[CC] Official head of Starkwell Manor, apprentice magister, student at Senta's Class 2-A
this is an excerpt from an interview with Benjamin Black on the day of the reading of his father’s will and testament, proclaiming Benjamin inheritor of the Starkwell estate.
Benjamin Black, son of Arianna Black and Adam Starkwell?
You’ve been named heir of all of the Starkwell estate, and so young.
The manor, the business, the family ties, the debt, the cats, the-
Yes, I imagine that is what ALL intends. Though some items have been given to some staff, like the town car, one of my fathers rare plants, a few books… a personal item for each important member.
A generous man. Do you know what your father did for a living?
No. should I?
I find that hard to believe given your family’s notoriety.
My mother wasn’t from around here and met my father the day she entered the city. A one night thing. I never even met the man let alone knew who he was. I imagine whatever it was that he did, we do, it is very important to this city, or else I imagine we would be based above in central city.
…indeed. Still, young master, I’m curious to see if you have your family’s gifts, and curses. You’re father, rest his spirit, was not so fortunate.
I have little, so I am told, though nothing near the likes of my grandfather, or his before him. Is that what you wish to know? If I will be a instrument for you? Well know now, I cannot leave my body, nor delve into one’s mind. I simply see nightmares, perhaps visions I’m told if I can learn to control them, but right now simply nightmares stealing my sleep, aging my mind and weakening my body. Now if that is all sir I have affairs to put in order.
One last question. What do you know of your mother’s past?
Nothing. I spent my entire life with the woman, and she spoke nothing of her past until the day she killed herself. Good day.
Benjamin Black is the only living heir to the Starkwell fortune after his father legitimized his claim through his last will and testament.
Benji’s mother informed him at a young age he was a bastard child of a rich man and that he was conceived the very night she entered their city. She then no longer had any contact with the man and Benji would grow up in an impoverished state. he quickly found himself friends with various street urchin types who taught him the lay of the city. His closest friends, Kurtis and Floriane, both shared his innate passion for literature, music and mathematics and the trio assisted each other in their earlier years to understand and develop their individual skills with these.
Eventually, Benjamin’s nightmares activated and shortly after this, his mother committed suicide, leaving a note apologising to Benjamin and someone named Isaiah, which left him to figure out what was happening by himself. He was brought up to DesCha, away from his friends, to be entered into DesCha’s Friendly Foster Facility, a children’s home, where he would spend the next few years tormented and alienated by the children and staff due to his strangely adult personality. One young woman, Edytha Peternoster, rebellled against this mass exclusion and became Benjamin’s only confidant, teaching him what she could and being their for him whenever needed. the two became quite close, like siblings, though Benjamin did not tell her about the nightmares.
A few days after Benjamins ninth birthday, he was summoned from the facility down to Biblos for the funerals of the entire Starkwell family, including his father, Adam, as well as the reading of the last will and testament’s of each family member. His father’s will legitimized him, first and foremost, as a Starkwell, including that he be welcomed by the family with open arms. The rest of the various wills deposited each family member’s fortune into the family estate. As he was the only member left, this gave the multi-billion dollar state to Benjamin. Most of the previous staff departed with their small gift from the estate for their services.
He would spend the next year learning about his new found father’s business, family history and duties, removing their stain on Biblos, as well as finding his friends again. Eventually he found Floriane, convincing her to start a band, and Kurtis who happily joined as book keeper and head of staff changing his name to Lanford Kay. Edytha came on as a maid to the household so that she could continue to take care of Benjamin and the other children. The four then took to the streets, hiring staff from talented destitutes. Using Edytha’s empathy, Floraine’s impeccable judge of character and Lanford’s sharp eye and memory of house items and staff movement, Benjamin minimised his losses from staff theft and deceit.
He renovated as many of the family properties as Lanford would allow into housing for the impoverished, soup kitchens and free children friendly environments like play yards and libraries. These are all now used as recruiting and training sites for potential staff. Due greatly to his philanthropy and his appearance out of seemingly thin air, Benjamin has gained a cult fame as the golden child of the city, often making headlines.
On the 28th of February 2013 Benjamin began to receive solid visions for the first time, not only in his sleep but also during the day. One showed a man, outside a particular tent city, wounded, and Benjamin collecting him at 24:59 in five days. True to the vision Benjamin approached the abandoned tent city and collected the man who did not have a name. Benjamin took to calling the man “A John Doe” and the name stuck.
He discovered on the drive back to the manor that the man was his mother’s rescuer from a doomed alternate universe and that John and Arianna had intended to discover how to save their home together. Benjamin explained his mother’s passing, the note (John had no idea who Isaiah was either), and his current status as Starkwell while John explained his universe, the threat that resided their and what he could of Arianna. The two had met only briefly before John had opened a portal and they had both entered, Arianna coming out significantly ahead of him.
After that day Benjamin pledged to serve John for the life debt of his mother and therefore himself. John took to calling him Benji, and began to use his diminished magical skills to ease Benjamin’s nightmares while teaching him the magic of his mother’s people and how to control the visions.