|Fireday 21, Godsnight, 1531
|Province of Hertzland
|The Hadrian Empire
“By the justice and mercy of His holy Temple, Ser Cedric Reinhardt, head of House Reinhardt, is hereby declared a sinner, a Heretic! One who defies the Light, and accepts the embrace of the Fallen One. Thy shall be marked and be judged eternally by the Mark of Heresy, and may you be dragged down to wander the Eternal Plain forever upon death. May Alder and His Sentinels have mercy on your soul, for we have not.”
- Chaplain of the Temple of Alder, 1515
Cedric Reinhardt, a middle-aged man, stands at an average height of 180cm (5'7f). He has broad shoulders, is built to fit the body type of a knight, and presents himself with his back straightened. When able to see his face behind the golden facemask, it is revealed the left side of it is heavily scarred thanks to the illness of Leprosy. A left eye is missing, leaving a blackened empty eye socket and a heavily disfigured face. The skin tissue of his cheek has eroded to the point of revealing bone, teeth, and muscle tissue. The right side of his face still shows his old self, the remaining grey-blue eye, sharp jawline hidden by a short-kept brown beard. This is accompanied by lengthy brown hair, kept in a mix of curls and straight hair. Very rarely, if too long, it is worn with a bun or in a ponytail.
His clothing fits a man of his status, a duke, added with a mask of gold with an engraved face that reflects on his past self before the illness, decorated with flowery flames to resemble his connection to Pyromancy. His attire is in line with his House, wearing dark shades of color or brighter green and yellow.
What the man does not show is a considerable amount of scars that cover most of his back and arms. While very few are from his years of combat, dozens of scars are received from torture added by man and machines during his time of imprisonment. On his lower-left arm is the burn scar of a hot iron—the Mark of Heresy he received as punishment for his past sins. This adds to the heavy amount of deteriorated skin on the left side of his face and neck. What cannot be missed is also the right hand. The hand is replaced with a prosthetic hand made of silver metal, wood, and cogs of Denur craft, which gives him the limited ability to open and close it. In the centre of the hand is an embedded oval red gem that gives him the ability to wield the arcane magic of Pyromancy.
Cedric is known to be a man with a stoic facade. Thanks to his mask, there is a lack of ability to express many emotions. Few wish to see his face, and neither does he want to show.
Cedric has changed over the course of a few years, yet he is not known to be a man of happy stories. His hand gestures and tone of voice are the main ways of expressing himself, followed by his actions as a character.
Many who have met Cedric know that he is loyal to a fault to his family and that he can still love and express concern. He cares for many while unable to show this. He is a proud, intelligent man who longs for respect for his ever rebuilding Noble House. He deeply desires to do good in the world again, to repent for his past sins, for which he puts the blame on others. He is flawed, stubborn, harsh, and dwells too much on the past. However, he sees history and tradition as essential elements of his family and those within the Hadrian Empire. He has shown great enthusiasm for subjects containing history and the arcane.
Only a few know of the many experiments and secret activities he partakes in to gain knowledge, and he would rather not reveal them.
On the good-morrow of a Fireday, the 18th of Redfall, The Amber Dawn of 1495, Cedric Reinhardt was born as a young noble boy of House Reinhardt.
House Reinhardt was a minor house among the many noble houses of the period. They were housed on the outskirts of the capital of the Kingdom of Hadriana at the time: Hadriana, which has since been renamed Norbüren. He was born the second of three, having an older and later a younger sister, turning him into the next heir and head of the House. The oldest was Anna, born nine years earlier, and the youngest was Sarah, born two years later than Cedric.
Even with house Reinhardt being a minor family, it was considerably large thanks to their numbers, only dwarfed by House Van Leuveren, Withmond, and the royal family of Von Lichtenfelts at the time. Numbers were their only power, however, being a house that mainly brought forth knights, soldiers, and their primary expertise, huntsman. House Reinhardt was a house that stood alongside its people or worked with them rather than ruling above them like the other nobility. The soldiers and knights of the house were guarding the forest roads and serving as backups for many different houses. Due to these tasks and their behaviour, they were seen as lesser than the other Houses, often laughed at by most, being compared to commoners or serfs: doing the functions of the other noble houses.
