Estrick Tiberiun Gennet, former Cyran battlemage, former Red Gauntlet battle mage/tactical advisor, current freelance information broker and spy.
Psuedodragon Familiar, two "pet" homonculi; one furtive filcher and one expeditious messenger. Relatively wealthy, but tends to put money into his gadgetry, and then stash the rest, about a third in banks and the other two thirds in holes hidden around the city, either in rundown properties or alleyways.
Run using GURPS; I figure he's not quite the typical inquisitive, more a multi-faceted information broker. He acts as an inquisitive most of the time, even has something of a reputation as one...but he's more interested in finding things out that aren't known than he is in finding lost trinkets or missing children. He buys and sells things that could influence the war, things that matter; schematics for a new warmachine? He'll be interested, might even know someone who could get their hands on it. Whether a nobleman is having an affair, and how much you could get in the way of a bribe from him to keep it secret? He's the guy to talk to.
He operates as much by misdirection as anything.
Here's a rough outline of his life, up to this point.
Born in 940 to a mother who never truly knew his father (she always told him he fought in the Cyran cavalry, one of the first to ride a clockwork steed into battle, but she never elaborated) Estrick Tiberiun Gennet (his mothers maiden name) had a tumultuous childhood. His mother, working in taverns and pubs as a serving wench, and sometimes prostitute, loved him dearly, but the lack of a father, lack of money, and constant moving around caused him to grow up with a temper, not helped by spending most of his youthful days in the bars and taverns his mother worked in.
By fifteen, though he had shown promise in what schooling he had managed to get, he got himself attached to a Cyran wand company, learning how to wield the relatively simple devices a full three years before the next youngest member. He participated in the combined attack of Breland, Aundair and Cyre on Thrane, and fought well; he was adopted as one of the Cyran battlemages apprentice the day after. He also developed a sort of respect for Breland and Aundair, cemented in his youthful take on the battle that day.
Over the next several years, he participated in raids against Valenar, the so called ancestral domain of the elves, and in defense of his nations borders. His queen, often spoken of as a suffering woman, was still his monarch, despite the disparaging comments of his master; stealing the mans spellbooks, Estrick moved on to join another company, this time of infantry, keeping his name a secret and his spellcasting private. Often, he would turn the tides of skirmishes with clever use of minor magic; somehow, though, he kept it secret.
In 961, his respect for Breland was made permanent as their new king, Boranel, married his countrywoman. However, his own trust and love for his queen was dashed, as Cyre continued to lose ground; therefore, with some hesitation, he once more moved to join the Red Gauntlet Regiment. By this point, he was a powerful man, strong of arm and will, and quickly moved up through the ranks as his magical prowess came to the fore. Not only that, but he excelled at espionage, utilizing magic and stealth to gain what knowledge the regiment needed to make decisions.
In 962, Cyre began using Warforged, something that Estrick never took to. He found the metallic creatures frightening, disturbing...despite serving along with many, and even befriending some, he never truly was comfortable around them.
He fought and learned over the next several years, taking arrows and swords as often as once a month. His healing, always sped by magic, nevertheless left ravages of the damage across his skin, leaving him scarred and pockmarked. In 968, mixed with the glorious news of a new prince, he recieved word that his mother had died. That, mingled with the eventual news of the newborn prince dying in infancy, worked him into a dark, dark period of depression and rage.
It didn't end until the next year, when, in a forced march through dark forests on the border of Karnnath, he stumbled upon a small nest of dragonlings, or psuedodragons. One, a small, dark red, immediately bonded with him, perhaps because they seemed to be starving. He did was he could for the three hatchlings that were still alive, but only the smallest lived; within the year, Estrick had it healthy and spritely, and bound it as his familiar.
In 969, Estrick was appalled to hear of Darguuns uprising, and went along with a small band of Red Gauntlets to join in the attack; however, they narrowly avoided disaster, as they were called back to the Regiment proper on advice from a few of the Gauntlets farseers.
From 971-973, Estrick fought alongside his Red Gauntlet allies as well as his homeland, as they aided in the long-term siege of Karrnath. It was on leave during this period he met his wife, Jenna, a lovely woman who lived in Metrol with her family. Their courtship was brief and passionate, and they were married before the years end. However, though his new wife was pregnant, Estrick was called back to the Regiment soon thereafter, seeing her and his newborn boy only sporadically for the next portion of his life.
