Leona “Lee” Aldwin
“Be afraid? Of you? Ha! Clearly you’ve never stood between twelve hungry lions and their dinner.”
Leona Aldwin was raised by her father, Ludo, and her older brother, Killian, after her mother passed away during her birth. She grew up just outside of the garden city, Azdena, of Bryslyn. Her family is a minor house under House Jaourn, and are charged with caring for the great lion cavalry. Her whole life, Leona has been around animals that many others believe are savage beasts, especially the Jaourn lions. These lions are a special breed that are larger, stronger, and tougher, in order to meet the needs of mounted battle. Leona has practically grown up with some of the lions. Just cubs when she was a toddler, Leona has integrated herself with a pack of lions. She has played with them, even learned to hunt with them. As she grew older, she took over many duties of the stable; feeding, training, cleaning. Many of the Jaourn warriors would make frequent visits to the stables, often to check up on their regal mounts. One warrior, Rayner, would come to help train Killian in sword-fighting. Leona found herself picking up daggers and short swords and following the motions that Rayner taught. It was not long before Leona began surpassing her brother.
With her father’s permission, Rayner started teaching Leona in a two-weapon fighting style. After seeing the connection between Leona and the lions, Rayner knew she had something special. He took his lion mount, Kafeel, and told Leona to choose a lion she has a bond with. Without hesitation, Leona choose Akina, a lioness that had been born only shortly after Leona herself. At fourteen years old, Akina is already halfway through her life, but the lioness acts like a young cub around Leona. The lioness will often follow Leona around as she works around the stables, purring, nudging her hand to for pats, or even leaping up and “hugging” Leona. Rayner taught the two the House Jaourn art of mounted combat on a lion.
Two years later, Leona woke with a start during the in the middle of the night. The lions were roaring loudly outside, making all sorts of angry noises. Leona, Killian, and Ludo jumped out of bed and immediately grabbed their weapons, all of them recognizing the distressed sounds of the animals. Outside were five armored men, thieves who had been looking for easy pickings, currently trying to defend themselves from the pack of lions facing them. Killian launched into a surprise attack, as the men had their backs to the family. The fight did not last longer than fifteen minutes, but when the dust settled only two of the thieves had managed to escape. A few lions, and Ludo had sustained minor injuries, but the thieves did steal one thing. Killian had been slain in the fight. Akina bumped her head into Leona’s side affectionately and let out a strangled growl.
After her brother’s death, Leona began training furiously. She had to take up all of the extra work that Killian left behind. Leona almost lost herself in the work and training. It was Akina that pulled her out of he reverie. The lioness gave birth to three cubs. These new cubs had taken the same affection to Leona that Akina has. Now a small pack of cubs began following Leona around as she worked. It becomes very hard to get lost in depression when three small mewing lion cubs are at your heels, staring at you with bright blue eyes.
Now. Leona’s swordplay skills have developed to a point, where she is often called upon by House Jaourn to join their sides in battles. Akina is getting older, and is nearing the end of her life. The lioness now spends more time lying in the shade, watching her three children still follow Leona around. The cubs, Jalil, Pili, and Tabia, are now fully grown and powerful. Leona loves her father, and the lions, but she feels that she needs to leave Azdena for a while. She has lived here her entire life, and has never seen any other part of Eyrinheim. Now is the time for her to move on, and explore what the rest of the land has to offer.
Ludo Aldwin: Father to Leona. The current head of House Aldwin. Ludo is trained in a two-handed weapon style and has fought many battles alongside the Jaourn warriors. He has owned and operated his family’s stables since they were given to him after his own father’s death, nearly 50 years ago.
Killian Aldwin: Older brother to Leona. Killian was three years older than Leona. He loved his younger sister and would have done anything for her. He was the first to put a weapon in her hand and encourage her to learn how to fight. Killian was killed during a raid by thieves.
Dina Aldwin: Mother to Leona. Rumors say that Dina was a great duelist who met Ludo while drinking Jaourn warriors under the table. Dina unfortunately passed away while giving birth to Leona.
Rayner Jaourn: Rayner is a Jaourn warrior who would frequently visit the Aldwin stables to train Killian, and eventually Leona in the art of swordplay and mounted combat.
Her whole life, Leona has been told that she was blessed with her mother’s good looks. Sharp, stone grey eyes constantly scan her surroundings like a stalking lioness. A long mane of black hair is usually worn up to keep it out of the way during work or battle. Fair skin is marred in many places by the old scars from battle, unruly lions, or overly rambunctious cubs. Leona is typically seen wearing armor. Light leather work armor protects her from a powerful swipe or playful bite of the fierce predators she cares for. Heavier breastplate is worn in fights to defend against slashes or stabs from an opponents blade. Leona is of average height, but her small frame is stacked with lean muscle carved from years of training and stable work. Like the claws of a lioness, Leona is rarely seen without her longswords. The only time when she leaves her weapons behind is when she is surrounded by lions, loyal to the family to raised and cared for them.
Leona is a rather easygoing young woman, who likes to enjoy life, because she is distinctly aware of how short it can be. She is passionate and caring. Being a part of House Aldwin has granted Leona a level of respect among the warriors of House Jaourn. Growing up with some of the most powerful and dangerous beasts in all of Eyrinheim, has left Leona with very few fears, and a great reverence for all. She rarely holds her self superior to any creatures, because arrogance will get you killed when facing a ornery lion. Having been raised by her father, older brother, and the many Jaourn warriors visiting the stables, Leona has developed a tomboyish streak. She can be quick to temper, and loves a good fight. She is confident in her abilities as a fighter. Leona likes to think of herself as a protector or guardian, which has gotten her in trouble more than a few times when she has attacked someone in power to defend someone in need.
House Aldwin is a minor house created by House Jaourn. Before Mulgardus began his conquest of Eyrinheim, the Aldwin family was one of the many tribes that settled in the plains of Bryslyn. They were natural caretakers, and had a gift of nurturing and soothing some of the most savage beasts of the plains. As a result of this skill, the Aldwins became close to chief Jaourn and were put in charge of caring for and training lions, the ferocious predators that House Jaourn is famous for. When chief Jaourn was called upon by Tirlinin to rally the tribes, the Aldwins were the among the first to offer their services and swords to the chief. When Jaourn was given a title and lands, he was quick to reward the Aldwins for their loyalty, giving them a minor house and land just outside of the garden city, Azdena, to continue their guardianship of the famous Jaourn lion cavalry.
House Aldwin is loyal to House Jaourn and their allies.
House Aldwin’s heraldry is two rampart lions bordering a vert (green) shield with an or (gold) chevron over two crossed gules (red) swords on a field of azure (blue), representing the loyalty, courage, generosity, and strength of House Aldwin, but also the responsibility and guardianship placed upon them by House Jaourn.