I wasn't initially going to do this because I figured I probably had plenty of connections, but at this point it's getting in-depth and complex enough to warrant at least consolidating into a thread for general reference (if not to specifically seek out new connections, although suggestions are not unwelcome if it seems like they might fit well).
I also apologize in advance for any weird typos or phrasing; my cognitive function has been a bit impaired the last couple days just due to chronic illness so sometimes skull meat do weird thing and I don't catch it til later after the pudding has rewired itself a few times.
General Description: Nicholas has recently come fully into the title of Earl, and the inheritance of his father's estates, after Edward Howard's death only a few months past. It's reasonably well-known (or at least inferred) that the relationship between Nicholas and his late father was strained at best, and for the past number of years Nicholas has avoided any large event which Edward and his second wife, Helena, even so much as might have attended. Instead, he's kept to less prestigious gatherings or more private salons, where he has still managed to gain his fair share of notoriety about his rather eccentric ways.
Having now come into the family estate and free from any worry of his father's influence, it seems Nicholas is almost determined to squander as much of his inherited wealth as possible, both on petty whims and on unrestrained generosity. In particular, he has a fascination with exotic animals, and has begun to build up his own menagerie, and also has a tendency to collect unusual hoax taxidermy ("mermaids" and the like) for his own amusement.
From a practical standpoint, Nicholas' family's wealth largely derives from their land, both the resources such as timber and farmland, as well the livestock held there, from large herds of sheep and flocks of quill-producing birds, to more prized individuals like valuable horses and hunting dogs. They maintain a number of properties of substantial acreage, but Naworth Castle in northern Cumbria is their primary residence, besides a comparatively modest home kept near London for the summer social season. Edward was a man of business and had trade deals with a number of other families, companies, and individuals, some of which Nicholas is still uncovering as he organizes his late father's affairs.
He also has a pet vervet monkey that often accompanies him, named Bartholomew. Some say the monkey is more proper than Nicholas is. He has a number of stories of how he got Bartholomew (he's had him for a few years), each slightly more absurd than the last.
-- Lord Edward Howard (father -- deceased) -- noted to be a stern, strict, and practically emotionless man of business and duty. Many were shocked with how quickly he remarried to Helena mere months after Adelaide's death.
-- Lady Adelaide Carteret (mother -- deceased) -- noted to be a kind and generous woman, virtuous and well-respected by those who knew her.
-- Lord Cornelius Howard (grandfather -- deceased) -- known for his humor and kindness, but also for letting his opinions and emotions flow freely, leading to no shortage of enemies and scandal.
-- Lady Helena Blankeny-Lennox (step-mother -- alive)
-- @Lady/Marquess Emmeline Petty-Fitzmaurice (Robin) (cousin on his mother's side)
-- @Eleanor Savery (Hilary) (step-sister)
-- Lords David, Arthur and Graham Savery; Ladies Sophia and Juliet Savery (other step-siblings)
Other Established PC Ties:
-- @ Duke James Richmond@Avery/Abigail Pembroke@Duchess Eudora St. Clair @Lady Marion Pembroke (Marshall) -- The Trouble Squad (TM). Group got into their share of trouble together during the years of 1806-1808.
-- @Lady Violet Heloise Blankeney-Coventry (Elizabeth) -- He stared at her slightly too long at a party recently and now everyone thinks they're in love.
-- @(Rachel) Hazel Wynnewood -- Causes her no shortage of exasperation by randomly wandering backstage to comment on the scenery.
-- @Sophrona Ramsbury -- A brief courtship/presumed engagement when Nicholas was 17, which he ultimately called off.
Potential Other Ties:
-- Business ties via Edward Howard, or any other kind of deal Edward may have made prior to his death. These can be to Nicholas' chagrin/detriment if it's funny and/or creates drama. As long as it's nothing too terrible, you can reveal what it is in game.
-- Any other familial ties (probably on his father's side), distant or otherwise (I think we're full up on siblings though).
-- Anyone he might have gotten into trouble with at some point!
Public Timeline (things that other people might know):
-- Nicholas is born in January of 1787 to Adelaide and Edward Howard -- their only child after supposedly having been trying for children for a number of years without success.
-- Adelaide dies of "generally poor health" in the early part of 1797. Near the end of the same year, Edward remarries to Lady Helena Blankeny-Lennox, a mother of six who has been widowed already for two years. They have no more children.
-- Nicholas is routinely sent away to different boarding schools and far-away tutors by his father. He is just as frequently kicked out (or politely "requested" to be withdrawn) due to behavior, often fighting.
-- In 1803, Edward arranges a match between Nicholas and Sophrona. After a very brief "courtship" (largely a few meetings arranged by their parents) and a presumed engagement, Nicholas called off the pairing.
-- Cornelius' health worsens to a critical point in 1804. Nicholas returns home to visit his grandfather on his death bed, but leaves rather abruptly and does not attend the funeral, reportedly due to a fight with Edward. After this point, Edward rarely mentions his son unless asked directly, in which case his responses are curt.
-- In 1805, Nicholas is enrolled in the University of Cambridge, where he gets into another share of trouble (often with the help of James). He promptly drops out in 1806, to Edward's great displeasure, and is largely cut off from the family estate for being a "disappointment."
-- Nicholas spends the next several years basically doing the aristocratic version of couch surfing (or else breaking into his own family homes to stay there when he knows the rest of the family won't be). Spends a substantial portion of this time getting into Trouble with the Squad.
-- 1806, Eleanor is makes her formal debut. Nicholas was slated to debut at the same time (being that they are very, very close in age), but Nicholas refused to be in the same room as his father and thus didn't follow through (which caused no shortage of gossip, no doubt).
-- In 1808 (?). James and Eudora, with the help of Eleanor and James' sister Anne, set up a formal debut for Nicholas in which his parents are not involved (Nicholas is adamant that it was not necessary for them to do so, very thinly veiling his gratitude for it).
-- Edward finally dies rather suddenly in November of 1810. Nicholas does not return home to formally take over the title and estate until December, well after Edward is laid to rest.