Dear readers, tonight with us is an exiled prince, leading his people to a new continent to found a new kingdom. He’s here to talk about troubled past, a cursed sword, the mysterious spirit guiding him, and the truths of kings and legends.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I was Second Prince and born with all the advantages accorded to one of my noble birth.
I was born in the greatest kingdom the world has ever seen: the beautiful island of Atalantyx. My birthplace was in gloomy Westrich, the solitary castle traditionally given to the First Prince of the realm, for my Father was First Prince at the time of my birth. Westrich is perched atop a hill, amongst the misty heather-filled moors, where the winter rains loved to blow and bluster down from the murky highlands. Westrich was located on the northwest coast of the island, in the Earldom of Urtlan.
My favourite part of the kingdom was the Circle City, which was the capitol city of Atalantyx. It was the biggest and most glorious capitol in the world, and held a populous in the tens of thousands.
Atalantyx was the world’s leader in terms of sophistication, culture, language, arts, and of course religion. Besides that, we were the military and naval power that dominated the globe for the past five centuries. We were an unstoppable force, that conquered and subjugated many ungodly nations, and brought the proper worship of the Single God, to those heathen lands.
My new friend Hert, who never saw Atalantyx, perhaps described it the most eloquently in terms of how the rest of the world saw Atalantyx, “..Atalantyx was almost a fable, in many ways, to us in Eltnia. Atalantyx was a vision…a place where summer reigned eternal, and towers of stone taller than mountains rose above the plains. Where women more beautiful than ever seen wore gowns of silk and satin in the streets, and tall men were warriors few could contest. Where steel was so sturdy it shattered the blades of common men.”
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
My favourite toy is a child’s sword, that my cousin Glathan, the famous explorer, brought me back from a market in the country of Lifren, a land in the continent of Atramland. I believe I was about nine years old when Glathan gave me the sword as a birthday present. I still have the sword, now that I am a man. I used to pretend that sword was Suresteel, the fabled sword carried by my hero, the Purple Prince.
My beautiful mother died, bearing me into the world. I never met her. He who I knew as my father, Atalan Ninth, the King of Atalantyx, was consistently cold to me, and always seemed dissatisfied with me. He greatly favoured my older brother Erthal over me. Meanwhile, Erthal was horribly mean to me. Overall, both my father and brother treated me unkindly, and it very much hurt me. I was determined to prove both of them wrong: that I was worth far more than they valued me. I did love Grandfather, for he was kindly to me, and he used to put me on his knee, and tell me wonderful stories. Oddly enough, though Grandfather had a reputation for kindness and benevolence, he didn’t care much for his own sons: Atalan and Yedwol. My Uncle’s wife, Aunt Lolove, treated me like her son, and she was my mother-figure. Her husband, my Uncle Yedwol, despite his grouchiness and sharp tongue, was more of a father to me than the king. I never liked my cousin, also called Yedwol, the son of my Uncle. He was always scheming and conniving. I think he was jealous of my relationship with his parents. I think they liked me better than their own son, and the younger Yedwol, known as the Ready, knew it, and resented me for it, though he was careful how he dealt with me, as I was his superior. My family life was very complicated.
What do you do now?
Right now I’m the high lord of the last survivors of my people. Only about two thousand of them remain, following the destruction of Atalantyx. By rank and title, I’m the heir to the last King of Atalantyx. When we establish a kingdom in exile on the continent of Acremia, in the land of Eltnia, I’ll be a king. The kingdom I establish will be called Eastrealm. I’m charged to protect my people, in the strange and hostile continent of Acremia, in the region of Eltnia, where we plan to establish our kingdom-in-exile.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
I was once Second Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the known world. Now I must lead the last survivors of my exiled people into an uncertain futures far across the Shimmering Sea from our ancestral home, now lost beneath the waves. With my Single God binding my knights to chivalric oaths, intent on wiping out idolatry and pagan worship, we will have to carve out a new kingdom on the mysterious continent of Acremia – a continent that has for centuries been ravaged by warlords competing for supremacy and mages channeling the mystic powers of the elements – and unite the continent under godly rule. With my troubled past, a cursed sword, and a mysterious spirit guiding me, I mean to be that ruler, and to conquer all. But with kingdoms fates on the edge of spears, alliances, and pagan magic, betrayal, doubt, and dangers await me at every turn. I will be forced to confront the truths of all I believe in on my journey to become a king, and a legend.
When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place. So begins the saga of that kingdom, and the saga of me, the man who would rule it all.
What did you first think about Acremia ?
