Silvanus the Gilded
, Count Topal
||10th of Sun's Height, 2E549 (The Serpent)
||Merchant, Scholar, Explorer
|Titles, Awards, and Honorifics
||As an early and influential member of the Jewelers Guild, it is only natural that he holds its highest title. Few have more knowledge of gemology, and he is a connoisseur of delicate crystal and exotic metals.
||A title conferred to him by the Mages Guild following successful completion of their most difficult alchemical trials. He can claim an understanding of all recorded alchemical theory and actively works to further develop the practice.
||Defined as a person of wide learning and cosmopolitan tastes: well-traveled, educated, refined in manner, and able to converse on various topics with authority such as history, language, and customs. In short, he is a modern gentleman. He is fluent in Cyrodilic, Elvish, Orcish, Dunmeris, Bosmeris, and Ta'agra; he has also spent considerable time studying Draconic, Daedric, Nedic, Kothringi, Dwemeris, Tsaesci, Ayleidoon, and Jel.
||Lesser noble titles already behind him, the Merchant Lord was elevated to the rarefied air of Count upon successful consolidation of power in the Topal Bay region. Ever ambitious, he aspires to elevate himself further to the title of Duke.
Count Silvanus Argenteus, better known as Silvanus the Gilded, was an Imperial merchant lord and accomplished alchemist who ruled over the Topal Bay area during the Interregnum. He achieved power peacefully through trade, but was nonetheless an accomplished soldier and aristocrat. The Count is noted for remaining approachable and well-liked even as he rose through the ranks of both the military and the nobility of Cyrodiil.
Formative Years (2E549 - 2E567)
Life began for Silvanus in the beautiful southern Cyrodilic town of Leyawiin, found within the warm and lush region of Blackwood where the province borders Black Marsh and Elsweyr. His earliest years were marked by endless hours at the library, daily worship sessions at the chapel, and fishing in the Niben alongside the local Khajiit and Argonian children. This was a carefree and comfortable life; nonetheless, he was raised with the virtues of hard work, gratitude, and reverence. Much of this can be attributed to the humble origins of his parents, who were themselves Nibenese common folk.
Sometime before Silvanus' birth, his father became an agent of the Gold Coast Trading Company. Charged with traveling the continent to buy and sell goods of all kinds on the company's behalf, his father's work as a trader elevated the family's wealth and social status considerably. From a young age he became determined to emulate the merchant lifestyle for himself, and this decision would set the course for everything that followed in his life. To that end, much of his teenage years were spent as a courier running goods between his home and Bravil via the Green Road. When he wasn't buried in his studies or delivering parcels, he could be found aboard his fishing vessel on the waters of nearby Topal Bay or stalking its shoreline for clams -- a hobby that would come to have great influence over his future.
As he came unto adulthood, Silvanus found a peculiar stone in the woods near his home and as a result became fascinated with the myths of Shezarr. Though he was raised to venerate Zenithar as his parents did, he was captivated by the aspect of Lorkhan and studied every text he could find on the "missing god". His thirst for wisdom would eventually prompt him to seek out those who protect Tamriel's greatest secrets: the Order of the Ancestor Moth. Even as a young adult, he regularly made pilgrimages to their temple in the north. He did not know it then, but he would become their greatest protector and benefactor in the unstable political climate that loomed on the horizon.
Service to the Empire (2E567 - 2E574)
When it comes to life in Cyrodiil, connections are important. On his eighteenth birthday, Silvanus made the decision to enlist with the Imperial military and immediately leveraged his father's status to his advantage: he would be assigned to the gleaming white-gold walls of the Imperial City itself. As a member of the Capital Defense Garrison he did not belong to any any numbered Legion, instead reporting directly to the Palace Guard. Often referred to in jest as the "Rumare Navy" by Legionaries outside the unit, the garrison in fact did the very important job of defending the city and its Emperor by patrolling the waterways and numerous caves of the City Isle. Before his days of service were over, Silvanus would see himself command this unit from an office in the Waterfront Lighthouse.
Despite the success he was enjoying as a military man, Silvanus could not help but feel that he was destined for greater adventure and excitement, and so he retires from service having achieved the rank of Major. Thanks to his proven record as a servant of the crown, he finds little difficulty in obtaining new employment with the Imperial Geographical Society as a cartographer. The assignments that followed would take him all over the Empire: Betony, Sheogorad, Solitude, and even back to the sewers of the Imperial City. Regardless of where he ended up, he enjoyed his work tremendously. In 2E573, his career as a mapmaker reaches its pinnacle when he is asked to contribute in the very first Emperor's Guide to Tamriel.
Throughout these travels, Silvanus kept his bartering skills sharp by striking deals with local traders and collectors. This began as a way of obtaining mementos from his time in each place, but without intention he became quite adept at accumulating exotic items and materials. Before he could consider another change in his career however, world-changing events would unfold.
Ascent to Lordship (2E575 - 2E582)
With unrest now brewing across the continent, Silvanus recognized that it was the perfect time to establish himself as a trader in his own right. He would have preferred to return home, but the region of Blackwood became cut off from travel as conflict commenced. Thus he was forced to make a name for himself elsewhere: the old Imperial town of Arenthia, conveniently located where Cyrodiil, Valenwood, and Elsweyr share their borders. Here, within a modest stronghold of Colovian build, he surrounded himself with everything he needed to become a successful merchant. With time, he accumulated considerable wealth, and along with it came the luxuries to reflect that prosperity.
