An Oncomming Storm
[Bywater] Lord Daeron Bywater of Waterdeep
Lord of Bywater at Waterdeep Castle, Elder Brother, Father and Uncle
Lord Daeron Bywater is a man that has been called many things in his long life. Gallant he was oft called in his youth when he rode with his brothers in the tournaments. Unyielding he was named by Randyll Tarly in the Wars of the Usurper. Murderer he was named by Lord Dannett upon the very walls of Waterdeep. Yet none has ever accused him of being soft, not even as age has started to leave its mark upon the Lord of the Griffons. In his third and fortieth year Lord Bywater is still as tall and lean as he was in youth, made taller still by his posture, for he is a man seemingly unbowed by years who carries himself with the dignity of a great lord. His physique, though perhaps not as defined as in his younger years, is still one of hard sinews and steely muscles. He was always rather more wiry than stout, though his shoulders are broad and his hands of the rugged kind, well used to sword and axe both. Yet more than anything else the one word which best describes the Lord of Bywater would be regal, for his is the bearing of a dragonrider of old.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in his face and Lord Daeron’s features are as lordly as they are hard. The rather long face is framed by flowing locks the pale shade of hammered gold, usually kept loose and reaching down past his shoulders, though with age it has been lent a faint touch of grey. The face thus framed is a sharp one, cragged and cleanly cut with hard yet noble lines, gaunt cheeks and a strong chin. His jaws are hard and slightly protruding; giving the face a firm, unyielding quality, and the tall aquiline nose is both noble of aspect and gives the face a natural quality of arrogance. It is a strong face, of a regal aspect and noble cut, yet one of beauty and warmth it is not. Time has worked its changes upon his features in the form of several deep wrinkles across his skin, but this has only served to exuberate the face’s natural cragged qualities and if anything only made it harder. Yet more so than anything else it is his deep set eyes under heavy brows which sets Daeron Bywater apart from men around him, for in them is both high nobility and cold cruelty in equal measure. They are a shade of deep hazy green akin to a forest of northern pines, speckled with shards of gold and silver seemingly floating in their depths. They are terribly sharp, his eyes, and like the Griffon upon his arms they are the eyes of a predator, always moving and searching, probing for weakness with the cold, calculated arrogance of a hunter secure in his own deadly craft.
As far as clothing goes he dresses to suit his high birth in finely tailored clothing of quality material, if somewhat austere in their decoration. On more formal occasions he is often seen wearing a wide, long sleeved attire in a cream colour layered with patterns of Bywater gold under a heavy black cloak upon which has been worked the scene of two griffons facing each other, his personal heraldry from his youth. More commonly however he is seen in a simple and austere attire consisting of a white linen jerkin over which he wears a wide, black frock trimmed with ermine along the edges. Notably he rarely carries a weapon on his person when near Bywater, though when the situation calls for it he commonly carries a simple longsword with a lone ruby set in the hilt.
Much as he appear is the Lord of Bywater, a fair and upright man of firm principle, hard to his enemies yet loyal to his friends. He is a man who rarely raises his voice, and rarely has to, for his is a natural authority and gravitas with which he can oft keep others enthralled. His voice is of the kind that makes men listen, and when called on he can be a stirring orator, though he prefers to leave such to others. Very few would be foolish enough to take him lightly, for in his strange green eyes lurk a sharp wit and a calculating intelligence colder still, which makes him a dangerous opponent indeed. For he wield words like other men does swords, and should he so deign he can be both an interesting and pleasant conversation partner, though one of few words. Fundamentally however Lord Daeron is a calm and calculating personality who weight every situation carefully and acts with implacable certainty of purpose.
Yet for all his intelligence and eloquence he is a thoroughly humourless man, of few smiles and fewer compliments. That is not to say that there are no blessings in his life and Maelys still speaks of the joy upon his face when first holding his eldest son, but he is of a fundamentally serious temperament, prone to dark thoughts and grim moods. Furthermore it also means he is a man of little warmth, much unlike his brothers, whose praise is measured and whose thoughts always rests with the next challenge to be overcome. Though not a man of anger he can still be very much intimidating because of this, something especially his second son has struggled with growing up, and many find him hard to approach. He is also a man secure in his own strength and abilities, which has made him more than a little arrogant, especially when faced with those he consider weak or otherwise beneath him. And, as some within the household has come to realize of late, he is also a man who will have his vengeance no matter how gruesome.
Daeron Bywater came into the world in the year 245 AC, born as summer waned on a cool autumn day. It is said that as his mother gave him life a storm howled down from the Blacktines and the old castle shook from the howling wind. He was the second son of Alain Bywater, seventh of the name, and his young wife Alyssa Velaryon and born with many of the features so commonly associated with the ancient lords of the Freehold. As a child he was an avid explorer both of the near-ruined castle Waterdeep and of the lore held by the aging Maester Timmon, and he quickly proved to be a bright and diligent student. He also showed some potential in the practise yard, though unlike both his older and younger brother he was a far better swordsman than he was a rider. Particularly close to his mother he was deeply affected by her early death in childbirth when Daeron was but nine, yet this event also seems to have fostered in him a deep sense of responsibility and he grew very close to his two younger brothers. In particular he came to care deeply for Aemon, whom he partly helped raising.
