Monday, 28 May 2012

Kelanus, Tahena & Belaika - Markan Sword Characters

Continuing my series on Markan Sword characters.

Kelanus Arus Butros is the general of his generation.  An astute military strategist and gifted tactician, he began his military career as a mercenary.  After eight years, he won a commission in Branad Vintner's army, serving Sandester well - and successfully.  He rose quickly to general rank and won all bar one of the battles he commanded.

Unfortunately, he has also been dogged by bad luck.  His first wife died in childbirth and his second marriage foundered after accusations of improper behaviour with sylphs cost him his position in Branad's army.  He immediately offered his services to Marcus Vintner.

When Marcus defeated Branad, Kelanus came under immediate suspicion for murder.  Despite travelling to the far south and clearing his name in combat, rumours still persist of his alleged guilt.  In Markan Sword, Kelanus is leading an attempt to remove Hingast from rule in Eldova.  If, of course, the man claiming to be Hingast is really that man.

Tahena Mithon is a Gifted woman who hails from the far south.  A talented healer, she was planning to return home when Sandev asked her to accompany Kelanus to the far south.  Since then, the two have proved inseparable and Tahena became Kelanus's third wife.  In Markan Sword, Tahena is again travelling with Kelanus, eager to learn the truth of Hingast's real identity.

Belaika-y-Marcus is a sylph scout.  As his name suggests, he belongs to Marcus Vintner.  A fully trained scout, he insisted on accompanying Kelanus to Eldova.  His motivation for this is not exactly clear, though perhaps the death of his friend, a female sylph named Haema, the previous year has something to do with it.

The Sylph Scouting Corps was established by Marcus Vintner after several young male sylphs suggested they were ideally suited as scouts.  Despite their pacific nature, sylphs have long been involved in human warfare, usually as medical aides, officers' servants and camp followers.  Before Marcus, nobody had used them in any active military role.  Quite what the consequences of this action will be are not yet fully clear.  Sandester and Eldova have copied the idea and are training their own sylph scouts.

The coveted title Imperial Sylph Scout Corps is yet to be granted.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Today's Walk

Today's walk, over two Carneddau outliers, has been posted on my other blog, Nick's Wicked Walks

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Working on the Blog...

OK, I've made a couple of changes.  You've probably already noticed the background image has changed!  I've also tidied up the links (will be rehashing them into a semblance of better organisation soon) and reuploaded sample chapters from Markan Throne (it has its own page).

I've added a table of contents for every book on each relevant page and, as I re-edit the books, will upload five sample chapters.  As I said above, Markan Throne is already done; Gifted Apprentice is next.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Rejigging the blog

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'll be having a rearrangement and sorting out of the blog.  This will probably take a couple of days or so, but I hope to have it back to normal before the weekend.

Emperor of Marka - Titles

Though linked to my small series on Markan Sword characters, this is more background information about the old empire the claimants are trying to re-establish.  It follows on from the last posting about the emperor.

All rulers like to claim additional titles and the Markan Throne comes with a raft of its own.  Zenepha's full titles are: His Imperial Majesty Emperor Zenepha, Dominator of the World, Guardian of the Key, Commander of the Shadow Riders, and Lord Protector of Gwerins.

So let's take them one at a time.

His Imperial Majesty  Standard address for an emperor.  Individual countries often had their own form of address for their kings, but Marka uses Imperial Majesty.

Dominator of the World  When Marka was first built, emissaries came from all over the then-known world to marvel at its splendour.  Or so Markan historians would have you believe.  As Marka's influence spread during the First Empire, most other states deferred to her dominant culture.  Hence Dominator of the World, a title first claimed by Dovna III, later known as "The Reformer", at his coronation.

Guardian of the Key  The Founding Mark first claimed this title, even before the foundations of Marka were laid.  Protection of the Key, regarded as essential in these early days, is the reason for Marka's existence in the first instance.  Many people erroneously believe the huge pyramid that dwarfs the city is the Key.  A few in Marka still know where the Key is, and even fewer understand the reason for its existence, but emperors still claim the title.

Commander of the Shadow Riders  The most recent of the imperial titles, the Shadow Riders were established during the great interregnum between the collapse of the first, and establishment of the second, empire.  The Vintner family first came to prominence during this time, known as the Preceptory.  Their grip on power was far from secure, and the Shadow Riders were established as a personal guard.  When the new empire rose, the Shadow Riders became the emperor's personal guard.  The Shadow Riders left Marka when the second empire followed the first into history and people had almost forgotten their existence when they recently returned.

Lord Protector of Gwerins  Gwerins are born of sylphs, throwbacks to the sylphs' human inheritance.  Highly intelligent and long-lived, gwerins are sought-after as advisers.  Their intelligence and longevity sometimes brings them trouble, so imperial protection was extended to them.  At one time harming a gwerin carried the death penalty ("Harm brought to a gwerin is the same as harm brought to the Emperor's person").  The emperor always has first refusal on gwerins surplus to requirements.  This meant gwerins were always available to the Markan Throne, a valuable asset for diplomacy.

