In a different time, a different age, there was a knight called Sir Gawyn the Fair.
Gawyn was born the second son of Lord Baxter of Blakely. Their lands were large enough to give them a modest income, but not large enough to cloak them in silks and velvets. Yet their stable was solid, their arms strong, and their people well-cared for. Lord Blakely was a man strong in his faith and his fealty to his King, and he passed those values on to his sons.
Gawyn lived by the codes taught him at his father's knee: the codes of chivalry, of loyalty and piety and bravery. He studied at home under his father's man-at-arms, and at fourteen was sent to Court to finish his training and attain his knighthood with the other sons of the King's liege-men. Once at Court Gawyn focused on his studies, mastering all the chivalric arts any young knight must know -- swordsmanship, horsemanship, bow-work, and falconry, as well as poetry, music, language and conversation. At seventeen, alongside six of his new brothers-in-arms, he was knighted by the High King himself, and had never been happier.
Gawyn rose in the esteem of the High King's Court until, as many a young man had done before him, he fell in love.
Elianna was a young Duchess from the South, her husband foul of temper and swift to duel, but her skin was soft and her smile sweeter than any he'd seen in all his nineteen years. Gawyn loved her above all things, and the stolen kisses he coaxed from her honeyed lips were more precious to him than any jewels could be. But a life of secrets was not what a proper knight should live; Gawyn's conscience prayed on him, and his sense of self-preservation just managed to out-sing his youthful love as the storm clouds on the Duke's forehead continued to gather, and so he rode off on his twenty-first birthday, her handkerchief secreted in his pocket, to seek his glory on the road.
Gawyn became a knight-errant, and for four years rode the country-side, following the trails of brigands and other unsavoury creatures, sleeping rough under the stars and the rain or in the halls of rural land-holders. He dined with poor clergymen and humble farmers, took more solitary meals than he could count with only his horse for company, fought numerous battles -- some for self-preservation, some for honor, and some just because another knight finally crossed his path. It was a life of solitude, and through it all he carried his lady's colors, though he drew them out less and less as time wore on.
There was a village in the West, and Gawyn was close-at-hand when they were attacked. The brigands were strange, tall and leaner than most, their horses' coats gleaming strange hues in the sun, blues and deep umbres. Gawyn gave chase, but he soon became lost in the forest. His woodscraft had never failed him before, and he became more confused as the night grew close, and the trees behind him seemed to shift with every turn he took. It was full dark when he finally reached a clearing, and he bedded down for the night, half-convinced in his secret, inner-most self that he was doomed to be lost in the Wood forever.
The morning was no better. Gawyn wandered the Wood for three days before finding its edge, and when he did his fears did not ease, for he no longer seemed to be in England.
The year and a day that Gawyn spent journey through the Otherworld before he met the Brothers is a tale best saved for a rainy day with the telly on the fritz. He broke bread with elves, battled alongside a beleaguered village against a drunken giant, and sought to aid a mysterious woman on a quest that turned out very differently than she had advertised. He ate strawberries from the vine sweeter than any taste he'd thought possible, drank water stronger and more bracing than wine, and went to sleep under stars so different than his own. And if he was homesick from time to time, no one ever saw those tears except for Thorn, his horse, who was just as pleased with the lush grass of the Otherworld and its clear waters as his master.
But on the second day of the beginning of his second year in the Otherworld, Gawyn made a mistake, and it cost him his life.
Coming upon what looked to be a Monastery, he rejoiced in his heart, for while he had been through many an adventure and had felt many things in this land that he had never thought possible before, he had been a Knight in his old world, and the faith of his father had been passed down alongside tales of battle and courtly love. Gawyn entered the monastery without noting the cracks in the windows, which looked whole in the light, nor the fact that the founts were dried and dusty, and bell's rope snapped and the cross askew. With Thorn waiting outside, stamping his foot nervously, Gawyn leapt through the door, eager to meet his fate.
The Christian God had not taken hold in the Otherworld, where the mists were thinner and the Fae held sway, though a small clutch of monks who had lost there way through the hedges had tried to plant the roots of their Church in its soil. They were repaid for their efforts by a communion of a different sort, a dark gift from the land in the form of a child, who came to them in innocence and smiles and turned them to monsters in the night. The local villages saw little difference between the monks now and before -- they still preached the blood of Christ, only now they pursued the blood of others in addition to their Lord's.
