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Nathaniel turned his gaze to watch his squad beginning to form together, gathered around the prince. He couldn't help but notice how unique the squad composition seemed. He had dueled many in the sword schools, but they all seemed oddly similar. Most of the boys were of a similar height and build. They shared the same unremarkable hair styles and facial shapes. He had even been to some small social gatherings among the elite, and clocked the trending hair styles and outfits. But here, in this squad... it was different. To be expected, given the seeming status of the squad. Someone up the chain had placed them all here for a reason, and Nathaniel had a sneaking suspicion of who.

Nathaniel readjusted the simple bag on his shoulders. He knew a uniform was to be provided, and so had only brought the most necessary of clothes with him. The only other thing that filled the bag were simple bound journals and ink: the necessary materials needed to begin logging the strengths and weaknesses of himself and the rest of the squadron. Nathaniel already had ideas on what to list down, but figured the opening exercises as cadets might prove a better benchmark of ability. His work as the squad's tactician could wait another day. He had today to get settled, and eventually fetch his special training sword from one of the local smiths. It had been a special commission placed by his father. They assured him that it would be ready.

As the squad lined up in the barracks and received their room assignments, Nathaniel took his key and moved silently upstairs to the squadron's common room. He paced about the room, counting out steps and measurements slowly in his head throughout. It was a comforting exercise to know how big the room was, and to mark the entrances and exits. It always helped to know how many steps were needed to make a quick exit, in the event... no, it was safe here. The clear enchantment on one of the rooms indicated an exercise of caution. Dot and Liese's room, and not the Prince... a curious choice: one that Nathaniel would have to analyze another time.

When he felt satisfied, Nathaniel finally entered his room: the last on the list. The room was more spartan than he was used to, but that was far from a complaint. Luxury would only make men soft. He stood in the doorway as he watched his roommate, Julian, walk to the window and stare out. In the moment, most would have to acknowledge the beautiful way the light caught Julian's hair. But Nathaniel only saw a spotlight on a coward, a thief of honor. He strode into the room, sliding open the lower sleeping compartment to get a good view of where he was to rest. Without even looking in Julian's direction, Nathaniel's words were monotone. "I've sparred with a lot of people, Baker. Never once have I sparred with someone like you."

Nathaniel moved to the back of the room, removing his clothes from his bag and stuffing them into a cupboard, before stuffing his journals and ink into another with a swift intent. After that moment of pause, Nathaniel turned back towards Julian. His mouth was turned into a frown, his eyes narrowed in on the boy. "I do not see any other means of recourse. I formally request a rematch, Julian Baker, to be held at our earliest convenience. A fair duel, between men. You stripped me of honor and dignity in our opening spar. As cadets, and future knights, I hope you have at least one honorable bone in your body to grant me a chance to win it back."


Nathaniel's smile solidified, but he felt his eyes unable to meet Rossweine's. He had managed to catch the prince's words to the others: glowing praise and biting critique all mashed into flowery language. He couldn't help but be impressed. Nathaniel noticed the slight criticisms of his allies, and his words hit their marks. Rossweine was far from the last to have been keeping a clever eye on what was going on. Nathaniel had categorized his mental notes of the various performances, and Rossweine's comments helped to solidify the memories of their duels. Nathaniel hadn't paid much mind to Zenshin Ferros, for he seemed so green to the idea of fighting with a sword he might as well have been the grass in a Grayle field. What Nathaniel had marked was the disrespect of Edwin Giraud, another pompous noble with a disdain for the common folk who ultimately supported his family's station. Zenshin would be ready to face down the Giraud boy come the next tournament, Nathaniel would make sure of that.

The prince's words rung true, and a small glimpse of recognition shot over Nathaniel's face for a moment. The prince was particularly good at reading people's emotions... or perhaps Nathaniel broadcasted his own emotions too freely. His eyes quickly darted to the blonde standing next to the mountainous man. Julian Baker seemed so much more... small, now. Perhaps it was the lack of sand obscuring his vision. Regardless, Rossweine was right: a lesson was taught. The enemies of Grayle were treacherous cowards, and it would be unreasonable to be prepared only to fight the most honorable of opponents. It's a lesson Nathaniel wouldn't have to learn twice. Yet despite the Prince's wishes, Nathaniel couldn't help but feel a simmering rage deep down. To be taught such a public lesson, given such a public humiliation... it is a wound of honor that could not be healed by a few wise words. Nathaniel would still need to issue a challenge against the Baker boy. That much was certain.

