Marduke
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White as Marduke Kefkald
CHARACTER BRIEF
Full Name: Marduke Kefkald
Byname: The Scorpion's Lance, Scythe Keeper
Age: 28
Planet: Imperius
Paramount: Formerly Khournas, now Unaffiliated
House: Formerly Ibrahm, now Unaffiliated
Title/Profession: Company Commander, Venomscythe Dragoons
Position: Soldier
FAMILY PHYSICAL STATS
Spouse: None Height: 1.93 meters
Father: Lucca Kefkald Weight: 86.18 kilograms
Mother: Anastasia Kefkald Hair Color: Black
Siblings: Inanna Kefkald (24), Nammu Kefkald (18) Eye Color: Brown
Children: None


Background

The Kefkald family had been in the horse business ever since Marduke's great great grandfather 'borrowed' several dozen riding ponies and struck out from Obsidia. This may have been why despite their growing fortunes and reputation as one of the best breeders of premium horseflesh (particularly those suited for tasks requiring great endurance or speed), it was not until the securing of a contract with the house of Ibrahm to provide horses for their dragoons that Lucca Kefkald, Marduke's father, became the first of the line to return to Obsidia under the cover of daylight.

Even with this clemency in lieu of actual forgiveness, it was at a bush station on a warm savannah evening that Marduke was born to Lucca and Anastasia Kefkald, and would become the eldest of three. He would later say of his birth that it was his fate to be in the saddle, having held off both sending his mother into labor and his actual birth until the horses had been properly stabled for the night. Yet in spite of his life in the bush amongst the animals, Marduke would receive an education that even a pampered elite would envy. From his mother, a stately and erudite woman, he learned something of business and the handling of men and money. From his father he learned to ride and shoot, to use the lance and to navigate and survive in the oceans of grass. All the while, he listened to the stories of the old horse wranglers, learned their superstitions and their legends.

It would not be the savannah or the Kefkald herds that called for him though. At the age of sixteen, he asked his fathers leave to journey to Obsidia to pledge his service as a man at arms to the house of Ibrahm. The house had done right by them, allowing the misdeeds of a entrepreneur to become a noble legacy in and of itself. Surely it was only right that the first son pledge his service for at least a few years? Though he and his father discussed the prospect for many over a year, just before his eighteenth birthday he was finally presented with his fathers bow and lance, as well as his finest Arabian mare, whom he would name Adrasteia, a byname of an old Cindravalan knight who styled herself after an ancient goddess of vengeance. In time, the horse would prove her zeal for combat was equal if not greater to rider.

It was a chance, fleeting meeting in the marketplace though that would place Marduke on the fast track to advancement. Cassandra Ibrahm was a cousin of the main line, a woman ten years his senior, a strong and intelligent woman with a lust for life and a wicked sense of humor. Though deeply respectful of the lines of succession, she lamented and quietly seethed at what she saw as her distance from the ability to affect powerful and lasting change in both the economic and the social arenas. Still, she d she was a darling of the Dragoons even if the main line sometimes found her…tiresome. At first he thought nothing of his fleeting awareness of the woman as he was accepted into Ibrahm's forces as a cavalryman, a light cavalryman and sharpshooter both on foot and in the saddle. Yet it was clear that Cassandra remembered him quite thoroughly, and whatever impression she had gathered was a fond one. Whispers from her lips found her way into the ears of his commanding officer, and he found himself groomed as for an officers commission, instructed just as much in the theory of war, of grand strategy and logistics. Not just how to fight in an army, but to manage and perhaps one day to lead it. There were even slight lessons in etiquette and an encouragement to pursue his gift of storytelling, though it remained largely undeveloped due to the weight of his other commitments. Still, he would begin to grow into an exemplary cavalryman, and show the beginnings of both political acuity and generalship. It would be three years though before he met his unknown patron. It would take only moments for her to cast her spell on him, though there were private moments where they admitted mutual admiration for one another.

Marduke was to be something more than a mere companion or some champion raised from the dirt. She needed a partner, one that could weave through the military world and magnify the weight of her opinion. If the leadership of Ibrahm would not pass to her, then she would at least hold the heart and the soul of its military forces as a tool to pass her agendas. She was no stranger to the arts of war, but she could not simultaneously split her time and energies between a military commitments and her myriad projects, and being an ardent supporter without a personal stake granted her a power that would be sacrificed if she were to be personally placed under arms. In exchange, she promised advancement, wealth, perhaps a knighthood one day should it be required and should he desire it. The cavalryman thought about it, but really, was there much to consider? A beautiful woman whose company he vastly enjoyed wanted to make him wealthy, successful, and prestigious. It did not hurt that as she began to reveal her beliefs, he found them agreeable. This was a woman without use for aristocracy, born to it though she might be. Her desire was to find talent, to funnel it to its most effective expressions. To prepare for the Hostiles was well and good, but there had to be a backup, a means of escape if five hundred years of outdated theories proved wrong. That chivalry and honor only meant something if the ones you loved still lived. So Marduke became a part of the military cabal that supported her ideology, became both protege and confidante of both Cassandra and her sphere of influence amongst the Ibrahmi officer corps.

