Meet two more characters from The Mystic’s Mandate.
Captain Colin Grenleigh
“I rarely eavesdrop on people’s prayers, but if you have a direct line to Morrigan, lad, say a good word for all of us, won’t you?”
Age at the time of this story: 27-28
Physical Characteristics: 6’1”; 173 lbs; blond hair, blue eyes
Colin is the grandson of Queen Ciara, the second-born of her youngest son. Raised in a wealthy home with every comfort and advantage, Colin visits Caledon Castle often throughout his childhood and youth. Aware of how distant his claim on Ampleforth’s throne is behind uncles, cousins, and nephews, Colin seeks to influence history through outstanding service in Caledon’s army. As a young man, he abandons his royal title for a military one.
Life in the army tents is far different from the prince’s pampered upbringing, but despite his reputation as a scatterbrain, Colin adapts and moves up the ranks, earning promotions and honors with speed and bravery. Defending Ampleforth and the Black Cliffs from Langdon’s attacks is a never-ending and dissatisfying task as men and weapons dwindle, and the line never makes lasting gains in ground. Colin holds to his assigned position until the day his cousin, King Benedict, tells him to handpick a small team for a special mission.
Though Colin views his assignment as hopeless, he seeks to fulfill the king’s orders without wasting time or manpower. An experienced commander should have little trouble checking items off a list and finding information, but daunting challenges face him, and unexpected surprises lurk within his unit.
“I am tasked with the almost impossible: drive Langdon back from Ampleforth and reclaim the salt mines, lost to Langdon seventy years ago.
The mission itself is not insurmountable, but Caledon has no forces to replace those I lose. No men. No horses. No weapons. No boots. Seven decades of war have decimated our resources.
So we take them off the dead. Anything we can use. But the dead, while I can commandeer their clothes and weapons, cannot fight for me. And therein lies the worst of my dilemma.
Our ranks are dwindling. Two weeks ago, I added a fifteen-year-old boy to my foot soldiers. A mere child! I am ashamed to rob cradles, but what else can I do? I need every man, or boy, I can get. The fear in the lad’s eyes when I told the men we would meet Langdon tomorrow smote me to the core.
He will probably die. Like so many others.
War. The glory and futility. When will it end?”
Background Information: Caledonian Titles
All the king’s children inherit the title of prince or princess. The spouse of the prince who will inherit the throne gains an equal title with full powers, so long as the blood royal lives. Courtesy titles are given to spouses of princes and princesses who will not ascend the throne—these hold little power but bestow a level of prestige upon the bearer.
The hereditary title of the father will pass to his offspring, but courtesy titles are never handed down.
When a noble marries a person who already possesses a title, the couple can claim the higher of the titles if they wish. If a lord marries a duchess, he can assume the courtesy title of duke. However, he might choose to keep his hereditary rank so that his title will pass to their children.
The king or queen might bestow an honorary title on anyone who has engaged in outstanding acts of service. Men’s honorary titles get handed down to their children, an ongoing legacy worth striving for.
The title of knight or lord is the most common honorary title for men, and a woman will receive the title of lady. The spouse of a person who earns an honorary title will receive a matching courtesy title.
Titles, including hereditary titles, can be revoked for a variety of offences. If a person loses his or her title, any living or future spouses or descendants of his lose theirs as well.
Langdon and Zandor observe the Caledonian customs regarding titles within their respective royal families and nobility.
When the Republic of Caledon formed in 1876, titles became a badge of dishonor—a relic of bygone times and the tyranny of the monarchy. Those who held them ceased to flaunt them or to pass them on to their children.
In the 1930s, a new law abolished any remaining titles, making every Caledonian equal. In the 21st century, some families still carried the royal surnames of Grenleigh, Bramston, and Zandor. Many of these could trace their lineage to a royal family, but bragging about one’s ancestry marked one as a snob. People who knew of royal roots and past titles in their families kept their knowledge to themselves.
Caledonian titles in order of descending rank: King/Queen; Prince/Princess; Duke/Duchess; Earl/Countess; Baron/Baroness; Lord/Lady; Knighthood.
“What is truth? Truth is perception. Who will you believe?”
Age at the time of this story: 6-16
Physical Characteristics: 5’8”; 135 lbs; light brown hair, brown eyes
The daughter of a Zandorian baron, Brigid knows the rules. She knows how to behave when her father takes her with him to the palace, though she can’t fathom why he does it. Grymwalde’s palace is the most boring place Brigid has ever had the misfortune to be, but when she’s there, she knows what to say to whom. And she only speaks when spoken to. But Brigid often wishes she could say and do what she wants, instead of following the prescriptions of her strict culture.
When Brigid is eight years old, her mother dies, leaving her to the tender mercies of a procession of governesses hired to tend to the girl’s education and upbringing.
Brigid’s best friend after her mother passes is her maid, Adine, whom she treats as more of a confidante than a servant.
Brigid enjoys drawing with charcoal and painting landscapes. She would love to travel to Langdon’s mountains or Caledon’s cliffs to see more exciting scenery than Grymwalde offers, but while the nations are at war, she’s stuck at home.
“Sit still. Be quiet. Mind your manners.
Rules. Life is a bunch of rules. And the rules for girls don't allow for half so much fun as the rules for boys. See Prince Laurence over there, peeking through the door with that mischievous smirk? No one's making him sit still. He even winked and stuck his tongue out at me!
But I have to sit here, silent. I'm cold, but I daren't move closer to the fire, for Father told me to sit here, not there.
The room is full of men. How many? I can't tell. The torches cast strange shadows. There might be thirty men, or perhaps only five and twenty-five ghosts. Regardless, they all speak to each other, and never to me, as though I don't exist.
I want to get up and run around the room, and shout, and dance, and laugh, but I sit, because I am expected to sit, and I don't get a say.
I wonder if there's any way to make anyone hear me?
Zandor is not a good place to be a girl.”
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