Sonja was barely twenty, eighty years Kimber’s junior, but the age difference soon ceased to matter. The couple wed on Yule’s eve of that year.
The first few years of their marriage was kept exclusively for themselves and for Sonja to settle into the role of High Lady. The Cymry were graced with longer childbearing years than Menfolk races and they fault no urgency in the matter. In 3508, amidst rumors of the High Lady being barren, Sonja presented Kimber with the first of his children. Oksana was a bundle of creamy pale skin, flashing emerald eyes and red-gold hair. Her resemblance to her mother left Kimber speechless. Two years after the birth of Oksana, the pale haired Darya was born followed two years later by Anastasiya Valeria, whose hair wove strands of gold and near white in with sparks of flame.
In 3515, two years after the birth of Anastasiya, Mikhael Kanan Stormdanovich, the Heir was born, followed two years later by Ekaterina. Nine years later, Elyana was born and five years after the birth of Elyana, Sonja gave birth to her final child, Laryn.
Kimber and Sonja were devoted to one another almost to the exclusion of everything else in their lives. The only exception was Kimber’s undying devotion to Cymeria and his duties to the Land. Sonja, while a good and loving mother, was enough like Kimber for her to feel estranged from her two most difficult children, Anastasiya and Mikhael.
|[a. 0] 31 October 3515: Mikhael is born.
Mikhael Kanan Stormdanovich was born at the height of one of the worst storms in Cymerian history, a Thunder Snow. Thunder and lightning pierced the night as the young lord made his appearance and an unprecedented blizzard blanketed the land. Wind shook the solid fortress despite its nearly invincible position snug against its cliffs. Mikhael himself, however, arrived quietly with only a single soft cry announcing his presence.
As tradition decreed, the current High Lord, his father, Kimber Stormdanovich, asked the earth, the Mother Goddess, to grant his son three gifts. Those gifts were strength, compassion and the wisdom to know when and how to use each.
His mother, the exhausted but proud Lady Sonja asked that he be granted gentleness, good health and - someday - a good wife to bolster the first two gifts.
The three older sisters had more tangible gifts to offer...blankets, swaddling clothes, a beautiful hand-woven blanket and promises of love and protection for their new baby brother.
Last, the door opened and the Lord Seneschal entered. Inclining his head, he offered his gifts: a strong sword arm, the knowledge of justice, and knowing when to fight and when to listen.
As ever quiet and watchful, Kimber’s Ryndar, Gero of Dawnrunner Clan, did not vocally present a gift. Instead, recognizing something in the tiny baby boy, he vowed to always be there when needed for as long as life granted him that privilege.
[a. 6 mos] 1 May 3516: Mikhael confirmed as the Heir.
As required by tradition, six months after his birth, Mikhael was taken by his parents to the Cavern of Light to be confirmed as the heir apparent to the High Lordship. This event was witnessed by the current Ryndar of the Harkanian High Guard, the Seneschal of Cymeria, the Warders of the Seven Marches, and the High Council. The ritual was performed and successful. Afterward, it was said by the Marcher Lords that the baby's first confirmation brought forth more light upon Cymeria than ever before.
[a. 6 mos - 5 yrs] 3515.6 to 3520
From that point forward, Mikhael grew quickly into a strong, sturdy and good-natured child. Despite being the son of a wealthy and powerful man, Mikhael was not spoiled. His father taught him from an early age that with great power comes great responsibility. The Stormdanovich should work with and for their people, not set themselves above them. Mikhael worked hard to follow in his parents' footsteps.
On his 5th birthday, several years prior to the age where Mikhael would be required to join the Guard, he began training under the Seneschal, along with Thor Windwalker's son, Hawke. The two boys were of an age and became fast friends, very equal in skills if vastly different in personality. When not training with Thoreson or working at their lessons with their tutors, the boys - usually accompanied by Mikhael’s older sister, Anastasiya, would explore the old keep and on good days, play outside. Though they found lessons and chores onerous, life was not harsh or difficult.
[a. 6 yrs] 3521: Winds of Change
Mikhael was not encouraged to spend much time with his sisters and, indeed, was often sent away when found in the Ladies Quarters of the keep. The exception was Anastasiya and that was only because she routinely defied all attempts to turn her into a proper lady, escaping to go riding or adventuring with Mika and Hawke. Mikhael was only allowed to visit by request. As a boy and young man, he did not understand although he was too good-natured to resent his parents at that point. When he did question it, he was told by Kimber that his focus needed to be on his duties and responsibilities as Heir. Taking some of the sting out of the situation was his father’s Ryndar, Gero of Dawnrunner Clan and the Windwalkers.
Many years later, long after his mother followed Kimber onto the White Road, Mikhael learned from his eldest sister, Oksana, that Sonja had suffered ill health due to difficult pregnancies. In his fear for her health, Kimber became very strict about who had access to her and how much time they could spend with her. For Mikhael’s part, he never doubted his parents’ love for him, he just did not understand at the time, why his mother did not have time for him.
That was only the first of the changes in his young life and, as he would learn when he got older, it was also the least of his familial challenges.
While playing outside during a particularly warm day, Mikhael was wishing for a rain storm to ease the oppressive heat. Within moments, dark clouds burgeoned overhead and thunder rumbled a warning. Everything around Mika became hazy and rather surreal as rain began falling in great torrents while he stood still, his face turned to the sky and his silvery blue eyes wide and unfocused with the power he was inadvertently wielding.
