Richard still lives on, over forty years old, as a trained paladin of Stormwind and the Church. Recently, Richard lost his knighthood, lands and captaincy of the Brotherhood. In spite of these jurisdictions being overturned, Richard has not returned to Stormwind and has not taken his accolades back. Instead, Richard lives under the patronage of the Argent Crusade writing books and working as a scribe, awaiting the time Stormwind needs him once more.
Disclaimer: Richard Ashcroft's story and the world built up around him is not a clear cut representation of World of Warcraft. It does not contradict lore to my knowledge, but a large part of the profile and story is headcanon that shouldn't be taken as fact of lore in any sense. For example, although there is evidence that Stormwind operates a feudal system, there is no definitive proof it does. Thus, a lot of the themes and elements of this story are unfounded. Be warned but please enjoy!
Also, I'm using this timeline! Some issues may arise in the exact times of things, but Blizzard don't give me much reference. Feel free to correct me.
A brief overview of Richard Ashcroft XVI's backstory. More detail can be found in his diaries and journals.
-10 to 0: Birth and ChildhoodEdit
Richard Henry Ashcroft XVI was born Henry Ashcroft via cesarean in 582 King's Calendar (-10) at the baronial seat of the Ashcroft fief Rikholme, and has a birth record listing Baroness Matilda Charlotte Ashcroft (née Wolfschild) and Baron Richard Robert Ashcroft XV as his parents. What exactly happened on the night of Henry's birth is nebulous, but the chambermaids' tale maintains that Richard XV had supposedly beaten his wife so aggressively that she went into labour prematurely. The result was that Henry was unable to pass through the womb naturally. Richard's sister Frances, known for her unconventional medical practices and illegal magics, offered to help deliver her brother's heir safely. Richard agreed and Frances performed a primitive cesarean section on Matilda. The result was that Henry was delivered at the cost of his mother's life.
Frances was arrested five days after Henry's birth for the death of Matilda and incarcerated in the Stormwind Stockades. With the impending loss of his sister, the last of his family, Richard despaired and descended into alcoholism. Ten months after Henry's birth, Conjurer Cain Wolfschild, the late Lady Matilda's brother, came to visit his nephew. To his horror he found a drunk Richard attempting to drown his child, claiming the boy reminded him of lost love. Under further investigation by the conjurer, the young child had been dropped by his father more than once, and it had left ugly purple bruising on the child's body. Cain then took the child to Stormwind.
Frances escaped from the Stockades, and several conjurers died in Stormwind. Cain discovers Henry's stomach and bowel ailments, due to the young boy's constant vomiting and inability to eat properly. Cain's wife Aisling, a superstitious woman, senses something wrong with Henry and Henry's wet nurse and au pair was so perturbed she attempted to drown him in the Canal. Although she could not carry through the act, as she was caught by Cain. Henry did not recognise it as an attempted murder at his age, yet he has gained a secret distrust for some women.
Richard finally emerged from his perennial drunken stupors and visited Henry in Stormwind in order to claim him back, but was stopped by Cain. Henry had been raised among the young apprentices of the Stormwind Academy for two years prior, showing some magical talent. Henry also learned his letters and numbers, showing a capacity for literacy at a young age. An argument between Richard and Cain ensued, which eventually devolved into violence. Richard was defeated by Cain's magic. However, fearing for his family and life at the hands of Frances or an assassin, the magus sent Henry to the cloisters of Northshire Abbey. Richard, embarrassed and injured, returned to his fief.
0 to 6: First War and Early Adolescence Edit
Richard is called to serve against the orcish threat, but makes little contribution to the Stormwind Legions. Henry continues an education as a novice, but rejects the Light for the Arcane, finding the latter more interesting. He is scolded and beaten for his refusal of faith, only fueling his rebellious tendencies. Henry finds solace in the library at Northshire. Cain and his family die in a suspicious house fire, except the club-footed youngest son Enoch, who also becomes a novice with Henry. The two become friends, as they were raised as brothers. Frances returns to the Ashcroft household, unafraid of arrest due to the orcish menace presenting a larger issue to Stormwind.
The war continues, and Richard finally leads his full host out to the front lines under the advice of Frances. Frances joins him in order to study the macabre orc magic. Despite several accusations of cowardice and neglect of duty, having joined only after two years had passed, Richard manages to gain the respect of his peers with a victory in the Black Morass. Henry escapes from his cloisters to sneak into the priestess dormitories, and loses his virginity to a priestess three years older than him, although she is, as Henry described, retarded.
Under pressure from his Frances, Richard leaves his sister in charge of his forces to visit his son in the city. Henry has been expelled from the monk's care on the priestess' accusation of rape. Henry is instead enrolled to become a page under the retired and crippled knight Lucan the Proud in Stormwind. Lucan continues Henry's education in liberal arts, literature and history as well as martial ability, noticing the boy's passion and aptitude for the arts. Richard arrives in Stormwind to watch his son start martial training, where Richard's back gives way and he is defeated by a lesser noble's son. Richard is ashamed and leaves his son without greeting him, even though it would have been their first meeting since Henry was a baby.
Richard, who stayed in Stormwind, learns that his sister had attempted an attack on a Temple of the Damned for plunder using a large portion of Richard's men. The assault was crushed and Richard's men were slain. Richard, thinking his sister is dead, is grief stricken and flees north to Alterac. Enoch completes his novice training, and begins training to become a priest in Stormwind. Henry is pleased his friend has arrived, and also manages to become Lucan's squire.
