Sir Rockwood of Alamore
First Seen: Ranger of Kings
Description: Lanky, thin athletic build, with black hair, warm dark eyes. Rockwood is goodnatured and generally smiling.
Sir Rockwood is the third and son and second from last child of a Lord that lives in the central part of Alamore. His family has Though his family holds a title and some land, they have never been one of the great influences of the realm, nor one of the wealthiest. This was part of Rockwood's reasoning when he approached his parents and asked to go to Alamore to train. Though he knew he would miss his brothers and sister, he also understood how much it might help his family in the long run if he were to make his own way rather than hope for inheritance. It was a very difficult decision to make for his parents, but in the end and after much searching, they agreed.
Rockwood joined Alamore late for a page - eleven - but had already had some training with his own family's soldiers. By the time he was a squire the next year, he had nearly caught up with the others but still felt he had much to make up for. He worried that this might make knights less inclined to choose him as their apprentice. Additionally, his lanky and less-than-ideal frame had him anxious that knights might not see him as strong enough to keep up with the other squires.
However, in the year that Rockwood had been there, a new knight had also come to court. Sir Ross Hayvern, a common born knight from Lonnac lands, was closed-off and hardly spoke to others. Rockwood watched him in practice more than once and marveled at the knight's skill with a sword. Ross spent hours training, working through hours of the night. Rockwood couldn't shake the feeling that the knight was haunted and trying to work himself into exhaustion to forget.
After three weeks of being a squire without a knight, Rockwood couldn't sleep for worry and found himself at the edge of the jousting arena. Ross was again practicing, moving through the steps of an exercise with the speed and force that always made people whisper that he might even be a better swordsman that Cavian Greyhead himself. Feeling reckless, Rockwood picked up one of the heavy practice swords and climbed into the arena. He didn't speak to Ross, only stood several paces away and mirrored his movements.
For three nights in a row, Rockwood climbed from bed to rush to the jousting arena. He and Ross never spoke, but he didn't mind. It felt like the one-on-one training he hadn't been receiving since no knight had offered to train him yet.
On the third night, Ross growled at Rockwood to quit lunging so far forward on the fourth step, since he was making himself unstable and an easy target. Soon, he started coaching Rockwood on keeping his movements controlled, using his lanky frame to his advantage in terms of speed, and what to watch for in terms of reading the next strike of an attacking knight. By the end of the week, Ross had officially asked Rockwood to train as his squire. Rockwood agreed wholeheartedly, never once concerned with Ross's common birth nor what others might think of a noble being trained by village born.
Rockwood snuck from bed the night after becoming Ross's squire, intent to train with his knight again, but found Ross wasn't in the jousting arena. After that night, Rockwood noticed some of Ross's haunted expression leave and knew that he'd been right about the midnight training. Ross had been fighting some memory that tore him apart. But now, with a squire to train and someone to take care of, it seemed that the ghosts of his past had quieted their own cries.
Once in training consistently with Ross, Rockwood improved vastly. He worked the entire first year and a half of his squirehood from the back of one of the shaggy castle ponies used for pages. He was too embarrassed to admit to Ross that his family couldn't afford a good warhorse so lied repeatedly to the knight and insisted he liked the animal's build.
Never one to be fooled, Ross took matters into his own hands. One morning, as Rockwood went to saddle his pony, he found the animal missing from his stall. Instead he was met with a bright chestnut stallion, still young and gangly in his own frame. Bewildered, Rockwood turned to find Ross waiting, his stone face unreadable, and told him to hurry up in getting the horse saddled. When Rockwood tried to thank him, Ross only brushed aside the thanks. Though neither of them said it, both understood that Ross's change, the peace that had settled over him since taking Rockwood on as a squire, was more than thanks enough.
Rockwood trained diligently with his new horse. He was grateful when an older squire, astride his iron-grey stead, offered to help him with learning how to train war tactics onto the leggy horse. He quickly started to look up to the older squire - Laster - and idolized him. Their friendship developed from their despite the gap in age.
Their friendship, however, would fail with the events of Laster's capture (See Shadow of the Sword...)
Rockwood became a knight at eighteen. For the first few years of his knighthood, he spent much of his time traveling from Alamore to his family's estates to visit. He worked largely on helping the Kingdom maintain control over forests that had, prior, been overrun with thieves, bandits, and members of the group known as the Ridgar.
When it seemed things around his family's lands had quieted, he returned to Alamore where he took notice of a tall and lanky page among the squires. He noticed the boy's sharp mouth and quick wit. He found himself entertained by the boy's antics but it worried that a son of such a noble house might not want him as a mentor. Ross's words when they discussed it were "don't be an idiot."
The day the boy became a squire, Rockwood asked if he would be interested in being his apprentice. The boy didn't hesitated, already enthusiastic at the prospect of being trained by his favorite knight. And so Rockwood had his first squire - a rowdy boy full of mischief named Rowan.