Character Profile: Argentmentes of Luddington

Today’s topic is a profile of a major character in my Shine Cycle that I’ve wanted to describe here for quite some time now, but the material wasn’t ready yet. Now, however, at last …

Argentmentes – Duke of Luddington, Justice Minister, many times Lord Regent, and Visiting Scholar. He has served honorably and with distinction in many of the Empire’s wars, including in a company several times decorated for valor and chivalry in the war that began shortly after his arrival, and is usually named “the most potent mind on the Empire’s legal team.” He is married to the Duchess of Calahur, whose district borders Luddington.

A tall man with thick black hair cut close around his head, he wears an ordinary set of robes, cut in a style favored by the nobility, as well as a large pair of eyeglasses with thin frames sitting high on his nose and the signet rings of his most important offices on his fingers. He dresses for comfort rather than fashion, for instance scouring the provinces for someone who makes a truly comfortable pair of shoes. As he walks the halls of government he moves with purposeful grace; in his office he reclines in his comfortable chair in a relaxed posture without letting his focused intensity waver. In the legislature he rises and addresses the Speaker of the House of Peers, but the efficient, perhaps clipped tones of his sharp low baritone voice carry to the farthest corners of the chamber even when he whispers, overriding or cutting through the bustle and noise of debate.

On his arrival with the rest of the Chosen, he entered the Academy, intending to study Imperial law. But while he had great success in that department, he also made a name for himself on the athletic courts, soon defeating even students who had been training for knighthood for a few years.

A few months after the war began, when a call for volunteers went out after the Dragon Empire declared its intention to enter the war, he joined a militia regiment nominally based in Luddington but drawn from the lower levels of the Academy as much as from that area. This regiment—and in fact his company—achieved several unit citations for valor and chivalry both in the battles in the Wild Mushroom Kingdom and in the Battle of the Great River. In the latter battle he was lightly wounded.

At that point Argentmentes was recalled, and he was named to head the Regency Council that would lead the government while both monarchs were at the front. He resumed his study of the Imperial legal system, quickly passing several Academy correspondence courses even in the brief period before the end of the war. When he was released to civilian duty after the war, he finished the first phase of the Academy, but decided not to continue in formal education for the time being.

Instead, the next year he stood for election to the post of mayor of Luddington. To most observers’ great surprise, he was elected in a landslide victory over three other native-born and more experienced challengers. And he proved so popular and able a leader that after his second term the citizens petitioned the Imperial government to make his position permanent, so he was made Earl of Luddington.

Over the course of the next decade or so, he continued his studies of Imperial law more informally, and also worked to strengthen ties with the surrounding districts. He worked especially closely with the duchess of Calahur, and they eventually became engaged; they married later that year.

Soon after that, he left his seat in the peerage to a deputy and stood for election in the larger district to the House of Commons, and was elected in a close race against Donald, another member of the Chosen. During three terms in the lower house, he served on several committees, and took particular interest in a comprehensive survey of the country’s laws and regulations that the Ministry of Justice was conducting. After those terms he resigned his seat in the Commons and returned to his duties in Luddington; when the next war began a few years later, he raised two regiments of militia and sent them to the front, leading one, which saw little action.

After the war, he was named deputy Minister of Justice. Faith had been promoted from that post to lead the Ministry a few years before, when Rebecca, the previous Minister, was moved to the Interior Ministry.

Between the effects of Gondolor‘s defection, and a major corruption scandal in Transylvania, ethics concerns preoccupied the Justice Ministry for a long time. When Rebecca resigned as Interior Minister and Faith replaced her there, he was promoted to full Minister of Justice, the position he has retained since.

After the First Inter-Universal War, the increased importance of Luddington, entirely aside from its earl, to both its surrounding districts and to the Empire as a whole led to it being increased to an dukedom.

Any thoughts?

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