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 A traitorous introduction to a traitor

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Janus Jock Weathercock


Posts : 2
Join date : 2016-03-03
Age : 777
Location : Hermitage Castle, Scottish Lowlands

PostSubject: A traitorous introduction to a traitor   Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:17 pm



ame: Janus Jock Weathercock*, born Kirkland, son of Alasdair Kirkland

Representative of: Hermitage Castle, Scottish Lowlands

Gender: Male

Age (human and historical) : Born in 1240, Janus had a rapid growth at the mid 14th century at the end of which he went from looking 11 to 21. He now looks 23.

Brief personality: In his early days, Janus used to be very light-arted. He never stopped to admire nature ; even in the depths of a prison, he would spend hours kneeled in front of a Bellis perennis or a violet that would have survived the coldness of the dungeons, caressing the moss with the tip of his finger, then digging his nail in it. When he was free, on evenings, he would go on a walk around his castle and recite lays or ballads about fairies singing at twilight to seduce a knight who drinking water from a stream.
It was because of the lure of profit, they said, that Janus started to kill and betray. I do not believe it to be the only reason. To me - and to those who later came to know him - it was also an attraction to evil, to thrill, and most of all, an æsthetical taste for sin and feelings of guilt, that made him poison his uncle in order to gain the Hermitage Castle. To kill, he prefers to use strychnine, an effective colourless, odourless, and almost tasteless poison.
Over the years, Janus became more moody, gloomy and even sometimes cynical, especially after he spent some time in his own dungeons when Little Jock Elliot took the castle. Janus had to stay a full year in it, until Jock was sure Janus wouldn't betray him. How could he be so sure, you would ask, remembering this habit of betrayal that the Hermitage Castle's inhabitants had ? Well, Jock made sure Janus was deeply influenced by him, that he belonged to him heart and soul - or, since Janus was a painter, art and soul. Even after his release, Janus took Jock as his middle name.
In spite of this betrayal itching of his, Janus is a very amiable friend, never saying a disrespectfull or mean word about his friends, and he doesn't attempt anything against one of them for any other reason than politics, gain and æstheticism - the third being, let us agree, the most forgivable crime.
But himself was a criminal to the world of journalism when he started to write in newspapers such things as what he ate, what fabric he used for his clothings, and what kind of rifles he prefered to chase wild gooses. Details of the sort are very important to one's style, but are very painful to read about, and I'm afraid journalism has kept a lot of Janus' influence, even now.

Brief physical description: Janus has a mass of light curly blonde hair, and deep blue eyes. He used to wear the kilt, but, like his father Alasdair (from whom he has also inhereted this habit of political betrayal...) he has renounced it since the 19th century. He wears tight black or white trousers with boots of a dark brown, and a white and large shirt made of cotton on which he has, most of the time, either a red jacket or a brown coat doubled with fur.
He wears the most precious and valuable jewels, every one a true and unique piece of art. In one of his rings, on which is carved the profile of Robert the Bruce (having betrayed the man doesn't prevent Janus from wearing a ring at his effigy - it actually has something awfully delicious in it), he has put some strychnine seeds.
His face sometimes has a sinister shade on it, as if a shadow came over it when his mood would change. In fact, Janus knows so much how to play with the light that he products these effects on porpuse, even automatically now : he knows that one must be one's own piece of art, and like every painter one has to use the light and shadows.

Brief history: Let us now all listen to what an objective stranger has to say about our castle :

"My first impression of Hermitage Castle is that you’d have to really want to be there, to be there. Hidden deep in Border Reiver country, you have to go through narrow winding roads that disappear before inexplicably starting again until you pass by a lonely sign telling you to walk across the bridge and the castle would be somewhere over there. Yep, that way, and a bit to the right. You can’t miss it, mate.
It’s the most difficult place to find, rivalled only by the location of the bathroom in a stranger’s house party, and isolated in a “no one will hear your screams” kind of way.

Once considered as the “guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain,” Hermitage Castle has a history of being owned by distinguished noblemen no one seemed to like or trust, suspected of everything from treason and attempted regicide to witchery.
I’ve never seen a stronghold that reflected its history so much. It’s routinely described as one of the most “sinister and atmospheric” castles in this country and, according to Radio Scotland, the embodiment of the phrase “sod off” in stone.
Hermitage stands in the lordship of Liddesdale, held by the de Soules family in the 12th century. The first lord held the prestigious position of butler at the court of David I and the family moved to Hermitage after the second lord, Ranulf “the wicked Lord Soules”, was murdered in 1207 by his servants in nearby Liddel.

Because of its strategic location in the Middle March, Liddesdale was a sought after place during the Wars of Independence in 1296. Hermitage quickly fell into English hands, and so started the dispute of its ownership between the de Soules and their English enemies. But that’s not enough drama, so in 1320 William de Soules was accused of plotting to kill King Robert the Bruce and was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, forfeiting his lands and titles to the crown.