Stormwind is razed and the cathedral in which Enoch stays is sacked. The city descends into chaos, and even some human urchins begin to pillage Stormwind. Henry witnesses death and true dark magic for the first time. Enoch also witnesses this dark magic performed by warlocks wishing to corrupt the sanctity of the cathedral. Although Henry is disgusted by the heathen magic and the death, rape and chaos it has created, Enoch is fascinated. Anduin Lothar's men, accompanied by Sir Lucan and his squire, Henry, manage to reclaim parts of the cathedral in order to evacuate it of remaining clergy. An orcish warlock is slain during Lothar's operation, and Enoch manages to claim some of the warlock's belongings before fleeing with Henry.
Later that year, post-exodus, Enoch chooses to live with his uncle in Silverpine whereas Henry takes the weak and dying Lucan to his father's abode in Hillsbrad.
6 to 10: Second War and Late Adolescence Edit
Richard, once again succumbing to alcoholism, becomes fat and unhealthy while living with his son for the first time. Henry tries to please his father with a display at a joust, managing to win despite vomiting in his own helmet due to his health problems. Henry dedicates his victory to his father, which draws the attention of Azerothian veterans who recognise and subsequently accuse Richard of being a deserter to the Crown of Stormwind. Richard is taken to a court-martial by the Alliance of Lordaeron, and is executed for treason. The rest of the Ashcroft wealth is absorbed by the Alliance, and Henry is called to service by the Alliance.
Henry shows his prowess as a horseman on the field of battle, fighting in Arathi against the orcs, and later, in Alterac against Perenolde. Sir Lucan passes away and Henry is left without tutoring and a complete knighthood. To solve this and secure his funding, for Richard's funding had vanished, Henry reluctantly joins the Knights of the Silver Hand, considering his original distaste for the faith of the Holy Light.
As the Second War draws to an end, Henry leaves the Silver Hand over a dispute between him and a paladin whose wife Henry had slept with. However Henry is still given a knighthood due to his 'heroism' at the Battle of Blackrock Mountain. In the old, ruined Kingdom of Azeroth, a group of soldiers find a woman who declares she is an Ashcroft. She is taken to the camp in which Henry stays. Henry identifies her as Frances because of her ash leaf signet ring, despite never having met her. Henry was confused as to what to do with Frances, and so sends her to Enoch in Silverpine.
As the Second War draws to a definite close, Henry travels to Silverpine to visit Enoch and his new found relative Frances. He finds Frances and Enoch sleeping together on his arrival. Although this does not bother him much, it soon becomes clear that Frances has used the young virgin Enoch to attain the several items which he had taken from Stormwind Cathedral. Frances escapes to the site of Richard's burial in Arathi, telling Henry of her destination as she leaves. An angry Enoch implores Henry to give pursuit, and out of curiousity and greater loyalty to his friend than his aunt, Henry follows Frances.
Henry arrives at the burial site of his father, where Frances has attempted to reanimate her brother. This crude necromancy learned from the warlocks of the Horde is primitive and the tools Frances used improper. Henry sees only an abomination and begins to attack. He is stopped by Frances, who reveals that she has revived his father out of love and their need to, finally, be a family. Henry is confused and thinks her deranged, but his attack is stalled. Frances reveals that she is Henry's mother, and that on the night of his birth she had removed him from her own womb; showing him the scar to prove it. She goes on to explain, to a distressed and frantic Henry, that they had killed the Baroness when she had found the child was born with blond hair and discovered the Ashcroft's incest.
Henry is incensed and kills both his mother and reanimated father. Henry, from then on, abandons the notion of family completely and harbours a great hatred for both undead and magic.
Emotionally traumatised by the incident, Henry confines himself to a life of selfish indulgence. Henry seeks help with his stomach ailments, which are worse than ever. Finding a potion that acts as a complete but addictive pain suppressant, Henry quickly works up a debt buying from goblin traders. Henry begins to borrow off of his friend Enoch in order to pay debts to goblin traders. Enoch had managed to gain control of the Wolfschild barony through cunning and deceptive methods; an opportunistic lunge where the Second War had left gaps. Also, suspicions of dark magic have since arisen in Enoch's collusion with Frances.
Eventually, Enoch invited Henry to live with him. Henry accepted but he discovered a very different person to the one he had been friends with as a child, as well as holding a confusing resentment for Enoch having slept with his biological mother. Enoch was power hungry and had several court conjurers, many of whom seemed too old for their age and practiced their magic in secret. Yet it did not bother Henry too much, who was happy to be indulged by his now powerful friend. He spent most nights sleeping with prostitutes (rumoured to be of both sexes) or experimenting with art and literature.
He eventually become infamous among court circles, and Enoch could no longer support him without political backlash. Enoch publicly named Henry's sins and cast him from his home. The only luck Henry had was the fact the goblins to whom he was indebted had died over cartel disputes. Henry, betrayed by his friend, bankrupt and without anywhere to go, sought help in the Church. The Church, specifically the Brotherhood of the Pines' abbey allowed him to become a monk, having been a novice in his past and a noble at that, if he repented and accepted the faith of the Light.
Henry did so, but his stay at the monastery was short-lived. Even so, Henry's disgust at dark magic and emotional turmoil pushed him further into the arms of the Light. He found solace and new meanings in the teachings which were already familiar to him. A reformed character would emerge from the monastery: a cold, austere and heavily pious Ashcroft unseen before on Azeroth.
The Kingdom of Stormwind was to be restored and Henry was called to retake his father's seat, as no candidate for the region was willing enough to inherit a poor and gnoll infested demesne. Henry promised that he would one day repay the kindness the Brotherhood had shown him. Henry returned to Minor Westfall and assumed his seat as Baron Richard Ashcroft XVI.
