The Chronicles of Foxton
The Baron of Foxton
Baron Mathieu du Cleff of Foxton is still a bit of an enigma to the people of his province. He’s only been back in the province for a little less than a year. Although he was born here, he moved away (or was sent away) when he was a young man and he hasn’t been home since. He appears to be a man in his late thirties, although he is actually much older than that. He is a distant cousin of King Durom, and so shares a touch of the divine blood that runs through the King’s veins. Those who knew his father say he’s a dead-ringer for the older Baron (minus about 30 years of age), so there’s no doubt about his parentage.
There are a lot of rumors about the Baron and where he’s been for the last 30+ years, but few of them have been confirmed. It’s said that he was once a member of the Draconians, but left (or was drummed out) for an unknown reason. It’s also said that he was a member of the Demorian Diplomatic Corps and spent most of the last few decades abroad. The current most popular theory is that he was the diplomatic envoy to the Empire of Kidbod, which may explain some of his eccentric behavior.
He may have picked up some strange, heathen beliefs in his time away, because no one has ever seen him attend any church services. In a nation as devout as Demoria is, this has attracted a large amount of speculation and gossiping.
Rumor has it that he’s a powerful wizard (though truth be told, no one in Foxton has ever him cast any spells). There are, of course, other darker rumors, about him worshipping evil gods, but these haven’t gained much traction because (a) he seems like a really nice guy, and (b) there haven’t been any upswings in occult activity or strange goings-on since he’s gotten home.
There are a few facts about him that people do know for sure:
First, and most strange, is the project that people call “The Foxton Gate” or (unofficially, and never to the Baron’s face) “The Baron’s Folly.” When he first returned to Foxton, he had a large arched gate built at the border of his province, over the Pilgrim’s Trail. It’s just a gate, with a tall stone wall that continues on both sides of the gate for about ten or fifteen meters. The gate has a pair of large oak doors that can swing shut to seal the gate (although they have never been shut)… besides, what would be the point of that, since any attacking force could just walk around the thing? There are no guards or watchmen stationed at the gate. There is, however, a plaque on the outside of the gate which reads, “All those who enter through these gates are subject to the authority of the Baron of Foxton and the King of Demoria.” People in Foxton are completely perplexed as to the point of this thing, but if this is the worst thing he does then it’s not so bad.
Second is the thing which drives his guards crazy. He doesn’t like to be cooped up in his castle, so frequently he’ll wander away without bothering to tell anyone about it. He’ll walk to Foxtown, or he’ll saddle up one of his horses and ride off to examine his lands. When his guards catch him wandering off, he’s always happy to invite them along, but more times than not he’ll go off on his own. This hasn’t gotten him into any trouble so far, but it does make his soldiers’ jobs tougher.
Third is his strange relationship with Foxtown’s mayor, the Right Honorable Lord Mayor Charles Franklin Hobbes. Hobbes is a rather officious, by-the-book type who takes his position and responsibilities very seriously. He has a distinct lack of humor (especially when it comes to his job) and keeps a very firm grip on his power. The Baron, on the other hand, is very laid-back about most things. He isn’t interested in paperwork or in doing things by-the-book. So there is quite a personality clash between these two.
Technically, the Baron has no say in the goings-on inside the town of Foxtown – it is a free city with a charter from the King, which is why the Draconians provide the law enforcement inside the city. Practically, the Baron could make life very difficult for those in the city if he so chose. Luckily, he hasn’t chosen to do so and is more than happy to leave the day-to-day running of the city to Mayor Hobbes, which gratifies but also mystifies the mayor, who was expecting someone a little different.
Finally, he doesn’t act like a typical “nob.” He’s very friendly and personable, even to the peasants and servants. He usually doesn’t stand on ceremony (emphasis on “usually” – he’s gotten upset once or twice when people try to get too chummy with him), and his clothes, though of a high quality, are never ostentatious or overly flashy. This is not terribly unusual for a Demorian nobleman, but it is worth noting.
Other random facts:
He’s not married (to anyone’s knowledge) and has no children (again, to anyone’s knowledge).
He likes foreign foods, and pays a great deal to have spices and other delicacies from far away imported. He’s currently trying his hand at growing some of these exotic spices in his own gardens, with mixed luck.