|Erich Manstein, Count of Eastvale, Baron von Faulkenburg and Lord-Vicar of the Holy Church|
Colonel of the Second Stormwind Regiment of Horse (ret.),
Knight of the Brotherhood of the Horse
Wife: Wilhelmina Cartres (dec.)
Nobleman, Officer, Paladin, Politician, Writer, and Philanthropist, the Baron von Faulkenburg and Count of Eastvale is many things. From his noble birth in a long forgotten sliver of the Kingdom of Azeroth to his failed Governorship over the misty mountains of Gilneas, Erich Manstein has seen and experienced much. The consumate man of politics and nobleman, Erich is the very definition of an ambitious political animal. Once this industrious man of blue blood finds himself set upon some task, nothing can stop him in his crusade to accomplish it.
Despite his aristocratic tendancies, Manstein is a man of deep and resounding faith. His conviction in spreading the merciful doctrine of the Holy Light has lead him to serve in his current positions as Dean of the Church College of Canon Law and Legate of the Bishop Johannes Moorwhelp.
Although once thought a handsome man, the grinding mechanisism of time as since eroded the features of the nobleman. Once standing at a proud 6'1" his withered frame now hunches to modest 5'10". His hair, somewhat receded yet still full, is a dull grey white that hands neatly about his weathered face. Crisscrossed with deeply entrenched wrinkles and defined by his fine cheekbones, his face seems almost groomed to resemble that of the ideal elder statesman.
His body, which at one time buldged with the steely sinews of muscle, is withered, lean and frail. His skin, slakened from age, hangs loosely from his body. Long slender fingers jut forth from his pale hands like vines and a great wirey, if not sharkish, smile often dominates his countenance.
In matters of attire the Count / Baron is always careful in his appearance. Clad always in the finest and richest garbs of the Eastern Kingdom, Manstein is direct in his self portrayal as a proper nobleman of Stormwind. Whether in fine dress silks of Quel'Thalas, the clean Magisterial robes of the High Court, or the rich yet humble garments of the Church, Manstein always presents the cleanest picture of high society.
UpbringingEditComing into life twenty three years before the opening of the Dark Portal as the first born son of Arminius and Cecilia Manstein, Erich was bound from birth to be the shining exemplar of Stormwind's favored nobility.
The family lands of the Barony of Faulkenburg, although small, were rich and prosperous. Located high in the mountains east of Stormwind, the House of Manstein controlled several gold and silver mines, thus making the family a wealthy and highly influential force within the old aristocracy of the Kingdom of Azeroth.
At an early age, as was customary of firstborn sons of the House of Manstein, young Erich was sent off to train as a soldier and squire in the Brotherhood of the Horse, an order of noble knights stationed in Northshire Abbey. Training and learning the ways of knighthood at Northshire Abbey for many years, Manstein found himself walking amongst men that would later move and shape the Eastern Kingdoms. Learning the ways of honor, faith, and loyalty from the knights of the Brotherhood, Erich devoted himself to his duties with all the industry that was expected of the members of Stormwind's nobility. It was during his humble young years as a squire that Erich first meet the man who would one day become his undisputed hero, Armsman of the Brotherhood of the Horse, Lord Anduin Lothar. Lothar at the time had many years ahead of him before he would become famous for recovering the Tome of Divinity, let alone becoming the savior of Stormwind and Sumpreme Commander of the Alliance Military Forces.
Upon the age of eighteen, Manstein was dubbed a Knight of the Brotherhood of the Horse and awarded a commission as a Lieutenant in the army of King Adamant Wrynn III, thus leaving his childhood behind as he entered adulthood.
A Changing WorldDark Portal was the first signal of change that came to Stormwind. Still a young officer within the ranks of the King's army, Erich served on the front lines in repelling the first excursions of the Horde from the swampy wetlands of the Black Morass. At first the armies of Stormwind were successful and for many years the loyal soldiers of the King were able to repel the bloodthirsty orcs under Warchief Blackhand.
It was during this time that Erich first tempered himself within the hot fires of brutal combat. Fighting alongside his fellow knights, the forces of the Brotherhood were often involved in the bloodiest of fighting and were occasionally called to fight in the dangerous marshlands of the Swamp of Sorrows and Black Morass.
