(Art by our very own wangxiuming)
Birthdate: 21 Flamerule, 1313 DR (40)
Base Class: Fighter
Adulthood struck a fateful blow, as entry into the cavalry troop brought him to Neverwinter, to the edges of Waterdeep and to the first-hand accounts of veteran wanderers of everything north, south and to the east of them beyond imports he couldn't afford and maps he wasn't old enough to consider. The wealth of the City of Skilled Hands and the might of Waterdeep's forces forced a new reality: Leilon was too small a cell for his mind. What began on horseback evolved into a foot militia, as he met eventual release from the Lances to instead gain citizenship and entry into Neverwinter's militia, acting as a drill sergeant for what battle experience he'd gained at the rush of a cavalry charge and hundred yard release of a line of three dozen crossbow bolts.
Conflict against Orc tribes, against bandits, against Luskan and against every conceivable thing that wishes for the downfall of civilization was met. History dictates Neverwinter overcame them. Personal experience left him wondering how much of him survived each time, as bunkmates were replaced by younger, more ignorant bodies and the drill yards filled each year with fewer familiar faces. When memory and reality became so separate as to be unrecognizable, he found religion. Helm's service was comforting in it's absolutes. There was a girl, an order of Knights and an indignant father – his life played like theatre, a squire earning the ire of a noble infinitely more powerful than his own father.
The road wasn't kinder than Neverwinter's service, but it asked fewer questions. He earned his knighthood on a muddied field, breathless and his armor tattered between Sundabar and Everlund. Time passed. In years that seemed like centuries and seconds alike, he realized he was further south than he'd ever traveled, beyond the Waterdeep that inspired his wanderlust. When he realized still that he'd not met the same person twice in over a years time, he chose to be determined when others might have reconsidered their lifestyle. Pride and a deep rooted self-reliance have taken him across every mile of the Swordcoast since, a knight mostly in name. Friendless save for those few who remember him from his youth, loveless save for a memory and godless save for the same tired sermon he offers those he fights for on the road.
When asked, he can only respond: “It’s not a bad life.”
A life without pause carries its fair share of physical tells, with sunkissed skin equally beaten and cracked by coastal winds and frozen nights spent huddled at the side of a midnight road. His back, despite its frequent protests, stands straight and at attention whenever he suspects a witness; it hunches in an elusive pursuit of respite to accompany the flaring pains at the knees whenever he knows he's alone. Tall with coal colored hair and green eyes, he's slimmer than his live-in armor would suggest, lean and built as an endurance runner.
Were it not for the refinement by which he speaks, breathes and walks he might very well blend in among the average caravan and wandering troupe. For good or ill, pride and privileged upbringing insist he stand apart and afford no misconception otherwise.
As it is, his failures are more often than not practical rather than moral, similar to many veteran Ilmateri in a jaded perspective of their lives and careers: however much good they perform, evil, crime and immorality will endure beyond their best efforts. Despite his warped state of mind, Desmond remains a man dedicated to the pursuits of his god and his knighthood, whether or not he truly believes in them still.
Those who proclaim equal or greater station and duties are afforded much skepticism, veiled by outward respect. Anyone capable of winning and keeping his trust would be among the first to discover the hollowed interior of a robust heart and once enthusiastic spirit.
Though perhaps not surprising to those that believe in a chivalric cause and take the appropriate oaths, more world weary veterans of life might find it suspicious that Desmond is and has largely remained chaste while on the road. In reality, abstinence is due simply to circumstance and the severe dedication by which Desmond lives his life. Half-measures and sweet nothings are more offensive than not. While not a typical romantic, he’s sworn off the trouble of having a fleet of bastards find him or his family down the road.
As primary devotions go, Siamorphe and Helm keep his closest allegiance, with the latter being the deity to whose service he has devoted himself and to who his knighthood is sworn under. Perhaps unavoidably due to his occupation as a Road Warden and the sheer amount of time spent travelling, he has a special appreciation for travellers that roam the world with Shaundakuls name on their lips.
Military drills and stratagem. You don't live by and through your weapon and not become obsessive of it and it's applications in the process. A cavalryman and an archer, Desmond spends what little time at rest he affords himself replicating small and large military events on parchment and in imagination, often pausing off a less traveled road to consider how best a battle would play out in that stretch of territory. He's stopped a few times during his career at struggling villages and small towns for a season to train up a militia or empower a local sheriff as a liaison of distant nobility. He enjoys few duties more than exercising military routine on a dedicated group. While not a true hobby due to how rare the opportunity is, he's never entirely opposed to taking command of an underperforming squad.
Mead/wine appreciation. Having been once in the service to a Neverwinter noble with primary investments in Neverwinter Ice-wine and previously engaged to his eldest daughter, Desmond considers himself a connoisseur of similar beverages. Had his early life turned out even slightly different, he may very well have dedicated himself and his estate to the production and trade of alcohol unique to that region.
A cavalryman to the last, Desmond is best at home with a crossbow, bow or lance in his hands while on horseback. Absent a charger or worthy mount, his fallbacks are a longbow and handaxe.
Desmond has been an exemplary Road Warden for most of his career, but has continually avoided the summons of his knighthood order and keeps as far afield his sword brethren as possible in favor of traveling alone. The Order of the Watch could be content to let him roam and send semi-regular updates on his work by courier to the varied holdings they keep, or they may wish for him to take a more active stance: whether in matters political, economical or religious and no longer choose for himself what his best next task should be.