Nikos d'Orien

Character Sheet


Nikos d'Orien is the son of an innkeeper and a former barmaid, neither of whom he particularly looks like, except that both mother and son are strikingly attractive. At least, that's what he thought, give or take some occasional rumors.

When he was 12 years old, however, a party of brigands waylaid and abducted him, and quickly transported him across the nearby border to Breland, from his home in Aundair. Ultimately, he was interned in a camp for Aundarian prisoners of war. His captors said little, but eventually he came to understand that they believed he was the sonof an important man, over whom they wished to exert some kind of leverage.

Two months later, the blond-haired lad was awakened with a hand over his mouth. The hand belonged to a scruffy, swarthy fellow prisoner who, oddly, had been brought in seriously wounded only a few weeks earlier, yet was now in perfect health. This man, known only as Claes, told Nikos that there was an opportunity to escape RIGHT NOW. And indeed, as they snuck out, Nikos noticed that the usual guards were absent or, in some cases, dead. The pair made their way out of the camp by a carefully chosen path. As they reached a small copse where, wonder of wonders, a pair of well-equipped horses awaited them, a major ruckus arose in the direction from the camp. The alert boy soon realized these sounds did not simply herald their escape; rather, a full-fledged jailbreak was underway, with heavy fighting.

Given this diversion, there was no immediate pursuit. Over the next two weeks, Nikos and Claes made their way across half of Breland. Claes showed an uncanny ability to anticipate enemies' actions, to bedazzle and elude them by magic, and when necessary, to fight like a demon. Along the way, he taught Nikos many tricks of stealth and combat and, to Nikos' shock and pleasure, a few minor magic spells as well.

Finally the pair made their way back to Aundair, and immediately presented themselves — in the middle of the night — at Aundarian military outpost. Nikos was taken off to be fed, cleaned up, and so on, while Claes immediately went off to conference with the commanding officer. The next morning, Nikos was awakened by a handsome blond 40-something man in a costly House d'Orien tunic — who, upon, closer inspection, was none other than Claes! He explained that his true name was Quentin d'Orien (please note his own extensive backstory in the spoilered sections at the bottom of that link, although he was known to many people as Lymond, including his friends, and earnestly hoped Nikos would think of him that way. "Claes" was just an identity he had used for the purpose of this mission.

Finally Nikos' suspicions crystallized. As they rode together out of camp, Nikos asked "So the Brelish think you are my father. Are they correct?" Lymond replied "I am not the man who changed your diapers and held you when you were sick and burped you when cried. That's all that matters." A silence of a few minutes ensued, but finally Lymond yelled "Dammit!! That's all that SHOULD matter! But because of something that is not your fault, and has brought you no good, you are in danger for at least as long as this war continues." Another silence ensued, after which Lymond pulled out a lute and sang — in a stunningly beautiful voice — several mournful songs. Finally he relaxed, and the two talked with increasing animation for the rest of the short journey.

The reunion with Nikos' parents was tearful, joyous, but ultimately tense and short. The adults decided that for Nikos' safety, it was best that he be officially acknowledged as Lymond's son, and accepted into House Orien.

(More backstory ensues. Nikos officially becomes a courier, despite his young age, and is given a few ridiculously easy jobs to back it up. Then he is packed off to his studies, and turns out to have a great aptitude for magic, with an interest in crafting and research. He befriends a number of high-powered magical researchers, and becomes their preferred courier for messages about magic (if they don't trust House Sivis), or small packages of magical significance, due to his general skills, his pleasing personality, his own magical knowledge, and ultimately just his growing reputation for that kind of assignment.)


As for general personality and style — a NG high-CHA courier with basic bard skills is naturally going to be pleasant, engaging … and when circumstances require deceptive and sneaky as well. Beyond that, Nikos truly loves matters magical, and hence has a slight geeky quality to him as well (but only the good kind of geekiness!).

Generally, Nikos views combat or other physical solutions as a last resort, only to be used when cleverness and persuasion fail, or clearly will not work. When he is forced to fight Nikos goes into a near-rage (Personal Weapon Augmentation/Bane is a beautiful thing), but it ebbs quickly as the fight ends.