For years Erich fought with his fellow knights and under the wise leadership of the new King Llane Wrynn, the military forces of Stormwind were able to outsmart, outmaneuver, and outfight the orcish hordes. It was during this time that Erich quickly rose through the ranks, a fact due not only to his tactical prowess, but also an unfortunate result of the heavy losses sustained upon the field of battle. This meteoric rise saw Manstein promoted to the rank of Major and assigned as a close adjundent upon Stormwind's General Staff.
Unfortunately for Erich, his quick rise would suffer a far quicker fall. During a skirmish along the border between Grand Hamlet and the Swamp of Sorrows he was badly injured, his leg badly cut by the axe of a orcish grunt in a brutal ambush planned by the ever more powerful orcish chieftain, Orgrim Doomhammer. After sustaining the grievous injury, the young officer was reassigned to the garrison of Stormwind Castle, a prestigious yet very much non-combative assignment that was becoming increasingly infamous as a posting for injured officers of too noble of blood to simply dismiss from duty.
The Fall of King Llane, the Doom of a KingdomEdit
It was on this dark night, whilst Manstein patrolled the great corridors of the Keep that a single cry rose up and echoed through the halls, "The King is dead, the King is dead!" Whilst Erich was on patrol the half-orc assassin, Garona Halforcian, had betrayed King Llane and stabbed him in the back, murdering the benevolent king. Although he was far from the assassination, Manstein took the death of Llane harshly, somehow blaming himself for not being able to protect the King and perform his duty as an officer of the castle guard.
News of Llane's death spread quickly throughout Stormwind and the already stressed armies of Stormwind began to crack. For some months Stormwind had been suffering relentless attacks from the Horde which had put the army of Stormwind on its heels and news of Llane's death destroyed the morale of the soldiers and allowed Doomhammer to break through to the city.
Realizing the city was doomed, Sir Anduin Lothar rallied the remnants of the army and managed to evacuate much of Stormwind's population to the boats docked within the city harbor. Many of the knights of the Brotherhood remained behind to fight the Horde and make time for the citizens to evacuate, almost all were slaughtered. Erich himself managed to make it onto one of the last boats leaving the harbor, the flames of the burning city licking at his back.
Thus, boarded upon the merchant and military vessels of the once mighty Kingdom of Azeroth did Erich, along with his people, flee to the far lands of the north.
Lordaeron's Embrace, The Second Great War
The Order of the Silver HandEditArriving upon the shores of Southshore with his fellow refugees from Stormwind, Erich was among the last remaining Knights of the Brotherhood of the Horse under the command of Lord Anduin Lothar. Although the loss of much of his family, his lands, and his country affected him greatly, he took the assassination of King Llane close to heart. Searching for answers to his grief, Manstein volunteered to head north with Archbishop Alonsus Faol in a mission to the great city of Stratholme.
It was in Stratholme that Manstein resolved to take himself upon a different course. Coming to believe that much of his ill-fate was a result in a lack of faith, Erich vowed to devote himself to the service of the Light and protecting all those he could, an atonement for his past sin for his believed part in Llane's death. As if by providence, Archbishop Faol soon established the Order of the Silver Hand, with the famed Sir Uther the Lightbringer as its first paladin. Following the lead of Uther and Faol, Erich was one of the first knights inducted in the Order.
Love's GraspEditShortly after his induction into the Order of the Silver Hand Erich meet his future wife; the beautiful Wilhelmina Cartres, daughter of Lord William Cartres, Count of Northdale. Taken in by her beauty, her devout faith, and her devilish charms, Erich courted the young woman whilst undergoing his training in Stratholme. It was many long months before the young nobleman, former cavalry officer and now paladin managed to convince the young woman to take his hand in marriage, but she did so in happiness. The two lovers were wed in Alonsus Chapel, a mere few months before the orcish invasion fleet would appear off the coast of South Shore.
The Second WarEdit
When the orcish fleets first landed upon the shores of southern Lordaeron, it was the people of Stormwind who understood best the threat posed to humanity. Inspired by the leadership of men such as Lord Anduin Lothar, Sir Uther the Lightbringer, and Sir Turalyon, Erich and his fellow paladins fought alongside the armies of the northern kingdoms throughout the war.