11 to 20: Peacetime Barony, Becoming Richard & Adulthood Edit
Reformed religiously and with a renewed positive outlook on his life, the new Richard sets out on a series of goals both personal and political. For his new found and 'true' personality, Richard would find a wife of similar morals and beliefs and create, with her, a new Ashcroft family surpassing previous generations and forging a new, pious and reformed reputation for the family. He would also marry her in the large church and priory he was building as a display of faith. However, this construction encountered problems in Richard's coffers and in the site it was supposed to be built on. Gnolls were a large problem for Minor Westfall, but even larger for Richard's burning ambitions.
Richard's appearance has changed over the years and has to some degree followed his circumstances accurately. It should be clear that Richard is a man who takes note of his appearance and places a great emphasis on the power of first impressions. As he has matured, Richard became very frugal toward his own budgets due to the solidifying of his faith. Therefore, his armour and attire lacks superfluous or fashionable detail which is common among the members of the gentry and aristocracy.
FeaturesEditRichard is often described as having a thick mop of fair hair which in the winter is a muddied blond and in the summer a vibrant gold colour, a genetic characteristic of the Ashcroft family. At the age of thirty grey began to appear in Richard's hair. Now, as a forty year old man he has many more, although he has retained a good deal of blond hair in spite of his age. The result is gold streaked with silver in a pattern similar to a tiger's pelt. Although Richard has always kept his hair longer than the fashion at the time, has had a number of different haircuts in his life, varying from a monk's tonsure to a conventional knight's sweep of hair; cut behind the ear and swept over to one side to accommodate his baronial or prior crown. For much of Richard's earlier life he chose to be clean shaven, but as he grew older he began to grow a mustache and then a wholesome beard which is also a golden grey.
Richard has a high forehead with a prominent bone structure. High, bony cheekbones stand out like cliffs against his classic Grecian profile: A straight nose flanked by dangerously symmetrical eyes. His jaw is squared and hangs above his very obvious Adam's apple. Richard's mouth has a stiff, thin and unmoving upper lip which hardly ever moves when he isn't talking. This means that he has what appears to be a disapproving, grim and serious frown constantly, because his brow is weighted downwards as if with the heaviness of an unspoken concern. This effect is only heightened by the small arrogant greyish-green eyes that unflinchingly stare with a pious and self-righteous intensity; often giving the impression that he is either judging you or leaning aggressively forward. As he has become older, signs of age have become evident and dark rings hang under his eyes from fatigue and stress. Even crow's feet scratch out small fissures at the corners of his eyelids and some wrinkles congregate in rows upon his forehead and around his mouth. Richard's complexion was originally a noble alabaster pale but as he has aged and spent more time in hotter climates, he gained a slight tan and a few spots of pigmentation.
In terms of his body, Richard's height is approximately 5'10", making him above average but not exactly tall or imposing. Indeed, rather than your typical warrior height and muscle build, Richard has a lean ectomorphic build, and was even skinnier as an adolescent. His legs and arms are longer in proportion to his body, giving him a lanky appearance when naked; something he was very self-conscious about when he was a skinny young boy. Richard does not lack muscle now and his shoulders filled out with maturity, promoting Richard's sense of masculinity.
EquipmentEditRichard's clothing does not change often, as he is a man of habit and miserly budget. However, Richard has seen a few wardrobe and armorial changes in his life. In adolesence and young adulthood, under the tutelage of his knight, Richard wore tight fitting plate armour, as shown in the picture, which made his movement on the battlefield more strained. Richard often complained he looked more like a metal pipe because of how slight he had been. However, as Richard returned from Lordaeron to take up his baronial seat he adopted his personal frugal attitude to his spending on armour. He swapped the plate breastplate for a green and yellow (as were the colours of the Ashcroft family) gambeson, crested with four ash tree leaves, with mail under armour and skirts. To add to this, he had tactically placed plate pauldrons and other guards strapped onto more vital points on his body. This armour collection was the basic blueprint for the future Brotherhood of Alonsus uniform; the only difference being the gambeson being emblazoned with the Lion of Azeroth on a blue background.
In casual wear Richard will only wear a baronial or noble robe if formality demands it. He is more comfortable wearing his many layers of armour or casual clothing. Indeed, Richard would often wear several layers because he often feels chilly or cold. Under his armour he will wear two layers of undergarments, a few tunics and jackets. This also aided Richard in creating a deception to hide his skinny fragility. However Richard did once wear a pair of long-johns on a holiday in Lakeshire, complaining it was chilly during the hottest day of the Redridge summer.
Richard can use a number of weapons and often has more than two on him when on the battlefield. His favourite weapons are, by far, the lance and warhammer. He has never named his weaponry, merely because he has little respect for them or their integrity. However he did have a named longsword up until the point he became a paladin, and he followed the convention of wielding a hammer. His longsword once belonged to an ancient family of knights, the Westmorelands. Thus it has a name; Anrhydedd, which has lost its meaning over time. Richard still keeps this in a vault in the Stormwind bank, having no heir to give it to.
As for jewelry, Richard does not wear much other than the necessary emblems of office. For purposes of his feudal title Richard has a sweeping cloak, a signet ring and a crown. These are mostly plain and undecorative, and are usually silver or steel. The most detailed of these three items would be the ring, which has an ash leaf carved into the surface.
However the piece of equipment most fundamental and the favourite of all Richard's possessions is his horse. His destrier is a heavy beast which Richard takes care of personally and grooms every day. Richard refers to it as the rather mundane name 'Winifred', although the horse was most likely called something different as a thoroughbred. The horse is large ebony colour with great legs which look like black tree trunks. Its hair has a deep sheen to it, and looking at it gives you the impression of looking at a deep black marble surface.
