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John Beaumarys-Moorkroftby Kit Navarro
Duke of High Tower (AC 1000)
Archduke of Westheath (AC 1016)
"The vilest, most vicious things have been said about me-most of them true! And yet here I am, at the threshold of becoming a Prince of Glantri and fulfilling my rightful destiny!"
Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft was once a tall, trim, debonair nobleman from Fenswick some three decades ago. He had a proud posture, well-kept black hair and keen eyes, and always dressed in austere yet smart-looking Fenswick attire. The fact that he was the fastest rising political star of the time-and the fact that no one had yet realised just how ungentlemanly this gentleman was-only added to his dark charisma.
But the witch's curse bestowed upon him by his former mistress, Doņa Carmina de Belcadiz, has transformed him into a sickly old weasel of a man, with thin grey hair and dull grey eyes brimming with hatred and selfish ambitions. No magic is able to improve or enhance his present appearance. He is often seen crouched in his little corner in Parliament, half-sleeping, half-mumbling, wearing rich and fashionable clothes that would look better on a man half his age and twice his build. When he speaks, his manner is arrogant and overconfident, but only to mask his nervous facial tic and his shifty eyes. Occasionally, when speaking in Parliament, he regains some of that once handsome composure to fill his clothes, as well as fill his audience with the respect and awe due to the man who became the Archduke. But those occasions are becoming fewer and rarer with his continuously failing health.
Personality & Quirks
Lord John portrays himself as an ardent Fenswick nationalist whose only dream is that the Fenswick be ruled by one of their own. He proudly claims that his experience in ruling dominions all throughout Glantri has taught him to be open-minded and cosmopolitan about the varied cultures of the Principalities. And he explains he would rather be straightforward and frank, at the risk of seeming crass and offensive, than be like other Glantrians who hide their secret agendas behind etiquette and formalities.
Of course, all of this is part of his political image. Lord John is a master of manipulation, double-talk, and betrayal. He knows that the best way to conceal duplicity and underhandedness is behind a mask of sincerity, honesty, and candour. He uses his patriotism to hide his true ambitions of becoming a Prince of Glantri, whatever the Principality. He is biased and hates anyone who is different from him-the Kaelics, Flaems, Alphatians, Thyatians, humanoids, Ethengar, humanoids, and elves. He uses his knowledge of different cultures to exploit their weaknesses, and use their own hatred against them. His political manoeuvres of pitting one enemy against another, and gaining from their losses, is classic proof of this. Lord John believes all these people are inferior and unworthy of respect, truth or good faith, and thus deals with them rudely and dishonestly. He only deals in truths if the truth suits his purposes or is hurtful and damaging.
But Lord John's treachery has made him many enemies over the years, and he has come to realise just how dangerous his position is now. In recent years, he has become more nervous and fearful of plots against him, and often acts to pre-empt such actions.
Lord John Beaumarys-Moorkroft is the scion of two proud families of Fenswick. His father was Robert Moorkroft (F12, CN), a Fenswick patriot and a crusader against Kaelic oppression. His mother is Anne Beaumarys (M12, CG(E), vampire), the last of a long line of scholars who trace their roots back to Old Averoigne in Laterre.
Robert's influence on his son John is, at best, minimal. Besides the legacy of a surname, which has only garnered enemies, and a sense of Fenswick nationalism, which Lord John has only used as a political ticket, Robert has left his son little else, before going off freedom fighting in Klantyre, Wendar, or Alfheim (depending on the sources). It was from Lady Anne that John inherited his magical abilities and his elevated social rank. It was also Lady Anne who enrolled Lord John in the Great School of Magic, encouraged him to enter politics, and earn the status of nobility for the Beaumarys-Moorkrofts.
Upon entering politics, Lord John was already making his first alliance with other noblemen of Glantri. In AC 975, Lord John proposed marriage to Lady Margaret Hillsbury, the 16 year-old daughter and heiress apparent of Duke Edward Hillsbury of Fenswick. Lord Edward, not wanting to lose his fief and the Hillsbury name to the Beaumarys-Moorkrofts, instead made a counter-offer for John to marry his older daughter, Agatha (T1, N).
In AC 981, Lord John made his political bid for the nobility by pledging his allegiance to House Ritterburg, House Silverston, and House Linden. Herr Jaggar von Drachenfels, his contemporary in the Great School of Magic, would often endorse Lord John as being "as efficient as the Thyatians." Apparently, like the Thyatians, he was also conniving, deceitful, and treacherous, promising to betray one noble house for the support of another. When Lord John became Baron of Adlerturm, he reneged on his promise to the Flaems, and chose ally himself with House Ritterburg, while remaining friendly with their Alphatian allies.
