Thieves & Kings
Lord Zarad Witchbyrne
Lord of Hexwater
Lord Zarad Witchbyrne is the lord of Hexwater, a small holding located roughly twelve miles north of Mornhaven, the City of Bright Sails, and along the important trade road of the Forest Walk in the Forest Kingdom. Although he is a landed lord in the court of Shem, and answers directly to Princess Adrianna Warduke, as Seaholme is considered a royal province, he does not visit court often and tries to stay out of the political limelight.
In truth, he is wholly the creature of Master Thuldrin Kreed, the local head of the Timberwright’s Guild. He is not the towering, sword-wielding figure of myth, but rather a bookish, coin-counter whose grasp of politics is astute enough to recognize who pays him, and stays out of the guild’s way. As a result of his craven ways, his town is a festering pool of crime, where influence is determined by how much someone pays you, or how quickly the local the Lia-Kavair takes an interest in your efforts.
The Witchbyrne clan includes the lord’s daughters, Savai and Hesela, and his younger brother, Vavri, who acts as his heir and is the constable of the castle. The lord’s wife Lysani died in TR 1032 due to a “chill” shortly after having their second daughter, and only a couple years into their marriage. He has never considered remarrying, although he enjoys the company of women, and occasionally takes a mistress, usually one of the women from the local courtesan’s. His closest adviser, Nykkal of Glasswood serves as the Chamberlain, and has served the clan for thirty years, holding the distinct position that deals directly with the local Mangai and setting Lord Witchbyrne’s personal daily agenda.
The chamberlain is something of an enigma, distinctly of Coranik descent, and speaking with a faint nasal accent. On the rare occasions that he speaks of his homeland, he describes it as the “distant east”, making everyone assume he is a fugitive from the vengeance of a powerful lord in eaves of the Shatter. He is amused by the idle speculation he causes, and seems to enjoy dropping obscure hints. In TR 1044, he refused a knighthood and the offer of Southwood as a manor, saying he could best serve “…without the trappings of power…”_.
The clan of Witchbyrne have held the lands around Hexwater for several generations, and have a reputation for staying off the map of the political scenes and keeping largely out of the social scene of the realm. Their original members were the typical adventurers who settled in the area following the establishment of the Kingdom of Mercia around TR 750.
For centuries, the village was a simple agrarian community, until the rise of Mornhaven, and the interests of the Mangai fell upon the realm, bringing wood-cutters and charcoalers seeking fuel for the rising economy of that city. Throughout it all, the Witchbyrne clan stayed close to their lands, never involved themselves in politics, and until the arrival of the Warduke to the realm, never sought to ally itself with anyone.
In TR 988, the clan acknowledged the Warduke’s call to arms, and swore allegiance to their banner along with all the other former noble clans of the Kingdom of Mercia. Since that day, the clan has remained quiet and out of the politics of the realm, though they pay their taxes like everyone else.