To this day, even though his titles and powers have been relinquished, Richard continues to wear his Brotherhood armour, wield a warhammer and travels on Winifred.
On first meeting, Richard can appear unemotional, cold, aloof, haughty and, at times, rude. Although the list is actually a truthful account of his personality, the reason people usually think of him this way is because of his incapacity to offer a polite and warm smile which people usually afford each other on first meeting. This bad impression is only made more severe by his grim and serious stare along with the way he postures himself; it can appear as if he is looking down on others, and he usually is. Richard is an exceedingly religious and self-righteous sociopath and has a piety unmatched by most sane contemporaries. This piety has afforded him a grave and strict attitude, a heavily entrenched arrogance and a judgemental disposition. While trying to avoid the various sins that make life more interesting and generally happy, Richard has deprived himself of the conventional concept of 'fun'. Consequently he is often described by his peers as a very dull and boring man, lacking in humour and joviality.
That is not to say that Richard is without passion, and indeed, in Richard's youth he had been somewhat more of a romantic and a zealot. The years have calmed him, but not by much: Richard is still a vehement believer in the Light, and his faith brings him both joy and anger. When he speaks of his faith, and he often preaches and orates, he does so lovingly; when he condemns, and he often condemns, he does so with a vigour. Though his passions are not limited or spent by his creed, as he also possesses an affection for literature, oration, art of all kinds and the tactics of warfare. Richard had loved a lot more as a fiery youth, including meats, wines and other extreme luxuries; he often enjoyed the life of the wealthy. Since, Richard has relinquished these fine comforts and has instead embarked on a strict lifestyle of frugality and self-imposed poverty. In other words, Richard denies himself indulgence of his 'earthly pleasures' and therefore sin.
Richard's positives generally have root in his deep connection with the Holy Light. Richard prays, without fail, six times a day and abides by virtually every working practice that the Church of the Holy Light has set out for its adherents. Therefore, the defense of innocents, the respect of everyone and the faithful tenacity his shows are all aspects considered good. He is, in a sense, a philanthropist and has donated much of his inherited wealth to his peasantry; enabling them to buy their own allotments. This is a mark of another of his positives; his belief in paternalism towards those lower down in the hierarchy of society. Although he believes they should remain in their place as peasants, he believes that they should at least be able to live and enjoy more comfortable lives - albeit in servitude to the Light. Perhaps this can be interpreted as compassion or love of people, albeit the truth is once again rooted in his faith more than any emotional connection.Richard is highly loyal to his subordinates and his greaters, and has done much in the way of proving this. His is a word that many can, and do, count on, and his habit of keeping promises, codes and oaths has hardened into his whole meaning. Richard is his duty, and he is unwavering in that respect. Duty leads Richard into bravery and selflessness. Indeed, Richard does not have a conventional ego and will sacrifice his own wellbeing for the Holy Light and its doctrines. Such a concrete belief and assurance in the Light might lead to arrogance, but it mainly leads to a conviction and charisma Richard exerts. His sociopathic nature also makes him, in a way, able to manipulate or bring people around to his way of thinking. Richard unwittingly uses this as a tool, as he regards this the Light's spiritually gravitational pull.
Richard has little social skills, and can be described as a sociopath, sometimes even mentally disabled: He lacks both sympathy and empathy, and instead has taught himself a strict code of thinking and morality. When asked as an adolescent to describe happiness, Richard answered 'the face the peasants make when they receive bread'. This, perhaps, can be traced back to his very distant and unrequited relationship with his father and the lack of a loving childhood. His experiences later in life have caused him to look down on self-pity, and he often finds it hard to have respect for people who do not themselves have a strict moral code. There are elements of carelessness and coldness in Richard that are there under the surface. He cares for duty over family and friends; the doctrines and tenets of the Holy Light more than people. You might go so far as to say that he regards people, including himself, as expendible to further the cause of the Holy Light. Such coldness has led people to the assumption that Richard hasn't a heart, and instead a holy scripture rests within his bosom. However, it is his duty, selflessness in coldness and faith that redeems him.
Richard, in spite of his faith, has an ego and strain of vanity, albeit in an unconventional sense. Richard regards this as his greatest sin; the sin of pride. In Richard's service of the Holy Light, he truly believes himself to be one of the only pure and morally-upstanding people in the Church. Richard's ego has merged with the spirituality of the Holy Light, and he takes criticism of the faith personally. Furthermore, he is selfless and altruistic only outwardly. He can vividly recount every good deed he has done and every success he has had and takes enormous satsifaction of vanity and pride from it.
It is this solid faith and pride that causes Richard's arrogance. His conviction often overflows into arrogance, and he often belittles and looks down upon people who do not fit his definition of what's right.
Richard has a deep and enshrined hatred of the orcish race, and a consuming moral objection to the existence of undead. However his deepest despisal is magic, in particular the arcane and the daemonic - this has led to a contempt for the high elven and blood elven race. This hatred, it can definitely be said, arose from his experience with his own family's traditions and ancestry which was all too willing to use daemonic and arcane magic. More directly, Richard's mother was consumed by the harming influences of magic and 'wholly consumed' by its study, leading to an experience rattling his emotions and further deepening his hatred for undead and magic. Furthermore, one of his children, and perhaps the only one he regarded as legitimate, was deformed by dark magic.