In AC 984, during his bid for a viscounty, Lord John played on the Thyatian-Alphatian tensions of House Ritterburg, which gained him the Viscounty of Redstone, and resulted in his switching alliance to House Silverston. (In truth, Prinz Jaggar was only too happy to be rid of the traitor.) Up to this time, Lord John had been making use of his association with the Hillsburys to gain leverage with the Alphatians. But as soon as Lord John became Viscount, he divorced Agatha Hillsbury on the grounds that she had not borne him children after 9 years of marriage. Within the same year, he married another lady of Fenswick, Winifred Merryweather, a girl half his age. Though this greatly offended the Hillsburys, the Alphatians did not seem to mind, as Lady Winifred belonged to an upstanding family of air elementalists, specialising in weather magic.
As Viscount of Redstone, his proximity to the Caurenzan territories in southern Glantri put him in a unique position to learn the secret dealings of House Sirecchia and its allies. This information became useful in the Awards Festivals of AC 987, when Lord John came up against the Caurenzan viscounts in a bid for the rank of Count. Lord John was able to sow dissent among the already distrusting Caurenzans, eliminating the strongest of contenders except for Signor Vittorio Fulvina, Visconte di Verazzano. Lord John faced Signor Vittorio in a magical duel, killed him in the first round with a death spell. (Somehow, the scarab of protection lent to him by his son Signor Griseo Fulvina did not function properly...) Lord John became Count of Wylon, a mere 6 years since his entry into nobility.
His phenomenal political rise caught the attention of the ambitious and dangerous Doņa Carmina de Belcadiz, and the two quickly developed a romantically passionate, politically profitable, and often socially scandalous love affair. With the help of Carmina (and the army of petty nobles under her sway), Lord John easily won the Marquisate of Satolas in AC 991. That he switched alliances to Clan Alhambra did not surprise anyone, including House Silverston. But that he offered sensitive information about House Silverston-not all of it true-in exchange for votes and political favours infuriated the Alphatians, who themselves are noted to be malicious and treacherous.
Lord John's term as Marquis of Satolas was marked with several family tragedies for the Beaumarys-Moorkrofts. In AC 992, his wife, Lady Winifred died in an accident while conducting a magical experiment during a lightning storm. (Some whisper that Lord John or Doņa Carmina was involved in this. Others point at Prince Volospin Aendyr of Blackhill. The truth is yet unknown.) And in AC 994, Lord John discovered that his ageless reclusive mother, Lady Anne, was once seduced by Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany and transformed into a vampire. But none of these events seemed to matter to Lord John for as long as he was with Carmina.
The affair with Doņa Carmina lasted 10 years. But while 10 years of a committed faithful relationship was longer than any that Lord John had with either of his wives, it meant nothing to an elven lifetime. Doņa Carmina got bored with this little fling with Lord John, and found a new diversion in the ever so charming Don Hippolito de Belcadiz in AC 997. Lord John discovered this new liaison, but he knew he could not confront Carmina with an Awards Festival on the way. Doņa Carmina knew this fact too, and made it a point to flaunt her new novio at every social and political event Lord John attended. Finally, after becoming the Duke of Hightower, Lord John dealt with Doņa Carmina in a scandalous scene that ended with him slapping her in public. (Glantrians commonly believe that the slapping incident gained for him the support of all the nobles and politicians who ever wanted to slap Doņa Carmina, which then won him enough votes to become the Duke of Hightower. This, in fact, is an anachronism, as Lord John was already the Duke when the affair ended. This incident did, however, inspire the crafting of the notorious spell, John's unforgettable slap of impunity.)
The incident was not without repercussions. Clan Alhambra withdrew its support for Lord John, and he had to ally himself with the only house he had not yet betrayed, the ever unpopular House Singhabad. Doņa Carmina's vengeance however was far more catastrophic. She laid a witch's curse on Lord John which rapidly aged him and permanently sapped his health and constitution. She also cursed Lord John's three young sons into three black ravens, and let them lose in the wild. Fortunately, Lord John's daughter Judith, escaped the curse and found a way to restore her brothers after three long years. Lord John's curse, however, has not been lifted.
Throughout his rule as Duke of Hightower, Lord John continued to connive and to manoeuvre himself in the political arena, but this time, with much fear and suspicion. In fact, when he became the Archduke of Westheath in AC 1010-an event which surprised even him-he greeted his new post with much anxiety and trepidation, fearing that it was some elaborate plot to discredit or worse, to assassinate him. (He has heard rumours that the dominions nearest Glantri City contain a strange and powerful magical force which invariably kills its rulers!)
