Faustus Cambrius Cordatus

White Knights, plain old good guys, folks who take charge and want to take the city's problems in hand altruistically are a natural fit for this section.

Faustus Cambrius Cordatus

Postby IamLEAM1983 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:47 pm

Name: Faustus Cambrius Cordatus (Cody Tanner)
Age: 2225 years old
Gender: male
Species: Anglo-Celtic Dragon

Strengths: despite their shorter wingspan while in their natural configuration, Cody's friends and closest relatives benefit from a slightly more resistant frame and – most importantly – from prehensile forelegs. Dragons coloquially referred to as “green” even if they aren't exactly of that colour tend to be able to trot or gallop along like giant dogs, which makes them proficient at acquiring running starts in order to take off. They're also the only species of dragon who maintain vaguely humanoid traits in their true form, as well as the ability to speak.

Magic and evolutionary stress forced this breed to eschew the Wyrm's acid-spewing ability and to instead focus on a greater level of arcane proficiency. As such, Tanner's veils are second to none and his elemental abilities remain quite considerable even after two thousand years.

Deprived of the initial complete immunity of Wyrm blood, Anglo-Celtic lizards have always been pushed by Mother Nature. This forced the breed to develop a hardy immune system which is comparable to a healthy human's in its efficiency. What would make Aldergard miserable would only slow down Cordatus to a degree, as his arthritic self belies an otherwise excellent bill of health.

Socially, Cordatus is advantaged to a degree. When people of almost all ages conjure up the image of a dragon in their mind, what pops up is the Anglo-Celtic standard. Even before the Vienna Accords, the idea of towering lizards patiently lying next to knight errants they tutored in the finer points of chivalry was rather seductive. If Smaug finds his real-life inspiration in some of Aldergard's kindred, the reluctant dragon from the similarly-named story is obviously from Tanner's greater cultural basin.

As such, he tends to produce the inverse of Kuhn's decidedly imposing stature. He tends to fit in closer to Alderan's model of the beloved senior citizen, with his humble and yet highly cultivated social distinctions. If anyone can trump Archie Holden in the finer points of gentile behaviour and do so in a disarmingly honest manner, it's the president and founder of Tanner and Associates.
Weaknesses: unfortunately, green dragons are less tolerant of base physical pain. Their culture being far less martial in its composition, constant hardship is less of a concern than would be the case for Wyrm broods. Paired with their hardier constitution, this gives them a weaker pain threshold. If Aldergard suffered from the same arthritis attacks as Cordatus, odds are his gait would only occasionally stiffen. The former Roman senator has a hard time keeping the sheer discomfort off his face, comparatively. Technically operating as an archmage, Cody still couldn't find a way to completely dull his now centuries-old stabs of pain in his joints.

Considering his age, it won't be surprising for anyone to know that Cordatus is a fair bit of a social conservative. Even the most earnest of tomboys will be kissed on the back of the hand or will see doors being opened for her by the aging lawyer. Unlike Archie, however, he's lived long and hard; so long and so hard that he doesn't have much room left for shock or disapproval. If anything, lukewarm disconnection or mild disapproval is all he seems able to project towards whatever would normally excite the passions of true-blue conservatives. He truly is every bit as progressive as you'd expect him to be based on his reputation, but there's a few things he claims he'll simply never get used to. Seeing women actively fight for the right to engage in messy or dangerous professions is one thing, while he'll be the first to admit he was part of the first in line to support women's suffrage.

Finally, Faustus grew up and was primarily raised as a researcher, arcane practitioner and orator. As far as dragons are concerned, he is very much a nerd, and couldn't be expected to perform incredibly well in aggressive circumstances. His true self gives him enough latitude to not have to worry about missing his opponents too often – breathing fire tends to do that – but anything requiring mano a mano confrontations would largely be lost upon him. If anything, his maintaining roots in his beloved Italy has allowed him to develop some expertise with Toledo steel.

Archie would still act as the best fencer of the two, but this is still a crutch he can lean on if need be.

Appearance: being a member of the Superhuman Protection Program, Cody is required by law (and for his own protection) to maintain a veil in place despite the presence of the Vienna Accords. Like most other dragons, he relies on the bravery or stubbornness of a few volunteer individuals to show themselves in order to be able to live peacefully. Locally, this honour goes to Seamus Mac Loch, who's pushed the idea of painting a target on his back to the point of being one of the city's Deputy Chiefs. In the meantime, the other local hotshot laywer is free to live out his life, free of the threat of assassination or murder from zealous bigots embracing the ages-old tradition of dragon-slaying. As far as the System knows (and apart from Homeland Security officials who act as appointed government contacts), Cody Tanner is a male human of eighty-five years of age.

