An Oncomming Storm
[Bywater] Alain Bywater
The second son of Lord Daeron Bywater, Young Cockrel
Alain Bywater is the second son of Lord Daeron Bywater, and shares with him many of the typical features of the Bywater line. He is tall, standing at around 185 centimeters, and usually keeps his head held high and his posture straight, which only makes him appear taller. Though not as broad-shouldered and muscular as many of his male relatives, Alain still displays some wiry strength that has made him into a competent archer, though it is readily apparent that he is not a warrior born. His hands are slender and elegant, more used to holding a pen than a sword, and his cheeks lack the ruddy quality of someone who spends many long days training in the courtyard. This has led to many old knights calling young Alain soft or weak, especially in comparison to his older brother or his cousin Braedon. Still, there is a solid core of iron in the young man, though whether this will be tempered into pure steel or turn brittle and break has yet to be seen.
Like his father, Alain’s hair is the color of beaten gold, falling in soft curls down to his shoulders, but it is the face that this hair frames that catches most people’s eyes. Rarely is the word beautiful used to describe men, though there are few other words that do Alain Bywater justice. His face is slightly long, with clearly defined cheekbones and a clear cut jawline. His nose is straight and tall, more reminiscent of his mother’s than his father’s, and his teeth are shining white when he smiles and laughs. His eyes too are a hallmark of the Chester bloodline, as they are the color of the deep oceans, a blue so dark it almost turns indigo in certain light. These large eyes are quick and attentive, and, when in the company of family and friends, shine with mirth and joy. When he is alone, or with strangers however, they can sometimes turn dark and brooding, further highlighting his serious demeanor.
When it comes to apparel Alain is almost always impeccably dressed. Taught from an early age by his mother the importance of good impressions, he has a varied and some would say excessive wardrobe. He prefers coats and finely made doublets, usually in black with details picked out in gold or silver, and often complemented with various cloaks or half-cloaks in gold. These are held in place with a broche in polished silver with the Bywater griffon on it, a gift from his mother on his fifteenth name day. The few times where Alain is dressed for combat he wears a simple mail coat together with a heavy breastplate in steel and a light helmet. The armor is of fine make, though without any real embellishments, further indicating that he is not truly comfortable in it. Likewise, his sword and shield are also well-crafted but with more focus on functionality rather than form. His longbow however, made from ash and with grooves made from silver, is a beautiful piece of workmanship, and is one of Alain’s most treasured possessions.
Despite his soft features and slender build, Alain is not a soft man. Though not as hard and cynical as his father, Alain has a raw talent for negotiations and courtly intrigue. His voice is clear and melodious, though slightly raspier following his poisoning in Market Town, and he speaks with the voice of someone used to being in charge. He is a pleasant conversationalist, well versed in several topics, from history and architecture to politics and science, and he tries to maintain impeccable manners when in polite society. He can also be witty and sarcastic when the time calls for it, which makes him able to befriend people quickly. He has a serious demeanor that helps him appear older than he is which has proven useful when he has had to negotiate with lords many years his senior.
Yet for all his maturity, Alain is still a young man, with a young man’s ideals and priorities. At times he can act without thinking everything through, a quality his father seems to find particularly troublesome. He can be pouty and even petty if everything does not go his way, and he has at times showed that he can be both cruel and prejudiced. On the other hand, his serious demeanor and what some might call cold behavior can make him a difficult man to cooperate with. It can also create the impression that he does not care about the people under his command, other than his friends and family. If this is case, or if it is just the young man trying to imitate his father remains to be seen.
Alain was born 18 years ago on a warm summer’s eve as the second son and third child of Lord Daeron and Lady Leonette Bywater. Named after his then sickly and dying grandfather, Alain was from birth a small and timid child. Seemingly uninterested in the martial pursuits unlike his older brother and cousin, except when he tattled on their more reckless adventures, Alain was always more interested in books and stories than swords and chivalry. As such he was showed far more attention from his mother than his father, and was by many considered a brat and a mommy’s boy.
What plans lord Daeron had for his second son at this point is hard to guess at, but that he planned for him to be sent away and become someone’s page and later squire can be safely assumed. Whether he wanted to send him to Castle Preston or even to his father’s old friend lord Whent, as some suggest, became completely irrelevant with the War of the Usurper. As Robert Baratheon’s forces massed on border between the Stormlands and the Reach, seemingly ready to attack the Cocklesvale, Alain was sent west towards the Shield Islands together with his mother and sisters, while the rest of the male Bywaters massed around Ashford. This was to keep them safe from the advancing Stormlanders, but in Alain’s case it backfired. While exploring an abandoned homestead he was ambushed and captured by outriders from the Usurper’s army. Before he could be ransomed back to his father he was rescued by his cousin Braedon in a daring night time raid. Even though had been treated well, it was still the first real taste of discomfort the young boy had experienced, and most of the Bywater family can agree that the experience changed him. He vowed that never again would he feel as helpless as he did then.
In the four years since the end of the war, Alain has worked hard to never be in a similar situation. He took up sword fighting, horseback riding and finally seemed willing to grow up. Even though he lacked the raw talent and strength to become a great warrior, he showed great promise as an archer, and with house Bywater’s history being filled with younger sons who were great archers, this suited Alain fine. His scholarly interests also changed. No longer were the lessons with the master filled with old tales and stories, but now they focused on stewardship and politics. Trained in martial matters by his cousin Braedon and ser Aryn Beesbury, and in scholarly matters by the house’s new maester, it seemed as though the boy was finally ready to become a man and do his duties for his house and family.
