The Duke of Beards

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The Duke of Beards
by Flin Horstad

The practice of beardcrafting is something of a lost art in Tamriel, but in Skyrim, the great masters still ply their trade to the adulation of their customers.

However, like Eorlund Gray-Mane with the Skyforge, there is one craftsman believed to stand a hair above the rest, and it is said that many a well groomed chin bears the mark of the man they call the Duke of Beards.

When I queried a few locals on the Duke’s whereabouts, I received many conflicting accounts. Some insisted that one does not approach the Duke, but rather, he chooses his clients the way a farmer picks the ripest crops. Others implied that the Duke isn’t even a barber, but works as a caravan trader or even a sailor. This way, he may study the abundance of faces that pass as he envisions his next masterpiece.

The existence of a mystery genius is not new to Tamriel, as evidenced by the world famous Gourmet. Yet the Gourmet only cooks for a chosen few, while it is said the Duke has shaped the face of Skyrim itself with his scissors. Of course, such exaggeration is typical of townsfolk. Even the origin of the nickname itself is poorly crafted. One would say the “Baron of Beards” would be a more fitting title, but alas, common folk cannot be expected to know the joys of alliteration.

Regardless, while the Duke has proved evasive, his admirers have not. One tavern maid insisted the Duke’s craftsmanship had saved her marriage, while another traveler wept as he relayed the story of how the Duke had made his son a man. No doubt, Skyrim’s fondness for the hirsute may play a role in this worship, but it is safe to say that most of the credit goes to the Duke himself, as he is proof once again that greatness takes many forms.

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