Growing up in a noble family:
Cedric grew up with this. His father: Marcus Reinhardt, uncles, older cousins, and others he looked up to, all preparing him for when he got older when he would lead the "great House Reinhardt." Of course, Cedric was only laughed at by the other noble boys if he brought this up. Though, Cedric found more friends in his family. His cousins, fellow squires, even serfs, and the family worked alongside other artisans. His sisters offered great company, and Cedric grew up as a cheery child. Very keen to learn, observe, and teach as well. While his mother, Annabella, was more focused on helping his sisters, his dad brought him to many events in his younger years, to balls and meetings, which led him to meet many significant figures in their younger years. Even with this, he was close with his sisters and grew very protective of them. Cedric was homeschooled by the Temple, becoming a loyal follower of Alderism and being taught the details and many stories of the Sentinels and holy figures. He learned the basics of High-Attian and learned how to read and write. His mother often taught the learning of words herself instead of the many monks and nuns. She was fascinated by the stories and folklore of the Kingdom and shared these with Cedric and his sisters the most, much to the disliking of his father.
When he was seven years old, in 1502, his father assigned him as a page to an uncle, his dad's brother, Hugo Reinhardt. With him, and often his dad, who oversaw the training, he learned the way of horse riding, the early stages of the art of combat, and the honor and duties of being a knight of the Kingdom. He tamed his young horse after many failed attempts. He got beaten and bruised along the heavier parts of the training. He followed his uncle to the northern regions of the Kingdom, where he met knights and men-at-arms that fought against the Voidal beings, known as Demons, from the Swamp of the Damned. Knights that slew creatures far beyond their understanding, having a sworn duty to defend the world against anything that came from the cesspit of the unnatural. He read the books written by those who studied the Demons. He witnessed the men march north and saw cultists being executed, their bodies displayed for those who saw what happened to Heretics. This made him more determined to serve the realm as an honorable knight, wanting to protect the people.
Loss of family:
His older sister, sixteen at the time, married a young nobleman of seventeen in the northern House of Brunnowyn, uniting the two families together. Cedric saw not much in the young Lord, as his protective side kept him from forming a bond with the other family. Yet, despite the marriage and unification of both families, the attitude towards House Reinhardt did not change. Now, Anna was treated as higher due to her being part of House Brunnowyn. Because of this, she slowly grew distant from her family, as the Brynnowyns were located in Lohiim. Eventually, contact between Cedric and his sister Anna died off, with him only able to see her at events that both noble families would coincidentally attend. But with him never speaking to her, the love they both once had as brother and sister died off with it.
The Age of Rot and Decay:
Unfortunately, his life changed in 1506, with the Rotting Plague hitting the Kingdom in its weaker years. The King, Wilhelm Von Lichtenfelts, had grown distant from his people for the last couple of years. House Reinhardt, instead of helping the citizens of the Kingdom as requested, closed its doors on the world, instead protecting its own people, their serfs, commoners, and people of the House. Cedric, however, saw this as weakness and treachery, speaking up against his father and uncle at thirteen years of age. His father hit him for this, making Cedric finally open his eyes and see what the world was. He witnessed the death of hundreds, even thousands of people. And when death knocked on the Houses' doors, many of Cedric's family perished.
Despite the closed doors, his uncle continued to train him as a squire in 1509. Cultists ran rampant through the realm, attacking and sacking villages and noble estates in the name of false gods or speaking like the world was ending. A year later, they would attack the Reinhardt Estate. And in their defense, he watched his mother get murdered, and he himself took his first kill at fifteen in self-defense. Grief struck him and others in the family that loved his mother. Yet, due to the conditions and state of the world, Cedric was forced not to dwell on it and instead try to survive. There was no long ceremony for those who had fallen in the attack and instead watched as their bodies were cremated in a large pit on the outskirts of the capital city.
By a miracle, he did not get infected by the Plague, living out the last years of the Plague by watching the ongoing carnage and the Great Fire of 1511 after lawlessness broke out from his window. This was due to news that King Wilhelm had contracted the Plague, and the people saw this as Alders' punishment for him forsaking the people to their deaths. While many nobles decided to subdue the population during the fire, House Reinhardt again chose to stay within their homes and try to protect them against the flames.
Civil war and family death:
As the death of King Wilhelm Von Lichtenfelts quickly passed, a power gap formed. House Withmond declared themselves the new rulers during an emergency meeting, and the Lords' Alliance was founded to fight against the Royalists; Cedric had reached the age of 17, almost completing his path of Knighthood. Cedric was conscripted in the Men-At-Arms under the family's banner and was dragged into the civil war. House Reinhardt, however, had a different dilemma: political differences. His father and uncle differed in who to serve, House Withmonds or House Lichtenfelts. His father believed a new dynasty was coming, while his uncle was the most loyal to the Lichtenfelts, as he had served the longest with their men.