Over the next decade, he fought, at some times with Red Gaunlet, at others with the Cyran armies, until finally in 981 he decided to settle down in Metrol, leaving his life of combat behind to join his wife and his now nine year old son. He quickly found himself bored with city life; however, in order to keep his wife and son happy, he never returned to actual combat. Instead, he began work as an inquisitive, selling information on the side, both to Cyran officials and whoever else had the coin. Most of it wasn't related to the fluctuating war; in fact, most of his gold came from inter-noble house intrigue, which is how he liked it.
He garnered a reputation in Metrol as a tough man, a good veteran who you didn't want on your bad side, and he settled in for a long, eventful life with his beloved wife and son.
EDIT: Forgive the picture, it's just a doodle on notebook paper I did and took a picture with my cell phone. I might get around to doing a better one a bit later.
Estrick limps along the busy streets of Metrol, his eyes flickering back and forth constantly in the steady stream of people. The sun beats down on his bare head, the deeply tanned skin wrinkling in response to his eyes constant motion, the scars mapping a network of pain and trial across his face that went back almost thirty years. Wrapped around his bullish neck clung his familiar, similarly scarred and dark, almost more black than red. The psuedodragon was old, nearly twelve years, and probably wouldn't live more than four or so more. If it lasted that long.
The burly man ducked out of the crowd, casually, glancing over his shoulder a time or two and quickly drawing a slim figure out of the inside of his coat, dropping it without looking into the alleyway and slipping back into the press, letting it carry him around the street, only to deposit him in front of an ornate mansion.
Shrugging his thick wyvern hide overcoat up on his shoulders, disturbing Perthanons seat, he adjusted his worn vest and brushed some of the dust off of his pants before tromping up the stairs to the door, wincing as he hauls himself up the iron handrails. Standing before the door, he counts down from ten before hammering on the wood with his scepter, the metal cap leaving dents.
Facing away, eyes still flitting from face to face, he seems almost startled when the door opens, revealing a sour faced butler in long robes. Smiling, or at least grimacing in as non-offensive manner as he was able, Estrick shoved his way inside.
"Excuse me, sir, but...can I help you in some way? Beldar, come here!" the fussy man shrieked, rushing around and flapping his hands in a panic. Moments later, Estrick caught the eyes of a large warforged trumping down the hallway, obviously some sort of guard for the estate. Not someone he would want to deal with, if he could avoid it.
"Yeah, you're Master Jenkins? The one who runs that bar, down near the Cannith place, right? Owns all them warehouses?" he asks, speaking quickly. He doesn't face the man, instead searching the interior of the house, bending to smell some finely cut flowers. Snapping off a blossom, he sniffs it, goes to tuck it into his vest, then thinks better of it and reaches up to give it to Perthanon. The psuedodragon sniffs disinterestedly, then snaps the blossom up, chewing without opening his eyes.
"No, of course not!" the flustered butler responds, "but this is his home that you're invading! What business do you have here? What do you want?" The man was definitely caught off guard. He wasn't used to this sort of treatment; Estrick almost felt bad for him for a minute.
"So, you're saying you don't know anything about the dissapearance of that young elven woman three nights ago? That you WEREN'T plying her with drugged wines and promises of ladyship, only to SMASH her skull in with a length of wood, oh...about this long?" He punctuates the sentence with jabs of the metal capped rod, a rough, uncut syberis shard nestled in the end. The delicate silk of the butlers robe ripped slightly at the forceful jabs, but the poor man was so taken aback at the turn of questioning he didn't even notice.
"Wha...what are you speaking about? Of course not! I wouldn't...I haven't even left the house in longer than that! I don't know of any young elven woman...what..." sputtered the clearly distraught man. He was elderly, and frail; he couldn't have lifted the stick that took the girls life even if he wanted to, and Estrick knew that. But he pushed forward anyway, backing the man into a corner.
"Who said she was young? I didn't say she was young, or an elf. Where'd you get that, huh? You sayin' you DID know a young elven woman, three nights ago, before you smashed her skull in so bad the clerics couldn't even figure out where to begin? YOU TELLIN' ME YOU CONFESS? Sickening old bastard..." he roared, smacking a huge hand into the wooden boards of the wall next to the mans skull.
Next thing he knew, his familiar was in flight, screeching unpleasantly as he felt himself go flying back. The warforged had grabbed him by the collar and deposited him several feet back, flat on his ass. Estrick wasn't a small man; he was close to fifty, six feet tall and about as broad, and the thing had tossed him as if he was a newborn kitten.
"Easy, easy!" he spat, tasting a hint of copper and holding his hands up in front of him. As the butler let out a shriek, and collapsed against the wall in hysterics, the huge metal warrior stomped over to him, leaning down and staring as only a metal-faced, glowing eyed construct could.