Average in size but rather thin, Cody the human displays aquiline features that would fit like a glove on an ancient Roman coin. With a proud nose, thin and firm mouth and somewhat rectangular green eyes, he has something of an aged Jules Caesar look, with the leader's traditionally thin hair traded for a slicked-back and fairly rich dome of silver. As far as most of everyone knows, Tanner has the ideal facial features to look regally stern, but he instead animates himself in warm and inviting ways. Childlike wonderment, mischievous amusement and fake displays of snobbery meant to incite sympathetic laughs are fairly common sights. Several jury members could testify of his habit of sparing winks and perfectly dosed jokes to appeal to the better senses of potentially undecided individuals. There's a ton of personality and charm to his work and everyday pursuits, but it never feels like a smarmy affect, like what Leonard Ephesian's taken to displaying, lately. If anything, Tanner makes the fact of being old and creaky look inordinately appealing, being one of the most-often cited better-looking seniors in town.

As for his actual appearance, it obviously fluctuates. Without any concessions put in place, Cordatus appears as a fairly classic green dragon, shorter than Aldergard from tail-tip to muzzle and possessed of a slightly shorter wingspan. On the other hand, his leonine features are hard to miss. There used to be a time where this bus-sized gentle giant strolled Welsh fields alone or galloped alongside horse-riding human hunters, his somewhat flatter facial features allowing him to speak. He'd sometimes shift his weight on three limbs instead of four, using his freed hand to manipulate objects or gesture while speaking. As the colloquial name suggests, his main coat of scales is of a dark forest green, while something closer to lime stretches across his throat, chest and underside. While the Wyrm ancestry is somewhat obvious in his species, especially in how some scales lining his jaw are a litttle harder, paler and thicker than the rest; he doesn't have Aldergard's spiny appearance. Rather, two simple horns rise from the front top of his head, gently and gracefully curving backwards – a bit like an antelope's. Centuries of scarring and harsh roads have given those two shades slight brownish tinges. His not being a terrific fighter shows, as he is covered in even more scars than Aldergard. Notably, one livid slash scores his flesh right across one eye, which was thankfully spared. In his bipedal configuration, that slash becomes a thin and slightly puckered line that you'd almost take for an oddly placed wrinkle.

When accommodating bipedals (which is most of the time), he tends to painlessly warp himself into a wingless configuration of about five feet eight for a hundred and fifty pounds, which he – imaginatively enough – dresses almost all in green. Only his shined Oxfords, white shirt, subdued golden necktie and his bowler hat's black felt brim balance out his decidedly viridian colour scheme. The hat plays host to a mild enchantment that allows it to more or less phase through his horns, making the process of putting it on a lot easier than cutting out hoops for his lengths of keratin.

Unsurprisingly, Tanner's conservative leanings make it difficult for him to consider suit-and-tie combos as not worthy of being considered as casual wear. He largely dresses in the same exact way day in and day out, weekend or weekday, workday or holiday. Truth be hold, he feels positively naked without a necktie on, and leans a bit on his own cane. If Aldergard's is an altered weapon that can be modified back into fighting form, Cordatus' is an aging and very dear possession – a perfect length of polished driftwood, crafted by selkie hands of yore with the carved Welsh swirls of his childhood as a form of tribute and thanks for his assistance. It looks surprisingly humble for a powerful magical focus, so few people know what to expect when he shifts his grip on it and brandishes it by the bottom of the haft. That usually comes right before focused and extremely powerful via discharges, given shape by his stentorian voice that would give Ian McKellen a run for his money. Being a dragon, he more or less is right up there with figures such as Meris and Merlin, in terms of the sheer potential displays he can manage.

Behaviour: as a rule, Anglo-Celtic dragons have rehabilitated their parent strain's desire for control into deep-seated protective impulses. Usually noble and passionate beings with a tumultuous and equally earnest relationship with Humanity, these dragons are pedagogues and surrogate parents, advisors and cave-dwelling hermits dispensing hard-earned wisdom, and generally people who are deeply concerned with giving back to their surrounding communities. As such, abnegation is a rather common trait of this dragon breed. Cordatus being no exception, he's seemingly confused the terms “company man” and “family man”. Being known for his close and earnest relationship with his cabinet's members, his open-door policy is well-known in the city's political sphere. Approach him with a smidgen of good manners and a few introductory pleasantries, and he'll be willing to listen to you, whoever you might be.

