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Stephánus Tavilrond (Etrandish: Stephánus Tavilond; IPA: [stɛfaːnʊs tʰɑvɪlɾɔnd̥]) a Human Knight from Grandfolk, who serves as a plot-central character in the Ways of Darkness franchise, almost a mascot of it. He is a member of the Knights of the Blood Red Light.
Early Life Edit
Stephanus was said to be born to unnamed homeless parents in the city of Grandfolk, in late 809 AEKE. Not much is known about the circumstances of his birth of the events that directly followed his birth, but the Knights of the Blood Red Light have adopted him, which is when he received his first name. His parents were never mentioned again, as such, Stephanus has never made any attempts to search for them. It is not known why would an order of knights take in a random child of a homeless couple rather than sending him to an orphanage - Stephanus himself never researched on his origins, he just took what he was told for the truth, no matter how suspicious it sounds.
After being adopted, the infant Stephanus was fostered by various female maids serving at the order until he was deemed old enough for training.
Years have passed, little Stephanus started growing. He was taught how to ride a horse, fight with sword and use light magic. He was considered a child prodigy by his teachers, and the masters adored his iron discipline and lack of arrogance, which came from the fact that he was raised by knights from a very early age.
Teenage and training Edit
When Stephanus was 13 years old, a crusader named Hlaford Paratus has chosen him as apprentice. The crusader was only 15 years older than Stephanus. Stephanus was a rather fast learner, and considered a good student by his master.
During his first missions, the young Stephanus had to experience bloodshed and killing for the first time in his life. While he was considered effective, he was often scolded for being overly reckless and indiscriminate. Being raised a knight from infancy meant that he was much less hesitant than others to resort to drastic measures to get rid of the sources of trouble, but by time and experience, he has managed to attain enough skill stop relying on overly violent methods to solve problems - he has learned to use and prefer non-lethal alternatives.
According to tradition, each knight should receive his/her own sword at the age of 14. But by that time, Stephanus has already found a magical sword in a cave, which he still uses. Then he got his proper equipment, such as armour.
He was 15 years old when he first encountered the forces of darkness. He met a necromancer who nearly killed him, but he somehow managed to escape. At very early - at the age of 16 - he was ready to take the Trials of the Knight. He was successful. He became a paladin and he received his horse.
After this, he received even more dangerous missions that put his skills as a paladin to the test, determining if his early promotion was truly worth it.
Ascension to Crusaderhood Edit
Stephanus was already 19 when he was considered for promotion to the rank of Crusader, while other knights of his age were still preparing to the Trials of the Knight to become a Paladin.
However, that period of happiness was short-lived, as Stephanus had a brutal encounter with some old enemies. The same necromancer he met when he was 15 years old, accompanied by a vampire Death Knight. During the battle that ensured, his master Hlaford perished, but Stephanus survived and came out victorious, carrying the corpses of his deceased master and defeated enemies back to the headquorters.
The council sat down, and before Hlaford's funeral began, it was decided that Stephanus would be promoted to the rank of Crusader, and Hlaford posthumously promoted to the rank of Master.
Stephanus from that point on was free to take an apprentice for himself, but decided not to, as he believed he still had much to learn.
Equipment and Physical Appearence Edit
Stephanus has blue eyes, shoulder-length (or slightly longer than shoulder-length) brown wavy hair. His face is full of scars that make him look older than he really is - his face may look closer to someone in the 30's or even early 40's (because of the scars), while he is 23.
His skin is rough, war-torn and also full of scars. He might as well be a war-veteran with that sort of skin.
The scars that make him look older than he really is - both on his face and his body - are the type of scars that warriors wear proudly, the type of scars that the ladies often find attractive.
He is somewhat muscular too, but those are real, natural muscles, therefore, may seem rather small and unimpressive. Muscle-wise, he does not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or any modern-day bodybuilder, but rather someone who has genuinely spent a lot of time fighting, and training for fighting, like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. Long story short, those are not body-builder muscles, but martial artist muscles. His arm muscles are slightly more pronounced than the muscles on his other body parts, which is understandable, given how his favoured weapon is the sword.
Despite being a medieval person, his teeth are all in perfect shape, and completely white.
His voice is deep, bassy, even somewhat throaty and guttural, making him sound older than his real age, just like his face.
As clothing, in his native, Medieval Fantasy setting, he wears loincloth as underwear, and over that, he wears brown leather trousers and a white linen shirt. His favoured legwear is black leather boots - he seldom wears socks, only during the cold winter, when boots are not enough to keep his legs warm. Other than his belt (which has a scabbard on it, containing his sword), this is all what he wears when having casual times.
When he is on duty, or has to be prepared for fight, he wears an addition layer of clothes (and armour) over his casual clothing - a wool gambeson/aketon, steel chainmail armour over the gambeson, and finally a white tunic over the chainmail, having the logo of his knightly order on it. More often than not, he also wears a helmet, completely concealing his face. Depending on the occasion, he may or may not wear a red cape too, in addition his armour.
Stephanus owns a magically enchanted steel longsword which enhances the destructive spells used by its wielder.
Stephanus's Horse, Cathrin Edit
Stephanus's own equine companion is a female white horse named Cathrin, whom he has had since he was 16 years old.
In the original FRPG Edit
The FRPG is the only place where Stephanus appears in his fully canonical form, with his horse and magically enchanted longsword. He was first created on the 27 of December, 2009,
In the Alternate World Edit
An older Stephanus makes an appearence in the Artograch Arc. There are no mentions of his magical longsword or his horse. Rather than the character he actually is, Stephanus considered the "future self of Gnarog", implying that the Stephanus that appears in the game is not the actual character, but - just like Gnarog - an alter-ego or avatar of the game's creator.
Stephanus is the first person person to find Gnarog, who was waking up from his 3-year coma, and after a briefing, decides to help him. After rescuing Nemezish and Ildor from the cave up north, the player is free to arrange the party, meaning that keeping Stephanus is no longer mandatory.
In the end-game credits, it is said that he married Arnelia (non-canon character).
In the game, he was voiced by Zsolt Tóth.
He has the exactly same personality and backstory as in the original FRPG, though there are no mentions of him having a magical sword here, since it does not exist in the game. His horse is never mentioned either.
Stephanus is a comrade of the protagonist, if the protagonist is a knight. If the protagonist is not a knight, Stephanus does not know him/her originally, and two are only introduced later. Nemezish mentions that Stephanus and Ladislaus were childhood friends, though none of the two actually ever mention that. But since they do not deny it either, it is implied that it's true.
Stephanus seems to be in the good graces of the grandmaster of the Knights' Order, Gaius, most likely due to his exceptional talents.
Stephanus is also used to difficult - even seemingly suicidal - missions, as well having been through a lot of hardships, of which sleeping in mud was probably the least problematic.
Stephanus was planned to appear in the game, but as the game never made it beyond planning stage, nothing was produced.