A particular boon to his riches came from clam digging on the island of Summerset, a trade to which he was introduced by an enterprising young Khajiit named Míxíe. Though he had hunted for clams on the bay in his younger years, this was only for food; the variety he found on the island homeland of the Altmer was much larger and had highly desirable alchemical properties. As a result, he developed a fondness for pearls that is reflected in the decor of his homes even today, and in one of his numerous monikers: "Lord of Pearls".
Building upon his achievements as a private trader, he endeavored to expand his reach through the establishment of several storefronts: an alchemy shop at the Baandari Trading Post, a nirncrux processing facility outside Elinhir, a book store in Daggerfall, and a clam shucking operation in Alinor. Around the same time, he began taking on wealthy clients who wished to utilize his vaults in Arenthia for the protection of their valuable items -- a service that became popular with Cyrodilic nobility when times became uncertain.
All of this financial success was rewarding for a man who dreamed of being a traveling merchant, but Silvanus still found himself longing for home. Without an army of his own to retake Blackwood, returning to Leyawiin would have been impossible. Rather than initiate a struggle he could never hope to win, he instead took a large sum from his vast holdings and persuaded the Aldmeri Dominion to sell him the strategically important Topal Island. The fishing village of Driftwood, with its pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, would become his seat of power in the region. Despite being forced to sign a non-interference pact, the purchase had put him close to home and back in familiar waters.
Thirst for Adventure (2E582 - Present)
His place in the world secure, so to speak, Silvanus suddenly found himself with time for pursuits of a more personal nature. Time is taken to enjoy the island and alter it to his tastes. One day, while spending time browsing his library for a good read, Silvanus comes across a book detailing the origins of Clan Direnni. Already possessing more than a passing knowledge of alchemy himself, he is amazed to find that his accomplishments are nothing when compared to that of Asliel Direnni. He resolves to learn more through the rigorous study of text, and spends the next few weeks traveling to book stores all across the Iliac Bay region.
Over time, his skills are indeed tangibly improved with practice and experimentation. His greatest early success would also remain one of his biggest secrets: a special coating for his renowned golden armor. Made from distilling gilding wax and powdered mother of pearl into a combined substance (two materials he is highly acquainted with), the resulting polish is thick, sparkling, and carries a deep yellow hue. Its application to Silvanus' armor gives him unnatural dexterity and an otherworldly glow. Ritual use of the coating is the very factor that would ultimately earn him the moniker of Silvanus the Gilded.
The pride he feels as a result of this accomplishment would directly influence his plans for the future, and they would be all about alchemy. With the aim of elevating his notoriety in the practice, he seeks out an ancient and powerful alchemical artifact known as the White Phial. Legend has it that this item is entombed with its creator somewhere in Eastmarch, deep within a long-forgotten and well-buried cave. Though it will not make him more powerful on its own, Silvanus wishes to study this item for the potential that it may hold -- never minding its value as a collector's trophy.
This tropical paradise ruled over by Silvanus is straight out of a fairy tale. Situated in the Topal Bay south of Cyrodiil and between Elsweyr and Black Marsh, it is sparsely inhabited save for those in the employ of the Count. Due to its location on the bay, it is the ideal environment for growing moon-sugar cane as well as the regular harvesting of clams. At the main landing, you will find a tribute to Topal the Pilot, the Aldmeri explorer who charted the waterways of Tamriel and for whom the island is named.
While its current owner may claim it for Cyrodiil, the cat-folk of Elsweyr and the lizard people of Black Marsh have both, at times, called this island home. Evidence of this can be found all over in the form of ruined stone architecture from the two cultures, some of which has been deliberately preserved or even restored by Silvanus. Further, the flora and fauna of both their homelands can be here.
Artifacts & Interests
||The White Phial
An alchemical artifact of great renown, sought by Silvanus somewhere in Skyrim. According to legend, it will replenish whatever fluid is placed inside of it.
Silvanus' prized pet chicken. This special bird looks fairly ordinary at a glance, but he is in fact the result of a transmutation experiment gone wrong. Midas will occasionally lay golden eggs!
||Vein from the Heart of Lorkhan
Just a small fragment of the original Heart, sold to Silvanus by a peddler in Belkarth. It imbues him with practical abilities from the school of Alteration like shielding, levitation, transmutation, and light. It is embedded in the chest piece of his gilded armor.
||Artaeum Takeaway Broth
One of Silvanus' most favorite food dishes. After learning how to prepare it under the tutelage of a Psijic provisioner, he makes some small tweaks to the recipe in order to enhance its underlying alchemical effects. Thanks to the clam operations he oversees, he is afforded the rare privilege of consuming a meal of the decadent broth whenever he pleases.
A two-handed weapon designed specifically for use by Silvanus. Although made from a weighty mixture of titanium and gold, his powers of Alteration allow him to wield the sword as though it were crafted from driftwood. When held in his hands, the blade seems to hum and glow.
Also known as liquid silver, this metal is stable in liquid form at normal temperatures. Its usefulness has not yet been determined, but as a novelty it is alluring.
Given to Silvanus as a gift by his former commanding officer upon reaching the rank of Major. He retains it as a memento of his time in service to the Palace Guard.
Always the scholar, Silvanus has taken a particular interest in this lost race of Men. He studies all of the extinct species that once walked Tamriel, but there is something particularly fascinating and tragic about those most similar to himself.