Iron Kingdoms 3.5
King Baird Cathor II
The Bandit King
Baird Cathor II is the eldest ruler of the Iron Kingdoms. The Cathors of Tordor managed to survive the ravages of the Orgoth and have retained a measure of power over the past thousand years, traditionally relying on the support of the castellan noble families to govern land, collect taxes, and contribute armed levies. Though the inherent power of the monarchs has waxed and waned throughout Ordic history, King Baird Cathor II is viewed as a likeable lout but a strong king despite himself.
King Baird II has sat on the throne of Ord for over three decades. As the third son of a robust father, he never expected to be king and showed no aspirations toward leadership. In this regard he bears some superficial resemblance to Cygnar’s King Leto. However, where Leto turned to religion, Baird spent most of his youth in debauchery indulging heavily in gambling, drinking, and women. Likely he would have happily spent the rest of his life in such pursuits. However, his oldest brother King Alvor V was lost at sea during a storm just three months after assuming the throne and was never found. Baird’s remaining brother Brogan was killed two months after Alvor when a large section of the royal palace wall collapsed on him. Both deaths were determined accidental despite suspicion of foul play by certain members of Ord’s administration. With no small amount of trepidation, Baird was crowned king in 574 AR.
Called by many of his people as simply “the Baird,” this boisterous and lively sovereign has inspired loyalty and genuine affection from most of his subjects. He has a knack for picking capable subordinates into whose hands he gladly places the day-to-day running of his kingdom. Some say King Baird earned the nickname “The Bandit King”—never used in his presence— from the number of disreputable associates he keeps. More likely he earned the moniker from his habits of taxation against the richest of Ord’s gentry. Indeed, his popularity with the commoners comes from his system of taxation, which puts little strain on the impoverished masses but greatly levies the castellans making up the bulk of his court. These landowners are expected to carry the weight of the kingdom’s finances causing considerable friction at court and abroad. Indeed, Baird has few stalwart friends among the castellans, but the widespread support of his common subjects keeps them generally in check.
Without a doubt, however, his most dangerous enemy among the castellans is Izabella Mateu whose influential family has plagued the Cathor line for centuries. House Mateu has methodically cultivated the favor of a number of powerful houses over the years and continually schemes against the Cathor kings. In fact, the Mateus once controlled the throne of Ord for a time (381 to circa 421 AR) and have been jealous rivals ever since. Though King Baird would relish any opportunity to lay the family low, the careful machinations of House Mateu and its network of allies has kept them relatively safe, their seditiousness not provable outright.
At present King Baird is preoccupied with the war that engulfs his neighboring kingdoms. Though he is on cordial terms with King Leto, Baird is unwilling to violate his kingdom’s neutrality. He has never trusted Queen Ayn of Khador and was not surprised to see his suspicions confirmed by her assault on Llael, but he mainly wishes to avoid any conflict until he has decided upon a course of action beneficial to his kingdom. One of his primary moves since the occupation of Llael has been his attempt to convince the leading ousted elements of the Order of the Golden Crucible to relocate to Merin. Negotiations have not progressed as swiftly as he’d like, but Baird has made some very convincing offers and has good reason for high hopes.