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: From childhood, Aethan never forgot that he was his father's oldest son, and someday, the weight of heading his branch of House Kennex would fall on him. He was given a typical Thraxian education, and was sent out to sea at sixteen to learn to sail. His younger brother Porter followed a couple of years later, and then a year after that, his much younger brother Ian.
The pressure of being the oldest son only got worse at sea, where he was responsible for his brothers, especially Ian, who was ten years younger than him, and more like a son than a brother. But 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. Aethan got so much respect for how well he'd taught his brothers that he was the one tasked with teaching the ungovernable Washburn Grayson to sail.
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 very wealthy Thrax-sworn merchant, came to him in that darkest night, listened to him, soothed him, and -- or so he thought -- loved 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 happiness was even more short lived and ephemeral than the last. 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.
Aethan is now the head of his branch of House Kennex, just as he always expected to be, but his branch of House Kennex -- his family -- is a ruin of what it was. Now he has come to Arx to try to rebuild what he can... or maybe just to try to escape the ghosts of his past.