Baron Theobald Hohensten
Theobald Hohensten is the XIVth Baron of the small Barony of Hohensten, and is the fourth baron to rule from the baronial seat in Kleinhaupt since the collapse of the Kingdom of Reinhart. Now in the twilight years of his life, the Baron is known for being difficult to communicate and deal with.
General Physical Condition
Once standing at a rather average height for a Human, Theobald’s stature is now much more diminutive than it once was, with some people even going so far as to mistake him for a tall Dwarf. This is because, in his old age, Theobald’s stature has become more and more stooped, and he now walks with a significant hunch, and must use a stick to support himself. In addition, his gradual decrease in physical activity over the years has led to the growth of a not insignificant paunch around his waist, whilst his arms and legs have grown more and more spindly. His 77 years are clearly visible on his face, whose once proud and strong visage now sags visibly and is fissured with deep wrinkles. He still sports a short chin beard, without moustache, and his hair is still kept reasonable neat and trim, but the colour has now faded from a once vibrant brown, to white, and in some places his hair is almost translucent. His blue eyes have dulled with age, and sit much further back in his skull than they used to, surrounded by wrinkles and bags beneath the eye-sockets. Nevertheless, Theobald has retained his ability to throw a deeply withering gaze, should he wish to.
Baron Theobald Hohensten’s life has been one of three distinctive parts. Born in 476S.E. as the only son of Baron Bodo, his early childhood was one spent causing trouble. He was constantly to be found playing truant from the lessons organised by the tutor’s his father had brought to the Barony to educate him, and he was frequently seen being escorted back to the baronial mansions by his father’s guards having been caught pilfering goods or causing trouble. His behaviour only got worse the older he became, and by the time he was 16 he had begun to cause trouble in other ways as he exercised his growing acumen for womanising. Baron Bodo, keenly aware that his own health was gradually failing began to grow concerned at the state the Barony would slip into when Theobald took power. In a last ditch attempt to educate and ground his son, he dispatched him to the School of Political & Military Science, in Ravendorp, vainly hoping to make a statesman out of Theobald. Sadly, this was not to be. The city of Ravendorp, which was much larger than the baronial seat of Hohensten, Kleinhaupt, offered up too many temptations to Theobald, who spent most of his time in the taverns and brothels of the city, rather than attending the School’s lectures. For nearly two years, he managed to scrape by just enough to avoid expulsion, but following a duel with the son of the Duke of Flache-Ebene, in which Theobald inflicted a near-fatal wound, he was summoned before the Master of the School, and dishonourably dismissed. It then took Theobald, accompanied by a couple of his close friends nearly a whole year to return to Hohensten, thanks to the impromptu grand-tour of Turoza that he decided to go on before returning to his father. A couple of days after his 19th birthday, Theobald lurched back into the Barony of Hohensten, and returned to his deeply disappointed father. Having returned to Kleinhaupt, Theobald struggled to come to terms with the dreary life of Kleinhaupt compared to Ravendorp. Against his better judgement, Baron Bodo was convinced by one of his close advisors to try to channel Theobald’s restless energy into official duties, which at first proved to be disappointing as expected. The low point came when a high level deputation was required to deal with a border dispute with the Earldom of Fürstenkries to the south-west of Hohensten. The situation had become so bad that a small army of troops from Fürstenkries had gathered on the border, and were refusing to negotiate with any, but a member of the Baronial household. Baron Bodo was, at the time, bedridden through illness, leaving the only person able to meet the requirements as Theobald. Surrounded by a forest of advisors, Theobald travelled to the border with a small force of warriors to talk with the potential invading force from Fürstenkries. Unfortunately, the advisors were not able to contain the young noble, and Theobald, fired up by the excitement and the arrogance of youth, roundly and rudely denounced the representative from Fürstenkries, who became so incensed that a pitched battle broke out between the two forces. Hohensten’s troops were able, following heavy casualties to win the day, but the event deeply affected Theobald. It is said that walking around the battlefield and seeing the corpses of the men who were dead because of his rash actions caused him to fall to his knees and weep. The battle of Wicklung Creek was a turning point in Theobald’s life, and he spent the following years trying to be as good a statesman as he could for the sake of his father, and the people of Hohensten that he had failed to protect once already. Theobald settled down and married, and soon he and his wife Wigberta had two children, a boy and a girl, Alwin and Aristea. Alongside his family duties, Theobald threw himself