The past few months have been truly eventful for Alain and the rest of his companions, and he has been in more peril in this period than the rest of his life combined. As he has tried to find his way in the world and become an important member of his house he has frequently found himself at the center of several plots and intrigues. It all started at the King’s Tourney at Highgarden, where he had to defend his brother against accusations of the murder of Adham Dannet. Thankfully he, with the help of his cousin’s blade, managed to uncover and bring to justice the real culprits, members of house Lugus who wanted to fan the embers of conflict between houses Bywater and Dannet. With the tournament over, Alain was put in charge of an expedition to the Windwood, which has experienced a slew of bandit troubles recently. Despite a setback when the entire party was ambushed at an inn, Alain and his companions managed to root out most of the bandits and sent them packing back over the Cockleswent River and out of Bywater lands. During the fighting he mostly stayed on the sideline as Braedon Bywater and Captain Thomas Barrows led the Bywater men in person.
During the market day in Markettown he was again thrust into the middle of a deadly intrigue, as the border tension between houses Goldleaf and Cowden was about to explode into war. Despite being poisoned by agents sworn to house Dannet, Alain managed to keep the situation from spiraling out of control. When he finally recovered from his injuries it was time for house Bywater to finally host another tournament of the Brothers, an event that truly left his mark on young Alain. Without him knowing, his father arranged for him to be married to Lillian Elenion, an arrangement that Alain did not agree with. He got drunk that same evening, and spent the night at the Scarlet House, a brothel in Bywater town. This infuriated not only his coming wife, but also brought shame upon Alain and in extension his house.
Most recently, Alain and the rest of his companions have been travelling across the Reach. First they travelled to the shield islands to visit his mother’s family, where they became involved in a vile Ironborn plot to destabilize the coast for some nefarious purpose. Thankfully, they once again managed to stop the situation for spiraling out of control, though when they returned to Greenshield they were asked to perform a peculiar favor from Aeron Bywater. He wanted them to rescue Lady Sansa Wynd from her home in Wolvesglen so that she and he could get married. They managed to get her out without anyone losing their lives, though the act will probably be seen as both treacherous and underhanded by many people in the Cocklesvale and beyond. As Alain and the rest of his companions are on their way home one can only guess what the consequences of this act will be, though it is clear that the last word has not been said.
During these last few months Alain have suffered a variety of injuries and hardships, though thankfully his facial features are still unblemished. In addition to the poisoning in Markettown, he has been shot by both bandits of the Windwood and Ironborn raiders, and his right arm was mauled by a dog during their flight from Wolvesglen. It has not only been doom and gloom, however. He has made several new friends, and through an amazing final shot he managed to win the archery contest during the Tournament at Highgarden. He also fell in love with Ivy Tullison during the same tournament, and showed a desire to marry her. These hopes were crushed when he was suddenly betrothed to Lillian Elenion, and Alain seems unsure what to do with the situation. Right now it appears as if he is willing to try and fix his relationship with his new betrothed as best he can.
Relationships with the player characters:
Braedon Bywater: Ever since Braedon rescued him during the war, Alain has felt a deep kinship and respect for his cousin. Despite their differences in skills and mentality he considers him his closest friend.
Maester Thorben: Alain has respect for the new maester at castle Waterdeep, and he is a keen student in his lessons. At first he considered their relationship strictly professional, but over time he has started to feel greater affection for him.
Vermillion Hill: Alain and Vermillion’s interactions have for the most part been somewhat hostile, and Alain has not given the bastard a warm welcome to the family. When times are truly dangerous it seems as though Alain can put away his dislike for man, however.
Relationship with his family:
Lord Daeron Bywater: Alain has a troubled and strained relationship with his father. He feels that his father does not see him as the man he has become, and that he does not the credit he deserves. The relationship has soured further following the events at the Tournament of the Brothers and the Flight from Wolvesglen.
Lady Leonette Bywater: Alain and his mother’s relationship has been warm and close throughout Alain’s whole life. Her reaction towards him following the Flight from Wolvesglen surprised him, however, and he is anxious to find out if their relationship has changed for the worse.
Aeron Bywater: Alain sometimes feels a tinge of envy of his brother, because he was always their father’s favorite, but he still respects and loves him. After the Flight from Wolvesglen and the trouble that it has caused for Alain, he is very eager to have a heart to heart talk with his brother about it.
Rhaena Hightower: Alain has always had a strained relationship with his elder sister, and he is glad that she lives far away in Oltown.
Elaena Bywater: Alain has always been close to his younger sister, and despite that they subject each other to a lot of good-natured teasing there is a lot of genuine affection between them.
Relationship with other characters:
Friends: Alain’s closest friends outside his family are Dunstan Tullison, Ragard Wallon and Tygor Wyl. He genuinely enjoys their company. He was infatuated with Ivy Tullison, but following his betrothal to Lillian Elenion he has tried to keep his distance from her. When he has talked to her he has tried to be more professional, otherwise it would hurt too much.
Enemies: Alain does not like ser Jonothor Creygen, mostly because of his history with house Bywater, but also because he was a rival to Ivy Tullison’s affections at Highgarden. He also does not like Rechildess Wyrvel following the events at Wolvesglen, though he suspects the feeling is mutual. He no longer considers Iris Dannett an enemy, as they came to an understanding during the tournament of the Brothers.