He's actually getting harder and harsher as he ages, in part because he's getting increasingly ambitious to fix the mess that the idiot warmongering leaders have created. Like everybody else, he was badly shaken by the Day of Mourning, and certainly lost a lot of friends and acquaintances personally, as well as the hope of ever seeing the fruits of some fascinating lines of research inquiry.

Father and Grandmother

Quentin "Lymond" d'Orien is the only son of the late Gelis d'Orien. Blond, beautiful, charming, and almost unfathomably free-willed, Gelis would have been a remarkable woman even had she not manifested House Orien's Siberys Dragonmark. Adding the ability to greater teleport made her one of Orien's most important diplomats and agents before she was much over the age of 20.

One day she returned from a mission to Cyre — pregnant. She steadfastly refused to tell anybody who the child's father was. And since she could travel across Khorvaire more or less at will, he could have been pretty much anybody. So she bore the child, and taught him and played with him, cutting back greatly on her travels to do so. But her talents were too valuable to shelve altogether, and so she still went on a few particularly sensitive missions. On one of those missions, to Breland, she was murdered in her bed, with a thin blade. The next day, horrified servants found her body in her locked room. No perpetrator or even strong suspect was ever found.

And thus at age 6, Quentin d'Orien was a high-status orphan. What was worse, House d'Orien did not wholly welcome him. After all, his father might have been a member of another dragonmarked house, or otherwise of tainted blood. And so they decided to foster him to the court of Aundair in Fairhaven. He was modestly talented in matters of war, excellent in matters of scholarship, and positively brilliant in matters of charm and general people skills.

Most dramatically, after his voice broke, young Quentin developed a magnficient baritone speaking voice, and an incredible singing voice ascending into high tenor range. (The tenor-range part of his speaking voice is pretty good too.) Almost all who heard it were charmed — especially the young girls and women. Since he was also easy on the eyes, with delicate even features and a cat's grace, they were drawn to him all the more. And starved for female affection, he was drawn to them as well.

Before long, the perhaps inevitable happened, and he impregnated a 15-year-old lady-in-waiting. A scandal was largely averted by Aundair's alert spymaster, who personally arranged the mother's rapid departure from court and, eventually, a good home for the baby. Even so, tragedy struck; the young mother died in childbirth. And so 16-year-old Quentin, who already felt a largely unfounded responsibility for his mother's death, further bore the guilt of his young love's death — and the perhaps greater guilt that his daughter would share his fate as an orphan.

The anguish added yet more poiganancy to his songs, but that was all the good it did him. His heart was no longer in his duties at the court. And so the spymaster suggested an alternate path for him. Playing on Quentin's guilt, on his sense of obligation for the aid received, and on the very real ongoing hold he had over Quentin through his daughter, he recruited Quentin into his service.

His first, long assignment was a welcome one. After some intensive training in disguise, search, and other covert skills, young Quentin left the court one day as "Lymond", a traveling minstrel of no small talent. In that identity, he visited every city, town, and castle in Aundair, and many in other lands as well. His dispatches contained a wealth of insight, and the spymaster was content to leave him in the field for almost five years.

Eventually, however, he was called back to Fairhaven, and officially reappeared in the service of Aundair. Technically, he was a mercenary on long-term assignment from House d'Orien, but that was no problem to arrange; while a few in House d'Orien had noticed his growing talents, the consensus was that the risk of bringing him back within the organization outweighed the benefits. He now traveled under the cover of official diplomatic missions for Aundair, usually as an aide, both inside and — to the extent fighting permitted — outside the country. Generously, Aundair permitted him to visit Passage from time to time and share significant parts of what he knew with House d'Orien, and — professionally at least — everybody was happy. At least, they let him share much of what he learned in his official capacities. What he learned as a master spy was for Aundair alone.

But when war is perpetual, every able young man who aspires to rank in the kingdom must eventually serve in battle, and so at age 25 Quentin — or, as his friends and comrades usually call him, Lymond — is a veteran captain. He is a competent fighter, and a competent leader of at least a company of men. But his greatest use may still be as an infiltrator and gatherer of intelligence.

Personally, he has a single, charming man's desires, and dallies with many women. But often there's a sense of wrongness gnawing at him when he does so.