Having no living family of his own, Tanner is also known for being the other Cool Grandpa in town. There's nothing he likes more than an after-dinner game of cards with associates he's known since their passing the bar, and whom he's comfortable enough with to address them by their first name. Thomas Ephesian is one of those, as you'll find the goat and dragon share wry and complicit smiles from time to time. As for his juniors' kids – he knows their birthdays by heart and never misses one. A bit like Alderan, he seems to be fairly gifted with kids. Although less spry and less prone to join in with his associates' Friday Office Wars, his long years spent listening to Welsh bards have made a peerless storyteller out of him. One of Thomas' colleagues happens to have a kid who's into Dungeons and Dragons, and Tanner has gone to the extent of purchasing and studying the Sixth Edition's entire rulebook set. Once a month on Saturdays, the cabinet's conference room becomes a gaming room a few preteens, teenagers, a smattering of adults and an old and decidedly easily amused dragon all share. If you're ever in need of someone to give a little English and fairly operatic flair to your campaign's narrative, look no further.

In a more serious registry, this obviously flatters Faustus' talent as an orator. He can affect class, precision, distinction and professionalism in front of a jury or a gathered crowd, and does so in such a way as to remain sympathetic. A wry smile here, a little joke snuck into an otherwise incisive summation there – and he usually adds small sparks of levity into the otherwise fairly exhausting process of being a member of the jury. It's a tough act; looking simultaneously of high breeding and also like someone who isn't above rotting his brain in front of dumb television shows after a gruelling day – but he pulls it off earnestly.

Being a fairly open book, Cordatus would make it very obvious that his deep-seated passion for mortal affairs comes from his having known both sheer indigence and the lofty heights of fame. He's stolen food and taken part in Roman orgies equally, and is as familiar with the earnest and simple carved designs of Celtic Europe as with the burgeoning Classical sensibilities of Ancient Rome. Consequently, he sees wealth as not a sort of “end-game” state, but rather as the jumping-off point to bigger and better things for himself and the world alike. A patron of the arts and sciences alike, his advanced age doesn't seem to preclude the childlike twinkle in his eyes, when a new arcane breakthrough is made or when Anastasius Romanov manages to break down the concept of fold-space drives into simple enough terms for him to understand. Younger individuals would recognize him as a sort of “omni-geek”; someone who doesn't really have the time, money or patience to keep hunting the latest trends in consumer products, but who still grins in gleeful anticipation at every yearly Consumer Electronics Show. This can seem fairly weird to some people, however, as only fellow dragons or vampires could conceivably speak of lightbulbs and alternating current the way modern-day geeks are about successfully teleporting house-cats to the moon without Karthian involvement. Yet, that's what he does – as he obviously still thinks that your Plain-Jane over-designed telephones from the early thirties are utterly awesome.

He doesn't understand all of it and has only gone so far as to nab an iPhone for himself back in the mid-two-thousands; but he certainly seems to relish the scope of each new discovery, the rippling effects of each new technology. If anything, this speaks of his unshakable faith in the mortal condition. He's always supported the idea that a few decades and a lot of patience and elbow grease were all that you needed to produce giants and kings worthy of song, or painters and composers that would be remembered centuries after their passing. In fact, he finds himself disheartened by certain Wyrm and a few of his own kinsmen who have fairly little confidence in most mortal endeavors.

The way he sees things, History isn't some sort of pissing match destined to determine if living a single century or a few thousand is better and more productive. Each and every one of us is given ample opportunity to shine, as he sees it, and the count of our years has relatively little to do with our natural capabilities. He's seen terminally ill humans and anthros accomplish more in their shortened time on this Earth than certain millennial individuals. Some Wyrm are, after all, so obsessed and diseased with the idea of storing and protecting their hoard that entire mortal lifetimes will be spent lounging about on piles and piles of stolen or ransomed fineries.

Naturally, this makes him fairly loathed by those few supremacists the world's authorities can actually point out. The brazenly conservative branch of the Anglo-Celtic breed isn't especially numerous, but some of his kinsmen really do think of him as a cultural traitor to the species.