The Paladins of the Order, not quite ready for battle at the onset of the war, did not enter the fray until the orcs had begun in earnest to push upon Capital City. It was during the defense of the city, and the subsequent battles, that Erich once more proved his bravery and skill in battle. Although not the best fighter within the Order, he could command the Light with a tenacity and vengeance that set him out amongst his fellows.
Successful upon the battlefield, quick of mind, and of good birth, Erich quickly moved upwards within the ranks of the order, his place in the Order ascending ever faster as the Alliance of Lordaeron approached final victory over the orcish Horde.
The Battle of Blackrock SpireEditIn what would become the last great military engagement of the Second War, the Battle of Blackrock Spire was a battle that would be recorded in time as both a great loss and a great victory. The battle was a last ditch effort for Doomhammer's Horde to survive, the forces of the Alliance having pushed them back to their last great stronghold within Blackrock Mountain.
Orgrim Doomhammer, sensing a chance to hopefully break the will of the Alliance forces, sought out Lord Anduin Lothar, the Grand Commander of the Alliance, on the battlefield. Doomhammer eventually spotted Lothar through the swirling melee and began to beat his way through the walls of human flesh and steel to the Lion of Azeroth.
Erich was one of the many paladins participating in the battle and was one of the few soldiers who saw and understood the Warchief's path. Resolved to not allow the same fate befall his hero, has had happened to his beloved King Llane, Erich and a small group of footmen attempted to intercept and stop Doomhammer.
They were as paper before Doomhammer's might.Swatted away like flys, Erich and the men were tossed aside, slaughtered by the fearsome Doomhammer and unable to protect their leader. Indeed, Lothar was slain that day by the orcish Warchief, but, in an act of great valor, Turalyon took up Lothar's shield and broken sword, rallying the forces of the Alliance and leading them to victory on the battlefield that day, and, as a result, the Second War.
The Alliance had finally defeated the Horde, but Erich was lucky to have escaped with his life. In his attempted valor, the Doomhammer had landed a blow squarely upon his chest, shattering his ribcage and leaving the man on the verge of death. Only the quick action of a nearby paladin managed to save the nobleman's life. Despite the quick aide, even the Light could not heal Manstein fully. Thus Erich is forced to live the rest of his life with a grotesque wound upon his chest, a great cavity more akin to a crater than a real wound of battle. The shattered remnants of his bones press daily against his lungs and make many of his movements a painful endeavor, especially when he sits or stands. Nevertheless, the imprint of the Doomhammer lives with Erich every moment of his life, causing him much pain from time to time.
It was because of his wound that after the end of the Second War Erich was asked to retire from the Order of the Silver Hand and the Alliance Army. The young nobleman was filled with grief over his inability to protect the one's he held in the highest of esteem and protested the termination of his service. Erich felt that his only choice was to continue to serve, a penance for his failure. Eventually he was victorious in receiving an extension of service, albeit with a commission as a Colonel and as the Commandant of the newly constructed Lordamere Internment Camp.
Despite his many misfortunes and inner grief, Manstein was still a man of deep resounding faith, conviction and goodness of heart. Truthfully, he loathed and hated the orcs that he was tasked with guarding over, but his attentions were focused upon the raising of his new family. The years between the Second and Third Wars would be some of Erich's happiest; his wife and children at his side.
The Enemy Within, The Third Great WarEdit
When the Third War came, Manstein's world was once more sent into chaos. When Thrall, the future Warchief of the Horde, released the orcs from their internment camps, news was quick to spread of the incident to the commandant's office of the Lordamere Internment Camp. Knowing that a full scale uprising was being contrived, Erich feared the worst and acted upon a secret order issued to him many years before by Aedelas Blackmoore; Operation Frostfall.
Frostfall was an emergency order drafted by Blackmoore and secretly given to the wardens of the prison camps. The orders detailed how the commanders were to, in case of a general uprising, do everything within their power to contain the possibility of the prisoners once more becoming an armed threat.
Subsequently, Manstein ordered the wholesale execution of the entire orcish population of the camp. Some of the orcs, however, did manage to escape the slaughter when a fire caught hold of the primary barracks building. To this day Manstein still considers it a great personal failing that he was unable to kill all of the orcs under his watch.