The spell was broken when Kimber strode across the courtyard, angry that the boy had ignored his shouts to come inside. A sound shaking and a stinging slap brought Mikhael out of the spell. It was the only time Kimber ever struck one of his children other than the odd gentle swat on the backside for discipline. The stunned look and tears that welled up in Mika’s eyes stayed with Kimber to the day he finally made the final Crossing from this life to the next.
After the incident in the courtyard, another tutor was added to Mikhael’s retinue. This one was a quiet and gentle old man from the Theurgy and one of the most learned scholars on the subject of Cymry magic. Despite the fact that Markan’s orders were to teach the boy how to repress his abilities, Mikhael found the lessons fascinating. In secret, he would practice doing just the opposite of repressing his magical abilities. For every off switch Markan drummed into him, Mikhael found an on switch that let him explore the mysteries of being a Cymry.
[a. 6 - 16] 3521 to 3531: Growing up Cymry
Although Mikhael’s continued defiance on the subject of magic became a constant sore spot between him and his father, his life was - overall - very pleasant and often challenging. Lady Sonja was aloof and grew more distant where her son was concerned but she was never cruel, making sure to spend some time with him, if not as much as the boy would have liked. She invited him to dine with her and his sisters two or three times a month. In his heart, Mikhael knew his life and relationship to his mother and sisters was not normal. He had the Windwalker household and their treatment of him, Hawke and Stasya to compare to his own life. Fortunately, his life was too full and he was genuinely too well rounded and positive in his outlook to become embittered by what he could not change. Of course, considering how formidable his parents were, as well as how much he respected them, it never occurred to him to try forcing the issue.
By the age of sixteen, Mikhael had grown tall and started developing a powerful physique due to constant exercise that included visiting the training grounds at Ulchedir Gaer (Highland Fort or Fort Highland) to work out on the Wheel of Pain, a device made for developing strength and endurance. He was an accomplished equestrian and swordsman and bidding fair to be a master of the arcane arts granted to him by his bloodline. He absorbed knowledge as a sponge absorbs water. Other athletic activities kept him trim and honed his ability to move as fast as a striking snake.
As was required, on the day of his sixteenth birthday, Mikhael reported to the training grounds of the Cymerian Guard, the military of Cymeria. The next six months were spent in formal military training. They were hard months, the training challenging, but Mikhael excelled at it and was proud to take his place amongst the Guard for his two years of service.
With Mikhael living at the great fort in the valley or in the barracks of the Stormholm Caer Garrison, his perpetually tense relationship with his father eased. He and Hawke also renewed their close friendship with his older sister Anastasiya who was nearing the end of her two years mandatory duty. That was another source of relief. With Stasya challenging her father, demanding the right to remain in the Guard, Kimber’s focus was on something other than his miscreant son’s activities.
[a. 16 ½] Spring 3532: Massacre of High Hallack
After an early thaw, Mikhael, along with Hawke Windwalker, rode out with a small company under the command of Anastasiya Stormdanovich to investigate rumors of bandits and raiders harassing the residents of High Hallack, a mountain ringed valley to the east of Stormholm Caer settled almost entirely by Cymry and a few Sidhe.
Before reaching the main settlement, they were set upon by the raiders. After a brief but fierce battle, the surviving raiders retreated while the patrol rode on into the valley. The horrors they found in the settlement and estate after estate would remain with them for the rest of their lives. Every living thing, including domestic animals, had been tortured and slaughtered. Further investigation showed that nothing had been taken although at first glance the properties appeared to have been ransacked.
To his horror, Mikhael could hear the screams of the slain Cymry. As they moved amongst the dead, he realized that they had been spirit bound to their bodies. He also knew from his readings on the arcane that this was a very high magic and not one that could easily be done, especially not on such a vast level as what they found in High Hallack. Concerned about the raiders possibly returning with reinforcements, Anastasiya ordered a withdrawal.
Within a week after reporting the massacre, Anastasiya and Mikhael both led patrols back to High Hallack to begin the unpleasant task of searching for survivors and dealing with the slain. Amongst the riders in Mikhael’s patrol was a powerful adept who set about freeing the spirits of the slaughtered Cymry.
Months later, near the time of the Feast of Samhain, Mikhael was called to Thoreson Windwalker's hold and told that some of the perpetrators of the Massacre of High Hallack had escaped the sword. Furthermore, though disguised as common raiders, those responsible were a cell of y Carthu. Those that had orchestrated and led the massacre had been overheard in a tavern boasting of their deeds. A sword for hire had brought the news. The Seneschal's brother, Dougal, both an old friend and a man with a price on his head, had been the bearer of the information. In secret, Mikhael hired him and his band of mercenaries to help him find and deal with the killers. They finally ran the leaders of the cell that perpetrated the massacre to ground and it was Mikhael who executed each of them. He chose the form of execution known as the Blood Eagle. None with him nor any who later found the bodies would ever forget how justice for the Massacre was served.
Other than those that rode with him on that day, only one man was ever told the facts of what occurred. Some days after the incident, Mikhael confided in Ryndar Gero knowing the man would keep the secret of his brutal and likely illegal act.