To the Prince's request, Nathaniel gave a nod. "Of course, Y-er... Captain." The title didn't quite feel right in his mouth yet, but Nathaniel would honor his squad captain's request. "I will speak to them."

As Nathaniel went to peel off towards two of the last remaining members of the 13th squadron, he was stopped by an excited greeting. He smiled at the introduction and recognized the timid nature of the greeting, but couldn't help but be surprised by the eloquent words. Nathaniel's soft smile grew wider as he gave a short bow to Kaiser Underwall, one far less formal than the one he had given the prince. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Kaiser Underwall. Your adoptive father is spoken of quite highly across the kingdom, and I imagine many will speak highly of you as well." Nathaniel's eyes scanned over the boy's features. Getting a closer look, Kaiser seemed to be every bit as strong and lean as was anticipated. The stranger had a physical advantage, certainly, but not an advantage in height. Nathaniel also noticed the locked legs and hints of blush in the boy’s cheeks. Kaiser Underwall was nervous.

Nathaniel gave a nod of his head in the direction of the prince and the others. "You should introduce yourself to our squad captain, and join us in heading to the barracks. I imagine they’ll be excited to meet you.” He gave a soft smile and placed a hand on the fellow cadet’s shoulder, giving a reassuring squeeze. Kaiser was a bit strange, but he wasn’t bad. With a bit of discipline, he would make a fine knight.

Nathaniel quickly parted from Kai, making his way swiftly towards the last remaining members of the 13th squadron. He quickened his pace, as to avoid keeping the prince waiting. His steps were loud, and his movement swift enough to be easily noticed. As he approached, Nathaniel called out his greeting. “Good morrow, gentlemen!” He lowered his tone to an appropriate volume once a few paces away, placing his hands behind his back and giving a short bow to the two. “I am Nathaniel of House Lothwren, second seat of our squadron.” He paused for a moment, his tongue pressed firmly to the roof of his mouth. They certainly already knew who he was, in hindsight. These second introductions seemed a bit redundant. Nathaniel’s smile remained unwavering as he brushed the thought aside and quickly continued. “Dot Auferrum and Liese Brendorn, it will be an honor to train alongside you both. I would like to extend an offer of invitation on behalf of our squad captain, Prince Rossweine Lupus Grayle, to join the rest of the squadron in our procession to the barracks. It seems we will be leaving momentarily.”

The murmuring died down as four well-dressed knights took the stage. The time had finally come. Nathaniel straightened his back and puffed up his chest, his eyes locked on the herald at the podium. He knew well what to expect, but he couldn't help but perk up at the formalities. The speeches and announcements were something Nathaniel had looked forward to for some time. But as individuals were called from among the houses, Nathaniel turned his gaze towards the few names he did recognize. Accomplished nobles and some of the more standout performances in the spars were getting swallowed up in the Southern, Western, and Northern houses. His eyes gravitated up towards the single Knight-Commander left, leader of the Eastern House, and Nathaniel's eyes narrowed. The majority of those left were unremarkable at best. Of course, there were the few left that Nathaniel had heard spoken about through the grapevine. He noticed the intense blond Marquis child still present. Nathaniel was surprised. His money was one of the other houses would have snatched the child up quickly. Clearly Tervellan had plans for Liese within his own ranks.

As Nathaniel looked out over those who were left, his eyes settled on another child perched on a fencepost. The blue hair made him stand out like a sore thumb, but Nathaniel would recognize that figure anywhere. He had heard the rumors of what the kid was, and the Lothwren boy was able to piece one thing together: they were going to be put in the same squad. There was no way they weren't going to pit the two "once in a generation" aura users against each other, probably for everyone else's safety. The smile that had been stifled grew slightly as Nathaniel eyed up the kid. From what he had seen in the spar, Kaiser had demonstrated an impressive physical prowess. But he seemed... unpredictable, perhaps even wild. Understanding his fighting style was going to take time, but it would be a fun puzzle to solve nonetheless. Of course, this led to Nathaniel’s second realization: Tervellan had clearly made a deal to secure two aura users in his ranks. If he had gone through the effort to squander most of his other choices, he was clearly hedging his bets on the two of them. And as much as Nathaniel tried to squash down the feelings of pride he felt, he also couldn’t help but agree that it was a good call. Nathaniel was going to do anything he could to make his family proud.

Finally, it came to the Thirteenth Squadron. Nathaniel gave a curt nod as he was announced as the second seat of his squadron. With Kaiser placed third, it was clear that priority was given to a prince and the two aura users left standing among the cadet hopefuls in terms of their seat rankings. He would prefer to be leading a squadron of his own... but serving under a prince? That was an honor that few got to experience. He quickly made his way forward to join the others, pleased by his position. Nothing could diminish the joy Nathaniel felt at being recognized, despite his failures in the spar. Nothing could possibly-

"Julian Baker."