Gawyn knelt before the altar, but before he could light a candle the Brothers were on him, binding him hand and foot and dragging him to the cellar. The glimpse of sunlight that he had through the window as they carried him away was the last he would ever see of it.
In memory he can never be sure how long he served the Brothers before they changed him, for his mind drifted through much of that time to protect itself. They locked a chain around his ankle and set him to work, preparing their meals (for they still ate food, and much of it, gluttony being a sin they no longer feared) and cleaning up after them as best he could (for they no longer themselves believed that in cleanliness being next to godliness) and enduring what torments they heaped upon his body. He came to loathe the quiet of the early evenings, as it meant Brother Francis would be hungry, and he liked to stroke Gawyn when he fed. Midnight meant the Great Supper, and Brother John liked Gawyn to sit next to him on the floor, like an obedient dog, as they ate, tossing him scraps off the table. The late night, around three, was Brother Adam's time, and he wished Gawyn to read passages of scripture as he knelt in front of him and fed. And as morning began to approach Brother Saul would take him in hand, and bring him with him to his cell, fixing the chain on his ankle to the post of his bed.
He hated the early mornings most of all.
But the Brothers grew lax, stopped paying attention, or perhaps didn't know how much a human body could endure, over time. And one day they took too much from him, until Gawyn's breath stilled and his heart slowed and he was in a state so near to death that the Brothers, drunk and angry, beat his body and threw him into the snow. And from the woods came a child, her feet bare on the snow, one small hand holding the reins of a snow-white horse -- Thorn, his eyes now dark as coals. Her face twisted with rage as she looked down at his bruised and bleeding body, and she sliced open her vein above his mouth, holding it over his lips until he began to drink. His breath stopped, his heart ceased beating, but Sir Gawyn the Fair opened his eyes, and smiled.
Gawyn burned the Monastery, locking the doors with the Brothers inside. He listened to their screams with a satisfaction unlike anything he had ever felt before. And when it was done, and there was nothing but ash, he mounted his horse and rode off into the night.
His life after his interlude with the Brothers became an interesting parallel to his life before, only now he spent his days sleeping in barns or caves or the beds of soft and pliant young women. His nights were spent learning what he was and how best to use it to his advantage. Vampires were not uncommon in the Otherworld, though rarer than some other types of creatures, and in certain circles he was sought after, sometimes eagerly, as a guest or bedpartner. He learned to feed without killing, to give pleasure as well as take -- it was an extension of the education he had started in the High Court of another world's king. For three centuries he moved through the Otherworld as a knight errant in shadow, welcomed in the more decadent courts, until one night, as he was hunting with the Dark Baron's Court in the Ghostwood, he took a turn away from the party and found himself riding through a hedge back into England.
He'd been gone nearly five hundred years, by English time -- long enough that the world looked and sounded nothing like the England that he remembered. The Otherworld had been old-fashioned to him when he'd arrived, strange and wrought with Faerie trappings in its fashion and style, but this! He walked through the streets of London at night, marveling at all he saw. Over time he began to rebuild his lost fortunes -- a seduction here, a murder there, two years in Paris with an aging countess left him more than financially soluble. He rebuilt Blakely Hall, invested his wealth, and while a part of him longed for the Otherworld, where there was much less need to hide what he was as long as he kept to the right circles, there was something good about having English soil underfoot again.
He grew his hair, cut his hair, grew his whiskers and trimmed them. He kept up with the current fashions, chiding Rai to do the same (when she could be chided at all). He maintained homes in several cities, and never stinted himself season tickets to operas in Paris, or Berlin, or Milan. He learned the newest dances, laughed as the old ones fell out of fashion and came back again, watched history unfold in all its splendor, and spent long hours riding Thorn in the woods near Blakely Hall. He never hesitated to kill those who got too close to his secret, but he did his best to see that few did. He learned to feed without his prey even noticing if he so wished, and he learned how to make it hurt if he wanted to.
He changed his name to Gavin Blakely, a thoroughly modern gentleman you might see on the street any given night. He'll be the one immaculately dressed, holding the door open and smiling politely at strangers. Because, after all, chilvary's not dead.
Gavin's an original character and belongs to the mun. Fassbender belongs to his own lovely self. Both muse and mun are over 18