Note: Despite Mikhael’s interrogation of the Apostates that he and his men captured, they would not reveal how the spirit binding of the Cymry had been done on such a scale. One of y Carthu’s highest tenets was the absolute fanatical rejection of anything arcane, yet magic had been used. To the present day, Mikhael still has eyes and ears searching for the truth behind the Massacre of High Hallack.
[a. 18] 31 October 3533: Exile
On his eighteenth birthday, Mikhael graduated his mandatory service with the Cymerian Guard. With his successful completion of his duty, Seneschal Windwalker gifted Mikhael and Hawke with two superbly crafted swords. The workmanship was exquisite and the blades were the finest to be had anywhere short of a Dwarrow’s forge. Mikhael promptly christened his Gwerth, the Heniaith word for Valor. The sword, with its slightly curved blade was well suited for his powerful form.
Under normal circumstances, the Heir would take up the duty of the Guard’s First Marshal. The position was designed to allow the upcoming heir a chance to continue learning the ins and outs of military command while giving him a high enough position to also deal with some of the business of the land. Unfortunately, in Harkania, the Land seemed to have its own eyes and ears. Mikhael’s frequent off-duty jaunts to meet with a Mage to continue his arcane training came to the attention of Kimber who summoned his son to his private chamber. The row was bitter and just short of violent. It ended with Kimber’s ultimatum. Sojourn no more into the Craft or leave my sight!
Mikhael packed a few things and left.
*[a. 18 - 24] 3533 - 3539: Exile Years Overview
For the next six years, Mikhael wandered the lands of Aereth. He learned about the people of his homeland as well as those that dwelled outside Cymeria’s borders when his travels took him away from the Land. He also sought out and added to his arcane knowledge becoming a formidable adept. The longest stretches of time were spent with the Derwydd (extremely powerful Cymry sorcerers) adepts, Riordan and Ynella Penhallow, at their home located on Ynys o Wydr (Isle of Glass) near Dinas Afon (River City) in Coedwig March and in Tynar-Dazûr with the Dwarrow.
Shortly after leaving Stormholm Caer, Mikhael sold and traded a large portion of his belongings for less identifiable items. The only thing he refused to part with was Gwerth, the sword Thoreson Windwalker had given him. Fortunately, while a superb blade, it was more serviceable than ornate. Only its quality gave away the fact that serious coin had been spent in its commissioning and acquisition. If questioned, Mikhael would say that everyone gets lucky at dice on occasion. He also retained his twelve foot blacksnake whip and his long dagger. Thus armed and relatively incognito in his plain riding leathers, Mikhael became Brynmore Caerwyn.
Both names were chosen as a humorous nod to himself and his origins. Brynmor was the word for large hill in the Cymry Old tongue. Considering his height and stature, Mikhael found it fitting. Caerwyn was also an Heniaith word. It meant white fort, but Mikhael chose it because it reminded him of his grandmother, the Lady Kerowyn. The second reason he chose the name was because it would be a clue to Gero and Hawke. White Fort was also the name of an ancient stone circle that had gone to ruin high in the mountains above Stormholm Caer. Caerwyn looked like one of the great cylchs that dotted the land and sometimes offered travelers a safe haven from creatures that roamed the night. The massive granite menhirs were as white as the glaciers of Daranau Eira. It had also been a favored playground for Mika, Hawke and Anastasiya.
Directly after leaving Stormholm, Mikhael found himself in the fishing and shipping village of Maridunum on the Harkania / Coedwig border. After booking a working passage aboard the Stalwart, Mikhael found himself at loose ends as a massive storm system was delaying departures. While rambling through the village, he journeyed down a side alley where he met a woman named Morgelyn. Rumored to be a seeress and sea witch, the woman strikes a chord with the younger man and they spend the storm hours together. Before he leaves, Morgelyn gives him a prophecy. This would not be their only encounter.
During these years, Mikhael, under the guise of Brynmor Caerwyn, kept in touch with Gero, Hawke and Anastasiya. He had no word from his father nor did he seek contact.
[a. 22 - 24] 3537 - 3539
Word reaches High Lord Kimber's ears that Emperor Darian I conquered Baetica Aquitania and annexed it as another province of Aquilonia. Made uneasy by the young King's seemingly endless ambition to conquer the lands around him, Kimber requested Thoreson Windwalker to step up troop training and send an alert around Cymeria warning of a potential Call to Arms. By 3538, however, news reached Cymeria that Darian's army was now embroiled in fighting along the borders of Aquitaine. While Kimber did not relax his guard, it was felt Cymeria still had breathing space to prepare for war should it come to that in the end.
Mikhael also kept abreast of Darian Ingtarius’ actions. Though the rift between himself and his father was as wide as ever, his love for his land and people was undiminished. If Darian turned his eyes toward Cymeria, Mikhael would return home and offer his sword to the High Lord. In the interim, he made brief sojourns to Aquilone and discretely gathered bits of intelligence which he sent back to Gero and to Seneschal Windwalker via Hawke. He also garnered more training in various combat techniques by offering himself as a mercenary defending the borders of Haven which was a small neutral territory conveniently located close to the borders of Tynar-Dazûr.