Nathaniel's eyes glazed over for a moment as his body remained completely stiff and tense. The Baker boy, a peasant who had so callously tossed aside all manner of decorum and civility... was a cadet. Not only that, but Julian Baker was now a cadet under his care... under his charge! Nathaniel's focus returned as the Knight-Commander of the Eastern House stepped forward to deliver his speech. He hung on the words of the upstart knight. They were calculated, well-reasoned, and brief. A speech worthy of his station. Nathaniel only wished he could be so punctual. But as they were dismissed, Nathaniel's gaze turned back towards the Baker boy for a moment. He couldn't reasonably challenge Julian to a duel this very moment: Nathaniel had more important matters to attend to.

Nathaniel quickly moved towards Rossweine, moving swiftly and decisively towards his squadron leader. "Pardon me, your highness." Once attention had been afforded his way, Nathaniel snapped both of his legs together and clutched his right hand in a fist over his heart as he went for a deep bow at the waist. As he returned to standing upright, he continued in a stiff tone. "I am Nathaniel, First son of House Lothwren. I am looking forward to serving you and the rest of the squadron in whatever way you see fit." Nathaniel paused for only a moment, before he felt anxiety clasping at his throat. A smile remained plastered on his face, but the sudden shame of the sparring match weighed down on him like a blanket of lead. Nathaniel turned his gaze away from the prince, motioning vaguely in the direction of the barracks as he recomposed himself. Nathaniel brushed off the awkwardness of his initial greeting, with his tone matching his usual happy demeanor. ”It might be best to make our way to the barracks swiftly, if you like, in order to welcome the rest of our squadron and make ourselves known.”


"Oi, that's the kid. Good in school... shame about that spar..."

"Wish I was the one to knock him on his arse."

"There's no way they'll let him in, even if he is a noble..."

Nathaniel didn't need training or a magic spell to tell that half the boys standing around him were stealing sideways glances at him. He could feel eyes wash over him, for any number of reasons. The nobles always liked gossip, and the purple-eyed outsider had given them plenty to work with. He had no friends among the upper class, and a single spar had managed to wipe any respect he might have had from the attendants of the various sword schools. Some of them looked on with pity. They could have been in the same boat. But others... they reveled in watching a high-born brat get knocked down a few pegs. But Nathaniel kept a faint smile on his lips while staring in the direction of the stage. As more and more trickled into the courtyard, the whispers grew more intense. And Nathaniel listened to every word he could catch.

Nathaniel's eyes wandered, in desperate need for distraction. It was hard to see anyone of note from near the front of the pack. His fellow nobles were rather unremarkable. Their forms were lacking, and maneuvers designed to deliver a killing blow as quickly as possible so they wouldn't have to think or react. Of course, some had enough training and motivation to potentially make the cut. Or, more accurately... some were just born special. Nathaniel's father had told the boy to keep an eye on the Brendorn child. The blonde-haired prodigy was well-skilled, from what he saw so far. However, Nathaniel couldn't help but let his smile falter as his eyes met their piercing gaze. He recognized that determination, but couldn't help but notice the hostility that was mixed in. A dangerous combination, for sure. But an even greater opportunity for competition, surely.

His eyes drifted towards those at the back of the gathering, on the fringe. He couldn’t make out any but the tallest. The tallest, it seemed, was a rather large man near the back. He seemed to be talking to someone he couldn’t quite make out. He vaguely recalled the figure only because of his size and competence in his sparring match. With some attention to form and technique, and a lot of power and weight behind swings, the imposing figure would make a fine combatant. Nathaniel’s eyes then narrowed in on another figure sitting up on a fencepost. His eyes narrowed as he recalled the figure and the rumors that had already begun swirling around them. An Alexandrian by the name of Dotl. Ambidextrous, quick, and graceful: Nathaniel couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. They didn’t quite stick the maneuver, and Nathaniel immediately recognized the painful misstep Dot made before the kick even landed. Situational awareness was a difficult skill to master. Nathaniel should know, of all people.

He focused his eyes back on the empty stage, lost in the memories of his introductory spar. He didn’t feel nervous, by any stretch of the imagination. He saw some of the knights in the crowd leaning in to pay attention. Perhaps they knew who his father was, or perhaps his own reputation preceded him. Either way, Nathaniel knew he had an opportunity to show what he was capable of. He had the opportunity to tear apart his competitor’s technique, and show that he knew what he was doing. After all, the poor kid he was facing could barely hold the sword in any proper manner. The grip was too loose, the stance too rigid. If he didn’t know any better, Nathaniel’s best guess was the poor kid hadn’t properly held a sword before that day. It was his moment to shine.

