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Kaeden Banick

Character Biography

A carriage sporting the Banick’s emblem sat waiting near a guard post by one of Vel Anir’s gates. A group of armored men also with Banick banners surrounded the wagon. Some sat on horses, some stood by on foot.

Kaeden was to be transported on this carriage from Vel Anir to Vel Luin. A request was sent to the Academy for the additional protection to be provided to the young Banick’s journey. The request contained very simple requirements: an Initiate that is a good representation of the ideals of the Dreadlords.

Enough gold was sent for the Academy to send someone.

However, Kaeden had no idea who he would meet. And there was no guarantee who the Academy sent would be anything like what the Banick’s requested...
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It just so happened that the request arrived during a rare spot of down-time between missions for the young Luana Initiate. While Maseno did not ask questions, it was made clear to him before his departure that he uphold the values of the Academy and Vel Anir's prestigious Dreadlords, no matter what. Unfortunately, whether or not what he believed these ideals and values to be would line up with what House Banick believed them to be was ... yet to be seen.

"Hail," Maseno spoke up from atop his mount; a large chestnut gelding with a flaxen mane, "I am Maseno Luana, Initiate of the Dreadlord Academy. I've come with orders from Proctor Mars." From within his robes he extracted the flattened scroll and held it up, giving it over to the Guard Captain who approached him on foot to read.

"Luana..." the Captain rumbled, eyeing the young man, "someone has a sense of humor at the Academy. Wait here."

And to the carriage the Captain went, giving a knock, "The Academy's Initiate is here ... Maseno Luana."
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Maseno Luana?” Kaeden’s voice from behind the door called out.

The door opened with Kaeden poking his upper body out. He looked at Maz with a blank look at first. A quick examination up and down.

Then, Kaeden smiled.

Maseno Luana, good to see you’re the one to escort us,” Kaeden cheerfully told Maz.

The two previous met in one of Maz’s earlier missions. At that time, Kaeden was busy with his mandatory military service to Vel Anir. The regiment Kaeden served in was full of nobles – so their assignments were usually very cushy. For the time that Maz was with the regiment, they just uneventfully patrolled the northwest.

Would you like to ride in the carriage?” Kaeden asked, “It wouldn’t sit well with me to not offer.
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"Lord Kaeden, well met," the young Initiate's brows rose in surprise. Scant were the details of this mission aside from protect his ward at all costs, but he had to wonder if this were simply a spot of luck or if he'd been asked for specifically. With a soft nudge of his heel, he stepped his horse closer to the carriage to offer Kaeden a respectable albeit restricted bow from his seat in the saddle.

"I am honored to be of service," he offered with a hand flattened over the leather armor at his chest. A smile met the other man at the offer but he lifted that same hand, "A gracious offer, but I must decline. The carriage greatly impedes my ability to bring those who would mean you harm to justice."

A wayward glance from the Captain made him think that was the right decision indeed. How would it look for the Dreadlord-in-Training to ride in the luxury of the carriage, exchanging small talk and socializing when he was supposed to be here for protection?

"Right then," said the Captain, "seems we're all present and accounted for M'Lord, we depart at your word."
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We’re only going to Vel Luin,” Kaeden informed Maz, “My father’s being too paranoid about this trip.

Then with a smile and shrug, Kaeden told Maz, “But if you wish to remain outside, I won’t insist otherwise.

Kaeden’s eyes then perked up as if realizing something.

Oh, but I do insist you speak freely to me. We’re peers, after all, despite your extra duties,” Kaeden said.

Having said all that, Kaeden looked Capatain Hambletone and told him, “Right. Let’s get moving, then!

After giving the order, Kaeden sat back down in the carriage. A guard closed the door, but Kaeden just slid open the side window that looked out toward Maseno. The carriage began to move forward with the group of guards.

But anyway, did you just come from a mission or the Academy?” Kaeden asked Maz.
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Maseno maintained an amiable expression despite Kaeden's words on the matter and nodded when the Nobleman conceded to his decision. That it was a short trip made no difference - often crimes happened close to home because people were too comfortable. Proximity did not equal safety.

"Of course," the Initiate said when invited to speak freely, reining his horse about to fall in stride alongside the carriage.

"Neither, actually," Maz replied, brows furrowing slightly at what he expected to be a curious answer, "I apprentice with ...a notable Dreadlord who lives away from the academy..." best, perhaps, not to name her lest he give Kaeden the wrong impression. Zana was a highly respected Dreadlord, it was true, but her name also beget fear for her power and clout.