When I first landed in Acremia, and later when I returned, it continued to strike me how the pagans who are native to the continent know nothing of the Single God’s grace and divinity. They worship incomprehensible deities like the Elements: things like Earth, Wind, Fire, Sky. Blasphemy! Heresy! I need to show these heathens that there is only one real god, and that is my God, the Single God, the God of Life, Love, and Life. And the heretics worship female Goddesses!!! That is even more astounding! God could only be a man! It is nonsensical that the natives should attribute women so much power! Women are no more fit to be gods than they are fit to be rulers. The nonsense of women being gods is just an example of how much order needs to be restored to this strange continent, and why they need a king like me in charge of it all.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
There are only two thousand of my people left. We’re refugees in a foreign land, where we don’t know the customs, and have to rely on allies that we’re still uncertain of. We are outnumbered, and already have many enemies who want to obliterate us. I am responsible for my people. We have civilians, women, children, old. I only have so many knights to protect them. We don’t have fortress cities, made of mighty stone, like back home in Atalantyx, to protect us. We’ll have to build them, once I get my kingdom. Until that time, we are extremely vulnerable. I worry all the time about how to safeguard my people and keep them warded from all our enemies. If the last of our glorious race is destroyed, and fades into history, I will bear responsibility for that, as their leader. I can’t have that happen.
What is the worst thing about being in Acremia?
One of the worst things about my current situation is that I can’t have a proper bath, sleep in a proper bed with feathered pillows, in a warm castle, and enjoy the more lavish comforts I enjoyed in Atalantyx. Another horrible thing is that I must be subordinate to heathen overlords, in order to gain my kingdom. Furthermore, I hate all things pagan, and the natives I am surrounded by insist on their pagan beliefs.
What is the best thing about it?
The best thing about being in the Region of Eltnia, in the continent of Acremia, is that I’ve been promised a kingdom of my own. I’ve always felt the King of Atalantyx, my one-time father, didn’t know me well at all. However, somehow the king gleaned some unspoken desire of mine to have my lands, influence, and glory expanded beyond my station as second-in-line to the throne. I suppose deep down, I’ve always wanted to be something even bigger than what I was. I plan to be the greatest king the world has ever seen, eradicate paganism from the continent, and bring all the petty warring rulers under me, one godly king.
Tell us a little about your friends.
My best friends are my family. Two of my cousins are the dearest to me. Glathan and Uthlen. Glathan’s older, and the wisest and most capable man I know. Uthlen’s younger than me, and one of the most learned scholars and artists of his generation. They have their flaws, but they’re as close to me as brothers, and I’ve always been closer to them then my own brother, Erthal. I’m also close to my brother-in-law, Thurol. Thurol’s the best fighter and bravest knight that I have. I’ve also formed a very unlikely friendship with two pagan kings: Wely and Hert. Hert, in particular is supposed to be my natural enemy. But I find that he’s one of the most upstanding men I’ve ever met. If I could’ve picked a man for a brother, it’d be Hert. I can see Hert and I becoming best friends, despite the rocky start to our relationship. Wely is the kind of king, and father, I wished my own father was. He’s not perfect, but he’s a great leader. And though he’s not trusted right now, I’ve an affinity for Centi, one of Wely’s earls. I see a lot of a younger me, in him. He has a lot of potential. Finally, there’s my Uncle, Old Yedwol. He’s very much been a mentor, father figure, and he’s one of our greatest living heroes. I do love him, but sometimes I can’t tolerate him. He’s cranky, acerbic, and challenges my authority. It puts me in a difficult position, because I fear people will listen to him more than me, even though I’m in command.
Any romantic involvement?
I have a little problem.
I love my wonderful wife Aliaz, my cousin, the Princess of Atalantyx, whom I’ll make my queen. We’ve been promised to each other since childhood, but it is also a love match. I’m thankful for that. I grew up always in fear that she’d be given to my brother Erthal instead. Aliaz is a pretty, tiny, tempting imp, who comes up only to my chest. She’s a lovely lady: devout, passionate, a wonderful lover, and devoted to me. She has a wonderful heart, and despite her high lineage, always looks out for and cares about those who are of lesser birth. I’m worried about her ever being able to bear me an heir, which I need. I’m also worried about her surviving childbirth at all. She’s just a tiny thing, and the women in our family don’t fare well with childbirth. Yet, I hope for many sons, to carry on my name, and for Aliaz to be there, to help rear them, as she and I grow old together. To be clear, my wife is not my problem.
My problem has red hair, blue eyes, wields pagan magic, and is a Princess in her own right, albeit a heretic one: Lysi. She’s also a warrior, and that’s something I’m not at all used to in women, whom in my lands dress in skirts and silks, and must be protected by their men. Lysi’s not at all like that. She wears armour, carries spear, sword, and shield, and although I’ve never seen her fight, I can tell she’s formidable with a weapon in her hand. She’s a witch, exactly the sort of threat that I came to cleanse from my new lands. She also claims to be in love with me, and wants me to abandon our respective responsibilities, abandon my wife, my people, and sail away together, to forge a new life.