But… he didn’t shine or prove himself. Nathaniel got into a defensive stance, raising his weapon and widening his stance to allow for a quick sidestep and parry. The next second was a blur, primarily because he found himself unable to see. His eyes stung with an intense pain the boy hadn’t known before. This was immediately followed by a quick strike on the head, followed by loud footsteps before the adversary had tackled him to the ground. Nathaniel lost the grip on his sword in the sudden onslaught, and was still rubbing what turned out to be sand from his eyes when it was announced that he had lost. Nathaniel Lothwren had been bested by a commoner. And while any defeat always stung, what still boiled his blood at this assembly was the lack of respect. The tactics were beyond underhanded… they were barbaric. What kind of knight throws sand in their opponent’s face? What kind of knight throws their sword at an enemy so they are left defenseless? What kind of monster fights like that? Well, Nathaniel knew. The blonde-haired baker boy had dishonored Nathaniel and his family, and he wasn’t going to stand for it. Through gritted teeth hidden by a false smile, he whispered their name under his breath.

”Julian Baker…”
<Snipped quote by webboysurf>

...It is at this point that I should probably mention that I did just roll randomly to see what pairs we'd end up with if we go with that route, and it turns out Nathaniel is stuck with Julian, so he's gonna have a rollercoaster of emotions if we go with that.

Oh that is absolutely hilarious. I love it.
But for everybody else, how do you want to go about deciding? I could randomly roll to see who gets assigned to room with who, or I could pick pairs based on who wants to be stuck together. Ultimately, depends on what everybody wants to do.

Honestly, from my perspective, I don't think there's any bad choices for rooming up at this point. Very excited to get this started.


Physical Description
Nathaniel Lothwren isn’t much to look at from a first glance. He is a bit tall for his age, and has a lean-muscular build. He keeps his hair short, to avoid it from becoming a nuisance in battle or a potential weakness. His features are a bit sharp in the right light, though a nearly ever-present soft smile helps to smooth away the edges. The most notable feature is noticed when Nathaniel looks in someone’s direction: his irises have a purple hue. It’s subtle enough to be mistaken as blue, but is markedly distinct when viewed in better lighting. Beyond just the color of his eyes, there is an intense focus placed on anything Nate looks at that is remarkably clear on closer examination.

As for his clothes, all of Nathaniel’s limited wardrobe is remarkably well crafted. He is almost always seen wearing fair riding clothes, fine pants, and a blue tunic of fine quality. He sinches his outfit together with belts and straps to ensure everything stays firm, especially before going into combat. His ensemble, once viewed when he is in the height of combat, is also purely utilitarian. His gloves reduce wear on his hands, with bracers designed to hold the gloves in place. Belts and straps keep the tunic loose around joints and his hips without any fear of the clothing sliding or restricting in such a way as to limit mobility. And, of course, Nathaniel is often not seen without his trusty “Sword and a half” Bastard Sword either strapped to his back or held in hand whenever training or duels are at hand. The scabbard for the blade is old and worn leather, whereas the sword itself seems to be in remarkably pristine condition.

Character Conceptualization
Nathaniel Lothwren's birth was deemed important by the falling of three stars in the Southwestern sky, piercing through the sword of Chironis... at least, that's what some sage told his mother. The last time stars fell in this pattern was years and years ago, when one of his forefathers was born: a forefather who was a founding knight serving alongside Arbert Grayle. Back when heroes walked the realm. The meaning of this sign was clear: Nathaniel was born with the rare gift of being able to project a magical aura. Nathaniel's father, whom the boy refuses to name, took this as a sign that his son was meant to surpass him. And thus, the boy's future was set.

As soon as Nathaniel could walk, he was taught to run. As soon as he was able to comprehend language, he was told his destiny by his father: to become a knight to rival the heroes of old. As soon as the boy could stand on his own two feet and hold a sword, he underwent formal drills. He was given access to some of the greatest sword instructors in all of Grandor, and some from outside Grayle proper. Mages also did their best to instruct the boy, and teach him to control his aura. Beyond even just that, they taught him the nature of combative magic. While not versed in incantations for his personal use, Nathaniel has been taught on instinct what spells to expect to be used against him. When time allowed, Nathaniel's father would draw up mock battles in the study and teach the boy military history. The boy would absorb his father's musings on tactical failures of the past, and over time the boy began to be able to notice strategic flaws all his own. His two younger brothers were not given the same focus, the same singular attention that Nathaniel was. They were only a year and a half and three years younger than himself. They were not neglected, not by any means. They were instead taught alternative lessons: instructed on how to be proper young men, educated and able to command principles of academics and business. They were molded for court, and to be proper nobles. Nathaniel was made for the battlefield.

