The Razor's Edge
Nicholas Taliesin is a bard and investigator. He has a penchant for helping people who have been falsely accused clear their good names. Now a disgraced knight, Taliesin was stripped of his rank and his honor, but left with his life, for treason. Talieson lost his betrothed, his friends, his patrons and his position in society. His father, Lord D’Arcy disinherited him and promised that should he ever use or reveal the name of his Lordship that his life would be forfeit. Talieson claimed that the evidence brought forward was manufactured, and maintained his innocence, but the council ruled against him.
With no trade to support him and no family willing to acknowledge him, Nicholas has turned to the one thing he still has – his wits – to scrape a living together in the lands of the Eastern Flanaess. The last gift his mother gave him, before she too turned her back on her son, was his true father’s name—Taliesin!
Taliesin now makes a modest living regaling patrons at Inns with tales of brave heroes, ancient evil and miraculous events. He tinkers with songs, but his epic storytelling far excells his singing or his talent playing the lute.
Nicholas Taliesin was born as the son to Lord D’Arcy, a nobleman in the land of Kalenstren (in Furyondy) whose holdings lay near Lake Erstin. However Taliesin did not have the dark hair and dark complexion of his father, nor of his two siblings, instead he had fair hair and fair skin. He overheard his mother and father arguing one night in which his father accused his mother of infidelity with a travelling minstrel who regaled them with epic tales during the storm season many years ago.
Taliesin is the youngest of three siblings. He has two brothers, Mycroft and Phillip, both knights of the realm, and both of whome were inducted into the chivalric Order of the Hart, sworn to defand the land of Furyondy against Iuz. As the eldest, Phillip stands to inherit the lordship.
Taliesin was born in Celene during his parent’s travels there in the home of friendly elves. At the time of his birth, a seer in residence at the home cried out the words, “the sins of the father,” upon seeing the infant, declaring that the child would be afflicted by an ancient family curse. His father claimed that there was no such curse upon his family, and there was no history of such a curse upon their family. His mother, Celeste D’Arcy, also feigned ignorance of any such “family curse” upon her lineage.
Lord D’Arcy had been a commander in the country’s military until he was wounded in the stomach. Though healed, his stomach continues to cause him discomfort and pain, especially during periods of stress, and has impacted his diet.
As a child Taliesin frequently explored the countryside around his father’s noble estate. He discovered ancient ruins half buried in a cavern and spent several summers attempting to unearth the secrets of the ruins.
As a youth he joined the the “North Watch,” a group of scouts and rangers dedicated to protecting the northern border against the forces of Iuz. The North Watch tended to be composed of lesser sons of nobles who osught glory and an opportunity to gain glory and official notice in this most dangerous of assignments.
He was the only survivor of his unit at the Battle of Tusham Wood. He was found there buring the bodies of his comrades by a small regiment of soldiers who included William DiHellsong. Taliesin and DiHellsong became fast friends and travelling companions until his later arrest. Taliesin’s personality was changed somewhat after that battle, and his behavior became somewhat eccentric.
Taliesin is both intensely fearful of, and equally fascinated by “demons”. He claims to have been involved in slaying a few “demons”, though his stories were a bit vague.
After his banishment, Taliesin travelled south to Celene, and spent much time there among the elves.
Taliesin came to the aid of the High Sheriff while he was a member of the city watch in Verbobanc, during an investigation into a series of murders. That was where he began to earn a reputation as an investigator, as well as, an entertainer and storyteller. His ability to infiltrate an organization due to his shapeshifting ability earned him favor with the High Sheriff and also brought him to the attention of the church.
BEHAVIORS, MANNERS & CHARACTER TRAITS:
1. He also has a habit of sketching. He carried a collection of sketches with him. He claims these were stolen from him, and has recently set about recreating them from memory, along with adding new faces to his collection. The detail of his work is quite good.
2. Taliesin plays a lute and sings—adequately enough, but his ability to tell a take far exceeds his performance as a musician.
3. He also loves to whistle. He sometimes whistles the children’s song “This Old Man” when he is actively working a case. Its significance comes from the line “knick knack paddy whack, give a dog a bone” in the lyrics, since his standard tactic is to gnaw at a case like a dog would to a bone.
4. Taliesin smokes a pipe. He loves clove tobacco and the scent of burning cloves. He often discusses ending the practice as he was warned by an elven healer that smoking is bad for you.
5. Taliesin loves music, loves drink, love to dance, and more than anything has a love of knowledge—he loves reading books, and often talks of his father’s library.
6. He is especially fond of playing chess and billiards. He claims that the game helps him to think.
7. Taliesin loves to snack—eating nuts, raisins, candy. He offers to share these items.
8. He loves coffee—especially flavored with honey and cream.
9. Taliesin loves limericks. He knows hundreds and tends to make up new ones to describe the encounters he has in his travels.
10. Taliesin has been known to gamble. He plays cards, but prefers to place wagers upon horse races, knights in tournament, etc.
11. Taliesin seems quite disorganized. He often asks others for some item he needs, ink, a quill, paper, chalk, lamp oil, etc. When searching his pockets he tends to produce irrelevant items—such as a grocery list. He tends to be easily distracted by items in the room, and is very complementary toward his host. His conversations are often interrupted when his attention is distracted to some item in the room.
12. During an investigation, Taliesin conducts a friendly and seemingly innocuous interview, politely conclude it and exit the scene, only to stop in the doorway or return moments later and ask, “Just one more thing…” (false exit), which is always a jarring question regarding an inconsistency in either the crime scene or the suspect’s alibi.
13. His demeanor tends to cause people to underestimate his abilities.
14. He claims to be a poor swimmer and dislikes small boats and being out on the water.
15. He claims to have learned his craft from William of Baskerville, a monk, that he met in the Bastille. He often tells stories of “my two Williams” (referring to William of Baskerville who he met in prison, and William DiHellsong who he met during the war) the people in his life who have had the greatest influence on him.