But becoming the highest ranking noble in Glantri has only fuelled him with ambition and blinded him with pride. He has come to believe that he will be next in line to gain a Principality, be it Fenswick or any fief that becomes available. In that infamous Awards Festivals of AC 1012, where Prince Malachie du Marais was declared dead, and Lord John was declared the new Prince of Morlay-Malinbois, Lord John was beside himself with arrogance and hubris. But Lord John became the object of endless ridicule four days later, when Prince Malachie turned up alive, the Awards Festivals were nullified, and Lord John was sent packing back to Westheath. Since then, Lord John has become more paranoid, more suspicious, as well as more bitter, and more resentful. (One minor noble who made the mistake of calling him "The Four-Day Prince" was disintegrated on the spot. Still, many of the lords at Parliament refer to him by this moniker, but only when out of hearing range.)
These days, with his failing health and his mounting years, Lord John has begun to worry about an heir, but has not yet been able to choose from among his four children. His eldest child, Judith Beaumarys-Moorkroft, is his most trusted adviser and personal secretary. He has his doubts about Judith, as she is mute. Judith gave up her speaking voice in exchange for the knowledge on how to undo Doņa Carmina's curse. She however can still cast magic, with the help of a special onyx choker, which allows her to cast spells even without their verbal components. Lord John's second child, Robert Beaumarys-Moorkroft, is an ambitious rebel, but was expelled from the Great School of Magic in AC 1004. In his hunger for power, Robert secretly pursued the Secret Craft of Witchcraft, under the sponsorship of Doņa Carmina, a liaison his father would surely disapprove of. Lord John's second son is Jonathan (M9, N), the spineless mediocre also-ran, whose only demonstration of backbone was in AC 1011 when he married a beautiful Krondaharan woman against his father's will. Lord John disowned Jonathan, but soon after took him back when Jonathan presented his twin daughters, Alice (0-level, CE) and Audrey (0-level, CG). Lord John would still have nothing to do with his Ethengar daughter-in-law, whom he only knows as Sempura (M9/Dream Master 2, LN) but otherwise refers to as "that stinky yak-cow." Lord John's third son is Edgar Beaumarys-Moorkroft, a serious-minded scholar with no political ambitions. Edgar has a large black raven's wing where one arm should be, a sombre reminder of Doņa Carmina's curse, which has strangely left him the ability to transform into a giant raven.
Web of Intrigue
To say that Lord John has offended, angered, or betrayed every noble house of Glantri, except House Singhabad would be the simple truth-that is, until recently. For Lord John is the sworn enemy of Aleah Virayana, and with her son, Ralindi, becoming the new Prince of Krondahar, even this alliance is now under question. (Prince Jherek Virayana IV never took offence at Lord John for the insults lavished upon his troublesome second wife, and would even encourage the quarrels between the two, for his own dark amusement!)
From his very name, Lord John attracts nothing but hostility. The Moorkrofts have been a bane to the McGregors since their arrival from Laterre, first as crusaders and witch-hunters, then later as rebels and insurgents against Kaelic rule and oppression of the Fenswick. The Beaumarys, on the other hand, were involved in Henri d'Ambreville's treacherous plot, which ended in Prince Étienne's assassination and the imprisonment of the whole d'Ambreville family in the Land of the Mists. And the rumours that Richard Beaumarys, Lord John's grandfather, was the illegitimate son of Richard d'Ambreville does not sit well with Princess Isidore, Sire Richard's wife.
In his notorious political climb, Lord John became allies with-and subsequently betrayed-House Linden, House Ritterburg, House Silverston, and Clan Alhambra. Though never allied with House Sirecchia, Lord John did manage to involve them in a complicated conspiracy, where the Caurenzans ended up backstabbing each other, Signor Vittorio Fulvina ended up dead, and Lord John ended up the Count of Wylon.
On more personal grounds, when Lord John discovered that Lady Anne was once transformed into a vampire by Prince Morphail of Boldavia, Lord John publicly denounced the Boldavian Prince, and House Igorov has been his enemy every since. Similarly, Lord John's affair with Doņa Carmina de Belcadiz won him the support of Clan Alhambra, but political relations were devastated when the romance with that scandalous slapping incident.
Despite their short existence, Lord John has also managed to alienate the newest of the noble Houses of Haaskinz, Marais and Kol. House Haaskinz became his enemy when Lady Tereis Haaskinz expelled Lord John's son, Robert, from the Great School of Magic. Relations with House Marais became strained with that infamous Awards Festivals of AC 1012, when Lord John was a bit too eager to move into his new fief, and a bit too hesitant to leave four days later. By far, the greatest offence of "The Four-Day Prince" was his tactlessness and insensitivity towards the surviving family of Prince Malachie who were still mourning the death of their beloved Prince. And House Kol is an enemy of Lord John, simply because he hates humanoids.
