[ ⚔ ]House
S E R C R I S T O N C O L Et h e k i n g m a k e r
House Cole of the Stormlands[ ⚔ ]Reputation
[ ⚔ ]Appearance
- Born in 82AC.
- Known as the 'Kingmaker' after recently crowing King Aegon II, persuading him to take the crown for himself.
- Famous for his skill with a morning star. First gained his reputation as an exceptional fighter after defeating Prince Daemon Targaryen at the Maidenpool Tourney, in 104AC.
- Appointed to the Kingsguard at the age of 23 in 105AC. He would become the Lord Commander some years later in 112AC.
- Defeated Ser Harwin 'Breakbones' Strong, said by many to be the strongest man in Westeros, in a melee.
- Tutored Prince Aemond Targaryen, teaching him to become a skilled swordsman.
- Rumored to have once been in love with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.
- Hedonistic. Regularly breaks his vow of celibacy without fear of repercussions.
- Viewed by many as cocky, confident and arrogant. Has an ugly temper. Vulgar.
Standing at slightly above six foot, and with a brawny, muscular build, Criston cuts an intimidating figure. His hair is a deep brown, near black, and sits ruggedly atop his head, contributing to his rather unkempt and rogue-ish style. Popular with the common folk, and particularly the fighting men, he has attributed this popularity to his appearance, commenting that the common folk appreciate some 'grit and dirt' in their betters.[ ⚔ ]Personality
When angered, as he often can be, his cheeks turn a flush red. His dark eyes seemingly have the ability to look straight through those around him, and it is a lucky thing looks cannot kill, for his almost assuredly would.
He occasionally sports a thick beard.
A fan of drinking, fucking and killing, Ser Criston Cole enjoys what he calls the 'simple pleasures' of life. With the lack of a major war, Cole has made do with the frequent participation in tourneys and melees, events in which he has found great success. His defeats of Prince Daemon Targaryen and Ser Harwin Strong, who was often called the strongest man in the realm, are some of his favourite memories. Ser Criston has a particularly intense hatred towards the two men, despite Ser Harwin having since burned alive, for their respective involvements with the princess, Rhaenyra Targaryen.[ ⚔ ]History
Popular with the ladies of the court, Ser Cole is viewed by them to be a charming, knightly figure. What is common with such ladies, however, is that they have rarely spent much time with the Lord Commander beyond a passing glance or fleeting hello. In truth, the man is not what one would expect from a Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. A man of pleasure, he pursues his desires without shame or fear of the consequences, and is regular client of the upper-class brothels among Kings Landing. The lower establishments have come to expect Cole every now and then, too, though usually when he is in his own words, ‘bored of the stale and sterile brothels’.
There was, however, a time when Cole ‘calmed’ in his pursuits and acted a more considerate man. Having been the sworn shield to Rhaenyra Targaryen since she was seven years old, the two had become close, though their relationship was not to last. After the return of Prince Daemon Targaryen, Ser Cole was forced to endure the torment of watching the uncle of the princess praise her beauty and win her affections through exotic gifts. It was not long until rumours of an affair between the two were whispered among the courtiers of King’s Landing, a tale that enraged Criston. Pushing for the execution of Prince Daemon, along with Lyonel Strong, King Viserys ultimately decided to exile his brother, who would return to Bloodstone. The relationship between Criston and Rhaenyra broke down entirely after these rumours, with Cole feeling spurned and betrayed, though he had never openly confessed his love for the princess. When Rhaenyra herself was wed to Laenor Velaryon, a man who Cole often mocked as a threat to all boys for his sexuality, the Lord Commander attended their wedding tourney. In it, he cracked the helm of the ‘Knight of Kisses’, the rumoured lover of Laenor, with his morning star and condemned him to a painful death that would be drawn out over six days. His rage did not end there, however, with Cole also solidly defeating Ser Harwin Strong, the new ‘sworn shield’ of the Princess Rhaenyra in the tourney.
Cole has continued to hold a strong grudge against Rhaenyra since these events and has returned to King's Landing his old self, acting as he did before the positive influence Rhaenyra had on him.
Born into a house of minor nobility in the Stormlands, House Cole, the young Criston was instead raised at the seat of House Dondarrion, the house to which House Cole held fealty. His father, Tymon Cole, was the steward of Blackhaven and had managed to secure his upbringing there, as opposed to in their own, small holdings. Criston was not to be raised alongside the heirs to Blackhaven however, and instead was tutored with the sons of other notable servants to House Dondarrion. It was this association with the common folk at an early age that moulded Criston’s attitude towards them, and indeed, many would comment that he still has more in common with the peasantry than the nobility despite his swift rise in status.
Being raised at Blackhaven, Criston was lucky enough to secure regular tutorage from the Master-at-Arms, Ser Alester, when they were not educating the Dondarrion heirs. Alester was, however, more proficient with a morning star with a sword, and at the insistence of Criston, began to tutor him in the proper use of a morning star. With little else to pass the time, and a natural talent for the art, Criston developed his skills in melee and brawling with the other children. Several years after the tutorage began, Ser Alester took on Cole as his squire on his sixth nameday, the Dondarrion heirs now having come of age and been anointed as knights. Not long after he was named a squire, Ser Alester began teaching Cole with a morning star, his own weapon of choice, and was surprised by the proficiency of the boy with the weapon.
