Duke Malcolm Shepherd
You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your unbelievably distant family deciding to ennoble you, apparently.
Description: Malcolm has that 'handsomeness of indeterminate age' about him. There's a soft youthfulness that has yet to be banished from the curves of his cheeks, with a still somewhat boyish grin that's already given him crinkled lines around his dark, expressively playful eyes. His brows will no doubt be wild and bushy when he is an old man -- but he is not an old man yet -- so they are still strong and dark, sketching out his exaggerated moods with perfect clarity. His hair is cut close to his head, dark and mussed, in opposition to a jawline that's only partially concealed with a week’s worth of careless stubble. Otherwise unremarkable, and a little rough around the edges, he's a tall man, but not too tall; strong, but not obnoxiously so. He's clearly not a man that spends his time lifting heavy things to sculpt overt muscles.
Personality: Malcolm is perfectly suited for being a duke, if one ignores personality, training, inclination, background, motivation and goals, but aside from that, he's perfectly suited. Being told this was his new DUTY and OBLIGATION might make something in him roll over and die in complete exasperated surrender, but at his heart, he really does try to help people, even if a hefty dose of sarcasm helps him deal with what life gives him without dying of alcoholic liver failure.
Background: Malcolm is reasonably sure that his father was incapable of forming a sentence that didn't contain 'honor', 'duty', or 'responsibility'. Bentley Shepherd was exhausting that way. Getting up in the morning would be greeted with, 'it's about time you've risen, now to see to your duties' or 'our family's honor depends on how well we see to our responsibilities'. If ever there was a man that was born trying to hard to redeem his family's line for shame from three hundred years ago during the Crownbreaker Wars, it was Malcolm's father. And it wasn't as if another sometimes spear carrying soldier in the duke's army and other times farmer really had much responsibilities! But there was no telling dear old dad that. He could be asking about the chickens and it would be, "if you live life honorably, everything will fall into place. Now collect the eggs." WHAT DID THAT EVEN MEAN? How does that even follow? This, dad, is why mother left you to become a pirate.
So it came as no surprise to anyone that knew Malcolm, or talked to his father for more than three minutes, that Malcolm and his sister Bonnie left home immediately at eighteen to make their fortune in the wide 'and oft dishonorable' world, away from a parent who seemed to have taken a secret vow to never have a trace of humor or fun in his life. Malcolm immediately fell into sellswording for a living, and Bonnie became a 'naval acquisitions specialist' in the pattern of dear old mom, who apparently had made quite a name for herself at Port Defiance and around the Saffron Chain. Malcolm, unfortunately, discovered that for some reason it seemed like he just had the kind of face that screams to people, 'I have a problem. That fellow right there seems just the person to help me out with my personal tragedy, curse, adventure, expedition, or otherwise life threatening sojourn'. He has no idea why it happens. You don't just go up to a random person on the street and tell them how you need help because Little Timmy wandered into a Shardhaven or some shavs kidnapped your dog! But it led him to forming an adventuring company named the Valiant Effort with Bonnie and some friends, to at least make official the reason they would be wandering into extraordinarily regrettable situations.
Life was just approaching something close to relaxing if regularly life threatening when he received word that his father, the seemingly now knighted Sir Bentley Shepherd, had died. Very sad, exasperating old man or no. And that he had died saving Duke Gregor 'the Butcher of Graypeak' Shepherd, and had been serving for years as the House Sword. And that Duke Gregor, now succumbing to his own wounds, had made a deathbed decree re-ennobling Sir Bentley Shepherd 'to erase the stain of honor on that distant branch of House Shepherd', and effectively making Malcolm his heir, which for some mind boggling reasons his 9th cousins are actually okay with, despite Malcolm repeatedly offering it up. The letter written by his father that Malcolm received posthumously with this news read, "It is your duty to see to the restoration of the house honor, and live up to all of your responsibilities."
Oh no. It was the trifecta.