"What purpose do you have here?" it boomed out, hollow sounding, like most of the things. Estrick couldn't help but think of how many times he'd had to take a blade from these...these war-machines, and how many times they'd felt his spells in the many battles he'd been involved in over the years. They were mean, tough creatures, right enough; scrambling back, and biting his cheek to avoid grunting as he forced his leg to straighten, Estrick pulled down on his vest, brushing yet more dust off of his coat.
"Gods, bucket, you're one who'd protect a man who did something like that? I know you don't have a soul, but that's wrong. Or didn't they program that into your bucket head?" he spat, taunting the big warforged even as he kept his distance, working his way around to the door.
As the big guard lunged, he manged to twist the handle to the door, spilling out into the street and landing heavily at the bottom of the steps on his back. Perthanon swooped out moments later, flying off; loyalty only went so far. With a wry smirk at his familiars pragmatism, Estrick almost didn't notice the big warforged rushign down and picking him up, the adamantine fist smashing into his face. In a daze, he felt himself go flying again, landing heavily amongst booted feet and cries of alarm, his lip a bloody mess and his eyes watering so that he couldn't see.
Next thing he knew, he was being dragged off by the guards, a big man under each arm, depositing him in the back of a wagon. He'd likely get cleaned up, fined for public disturbance, and sent on his way in the morning.
But hopefully, he'd bought enough time for his furtive filcher to get in the back, find that ring, and get back out. He'd know in a few hours. Until then...it might be time to be unconscious. Yeah, some sleep might do him good...
"Jenna? Jenna, darlin', I'm home!"
Estrick stomped into the house, dropping his old, scarred wooden battle sceptre on the floor next to the door. Perthanon flapped over to the fire, landing with a thump and immediately beginning to purr; the fire was dying down, but the feel of the warmth on his scales prompted the equivalent of a telepathic sigh of relief.
Estrick, struggling to get his arms out of his overcoat, cursed under his breath, jumping a little bit to get his arm unstuck. A pouch, full of silver, landed on the floor, coins spilling everywhere, and the cursing intensified, though he still kept his voice down. His wife didn't approve of that kind of language.
Then, of course, the annoyance didn't matter. Jenna walked in from the short hallway, as always the epitome of beauty; each wrinkle on her face told a story, most of them happy, some of them less so. Her eyes, even after all these years, sparkled with that intent mischief she'd never quite grown out of. She smiled, softly, coming over to help him out of his coat, hanging it, as she always did, on the peg behind the door.
Placing his sceptre in the stand she had insisted he make for it, she turned, ready to scold him. "You know you're late, and there's no food left. I cooked up what was left of that redscale salmon, but I had to just throw it out, since you couldn't be bothered to be back by dinnertime. It isn't as if we eat at different times every night, you know...you could have sent Bernard to tell me where you were. After all...Goodness, what did you do to your face?"
She was a good woman, and an excellent wife. Putting aside the plate she had been filling with vegetable stew, still warming by the fire, she rushed to his side, tenderly prodding his swollen jaw. Concern mixed with amusement on her face, and she raised an eyebrow before drawing back, giving him that look he'd become so familiar with over the years.
"Had a rough time on the job, this afternoon," he explained meekly. If the men from the tavern could see him now, looking as forlorn as an infant before Jennas gaze...she just tapped her foot and remained silent, forcing him to fill in the empty room with words of explanation.
"See, I had to get Jepet in somehow, so I went in the front, right, and asked 'em about that murder what happened a few weeks ago? That pretty elven lass, down by the warehouses, near the Cannith house? Anyway, the butler and some bucket-headed guard were the only ones there, and...well, I mighta provoked it, but he just went off and rang my bell with that big hammer of a hand he had, and after that I got hauled off to the watchhouse to explain what I was doin', and...Saw Hennet there. Said to pass along his regards, tell you Martha is feeling much better after drinkin' that tea you suggested."
He trailed off for a moment, before leaping to his feet. "That's right! Jepet been in? Never did get back ahold of the little bugger, after the guard got me in the wagon...I weren't exactly seein' stars, but...couldn't really focus on it, at the time," he said, indicating his swollen, purple jaw, all the more obvious on his bald head. His lips were still split, even bleeding, but he was distracted; he had to know if his gambit had paid off.
Jenna just sighed, rolled her eyes, and nodded, finishing the plate and slamming it on the table before going back into the bedroom, returning with the little humanoid figure sitting happily in her arms. Estrick gave it a glare; he had always suspected Jepet enjoyed being held by his wife a little bit too much.