However, Richard's mind almost mechanically disregards emotion and places logic above all. Therefore he is able to stem his hatred often totally. This is not to negate the discrimination, as it doesn't quite disappear. Richard can often snap abruptly to talk or act in fervour. This is especially the case for orcs and undead, in that Richard often adopts a 'no mercy' attitude when in conflict with them. The mechanical and sociopathic way his mind works means that Richard is, as aforementioned, able to manipulate. This can be a good and bad thing, and has often meant Richard has had no trouble in being able to drum up a following for several causes.
LoveEditAs a younger man, Richard had many love interests and was very sexually active and liberated. It is often suggested among some courts that he was bisexual. This is uncertain, but Richard did indeed fall in love many times in his youth. The product of this was a collection of bastards to whom Richard has no relationship, to this day. At the age of twenty nine, Richard renounced his old ways after a particularly large and impacting heartbreak. Finally, Richard reflected on his actions and repented for over a year. What emerged from this was a celibate man who, in the future, would enter a loveless and platonic marriage to secure funding for the Brotherhood of Alonsus. Since his atonement, Richard has not loved or given in to his 'lustful urges'.
In politics, the youthful Richard's lot was heavily thrown in with nationalism, though at the age of twenty five he arrived at a new thesis; preservation of the sovereignty of the supranational (and racial) organisation of the Alliance. He places emphasis on the need for collective action, often specifying dwarves, gnomes and humans as the 'core' of the Alliance. Residing over this all, however, is his conservatism. Richard believes in the preservation of the ancien régime (the monarchy and 'divine right of Kings') as well as religion and a rigid social hierarchy. This is exemplified by his love of tradition (ironically not for his family's own traditions), order and authority - all of which he believes are tied together. Also, he encourages the practice of paternalism, and indeed, he practiced it in his (former) demesne. However Richard believes that often aristocrats forget their social duties, as dictated by the hierarchy, and instead of looking after their serfs and vassals, as they are obliged, neglect them in favour of their own comfort. Richard believes that this is not only morally wrong, but also a recipe for revolt from below.
Richard enjoys the more simple pleasures in life and would never 'splash out' on anything that is considered a leisure. For the most part, Richard's hobbies are tied in with his work and faith. However, aside from horse-riding, reading and writing (which are the main three hobbies) Richard enjoys art. Although Richard has only visited a few galleries, he immensely enjoyed the experiences, and has attempted to make his own from a young age. Richard's art is largely controlled by a religious motif, although there are some pieces which are more indicative of his thoughts. One self-portrait in particular reflects Richard's image of himself as a skeletal creature who carries, in his thin feeble arms, a large silver fist. This is both telling of Richard's ego, religion and insecurity.
An old hobby of Richard's, although one he's since given up, was experimenting with different potions and elixirs. Richard claims that this arose from his sickliness as a child, and the amount of potions he would drink as an infant to try and cure his various ailments. None of them seemed to work, and Richard was obsessed by finding one to make him a 'proper and healthy man' in his early adulthood. Addiction to a certain potion convinced Richard that this experimentation would eventually lead to unholiness and self-destruction. Thus, he kicked the habit.
Although Richard has always internalised his problems, health has been a major concern in his life both physically and mentally. As a child, Richard was an unstable, skinny and sickly boy and had problems which no physician or priest could solve. As a consequence, Richard was made to feel like a burden and it isolated him as he was unable to socialise properly, preferring to spend time on his own. These health problems continued into later life and have had some dramatic effects on his adult life.
Richard has been suffering from a form of scoliosis since he was an adolescent, perhaps as a result of premature birth or injuries sustained as a young child. The problem first arose when he collapsed when parrying during martial practice. Richard describes the feeling as his back giving way, 'as if a stick tried to hold a boulder'. Physicians could not tell what the problem was, and suggested Richard ate more meats and gained weight. Richard would eventually learn to cope with this problem. Exercise has enabled him to develop ways of ignoring the pain his spine gives him as well as a style in which he can minimalise the stress on his spine during combat. However, much to his chagrin in earlier life, Richard was unable to gain weight until he put on some muscle in his late twenties. This haunted him as the cause of his back problems and also convinced him of his lack of masculinity.
The main reason Richard was unable to put on weight was his inability as a child and teenager to digest foods without vomiting bile or becoming 'too full to breathe'. Stomach pains have plagued Richard for the entirety of his life, and he believes meats and vegetables irritate his stomach and bowels whereas milk and fish oils soothe his aches. Physicians and other healers were unable to diagnose Richard, although one priest's theory was that Richard suffered from 'extreme butterflies' and his social ineptitude and anxiety caused him to vomit when faced with an embarrassing or awkward situation. Later in life, Richard's problems have become more manageable, although he still vomits twice a month or so.
Richard's pains actually led him to use potions and other elixirs in the vain hope alchemy would solve his ailments. For a time, Richard found a pain suppressant, albeit highly addictive, through a goblin trader. Richard regards this as a low point in his life, and for a time, was in debt to a small goblin syndicate for his addiction to the concoction. Richard was only saved by the goblins' deaths at the hands of a business rival. The debt was wiped and Richard, although suffering from withdrawal, eventually stopped using the elixir.
Richard suffers from mental burdens as well as physical burdens, although the latter has created the former. Richard's inability to bulk up or his skinny fragility caused his peers, his father and even himself to question his masculinity. Insecurities arose within his childhood about pleasing his father and living up to his father's expectations. For example, Richard was called 'milk-drinker' by his father, which was an insult within the Ashcroft family who thought to drink cow's or goat's milk was the height of profanity. Eventually their relationship would break down, and without the comfort of a mother, Richard lacked parent figures. Due to his isolation as a noble and also a refugee at the time of his childhood, Richard eventually sought guidance in the Holy Light. He was not able to make a connection with a human or person at that stage and, barring the tragic romantic interests here and there, has not been able to since. The result of this is that Richard has developed into a sociopath and finds little connection with other human beings.