To his daughter, he's a delightful but rarely present "uncle". [Note: I'm keeping that part vague for now, as it might be a great hook both for story and for gaining a cohort from her family should he make it to Level 6 and take the Leadership feat at that point.]

He's only truly happy when making music, or with his daughter, or when conversing with a few lively-minded friends. However, he takes satisfaction in exercising his other skills, in destroying certain kinds of villains, and in lending a helping hand to young females in need. And he gets a certain kind of satisfaction from females in other ways, at least for a short while …

While his personality is dazzling much of the time, he can also be moody and cruel. Just as judges himself over-harshly, he can do so to others as well.

At times he is almost reckless in battle; at others he shows a spy's extreme caution. Nobody can predict what he will do — and he is all the more dangerous for it.

Backstory of Mission

The customer is Geppeto d'Cannith, high-ranking associate (member?) of the Twelve.

He is working now in a highly secure d'Cannith facility. He has given Nikos a three-part mission. First, he should openly deliver a variety of messages to the Twelve and their personnel, some in document form, some verbal. That's the cover story for his trip. It also provides assurance that nobody will prevent the outbound version of the trip, for fear of irritating a whole lot of powerful people and indeed a powerful organization and those who think it shouldn't be tampered with. Some of the messages will almost surely require answers for him to carry back, which may provide some kind of similar protection on the return trip.

Second, Nikos is to retrieve several spellbooks. Before leaving on a long trip, Geppeto put those of his things that MUST NOT BE TOUCHED in a small secure room — ministorage for magicians, as it were — and that is where it surely has remained. There may be scrying and espionage, but none would be so foolhardy as to physically take stuff. Nikos is of course given passwords and talismans that let him retrieve these safely, as well as a To Whom It May Concern letter very Arcane Marked saying he should be given access. Plus he's told how to recognize the bloody things.

Finally, he is to bring a small box that is not mentioned in the letter. Nikos knows what it looks like, its weight and dimensions, where it is hidden, and how it is protected. Geppeto says he will be safer if he can take it unobserved, but take it he must, and there's yet another To Whom It May Concern letter in reserve on that point that Nikos may use if absolutely necessary. The real mission is retrieval of that box.

Geppeto says, apparently sincerely, the contents of the box are inert, and it is neither dangerous to transport nor fragile. The risk is solely that somebody will try to take it or prevent its delivery. Geppeto isn't saying who, and indeed suggests he doesn't know all the possibilities.

The general implication of what Geppeto says is that getting to the storeroom and removing the necessary things should be easy, because things aren't going to get SO screwed up as to create problems of that kind. However, the place leaks information like a sieve, so anybody may know what he's up to on the return trip, and he could be in great danger solely because of the box.

As to why Nikos — the mssion requires magical literacy and possibly diplomacy, and Nikos has done missions requiring those skills before. He's also superior at traveling when people want to intercept him, which may also be relevant. He's done one or more missions with these elements for Geppeto in the past, and was recommended to him for that mission by d'Cannith colleagues whose judgment Geppeto trusts.

Clues to the Grand Conspiracy

There are two posts where the contents of Anaqiss's hoard are described. From the first post:

That post also contains the description of Anaqiss's horrible teleportation ritual. From the second post:

Nikos's Family Tree

Nikos's family got a little more complicated than even before starting here.

  • Quentin d'Orien: Father and high profile Aundarian nobleman of House Orien
  • Myra Blanc/Myra Verak: Mother of Nikos and Felevar, secret child of Geppeto d'Cannith and Garsaysa d'Orien. Story told here.
  • Geppeto d'Cannith: A member of the Twelve who has instructed Nikos to take a number of missives to his associates in Korth and once there, retrieve magical items under unusual circumstances. Geppeto is actually Nikos's
  • Garsaysa d'Orien: An impetuous and conniving woman, and also Nikos's grandmother. She has been in stasis for years and so looks quite young despite being a lover of Geppeto's ages ago. It's all explained here.
  • Felevar Verak: Another courier sent by Geppeto d’Cannith to Korth a year ago who disappeared after attacked by masked men. Felevar is actually Nikos's half-brother, of an unknown father though he calls their grandfather Geppeto "father," and the two are united against Garsaysa, their grandmother.
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