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Warhammer Cothique

Prince Arathion of Cothique is the father of Tyrion and Teclis. As an artificer, Arathion's craft is the slow, subtle assembly of runes and flows of power that go into the making and moulding of things.[1f] It was his life's work to restore his ancestor Aenarion's Dragon Armour, into which he had spent nearly his entire, not-considerable fortune, as well as a lifetime of scholarship and energy. Arathion had inherited it from his father before him, and so on back to the mists of time. Family lore had it that the armour had been presented to his ancestor Amarion, by Tethlis himself, as a reward for saving the life of his son. Since then, the armour has been the family's most precious heirloom,[1a] though to Arathion's chagrin, not all believed it to truly be Aenarion's.[1c]

History

For many years, his best efforts to repair the armour had proven fruitless. There was always just one more thing needed, one more piece of rare metal, one more fabulous rune to be re-discovered and re-inscribed, one more spell to re-woven. Many times he could be heard claiming that this was it, this time he would succeed, and he always came out disappointed.[1a]

Often Arathion forgets to eat for days at a time, and, when the family servant Thornberry wasn't around, Tyrion would have to cook for both Teclis and himself.[1b]

By XI 10, Arathion had become frail. His hair was fine as spun silver and white as the snow on the peak of Mount Starbrow. A mesh of wrinkles spun out from his eyes to cover most of his face. The purple veins stood out thinly on his hands. A life of failure had aged him prematurely, even though Arathion was only a few centuries old. It was only when Korhien Ironglaive and Lady Malene arrived with an armed escort, on the eve of the twins' sixteenth birthday, that Arathion's sons ever saw their father genuinely smile, much less laugh. In all the years of childhood, the twins could not recall their father showing affection for anything or anyone, including his sons.[1a] Yet, when told they would be taken to the Phoenix King, the mage's eyes held such pain behind them when he looked at Tyrion, as though noticing his son for the first time.[1b]

When Arathion was first brought before the priests of Asuryan, they prophecised that he was marked for greatness by fate, but that his children would bring him great pain. When he told his sons of this, his expression was sour, and when asked if it came true, he said yes, for their mother had died when they were born and that was the greatest pain of his life. But neither of them had ever caused him any other pain, only sleepless nights. To him, the twins had been good boys as far as they were capable. In spite of this, Arathion was not sorry for fathering his sons, both he and Alysia knowing the risks the prophecy would engender, even if not the means by which the twins would cause the forewarned pain. Now, on the day they would leave him, Arathion both admitted and regretted that he had nothing he could give besides his blessing, even as Tyrion assured him he had given them enough.[1e]

On the last night the twins would live with him, Arathion told his sons he would miss them both, that having them live as long as they did with him was the light of his life. And so, after bidding them good night, Arathion returned to his workroom. The light would burn long into the night.[1e]

Later that same year, Korhien would return to visit Arathion, dispatched by the Phoenix King to deliver a warning: the greater daemon N'Kari intended to murder all of Aenarion's bloodline. Finubar believed that the prince would trust the word of his old friend, and would be able to protect Arathion as the two sojourned to a safer location.[1g]

A hundred years later, Arathion still remained fixated on Aenarion's Dragon Armour. Were it not for Tyrion rescuing the family finances with ventures of piracy and trade, both him and the twins would likely be living in the gutter or on the charity of their wealthy Emeraldsea relatives. Such was Arathion's obsession with the Armour.[2a]

There had been times Teclis had suspected that he had almost died because his father was more interested in the secrets of ancient sorcery than he was in the well-being of his children. Despite this, Teclis could not find it in himself to blame Arathion, understanding all too well the burning hunger that consumed him, the young mage being the same way about his own pursuit of magical knowledge.[2a]

By the time Teclis and Tyrion had returned from their hunt for Sunfang in Lustria, Arathion had spent all the money Tyrion had left him - a sum that could keep a noble house in luxury for decades.[2b]

It was from this money that Arathion was able to afford moving back into the family's old townhouse in Lothern, along with all his research, equipment and the Dragon Armour. Retainers such as Rose, an indentured human, were able to maintain the residence, as well.[2b]

Before Tyrion left for Avelorn - in hopes of becoming the new Everqueen's Champion, he asked Lady Malene how much it would take to cover Arathion's debts, then added an extra thousand, which meant nearly everything Tyrion had.[2b]

After the twins had returned from their quest for Sunfang, everything but Arathion's voice was different; being light, aristocratic and a little sad, with something of the fussy air of a life-long scholar. Now his body was even more decrepit than his sons could remember. His cheeks were sunken and hollow, and his eyes had a bright, mad gleam to them.[2b]

All this changed when Teclis showed him Sunfang. There was unmistakable excitement in the artificer's voice, and even though he was so weak of form to lift the blade without both hands, the smile that crossed Arathion's face - one of awe, wonder and pure unalloyed happiness - proved to Teclis that all the hardship had been worth it.[2b]

Arathion's Villa

Since the death of his wife, Alysia, few people visit Arathion's home, high up in the Cothique mountains. Those that still do are mostly passing hunters, dropping off part of their kill as a tithe for hunting on his lands. One or two highland villagers might also come to consult Arathion about a sickness in their family or on some minor matter of magic or scholarship.[1a]

Things had been different when Alysia was still alive. The house had been busy then, when she and Arathion arrived to occupy it for a summer season or two, escaping from the heat of the lowlands. Sorcerers and scholars from all across Ulthuan would come to visit the hilltop villa along with Alysia's rich relatives. People had liked Alysia and were prepared to travel to even this remote place to visit her. In those days, Arathion even boasted of the fine old wines he kept in his cellar.[1a]

