A beast of a butler
A young man with well maintained but wild black hair, his eyes constantly examining the surroundings looking for threats or if you need another cup of tea. Almost always dressed in a well kept butler’s uniform tailored to accommodate his imposing physique.
To the boy would later be known as Blenheim, the idea that he would ever set foot in a city or grand manor was fanciful nonsense. All he had ever known was the great forest and the humble cottage sequestered deep within it that was his home. He never did get the point of cities as a boy, after all the forest could provide all you need! Although the thought did cross his mind that maybe city folk didn’t have parents as smart as his who could teach them all about the forest and how to live with nature. Also, cities are filled with people, so city folk probably didn’t get lonely like Blenheim did. The only interaction with outside society he got was when his father brought him along to the nearest temple of Cernunnos. His father wasn’t a priest of Cernunnos but they shared similar philosophies and over the years he grew to be good friends with much of the “local” priesthood. It was during these visits that his father and various other priests would try and instruct him in druidic teachings. While Blenheim loved nature, he did not care much for the more abstract ways of the druids. He preferred what was direct and material to him, to live moment to moment. These visits also gave Blenheim many questions. There were other people living deep in the forest, why didn’t we live with them? Realising this line of questioning would never cease his parents decided to appease him by giving him a partial explanation. They explained that they all were not quite human and that they were “different” from other people. This wasn’t bad or wrong despite what people may say, but most people don’t understand and would hurt them for being “different”. Normally they would just have to be careful and blend in with normal society but something happened and they had to leave their tribe and family behind. Blenheim wasn’t sure he understood but he promised to be careful about being “different” near others. Life continued for a short time and Blenheim came to better understand what his parents met as he became a bit more… wolfy. He knew to hide it well and all was well.
Until one day he returned from wandering the forest to the smell of smoke filling his nostrils. He rushed home, noticing a plume of smoke rising from where the cottage should be. When he arrived, he found a burnt-out husk of a cottage, shattered glass, smatterings of alchemical silver, blood, torn ropes and shredded netting. His parents where nowhere to be found. Paralysed with fear, he doubled over and between wracking sobs cried out for his parents.
When Captain Decius Drake arrived two days later having stopped the formation of an angry mob, driven into a furious fervour by rumours of wicked wolves in the forest, by promising to investigate the claims personally Blenheim was still outside the remains of the cottage, bawling and begging his parents to come back. He was too late, others had come and gone long before he had arrived. A quick survey of the scene showed that the attackers were clearly more professional than an unruly mob although if he had to guess things didn’t go as smoothly as the attackers had wished. Unsure of what to do next he brought the child to the Drake manor.
Blenheim was gently guided to a study that had an old man apparently waiting for him. He had a kindly demeanour and tried his very best to comfort Blenheim while also getting him to tell him what happened. It was not an easy or pleasant process. After recounting his tale, the old man sat in silence for a moment. What had happened was clearly nothing less than a tragedy and leaving this child alone, without any home or family was out of the question. However, they could not simply host him here in perpetuity. He would have to do something to earn his keep and he knew the perfect job for him. That could wait however.
The old man left the room and when he returned a small boy Blenheim’s age accompanied him. He had a head of unkempt red hair and initially seemed upset, but any sadness he had soon gave way to curiosity as he rather unsubtly examined Blenheim’s unusual features. It was only then that Blenheim became acutely aware that he forgot to stop being “different”. Despite his “differences” the boy, whose name was Cosmo, didn’t seem to hate him. The two rapidly bonded and became close friends.
While Blenheim quickly recovered physically from the ordeal, emotional recovery was much more difficult. He would often be found outside the manor, frantically pacing, alternating between silent sobbing and outbursts of terrifying anger. On more than one occasion Cosmo’s presence was required to calm him down. This anger, coupled with Blenheim’s almost ceaseless energy, would prove to be a serious problem unless something was done to vent it. The Baronet, as ever, had a practical solution. Scheduled in such a way as to not interfere with his upcoming duties Blenheim would train with the mercenaries attached to the house. While not necessarily being taught any martial techniques, the exercises were successful in venting the excess anger. The mercenaries for their part grew to enjoy his company and, when he grew older, testing their honed technique on Blenheim’s raw physicality in sparring matches. When these measures proved successful Blenheim was assigned work as Cosmo’s valet. Initially Blenheim struggled as this life was completely foreign to his upbringing. He would lash out in frustration at what seemed to be a futile effort. There was grave concern that this would signal a reverse in his recovery. There was to be a change in attitude however. After spending much of his time in Cosmo’s company, trying and failing miserably to be an adequate valet, Blenheim was inspired by his example. After all, here was someone who wasn’t naturally good at anything and was constantly overshadowed by his brothers and sisters. Yet he persisted and never gave up, constantly working hard to improve himself and be ever better. Even when he discovered a latent power in himself he did not rest on his laurels but instead worked even harder. Blenheim thought that it was only fair that he try to be the best valet ever.
Constantly observing and asking questions of the other servants of the Drake manor Blenheim pushed himself beyond the confines of his own job. He strove to learn etiquette, tailoring, hairdressing, cooking, gardening, animal handling, botany, carriage driving and in the later years bartending. Where before he had struggled and despised his work he now enjoyed nothing more and revelled in the unique challenges each day posed. Only by going beyond what was asked of him could he be the best valet he could be and help Cosmo be the best he could be. Yet, in the academy there were those who would denigrate Cosmo with baseless slurs or taunt him about his family’s past. Cosmo endured this although Blenheim could never understand why. Blenheim decided that he would not stand idly by. He detested those that abused their strength to torment the weak. Often, he would confront the perpetrators in private and demand that they cease their bullying. When they refused, he demonstrated that they were not as strong as they thought. Blenheim didn’t particularly enjoy hurting people but over the years he grew to enjoy the fight, especially when he felt it was for a righteous cause.
Indeed, fighting for a righteous cause was an idea that took an ever greater hold on Blenheim as he spent more time with the Drakes. He grew to admire on the many knights that were from the Drake house, their devotion to a righteous cause similarly inspiring him. This came to a head when Cosmo shared his plans for the future, inspiring great deeds on the battlefield and destroying the enemies of the Crown. The battlefield is a great deal more dangerous than an academy, Blenheim thought and he would be damned before he allowed Cosmo to go into a battle alone. At this he pledged that if he insisted on fighting for the Crown in great battles then he too would fight alongside him as a great knight. Despite being a commoner servant of a discredited noble house, who wasn’t entirely sure how one became a knight and, by his own admission, did not have the bearing or mien of a knight, he was certain that not only would become a knight, he would be the greatest knight ever.
This confidence, devotion and loyalty comes not from a contract, a sense of pure professionalism or duty but rather his sincere friendship with the Drakes. To Blenheim Cosmo is not simply his charge but his closest friend. The Drake family is his family now. Before he lost his family cruelly and he was incapable of doing anything to prevent it. He will not let that happen again, something that those who wish to harm the Drakes will discover at their peril.