This caused a split between the family, and House Reinhardt fought not only the Royalists but mostly their own kin. Cedric was forced to witness his cousins, uncles, and people he called friends kill each other. He, too, was forced to participate in the killing, family blood staining his steel, killing foot soldiers and squires. This would change Cedric for the worst, turning the always enthusiastic young boy into a stoic, harsh, stern man.
The Royalists of his uncle attacked any they deemed an enemy of the king, butchering many noble families in the northern regions, including neutral ones.
These actions caused confusion among many noble families, for it became unclear if the Reinhardts were from one party or the other.
Cedric marched and slew many nobles he once stood side by side within the king's halls, in their estates and castles. He often turned home wounded, one day hearing the news that House Brunnowyn had turned Royalist and were all slain by other Houses in the ruins of Lohiim, including his older sister Anna and her child. The lost love for his sister returned, and Cedric sought comfort with his other grieving sister for a while.
Near the end of the civil war, Cedric fought alongside the Lords' Alliance with many other minor houses in the siege of Hadriana, trying to storm the castle and end the war. House Reinhardt was used as a backup army for the Withmonds. As the Withmonds led the charge, Cedric, a mere bannerman of the Reinhardt house and his father himself, noticed his uncle's forces were attacking from the rear, and so, both family sides clashed one more time as they now defended the rearguard. Cedric noticed from afar how both men, whom he saw as father figures, now duelled to death, with his uncle eventually gaining the upper hand and killing his father. Enraged, Cedric defended his father's body. His uncle was far gone beyond that point, and he was not the man Cedric knew as the uncle that trained him all those years. He was able to breach Cedric's armor, wounding him severely: Cedric was no match for the Lord. With his last strength, Cedric pushed himself over the edge and overthrew his uncle, forcing himself to beat him to death. Cedric passed out from blood loss that day, lying beside his uncle's corpse. Soon after, the announcement came that the Withmonds proclaimed the victors, and the war was over. Cedric's body was recovered by the remaining Reinhardt levy men and dragged to safety.
House Reinhardt was fractured. The family had murdered each other to the point where rebuilding was nigh impossible. The remaining members who remained loyal to the Lichtenfelts dynasty were executed, and those who survived fled. Ashamed of the events, the remaining handful of survivors scattered across the realm and Eden. Most met their fate in death in isolation or disappeared. As far as Cedric knew, he and his sister were the only ones that had survived, and he did not attempt to look for the family he now saw as traitors, or he believed they were all dead. Cedric had nearly survived his wounds from the battle and was knighted by the Withmonds as thanks for his service. The war had killed all but them, and Cedric turned into a bitter man, staying at home while the rest of the Kingdom was rebuilding.
In the two years that followed, Cedric joined the ranks of a remaining small force of knights and soldiers sent north to clean up the remaining cults and Heretics that had gathered near the borders of the Cursed Swamp. Cedric learned more about the many various Demonspawn and cults. Here he turned his anger into strength, succeeding in removing the cults and Heretics but never successfully rebuilding the defensive line that stopped Demonic invasions.
Loss, sin, and years imprisonment:
Life, however, was not finished with the Reinhardt family. His younger sister, Sarah, turned terribly ill. And soon, he found out that due to the paranoia still surrounding the Rotting Plague, no one wanted to help them. Medical supplies had run thin, so she was left to mother nature itself.
Cedric could not stand this as the protective brother and looked through all corners of the Kingdom for help. Until he accidentally stumbled upon a small group of Alchemists. These men worked on their terms, wanting to experiment with the supernatural and see how far science could take them. This went against the Church's rules, and Cedric knew this, but he needed to save his sister. No standard medicine he could get his hands on worked, and soon the alchemists worked alongside Cedric on a cure. Day in, and day out, they brewed up potions, balms, and more, testing them on his sister. It almost drove Cedric mad, seeing it did not work. Unknown to him, it tortured her from the inside, and his love and protection became his downfall.
As in 1515, there were knocks on the door. The Temple had received reports and had successfully hunted down the cult of Alchemists, which led them to the Reinhardt estate. In the struggle, he begged the Chaplain knights to save his sister. And surrounded by the metal hands, dragged outside, he watched his sister Sarah breathe her last breath. Cedric would never forgive the clergy for this and watch with teary and hatred-filled eyes as the men set fire to the Reinhardt estate and burned most of his possessions, including his sister, to ash.