I’m a faithful husband, as my position and religion demand. And I do love my wife. But I must admit that Lysi is tempting. She challenges me, intellectually, in ways that make my head spin. She’s not just some lowly noble: she’s heir to a throne herself, and has aspirations – like me – to rule it all. And she has untold powers. I don’t completely believe in them, or understand them, but I can’t deny she has some kind of ability. She’s dangerous, ambitious, cunning, and I think she’s my enemy. Or maybe she is my friend? I’m just unsure, and I am unsure about my feelings for her too. I can’t deny that her combination of power, beauty, and mystery are intoxicating.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
My main enemy in Acremia so far is Ina, the King of Nyrimia, Lysi’s father. I despise him. He’s a malformed freak. A mutated lump of flesh. He is trying to destroy me and my people, without even knowing anything about us. He has grand designs himself, to rule everything in sight. There’s only room for one conquering king in Acremia, and that’s me. Therefore, Ina is my mortal enemy. I also detest the druids. The druids are shaman, fake priests, who live in Sanaavia, which is the north of Acremia. The druids were the cunning, malicious mind, I believe behind the plot to ruin my beautiful kingdom. They’re murderers. They need to be expunged, and wiped clean from the earth. They’re scum. When I rule all Acremia, I’ll do away with them all.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
If I were to die tomorrow, I’d want my last drink to be some of the final batch of Dyntyx wine that we brought with us from Atalantyx to Acremia. The grapes were always fattest on the vines of the Earldom of Dyntyx – one of my cousin Glathan’s fiefs in Atalantyx – and the best wine in the world was produced there.
Purple is my favourite colour, because of my idol and hero, my ancestor, Arclan, who was called “The Purple Prince.” Prince Arclan was the greatest Prince and warrior in the history of Atalantyx. Even though I always hated the traditional banner of the Second Prince, which was two golden crowns on a field of purple, it was not because of the background colour of that flag. My brother Erthal always thought red was the most regal colour, but I think it’s purple. It’s the colour of kings, and therefore it’s my colour, as I plan to be the greatest king the world has ever seen.
I’m to be a hired warlord for my pagan masters, to help them defeat their enemies. But I’ve my own agenda too. I plan to be the warrior-king that conquers the entire continent. I had aspired, for a long time, to be a great general, and a great fighter, like the Purple Prince. Thus, my spare time is spent training in the skills of a knight. I want to be the world’s greatest knight. In any free time, I practice riding, wrestling, swimming, sword-play, axe-play, archery, mastery of the spear, or any other martial endeavours. I cannot let myself become soft. I need to stay fit enough to lead my armies into battle, and put fear into the hearts of my enemies.
What does the future hold for you?
One of my pagan overlords had his kingdom stolen. I’ve hatched a bold plan to get it back. This won’t be easy, and I’m putting myself into the lion’s jaws for sure, to carry out my plan. But I believe it can succeed. If I fail, all may be lost. But I’m willing to risk it. I plan to establish a kingdom to rival my lost homeland of Atalantyx. Even after I do, I must continue to fight for my people, and face the strange and powerful pagans that dominate the continent. I must continue to grow, and learn about my enemies, their cultures, customs, histories, strengths and weaknesses. If I’m to make alliances, and have other lords bow to me, one day, I need understand so much more about them. Perhaps the one thing besides the mages and the pagan magic I need to learn about, is that I need to learn about the Black people, known as the Anib of Southronland, who live across the South Channel from Acremia. I was raised to fear and loathe Black people. I have never met any of them, but I always thought of them as savages, cannibals, who cooked men in pots. But now, coming to Acremia, the native Eltnish seem to revere all the Black people as the fathers of civilization. The Anib are held up in esteem by the Eltnish, even more than the Atalanteans are revered, which seems unconscionable. I need to know more about these Black people, and the truth behind what they are all about.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I’m guided by a mysterious spirit, that only I can see. I’ve only told two people in the world about this: not even Aliaz knows. I’ve told my cousin, Glathan, my chief advisor, and I’ve told his favourite priest, Gogest, who I plan to make high priest of my new kingdom. This spirit has told me many things, and given me a destiny to fulfil. I plan to fulfil it, but I must admit, I’m frightened and confused. I’ve so many doubts, though ultimately I must trust the spirit. Still, the pagan magic I’m surrounded by flies in the face of what I know from the spirit, and everything I believe in, in terms of the Single God. But Lysi has told me I can’t survive against all the pagan warlords and their mages, who will try to destroy me and my people, unless I believe in that magic, and get a mage myself to use as a weapon. Still, I must be strong in my faith. I must find a way to learn more about the new world we have come to, find a way to get my kingdom, and to survive in these heathen lands. In fact, I must find a way to conquer all, and bring the Single God’s religion to all the non-believers, for their sake. It won’t be easy, but I have my spirit in my corner. Thank the Single God. I also have the greatest warriors in the world, my chivalric knights, as a formidable army, to bring bitter steel to my enemies.
I have another worry, I think my new sword is haunted. I don’t know what to do about that. It’s a marvellous weapon, with great sentimental value. I’ve enjoyed a great victory with that sword, that will make me famous, and give me a feared reputation. But the sword may be possessed by an evil spirit. I don’t know what to do about this situation. Should I destroy the sword, or keep it?
P.L. Stuart is a Canadian high fantasy author, of Ghanaian and Barbadian descent. He lives in picturesque Chatham, Ontario, with his beautiful wife Debbie, who is his business partner in authropreneurship. A Drowned Kingdom is the first novel in The Drowned Kingdom Saga. P.L. holds a Degree in English, with a specialization in Medieval Literature and a Minor in History from York University in Toronto, Canada.
You can find Othrun on the pages of A Drowned Kingdom.
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