An Oncomming Storm
[Bywater] Ser Maelys Bywater
Castellan of Castle Waterdeep, Younger Brother, Father and Uncle
Once named a rare Flower in a Pigsty by then ser Damon Marbrand, Castellan Maelys Bywater of Castle Waterdeep is still a comely man in his own rugged and stout way. He never was as tall as his older brothers, standing rather of a middling height, but his broad shoulders and strong physique still gives him the stature of a man of arms despite his forty long years. His arms are noticeably long and slender with a wiry sort of strength to them, muscles like cables under marred and scarred flesh. Indeed many scars has been laid across his body throughout his career, though none which mares his features in any noticeable fashion. The only one immediately visible mark is the lack of four fingers on his right hand, lost when the lance of Barristan crushed his shield in a tourney (or so it is claimed), but as he is left handed it has never hampered him all that much. In youth Maelys was oft named a handsome man, and though hardship and age has worn him his features are still sharp and finely drawn. A prominent nose, sharp and slightly hooked, rest under heavy browns and ends at a slender, well-shaped mouth whose soft kiss once enticed many a maiden. His hair is kept half-long and has a deep-silvered tone, a proof of his Valyrian blood, though now spiced by nearly invisible strands of white and receding noticeably. His somewhat unkempt hair and sharp features lends his features a certain youthfulness, though this impression is balanced by the notable side-whiskers he keeps, as well as his eyes. Now beset by wrinkles his eyes are still the same hazy green pair whose specks of brilliant gold it is said won him his wife, though age has tempered their recklessness with experience and sorrow in equal measure, giving them a calm and almost fatherly quality.
In keeping with his station ser Maelys Bywater dresses in practical but well-made clothing, often wearing little but a shirt and overlaying vest in quartered black and yellow when about his duties. As an avid rider and hunter he also favours jerkins and practical riding trousers, preferably matched with a pair of solid riding boots. Despite his preference for practicality however Maelys is no stranger to finery, and, through surely aided by his wife, when called upon he certainly dresses to station. Though his costumes vary, usually patterns of black, white and gold, Maelys seems to be particularly at home in a dress consisting of silvered-white tights and shirt over which he wears a yellow vest, patterned in black. The patterns are of black flowers, akin to those upon the house’s arms. Over this vest he wears a wide-shouldered cloak in black, upon which back has been embroidered a griffon rampant in gold, surrounded by three flowers in silver.
Similarly Maelys’ arms and armour have been made to suit his station, and though there have been few occasions for using it since the War of the Usurper his suit of full plate is still shined every day. Made for him in the days before the war it is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, inlaid with silver across the breastplate where a Griffon rear rampant, and with the right shoulder shaped into the likeness of a hawk’s visage. Maelys’ arms, as displayed upon his shield, is a golden griff surrounded by three silver flowers on a field of black, denoting him as the third brother of the house.
And indeed, Ser Maelys Bywater is every inch the second in command and dutiful little brother, both in temperament and personality. To the Bywater children he was always the active and playful parent, always about the castle, daring them to climb the walls and teaching the boys how to make little practise bows of their own. He is devoted to his wife, meticulous about his duties and with an eye for judging a man’s worth. He is for the most part a calm and caring man, warm to those under his care, be they his children or his soldiers. Though strict and efficient he is the kind of leader which remember the name of even the lowliest worker and who goes to great length to see them well cared for. This has made him immensely popular at Bywater and amongst the soldiery, though this he hardly seem to notice. Maelys is not a man who shows kindness to earn the favour of others or advance his own ends, rather he rewards where reward is due and shows leniency when kindness commands him to.
For despite being an excellent leader in the field Maelys is no lord and indeed he never aspired to be one. He is a straightforward man, efficient and loyal, yet with few ambitions of his own beyond such that can be won on the fields of glory or in bed. As a young knight he never paid much heed to books and ledgers, and though he has of late taken to reading history he is no scholar. Nor is he one for cunning words and grand courts, preferring to listen rather than speak.
