Red

Master of the Usury Guild

Description:

Formerly known as Reider Engnestangen. Chair of the Usury Guild in the Vendel League. Initially succeeded his father, owner of Engnestangen Accounts in Kirk, before retired. Called back to the League by Val Mokk after the death of Master Soloman.

Red is far and away the oldest member of the Council, having sat on it since its inception. He is wizened and bent, and blind beyond ten feet. He cuts a grotesque figure on the streets of Kirk, flabby and sagging, with thick spectacles, only a few wisps of hair, and a constellation of liver spots. His mind is sharp as ever, though, and he can still perform mathematical computations with the skill of a savant. Other
League members marvel at his renewed energy, and privately joke that the old accountant will bury them all.

Bio:

Reidar Engnestangen was the only son of a counting-house clerk in Eskilstuna. His father retained the family’s Vestenmannavnjar name, and the other children teased Reidar mercilessly about it. He grew up short and pudgy, which only added to his capacity as a target for mockery. A withdrawn and sullen child, he spoke little and looked up less.

His father worked hard, leaving for work before the children woke, and arriving home only minutes before the children’s’ bedtime. Still, the man always had time to pat their heads with his ink-stained fingers, and smile through bedtime stories every night. Reidar did not really know his father, but loved him nonetheless, and grew up determined to make him proud.

In time, Reidar’s father became a partner at the counting house, helping the company to establish “franchise” houses in Kirk and Västeras. A teenaged Reidar moved to Kirk, where his father found him a job in the new office there.
Reidar worked hard, following the example of his beloved father. He quickly showed a predilection for numbers and their manipulation. He could perform complex calculations in his head, keeping track of multiple exchange rates and fluctuating price indexes. He quickly took on larger and larger projects, and eventually had a working knowledge of every account the house maintained.

Professionally, Reidar advanced steadily. Personally, he remained as stunted and quiet as ever. He spoke only when spoken to, becoming animated only when discussing accounting. He grew painfully near-sighted from endless hours bent over ledgers, and was forced to wear spectacles to move about outside the counting-house. He remained short and overweight, and went prematurely bald. He remained a bachelor long after his co-workers had married.

At the age of 22, he made a startling discovery which secured his future forever. One of the senior partners, Per Fhrome, was embezzling from the company. Fhrome had hidden his skimming with expert skill, moving money through dozens of accounts before landing it in his own ledger. Only Reidar, with his knowledge of the entire office’s workings, could have found the theft. He took this knowledge to his father, and his father brought Fhrome up on charges before the Usury Guildmasters. Fhrome was stripped of membership and barred from practicing accounting. Reidar’s father received the chain of counting houses as a reward, increasing his wealth exponentially.
Reidar himself took over management of the Kirk house. Under his guidance, the Kirk branch of Engnestangen Accounts quickly became the most successful counting house in all of Vendel, enriching his father greatly. In time, Reidar’s father secured the Usury Chair in the Vendel League, ensuring his family’s prominence forever.
Unfortunately, the old man died days after officially taking his Seat, and the post fell to Reidar, then 27 years old.

Reidar saw the League as the great opportunity to overcome his personal shortcomings, and went to great lengths to try and impress his fellows. He held parties. He hosted dinners. He changed his name to “Red,” believing it sounded adventurous and flamboyant. He tried to learn to dance. For all that, however, he still didn’t quite fit in.
Everyone was very nice to him, but no one truly befriended him. Recognizing his continued social failure, “Red” decided instead to impress the world the only way he knew how — by being the best at what he did.

As Usury Chair, Red’s duties included managing the Council’s private funds. He was, in essence, in charge of managing the entire nation’s wealth. He did this through his chain of counting-houses, which has grown to include offices in every city on Oddis, a satellite office in Isafjordhur to handle the needs of the Sailing Academy, and a small branch on Eskjö to run payroll and supply reimbursement for the small communities there. He became a fantastic administrator who could arguably receive credit for the rapid rise of the guilder and the unparalleled success of the League. For almost sixty years, he sat at the head of the Usury Guild, guiding it with a sure, firm hand.

Shortly after the inception of the guilder, Red was forced into retirement. The younger Guild members had grown frustrated in his shadow, and wanted a chance to shine. He reluctantly named Gunther Soloman to replace him, and stepped down to live the remainder of his life in peace.

He was miserable. Without the responsibilities of the Guild, Red could find no purpose to his life and soon sank into bitter despair. He probably would have died were it not for a tragic happenstance: about a year ago, Master Soloman was killed by an assassin at a masquerade ball. His successors quickly proved incapable of handling the Guild’s vast resources, and Val Mokk officially requested that Red be reinstated. The old man took the job gladly, and now intends to hold onto it until his death.

Red

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