"I just returned from my most recent training with them. Seems it was good timing. Proctor Mars mentioned that my familiarity might be of use, but didn't go into detail. You appear to be doing well, Lord Kaeden. Have you finished your enlistment then?"
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A notable Dreadlord?” Kaeden said at first.

But before Kaeden could press for a name, Maz asked about if Kaeden finished his service to the state.

Ah, yeah, finished with that burden and the family immediate put me to work,” Kaeden told Maz with a smile.

As the group continued forward, Banick guards took their positions in front of and behind the carriage. They continuously scanned their surroundings as they began to pass through the farmlands outside of Vel Anir’s walls. Occasionally, Captain Hambletone would glance back toward Maz.

I’m to,” Kaeden began before taking a deep breath, “Assess this potential investment in Vel Luin. Check their books, their products, processes, everything.

Then with a gesture toward Maz, Kaeden told him, “But you’ll soon learn the pleasure of serving family soon, no?
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Maseno was not without his work ethic or awareness of his duty here. As he listened to the young Lord his own eyes were on a swivel along either side of the road while they traveled. Perhaps an older Dreadlord would have ignored Kaden entirely and rode on as a stoic and stalwart guardian ... as he should. But manners and social address had rarely been valued among the dreadlords of old. Times were changing. That Maseno was able to converse and mingle among the upper echelons of Vel Anirian society without fault had become a valuable asset in the Academy.

He often wondered if it had more to do with his last name, but it wasn't his place to question these things.

"That sounds promising for the Bannick estate," the young Luana remarked, "your family has always been an enterprising presence, so I'm told."

As for him? He glanced to Kaeden with some doubt clearly showing on his expression, "My fate as a graduated Dreadlord is not so certain. As much as I would like to serve my family, my duty to Vel Anir must always come first. The Proctor's believe I may be the next youngest Archon of their age. If that should come to pass ... I cannot believe I will be let to insular family servitude."
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The youngest Archon? That'd be impressive,” Kaeden replied.

I’m sure in that case you’ll hear no end to the demands from your family, then,” Kaeden concluded.

Leaning back in his seat within the carriage, Kaeden mused aloud, “Though I guess all that time in the Academy’s meant to make you more loyal to the state than kin?

With a squint, Kaeden then asked, “But does this mean you’re going into active service? Or not? How does one become an Archon now, anyway?
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Maseno presently heard no ends to the demands of his family now, and not that he resented them for it. He was grateful for their insistence of being involved in his life and he liked to believe it was for that reason alone he had been able to course-correct his anger into something more stable and sustainable.

"Beyond the Revolution, things have changed a great deal for us in the Academy," he conceded with a nod, "we no longer strive for the attention of the great Houses for pledging after graduation. Now we are faced with the choices of joining the Guard, the Reserves, or the list of Exiles."

It painted a bleak picture no matter what way one looked at it, and he frowned at the thought.

"Though my family will likely wish for me to become a Reservist so that I might spend more time with them, I will with some clear certainty be convinced to join the Guard. In what role, remains to be seen. As for becoming an Archon..." though his gaze had continued to survey their path and surroundings, it landed upon the back of the Captain's head, "first I must survive long enough to get there."

He actually wasn't sure of the process of gaining the rank and who now held sway over granting the title now. So many things had changed.

"Has your father seen fit to betroth you to another great house as you once spoke of in our prior mission?"
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Kaeden nodded his head as he listened to Maz explain his goals post-graduation.

But he suddenly coked upon hearing Maz’s question.

Excuse me,” Kaeden said as he pounded his chest.

Captain Hambletone looked back to gauge the situation after hearing his liege cough.

“Oh, yeah. That matter,” Kaeden began, “No betrothal. Father advised me that a man in my position should to sow his wild oats and have many affairs before marriage. So, there's been no rush.

Giving Maz a look, Kaeden added, “I don’t know if Lord Luana has made a similar suggestion or not to you.

With one last clearing of his throat, Kaeden told Maz, “Though, I’ve heard from Father that Grandfather’s been fishing for betrothals. He mentioned the Urahil’s once, but I’ve heard the only suitable daughter is a Dreadlord and... no offense to you or her, but that sounds slightly hazardous to my health.