In opposition, his open-ended nature makes him largely beloved by the international community. One of the main speakers for those dragons and supernaturals who do openly support the Accords' continued measures, he's become known for his eminently charitable response to certain late-coming apologies by various mortal cultures who were known to have integrated dragon-slaying into their ancestral practices. He candidly talks about the culture and customs of dragons to whomsoever is authorized to know him as his true self, and is somewhat saddened by the only partially lessened need for dragons to live under a constant veil. Hope having a fairly large pro-dragon populace, only a select few individuals throughout the city's offered services and administration know of Cody Tanner as a dragon. Proceeding as such makes the odds of attempted murders against him or other local dragons fairly lower than in test regions where a simulated full disclosure was put in place.

Considering, being entrusted with his true identity is more than proof enough that you matter to him and that he trusts you. There's nothing more he quite likes as feeling that those persons he's speaking to are actually seeing his face, and not just reading his impression of a properly conserved old human man.

As delicate as he's become, Faustus is still a frank lover of life. His fairly lean humanoid frame belies his full form's fairly gargantuan appetite. Unlike Doherty, however, he enjoys every bite and has a hard time not looking excessively relieved at each and every meal he partakes in. Noshing seems to be something he can't reliably depend on, as he's either reasonably sated or deeply famished. Even in the context of serious lunch meetings, you can expect to see a point where he'll roll his eyes and groan in sheer delight. He sees food and table gatherings as a whole as one of the lynch-pins of a healthy social life and has never really seemed to care if his commenting on the utterly exquisite composition of this Chateaubriand or the fullness of that wine interrupted serious meetings. With his Roman and equally Medieval inheritance, it also isn't surprising to see him daintily put occasionally bothersome utensils aside and dig in with his bare hands (which he never fails to wash). If you've ever wondered if there was a way of making the act of sucking your fingers clean look socially acceptable, he's obviously perfected it. With the Accords, more and more people are beginning to understand that in the case of a select few immortals, you can't take Ancient Rome out of the former patrician.

A bit like Aldergard, fairly strong stuff is required for him to lose his ever-present and yet casual poise. Most forms of grain alcohol humans and anthros will routinely drink aren't much more than tap water for him. It won't surprise anyone to know that he's managed to preserve the presumably lost formula behind perfectly brewed Celtic mead. Earthenware cups are a regular sight around his house in Old Hope, with bloated grains and shrivelled-up raisins and prunes giving the mixture an initially unappealing look. Filtering it through your teeth is essential – and then it hits you like a Mack truck.

Thankfully, the dragon's advanced age makes it so his being drunk and his being simply tired are one and the same. To Aldergard go the raucous mead hall chants or the gorey gut-busters that leave him almost sawed in half with strangled laughter after recounting his eviscerating a few adversaries. Tanner merely falls asleep when asked to party hard with the rest of the boys and only seems particularly sleepy and slurred. Thomas has at least one yearly experience with the task of leading a limp and loudly snoring dragon back to his car.

On the whole, however, the Vienna Accords and Tanner's rather central participation in Hope's history have made it so even the oblivious ones are lenient towards him. Even the local District Attorney happily hand-waves the occasional sight of a man who publicly declares he's in his eighties and who has trouble recovering from nightly and last-minute prep sessions. There's been a few cases where Thomas stood in for Cody, while the dragon recovered from one of his fairly rare if still present 9 AM-to-5 AM research binges. While he is unquestionably lively, Tanner obviously has weaker metaphorical energy tanks than the local black dragon. Midday naps are fairly common, even after eight hours of sleep.

Goals: much like Alderan, Faustus is a contented man. While the prospect of starting a family would thrill him, passing for a young child's grandfather instead of its progenitor could cause problems. He's poured so much of his own life and love into the projects and problems of others that he tends to sell his own cozy little domestic ambitions rather short. The short-lived species like to imagine that anyone with above two thousand years of experience is liable to have fairly epic goals; but it isn't the case as far as he's concerned.

Still like the eagle, Tanner finds comfort in his acquired routine. He treats his employees like family and has created bonds so close as to be stuck with some of the oldest faces in the local profession. Tanner and Associates is a friendly and engaging place to work at – to the point where a few old fogeys are holding off on retirement because they love their job to that extent. Thomas Ephesian is part of a recent effort to add a few young faces to the mix, but the other four most notable lawyers in the firm are all well above their sixties.

Looking at the dragon's cabinet, it's clear that the pay grade has nothing to do with these people's seemingly boundless loyalty. Tanner & Ass. feels like a family-owned cabinet in how water-cooler stuff is freely meshed with case-specific discussions, and in how most workplace policies are ridiculously permissive, yet seemingly never abused.