In 1338, Sir William Douglas, “Knight of Liddesdale”, seized Hermitage and was described by the monks of Durham as “not so much valiant as malevolent.” He was a skilled knight and captured many castles for Scotland. His vaunted malevolence showed itself when his rival and compatriot, Sir Alexander Ramsey, started to become more liked by the king after Ramsay recaptured Roxburgh Castle in 1342, and the king took the office of Constable and Sheriff of Roxburgh from Douglas to bestow it upon Ramsey.

In a hissy fit, Douglas led a large force of men to Hawick, where Ramsey was holding court, seized Ramsey and tied him to a mule to take him to Hermitage. Here, Ramsey was imprisoned in the dungeon and starved to death, lingering for up to 17 days without food and water. His body is believed to have been found in the 1800s, when a mason broke down the walls and came upon a sealed dungeon, where a skeleton laid over a rusty sword.

By 1346, Sir William Douglas was captured in the Battle of Neville’s Cross and imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he agreed with his captors not to impede English armies marching through Liddesdale if they let him keep Hermitage. Unfortunately, the Scottish King David II knew of the pact and gave Hermitage to his godson and namesake, who was already Lord Douglas (and future Earl of Douglas). Lord Douglas killed the Knight of Liddesdale in 1353, during a confrontation in the Ettrick Forest.

Eventually, Hermitage passed to Lord Douglas’s illegitimate son, George, the Earl of Angus, and this guy built the corner towers we see today. Maybe it was like doing superficial renovations to a house before selling, because during James IV’s reign, the 5th Earl was involved in some intrigues with the English, and the castle was given to the Bothwells, who later also proved untrustworthy when the 3rd earl, Patrick, made a deal with the English that he’d hand over Hermitage in exchange for marriage to a princess. He didn’t marry a princess, but his son James, the 4th Earl of Bothwell, married Mary, Queen of Scots.

No one liked this guy either. Sure, it didn’t help that he was a prat, but to be honest, by now any Hermitage owner could spend half his fortune to give away food to the poor and people would just mutter, “Bloody show off. Typical, if you ask me–which you didn’t, but what a slimey toff!”

Jimmy here bore the brunt of trouble with the borderers. In particular, there was this encounter in 1566 with famous reiver Little Jock Elliot who could care less that Bothwell was an earl. Elliot was so famous there’s a ballad about him that highlights his “screw you” attitude. The refrain goes, “My name is Little Jock Elliot, and wha daur meddle wi’ me!” Bothwell might not have understood Elliot’s accent or why this cattle lifter was singing during battle, but when the earl returned to Hermitage injured and barely hanging onto life, only to discover he couldn’t get inside the castle because the Elliot clan had taken it over while he was away, we can assume he got the message.

So did his future third wife, Mary Queen of Scots, who in the middle of her annual progress (tour), heard of her rumored beau’s injured state and rode the 25 miles of difficult terrain to be with him. She only stayed a couple hours to quell the gossips and protect her reputation, but on the way back to Jedburgh , her horse stumbled on a bog and she contracted pneumonia which nearly killed her. Fortunately, she recovered from the illness so she can attend her beheading about a decade after Bothwell went insane and died in a Danish dungeon.

So, clearly, the borderers won this round, and the last family to own Hermitage was headed by the “Bold Buccleuch” and notorious reiver, Sir Walter Scott, a descendant of whom was the writer of the same name whose historical novels revived interest in medieval Scotland. So much so that in the early 19th century, the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, Walter Montagu Douglas Scott made certain that Hermitage Castle was preserved so it could still creep people out even after the property went into public ownership in 1939."

Religious affiliation: Catholicism & Anglicanism

Any special powers or abilities: He has nothing of the sort. However, a strange, wee creature sometimes follows him, called Robin Redcap. Redcaps inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland. They murder travellers who stray into their homes and dye their hats with their victims' blood. They have to kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear, they will make it impossible for you to outrun them. They look like sturdy old men with red eyes, taloned hands and large teeth, wearing a red cap and bearing a pikestaff in the left hand.
The redcap familiar of Lord William de Soulis, called "Robin Redcap", is said to have wrought much harm and ruin in the lands of his master's dwelling, Hermitage Castle. Ultimately, William was (according to legend) taken to the Ninestane Rig, a circle of stones by the castle, then wrapped in lead and boiled to death. In reality, William De Soulis was imprisoned in Dumbarton castle and died there, following his confessed complicity in the conspiracy against Robert the Bruce in 1320.

Redcaps & Robin:
 


*Janus is the latin god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages & endings, depicted as having two faces, and therefore informing of the fickleness of our character. A weathercock is something that indicates where the wind comes from, and moves according to it ; it's used as a name for someone who changes their mind often. Janus Weathercock was one of the false identities Thomas Griffiths Wainewright liked to use. Jock was the name of the famous Little Jock Elliot, who inhabited Hermitage Castle.

SOURCES :
-Wikipedia, Englandclanaustralia.com, Weewhitehoose.com
-Brief history taken from an article on ivorythewriter.wordpress.com
-Character partly inspired by Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, well-known painter, writer and poisoner, as depicted by Oscar Wilde in his essay Pen, Pencil & Poison.


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