By the time the boy was 10, even Nathaniel's father recognized a need for socialization. He had drilled the boy in principles of honor, of always fighting fair even in the face of cunning and ruthlessness. But the boy needed to put it into practice. So, the boy was sent off to various sword schools, for a few months at a time. He displayed a great prowess for wielding a blade, and had grown to favor wielding a specific type of broadsword: a bastard sword. Nathaniel had learned proficiency in switching the hand he wielded the sword with. He would quickly work his way to the top of the class, and was met with jealousy by the other students. He was bullied and harrassed, and yet Nathaniel's resolve was strong. He would accept whatever scorn was cast his way, and never rose to true anger. That was reserved for those who fought dishonorably and outside of the rules. Those who lacked skill and prowess, and resorted to cheap shots and dirty tricks. They were nothing but cowards, mere rats clawing desperately for survival. Nathaniel reserved his ire for these students, and would systematically tarnish their spirits in sparring matches.

That is not to say Nathaniel did not make friends at these schools. The boy with purple eyes earned respect by those who were less skilled and in desperate desire to learn. While it was breaking the rules, Nathaniel would sneak out of the rooms at night many a time with those who desired to squeeze in extra practice by moonlight. Nathaniel would give pointers and suggestions, even in the midst of sparring, with those who were not as skilled as Nathaniel. And by the time Nathaniel left each sword school, his genuine care for those around him was the most notable absence.

Of course, it seems that Nathaniel would be a shoe in for placing as a respectable knight. He passed the preliminary trials offered to noble families, and was slated to duel a mere Baker's boy. Nathaniel took it as a chance to show off his skills against an unknown opponent. Despite all of the training he had, Nathaniel was not expecting one thing: pocket sand. A cheap trick blinded him, and Nathaniel was on his back pinned down and disarmed as he was coughing and furiously trying to blink out the rough sand. In his first truly public duel and display, Nathaniel Lothwren was dishonored and made a laughing stock. While he tries to be all smiles, there is a deep well of ambition and desire to challenge that opponent to a proper duel.

One of these days, Nathaniel will get his rematch with Julian Baker. And when that time comes, he is not going to hold back.

Other Information
  • There is gossip and mystery surrounding Nathaniel Lothwren by those who come from more well established noble families. The rumor is there is no Lothwren child by the name of Nathaniel, and that the boy is disguising his familial ties.
  • Another rumor hints that despite Nathaniel’s poor performance during the open spar, notable knights have still taken an interest in the boy’s career as a cadet.

Well, for all the chatter in the OOC, we're only at 7 or so submitted character sheets, which is still within Fey's tolerance. Though once we surpass that range, I'm sure the cull will begin.

I think there are a few people who expressed interest still who haven't posted anything. Might be a small influx once the weekend rolls around and people have a little more time to get a CS wrapped up?

Regardless, it's a good crowd of characters so far.
I think Nathaniel's an excellent addition! As far as any critiques go, the only thing I'd personally suggest is maybe adding a flaw or two, or pointing out the negative aspects of his established traits. You did that with his "honorable to a fault" trait, but aside from that and maybe the implication that he holds grudges (which is still pretty tame since there's no malice in it) most of his backstory is about all the positive skills and abilities that were taught to him, and there's not much mention of the things he can't do or isn't much good at. There's an element of bittersweet in the parts about him being "meant" for the battlefield as opposed to his brothers--has he ever stopped to consider what his life COULD be like if he CHOSE to do something else? Of course, that particular thing could feature more in the RP itself as he develops, rather than being openly stated.

You're absolutely correct. I gutted some of the initial flaws and reworked the character yesterday, and just completely missed adding new flaws back in. Won't have a chance to update the sheet until tonight. But thank you for the input, another set of eyes really helps.

EDIT: Went in and gave each personality trait a slight flaw and twist. Had just enough time before my shift starts. Might flesh those flaws out a bit more in the CS, or wait until the RP if he's accepted to flesh out what that all means for how he acts.
Could really use some feedback on this. This is my first go around of the character. Might have to trim and refine some of this back.

EDIT: Updated age, personality traits, and skills to better reflect the character concept.

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