Simply put – upholding the law isn't just something Cordatus does out of professional passion. His back-story doesn't include outstanding elements that would justify his punishing the wicked or defending the innocent. He does it purely and simply and first and foremost because it's fun. It's an interesting challenge that's renewed on a daily basis and that tickles his inner social butterfly and the frustrated actor he keeps coiled around, somewhere.

Honestly, why should anyone want a job? Having hardcore ideals is one thing, but Cody couldn't maintain anything like Katherine's pure dedication for too long. At the end of the day, he has to find himself tantalized by this or that case; he has to find himself considering his courtroom jousts as hyper-evolved chess games. If you can't find some element of amusement in your bread-winning activity, he holds, then something's clearly wrong. If you can – then you've struck the gold mine that will see you live wealthy, serenely and happily, come what may.

History: although technically a native of Shropshire, England, Cordatus's birthplace of Caer Caradoc borders Wales and was culturally part of the line of Welsh settlements, as of 200 B.C. As his birth precludes Caractacus', Cordatus originally knew it as Caer Alwyn, a hill fort named after his own father and his rookery. Alwyn meaning “friend to all” in Welsh and the presence of a cave underneath Caradoc being notable, it'd be fairly easy for any archaeologists to understand that Alwyn's rookery taught to and protected the early Catuvellauni tribesmen. Caradoc is fraught with symbols that paint a stark contrast to the sometimes stern worship Aldergard's own rookery reinforced, far up north. Dragons are shown in cave paintings and gilded amphorae as acting as equal part teachers and guardians, while never over-extending their protective reach over the village.

As far as Cody remembers, his childhood was idyllic. Juvenile green dragons would frequently engage in the sort of games you'd expect dogs to appreciate, if dogs could talk. Chasing after or with the human and anthro children, giving them rides and low-altitude flights, everything you might expect from a rookery of friendly dragons raising all of the village's children happened on a regular basis. Understandably, it was they who pioneered in the art of turning yourself into a biped, to be able to help the standing men and anthros with loads, farming tools or simply to appreciate the simple joy of sitting at a welcoming table and listening to the local bard from an unobstructed point of view.

If anything, he'd comment that he used to be a fair bit of a bully. This wasn't so much a case of old racial leanings coming forth as a case of boys being boys. Lithe, athletic, solidly built and quick-witted to a fault, his bipedal form put on a fairly decent show for the easily stirred preteens and teens in the village. As dragon adolescence lasts a fair amount of time and as displays of excessive cruelty would inevitably come to worry the human chieftain, his parents' main worry was that he might push things too far and have himself banished. While Tanner remembers being a bit of a jerk towards other kids well into his first century of existence, other dragons would corroborate the feeling that he hasn't been more callous or careless than your average teenager. Alwyn's brood working closely with Meldryn, the human chieftain of that time, the dragons who did survive the process of hatching or being given birth to were very quickly initiated to the obvious need to follow mortal laws, ethics and considerations.

For a few generations, Cody lived following the average Celtic pattern. It was assumed he'd become a bard or perhaps even a druid, to the point where his original Welsh name was Cystenian – ironically the Welsh form of “Constantine”, itself meaning “steadfast”. As far as anyone knew, he was destined to become a pillar of the little community, as his more literary and scientific ambitions made him a skilled tracker and forager, back in those days.

Then, Rome came to Caradoc.

The empire's reach had already been distantly felt, as whispers of Romanisation were already heard in Caradoc for a few decades. Still, it would take Claudius and 43 A.D. for the Italian empire's pressure to begin to be truly felt by the natives. Cordatus was lucky enough to know the quasi-mythical figure of Caradog ap Bran of Welsh mythology and having studied as a bard, was ordered by the brood and the village leaders to accompany the young warrior as his chronicler.

In A.D. 51, Caractacus' campaign against the Romans failed, and he found himself captured. While the human Welshman was given the opportunity to recant his charges against the empire in a monologue that would be committed to History by Tacitus, Cystenian received no such luxuries. Having never seen a green dragon before and being automatically equated to the more violent and warlike Wyrm, he was dragged into an unusually cruel form of slavery by Roman standards. Fearful of what he could accomplish, they abused him at every turn and took every expense in order to neuter his apparent status as a practitioner. Every single scrap of Roman arcane knowledge was put to the test in finding a way to subdue this odd dragon, who couldn't spew acid like the rest of his peers, but instead projected fire.

Initially denied much of an identity, the green dragon was forced into the service of particularly brutal landowners and could only despair at Caradog's apparent vindication. Having never been particularly violent or skilled at repelling violence done against him – beyond what you'd expect for a seriously wizened former bully – he couldn't protect himself.