Diet & ExerciseEdit
Richard has dealt with the problems the Light has given him in his own way. He exercises daily by participating in running and martial practices, with or without company. Originally this exercise would give Richard immense pain, but his faith and fortitude have made it so Richard can now perform on the battlefield effectively. His spine no longer creates an issue unless it is directly attacked or Richard falters under the weight of a hammer or heavy blow. Although it still pains him time to time, and no doubt it is exacerbated by the amount of layers and armour he wears, you will not find Richard complaining or using it as an excuse to not fight or train that day.
Richard's diet has adapted to his stomach pains. He has become a self-styled pescetarian; his favourite dish is salmon and cheese with a glass of milk. As a man of strange habitual behaviour, Richard will always drink a glass of milk before he goes into battle to line his stomach. Therefore, he prevents himself from throwing up in his helmet, which has happened on three occasions.
Skills and TalentsEdit
Richard is a man of considerable talent in the realms of intellect and has an ability to understand complex theories due to his sharp mind and lengthy education. However, Richard has several physical limitations. In spite of his daily exercises, his small stature and lack of weight means he is, for the large part, without in terms of strength. In Richard's mind, this has served him better as he has been able to focus on swordsmanship and skilfull equestrianism alongside erudite academia and religious study.
Intelligence and KnowledgeEdit
Richard is practiced in the ways of literature and is a particularly good wordsmith. It is from intense reading that he draws an experience, to either a lesser or greater extent, of most discovered subjects in Azeroth; whether this is against his beliefs or not. This wide range of knowledge, albeit lightly clouded by his prejudice, gives him a broad understanding of his and other peoples' worlds. This knowledge has expanded his sociopathic ability to manipulate people, because he has a contextual background on what might distress them or make them happy. Richard calls this the 'Holy Light's gravitational ability of inspiration and persuasion'. In a manner of speaking, this can be described as an artificial charisma. Of course, this is not to say Richard is completely unlikeable as a person, but without his ability of speechcraft and oratory then he would hardly wield the influence over his followers that he does - or did.
Richard has an academic mind, which can mean that he devotes himself to logical conclusions rather than purely religious answers. However Richard is human and has and will make mistakes. Often, his 'logical conclusions' collide with his religion and coagulate together to form tightly held convictions. Naivety might have caused him some problems in his early stages of study, yet Richard often obsesses over theories, magics and books, staying up late at night in his study.
It is this great intelligence combined with his inspired conviction in faith that grants him a powerful access to the ways of the Light. Richard's healing powers, although not the best by any standard, are fairly remarkable. In exceptional circumstances he has been known to repair fatal wounds. Towards the offensive, Richard prefers to save his abilities for the undead and beings of evil. In fact Richard will decline from using his powers at all in almost every circumstance, finding that the use of the Light in any 'petty and mortal' capacity is to do it injustice. What Richard finds 'petty and mortal' is a wide spectrum; claiming that somethings are just meant to be. Nevertheless, Richard has a powerful command of the Light and should not be underestimated in the rare event he chooses to use his powers.
Richard is not even remotely a master of weapons, but he has a keen eye for an opponent's movements and is ambidextrous. These two factors allow him to anticipate the opponent's offense and make a good counter attack. However, Richard does not carry the weight that most warriors do and is duck-footed, meaning his fighting stance is never quite correct. He prefers to make skillful and precise blows with the warhammer rather than aggressive moves, and this can leave him open to a larger or more skilled enemy. Some even argue that he would be better suited giving up his hammer, as he lacks the brute strength necessary to wield it efficiently. Richard's answer to this is that he simply feels more comfortable with the warhammer. Originally Richard was useless on foot, especially against heavier races such as orcs. In the Second War, Richard was so often close to death that he was a regular occupant in a hospice's bed. Perhaps Richard has improved with experience but he is still very weak on foot outside of a shield wall or phalanx. As a consequence, Richard has been called a coward by many an opponent due to his unwillingness to duel with another fighter one on one.
This is not to say Richard is not a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. Richard is an excellent equestrian and what he lacks in skill on foot he more than makes up for in the saddle of a warhorse. He is able to ride the horse without any hands on the reins and can adjust his balance on the saddle to accommodate his weight in almost every position. This skill has arisen from his training with horses from a young age and his affinity with the animal, which he professes to like more than he does most humans. Richard is usually the last on his horse in a battle, even when the rest of the cavalry have either been knocked off their saddles or killed, as his mastery of the beast allows him to withdraw and attack at quite amazing speeds. However a single cavalryman is often useless, and at the age of 24 Richard was promoted to the command of his own shock cavalry unit. Upon taking back his baronial seat Richard raised many knights from his lands, and Lower Westfall would eventually become famed for its horses and knights.
Richard's keen eye for weakness in an enemy's line is one of the greatest helpers in making Richard a brutally efficient tactician, and at one moment can use the proficiency his horses to withdraw from engagement and slam with the speed of lightning and power of a juggernaut into an enemy's flank. This use of cavalry has led Richard to victory against the Forsaken, Scourge and closer to home, Blackrock orcs. However his reliant formula on cavalry has also cost him victories against the Frostwolf, Scarlet Crusade and most famously the Warsong Clan. Since these successes and failures, Richard has learned to adapt with the help of his sergeant and perhaps closest 'friend' Beorn who helped organise and retrain Brotherhood and Ashcroft infantry. Richard began to deploy pikemen and artillery to the fray alongside his conventional swordsmen, cavalry and longbowmen format.
