Count-Consort Evander Darkwater
No, I'm fine. Just... *cough* Just let me catch my breath.
Description: Tall and impossibly thin, this man has a spidery look about him, all gangly arms and legs that he somehow manages with a modicum of grace. Hair that's somewhere between light brown and dark blonde hangs in a shaggy style, framing a fine featured face that would be handsome if it filled out a little bit. His gray eyes look like all of the color has been washed out of them, and hold a sense of detachment, as though he's observing the world from very far away. When he speaks, his voice is soft and breathless, a delicate tenor that has been roughened by his constant coughing.
Personality: On the surface, Evander is a calm, centered man, soft spoken and too weak to fall prey to the throes of strong emotion. A lot of his sickness is in his lungs, such that he can never catch his breath well enough to raise his voice, and in most things, he's happy to go along to get along, letting the tides of life take him to and fro as they will. Never a well man even when he's not ill, he's learned to accept the limitations of his body and to work around them as best he can. For someone who doesn't know him well, this frail exterior is all they'll ever see, and it's enough for a lot of people to dismiss him.
But under the faded velveteen glove, there's an iron will and a mind like a steel trap. Evander has faced death more than once in his young life, and the experience has given him a sense of perspective far beyond his years, which is why he generally doesn't let the little things bother him. But in situations where something that he sees as important is at stake, he shows himself to be uncompromising and almost totally without fear. When it comes time to take a stand, this frail wisp of a man will dig in his heels and good luck moving him.
Background: For the first seven years of Evander Kennex's life, almost every letter sent from Stormward included the words: "And young Evander still lives." He was sickly from birth, and was so often ill and so weak even when he was well that everyone expected him to die in childhood. But year after year, somehow, he hung on.
Evander's parents, maybe trying to insulate themselves from the inevitable pain of losing him, were never terribly close to him. Oh, they went through the motions, certainly, but there was almost a reluctance to it. And then Evander's mother, Lady Girasol, went missing when he was still only five years old. No one ever accused Evander to his face, of course, but still it was whispered that Lord Wayne's second wife had been unable to bear her son's sickly nature, and had thrown herself from the cliffs into the ocean in despair.
But if he lacked in parental affection, his older half-sisters Catalana and Jan doted on him. Catalana was as much a mother to him as an older sister, always checking up on him, always seeing to his needs, and Jan protected him from more than one would-be bully through the judicious breaking of noses. He spent the days when he was well enough to leave his room in the library with Niklas and Elara, although he was always too ill to go with them on their various adventures. Evander grew up with the grim understanding that because of his poor health, most of the wide world would be forever closed to him, and because of this, while Niklas' interests veered towards legends and fantastic tales, Evander devoured non-fiction. History, travelogues, current events, practical books of instruction in esoteric subjects, it didn't matter. He read it all. He didn't expect his life was going to be a long one, and wanted to experience as much of the world as he could in the time he had, even if he could only experience it through books.
Against all expectations (even his own), the years ticked by and somehow Evander didn't die. He got close more than once, but either through Victoria's stubbornness and skill or his own iron will, he always recovered. He even felt well enough to travel. Just a short jaunt to a neighboring island, but still the first time he'd ever left Stormward. It was a mistake that almost cost him his life.
Evander was on that island, visiting what amounted to a Kennex country home, when Ford freed the thralls with the stroke of a pen, and without warning anyone. The island he was visiting held a large plantation where the thralls rioted, and violence consumed the surrounding countryside. Evander's guards were able to spirit him away in a daring escape just as the rioters closed in, but the whole experience was too much for his fragile health. He caught a fever that came as close to killing him as anything he ever had. But the experience left him more determined than ever to conquer his poor health and to use all of the knowledge he'd built up over a lifetime of reading to help his family. With the death of the Marquis, Evander has decided that it's time to make the journey to Arx, where he hopes to make himself useful -- assuming he can just catch his breath for a moment.