Still, being possessed of his parents' noble streak, his shock at seeing Caradog leave didn't fester into resentment. It wasn't his fault if he'd been imprisoned. A human could be reasoned with, but the green dragon was forcefully introduced to the depths of exploitation that humans of a fundamentally hateful nature could expose him to. It would take his first owner's death and his being sold to Octavius Cambrius, a former Roman general in Wales, for his fate to noticeably improve.

By A.D. 57, the dragon still didn't have a proper name and barely spoke a few words of Latin. He'd been conditioned into being a submissive individual, but Octavius hadn't purchased the creature in order to have yet another hand for his domus' cooking wing. He'd heard of Cystenian's supposedly noteworthy performances as a bard and chronicler, and had managed to procure a few of the dragon's clawed notes on plaques of bark sketched out in ogham script. Having fought against the Ordovices, Octavius didn't share the belief that the natives of the British Isles were barbarians. He'd grown to have respect for Celtic cultures and found it a shame that the dragon' first owners had instilled a comparatively hateful image of Roman civilization in the soft-spoken and avoidant creature's mind. His wife, Valeria, shared in his beliefs, and did her very best to try and steer Cystenian away frorm the kitchens.

While Nero's dictatorship gripped the city, Valeria instructed the slave in the ways of Roman life and culture. She imparted Latin to him, the dragon proving to be an exceedingly quick study. In a little under two years, his accent and demeanor were indistinguishable from a native's. In turn, she allowed him to act as instructor and caretaker for hers and Octavius' children. It wasn't long before the former bard found himself essentially accomplishing the same duties Greek foreign-nationals willingly sold themselves into slavery for. While he wasn't paid, his skill and verve at discussing philosophy soon became the talk of the town in the suburban areas of Rome. This went to the point where adults and children from other households would visit the Cambrius domus to listen to the Welshman speak of the finer points of the then-available classics in theatrical performances and deductive reasoning.

Eventually, Valeria and Octavius came to the conclusion that the shy and fearful dragon they'd rehabilitated into a striking example of dignitas had gone beyond what simple slavery would afford him. As long-lived as he would be, it seemed unfair of them to essentially make a generational possession out of him. The idea did cross their minds – but so did the fact that one didn't simply own a dragon for too long, and not without repercussions. Instead of paying him outright, they surprised him by giving him his freedom in A.D. 70, and bestowing a full name onto him. Faustus Cambrius Cordatus was authorized by the magistrature to undergo a somewhat accelerated process of the naming ceremonies normally taking place at birth and at the reception of one's first toga virilis. Octavius pushed audacity so far as to adopt the dragon as his brother, dissolving all former slave-owner ties they might have shared and immediately guaranteeing his accession into the privileges shared by the rest of the gens.

Initially, the newfound freedman more or less fled Rome and flew back to Caradoc, determined to bury what he foolishly considered as a strictly traumatic experience. With Caradog ap Bran having never returned to Wales, he found his childhood home to be very different from what he remembered. The fighting spirit had mostly left his former kinsmen and some of the dragons he'd once counted as blood brothers had grown worryingly impatient in the face of defeat to the Romans. Relations with humans and anthros were decaying, and it'd be years before Cadfael, one of his brothers, would speak to him again. Unfortunately, the centuries would see to it that the younger sibling would become an unrepentant slave owner in the American South. Faustus would only maintain exceedingly rare contacts with his direct brethren, from then on.

Returning to Rome after understanding that Cymru had nothing left to offer him other than heartbreak and loss, Cordatus saddled himself with the establishment of his dignitas. As the Year of the Four Emperors unfolded, Antiquity's largest metropolis was in dire need of social justice and of the rule of law. Nero's suicide had left the Imperial family in tatters and given enough ground for four contenders to the throne to dispute the title of Emperor amongst themselves. While History remembers all of them, vampire lore specifically remembers Vitellius who, as the stories go, would go on to become an undying glutton and who would found his Court on the virtues of excess and debauchery.

Eventually, Cordatus became a paterfamilias of his own, having fallen in love with Julia Novia Augusta, the daughter of one of his fellow patricians. Maintaining the Cambrius tradition, his pedigree as a technical slave-owner would go on to become a model of ethics. His purchased tutors were given robes and togas and allowed to roam freely, his scullions were given all the opportunities to push the boundaries of their discipline, and he would go on to be known as a staunch critic of each of the four emperors as well as of Roman society as a whole. Having integrated its gentility, the glitz and glam of it all were gone. He was now free to see the deadly allure of the Circus Maximus, and the fairly worrying focus of the population towards games and holidays. Rome was fast becoming a city of revelling taxpayers who shirked all duties but held all the coinpurses, and Cordatus was one of the first to warn of impending decadence. Where some of his fellow Senate members were more known for their propensity to party hard than to work, Cordatus became a celebrated orator and author, whose work would be lost to the following centuries of systematic purges against dragonkind.