While dealing with the flight of the orcs in the south of Lordaeron, the plague hit northern Lordaeron with its full venom. It would be many months before Erich would discover that his wife, along with all of her family, was killed in the infamous Culling of Stratholme and subsequent plague infections. His sons and daughter, thankfully, had been spending the summer with Erich's cousins in Stormwind and escaped the calamity unharmed.
With the betrayal of Prince Arthas and the death of King Terenas Menethil, Manstein, along with the majority of Stormwind's forces in the north, was recalled to south in order to muster the defences of the city.
Honeyed Words and a Beaming Smile, The Paladin turned StatesmanEdit
Before the Third War began Manstein's infirmities had begun to push his desires away from military service. Testing his abilities in diplomacy, Erich served as part of an ambassadorial team to Lordaeron on behalf of Stormwind some months before the war. Adeptly arguing for more latitude and autonomy in the management of the Internment Camps, Erich impressed many of the older statesmen at his side and, upon his evntual return to the city, took his seat in the House of Nobles and was enlisted to serve in the Kingdom's diplomatic corps.
It was during these years that Erich honed his abilities as a statesman. Actively engaging himself in the business of the House of Nobles, Manstein's influence with his peers rose with the power of the House itself. The disappearance of King Varian and the ascention of Lady Prestor's influence put the House of Nobles in place where they were able to exercise far more power than they had previously enjoyed.
Known for his natural talent in oratory, Manstein was often enlisted by House leadership to present controversial laws or motions before the body. Many a day did the Baron's skill at speaking and winning hearts carry the day on the passage of hotly contested law. Eventually Manstein accepted an appointment to serve as Stormwind's ambassador to Kul'Tiras and left Stormwind to take up his residence at the embassy in Boralus. He would serve in his official capacity as ambassador in Kul'Tiras for several years before his recall after the Cataclysm.
Governor-General, The Citizens of GilneasEditTowards the end 620 K.C., the convulsions brought on by the great Cataclysm began to subside. For a time the Alliance 7th Legion managed to erect a stable warfront along the Gilnean border, thus securing large swaths of the ruined country. It was during this time that King Varian Wrynn, his ear constantly besit by King Genn Greymane's calls for increased aide, and the Stormwind House of Nobles announced plans to begin the reconstruction of Gilneas.
Manstein was assigned to head up the Alliance Relief Effort in Gilneas, otherwise known as the <Citizens of Gilneas> or ARE in the capacity of Governor-General. Gathering together a small group of Gilnean refugees, along with a variety of volunteers from other areas devastated by the Cataclysm, Erich commissioned the construction of three merchant vessels to serve both as transport for the people, but also as future mercantile and supply vessels. The ships were compeleted in December of 620 K.C. and were christened the HMS Deliverance, HMS Lothar's Resolve, and the HMS Llane's Legacy.
With the consent of King Greymane, the ARE firmly established themselves within the halls of the still standing Greymane Manor. From the manor the ARE was able to organize itself into a highly motivated work force that began the reconstruction of the shattered towns and villages surrounding Gilneas City. Within a matter of months the force was able to completely repair the facilities and buildings at Keel Harbor and, with a functional port, was able to greatly exapnd its area of operations.
With ships now running regularly from Stormwind to Keel, the ranks of the ARE swelled with Gilneans seeking to return home. Craftsmen, farmers, nobles, and soldiers all flooded to the opportunity of rebuilding their lives that the ARE offered. For many more months the ARE continued its mission and was successful in rebuilding large sections of Gilneas City, as well as many of the outlying manor homes and villages.
It was during his tenure as Governor-General that the old Paladin from the mountains of Stormwind began to undergo fundamental changes. Eventually staking the audacious claim of Greymane Manor as his personal office of residence, Manstein began to rule over the land as if it was his own holding. Despite his increasingly lordly attitude, Manstein was still known for his caring, almost fatherly, guidence of the people of the ARE. It would not be until the scandal involving the organiztion known as the <Blades of Graymane> that Manstein would lose much of the kindness in his heart.
The <Blades of Greymane>, a military organization of Gilnean patriots based out of Stormwind, took offense to the ARE's efforts in Gilneas and proceeded to move much of their activity to the small town of Emberstone. For the next several months the Blades and the ARE were entangled in a series of scandals, skirmishes, and diplomatic breakdowns. Eventually, frustrated and tired of what he perceived as the ignorance and isolationism of the people of Gilneas, Manstein ordered the complete withdrawel of the ARE from Gilneas proper. The Blades also abandoned Gilneas soon after the ARE's withdrawel. To this day Manstein harbors a resentment towards many Gilneans and became deeply embittered to many of the people around him as a result.
