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Duke Killian, the Red

Killian Staghunter was born and raised as a noble of the royal court. With he being cousin to the young King Osric and his father head of the standing army, he and his parents were very involved in the matters of state. As he grew into manhood, the young lord was second only to the king so far as he was concerned. Leading the Great Hunt for the king’s celebration of birth each year and participating in the lists of each grand festival, Killian expanded his prowess to martial skills as well. Much of his relation to the crown changed after King Osric was married, and bore an heir shortly after.

It is tradition that noble houses send a child to military service under the crown. And even a house so noble as the Duke of Lannock could not refuse the call of his child. Where most nobles send their children to the Kingsmen academy to learn from members of court and scholars, the late Duke feared taking the vows would remove him from the royal relation so as to never have descendants with possible claim to the throne. With Killian already familiar with court and martial training, he asked favor from the king to send him to be trained with Rangers in the far reaches of the kingdom. Over the next few years, Killian grew into a cunning captain among the Rangers. He stood apart from many others due to his zeal for preemptive combat rather than the traditional scout and report tactics. While he adopted the hit and run fighting style, his mind was more suited for a warfront rather than a frontier. After nearly a decade of service to the Rangers, Killian received leave when his family learned of his father’s ailing heart. King Osric relieved him of his charge on the wild fronts, and named him the new Duke of Lannock after his father’s passing.

Duke Killian created a new training ground at the southern fortress of Bash Tiar for all those who wish to serve in the standing army. His tactics and skills learned from the wilds were passed to his troops, and the Kings army took on a new strength it had not known since centuries passed. King Osric elevated the Duke to Grand Marshall of the men at arms and safekeeping of Olaran’s southern borders that lie east of the Fire Mountains. No one came in or out of the South without Duke Killian knowing.

As the years passed, small conflicts with Olaran’s southern neighbor, Goltha, lessoned little by little. While Duke Killian was of a mind to conquer and claim their lands, King Osric wished for peace above all else. On a visit of good will, the king and his family traveled south to meet with leaders of Goltha to discuss  and end to decades of fighting. Nearly too late, the Duke learned of a Golthian warband plotting to raid the peace meeting and kill all those who would broker peace. Killian gathered to him some of his most skilled and created a band of shock troops. Quick, deadly, ruthless, and loyal till their death, this war party tore through the border and slaughtered the raiders. The clothes they wore ran red with blood as they put the their enemy to the sword. Killian return King Osric and his party to Lannock, where he could ensure safe travel back to the capital for the Royal family. The denizens of the city cheered for at their triumphant return. "Killian the Red!" the crowd called. Upon his return, the king let it be known that Duke Killian would hold a place on the Throne’s Council and his brave few were declared the Heath-Guard of Olaran.

In the years that followed, Prince Rangar went on his own quest and found himself far from the throne. And when King Osric fell to a poison at the annual Autumn festival, Duke Killian feared the vacuum of power that would follow. With eyes towards the throne, he reminded the Council that he was the next of kin if the crowned prince was not found. Much to everyone’s surprise, the prince now king, was produced and crowned. King Rangar charged the Duke to help lead an expedition for the Sword of Hope in the distant lands to the south the following year. And as things have gone awry, Killian again found himself with eyes towards a vacant throne. While the king recovers from whatever treachery bewitched him from within the kingdom, the Duke of Lannock now claims himself the rightful regent of the throne. His claims now put the kingdom on the brink of civil war.