Once again, the post got too long, and I had to split it into two, so this month, we’re revisiting Myrhiadh’s War and two more of my favorite characters!
“I wish that I could instantly destroy everything and everyone who has ever hurt you.”
The heir to Caledon’s throne, Prince James chafes at his father’s requirement that he stay safely at home in Ampleforth instead of joining the troops marching east to battle Zandor. Work in the shipyards barely placates him until an unexpected development brings the war to his doorstep.
Birthdate: September 1578
Age at the time of this story: 25/26
Physical Characteristics: 6’0” tall; 175 lbs; blond, wavy hair; blue eyes
Titles: Crown Prince, His Royal Highness
Nickname: Jae, though he only allows a select few of his friends to call him that.
Prince James is a typical young man who is looking for adventure and excitement. Fiercely loyal, with a strong sense of duty and a determination to see Zandor defeated, James works in the shipyards, helping build warships. His father considers this a “suitable” position for the heir to the throne, who must be protected at all costs.
James prefers to spend as much time away from the castle as possible. Thus, he spends most evenings at the Brass Rebel Pub, where his down-to-earth attitude and athletic abilities make him a popular friend and drinking buddy.
Though groomed from infancy to take the throne, James does not expect to shoulder the responsibility for many years. He wants to enjoy his freedom as much as possible before that time.
James enjoys riding, archery, chess, backgammon, and darts. Well-read and well-educated, he has a working knowledge of the dying Caledonian language and the ancient legends associated with the history of his country.
“My father likes peace treaties—when they work to his benefit. If Zandor were landing ships on our shores, he would quickly demand that Langdon come to our aid. Since Zandor is currently stomping all over Langdon en route to our borders, he refuses to risk his precious troops in Langdon’s service. Reminding him that we cannot afford to anger Langdon’s king helped but a little.
Only when I threatened to lead troops myself to reinforce Langdon did Father bend and agree to mobilize his generals. He is determined that I shall not put myself in harm's way. When I argued that I was tired of sitting at the castle, useless, he sent me to work in Ampleforth's shipyards. Better than nothing, but not nearly so satisfying as plying steel to take down Zandor!
‘Don't sail away on any of those ships,’ he said when he dispatched me.
I make no promises.”
“We can and will protect you, Sire!”
The Captain of the Elite Guard answers directly to the king of Caledon. He is responsible for guarding the royal family and for overseeing the soldiers who are in charge of protecting the castle. Responsibility for any failure of the Elite Guard to meet their obligations falls directly on his shoulders, and the burden is a heavy one.
Date of Death: 1636
Age at the time of this story: 39
Physical Characteristics: 5’10” tall; 175 lbs; brown hair; brown eyes
Malik applied to join the Royal Elite Guard at the age of twenty-one, after serving three years as a soldier in the army. He worked his way up through the ranks to become the captain in 1598.
Malik is staunchly loyal, practical to a fault, and suspicious of everyone outside of his troops and his charges. Diligent in his duty to protect the royal family, Malik sometimes struggles to remain patient and respectful around a rebellious princess, a militant prince, and a narcissistic king.
“The housemaid fainted when she saw all the blood. Even when she came to, the mere thought of cleaning the mess sent her into hysterics. One of my men had to do it.
An assassin breached the castle last night, in spite of guarded gates and doors, and came within a hair's breadth of killing the king. The villain vanished with the dawn, but no one knows where. I strongly fear that he may still be inside the castle, moving among us like a ghost.
I have armed the king and assigned a 24-hour security detail to him. He is unimpressed. He called my unit useless, and I fear he was thinking words far less complimentary.
I will not fail my sovereign. I will find this ghost and destroy him—before he takes another life.”
Background Information—The Royal Elite Guard
The Caledonian Royal Elite Guard stands separate from all other troops, charged with the protection of the king and his family, as well as Caledon Castle. The Elite Guard is a highly trained set of (usually) 40 men skilled with all sorts of weaponry and prepared to die to defend the king.
A man must serve a minimum of three years in another branch of the Caledonian army or navy before applying to become part of the Royal Elite Guard and must prove his mettle in a series of skill tests employing archery, swordsmanship, and horsemanship, and by the early seventeenth century, riflery as well. If he shows suitable aptitude, he will be initiated to the force in a traditional ceremony. He may only exit the unit via an honorable discharge or death.
While ordinary troops might also be deployed to defend the castle, any member of the Elite Guard outranks them on castle grounds. The Elite Guard members may serve as escorts for any member of the royal family on any occasion and always accompany the king when he goes out. The Elite Guard is entitled to enter and exit the castle at will, though, outside of emergencies, only the captain has access to private rooms, and then only with permission.
A position in the Royal Elite Guard is a coveted one and one that comes with a long history of honor and respect.
Check out my interview with blogger Fiona Mcvie! https://wp.me/p3uv2y-75n