[a. 22] 3537
Mikhael spent several months in Tynár-Dazûr during his travels and as his luck would have it, trouble had arrived in the kingdom of the Dwarrow. A stranger had arrived in Tynár-dazûr, a sorcerer who would create trouble for the land. He was allied with a Trogg Stone-Hag and the Dwarrow were at a disadvantage fighting both as none of them was able to cast magic or counter their use of the arcane. When it became clear that the Sorcerer and the Trogg-Hag were after more than creating mayhem, Prince Kaelan asked for Mikhael’s help. Together they tracked their adversary through a wyvern dale and into an abandoned mine. From there, they followed them down to a long fallen Thaig in the borderlands. Mikhael’s powers were only marginally diminished by his distance from Cymeria since he had not yet gone through the full Ddyrchafael leaving him able to call on his skills as a Cymry adept to help stop both enemies.
[a. 24] 3539: Prelude to War
In the spring of 3539, Ryndar Gero of Dawnrunner Clan and Hawke Windwalker were dispatched to track Mikhael down and bring him home. By then, also hearing rumblings of pending war, Mikhael had returned to Cymeria and was once again residing with the Penhallows. He had sent word of his whereabouts to Hawke and Gero shortly after his arrival. After a couple of days to rest, Mikhael led the two men to the Penhallows’ portal room. Though it would likely infuriate his father, Mikhael felt that getting back to Stormholm Caer was far more important than treading on cat’s paws around his father’s sensitivity to the use of the arcane. The portal decanted them in Caerarcanus. From there they used various secret underground passages to make their way to Stormholm Caer.
Kimber’s welcome was cool, still it grieved Mikhael to see how solemn, worried and worn his father appeared. The reunion with his sister, Anastasiya, who had been serving as First Marshall, greeted him with far more enthusiasm and immediately stepped down from that role, abdicating it to Mikhael while she happily returned to serving as Thoreson’s senior aide. Surprisingly, his welcome by his eldest sister and his mother was also warmer than Mikhael had anticipated.
It did not escape Mikhael’s notice that Stasya’s greeting to Hawke was far more welcoming and warmer than was seemly.
During the upcoming months, Mikhael revived the formidable strike force he had put together during his two years serving in the Guard prior to his departure from Harkania. As ready for action as always, the Morrighan quickly fell to training and preparing for their role in the hostilities that now looked inevitable.
[a. 24] 13 September 3539 (Friday): Battle of D’hassa
By midsummer, a Call to Arms sounded throughout Cymeria and the Guard prepared to meet the formidable forces of King Darian the First on the plains of D'hassa, intending to stop them before they pushed further into Cymeria. In the late summer of 3539, Aquilonian troops crossed the border into Mawrth D'hassa. 3539 would become known as the Year of Fallen Thunder.
Mikhael was put in charge of one of the light horse commands. His strength lay with the mounted soldiers and the sword. Thoreson ordered him to hold his unit in reserve. At the height of battle when it looked as if Aquilonia was starting to gain ground, Lord Kimber was wounded. Not seriously, but enough to shed his blood on the ground.
The rest of the battle was fought with the allies of wind and storm. Unconsciously, High Lord Kimber called to the land and to the men and women fighting with him...they responded. Though the tide turned in Cymeria’s favor as the reserve horse troops added their strength, High Lord Kimber was again wounded, this time grievously. As more of his blood soaked the Land, the storm raged out of control and the land literally roiled beneath their feet, Anastasiya was dispatched with orders for Mikhael and his Morrighan. He and his unit were tasked with hunting Darian down and, if possible, killing him.
On the heels of receiving those orders, the Dwarrow, along with a large contingent of Vanir swelled the ranks of the Cymerians. Although Mikhael realized that the current fury of the storm raging about them was the response to the wounding or death of the High Lord, he followed the orders Stasya delivered to him and Hawke. Battling through some of Darian’s elite troops, they at last ran the self-styled Emperor to ground.
Thirty minutes into the fight, while battle raged in the distance and around them, both men were unhorsed. Darian was not an armchair King. He was a fighting man, a warrior at the height of his strength and stamina. Mikhael, less experienced in actual battle, but trained by the best and a natural with the sword was his match and it was only due to the younger man slipping on a slick patch of grass that allowed Darian a brief moment of advantage. It was all he needed. His sword sneaked in under Mikhael’s guard, slicing deeply into his upper arm. Mikhael's sword slipped from a suddenly numbed hand. Before Darian could strike again, Mikhael’s right hand grasped the handle of his bullwhip that coiled about his waist like a belt, and in a graceful spin, he snapped the whip.
The first snap of the whip wrapped the thong around Darian's sword while the popper snapped the older man's wrist. A powerful pull yanked the sword from his grasp. Another flick of Mikhael's wrist and the whip released the sword letting it sail some distance away in a graceful arc, landing point down in the ground. Not letting up, Mikhael stepped forward as he twirled the whip over head gaining power before snapping it forward in a sideways strike. This time a spark of lightning sang along the thong's length, crackling as the popper bit deeply into Darian’s face and the man reeled backward in agony.
