Duke Aethan Kennex
Love is a lottery for which the prize is death. You're lucky to have lost, and if you're wise, you'll lose always.
Description: With an austere courage and a placid demeanor that almost never forsake him, Aethan has a noble countenance that is enhanced by a generally well-trimmed beard, and short brown hair that is neatly kept. His tanned face is lined by care, more frowns than smiles, and a profound melancholy has dimmed his blue eyes almost to gray.
Personality: Aethan is a man who lives always by a strict code of honor that he'd die before he broke, but he's also a man with demons. A moody, sometimes violent perfectionist who can only see his mistakes, he has a lot to feel guilty about, and a lot to regret. Like a good man of Thrax, he keeps all of these feelings bottled up, and the face he shows to the world is composed, with a noble bearing that inspires respect, if not love. He speaks with a scalpel, never wasting an extraneous word.
On the very rare occasions when the darkness within him break through, Aethan can turn into a cruel and dangerous man... which leaves him with even more to repent, when the spell passes.
Background: Aethan, the oldest of three brothers, has always felt the oldest child's weight of responsibility, and it only got heavier with time. He went to sea at sixteen, followed soon by his brother Porter, and then by nine year old Ian. Not yet twenty, he found himself wearing the hats of brother, of father, teacher, and guardian. He drove himself hard, taught his brothers to do the same, and by the time they'd graduated from escorting merchant ships to hunting pirates on a ship that Aethan himself captained, the brothers Kennex were a force to be reckoned with, a force forged from the strength of the oldest brother's will. Aethan got so much respect for how well he taught his brothers that he was the one tasked with teaching the ungovernable Washburn Grayson to sail, more responsibility that he bore without breaking.
These few years, riding high on the waves with his brothers by his side, were the happiest of Aethan's life, and they ended too soon when Ian, while trying to sail a prize ship through a storm, fell from the rigging and nearly died. The fall left Ian paralyzed -- and Aethan knew that it was his fault. He should have seen the signs that the storm was coming. He should have checked the prize ship's rigging. Unable to stomach the guilt, unable even to look at his broken little brother, Aethan lost himself in the bottle.
He also lost himself in the comfort of a woman. Invierna Winter, the daughter of a wealthy Thrax-sworn merchant, came to him in that darkest night and soothed him. Only weeks after meeting her, they were married. Aethan loved her ardently enough that, at least for a couple of years, he was able to drown out his own self-loathing. But this moment of peace was ephemeral. Aethan lost his father, his mother, and his wife all in quick succession -- his father died of a lingering illness that had plagued him for months, and then a few weeks later, his mother and wife died suddenly during the same night.
The Aethan who turned up in Arx weeks later was a shadow of the man he had once been, held together by copious amounts of alcohol and little else. He was reunited with his brothers, and as they gradually healed their relationship, he began to heal, as well. He became admiral of Stormward's fleet and served with distinction, spearheading the House's efforts to rebuild into something even stronger than it had been before the freeing of the thralls had driven it to the edge of ruin. Then he was needed for a greater and weightier calling -- Duke-Regent. It wasn't a responsibility that he was comfortable with shouldering, but he did it anyway, just like he always has done. If he's not equal to the task, he'll just have to force himself to rise to it.