More character postings are to follow.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Zenepha & Olista Allert - Markan Sword Characters

Markan Sword is the third book of the Markan Empire Trilogy.  The centrepiece of the trilogy is winning the Markan Throne, vacant for more than two hundred years, and the events surrounding the various claimants as they vie for the ultimate prize.

When Marcus Vintner's claim was suspended, the Supreme Council feared the throne might again fall into abeyance, so the Supreme Councillor (see OLISTA, below) manumitted his sylph and tricked Marka's Senate into making him emperor, albeit a caretaker.  Initial fears that this action would make Marka a laughing stock of the entire continent faded, once the sylph proved to be a much better ruler than expected.

Zenepha (great balance, egalitarian) is the sylph manumitted and thrust onto the throne, no matter how reluctantly on the sylph's part.  Zenepha's first problem was the siege of Marka, which he handled superbly, winning the trust and admiration of people and army.  Married to Selkina, the marriage has proved childless and his wife plays no part in official business.

To supporters of Marcus Vintner, Zenepha is seen as preserving the throne until Marcus can take his rightful place.  But to Marcus's many political enemies, Zenepha is a useful tool to keep the man off the throne.

But Zenepha wishes to slip back into obscurity, having learned that power is a heavy responsibility, perhaps too heavy for any sylph to handle...

Olista Dovna Allert is a plutocrat born into wealth and privilege.  He has given his life to Marka's service, first commissioned into the City Guard aged seventeen and entering the Senate eight years later.  His rise was meteoric: joining the Supreme Council before the age of forty and elected Supreme Councillor (effective ruler of Marka until the throne was again recognised) aged fifty-four.  He is the youngest man to hold the post for centuries.

Olista and his wives are keen supporters of Marcus Vintner's claim, yet must ensure Zenepha never slips up, in case another claimant manages to gain advantage.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Marcus Vintner & Zandra Ems - Markan Sword Characters

Markan Sword is the third book of the Markan Empire Trilogy.  The centrepiece of the trilogy is winning the Markan Throne, vacant for more than two hundred years, and the events surrounding the various claimants as they vie for the ultimate prize.

Marcus Marcus Vintner and his wife Zandra Caralin Ems have the strongest claim to the throne.  Marcus's claim is through descent and by beating his nearest rival in battle (qv Markan Throne).  However, the murder of his rival led to his claim being suspended and the sylph Zenepha taking the throne as a caretaker.

Marcus took over the claim from his father, also named Marcus, and was ultimately successful in pursuing that claim.  However, many in Marka believe that the older Marcus should take the throne.

Marcus is now in Marka, living in the imperial palace, together with his wife and family.  More politically gifted than a warrior, Marcus and his wife are working hard to keep his claim alive.

Zandra has been married to Marcus for twelve years and she is also politically gifted.  Many see her as manipulative, but she merely uses the weapons available to her, namely tact and diplomacy.  She has a knack for connecting with other wives and building a powerful network that lets her know everything going on in Marka.

Zandra has given Marcus three daughters and one son, securing the succession for this branch of the Vintner family.  The children have a governess, a young lady named Kaira.

No discussion of Marcus Vintner can be complete without mentioning Jenn (careful, hesitant).  Many highborn children approaching maturity are granted their own sylph servant.  Marcus Vintner's family owns a small sylph breeding stud, and Marcus was granted his sylph servant quite young.  The runt of her litter, Jenn was not expected to live long.  But survive she did and formed an attachment to the young Marcus.  The determination that carried her through infancy has continued in what passes as adult life for infertile sylphs, and she has formed a deep bond with Marcus.

Marcus's marriage to Zandra caused no little jealousy on Jenn's part and she resents the time he spends with his wife.  She managed to persuade Marcus to let her come on campaign with him, thus grabbing all his attention.  Now the family is all in Marka, Jenn is again been forced into the background of Marcus's attention, behind Zandra and her children.

Note on Markan names.  Marcus Marcus Vintner is not a tautology.  There are three elements to the traditional Markan name.  The family name: Vintner is Marcus's family name, passed from father to son; and Ems is Zandra's family name, passed from mother to daughter.  Hence their son is a Vintner, but their daughters are Ems.

The given, or birth, name is said first, in these examples Marcus and Zandra.  The middle name is granted directly from the parent.  Zandra's middle name is Caralin, after her mother.  Marcus's father is also Marcus, hence Marcus Marcus Vintner.

Sylph names follow an altogether different pattern and will be discussed in a future posting.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Where Have The Walks Gone?

Due to my own carelessness, I've filled my allowance for uploading (quality) pictures.  Until the three months is up for the walks already posted here (when I'll delete the offending bloated file), my walks are now being posted on my other blog only.

This week's walk, is up and ready to be viewed: Cwm Penamnen Horseshoe

For those who missed last week's walk, the links are below:

Ardudwy Way Part I
Ardudwy Way Part II