The Ashen Kingdom
The put upon brother of the king
Mattie was always his older brother Maris’s punching bag when they were boys. And while Mattie was quick at his studies, he was not a prodigy like Maris, who would one day be known as The Mystic for his arcane mastery. And while Maris grew up with all the confidence and self-entitlement of a future king, Mattie grew quiet and introspective.
As a young man Mattie trained to be a priest and even fought in his father’s last War as a fire acolyte through his late teens and early twenties. Here the quiet young Mattie came into his own, battling alongside the common infantry against the horrors of the forest. He found reserves of courage and an ability to lead he had never previously even suspected in himself. That said, any glory he might have had was quickly soaked up by the barons and lords who commanded the armies and sat at the king’s table.
After the war, Mattie suffered possibly the greatest indignation of his life. Greater than the daily humiliation he had learned to suffer at the hands of his brother with quiet humility was the shame when the church quietly refused to ordain Mattie as a fire priest. The senior clergy felt ordaining a member of the royal family in the days following the war would look like the crown grabbing for more power. His was instead bestowed with the lesser title of Aesthetic Knight, a trained religious warrior, but without the rites of ceremony common to all priests.
For the better part of the last decade Mattie has lived at the capitol, duty bound by his position to act as the hand of the royal prerogative. To that end he has been little more than a glorified messenger, though his less politically vital position afforded him the latitude to choose his own wife and even raise a family in the relative safety of the inner kingdoms. Though Mattie suffers the slings and arrows of capitol politics with a determined reserve, he gives thanks every day that his family has remained below his capricious brother’s radar.