Blood made a gory mess of the King's face and Mikhael could feel its warmth coursing from his arm and down his hand to drip into the now muddy battlefield. As both men stood panting, assessing their own and one another's injuries, a troop of horse thundered toward them. As thunder rumbled in the distance, a second troop appeared from the nearby woodlands and Mikhael recognized his unit as well as his war stallion in their midst. The other troop led a riderless horse as well. Both Mikhael and Darian took the mounts their men held ready. There was a tense pause as both exhausted groups of men waited for their leaders' orders. Surprisingly, King Darian cantered his mount a few paces, leaned down, swept up his sword and sketched a salute. He then ordered his men to quit the field.
3539 Battle of D’hassa (Excerpt from the bio of Hawke Windwalker)
During the battle itself, Mikhael’s mounted force was ordered to make a strike on Darian’s camp in a forlorn hope of turning the tide of the battle which was finally beginning to go against the Cymerians. As Mikhael’s force thundered into the command camp, the troops guarding the area swept in around the mounted Cymry. Hawke and a group of riders dismounted and formed a thin line between Mikhael who was heading for Darian’s tent and the swarming guards. The line of Cymry were facing twice their number. Their stand kept Mikhael from being distracted while he had his face off with the Aquilonian emperor. Once the fight between Mikhael and Darian was finished and the Aquilonians stopped the battle, there were only about one third of the force left that Mikhael had led into the camp still standing. These men are all considered special and were granted dispensation by Mikhael to wear a medallion that was struck days after the battle by artisans using melted swords left by the dead Aquilonians on the field. Each medallion shows a Cymerian sword crossed with an Aquilonian sword in front of a lightning bolt. The back of each medallion has the name of the wearer inscribed and is taken from a list taken right after the end of the battle.
Unbeknownst to Mikhael and his unit, the Dwarrow Princes, Kaelen and Falún, had witnessed the end of his fight with Darian. He would learn that later upon receipt of a powerful gift from them.
Mikhael reeled in his saddle and would have fallen had his men not shouldered their horses closer and reached out to steady him. The sight of the Aquilonians in full retreat brought shouts of victory and a rousing cheer from the Cymerian warriors. Yet another cheer went up as Mikhael and his party rode onto the main battlefield. Mikhael saluted the fine men and women who had fought so bravely, but his gaze was drawn to the battlefield littered with unmoving bodies as far as the eyes could see.
The Morrighan returned from the route of Darian and his elite guard to join in the sporadic fighting at the end of the battle while Mikhael sought his father. Likewise, the Dwarrow and Vanir forces continued the route and then stayed to help search for survivors.
Sporadic fighting would continue for several more hours as the Cymerian Guard caught up with Aquilonian troops separated from their main host.
Cymeria won...but at great cost.
The injury to Mikhael's arm had been roughly tended by a battle surgeon before he called for a fresh horse and began the journey home. The few days it took to journey from the battlefield to Stormholm Caer became a blur of exhaustion and pain. By the time they reached the keep, Mikhael was not in much better shape than his father. On his arrival, Sonja met him and while a healer tended his arm, she gave him the grave news that it was unlikely that Kimber would survive his injuries.
However, Kimber held on for several weeks, not succumbing to his injuries until after he dispatched as much of his duty to Cymeria as he was able. During those few weeks, while severely injured himself, Mikhael stayed close to his father. The time was spent mending what had broken between them and in Kimber imparting as much of his leadership wisdom as he was capable of. Many nights, Mikhael would be summoned from his bed as a worried Kimber sought to tell him all he needed to know. Toward the end, the High Lord, now racked with pain, each breath an agony, told Mikhael to tread warily on the path he had set for himself. Kimber had seen and felt the power of the Cymry first hand at D’hassa.
On the 13th of October, one month after the horrific battle, the family and their closest friends gathered in the Cavern of Light. Aided by his wife, son and Ryndar, Kimber made his way to the Heartstone and took his seat, his body frail but his will undaunted. He had few words. In the one and only purposeful show of his power during his lifetime, Kimber drew Heddwch (Peace), the great Sword of State carried by centuries of High Lords, and rammed it point down into the slot where the Scepter of Destiny had once rested. The blade slid nearly three quarters of its length, leaving only a short length of blade and the hilt exposed. In the end, although he used magic to lodge the sword in the stone, he could not hand the Sword of State to Mikhael.
No one heard what Kimber whispered to the openly grieving Gero. If Mikhael were angered or hurt by his father’s refusal to hand over Cymeria’s Sword of State, it was not apparent nor did he shed any tears but thunder sounded overhead, heard even in the deep recesses of the cavern. Another peal of thunder heralded the High Lord’s Crossing. Briefly, the Veil parted showing the assembled a strong and vital image of Kimber as he set his feet on the shining White Road.
Mikhael would have to find his own sword and perhaps do battle for the throne.
[a. 25] 31 October 3539: Mikhael takes the Throne of Cymeria.
On Samhain of that same year, Mikhael’s birthday, he returned to Caerarcanus for his confirmation as High Lord and for Hawke Windwalker’s Quickening, a ritual that would unleash the powerful Cymry magic in the Celt. Surprisingly, despite the fact he did not carry Heddwch, no one challenged Mikhael’s Right to Rule and the Ddyrchafael was performed without issue. Once both rituals were complete, Mikhael adjourned back to Stormholm Caer and prepared for the evening’s celebration of his ascension to the Throne.