Until things began to unravel. Officers amongst Cassandra's social circle found themselves transferred to trivial duties, and Marduke's mentor died with a knife in his back after a night of heavy drink. Which was odd, considering many knew for a fact that the man rarely took anything stronger than tea. It culminated on October 9th, 3010, when Marduke and a squad of his most trusted fellows were assigned to escort Cassandra on a trip to Landing. She never made it there. Separated from her entourage, she was found dead the next morning. It did not matter that no one blamed Marduke for the terrible accident. He had failed his benefactor, a woman he had loved on a level that transcended physical passion.

In his grief, he tendered resignation from service, and was provided a generous severance from the Heir of the household. For a year, he languished. He returned to the herds, to his father and mother who welcomed him with open arms. Yet they could not understand this hollow man who wore their sons face. He took to drinking and fighting, and it was only his reputation and his family's influence that kept him out of any degree of trouble. Something drastic would be required to shake him from his depressive state. Like a rumor that Cassandra Ibrahm was alive. That she had faked her death to find out whom would go to such extreme lengths to destroy those whom she had spent so long cultivating as proteges and allies. There was no proof of it, but it was something Marduke could believe. At that point, it was the only thing strong enough to pull him from the brink.

Taking the generous severance he had received, he purchased weapons and armor and sought others like him. Those whom had been disgraced, or perhaps longed for a last chance at redemption, or never got a shot in the first place. In public, they would be a mercenary company, taking on tasks that could not afford to be traced to someone of repute. Scouting, intelligence, raiding, escort missions and acts of sabotage. For the right price, they would even ride at the flank of a shield wall. No task was billed of as impossible for his newly formed band. It did not matter that he had only a dozen men. Miracles had been accomplished with less. Now, all they needed was a name. Cassandra had, as one of her eccentricities, bred scorpions. In a flight of nostalgic fancy, he called his company the Venomscythe Dragoons. As a mercenary, he would gain everything that Cassandra promised. He would claw his way back to greatness, would build himself into a power to be respected and feared.

…and then, he would find out if Cassandra really was alive.

Characteristics

Description

Dark of skin and long of leg, it is only the obvious athleticism of his build that steers this man from the assignation of 'beanpole'. Dark hair is cut extremely short to the skull, a wiry carpet of black against chocolate hued skin. Brow set above deep, wide brown eyes, his facial features speak of refinement without sacrificing anything to the effeminate. His nose is a strong, imperious aquiline, his jaw solid without being brutish. Only a pencil thin mustache and scruff of beard detract from this disciplined austerity. Neck a firm, noticeably thick trunk that leads to that soldiers physique, muscled limbs and body created as an aftereffect of rigorous discipline and effort.

Quirks

Impeccable Business Ethics- Some put faith into things like nobility and chivalry. Marduke is a professional soldier and a businessman who believes in contracts. A signature is a promise to deliver, and his reputation and by extension that of the Venomscythes is one of incorruptibility, as long as the money holds out. Even those who fail to pay are treated fairly, and only abandoned if their employer is under no immediate threat. He may never sell his services to that person again, but he will not impugn his professional reputation.
In The Shadow of a Fallen Lord- It is no secret that Marduke was a protege of the now deceased (Marduke and some others have their doubts) Cassandra Ibrahm, the Lady of Scorpions. Her death has effected him profoundly, and he will investigate any rumor of her survival vigorously. While few blame him for her passing, it effectively put a stop to his advancement, and it has viewed many to look at him with uncertain eyes at best, sometimes outright pity. More than that, he is known to be a champion of her policies. Pro-military, disdainful of the feudal order, but also believing that a backup must be in place should the current system of cycles be untenable.
Risen from the Ranks- While Marduke was unquestionably a favorite of certain of his betters, the path was not made easier for him. Indeed, while groomed for success, he was forced to study and perform as well as if not greater than his peers. This has further fueled his polite indifference to nobility, being a from the ranks cavalryman and dragoon.
Teller of Tales- An exception to Marduke's otherwise austere personality and discipline is his love of stories. He will swap brags, tall tales, and fables and legends with anyone who will sit down and listen.
Tenacious- Marduke has a ferocious tenacious, bordering on obsessive streak. While he is usually able to keep it in check, there are a handful of things that will drive him to absolute distraction until the task is completed.

Musical Inspiration

On the Grid

Known Associates

Cindravale The Paramount House of Cindravale : Vainglorious popinjays. Nevertheless, they have their uses, as does any blunt instrument.
Nikomachos Lord Sir Nikomachos Cindravale : He mistakes analysis of current concerns for overarching strategy to deal with the coming threat. I have no reason to attack his character as I know little of him, but he is…Cindravale. This has a few advantages and a score more drawbacks.

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