By the time of XI 10, Arathion's villa is a shadow of what it once was. A thin lip of wall surrounds it, twenty feet tall on the inside, but even steeper on the outside, where the rock-strewn ground sloped away downhill. The courtyard where the front gate is also has a great bell with which visitors ring.[1a] A small postern in the gate allows for individuals to go to and from the house without opening the entire gate.[1b]

Stables

Though none of the locals save Arathion can afford a horse, stables reside behind the wall, albeit with a large hole in the slates of its roof, where a support beam could catch anyone that entered through. Tyrion enjoyed running along the beam, grabbing rope he always left knotted around the edge so he could jump. The long swing to the ground, the dizzying sense of speed as he careened downward, letting go so he might roll into the bales of hay, it always made him smile. The dusty, musty smell of the old building mingles with the warm animal scent of Arathion's horse.[1a]

Wooden swords are set on a rack, more akin to clubs than they were real blades. They have handles and crosshilts, but had circular, wooden poles where the blades would be. Keeping them in the stables is typical of Arathion, according to Korhien.[1d]

Workshop

On the second floor, Arathion spends most of his time over his workbench, which even included a magnascope and a spyglass. A massive library of books and scrolls, so beloved by his son Teclis, surrounded the room. Jars full of pickled monster heads, and odd chemicals and weird plants from the jungles of Lustria and the rainforests east of Far Cathay. But of all the wonders found within, it was the gigantic suit of armour standing on its wireframe in the corner, that dominated the room. It was discoloured around the chest and arms where Arathion had repaired the ancient damaged metalwork with his own hands. In those places the armour did not have the patina of age it had elsewhere.[1a] When Korhien inspected the armour, Tyrion noticed how his father looked at the suit, eyeing the armour like he would a personal enemy whom he was about to fight to a duel. Crystalline windows allow beams of moonlight to fill the room after dark, bathing Aenarion's armour in such a way that it almost seemed a living person.[1c]

Teclis' Room

The room that once belonged to Teclis was dominated by a great fourposter bed, covered in piles of threadbare patched blankets. Said-room was so shadowy that it was impossible to see how moth-eaten the bed's canopy was and how old and rickety the furnishings were. A chipped table rests beside the bed. The drapes of the windows are fusty and smell of mould. Cold air whistles in through gaps in the shutters, despite the torn shreds of sacking Tyrion would stuff into the gaps. Truly, there was no place in the villa where young Teclis could escape the cold that seemed to leech all vitality from him.[1a] At night, moonbeams would come through gaps in the shutters, accentuating Teclis' wasted, frail appearance. A bell on the table next to the fourposter would be used to summon assistance, alongside a flask of cordial Arathion prepares for Teclis to ease sickness.[1c]

Sitting Room

Damp, fusty and musty, the villa's sitting room is nothing expected of a noble's household. Wooden armchairs, chipped whilst neither padded nor cushioned, were enough for Korhien Ironglaive to laugh at, the White Lion jesting how he'd been in army camps more prepossessing.[1b]

At the head of the staircase leading to the second floor, one can view the entirety of the sitting room. The fireplace is rarely used, with the villa's precious supply of winter logs reserved for the depth of winter and on the rare occasion of guests. The act of setting light to the fireplace with a word of power - each log bursting into mystical blue flames - was noted by Tyrion as the most amount and obvious form of magic Arathion had ever used in the youth's memory.[1b] For an entire day, the fire burned. Orange embers amid grey ash and small blue flames. Here and there they took on an alchemical green tinge as something strange within them, some trapped magic perhaps, caught fire. Arathion was noted for sitting in a corner and as as far away from the fireplace as the sitting room allowed, as though feeling too guilty to enjoy the heat.[1e]

Arathion keeps a portrait of Alysia above the fireplace.[1e]

Trivia

  • Arathion believes that observations have to be tested and justified. It was part of his method of scholarship. "Not just book learning" were his watchwords. Something he tried to make habitual with his twin sons.[1a] He also raised his sons to speak their minds, allegedly in his own image as Korhien saw it, the White Lion warning of such forwardness being used at court.[1c]
  • Arathion never allowed Teclis to read his spellbooks. This was in part because he believed Teclis' gifts would be better suited to an education under someone like his aunt Malene, who could teach him not just about the Art, but also in a more active school of magic.[1d]
  • In order to fund his research, Arathion had to sell all the swords he had. Granted, swords were not his weapon of choice when he was still in the levies, saying he was more likely to cut himself with one than the enemy. According to Korhien, this was nothing less than the truth, saying Arathion was the worst sword-bearer he had ever seen.[1d]
  • Though it was Arathion who first made medicine for Teclis, he is an artificer, not an alchemist. Arathion knows a lot about making and repairing weapons and armour but comparatively little about medicinal herbs. Such was the argument Lady Malene made when she offered to make medicine for the youth on his sixteenth birthday. Malene would come to point out how the villa lacked any volumes on herb lore or advanced alchemy.[1e]
  • To Arathion, Lothern is as much a place of wonder and greatness as it is jealousy and malice.[1e]
  • Despite being a Prince of Cothique, Arathion always preferred the mountains over the sea. Teclis claims he took after him in that regard.[1h]

Source

  • 1: Blood of Aenarion (Novel) by William King
    • 1a: Chapter 1
    • 1b: Chapter 2
    • 1c: Chapter 3
    • 1d: Chapter 4
    • 1e: Chapter 5
    • 1f: Chapter 8
    • 1g: Chapter 24
    • 1h: Chapter 25
  • 2: Sword of Caledor (Novel), by William King
    • 2a: Chapter 2
    • 2b: Chapter 10

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