[a. 25] Just Prior to Midnight: The Drawing of Taranau
Mikhael was lounging in a window embrasure, watching the revelers, when a man approached him from the shadows. His Ryndar was quick to his feet, but Misha waved him away with a smile and warm greeting to the man. Small in stature, but powerful in presence and dignity, the other man stepped forward to take Mikhael’s offered arm in a warrior’s clasp. Mikhael then learned that Prince Kaelan and Prince Falún, along with a sizable number of the Dwarrow armies, had arrived in time to help turn the tide, perhaps it was even their arrival that had been the lynchpin in Darian’s decision to withdraw. They had then remained behind to aid in the aftermath of the battle, but arrived in time to be present for Kimber’s Crossing.
After Mikhael ordered that those with Kaelan be fed and settled in good quarters, the two men sat for a long talk. Mikhael told Kaelan of the battle and the sad aftermath. In turn, Kaelan caught the newly minted High Lord up on the news of the world. As a servant arrived with a plate for the Prince, he summoned someone else waiting in the shadows. The younger man’s eyes seemed bright with anticipation as he handed a long, heavy package to the Prince. Mikhael recognized Kaelan’s younger brother, Prince Falún, which he greeted with a smile, bidding him to join them.
Handing the long box over, Kaelan bade Mikhael open it. Curious, Mikhael unlocked the ornate clasps and lifted the rosewood box’s lid. Though swaddled in oil cloth, the outline of what lay within could not be easily disguised. Long, strong fingers, almost trembling with excitement, removed the wrapping. Icy blue eyes widened and a genuine gasp of awe issued from the High Lord’s lips. Reverently, he lifted the gleaming sword from its bed, automatically feeling its balance as he twirled it experimentally.
The younger man with Kaelan quietly told Mikhael that the great sword, made in the style called one-and-a-half-hand, or more commonly, a bastard sword, had been forged by Prince Kaelan himself. As Mikhael expressed his gratitude for the fantastic gift, Kaelan urged him to name it.
In the distance, as if echoing the High Lord’s delight, thunder rumbled.
“I think the sword has chosen its name without my help,” was Mikhael’s reply. “Taranau, thunder.”
[a. 25] 21 December 3539
House Stormdanovich had to deal with one more grievous blow. High Lady Sonja, who had collapsed after Kimber’s Crossing, never recovered. The severing of the marriage bond and her devotion to Kimber combined to leave her frail and ill. With her son safely enthroned, Sonja quietly took her Crossing, attended by her eldest daughter and family.
[a. 25 - 30] 3540 - 3545: Introducing Vasily Tregarth Stormdanovich, the Heir.
Over the next five years, Mikhael began making subtle but steady changes in the ruling of Cymeria. His first two actions was to commission Gero to create a network of intelligence gatherers. His second was to repeal some of the more onerous and dangerous Deddfau Dirgel (Laws Arcane). He did not remove all of the arcane laws from the books, but did rescind the ones that could result in an immediate death sentence for the user. Most of the laws had been enacted during the backlash after the Interregnum and the fall of the Tsars.
Mikhael had renewed his relationship with the sea witch, Morgelyn, directly after the Battle of D’hassa in 3539. Despite his urging, she refused to leave Maridunum and flatly refused the very idea of marriage. Meeting a will as strong as his own led to some stormy encounters, but for the most part, he was comfortable with the slightly older woman and she seemed to genuinely care more for him than his position. However, for the last several months his duties had kept him from being able to make the journey to Maridunum even though he had built a portal near Morgelyn’s home - which she refused to have any knowledge of for fear it could be used against her and him if she were forced to divulge its existence.
In February of 3545, Morgelyn summons Hawke Windwalker to a high mountain village not far from Stormholm Caer. Shortly after the birth of her and Mikhael’s son, men showed up at her home and tried to take the baby. She and Ygraine, the midwife who was also serving as the baby’s nanny and wet nurse fought them off but Morgelyn was gravely injured. Fearing that that attack would not be the last, Morgelyn and Ygraine set off with the baby to try and reach Stormholm. For February, the weather was mild even in the Highlands but their luck ran out and they were forced to take shelter at the Inn of Four Rivers in a village called Four Rivers Crossing. The inn owners were a kindly man and his wife with a son serving in the Cymerian Guard who was happy to carry a message from Morgelyn to Ryndar Hawke Windwalker.
When he arrived, Morgelyn and Ygraine told Hawke of the events that led them to Four Rivers Crossing and of Morgelyn’s fear for her and Mika’s son’s life. With her strength and life waning, Morgelyn gives her son to Hawke, bidding him to take the boy to his father or, if he feels it in the child’s best interest, see him delivered to a good home and guarded. On a sigh, Morgelyn fades from life as the Crossing takes her to the White Road.
Hawke takes the baby and, accompanied by Ygraine, set out for Stormholm. As Morgelyn had predicted, they were twice set upon by hooded men that were determined to take the child. It was almost a relief to them when a sharp crack of thunder heralded the onslaught of a blizzard providing them with cover for the last few miles of their journey. As they entered the cavern trails of Stormholm, the blizzard unleashed its total fury on the land. Even had the strange men been able to follow Hawke and Ygraine, they could not have fought their way through or survived the onslaught of the arcane blizzard.
