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Noussoir du Maraisby Kit Navarro
Brother of Prince Malachie du Marais of Morlay-Malinbois
"Ah! I've heard that rumour before. But the truth is actually far more interesting..."
Noussoir du Marais has the physical features of the typical Sylaire man: tall and slim, high-bridged nose, high cheekbones, piercing blue eyes. The reddish shade is his brown hair and the ruddy tint on his smooth skin suggests some Flaemish ancestry.
Many people have commented how Noussoir and his brother, Sire Malachie du Marais, are unlike in appearance (besides the albino skin, of course.) The Prince's supporters comment that the white-skinned Malachie is much more striking and debonair, while his detractors are quick to point out that Noussoir's features are much more handsome.
For better of for worse, Noussoir is a hopeless fashion victim, often attiring himself in the latest of Glantrian fads. Often flashy, and sometimes even gaudy, Noussoir does, on occasion, manage to actually dress decently and impressively.
Personality & Quirks
Most people only know Noussoir socially, through the many parties and social events of Glantrian high society. The Noussoir they know is consistently well-mannered, genteel, and dangerously charming. He has a wry sense of humour that relaxes social restrictions and discretions, and a comforting sympathetic ear to most anything, even things not spoken of in polite society.
Those who consider themselves his friends know Noussoir as a true bon vivant, enjoying every ball and soirée, and every señorita and mademoiselle. He is generous with money (which never seems to end), and even more generous with his anecdotes about the various Glantrian glitterati (sometimes fabricated, frequently true, often malicious, and always interesting).
Then there are those who know the true Noussoir, those who have been on the receiving end of his malevolent gossip, who have helplessly begged him to keep his silence, and who have paid him time and time again in money and magical treasure.
The only person Noussoir truly cares for is his sister, Suzanne du Marais.
Before AC 1013, the man known as Noussoir du Marais, brother of Prince Malachie, was hitherto unknown. He was born Noussoir du Vrai in AC 991, second child of Édouard and Suzanne du Vrai, who died in giving birth to him.
His father, the Seneschal of Baron Malachie, raised and educated him in Château Morlay. Despite his lack of magical ability, Noussoir had a quick wit and a remarkable memory. He had little passion for book-knowledge, but had a keen interest in human nature and social behaviour. Sire Édouard never begrudged his son this, knowing (perhaps, all too well) that this is what would get him through life. And Noussoir's favourite subject on behavioural study, whom he even idolised for a time, was the mysterious albino Baron Malachie du Marais.
The happiness of Noussoir's childhood ended with Sire Édouard's death in AC 1001. According to Baron Malachie, a vampire had come to Château Morlay, killed Sire Édouard and his hunting hounds, and almost killed Suzanne, had he not transformed into the White Wolf and saved her life.
What Malachie did not know at the time, was that Noussoir was a witness to the actual events; for the "vampire" that the White Wolf attacked and killed, was Sire Édouard, newly changed into a werebat with his lycanthropy uncontrolled! Malachie never revealed the truth and Noussoir has since hated him for it.
In AC 1005, when Malachie adopted Suzanne and Noussoir as "long-lost siblings," Noussoir viewed it as an act of guilt for killing their father. When Malachie allowed them to take du Marais as their surname, Noussoir saw it as an insult to the memory of their father. And when Malachie proposed to marry the Vicomtesse Diane de Moriamis of Malinbois, Noussoir viewed it as a direct affront to Suzanne's love for the Baron.
On the eve of Malachie's wedding to the Vicomtesse, Noussoir confronted Malachie with the truth of Sire Édouard's death, and threatened to reveal the truth to his sister. The Baron did not back down from the political marriage, but he did convince Noussoir to keep his silence, and spare Suzanne the pain of the truth. (Of course, a little gold helped convince him as well...)
This however, did not stop Noussoir from spreading the nastiest truths, half-truths, and untruths about Malachie's marriage to Diane de Moriamis, all done to redeem Suzanne's honour.
For a time, during the height of the Alphatian War, Malachie could not be bothered by Noussoir's rumourmongering. But when the war was over, and Glantrians were back to intriguing and political manoeuvring, Noussoir's gossip was becoming widespread, believed and dangerous to Malachie!
In AC 1011, Malachie charged Noussoir with treason, sedition and disturbing the public order. Unfortunately for Malachie, Suzanne intervened and prevented him from any definitive action. Noussoir left Morlay-Malinbois to start a life elsewhere (but not without a monthly stipend, secretly arranged for him by Suzanne.)
In truth, the arrangement suited Noussoir like a remorhaz to ice. He adventured in Nouvelle Averoigne for a time, working with Jean-Louis d'Ambreville organize secret sects of clerics in Glantri. But he had to part company with them, when Jean-Louis discovered he had been extorting magical items and favours from the clerics.
In AC 1013, Noussoir found his way to Glantri City and made a smashing social debut. He finally took the name "Noussoir du Marais" and passed himself off as Prince Malachie's brother. He had become the darling of the social set, and made a lot of friends and patrons. He has also received many gifts and favours from the minor nobility, which supports his hedonistic lifestyle.
