On the Border of Princes and Kings
Prince Altair Sulhaleen
The young, charismatic ruler of Matorca. His civility and etiquette are impeccable though some claim his appearance hides a very smart, very ruthless determination.
The Prince is young, barely twenty six summers, with long red hair, piercing blue eyes, and a frame that lets him stand at almost six feet tall. He dresses in a wide variety of styles preferring greens and golds for court. He’s a ruler ‘Of the People’, never afraid to be seen among the population of Matorca, which tends to leave his hands hard from work and his skin tanned from the sun. He has a long, thin scar running down his upper lip, across his mouth, down his chin, and down his neck almost to his collar bone. The story goes that it’s the only blade he’s ever felt in a duel, and hasn’t known defeat before or since.
Altair’s mother and father were rulers over Matorca for nearly 30 years. He was born late in their reign, an unexpected blessing for the woman who was declared barren by a few physicians. His father sired a number of bastards, but none of legitimate claim could be considered to run the City. When Altair was born, a good number of them set their sights on the Prince to take him out.
When he was three, he experienced his first assassination attempt. A servant was hired to poison him, but his mother (by chance) tasted the drink first. She fell to the poison, but her son survived. His father tightened security considerably and had most of his staff executed. The next attempt was when Altair was twelve. An assassin managed to stealth into his room and tried to stab him, but the boy was alerted and ended his assassin’s life with a dagger his father had bought him. His father grew more and more paranoid, increasing his security and training. The result was a young teenager who constantly found ways to evade his protectors. A few times his enemies exploited that breech of security to find the young teen more than a match for simple hired killers. By the time he was nineteen, he hadn’t lost a duel or sword fight. It was then that his father passed away of illness.
One by one, his ‘brothers’ came out of the woodwork to claim the throne. Within a month, all of them were dead or on the run at Altair’s hand. His rule was established and he was welcomed, for the most part, by the city. He proved himself a competent ruler, businessman, and politician, but never lost his duelist’s attitude. He’d regularly challenge guests to duels, for the sport of it, of course, and never lost.
His winning streak was solid until a mysterious letter arrived, challenging the Prince to a duel of skill. The Duelist, listed only with the letter “E”, insisted on anonymity until the event. Altair was intrigued and agreed, only if the duel could be a spectacle for his city. The duelist agreed and a month later, Altair was standing in the ring of his local area waiting for a mystery opponent. A mousy young woman came forward, her features distinctly Estalian. Her long, curly black hair was bound by a tight bandanna, and her fitted clothes stayed close to her frame without being scandalous or revealing. Altair was immediately invigorated by the woman challenger and took a moment to ask if she truly desired to ruin such beautiful features with a duel.
Her response was to draw and begin the fight. For minutes, they danced. Thin blades hissing through the air. In the beginning, Altair was toying with her, but quickly learned that she was not to be toyed with. He found her talent at least equal to his.
The duel ended with a clear winner, as she struck him across his face and down his neck. The wound wasn’t lethal, but the Prince found his pride and anger flaring from it. He gave her the winnings she earned, and commanded her never to return. She gave him a grin, and without a word, left.
Since then, he’s become an even more accomplished duelist, sacrificing his politics to make room for training. His court basically runs itself, and he’s not needed at all…right?