He was declared a Heretic by the Church and law, publicly marked with the Mark Of Heresy with a hot iron, reminding him of his mistakes for the rest of his life. Cedric's titles were denounced, his rights revoked, and he was thrown into the dungeons of Castle Hadriana. Where his death sentence never came. Instead, it turned into ten years of endless torture inflicted by both machines and men, and never got word or light of the events that took place in those years. He would never come out there the same until a door opened in 1526. The first emperor of the Hadrian Empire, Matthias Joseph Withmond, offered him a choice: be loyal and serve the realm, never betray the people again or die.
He could never answer, however, and instead knelt to the next in line. A Lichtenfelts again, Emperor Phillipp. He granted Cedric his wish only if Cedric would be loyal to him and to him only. And so, Cedric was appointed Ser, a knight of the Imperium.
Proving his worth:
As the two years passed and the year 1528 came along, and Cedric served his duties as Lord Steward in the Imperial realm, his name, including his House, became more popular among the population. He was not known as a happy man or one to tell positive stories. But he became known as a loyal follower of the Imperial crown and its people, protecting the citizens.
Cedric was eventually sent out to the Denur of Dar-Ach-Denur, who sought to come into contact with the Hadrian Empire to form a trade agreement between the minerals and livestock of the Heartlands. Instead, Cedric entered a city under siege by the undead with his men. With defenses quickly set up together with the head of the military, a shield wall stopped the Voidal forces from entering the city. With the eventual Demonic Vampyr spawn unleashing itself on the defenses. Upon being slain by the defenders, the Denur rallied and pushed the last undead out of the city. Here, a Demon Lord revealed itself, challenging the Denur and Cedrics' men who, by sheer luck and stupidity, pushed the wounded Demon into the ice lake below. The Denur would never forget the deeds of Cedric and his men.
Traps and back stabbings:
The many duties Cedric had to perform caused him to grow distant from many figures in his life. He focused on his service rather than his social life and soon led an expedition of students to the Glade of Dragons to find a Centaur. Ma Belov, a high-standing woman of the Hadrian house of law, was one of them. It, unfortunately, led them to encounter a trap laid by a Necromancer in the forest, who had cursed a specific flute made of Elven Bone to summon the dead. One of the students got enchanted by it, corrupted by the Voidal powers within, and used the flute. While playing the awful tune, the undead seemed to be summoned from below and tried taking the students and Cedric down with them. Wounded students, dragged by Cedric to safety, were helped in the city of Luminion. While questioned by the Therri'cill Aldir'tor Zaithrall, Cedric answered that the flute in question was lost during the scuffle. In truth, Ma Belov had found the flute and hid it away with the student in question, who schemed with her the downfall of Cedric.
When months later, the politics of the elven Kingdom and the Hadrian Empire came to an alliance to fight the growing danger in the Cursed Swamp, Ma Belov called Cedric out in the Hadrian Court. In front of the High-Elven and Hadrian nobility, Ma Belov called Cedric a liar and a deceiver, revealed to have found the flute and locked it somewhere for safety. Outraged, Cedric demanded to see the flute, as the colors of the woman were now revealed, yet was interrupted and found guilty of lying to the Therri'cill personally. As punishment, Philipp Von Lichtenfelts let Ma Belov flog Cedric on the palace square before the Elven nobility. Upon the last blow, the Therri'cill took it upon himself to personally finish it and used his magic to amplify the impact, shattering Cedric's back and hospitalizing him for many months.
Schemes and new friends:
After Cedric had severed ties with the lady, she instead was rewarded low nobility by the Emperor and fell in love with the student, Leod Iomarach, who continued to sour the popularity of Cedric and his now squire, Janczyk Mariusz Tzyrnowski. The squire had revealed himself to be a nephew of Tsar Krzystof-Jan Tzyrnowski and the true heir of the Tzyrnowski House. To prove himself, he followed Cedric as his squire and was trained in both duties and politics of the realm. Only to be lured into one of the schemes by Leod. Rumors were spread around the court, causing the Emperor to grow distant from many among him, including his wife Anzhelika, the Empress. Leod and his brother formed a second fabricated story that Janczyk was gathering men for a takeover. Cedric, too, was blamed for being a part of this takeover. The Emperor did not believe this claim; however, Janczyk fled in shame, unable to tell the truth. Emperor Philipp put his wife, Empress Anzhelika, on house arrest out of her protection against the potential takeover that never came.
