Shadows Gather Darkly
A travelling minstrel, with an easy smile and friendly demeanor.
Shendir1 is a good looking man of average build – slender, but toned – and slightly more than average height, and looks to be in his early 20s. He has shoulder length black hair and bright green eyes that seem to smile along with the rest of his body. His high cheekbones, refined nose and long, slender fingers would suggest a person of high birth, were it not for his tanned complexion, calloused hands and friendly manner.
He is usually dressed in sensible, well-worn travelling clothes, and carries a quarterstaff. When the situation warrants, he wears a suit of nondescript chain-mail and a rapier, although he greatly prefers to use his quarterstaff. He moves with the easy grace of a man with extensive experience in either dance or the martial arts (and in truth has both), but without the wariness that commonly accompanies the latter or the effeteness that often accompanies the former.
He seems totally at ease in almost all social situations, able to casually switch from street slang to courtly diplomacy at a moment’s notice, but becomes carefully controlled when dealing with the very rich and/or powerful. He has an incredible voice, and there are very few alive who can match his talent for singing. He is also a highly talented instrumentalist, but these days typically performs unaccompanied (or occasionally in a duet with his wife, who is also a talented singer).
1 aka Victor aka Vittore Montefeltro
Shendir was born in Ferromaine in the year 978, the son of Prospero Montefeltro1, head of the Montefeltro banking empire (bank of the Selentine church, and thus one on the most powerful financial institutions in the known world). As such, his upbringing was both materially privileged and emotionally impoverished. He saw his parents for the evening meal or disciplinary measures, and otherwise only had contact with servants and his tutors (and occasional dinner guests), as he was not permitted to leave the grounds.
He made his first friends at the age of 9, having finally managed to ‘escape’, and formed a close relationship with a street kid and his family. The experience opened his eyes to the world at large, the nature of the class system, and his family’s role in it. For several years he spent as much time as he could on the streets, assisting as much as he could, which was not sadly not very much. Eventually, he confronted his father. This resulted in severe discipline, the dismissal (possibly worse?) of all of the servents, the employment of a disturbingly menacing sentry to prevent his excursions (see Venture) and (he discovered on an eventual escape) the torching of his surrogate family’s shack. He was only able to determine (since he was now ostracised due to fear) that there may have been one survivor, but couldn’t find out who.
His distaste for the upper-class – especially his father – became full-blown hatred, and he fled. He spent several years wandering, trying to bring some joy to the lives of the poor with song and charity, and opposing the powerful where he could (with the subsequent incarceration(s) resulting in claustrophobia). He eventually encountered the Legion, and thus a way to help more directly (and with less dungeon time).
However, in 996(?), Venture captured him at Prospero’s intruction and dragged back to Ferromaine. Apparently (he remembers very little of this) to be used, via magical compulsion, to summon the Beast. Fortunately this plan was thwarted, and Shendir rejoined his Legion companions. Unfortunately, he was recaptured twice more (has was able to escape on the first occasion), and eventually forced into an arranged marriage – political, he presumed – to Lena (Giacometti?), and was only permitted to leave once a child was conceived. During this time, Shendir decided that he would try to make the best of the marriage and (in a bizarre twist of fate) discovered that the two were practically soul-mates. He fell completely in love and, as far as he knows, the feeling was mutual.
Despite some difficulty (and a great deal of anger from Prospero when it seemed unlikely), a child was conceived, and Shendir returned to Ellesland with Lena. In the lead-up to the birth of his child, Shendir had several indications that some very… shady individuals were taking an interest in Lena and his unborn child. This caused him to take extensive precautions to secure the place of birth2; precautions which proved to be both justified and inadequate when the birth came under attack from several squads of men, the Green Knight, some demons and at least one magic user. Although both mother and daughter survived unharmed, the midwife was killed, and the placenta stolen (which may have been their goal, or part of it). All this has left Shendir more than a little paranoid when it comes to the safety of his family.
Despite strongly considering retiring, he eventually decided this was false security, and given the stakes, he couldn’t justify sitting by and doing nothing. As compromise, and because with the Legion is as safe a place as any under the circumstances, he keeps his wife and daughter close by.
On top of all of this, the sources of interest in both him and his new family, combined with certain theories devised by certain Legionaries, have left Shendir very worried about his daughter’s future. As a result, he tries to spend as much time as possible with his family, and ensure he doesn’t become an absent father. Fortunately, he can afford to do this, financially at least, since he inherited the Montefeltro empire when Prospero was committed for his involvement in various heretical enterprises.
He has no interest, however, in personally running said empire. He has no patience for politics, no talent for dirty politics or the defence against such, and a distaste for uses of money that are not at least partially philanthropic. As a result, he turned over the running of the empire to the Dark Hold Redeemers, with the help of the man who managed his father’s estate, who seemed to not be evil. It remains to be seen how long he will have a fortune to call on.
Chief among his character flaws are a certain level of naivety, and a significant level of impulsiveness. The combination of these things tends to get him into quite a bit of trouble, and the latter often results in his friends becoming involved as well. As he gets older he is, gradually, learning to mitigate these traits.
1 Although he later learned he was adopted, and has no knowledge of his true origins
2 Large house surrounded by streets, grounds with clear lines of sight, rooftop snipers, his Legion friends, Venture, proffered help from an obvious magic-user etc.