The principal character and narrator of The Winterbough Saga; he also makes some appearances in The Ballad of Adler Young. He is a roebuck. He also is known as "Fifth," or "Fifth of His Name," The Master of Elfhame, and less to his taste, as "The King's Blunt Instrument," "Little Big Nose" and "Throne-Breaker."
Physically, he is five-foot-four-inches without his antlers, and approximately five-eight with his antlers (as noted in "From Whom All Blessings Flow," Chapter A). Most of the time, he is dressed in the uniform of the Elfhame Rangers, the regiment that his family had long served in. On occasion, he is seen in an A Uniform; on occasion, he is dressed in the tweeds that are common civvy wear among roebucks of the Vale of Elfhame.
Fifth was the third fawn of Forrest Winterbough and his mate Stella Winterbough. He was born after his father (along with many other members of his family serving in the Rangers) fell at the Battle of Skull Forest. He was, literally, the only fawn in the entire seven-village area of the Vale of Elfhame, and a symbol of the population crash that occurred in the Vale, occasioned in no small measure by the death of many roebucks in the service of the King-Emperors of the House of Irenaeus.
He was raised on a persimmon farm just outside of Greytor-village by his mother, and by "Uncle," an elderly roebuck that, in reality, was one of the last male members of the House of Rosebush-Aspen. A number of deer in the Vale deliberately went without food so that young Winterbough could eat. This was a fact that, when revealed to Winterbough as an adult, appalled and shamed him. It is one of the factors that drives his determination to see that the Vale of Elfhame never suffers that kind of want again, so long as he is alive.
Seeing no opportunities in the Vale upon reaching adulthood, he packed up his bindle, and left to join the Imperial & Royal Army of Faerie. At the time he did so, he was unsure if he would ever see his native land again.
Winterbough's initial adventures (related in "The Thin Line") brought him to the attention of the Crown, and in particular Prince Roland, Marshal of Faerie and commander of the I&RA. Winterbough became a Blood Seal Bearer, one of a select group of furs licensed to take any and all actions necessary for the protection of the crown.
In the course of his adventures, Winterbough's household began to grow and grow. He acquired, among others, [[[Little Toy]]], an automaton of Elfhamian make; Tessie Ring, a raccoon femme that he rescued from being murdered; the Wolf Queen, a lupine femme that he bested in combat; Princess Ooo-er, a mysterious and magickal otter-femme; "Sunny," a wolf cub from the bleak and desolate realm of Eastness; Nippy, a supremely efficient maid also from Eastness; Stormy, a snow-fox from the Wild Snows; and others. Estvan Silverbrush, an old, powerful and slightly mad tod-fox, also took a shine to Winterbough, and proclaimed himself the roe-buck's mentor.
The cognomen "Throne Breaker" came from the fact that Fifth was involved in a number of adventures that involved rulers being deposed in strange and startling ways. In some cases, the new rulers (such as Prince William of Vulpes-Vulpes) became fursonal allies. In one case, Anastasia Rosebush-Aspen, the Sovereign Princess of Licksburg, the ruler became something rather more: the mother of his twin fawns, Westersloe Winterbough VI and Stella Rosebush-Aspen.
Winterbough endured a testy relationship with Gawain Adlersson, who was initially Crown Prince when Winterbough joined the I&RA, and later King in succession to his father, Adler Sartoriusson. Relations with both Adler Sartoriusson and Roland Sartoriusson (Winterbough's direct liege-lord) were somewhat better, in small part due to the fact that Winterbough kept the Royal breakfast-table well supplied with Elfhamian sweet persimmon jam. Prince Roland is directly responsible for having the office of Master of Elfhame conferred on Winterbough, and it is probable that he was responsible for having the King finance the renovations of the Master's Lodge in Greytor-village, as well as the acquisition of the library of Eleanor of Elfhame from the government of Licksburg's creditors.
Winterbough grew to be moderately wealthy, sufficient to end up purchasing the freehold of most of the land within the Vale of Elfhame. He was also able to pursue a number of improvements to the Master's Lodge, and to engage in the hobby of collecting scrolls and manuscripts. He was also assisted by a generous legacy from his grandmother, Heloise, Duchess of Cloverland.
In spite of the uneasy relationship between Winterbough and Gawain Adlersson, Winterbough was still in Imperial & Royal Service at the time of The Ballad of Adler Young; Adler Gawainsson was a witness when Winterbough was possessed by a bewitched orthodont ham. Not long after that incident, Winterbough retired permanently to the Vale of Elfhame.
Winterbough was an expert with the elven bow, short-staff, and throwing knife, and was quite skilled in unarmed combat as well. He was noted for a bit of a temper, the Wolf Queen in particular referring to him quite often as a "pissy little roebuck." He had the grudging approval of the roe-does of Elfhame, and the nearly unanimous support of the roebucks of the Vale, who in some ways envied his freedom to roam Faerie.