Maelys was born in the depth of winter in the year 248 AC as sleds crossed the Bywater Pond and snow covered the “Prince’s Crown” with such weight that it partly fell out into the river below. He was the third son of Alain and Alyssa Bywater, and from childhood he was a robust and healthy child. From early childhood he was constantly tailing his two brothers, and though Eron payed him little heed Daeron often brought him along exploring the ancient castle. His mother’s early death, when Maelys was but six years old, was hard for the young boy, especially as he was not one to catch his mourning father’s eyes. Finding praise hard to come by he turned into something of a rascal and a troublemaker, landing himself in no end of trouble as he pilfered pies and nailed horseshoes to the stable walls. Though it earned him little but beatings the young Maelys seemed to find an odd joy in being the centre of attention, negative though it might have been.
Perhaps to gain some peace at last his father had him sent as a page to Lord Crakehall, his cousin. At first Maelys proved a troublesome charge, nearly beating the squire Melwyn Lowther to death despite the latter being two years his senior. With time and discipline however, instilled in him mainly by the Castellan Welym Serrett, he grew in both self-control and skill. At age eleven he was taken as Lord Crakehall’s squire, though ill tongues joked the squire was more capable than the knight. Two years later, in 261 AC, he saw combat for the first time during the Reyne-Tarbeck Rebellion during which Lord Crakehall answered the call of young ser Tywin Lannister. Though Maelys, and Lord Crakehall for that matter, were not intended to be near the fighting the surprise attack on the Lannister camp by the Red Lion of Castamere saw them attacked. On that day Maelys shot two men dead with a stolen crossbow, for which Lord Crakehall gave him a purse of ten gold dragons.
Foul tongues have it that Maelys sired a bastard in Crakehall after the men’s victorious return, a rumour often accompanied by the comment that all Crakehall women are sluts after all. The family, and a good few others, are aware that this is actually the case, for in Crakehall he sired his first child, Vermillion Hill with a serving girl three years his senior. It was likely for this reason that, when Lord Crakehall passed away from a bad liver Maelys was moved to the Silverhills to squire for ser Welym Serrett. A little over a year later in 264 AC he earned his spurs as, while leading a patrol of Serrett lands, he successfully defended to village of Hetten against bandits led by the brigand “ser” Robar Hill. For much of the next year he travelled the Westerlands and Riverlands with his close friends Ser Burton Crakehall and Duncan Septel, participating in tournaments and aiding those in need of their swords. Yet in less than a year he was married.
The circumstances of his marriage have also been the butt of more than one joke. As the story goes the young ser Maelys age 17 found himself love-struck as he meet Elana Chester, second daughter of lord Chester, at a Tourney held at Casterly Rock. During the tournament she returned his interest by granting him her charm to wear for the tourney where he finished second, beaten only by ser Barristan Semly. A year later and word got out however that the young Elana was with child and a hasty marriage contract had to be organized resulting in both second and third brother Bywater marrying first and second sister Chester. When faced with the story Maelys has never reacted with anything but a broad smile and a hearty laugh, stating that every time he hears a different version.
Love and the responsibilities of fatherhood did however seem to beat some of the youthful rashness and restlessness from ser Maelys, and in the years that followed castle Waterdeep was filled with the laughter of children and the steady hammering of workers busy about their duties. Elana granted him two children during these years and Maelys, reunited with his brothers, found his place as Daeron’s second in command. It was a role which suited him, and one he filled with skill and efficiency, leading the houses troops against the bandits of the Kingswood and Cockleswoods alike. Maelys Bywater had found his home and he seemed content, even as the fires of war licked across the kingdoms and he led the forces of Bywater both at Ashford and at Queensburry. The death of Aemon touched him deeply and it was Maelys together with his nephew Aeron which ransomed the body back, yet even this tragedy seemed unable to shake of the calm and steadiness which he has finally found.
Maelys has watched and at times aided the young Bywaters as they set out to make a name for themselves, appearing to take great joy from watching them take their place amongst the adults of the family. Though he has had little direct involvement with their adventures he is always at hand when needed, riding to their aid at Market Town after the calamities that there befell them. The reappearance of his bastard son Vermillion Hill has at once been a great joy and sorrow for him. He appears to care deeply about Vermillion, yet at the same time his disappointment and grief is at times palpable.
Alain, is his cherished young nephew. Of late its seems Maelys has seen him with new eyes, perhaps recognizing his growth.
Braedon, he loves with all the good natured bullying a father can give.
Duncan, he sees as a skilled soldier and something of a nessecary evil.
Thorben, he seems as the houses maester but has few personal feelings towards him. On a professional level they work well together.
Vermillion, he loves as a father should, though it is a little complicated as it is of course mixed with a good bit of shame.