Land & Wealth RecordEdit
House Ashcroft has had a long tradition of switching fealty and therefore demesne, but has for most of its time, held land in the Kingdom of Azeroth. In his life, Richard has been pursued by history and land-hungry relatives. Several opportunities have, in places, opened and closed for him to grasp at land in other kingdoms. However, Richard has remained true to his word that he would not pursue greed and be satisfied with the lands bequeathed to him by his direct legacy and not tenuous 'diluted blood' connections. This has allowed him to focus on building his lands in the Kingdom of Stormwind and has lead to a number of improvements in agriculture, livestock and the before non-existent mining industry of Westfall Minor.
Taxation Record for Westfall Minor Edit
ENTRY 1 - 602 K.C. - Repopulation of the Kingdom: Richard Ashcroft XVI becomes tenant over the demesne of Westfall Minor which consists of: approximately 1,000 population divided and 90,000 acres divided: 1 maize farm of approximately 500 acres: 2 wheat farms of approximately 400 and 450 acres: livestock; cattle 174, pigs 201, chicken 402, sheep 79, horse 30: approximately 50,000 acres of forestland, including lumber and game: 20,000 acres grassland: 10,000 acres fertile soils: four towns with respective borough population listed; Rikholme, 422; Spelthorne, 143; Wellshire, 237; The Fold, 137.
ENTRY 2 - 612 K.C. - approximately 4,000 population divided and 90,000 acres divided: 3 maize farms of 500-700 acres: 5 wheat farms of approximately 400-700 acres: livestock; cattle 103, pigs 90, chicken 300, sheep 32, horse 120: approximately 48,000 acres forestland: 20,000 acres grassland: 7,000 acres fertile soils: one tin mine producing ? tonnes: six towns with borough; Rikholme 1,567; Spelthorne 102; Wellshire 575; The Fold, 1,032; Crowshollow, 327; King's Tun, 507.
ENTRY 3 - 622 K.C. - approximately 5,000 population divided and 90,000 acres divided: 4 maize farms of 500-700 acres: 7 wheat farms of approximately 400-1000 acres: livestock; cattle 50, pigs 0, chicken 200, sheep 0, horse 367: approximately 45,000 acres of forestland, 19,000 acres of grassland: 6,500 acres fertile soils: 2 tin mines producing ? tonnes: six towns with borough; Rikholme 2,300; Spelthorne 50; Wellshire 723; The Fold, 907; Crowshollow, 232; King's Tun 723.
Account of TenancyEdit
Written by a retainer of Richard's for the Brotherhood's Annals.
Upon the death of Richard Ashcroft XV, (the subject's father) during the intervening period between the Second and Third Wars, Henry Ashcroft became Richard Ashcroft XVI of Westfall Minor, the lands the Ashcroft family had been tenants on for hundreds of years. Although still quite young, Richard was determined to rebuild the lands which the orcs had laid waste to, and in doing so, exceed his father's legacy. The barony of Westfall Minor was not a large fief, yet it was significant enough to produce cereals, such as wheat and maize well above subsistence. It is located in the far north of Elwynn, although it is called Westfall, and is safe from the troubles that plague Westfall today, such as the Defias Brotherhood. At the time of young Richard's succession, gnolls were the main concern in the area. By the time Richard left to aid Lordaeron in the Third War, the gnoll problem had been significantly reduced leading to a regionally famous period known as the 'Gnolless Years' or to more cynical individuals as the 'Great Gnoll Genocide'.
Originally, Richard was a poor bachelor moving onto infested lands with only a few peasants and very little farming and animal husbandry. Richard had to take out several loans from banks in several different kingdoms, including a private loan from Enoch Wolfschild and marry into a Lordaeronian merchant family. This allowed Richard some income with which to purchase mercenaries and support from neighbouring baronies in order to begin his program of extermination of gnolls and creation of farmland across the Ashcroft Barony.
Deciding that Richard needed to raise cavalry in order to be a significant asset to the Stormwind crown and therefore have more influence, Richard sold all livestock such as pigs and cattle in favour of increasing horse breeding. Richard imported Redridge mustangs and Arathi cart-horses and selectively bred in order to bring about the size and speed he desired. This drained his lands of finance to the extent where his petty vassals and peasants were on the brink of revolt and took a lot of time. However Richard was able to use his newly bred warhorses abroad in Kalimdor after the Third War, and brought back night elven plunder won back from the Warsong in order to replenish his coffers. This incident is still seen as a mistake in Richard's critics and even his own eyes, given the political backlash of taking night elven artifacts home, and the impatience of youth has been cited as the cause of his hastiness in his demesne's livestock conversion.
Since, Richard has adopted a paternal attitude to his fief and has made sure each tier of society within his influence is happy with its position. This was helped by founding of a tin mine in the forest of Spelthorne within his lands. Boosting the economy, the tin mine was exploited and its profits given to the peasants and lower vassals of Westfall Minor. This allowed peasants to buy allotments and build fences around their lands, thus boosting agricultural efficiency. It also allowed more vassals to afford armour and weaponry and so become knights. However Richard feared that this 'boom' would eventually stop when the tin ran out from the mine, and he halted the mining industry in order to focus on tax reform. His hope was to have tax reduced by the Crown because of the military support he was providing to the Stormwind Legions.The House of Nobles postponed judgement on the bill until Richard left to fight the Forsaken on the Lordaeron Front with the League of Arathor. This meant that he was not present for the discussing of the bill, and the House voted to increase tax on Westfall Minor given its mining industry. Richard returned after his service in the Arathi Highlands to find that his demesne was in disarray; the peasants revolted due to the raised taxes and lack of military enforcers in the area. He faced sanctions from the House of Nobles because a revolt originating in his fiefdom had spilled into Elwynn Forest and gnolls, returning to the lands, had begun eating his precious warhorses. Unable to pay the heavy sanctions as well as fight the gnolls and subdue the revolt, Richard almost literally turned to his faith in the time of darkness.