into the good governance of the Barony with whatever tasks were given to him. By the time that his father, Baron Bodo, finally passed away in 510S.E., the old Baron died content, thinking that his son had become the man he wanted him to be. And, initially, this was true, the newly anointed Baron Theobald undertook the full running of the Barony with all seriousness, and he always attempted any diplomacy, both internal and external with the greatest tact. However, his lack of knowledge of court and international politics and his naivety began to work against him. At every turn, Theobald found that people, even his own trusted courtiers were playing the game of politics simply to further their own agendas and fill their own purses. His only source of comfort and support was his wife, who continually encouraged him to stay the course, and remain committed to continuing to stay his course of altruism and equality. Theobald’s rock, however, sadly crumbled…. In 519S.E., Theobald’s wife, Wigberta died in childbirth, with the child too dying hours after its mother. A distraught Theobald retreated into himself, and for months afterwards he was barely seen at all. When the Baron finally emerged from his period of solitude he was a changed man, embittered by the relentless self-centredness of the nations and people around him, and from that day on he began to think in the same way, reasoning ‘if the rest of the world does then why shouldn’t I’. Since then, the Barony of Hohensten has continued to move through the daily grind of life without too much additional hardship, but its people know that the old man glowering down from the Baronial Mansion will show them no compassion, or provide anything for them unless he can see the benefit in it for himself. The only thing that seems to bring him joy, and that he still genuinely cares about are his two children, who remain the apple of their father’s eye, even in their 40s.
Theobald’s education has been somewhat patchy, partly because he did not take well to formalised education, which continually vexed the tutors that his father painfully tempted to the Barony in an attempt to educate his son. When he was 16, Theobald was sent to Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, in a last ditch attempt to impart some significant learning and education upon him, before he was called upon to take the Baronial seat. Unfortunately, Theobald was less than keen to grasp this opportunity with both hands, and spent little of the two years he attended the School actually attending its lectures. He was dishonourably dismissed from the School in his 18th year.
Prior to assuming the Baronial seat in 510S.E., Theobald worked within the court of his father, the old Baron, primarily carrying out duties that required the presence of someone from the Baronial house, but which the Baron himself was either not able to attend, or did not wish to attend.
Once thought of as a capable and noble statesman, Baron Theobald in his old age, is now considered to be a weak and selfish ruler. Those closest to him would characterise this change as being the effects of overwork and over-stress. Many would also suggest that the death of the Baron’s wife, in the year 519S.E., was the final arrow to find its mark in his failing steadfastness. The verve that the Baron showed in his youth has been continuously undermined by set-backs, infighting and failure, all of which have turned him from being a visionary leader to a jaded, apathetic despot. It is not that Theobald is an intrinsically selfish being, he himself has said on many occasions that there is little point in trying to improve the lives of those who care only about themselves, one might as well follow suit and look after one’s own. In his interactions with other people, Theobald takes the tack of disinterest. He is unlikely to pay close attention to any proposal or offer nowadays unless he can clearly see the benefit that it would bring him and his family. This is not just confined to material gain, a proposal that would be cheap to bring in and would bring him favour amongst his people would also find an ear, but it has to be an obvious and serious advantage. Equally, offers, proposals, or the actions of other people that he calculates might bring harm or disrepute to him or his family, are vehemently opposed. Other than that, most who come to request an audience with the Baron would be better advised to speak first with one of his advisors, or his beloved son, who have developed a knack for getting Theobald’s attention and getting a response from him.
Wealth & Financial state
In comparison to his subjects within the Barony, Theobald is by far the wealthiest of all his people. However, as the ruler of a small, isolated micro-nation, he is a pauper when compared to the rulers of the great nations of Turoza, and some of the other rulers within The Mountain Principalities. Theobald’s wealth is intrinsically linked to the state funds of Hohensten, meaning that in the past, excesses of the Barons have led to their people having to tighten their belts to cope with the hike in taxes to meet costs. Fortunately for the citizens of Hohensten, since coming to power, Baron Theobald has been a veritable miser with regards to money, with large outlays of gold being very unusual for the Baron.