Growing into a tall, wiry and some would say scrawny youth he was at age eleven sent to his uncle Lord Velaryon to be his page at Driftsmark. His time there proved highly educational for the young man, as he learned not only the skills of a warrior but was also introduced to a world of scheming and politics far from the secluded valley of his youth. Lord Velaryon was oft at court and young Daeron too was introduced there, meeting many and learning more about life in the shadow of kings. It was during his time at court that he befriended Baelor Hightower, oldest son of Lord Hightower, and the two brothers Whent. In his fifteen year however, as the threat of the Ninepenny Kings loomed over the realm, his father recalled him to the Cocklesvale. There he was made the newly knighted Eron’s squire and before the year had turned they both set off with a contingent of Bywater men to answer the king’s call and take war to the Ninepenny Kings.
Only one of the two returned from the fighting on the Stepstones, and Daeron has never spoken much of what passed during the nearly year long campaign. The king’s forces were victorious and Ser Barristan Selmy cut down the last Blackfyre Pretender, yet only a few dozen of the near two-hundred Cocklesvalers whom set off would return to see the glittering river. Daeron returned at the head of their tattered forces, his brother’s body on a cart behind him and the family axe in his belt. He had not been wounded, but as Maelys could testify he had been changed. Gone was the witty youth of barbed words and distant smiles, and in his stead returned a driven man of grim determination. Suddenly left as the heir he took up his responsibility with a gravity uncommon for a youth his age, yet set to the task of aiding his father with vigour and skill. It was under his watchful eyes that the old, battered and partly ruined curtain wall was torn down and raised anew, stronger than it had ever been. And it was he who led his father’s men to Damsend to intermediate between house Septel and house Wallon, forcing a settlement to the growing tension which might have thrown parts of the Cocklesreach into open feud.
In his twenty-first year Daeron married Leonetta Chester, having been betrothed for two years, a good match that his father had shrewdly arranged for him. It was not a union of love, indeed Daeron had not even taken the time to see his bride before his wedding, yet with time it would prove to be one of the greatest blessings of his life. He quickly grew to both respect and love his young Leonetta and the following year she granted him a pair of twins, later to be followed by another two children. As if the tide had suddenly turned something of the young Daeron seemed to return and the next fifteen years were passed in bliss and steady progress. Daeron managed to arranged for Aemon to squire for Oswall Whent and with years the youngest Bywater brother grew into a great warrior, and one with the ear of young prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When Alain Bywater passed away in early 271 AC the new Lord Daeron quickly moved to solidify the families ties to the greater houses while tightening the Bywater’s grip on the Cocklesreach. This last move coursed some dissent, especially amongst the Dannetts of Queensbury, but none had the strength to oppose the young Lord of the Griffons. With one brother placed at the future king’s side and a daughter betrothed to Lord Hightower’s second son it seemed as if Lord Daeron was ready to raise house Bywater to one of the strongest in the Reach. But by the whims of a mad king and a headstrong stag all his schemes would be laid to waste.
The War of the Usurper proved disastrous for house Bywater in the long run, their loyalty to the king too staunch and their proximity to the Stormlands too close. It started gloriously however as the host of Bywater fought at the very forefront of Mace’s van during the Battle of Ashford, Lord Daeron personally leading his sworn knights. He marched forth despite the Dannetts already mustering forces against him, but with the Battle of Ashford over he returned east with vengeance, the Bywaters and their vassal defeating the rebellious lords within the Cockelsvale in two swift battles before laying siege to the mighty castle Queensburry. It proved a hard siege, but slowly, with cold and unyielding determination Daeron oversaw the systematic destruction of the fortress, despite many of his vassals clamouring for a storm. Yet the actions of other, greater players soon saw the fortune of the war changed and as Rhaegar died at the Trident and King’s Landing burned the war was effectively decided, to the detriment of Bywater’s fortunes.
Daeron emerged from the wars pardoned, but much land was confiscated and many of his influential allies lay dead at the Trident. Amongst them was young Aemon Bywater, dead at the hands of a certain Terrance Hargrove, and his grave under Castle Waterdeep is still frequently visited.
Four years of uneasy peace have passed and much has been rebuilt in a Cocklesvale scarred by war. As the next generation of Bywater’s started searching for their place in the world Lord Daeron has once more set about raising the families fortune, often by means of his and his brother’s children. Though few are privy to his plans, it appears he has long sought to finish the work he started at Queensburry and seek revenge for their betrayal, a goal finally achieved at the point of Ser Braedon’s blade. After making sure his children was presented to their peers during the Tournament at Highgarden he also secured both his youngest marriage alliances which could serve the house well. What his next move might be is hard to judge, though surely our young Cockerels will learn of it sooner rather than later.
He has also taken a notable interest in the wellbeing of both Maelys’ and Aemon’s bastard sons whom he has taken in, one for the second time, though what role he has in mind for them is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it is simply an attempt at damage control.
Alain, and Daeron has a complicated relationship, and though Daeron gives him responsibilities he rarely appears satisfied with the results.
Braedon, he treats like a solider but rarely gives him responsabilities.
Duncan, he seems to view as a valued servant and treat him with respect and professional friendliness.
Thorben, he has a good working relationship with and he treats him as a peer in matters of stewardship, often consulting him for his professional option.
Vermillion, he treats like a problematic child, with cold disdain but little else.