Cedric found a connection with the Empress, who was now ashamed of the rumors being spun around her name. The Emperor and the court shunned her, and Cedric offered harsh but truthful words of wisdom. He accompanied her when summoned and helped her regain the Emperor's trust by giving her advice and performing tasks. Mainly one that involved protecting her daughter, princess Helena Theodosia. This caused both to grow somewhat close and considerably formed mutual respect.
The years of unrest among nobility and schemes continued, yet for Cedric, his duties continued. At the time, Cedric and the Lord Palantine Egon-Koenraad moved resources to the lands, developing the village into a prosperous growing town with a new town centre and an upgraded castle. For months he worked on making Norbüren grow and prosper, ignoring the news of Ma Belovs passing by illness and Leod's disappearance from the realm.
Losses and rewards:
In the year 1529, after a feast in Norbüren, Orks, hired by the High-Elven court, took Cedric hostage and held him prisoner. They stripped him of his armor and took off his right hand while the Elven court watched.
Not satisfied, the High Elves dragged him to Luminion, where he was again trialled for lying to the Therri'cill. The population judged him guilty, and his left eye was removed.
Wounded, with only one eye and hand remaining, Cedric stumbled into the Hadrian lands for two days until he was found. The wound in his eye eventually got infected by then, and after many surgeries, it seemed he was saved. Unfortunately, the infection had, in turn, caused another problem. It awakened the bacteria of Leprosy, causing Cedric to become scarred and deformed on the left side of his face for the coming years. To hide this, Cedric had a golden mask forged, which he wears to hide his disfigured face. The Denur, for his services years ago at the gates of Dar-Ach Denur, developed a new prosthetic hand made of silver, cogs, wood, and leather. It enabled him to wield a weapon again, but it was limited to only two movements: opening and closing. To Cedric, it was enough. Thanks to this, the nickname of Leper-knight, quickly caught on as well.
For his services, however, Cedric was awarded lands; the Heartlands were gifted to him, as they were once his homeland. Here he would rule as the Duke, a noble defending Norbüren and the realm's heart against the Voidal Spawn still emitting from the Swamp. Till, one day, someone stood before him in the halls of his new castle.
Family and magics:
His older cousin, the daughter of the man who murdered his father, Clarissa Reinhardt, had returned from her isolation and confronted Cedric. For her father's death at Cedric's hands, she had forgiven him and wished to join the family again. Cedric, who had believed he was the last Reinhardt alive, unable to hug her due to his condition, could do nothing but accept with tears. Once again, happiness filled his heart, and Cedric's personality began to change, slowly reverting to his old self thanks to the presence and love of his family. This was followed by Janczyk returning with proof of his heritage and was forgiven by Cedric, thanks to Clarissa's influence.
More than a year passed, and 1531 rolled around. Cedric had become a Pyromancer, still weak and learning, but a mage of the arcane nonetheless. His first master, however, disappeared in a personal quest, leaving Cedric to search for a new teacher to master the powers of arcane fire. Cedric used his status and capabilities to unite the people of his province against a rising threat: The Bone Lord—a demonic entity threatening Eden through corruption and undead sorcery. It had corrupted the bodies laid to rest in many settlements, including Norbüren. Cedric successfully slew a Demon with the militia and soldiers and cleansed the realm from undead corruption. Due to Cedric's knowledge of the Voidal Spawn, Cedric was contacted by many, including other nations, to find information and study the remains. He found more questions than answers, but all were helpful to him.
Now he sits on his throne in the halls of the Norbüren keep, plotting the following steps on his path to find a cure for his condition, to purge the Demonic threat. All while ruling over a province that was once the heart of a Kingdom of old.
- Cedric is fond of reading books, diving into many great history and folklore stories thanks to the similar passion of his mother.
- Cedric has shown a deep-down protective side to people. And will only open up to those he grows close with.
- A feeling of eeriness hangs around the man. Mainly due to his manner of speech and appearance. But also due to him hiding the past markings of sin.
- The wolf in their family crest, stands for the Beast of Hadriana and the Blackwood Forest. A story that his family of Reinhardt were involved in. This has now been turned into a folktale.
- If not on duty, Cedric is often found in the taverns of the Empire, enjoying a beer or two, or travelling the realm to enjoy nature.
- The prosthetic hand he now wears on his right arm is covered in little silver metal plates, each plate is decoratively engraved with a scenery of historical events or figures of Hadrian culture.