A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Jeff Tomlin was part of the privileged elite who grew up with an appreciation of money, smooth bourbon, fine cigars, and thoroughbred racing. Like his fellow kithain in Lexington, he learned to ride almost before he could walk and had his own horse by the age of nine. Unlike his counterparts, he didn't undergo his Chrysalis until long after he was president of the bank and divorced from his second wife.
Learning he was a fae named Gwrhyr after thirty years as a human wasn't easy on Jeff. Finding out that he held ducal rank didn't surprise him (he'd always known he was of the upper crust). What surprised him was that he didn't have a duchy. Asking around among other Kithain, he found out that the duke, Araby, was a snot-nosed teenager with a brain the size of a pea. Granted the young man knew something about horses, but he was obviously not capable of ruling a duchy. Ready to step in and offer his not inconsiderable leadership abilities, Gwrhyr discovered that most of the changelings of Kentucky were content to be ruled by the duke's seneschal, a boggan named Garvey whose family had lived in the area since before time began. He was amazed that they preferred a boggan to a noble, and even more offended that they apparently didn't want him.
Though he appealed to King Meilge, asking the King of Willows to at least grant him a county in Louisville, he received no reply. Though almost no Kithain (and certainly no humans) in Louisville know of the rebuff, Gwrhyr was mortified. Feeling that he could not remain where he wasn't wanted, he decided to move somewhere where nobody would know him or care about his shame. He chose West Virginia.
Once there, he fell in love with the beautiful scenery and the independence of the people. Trying to capture some of the region's appeal, he started sculpting and found that he had a talent for working clay and carving rock. Exploring the wilder areas of the state, he discovered a 19th century gristmill with additions to it that was perfect for his house and studio. It sat atop a site that opened to the Dreaming, and he claimed it as a freehold, naming it Winterthorn for the white roses that grew nearby.
After a year in which he encountered few other changelings, all of them commoners, he petitioned the Duke of Dogwood to grant him a separate duchy. Gwrhyr saw no reason why the Duchy of Dogwood should encompass both Virginia and West Virginia when another noble of ducal stature lived in the western state. The duke was ambivalent, giving him responses that weren't clear answers. Finally, Gwrhyr demanded a duchy of his own and declared himself the Duke of Winterthorn. The Duke of Dogwood tepidly agreed that a trial period could be arranged.
Gwrhyr continued to live at Winterthorn, loosing track of time until he became lonely. Living in isolation, he rarely went into town and had no friends. To keep him company, he constructed a complex chimera: a daughter for himself whom he named Irenia. Lovely and biddable, she raised his spirits, seeming never to tire of hearing him talk or watching him sculpt. Eventually, Irenia developed sentience. She is very powerful, for she comes from his deepest insecurities and desire for love.
The only problem with their relationship is that Duke Gwrhyr has entered Bedlam from remaining within his freehold for far too long. Bathing in its Glamour, he has lost touch with the mortal world. The duke believes Irenia to be his real daughter; an actual flesh-and-blood faerie child. Because his dreams continue to shape her, Irenia grows like a real child and has developed interests of her own. She is very fond of gardens, and Gwrhyr has spent many hours constructing a hedge maze filled with flower beds to please his little girl. He keeps meaning to take her into town and introduce her to the few people he knows, but he always forgets.
Without realizing it, the duke is insanely jealous concerning Irenia. Should someone else show up at Winterthorn and show any interest in her, Gwrhyr might try to kill that person. The isolated sidhe slips further into further into Bedlam as time passes. Irenia doesn't mind. She knows that if he enters the final stage of Bedlam, he'll go into the Dreaming and her daddy will be with her forever in there.
Arts & Abilities Edit
Gwrhyr was once quite a good rider and a talented sculptor. His best Arts were Dream-Craft and Primal. Now he does little besides plant gardens to please Irenia and talk of things he'll never get around to doing.
Although a confirmed grump, the Duke of Winterthorn is proud that his hair and mustache are still brown. His hazel eyes seem either mad or sad, depending on his current thoughts. He used to enjoy dressing well but now he wears baggy old trousers and work boots with a patched sweater since most of his time is spent gardening.
Gwrhyr is the Duke of Winterthorn, his gracious estate set into an array of formal gardens. His daughter Irenia is the most important thing in his life and he would do anything to please her. Right now, that means planting flowers. He doesn't mind; gardening takes his mind off of the onerous duties of running such an important duchy.