Altair: The Usurper
Full name: Altair Lancel Warwick Rothford
Age: 23 ~ Nameday: Winter of the Year of the Silver Dragon, Century One, Age of Diamonds (2wi.3007)
Height: 6'1" ~ Hair color: platinum blonde ~ Eye color: aquamarine ~ Nationality: Kartha'ani
Titles: High Prince of Kartha'an, Duke of Roma (called Your Grace), [later] self-styled King of the Sister Kingdoms, Duke of Majere (Your Majesty)
Spouse: Haylia Ashworth, High Princess of Anglica'a, daughter of King Alleck (mere days)
Prince Altair Lancel Balmain Rothford was born in the winter of the Year of the Silver Dragon, Century One, Age of Diamonds (Winter, Silver Dragon, C1, Diamonds ~or~ 1wi.3009); to Queen Myrella Marshelier Rothford of Kartha’an, onetime Duchess of Rothford, Baroness of Ridgeville in Kartha’an; and King Lancel IV Rothford of Kartha’an, onetime Duke of Rothford. Delivered at the Rothford Palace, High Seat of Kartha’an in the capital city of Rothford, Altair is the second son of the king of Kartha’an and younger brother of the Crown Prince, making him a High Prince of the realm. Altair is also the duke of the duchy of Roma. Prince Altair was betrothed to marry Princess Clío of Anglica’a in 3028, making her Princess Clío Ashworth Rothford of Anglica’a, High Princess of Kartha’an, Duchess of Roma—but the betrothal was broken just two weeks before the marriage was to take place, a catalyst to the events of this story; Altair has not married in the two years since. Following his invasion of the Maquesta Fortress and murder of the king and Crown Prince, Altair styles himself king of Aesha’an and duke of Majere, making him (to those who back him) King Altair of Aesha’an, Duke of Roma and Majere, High Prince of Kartha’an. Our story begins in Spring, Indigo Phoenix, C1, Diamonds (3sp.3031).
Altair was raised in a bubble. He was conceived on the whim of his queen mother, and spent his childhood completely removed from reality. He was wayward from the start: as a second son his father King Lancel of Kartha’an didn’t seem to think he needed, he had no real direction, no sense of purpose. His station exists only by way of tradition; his father already had his heir, as well as capable generals to lead his armies. And his second son, while not explicitly told of his father’s indifference, came to realize it clearly by the beginning of his second decade of life.
His mother Queen Myrella’s affections ran hot and cold. While Altair may be fawned over by her some days, there were also periods of days or weeks at a time when he would hardly see her. She had wanted a daughter and never really did seem to decide if she was content to have another son instead.
As a result, Altair was brought up almost exclusively by governesses and tutors, and thoroughly in the shadow of his brother Balmain, heir to the Kartha’ani throne. He was not exactly kept out of the public eye—indeed, he was seen and lauded by the people as much as any prince would be and almost as often as his brother. But the automatic, almost obligational love of hoards of faithful subjects cannot make up for the near absence of parental affection or attention.
Altair’s caregivers attempted to make up for this enormous lack, some outright spoiling him when they could get away with it. This created a paradoxical sense of neglect and entitlement in the prince from a very young age. He and his brother had affection for one another, but Balmain’s duties as Crown Prince meant they could spend little time together; moreover, as is common among royalty, Altair was kept fairly isolated from other children, for his safety, if for no other reason. All he knew was that his mother and father and his brother were very important people; his nannies said he was too, and behaved as such, but there was always a detachment from the rest of the world, and even—perhaps especially—his family, present in the boy. He grew to expect nothing from his king and father, very little from his mother—and absolutely everything from all others.
Altair’s education was extensive, though skewed—again, as a result of indifference by the king and coddling by his tutors. Their teachings were biased, imbalanced, widening the gap between their prince and reality, instilling a worldview that was at best delusional and at worst destructive. Prince Altair grew from an innocently naive child into a dangerous adult, at once spoiled and abandoned.
The prince took his betrothal to an Anglica’an princess in stride, having learned the art of indifference from his father. The once-impending marriage was simply a matter of course, neither eagerly anticipated nor dreaded. Portraits showed Clío to be beautiful and poised; she would make a fine trophy, and that’s all that really mattered. Their first kiss was a way of taking possession, not establishing a bond.
Nonetheless, this sense of apathy was quickly replaced by seething indignance when the betrothal was broken. Especially given that it was in favor of the notorious prince Trystane, a subject of great envy and jealousy for his Kartha’ani counterpart, whether the latter would ever admit it or not. While intended as a peacekeeping strategy, this rearrangement of marital ties would send the seven kingdoms of Morgadesh into chaos.