"You find anything?" he asked, watching the slender shadowling leap lightly down onto the table. Shoveling a big spoonful of the stew into his mouth, he grinned as the homonculus presented a scrap of paper, folded over twice and bearing the remnants of a wax seal, by the looks of it military.
"Good boy, that," he muttered, pressing the paper flat with one hand and eating with the other. The little furtive filcher seemed pleased, going back to Jenna and leaping into her pocket; she looked down at it fondly as Estrick stared at the scrap of paper. It wasn't exactly what he had been looking for, but it seemed promising enough; the charred edges indicated they'd been burning the missives as they got them, which was enough to implicate them in his book, and it was clearly part of a map. The lines might be battle plans, but...too hard to tell. He'd have to cast to know for sure.
Lifting the bowl with one hand, and the paper in the other, Estrick limped back into his workshop, his wife sighing in the background, though in good humor, humming as she dabbed at the table where he'd spilled some of the stew.
"You know, Roric stopped by this morning," she said as she cleaned, her voice sounding casual, though Estrick could tell it was forced.
"Did he?" he grunted, already muttering over the paper and reaching into a small box over his workbench, taking a pinch of the powder therein and sprinkling it over the parchment.
"Yes. Says he's doing well...apparently he's seeing that nice girl he met, at last years festival? You know, what's her name...Elizabeth, I think? They've been seeing each other fairly steadily since, he says. Might be the one, he says." She comes into the workroom, leaning on the door, her still shapely body barely visible beneath the thick flannel nightgown she always sleeps in, her arms tucked across her torso.
"More like the third," Estrick grumbled, holding the paper up to the light. "Hush, now," he said, waving his wife away and closing his eyes. Brief images flashed past, and he struggled to pick any one out of the crowd; he needed to know what this paper had been used for.
"I'm just saying, it would be nice to be a grandmother before I die, even in times such as these," Jenna said softly behind him, glancing out the window in the kitchen. From a good distance away, plumes of smoke drifted lightly into the air. Every now and again, a faint crash could be heard, though it was nothing close enough to do them harm. Battle raging was a common enough occurrence, though knowing his regiment was on the opposite side was a bit disconcerting. Still, they went where the money was; just because he'd fought for Cyre and the Red Gauntlets, didn't mean he got to complain when they took the jobs they were offered. He'd have done the same.
Frowning, Estrick dropped the parchment, cupping his head in his hands. "Jenna, I've done told you before, you might as well give up any hopes of grandchildren from that boy. I doubt he'd be willing to give you any, whatever he says about this girl. He's next to worthless as a son, and he isn't going to make up for that now, whatever happens." Standing, wincing a bit at the stiffness of his leg, he went to brush by Jenna once again, out into the kitchen.
She stopped him, her arms wrapping around his gently, and she lay her head down on his broad shoulder. He sighed, always blustery, even around her, but truth be told, he regretted what he'd said already. Not that it wasn't true; that son of his had fallen far from the tree, far indeed, but it hurt Jenna to hear such things. He'd always melted at the sight of her tiny form next to his; it brought every protective instinct he had rushing to the fore, made him almost want to take on the world, to pummel anything that might make this good woman weep to a pulp just to prevent it from ever reaching her.
"There, there," he said gruffly, patting her arm. "Who knows...maybe he's serious this time. I do know he's been spending a lot of time down at that tavern, that's the truth," he added, and it was. But he'd be damned if he told her about Frederick, Rorics 'companion'. He'd had words with the boy when he'd found that out, and things had been said that couldn't be unsaid. Might as well keep Jenna from having to deal with that, on top of everything else. War hurt her, more than most people. She was a sensitive soul.
"I'd just like to hold a baby again," she whispered into his shoulder, and as he kissed her on the top of the head, and enveloped her in his arms, he found himself muttering back, "So would I, darlin'. So would I."
And he found himself meaning it.
Estrick moved on down the slat walkway, his scepter used more as a cane than anything. He flipped his thick leather collar up, around his ears; sometimes, he hated being bald, especially when it got cold for no damn reason; it wasn't supposed to be this cold anymore.
"Damn half-ass apprentices are messing with the clouds again," he muttered to himself, giving a baleful glare off towards the city proper. He'd never had much respect for academics who didn't use what they knew to give their side an edge.
The sounds of merrymaking and laughter reached his good ear as he stumbled across a barely visible piece of rope, erupting into another bout of cursing as he reached into his overcoat for his flask. Taking a deep swallow, and shaking his head, he trumped on, the light from the tavern a bit too bright after his long walk along the darkened warehouse lanes.