Exhausted, but mostly unharmed, thanks to Hawke’s combat skills and Ygraine’s low-level abilities as a witch, they climbed the stairs to Mikhael’s private chambers where, to their surprise, the High Lord was waiting for them, his face somber and sad, his icy blue eyes shadowed. Handing the small bundle to Mikhael, Hawke told him of the events surrounding the baby’s arrival and journey to Stormholm Caer. As Hawke spoke and Ygraine stood nearby seemingly alert should the High Lord take exception to the child for some reason, Mikhael kept his eyes on the tiny bundle cradled carefully in his arms. When Hawke finished the tale, Mikhael said, “Thank you for saving my son,” his tone sincere and his eyes going from Hawke to the woman, Ygraine. Then, very gently to the baby, he said, “Welcome home, Vasily Tregarth Stormdanovich.”
Mikhael immediately engaged Ygraine as the baby’s nanny since he would have need of a wet nurse and caregiver. Later in the day, he informed his eldest sister of the situation. The ever practical Oksana, who had been serving as the hold’s chatelaine since her mother’s Crossing, was far more relieved that Mikhael had an heir and less concerned about how the heir had been conceived. Within the week, the House gathered to meet the new Heir and for his formal name giving and affirmation.
Not long after Vasya was settled into his new home, Oksana bearded her brother in his den and informed him that he needed to learn the tending of the baby. She, with the help of Ygraine, was more than happy to give the child a mother’s care, but the boy would need his father more than most little ones. At first, Mikhael was taken aback, but then the wisdom of Sanya’s words got through to him. He did not want his son growing up in a home with barriers between the boy and the rest of the family. Inadvertently, Vasya became the first bridge to crossing those barriers as Mikhael began spending time with his eldest sister, her husband and their brood. When not away on the business of the Land, Mikhael would bring his son to his apartments, having had rooms set up for the baby and installing caretakers. Ygraine also became a vital part of Mikhael’s personal household.
On 19 August 3545 - 5th Year of the Deep Kraken: Vasily is Confirmed as the Heir of Cymeria. Ryndar Hawke Windwalker and Anastasiya Stormdanovich were named as his regents should that need ever arise.
*The six years that Mikhael spent in exile will be detailed as events occur which will either be written out as Flashbacks or summarized here.
**[a. 35] September 3550: 2nd Battle of D’hassa
The yearly gathering for the ceremony of swearing in of new Guardsmen, the renewal of oaths and the memorial services for those lost in the Battle of D’hassa was usually peaceful. It was where the Cymeri met each year to celebrate what had happened since the previous year and for remembering those that have passed beyond the Great Veil.
As usual, the High Lord and members of his House and Guard made the journey from Harkania to D’hassa to attend the celebration. Along with the usual celebrations, Mikhael was to have the honor of officiating at the handfasting of his sister, Anastasiya, and his best friend and Ryndar, Hawke Windwalker. Although some of his duties included dealing with the Business of the Land, the majority of the week was usually pleasant and allowed Mikhael to enjoy catching up with friends, hunting and relaxing.
Unexpected guests soon arrived in D’hassa in the form of the Dwarrow Crown Prince, Kaelan, and his younger brother, Prince Falún. Shortly thereafter, an even more surprising guest arrived...the High Lord Commander of the Order of Knights Templar of Aquitaine along with Prince Galahed, the heir to Aquitaine’s throne. Both sets of visitors carried warnings of potential threat to the High Lord and members of his House.
The warnings were proved just as dark forces moved in the Shadows and threats from more than one quarter sought to end Mikhael’s life and to harm those he cared for. The climax came at the actual Ceremony of Oaths when a contingent of Black Templars challenged Mikhael and his closest companions. He was forced to resort to arcane means to defeat them.
In the aftermath of the battle, Mikhael received another threat. This time is was issued from the lips of a dying Black Templar and warned of imminent death for Vasily, Mikhael’s small son.
“Your witch-son goes to his death on the snows of Daranau Eira, Warlock! You will awaken the stone that kills him.”
The man died before more information could be gleaned. Mikhael and a small band of his closest companions took horse for Stormholm. Through sheer willpower alone, Mikhael remained in the saddle day and night - as did his entourage - cutting the long ride near in half. They arrived in time to prevent Vasily’s death, but learned that the Black Templar’s influence was far reaching. The bespelled item turned out to have been fashioned by Dwarrow hands.
Both angered and dismayed by the attempt on the boy’s life, the Dwarrow princes vowed that the dwarf involved would rue that spellcasting.
[a. 35] Mid - Late October 3550
In late October, another surprise presented itself in the form of his late uncle’s daughter, Renestrae tyr-Vashti. Unsure if the young woman was an y Carthu spy or genuinely just seeking answers about her father, Mikhael was bound by courtesy and blood to offer her the safety and security of the House.
Friends & Foes
|Family of the Heart||Hawke Windwalker
Hawke Windwalker is Mikhael’s sworn sword-brother and best friend. It is only fitting in Mikhael’s mind that Hawke was chosen as his Ryndar as well. If the worst comes to pass and Mikhael loses control of his mind and powers, it would be Hawke who would be required to kill him. The High Lord is confident that should such an event come to pass, his friend will perform his duty with as much respect and memory of who Mikhael had been as possible.
Mikhael and Hawke met around the ages of five when Mika began his early training and conditioning under the guidance of Hawke’s father, Seneschal Thoreson Windwalker. The two boys would share much over the next years.