To avoid the sanctions set by the House of Nobles, Richard donated the entirety of his lands to the Church. Surprised by this, the bishop of the diocese eagerly accepted Richard's terms of making him an overseer of the region, on the condition that he made space for the alienated Brotherhood of the Sacred Pine. Richard eagerly accepted the help of the Brotherhood, perhaps even wryly, which was then led by Lyon Westmoreland, due to his depleted number of troops after the wars in the Highlands. The Brotherhood, along with Richard, assaulted the rebels and gnolls head on, and they were able to quickly retake the lands for the Church.
Lyon was a keen but short-sighted politician and managed to convince the bishop to allow the Brotherhood to make Minor Westfall its own; taking control from Richard. However, Lyon did not see that Richard would double-cross him. Lyon and Richard were both paladins, though Richard quickly observed that he himself was the more pious. As the former baron and an overseer of Minor Westfall, Richard began to stir dissent among the peasants and priests of the newly established priory. Soon, priests complained to the bishop of Lyon's drinking habit and the peasants refused to hand over their produce to Brotherhood agents. Lyon, who was in fact a drinker, had a loose temper. The fateful day came when he was particularly inebriated and cut a peasant down who spat in his face when he tried to take the farmer's wheat.
Richard soon had Lyon excommunicated for slaying an innocent. Richard resolved that this would have happened eventually even without his intervention. Richard was then elected by the Brotherhood as acting knight captain. Richard changed the name to Alonsus, to suit its new home in the Kingdom of Azeroth. Since, Richard has also established a priory within his lands, named after the forest in which it is built. Although small, it is the administrative capital within Richard's lands. It is an efficient religious centre in which he can effectively manage the affairs of economics, law and politics in his shrinking demesne. Indeed, the Church and the Kingdom of Stormwind has taken up most of the former Ashcroft lands, but Richard is left with enough to support the Brotherhood through tithes and production.
Financially Richard mostly keeps himself 'in the black', so to speak. He has a frugal attitude and will always try to seek a good deal or bargain. However Richard has had troubles with money in the past and often finds it difficult to secure funding for his military expeditions. His wealth usually corresponds to the success of the harvest in his demesne or the production of the tin mines when they are open. Richard had a lot more funding during his time as the head of the Brotherhood of Alonsus because his lands no longer paid tax to the Stormwind Crown. However any excess capital is reinvested into his peasantry or given to the Church as donation. More recently, since Richard's removal from the seat in his priory, requisitioning of the Brotherhood and his personal finances and resources, and alienated from the Stormwind Kingdom, Richard's personal wealth has reached an all time low and a virtual zero. He has had to join the Argent Crusade on a low, but respectful wage. This does not bother much, and Richard is a keen saver and a frugal miser, spending only what he needs to.
As a younger ruler in his barony, Richard's plundering when fighting the Warsong Clan in Ashenvale caused a dramatic rise in his personal wealth. Although Richard sold most of the loot, he still has a small collection of night elven artifacts he took from Horde looters in his office. Whether these will be returned to him now that the laws against the Brotherhood and Richard personally have been overturned it yet to be seen.
A short essay on Richard's opinion of the new rising generation of paladins and priests, written around the reopening of the Dark Portal.
A book of short stories based on Richard's experiences of Duskwood.
A work under constant progress by Richard.
Richard kept several diaries throughout his life. The first journals begin when he was very young and they have continued to keep an inconsistent account of his life. The journals miss out events and are unreliable at times, though they offer insight into Richard's opinions and thoughts on many of the important events of his life. Richard has managed to keep hold of most of his writings, most likely because he uses the same journal for years at a time. Some context has been added in to the entries' time periods.
Entries Years -4 to 0 Edit
Richard learns to read and write at the nurseries of the Stormwind Academy. The quality of Richard's writing is, as to be expected, poor and some of the letters are misshapen or the wrong way round. The words are of irregular sizes and form a scrawl unintelligible to most other than Richard. The inking from the quill pen is erratic, and has stained where Richard has smudged his words as he presumably used his left hand to write originally.
Entry 1: September, -4 Edit
I plaid but it was rain to much 1 time jump and fall down watter uncle take me in I was hapy in but wet luky to have cote and boots other kids I see he sad to have no cote for rain or boots Uncle wants me to right like this more so I piked the rain today
Entry 2: March, -3 Edit
On monday I learned with enoch
On tuesday I hid from aunt
On wednesday I went reading with uncle
On thursday aunt told me off for being ill at dinner
On friday we went to cathedral
On saturday I plaid with Lora
On sunday I ran lots
Entry ...: March, -1 Edit
My name is Henry I live at Stormwind with my Uncle his name is Cain. In our house we have Aunt Aisling and my cousins Joan and Gabriel and Enoch and a cat because I like cats but not dogs and my Uncle likes cats to. And I have a nurse her name is Lora. She looks after me when my Uncle goes to his work but sometimes go to learn with my Uncle sometimes. I like that but I don't have many friends other than Enoch because Joan and Gabriel is old and does not talk to me because my Aunt does not