Shoving his way inside, past a pair of drunken friends, arms around one anothers shoulders singing of the glories of combat, he scanned the crowd, almost missing the man he was looking to see in all the dancing. Seemed like every time the city got attacked, half its young people, who by rights oughta be out fighting, came to places like this to act lewd and get drunk.
Pushing his way into the press of dancers, it took a moment for the dance to turn towards him...and then he reached out and grabbed Rorics arm, pulling him along a few steps with him.
"I need to talk to you!" he shouted over the noise, jerks his head towards the door and walking on out. Roric, likewise, grabbed one of his friends and told them he was stepping out; Estrick waited for him, a few steps outside, taking another swig from his flask and lighting a large cigar.
Roric stopped a few feet from his father, his face flushed, his hair a mess. Briefly, they stared at one another, and then both began speaking at once.
Estrick won, by virtue of powering on without listening to his son. "Boy...your mother tells me you've been sayin' to her you're seeing that girl, from last years thing. Got her hopin' for grandchildren. Funny, though...didn't see her in there tonight."
Roric glared at his father, wiping a few strands of sweaty hair back from his eyes. "Look," he began, but Estrick cut him off.
"You didn't go into magecraft like I wanted for you, and that's fine. It's a difficult profession, especially for them not aspected towards it. You didn't finish your schooling when I paid to send you there, and we just accepted it. You were our son. But dallyin' with some...frippery obsessed would-be noblemans boy? Have you lost your Gods given mind, boy?"
Here, Roric grew angry enough to shout back. "Look, you old, arrogant bigot, I never cared for you to know! It was you that followed me back home, if you'll remember, and you that smashed in my door and beat one of my friends half to death! Don't even act like you've got the moral high ground here, father." He spat that last word, as if it was a curse. Estrick seemed ready to gear up for another tirade, but Roric just shook his head.
"Look. I love you, and I love mother, but you don't want anything to do with me, fine. My life isn't yours, and it's time you got that through your head. I'm just sick of fighting with you."
Estrick just scowled, watching his son for a few moments as he made his way back into the tavern, back amongst his friends. "Not a one of 'em worth a damn," he muttered, turning and stomping back off, down the boardwalk.
By the time he reached the warehouses, he'd emptied the flask, and there was enough in it to make him feel a bit light headed. But taking another drag on the cigar helped clear his head, enough, and he went back to his business.
Moving down the line, he checked each buildings mark; he was looking for one in particular, the one owned by Dragget Jenkins, the man whose home he had visited earlier that day. In just that short walk, the temperature seemed to have leapt by fifteen degrees; it was still chilly, but he was sweating in his clothing, giving another irritated glance towards the academy.
"There you are," he finally whispered to himself, moving up to one building in particular. Looking around, he released a tiny pulse of energy into the lock that held the large, wagon sized door shut. As it clattered open, he glanced around again, before lifting the heavy wooden dock and ducking under it.
Inside, he breathed for a moment, taking in the smell of brine, blood, and meat, before flicking the stone at the end of his club; after a moment, it burst into a cool, white light, and as he held the makeshift torch up, he let out a low whistle.
The warehouse was stacked with hundreds upon hundreds of barrels. Wall to wall, up to the ceiling, they were placed in neat rows, a small table nearby with ledgers stacked in equally neat piles. He was beginning to think maybe he should have brought Perthanon along after all; the lazy thing had been sound asleep when he left, but he could have woken him up.
Moving to the table, he begins to flip through the books...and then stands, stock still, reaching for more. For the better part of an hour, he goes through the ledgers, finally slipping two or three of them into the empty pack he always wore underneath his jacket and turning towards the barrels.
He moved with some hesitation, the pain in his leg flaring up with each step. The nearest barrel wasn't far away; gritting his teeth, he walked up to it, getting a feel for its weight, and finally shoving it over with a roar.
The barrel burst, and amongst the brine and the bits of pork fell out a gray body, landing with a splash more than a thump.
Estrick didn't wait. Spitting out a word and bringing his club to bear, he smashed the life out of...well, the unlife, out of the zombie, crushing its skull before turning to the stockpile and throwing flame, balls of it, streams of it, making sure the building and the barrels caught.
As he walked back home, quickly, passing through a different part of town, he thought about the ledgers in his pack. Glancing up, he pondered for a moment whether Cyre was fated to fight forever...even the stars looked wrong, tonight. Sighing, he shrugged his coat up against the once again bitter cold, and a strong wind, and left his worries behind him. In the morning, he'd have something to show his Majesties chief inspector, and he would be well rewarded for the effort, as well as starting the fire which, although it may consume much needed supplies, ended a threat before it ever came to being.