Soon, he found himself in the privileged position of being the only immortal holding civil service in all of the Roman Empire. If vampires had infiltrated the Senate, he couldn't find them. He, however, wasn't in a position of subterfuge. He wore his nature openly and declined opportunity after opportunity, when it came to taking his years of experience into account and perhaps making a bid for the emperor's seat. Titus' reign marked the first instance of direct succession being used to determine a new leader, and Faustus had no interest in meddling in mortal politics at such a sensitive level. He remembered the Welsh rites of accession, but it was clear to him that in the centuries to come, birthright would become a new and important part of politics.

While the dragon has no part to play in the Roman-Jewish War of '66 for obvious reasons, he was instrumental in Titus' extraordinarily generous response to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Relief efforts and financial support extended not only to the gens, thanks to Cordatus, but also came to include recently freed slaves who had lost their meagre possessions, as well as those slaves who'd been purchased. Those who'd put themselves up for slavery, on the other hand, often still had the financial means to recover from the ordeal.

Rulers would follow one another without interruption, Cordatus being the only defacto Senate member kept from office to office. While he failed in establishing a dynasty, with his wife dying in childbirth and the child being a stillborn, he remained in place, ever the dependable critic of the regime in place. Of note are his rather heated and angry response to Domitian's cult of personality and his attempt at warning Julius Caesar of the stirrings of a coup.

When Rome fell, however, the ruler in place carried the name his own parents had given him, ironically. The Goths brought Aldergard and Cordatus together, but Hope's local black dragon would go on to be the only one of his kind Tanner would ever trust implicitly. The proto-Germanic scaled fiend had grown disgusted with the horrors of war, but still needed a few more pushes in the right direction. Before Rome burned, Faustus had time enough to initiate the bewildered barbarian to the refinements of civilization – and its one cost that needed to be paid without fault. That cost was peace. It would be a lesson Aldergard wouldn't forget, and that he would only grow able to carry out once another raiding opportunity would come his way in the Orkneys.

He and Aldergard began to periodically share a domus in Constantinople. Soon enough, however, the Wyrm called Magnus attracted Aldergard with the promises of a thrilling raid to be carried out to intimidate and coerce what had to be nothing more or less than a pack of backwards humans and anthros. Magnus' estimate would prove woefully incorrect, Aldergard's patience for cruelty would run out, and the Wyrm engineer by the name of Ethelred would pay the price for their foolhardiness, along with his entire extended brood.

The tragic, if well-deserved fate of those History would later call the Jabberwocky saddened Cordatus, but hearing of his friend having established a permanent residence in the Orkneys pleased him. Even as Constantinople itself was laid to waste, Cordatus could fall back on the knowledge that there was hope for at least one black dragon.

The centuries passed and so did the pair's assumed identities. Aldergard became Scandinavian by way of the Orkneys, even if one could consider him Irish by the same extent. As for Faustus, he became a fair bit of a globe-trotter, taking his studies and their driving curiosity across the entire Old World. Always, however, he'd count himself as a Welshman first and an Italian second. He returned in Wales in time for the High Middle Ages and was particularly well poised to receive and bear witness to the wonders of the Renaissance. Always, he found some reason to tinker about with mundane sciences or magic. The Tanner bloodline was born after affected old age forced him to kill off Faust Weissmann, his last alias before the Elizabethan Era. The discovery of the New World and the possibilities it offered would eventually motivate the creation of another alter ego – Octavius Tanner, barrister by law in the city of London and the last so-called living Tanner to have definitive roots in England.

By 1668, “Octavius” had put down roots in America. The elusive Tanner men were always elderly, always freshly immigrated, and always saddened by the American branch of the family andi its lack of luck at establishing a permanent foothold of the bloodline on American soil. Still, whoever carried the Tanner name for a given generation followed the same basic template each time. They were all kind, considerate, patient, mischievous to a fault and highly intolerant of social injustice. As a result, nobody would be extremely surprised by the Vienna Accords' blowing the lid on Faustus' long and detailed, if entirely fake family tree.