There are few that Mikhael trusts implicitly and without question. Hawke is one of the the only men (or women) who can give the High Lord an order and have a reasonable expectancy that it will be obeyed without question.
Hawke is married to Mikhael’s sister, Anastasiya, the Seneschal of Cymeria.
Thoreson "Thor" Windwalker, Irina Windwalker
Mikhael has only had two swords that he would never part with. One of them is Gwerth, a gift from Thoreson on the day Mikhael and Hawke graduated from their mandatory two years of service and training in the Cymerian Guard. Like Gero, Thoreson Windwalker has been a father figure to Mikhael. He and his wife, Irina, always had a seat at their table for Mikhael and his sister, Stasya.
Former Ryndar to High Lord Kimber Stormdanovich. Gero is another dear friend and mentor. As a former member of the High Guard, he carries the rank of Rytsar (retired Knight) and is the Cainteoir (emissary / spokesperson) for his people. Under this guise, he also heads up an intelligence network designed to keep the High Lord informed of happenings in distant lands. More than those assets to his character, Gero has been another positive force in Mikhael’s life, especially during the times when things were difficult with his father. Gero could usually quell whatever storm was rising between father and son although he had little luck when it came to the issue of Mika’s arcane proclivities. Gero was one of the few that Mikhael trusted with his false identity (along with Hawke and Stasya) when he left Stormholm.
*Note: Mikhael, by dent of his close ties to Gero, has been the only person to be able to reach the Wyr when he was in a blood rage. This happened twice, once at the Battle of D’hassa after the mortal wounding of Kimber, Mikhael’s father, and again at the Ceremony of Oaths in D’hassa after Gero was wounded and poisoned by the Glass Dagger.
Aeonar Stormdreamer of Snowhunter Clan
Aeonar is the foster son to Gero of Dawnrunner Clan. He was brought to Gero in September 3550 by the Vanir and has become Vasily’s closest friend and constant companion. Mikhael has all but adopted the boy having grown very attached to him since his advent into Vasya’s life.
Prince Kaelan, Prince Falún of Tynar-Dazûr
Mikhael met the princes on more than one occasion when, as a child, he accompanied his father on visits to the Mountain Home. That friendship became even more solid and strong when he spent time in Tynar-Dazûr after a rift with his father sent him into self-imposed exile. In more recent years, the Princes have demonstrated their friendship to Mikhael and to his land time and again. One of his most cherished possessions is his great sword, Taranau, that they crafted for him in the wake of the Battle of D’hassa and the Crossing of High Lord Kimber.
|Allies & Friends||Virdaín of Coldshade Heights (Varidan): The former High Lord Commander of the Templars of Aquitaine proved an unexpected ally during the events that occurred at the 3550 Gathering for the Ceremony of Oaths in D’hassa. Mikhael formed an almost immediate liking and respect for the man that will grow into a strong friendship over time.
Song Xiang Chai: The lovely Song Chai was taken under Kimber and Sonja’s wings shortly after being brought to live at Sanctuary, the Theurgy Guild’s stronghold. Later, as she became a full-fledged Mage, Mikhael developed a friendship with her born of his own interest in the arcane history of the Chimera peoples. She has also been teaching him the Xian martial art known as the Way of the Fox. It teaches balance, grace and focus which he finds more than a little useful in his life.
Dougal Windwalker: Hawke’s uncle is a man that has walked a fine line between honor and the law. However, Mikhael knows the man has lines he will not cross and a strong conviction in what is right and wrong. Despite the fact that the man has a price on his head, Mikhael likes him. Dougal was instrumental in helping Mikhael track down the y Carthu Apostates responsible for the Massacre of High Hallack.
King Dargain of Tynar-Dazûr: While closer to the Dwarrow princes, Mika holds King Dargain in great esteem and considers him a good friend. He also trusts the old Dwarrow’s advice, especially after his sojourn in Tynar-Dazûr after being banished from his father’s sight for a period of several years.
Riordan and Ynella Penhallow: The Penhallows and their estate on Ynys o Wydr or Ynys o'Wydr (Isle of Glass), a barrier island that lies just west of the port city of Dinas Afon in Coedwig, have become a refuge for the High Lord. He met the Penhallows in 3533 after being stranded on one of the nearby barrier islands. To his consternation, though they politely called him by the name he presented to them at the time, they knew exactly who he was. Over the years that followed, the two Derwydd adepts became his primary teachers and mentors in the use of his arcane abilities. Even now, due to portal access, he visits them whenever he can get away and they are often guests at Stormholm Caer.
*Others will be added as developed during game play (or when I realize I’ve forgotten someone.
|Adversaries & Foes||Imperator Darian Ingtarius (aka Emperor Darian I): Mikhael has an odd liking and respect for this man while at the same time hating him for being the instrument behind the death of his father, Kimber. He carries a reminder of his one engagement with the Aquilonian ruler in the form of a long scar on his upper sword arm.
Black Templars: This is a collection of enemies rather than any one man. The Black Templars are Shadow Touched and even were they not, their use of magic is anathema to Mikhael’s views on how to use one’s powers.
Manon ap Nuallyn: Manon is an unknown enemy at the moment. Her agenda is to remove the House Stormdanovich from power and, in her way of thinking, restore rule to the true blood of Cymeria. If that means killing everyone in the House, so be it.