Grand Vigil Nicholas
|Grand Vigil Nicholas|
|Full Name||Nicholas Rowe Keswick|
|Date of Birth||17th of August, 47 AC|
|Date of Death||2nd of July, 126 AC|
|Claim to Fame||Successful Grand Vigil of the Regalian Azure Order.|
Nicholas Keswick, more commonly known as Grand Vigil Nicholas I, was an extremely influential leader in the early days of the Regalian Empire, spearheading the fledgling mage hunting organization known as the Azure Order into what would become one of the most feared entities in the Empire. Best known for his rigid sense of duty and disgust for all things magic, he is often referenced as a picture perfect Unionist, and is still accredited for the success of Regalia’s strict mage security protocols.
Origins and Early Life
Nicholas Keswick was born on the 17th of August in the year 37 A.C. to Orson and Lucienne Keswick, in their family’s sizable townhouse in the Imperial City. Being a family of minor importance in the Realm, the House of Keswick had a decent amount of wealth to their name, which was able to afford Nicholas’ various comforts and free time in his personal life as well as a sufficient amount of tutoring. Given that his father was a Regalian naval captain, Nicholas was also subject to a wide variety of military schooling, from advanced fencing to basic strategics. Though as he gradually came of age, the young Keswick became increasingly interested in Unionism, specifically the religious ideal of humanity’s divine destiny to rule Aloria. In the time so shortly after the Cataclysm, fear and hatred of magic was still rampant in Aloria, and the faith of Unionism festered on it. Almost everything that was wrong with the Ailor society was pinned to magic use. This message resonated with Nicholas, and he, like other Ailor of the day, brooded on a deep hatred for the magical.
The Azure Order, as it is known today was formed in 71 A.C., by Grand Vigil Aletta. Its membership boomed in its first weeks, feeding off the interest Regalians had in putting an end to rampant magic use. Nicholas joined at age twenty-four, abandoning his past dream of becoming a prominent figure in the Imperial Fleet, believing instead that the Imperial Spirit was beckoning him to the fledgling order of mage hunters.
In its early days, the Azure Order had to work under the restrictions of Regalian law, as it had not yet been sanctioned as a State order. During this slow period, the Order often relied on finding mages in public and assisting in their capture with members of the city guard. During this time, Nicholas proved himself to be a competent leader in the heat of combat with mages, putting his weapons expertise and knowledge of how to direct people in combat situations to good use. Eventually, Grand Vigil Aletta selected Nicholas to become one of her Lesser Vigils; members of the Azure Order who advise the Grand Vigil. With their continued success, the aging Grand Vigil Aletta submitted a formal request to receive State sanction to the Imperial Chancellery, her last act before retiring, believing her old age would inhibit her from leading the order in its full capacity.
With the seat of Grand Vigil open, the Lesser Vigils convened in a small townhouse in the Regalian Common District, what was then the Order’s headquarters, to select the new Grand Vigil. Aletta’s leadership had made the Azure Order a name to be heard within the Imperial City, but it was agreed amongst the Vigils that they would need a man of military strength if the Imperial Administration legalized their work. After a tiresome eight days of debate, testimony, and perhaps a little blackmail here and there, the final vote of the Lesser Vigils saw Nicholas Keswick named the Grand Vigil of the Azure Order. A fortnight after the vote, the Imperial Chancellery announced that Chancellor Aldomir Kade had sanctioned the actions of the Azure Order, and that the organization was now the Realm’s mage control.
With newfound authority and a small army at his back, Nicholas began a series of reforms that would eventually shape the Azure Order into what Regalians today are familiar with. Utilizing State funding, he ordered the construction of the Azure Spire, a new castle that would house their organization’s functions, as well as commissioning magic-resistant weapons and armor for their ranks. He also oversaw the formation of ranks within the order, expanding beyond simply “Vigils and members”. His reign saw the recruitment of several Anti-mages and sight mages, who would become the Order’s Seers, as well as a series of swordsmen and bruisers, who became the Sentinels, tasked with “re-educating” detainees in the Azure Spire. His reign as Grand Vigil saw a series of smaller additions and reforms, all contributing to the overall influence of the organization’s functions.
With his Order established and strongly on it’s feet, Nicholas sat back into a more relaxed control of his order, offering wisdom where needed and continuing to represent the organization to the State, but doing little else. Eventually, on the Second of July, 126 A.C., the aged Grand Vigil collapsed suddenly while tidying his office in the Azure Spire. Aged 79, he was declared dead an hour later, and provided with a State Funeral in the Regalian Cathedral while the Lesser Vigils gathered to choose his successor.
Nicholas had always been regarded as well spoken and even a little charismatic when speaking to friends and associates, but for reasons unknown, became extremely distant upon being voted into the Grand Vigil’s seat, often keeping to himself within the confines of his office. But despite his lonesome demeanor, his overwhelming sense of duty and prowess in public speaking inspired his lessers within the Order to work efficiently and make the Azure Order a force to be feared.
To faithful Unionists and patriotic Regalians, Nicholas is seen as a hero who led the Azure Order in a successful war against the heretical mages of the Empire. To mages, he is the embodiment of what they’re taught to fear and hide from, and likely the source of all of their current struggles. But whatever Alorians may currently think of him, he is responsible for the successful campaign against magic in Regalia, the very campaign that sees innumerable mages turned from free spirits into humbled servants of the Regalian Empire.
Nicholas never married, and as such had no children. He was the last of the Keswick family, and their name died with him.
- It is rumored that Grand Vigil Nicholas is the mind behind the infamous “mage brands”, tattoos that detail a captured mage’s date of capture, form of magic, and various other tidbits of information useful to any Regalian official.
- Some historians claim that the Grand Vigil had a deep and hidden paranoia of assassination by apostate mage groups, and that his audiences were always greeted with a cup of tea laced with the magebane plant.