Overview EditAaron Penworthy III was born to excess. His father and mother were owners of the prestigious Rose Garland Stables in Lexington, Kentucky, famous for breeding thoroughbred horses. Set in bluegrass country, the lavish estate holds and even more important site than the stables, though few know of its existence. In a small wooded area just off the near pasture lies a tiny stone grotto set near a trickling stream. The grotto is the entry to a freehold set into a series of hillside caverns that were excavated to accommodate the faerie abode.
Rediscovered during the Accordance War, when it served as a place of refuge for nobles of the sidhe army, the freehold was given to Aaron's mother, Sarah (Lady Sareffria of Gwydion) when she married Aaron Penworthy Jr., mortal owner of the land. Lady Sareffria was named Duchess of Blue Grasses and held the freehold from the end of the war.
Seventeen years later, the duchess gave birth to a child who harbored the faerie essence of one of her distant cousins, Araby ap Gwydion. Though she didn't know his exact identity until his Chrysalis, she suspected she would be gifted with raising another Gwydion.
Because Lady Sareffria knew she was raising a future duke (for her child would naturally be her heir), she tried to give him al the very best; everything that a noble should have. His father just spoiled him rotten. As a child, Aaron was a brat; demanding and self-centered and likely to throw a tantrum whenever his wishes were not instantly gratified. Believing he would outgrow this stage if allowed to enter his Chrysalis, the Duchess pushed her son unmercifully, hauling him to every gallery, play, concert, and dance recital in Lexington. His father introduced him to the joys of riding to the hunt and of breeding champions.
Despite his mother's hopes, Aaron's Chrysalis did not occur until he was almost 16 years old. By that time, the Duchess was slipping into Banality and hardly cared that Aaron seemed just as spoiled as a teenager as he had as a child. She stepped down in his favor so long as he agreed to retain her faithful seneschal Garvey. Aaron accepted and became Duke Araby.
The young duke's only interest was in breeding horses, racing, and riding to the hunt. he enjoyed posturing at court and holding balls and parties, but paid little attention to the business of rulership. Kithain within the Duchy of Blue Grasses whispered among themselves, wondering if Araby could really be of House Gwydion; a house famed for its leaders. Other Gwydion nobles, hearing of Araby's poor rulership, considered him an embarrassment and had spoke of deposing him.
That he remains duke is due partly to the recent improvement in his rule of his duchy and partly to his success at breeding faerie steeds, which are much in demand. Inquiries suggest that the better rulership comes from Garvey, but the steeds as truly Araby's triumph. Still, most nobles are disdainful of the popinjay puppy who supposedly rules in Lexington.
Many Kithain believe that the duchy would be ruled more wisely by a vigilante changeling who has been battling corrupt Unseelie and ridding the area of a group of hunters: Dauntain who have been preying upon the changelings of the duchy. The duke pays no attention to the reports of such foes, but the masked rider who calls himself Lord Justice deals with the problems the duke fails to heed. Justice has become a hero while the duke fritters away his time with frivolous pastimes. Even King Meilge has little patience for the young duke, considering him too big a fool to even be of use in Meilge's schemes.
Only Garvey knows that Lord Justice is the duke. While the wilder noble pretends to be ineffective, he secretly unmasks the ills in the duchy and within the Kingdom of Willows. Araby was once known as Ardain ap Gwydion, on of Gwydion's best and most courageous knights. As Ardain, he knew Meilge when the Eiluned duke held the freehold of Summerstree before the Shattering. Even them, he knew of Meilge's cruelty and deceit and declared himself Meilge's enemy. Now that he has returned to Earth, he seeks to prove that Meilge is unworthy to rule Willows. He cannot do so openly, however, nor can he obviously rise against his liege. Thus, the disguise.
While Meilge dismisses him and his own people laugh behind his back, Araby watches and gathers information. he has already rooted out a nest of Meilge's drug dealers setting up shop in Lexington. Now he hopes that he can learn enough to bring the king to his knees and rescue Willows from the corruption that gnaws at its heart.
Araby is an expert rider and schooled in all the arts of warfare. He is as well-versed in stealth and intrigue as he is in courtly manners. The due relies heavily upon his mastery of Primal and Wayfare to succeed in his disguise as Lord Justice. He is also knowledgeable concerning Sovereign and Soothsay, but to a much lesser extent than his other Arts.
Duke Araby is about 5'10" tall, very slender and almost effete. He has very short reddish blond hair and brown eyes. He is never dressed in anything but the finest, most fashionable clothes. He always wears a large ruby ring given to him by his mortal father. As Lord Justice, he retains his height but seems more muscular. His manner is forthright and his movements sure and confident. Justice has longer hair and a well-trimmed mustache and beard, all blue-black. His eyes are such a dark brown they appear almost black. Lord Justice dresses all in black with chimerical black armor and sword. He wears a half-mask that conceals his identity. His usual mount is a black faerie steed with a white diamond on its forehead.
Araby was once the selfish, spoiled child everyone thinks he still is. He must keep up the pretense even though he hasn't been such an idiot since he was 16 years old. He remembers the havoc Meilge once caused before the Shattering and vaguely recalls that he was associate with several atrocities in Arcadia that helped earn Eiluned's exile. Somehow, he must expose him. To do so, though, he must lead a double life, or is that a triple life? Young heir to a wealthy Lexington family who still lives with his mother and father on the estate, ineffectual and foolish duke ruling from a freehold he obviously doesn't deserve, and vigilante good guy riding by night from a secret hideout to right wrongs and serve justice. Sometimes it's hard to keep all of his roles straight. He's just thankful he has Garvey to cover for him when needed.