Web of Intrigue
No one person in Glantri City today probably knows more about the ins and outs of Glantrian society than Noussoir du Marais. And for better or for worse, what he knows are actually true.
Noussoir knows several personalities from his adventuring days ("Didn't I meet you with Jean-Louis d'Ambreville?"). He once had a liaison once with the Lady Mariana Terlagand of Berrym ("Or should I call you Narda?"), and he is a close confidant of that tragic widower Vicomte Gilles Grenier de Fausseflammes ("I heard you were an expert in poisons-I mean, potions..."). He received many gifts from a certain mid-level diviner from the Great School of Magic ("But it was that student who made the advances, wasn't it?"), and he is a frequent guest of the hitherto unwed Salinas sisters of Belcadiz ("Oh! Who needs men when you've got golems and magens? I mean, as servants, of course...").
Noussoir recently made the acquaintance of a certain Alasdhair MacCallum, a correspondent for a publisher in Karameikos, who was compiling a comprehensive worldwide almanac and book of facts. This acquaintance coincided with a sudden surge of gifts from friends, patrons and admirers, in the hopes of getting included in the book-or not. Many of Noussoir's acquaintances (thankfully) did not get mentioned in the book, but Noussoir did, and in a rather unflattering way!
Noussoir is the perfect operator in Glantrian gossip and intrigues. There are several reasons why he has lasted this long. First, he chooses his victims well, targeting the hapless socialite fops with rank, riches and reputation, but with no real clout, and generally avoids the politically powerful and magically dangerous high nobility. He has yet to go up against an actual Prince of Glantri (besides Malachie, of course.) Second, he knows not to pressure or extort his victims too much, to point that it may be dangerous to him. Some nobles aren't even sure if he is blackmailing them, and would just voluntarily offer him gifts or favours, just in case. And third, people have the notion that an attack on Noussoir would bring on an attack from his many friends and admirers, including Malachie. Most people are unaware of the actual situation between the two "brothers," but it cannot be discounted that Dame Suzanne could easily influence Malachie to take vengeance for her brother.
Recently, Noussoir has caught the attention of Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick, Malachie's archrival. Whether they will come to a mutually agreeable and advantageous partnership has yet to be seen...
Statistics, Skills & Magical Items
Str 10 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 17 Wis 16 Cha 16; AL C (D&D), NE (AD&D).
Weapon Proficiencies: short sword, knife, stiletto.
Skills: dancing, etiquette, gaming (dice, chess, cards, and other gentleman's games), heraldry, local history, persuasion, reading lips, reading/writing.
Thief Skills: CW 70%; DN 15%; FRT 5%; HS 70%; MS 75%; OL 55%; PP 20%; RL 85%; backstab x3.
Languages: Sylaire, Thyatian (Glantrian dialect), Elvish (Belcadizian dialect).
Noussoir's social skills can easily make his the star of any party, and he prefers the garish limelight to unobtrusiveness. This is all a clever legerdemain to draw attention away from his more subtle operations. For Noussoir is the master of the double-entendre and the threat-concealed, double-talking an intended victim in the presence of a third party, who is blissfully unaware of the sinister dealings before him.
And because people are so used to the fact that if Noussoir is present, he makes his presence felt, they are unaware that he is still sometimes there, hiding in the shadows, out of sight, but perfectly within ear-shot!
Noussoir has a constant supply of magical items of a temporary nature, provided by his wizard friends and patrons. He has been known to have used a potion of clairaudience, philtre of glibness, Starella's aphrodisiac, and a rod of beguiling (until the charges ran out!).
His most prized personal magical item is Noussoir's pendant. This powerful pendant is rumoured to have the powers of the following items:
ring of mind shielding
amulet of proof against detection and location
medallion of ESP 90' range
philtre of persuasiveness
potion of clairvoyance
necklace of memory enhancement (Tome of Magic)
mirror of retention (Tome of Magic)
golden amulet of truth (Glantri: Kingdom of Magic Test of Darkness adventure)
More likely, Noussoir has more than one of these objects, with one or a combination of the mentioned powers.
Noussoir is also rumoured to have hidden somewhere a book entitled Noussoir's Tome of Secrets. Formerly a mundane book, he recently got it enchanted with a special contingency spell, that upon his untimely demise, this book will be duplicated and then teleported without error to various members of the Glantrian nobility, a Glantrian Prince or two, and a certain Joshuan Gallidox of Karameikos.
What Noussoir does really posses are a stiletto +3 and short sword +2, +3 vs. lycanthropes (just in case Malachie sends one of his minions after him!).
Noussoir also "borrowed" Suzanne's silver amulet and replaced it with a faux one. What he knows is that the amulet protects against all lycanthropes (as the scroll), but what he doesn't know is that it doesn't affect one lycanthrope-perhaps the most dangerous of all-the White Wolf himself!
"Be careful when he's talking. But be more careful when he's keeping quiet. That means he's listening..."
(Carmina de Belcadiz)