Progressively, the Tanner men grew to have a strong stake in the city's establishment. With the notion of mayoral dynasties being something that would be evacuated in the favour of democratic election, Cordatus managed to put forward the city's first few iterations of its gentlemen societies in the person of investors, lawyers, artists and visionaries who shared certain ideals concerning the establishment of a metropolis. Cornelius Tanner would be instrumental in the case of Zebediah Buck being forced to pay Silas Robertson damages for his having been turned into a lich and would be the main whistle-blower in the case of Ruthven Industries and its abusive treatment of local miners and log camp workers. As such, the city's penultimate Tanner became known as one of the local “dudes” about town, a term which in the days of expanding villages and burgeoning cities was being used to refer to individuals of considerable importance.

Then, as the century turned, nostalgia hit the aging dragon and called him back to Wales. Putting his lawyer's robes aside for upwards of seventy years, he returned to Caradoc's now deserted site and retraced his steps to the closest modern village, Wenlock Edge. There, he returned to the alias of Faust Tanner and established the Octavius School for Boys. As headmaster, he spent decades stuffing young heads with knowledge, instilling them with a rather novel perspective on local culture that was both highly Roman in its approach and decidedly Celtic. Being largely secular, he proved to be extremely tolerant of the locals' concealed pagan cults, going so far as to encourage those he recognized as time-weathered versions of the old druidic rites he himself had performed as a young man. In any case, dropping English, German, Italian and Latin alike for a few years and putting an all-Welsh education model forward seemed to rejuvenate him to a degree. Speaking his mother's tongue was something he hadn't had the opportunity to do in long, long years.

Still, the winds turned by 1978. Having not been a part of the Battle of Hope, he felt somewhat irrationally responsible. In his mind's eye, he should have been there to use the Vienna Accords as an opportunity to lend a hand as himself, and not as a Tanner. In any case, the boys' school model was beginning to fall out of favour as the public education system grew increasingly complex and adaptable. He closed this chapter of his life by revealing himself to his staff and students, the reaction he'd expected not happening. Instead of shock or fear, the entire school replied by embracing him as one. He hadn't been there long, but he'd given incalculable gifts to them all.

With their blessings, and with the promise that the school would live on as a private academy helmed by one of his friends in the Summer Fae, he returned to Hope – for once choosing to do so by plane and without any disguises whatsoever.

As could be expected, the aftermath of Elysium's attack left the locals with a fairly titanic amount of work to be done. He who'd believed he'd missed out on everything was glad to find that there'd always be some legal wrangling to be carried out in the process of clearing out ruins, rebuilding and burying the bodies of departed loved ones. With Leonard Ephesian – and long before the body would become possessed – he engaged in the fairly demanding process of putting together the mass trials Caliban Smith had required and also in the task of rooting out Commission investments in local architectural or hazard-cleaning firms. If Weasel Biggs and his allies don't have a complete handhold over the city, he and his old friend Aldergard are to thank for it.

Of course, the work wasn't always pleasant, and giving bereaved families the right to mourn after helping in the legal process of the retrieval of remains was always taxing. It helped to have Aldergard around, as the black dragon always seemed to know when to push his folders aside and drag his old friend out to a Fae tavern he enjoyed giving patronage to. They talked, read, ate and shared frustrations together, to the point where today, both consider themselves as more than simple regular colleagues. Push a little and you might get the Wyrm to admit that there's a fair bit of brotherly love in there.

Today, with the bulk of the work being done, Tanner and Associates has become Rhode Island's leading prosecution and legal defence firm, known in its involvement with Amnesty International, the UNESCO and other global caritative organizations designed to root out political and legal injustices. As of 2011, the cabinet has also become a “child” body of Wyvern Securities, able to draw from the black dragon's substantially deeper pockets for any exaordinary purchases required. This backing also allows the cabinet to maintain a shining humanitarian record – as several cases are completed pro bono by default while in others, a certain percentage of the total fees can be waived on Wyvern's expenses accounts. This allows the cabinet to gravitate in the same spheres as high-stakes corporate defence firms, in which their members regularly carry fees in the half-a-million dollars – and to do so while keeping its head firmly at a level with regular people.

If anything, something of his headmaster days has obviously coloured his perspective as a senior attorney. While he's never grown able to become a paterfamilias by blood, he certainly has managed to weave together a strong and tightly-knit family of friends and coworkers, as far as his heart is concerned. The Tanner Office Wars and his monthly dungeoneering aren't a staple of the cabinet for nothing; as the old lizard excels in the art of blowing off steam in order to remain generally sane and productive.
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