Lord John has a special love-hate relationship with House Hillsbury. Duke Edward Hillsbury respected John as a fellow Fenswick compatriot, but apparently not enough for John to be worthy of Lady Margaret's hand in marriage. Lord John's affections for the young Lady Margaret were real-at least, as real as his political motives in offering to marry her. Lady Margaret deeply hurt Lord John by turning him down, but so did he when he rudely divorced Lady Margaret's sister, Agatha. When Lord John and Lady Margaret met again years later, this time as the Duke of Hightower and the Duchess of Fenswick, what little fondness that existed between them was never seen in their political rivalry. Even today, with Princess Dolores Hillsbury as the ruler of Fenswick, Lord John is not sure where he stands. On one hand, he is proud of Princess Dolores for placing Fenswick on the map of Glantri. On the other, he is sorely disappointed at losing his best chance of becoming a Prince. More accurately, Lord John is disturbed that Princess Dolores does not seem to care about the Fenswick, particularly her ties with a fellow Fenswick nobleman such as himself! Lord John does not know what to think of Princess Dolores' political antics in the Awards Festivals of AC 1012, where he was made to play the fool.
There is one enemy of Lord John which he does not understand: Clan Ellerovyn. As far as Lord John knows, he has never crossed paths with these elves, politically, socially, or otherwise, and yet they have always been his staunch opponents. Lord John's informants have told him that the Erewan hatred of him arises from their hatred of a legendary foe, Moorkroft Elvenbane. Lord John himself has never met this villain, nor is he sure of his actual connection with this Moorkroft, but assumes he must be a distant cousin from his father's side of the family. Nonetheless, Lord John has decided to repay them in kind, and secretly works to make life difficult for the Erewan elves at every possible opportunity.
The only allies Lord John rely on is his own family, and yet even they are loathe to support him in his plots. Judith assists Lord John in his daily offices, but silently disapproves of his wickedness and secretly works to undo his evils. Robert is more of his father's son in temperament, ambition, and even in taste in women. No doubt, Lord John will be furious if he learns of Robert's current associations with Doņa Carmina. Jonathan has no spine for political machinations, and cannot even sort out his torn loyalties between his father and his wife. Sempura simply hates her father-in-law. Likewise, Edgar would have nothing to do with his father and rather stay in the Great School. Only Lady Anne, Lord John's mother, truly supports him, but even she has withdrawn from life and her family, since Lord John discovered she was a vampire.
Statistics & Style of Magic
16th-level magic-user (D&D), 13th-level mage (AD&D).
Str 13 Int 16 Wis 14 Dex 10 Con 12 in AC 1000, 9 in AC 1016 (formerly 17) Cha 13; AL C (D&D), NE (AD&D).
Languages: Fenswick, Elvish (Belcadiz dialect), Kaelic, and Thyatian (Glantrian dialect). Despite his exposure to the various dialects of Glantri, Lord John still insists on first speaking to a person in Fenswick, before he feigns exasperation and condescendingly speaks in the Thyatian Common.
Weapon Proficiencies: dagger, knife, staff.
Skills: ancient history (the Fenswick in Laterre and Mystara), bureaucracy (Glantrian), etiquette, heraldry, local history (Fenswick and Glantri City), politics +1 (Glantrian), reading/writing, spellcraft.
Lord John was once a very healthy man (Con 17) in the beginning of his political career. But the curse left on him by Carmina de Belcadiz has slowly consumed him (Con 12 in AC 1000). In most recent years, his ill health and his nervous paranoia from his betrayals and enmities has left him an empty husk of his former self (Con 9 in AC 1016).
When it comes to magic, Lord John is very efficient and practical. He does not go for the showy or elaborate spells, but just prefers spells that get the job done, quickly and directly. He also has no qualms in using up magical items for his purposes. He would not think twice about expending the charges of his wand of lightning bolts to blast away his targets or a decanter of endless water in flooding an enemy's fields.
Lord John has the reputation of being very accomplished in magical combat, and has fought a couple of magical duels in his heyday. His strategy is usually just to destroy his opponent in the very first round, with a death or disintegration spell, much to the distaste of many audiences. These days, Lord John fears he may not be able to survive another duel, so he makes it a point that people know how deadly he can be, with rumours, embellished tales, and the occasional displays of powerful magic. This bluff has worked so far, as no one has yet dared challenge to Archduke of Westheath.
Lord John owns several magical items, most of them to protect him from the attacks of his enemies or reprisal from those whom he has betrayed. He constantly wears a ring of enemy detection (like the wand except its magic is constant), an amulet of proof against detection and location, and a periapt of proof against poison.
Lord John could care less about having his name remembered forever through a flashy but otherwise useless or redundant spell. He does have one spell which he crafted, John's reflective protection, which he intends to use against Gerrid Rientha if ever they will duel.
"Almost a Prince, but not quite. That crooked old man is a symbol and a warning to all would-be contenders to princedom. They will die of old age before they even become a Prince. And in Glantri, that could be a very long time."
(Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany)
Lord John's spells.