Man of the Cloth, The Clergy of the Holy LightEdit
Manstein retired from his service in Gilneas back to the noisy halls of the House of Nobles. By this time the Erich of the day was a far different man than the noble paladin of his past. Consumed with the inner anguish over what he believed his litany of failures; to protect King Llane, to defend Lothar, to save his wife, to rebuild Gilneas, Manstein through himself totally into the area of politics. It was during this time that Erich served the crown as a Lord-Prosecutor in his Majesty's Ministry of Justice, issuing judgement and enforcing the rule of law upon Stormwind's deviant citizens.
It was not until September of 621 K.C. that Manstein became a benefactor of the College of Canons under the leadership of Bishop Johannes Moorwhelp. Offering his abilities as a diplomat and lawmaker to the Bishop, Manstein was appointed to the Deanship of the College of Canon Law to begin the rewriting and transcription of the church legal system. Shortly after his appointment to the Deanery, Manstein was also approached in the official channels of the Ministry of Justice and offered the secular post of Lord-Magistrate; a judge of great responsibility within Stormwind's judicial system.
Serving dutifully as Dean of the College of Canon Law and as a Lord-Magistrate, Erich's deep faith, as well as keen role in negotiating the reconcillation between the church and the Kingdom of Lordaeron Restored under Queen-Claiment Madelynne I, lead to his appointment by Bishop Moorwhelp to the duel posts of Legate and Lord-Vicar.
Manstein currently serves as the Bishop's chief diplomatic officer in the form of his capacity as Legate and chief judicial officer as the Lord-Vicar of the College.
Erich's noble upbringing and years of grooming in the House of Nobles has created a man of eloquent speech, winning smiles, and humble demeanor before his social betters. Despite his modest personality, Erich is always sure to dress in the fine and neatly pressed cloths of nobility, carrying himself in the manners of the consummate nobleman. Many who meet the Count / Baron find it easy to come away with an image of a courteous and tender hearted old man, the ideal picture of the nobleman who lives up to station while devoting himself to the service of those beneath him. Others, those who are perhaps more accustomed to the ways of those in power, find his normally benevolent smile to be decidedly more shark-like.
A man of tireless industry, Erich is a man who loathes the slothful and respects tenacity. Otherwise, Manstein's public figure is that of a man of reserved benevolence and wisdom. Showing charity to commoners, extolling the role of the nobility as protectors of the people, and offering kind words of wisdom, Manstein actively propagates an image of an innocent and deferential servant of the Crown and Holy Light.
Unquestionably loyal to Stormwind and the Wrynn dynasty, Manstein’s years of service to the House of Wrynn, as well as deep seated monarchial beliefs have formed the man into a complete patriot of Stormwind. In addition to his loyalty to the King of Stormwind, Manstein has an unwavering devotion to the Holy Light. To Manstein, it is the lot of the nobility in life to lead the people and to do so in a benevolent manner.
Romance and RelationshipsEdit
A widower since the death of his wife, Manstein has lived without a wife for many years. Although open to the prospect of another marriage, he find such an occasion doubtful to occur.
Manstein had two younger brothers, Marius and Arminius, both of which died during the First and Second Wars, respectively. He has a surviving younger sister, Leliana Manstein Garithos, who was wed to the infamous Othmar Garithos in the years before the Third War.
Manstein had three children with his wife, Wilhelmina; two boys and one girl. The girl died during childbirth and the oldest boy, Guderian, was disowned by his father in his early years. Manstein's relationship with his only 'surviving' son, Arminius, is poor at best, as the two have not spoken for many years.
Holdings / Economic InterestsEdit
The Barony of Faulkenburg - Formerly defunct barony that is currently undergoing early phases of reconstruction.
Eastvale Logging Co. - Company that manages one of the, if not the, largest and most productive lumber mill in the human kingdoms; the Eastvale Lumber Mill.
Faulkenburg Enterprises - A mercantile company that owns a small fleet of three merchant vessels and primary conducts business with Kul'Tirian port cities.