Continuing to focus his efforts on his martial ability, Cole was knighted at the tender age of sixteen. Now free to pursue his own glory, Ser Criston participated in several local tourneys through the Stormlands, defeating veteran opponents and making a respectable name for himself. With each victory, his confidence grew, and with each loss, he learned. He continued to train wherever possible outside of the tourneys themselves, still preferring to fight with the morning star, but developing considerable skill with a blade. Proving victorious in many of these tourneys across the Stormlands, Cole discovered the true prize for his success; the attention of women. Boasting to have fucked and fought his way across the Stormlands, he was never especially popular with the nobility and his fellow knights, who often said they disapproved of his ‘lesser’ behaviour.
It was not until the crowning of King Viserys I, and his tourney at Maidenpool in 104AC, that Ser Criston would gain the attention of the nobility across Westeros. Now twenty-two years of age, Cole had become an expert in combat, though had yet to properly demonstrate his skill outside of the Stormlands and he remained a relative unknown throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Entering the melee without much expectation from the onlookers, the prince Daemon Targaryen being the uncontested favourite, Cole confidently won each opponent he came up against. Soon, he found himself in the final round of the melee, against Daemon Targaryen wielding Black Sister, an intimidating valyrian steel longsword of legend. The two combatants tested the skill of one another, with Criston moving quickly with his morning star to avoid the heavy strikes of Daemon and his longsword. Deciding not to strike at the prince himself, who maintained a strong defence, Cole instead went after the longsword. Knocking Dark Sister from the hands of Prince Daemon, Ser Criston Cole emerged the victor and gained immediate fame. Handing his laurel of victory to the seven year-old princess, Rhaenyra Targaryen, Cole immediately won her favour along with the other ladies of the court, who swooned over the ‘charming knight’ who bested Daemon Targaryen. In the jousts, too, Cole proved triumphant over Daemon, this time with the favour of the young princess, as well as the Cargyll twins. Eventually, however, he would be unhorsed by Lymond Mallister. Cole jokes that he had indulged in too much celebratory wine the night before the joust with Lord Mallister, leading to his victory.
Thereafter named as the personal sworn shield to the princess, Ser Cole had felt a true knight. In this period, he relaxed his hedonistic desires, wary of bringing shame to the young Targaryen. The following year in 105AC with the passing of the famed Ryam Redwyne, Criston Cole was appointed to the Kingsguard, taking now vacant place. He continued as the personal sworn shield and champion to Rhaenyra Targaryen, and was eventually named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard in 112AC at the age of 30. Rumours that the wild Ser Cole had been ‘tamed’ by the princess were persistent throughout the court of King’s Landing with whispers that the Lord Commander was in love with Rhaenyra Targaryen, and that she may have returned his affections.
It was in the following months that the relationship between the two began to rapidly deteriorate. With the return of Cole’s old rival at the tourney, Prince Daemon, who was undoubtedly enamored with Rhaenyra, the rumours instead shifted to a romance between the uncle and his niece. The sworn shield to Rhaenyra, Cole was forced to be present during Daemon’s endless compliments and giving of gifts to the beautiful princess, desperate for her affections. It was Rhaenyra’s accepting of these affections that initially angered Cole and played on his mind. Ultimately, these affections culminated in the wide acceptance around King’s Landing that Daemon had laid with his niece. Sending Cole into a deep rage, he petitioned King Viserys to execute his brother, and found support from the Hand of the King, Lyonel Strong. The king, however, resolved to instead exile his brother, who made for Bloodstone.
The anger that Cole felt for Prince Daemon soon transferred to the very Targaryen he was sworn to, Rhaenyra. It was written that in the immediate period that followed the exile of Daemon Targaryen, Ser Criston went from being her ‘staunchest defender to her bitterest foe’.
Soon, the princess found a new sworn shield, Ser Harwin ‘Breakbones’ Strong. Cole felt a similar resentment towards this knight, who in Cole’s mind, was a living insult toward him. Leaving King's Landing for Driftmark, Rhaenyra took her newest sworn shield, and some said lover, with her. Cole returned to his old ways not long after the princess had left, and was unashamed to bed the whores of King’s Landing. His temper after this incident is also said to have grown significantly worse.
Hearing of the tourney for the wedding of Rhaenyra to Laenor Velaryon, Cole jumped at the opportunity to attend. Now fighting with the token of Queen Alicent Hightower, a foe to Rhaenyra Targaryen, Cole soon came up against Ser Harwin Strong in the melee. Cole took great pleasure in breaking the bones of Ser ‘Breakbones’, who was often said to be the strongest man in the seven kingdoms, and later referred to him only as Ser Brokenbones. In another round of the melee, the Lord Commander came up against Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, who was widely rumoured to be the lover of Laenor Velaryon. Promising to give the ‘Knight of Kisses’ a kiss from his morning star, Ser Criston cracked the helm of his opponent and smashed his skull, fatally wounding him. Falling unconscious to never awake, he died six days later, and Cole felt some release for his rage against Rhaenyra. It was said that Laenor Velaryon never left the side of his lover, and wept greatly for his passing.
Upon the death of King Viserys, the Lord Commander urged Prince Aegon to take the crown for himself whilst his elder sister was in Dragonstone. Whatever his motives for this, likely personal as opposed to any noble ideals, the majority of the small council similarly encouraged Aegon to take the crown. The Targaryen prince refused to hear their arguments, no matter how compelling, and it was not until Ser Criston told Aegon of the likelihood that Princess Rhaenyra would have them all put to death that he accepted the crown. When the decision was made, and put before the small council, only the master of coin Lyman Beesbury opposed the idea. Cole cut his throat at the very same meeting.
Crowning King Aegon II with the crown of Aegon the Conqueror, so began the Dance of Dragons.