Then with a gesture to Maz once again, Kaeden asked, “How about yourself?
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No betrothal. Father advised me that a man in my position should to sow his wild oats and have many affairs before marriage. So, theres been no rush.
Maseno Luana frowned but commented not.

"Not as such," the Initiate's gaze wandered from the young Lord and back to their surroundings, "my father died in the Revolution. It is my sister, Jiya, who leads House Luana now. As it stands, there has been no mention made of marriage or betrothal for myself."

He never gave that much thought, if he was honest. Even if he were now an appropriate age to be considered for match-making, the uncertainty of his future would make those decisions rather difficult to make. How could he agree to marry if he was named an Archon? Such a life could not possibly be conducive to starting and keeping a family. To that point, the comment on the Urahil's only drove the point forward.

"It is difficult to imagine marriage and family in my future," the boy's brow furrowed slightly, "it would not seem fair... forgive me, there is something obstructing the road ahead."

He could see it from his high vantage point on his mount, but the guards at the front of the retinue had called for a full stop while they moved ahead to investigate.
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After hearing Maz’s answered, Kaeden’s eyes widened and gave a somber look.

Oh,” first escaped his lips before he told Maz, “Right. My condolences.

Before Kaeden could say anything else, Maz pointed out the obstruction on the road. Kaeden poked his head out to see a large tree trunk blocking the way.

Captain Hambletone approached the carriage and Maz.

“Apologies, My Lord,” the Captain began, “But it will take some time to clear the road.”

Turning to Maz, the Captain told the Initiate, “Stand by the carriage and be alert.”

Excellent work as always, Hammy,” Kaeden told Captain Hambletone with a smile.

As the Captain left to get a closer look at the tree, Kaeden asked Maz, “Tell me your thoughts. Is this just nature felling a tree, or you think something more is going on?
"Difficult to say," Maseno narrowed his eyes as he attempted to get a better visual, "this region has not seen a storm of late that would have been strong enough to topple a healthy tree..."

And healthy it looked, judging by the flush of green leaves and the dark brown trunk. The boy's brows settled low as he could not from his position get a view of any roots. Seemed the trunk had been severed from the base.

"It appears to have been cut down," and he glanced to Kaeden, instantly more alert than ever as he circled his steed about, "batten down your carriage Lord Kaeden and don't come out until I've given the all clear."

That was when he heard the sound of approaching horses from behind and he turned his own just in time to see a band of highwaymen closing in.

"Bandits on our rear!" he called to the Captain's team, but they would also now be busy with bandits at their fore.
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“Bandits in the rear!” Captain Hambletone called out.

Eleven figures emerged from behind the group. Compared to eight, including Kaeden, on this journey to Vel Luin.

The bandits appeared decently armed. Not to the point of the standing army or Dreadlords, but not mere thugs looking for opportunity. While scars and dirt covered their skins, they also did not appear to be extremely unhealthy.

A large man with a full, black beard stepped forth.

“Hand over the young lord, and ya all get to live,” the bandit chief told the Banick guards.

Drawing his sword, Hambletone began to reply with, “Who are you to-“


A snap echoed out. A crossbow bolt was now embedded deep within the bandit chief’s chest.

“Wha-“ was all the chief could say before collapsing.

Back at the carriage, Kaeden was hanging out of the window with a unloaded crossbow.

Hell no!” he told the 10 remaining bandits.
That was... perhaps not the wisest option, but it certainly was an option. There was a very short few moments of stunned silence while the other bandits took in the rather sudden and impromptu defeat of their chief before his son, a younger but no less stout man raised his sword with a bellow, "TAKE THEM DOWN!"

"Lord Kaeden get back in the carriage!" Maseno yelled at him as he reined his horse around in a tight circle to stand himself directly between his ward and the intruders.

Chaos broke loose as archers from the outer edges loosed arrows upon the guard retinue. Many bounced off heavy mail armor but some found their tips sunk into the flesh between joints.

There were far too many to handle at once, so Maseno focused on those in his immediate vicinity, whipping open his traveling cloak and throwing a hand out towards a group of oncoming swordsmen. A spray of throwing daggers launched from his figure, implanting themselves into and dropping three men.

An arrow hissed through the air toward his head and he turned just in time to stop it on sight alone, mere inches from impact. With a twitch of his hand he turned it back upon his assailant and watched the archer fall from the tree.
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