The Chronicles of Foxton
Baron Matthieu du Clef
The eccentric ruler of the Barony of Foxton
When he was a young man, Mathieu was sent to Drache to study magic at the College of Cli. He had obvious talent in the magical arena, but there were no skilled teachers locally who could help him hone his gift. He spent three years at Cli, which (as he tells it today) were two years too many. The instructors saw that he had a gift for magic, but his control over it was too wild, too intuitive. Try as they might, they could not teach him. Before the end of his first year, they knew he was a wild mage, but due to his status and the wealth and importance of his family, they continued to try to harness his gift (or at least study it in great detail, to better understand it). All in all, it was time wasted as far as young Mathieu was concerned. When the dean of students finally admitted that they could not teach the young man anything, he was released.
He immediately signed up for the Demorian Ambassador’s Corps. He trained for two years, learning the fine arts of diplomacy, negotiation, and politics. He also learned a bit about self-defense and weapons-play (the Demorians do not want their ambassadors to be helpless in dangerous situations!).
It was around this time that the War of Swords was breaking out. Leomund (the archmage, and a former tutor of Mathieu’s) warned that war was coming, and that Demoria might not survive. Several of the country’s young noblemen were immediately sent abroad, in order to preserve the lines of succession should Drache fall. Mathieu was one of them. Because he was away from the country, he completely missed the War of Swords (many of his fellow young nobles were angry at missing their chance for glory, but not Mathieu – even at this young age he had no desire to see the blood and chaos of war up-close).
His first assignment was to the city of Port, in Kalon, as a junior member of the trade ambassador’s staff. He learned a lot in that time about business, trade, and negotiation, and began studying other languages.
His next mission was to the College of Sarlarka, along the northern coast of Morjiim. While his time at Cli had been wasted, Sarlarka was a very different place. Despite having no talent for rote magic, he learned a great deal about magical theory and practice there. He was delighted by the atmosphere of this ancient and reverent place of learning, and made a good many life-long friends here.
After more than a year cloistered at the school, he was reassigned again. Still heading eastward, he arrived at the oasis city of Shileen, somewhere near the border of Korma. He was there to discuss ending the slave trade which flowed through the town. He found a receptive listener in the Sorceress who ruled the city. It seemed that she was the daughter of the former ruler (recently killed), and felt ill-prepared for a leadership role. The ambassador stayed with her for some time, tutoring her in the various skills which he had learned over the course of his duties. It wasn’t long before they became lovers.
(Shaylarra the Sorceress of Shileen had been a cruel and powerful wizardess who controlled a town on the border of Morjiim and Korma — a tyrant who raided the surrounding lands and who enslaved those her armies captured. She used this slave labor to build a great tower in her honor in the center of the town. The town sits on a small trade route that leads from the coast of Morjiim to points south, and is used by those who wish to avoid Korma. But she was killed not so very long before the Ambassador arrived, by a party of adventurers known as the Fearless Monster Hunters, so her daughter had taken command of the city.)
However, this relationship was not fated to last, as he was once again reassigned, this time to the famous (or infamous) city of Brills. Due to his years of experience and his noble heritage, he was promoted to Senior Trade Ambassador, a heady but sometimes dangerous position. He quickly established a reputation as somewhat of an eccentric, but both clever and ruthless in his political dealings. He put up a cheerful, friendly, even clueless face to the world, but in fact he was adept at gathering (and using) sensitive information, forging alliances, and being in the right place at the right time. He made enemies, it’s true, but he also made many friends – and to the people who didn’t know him very well, they just considered him a pleasant and harmless (but strange) Demorian (much to their regret, if they ever crossed him).
It wasn’t very long before he attracted the attentions of the Queen herself, the Tyrant of Brills, Queen Andrea Harols. A woman of great beauty, fiery passion, and shrewd intelligence, she saw in Mathieu a kindred spirit. He was reluctant at first to officially ally himself (and thus, his nation) with her, but she soon won him over. Demoria’s official position slowly shifted to support Queen Andrea as the legitimate heir and ruler of Kidbod.
Ambassador Mathieu and the Queen became lovers, unofficially. He likes to think that this wasn’t a reward for supporting her, that she felt genuine affection, even love, for him. It was well-known in the court that the Queen had great admiration for Demoria, and had even adopted Demorian as the official language of her court, so perhaps he is right. It is said that the Queen even offered to marry him, to meld the Demorian and Kidbodish royal families together. If it’s true, why did he say no? Perhaps it was because he did not relish spending the rest of his life dodging assassinations and putting down rebellions. Perhaps because he knew that he would never amount to anything more than the Prince Consort, a powerless figurehead in the court. Perhaps he was ordered not to by the King of Demoria himself. Or perhaps this story is yet another false rumor, the kind which circulates through the cutthroat courts of Kidbod like the currents of the ocean.
They were together (again, unofficially) for several years. At one point, the Queen took a months-long tour of her lands. Rumors that she left the city to secretly give birth are unconfirmed and mostly forgotten at this point. In any case, no one has ever claimed to have fathered a child by her, nor has any such child made an appearance. So few people put much stock in these old rumors anymore.
During this time, he amassed a great deal of money, by arranging very favorable trade deals for his country (deals which may not have been possible but that he had special access to the Queen and her inner circle).
The Ambassador stayed in Kidbod for a great many years, but eventually was called closer to home. He spent a few years as an ambassador to the Elvish kingdoms, moving from city to city as his duties called him. He became familiar with Ephyra, Areian, Pheidon, and Aigialeia, though he did not spend much time in any of them.
Then, approximately two years ago, he received word that his father had died. He was called home to assume his rightful duty as the only heir to the lands of the du Clef family. He stopped once again in Drache to visit with his cousin the King and to receive his instructions, and then he took the long road home to Foxton. It was nearly a year between the time when his father died and when he arrived home, and more than two decades since he had walked the fertile soil of this land.
And perhaps for the first time since he had left home, he had no idea what to do with himself…