All this talk of family leaves me feeling nostalgic, at least until I think of my mother. And unfortunately, I cannot leave her out. She has shaped so much of my life and that shaping has not been pleasant. They say a mother who commits a sin against the gods will have a daughter born a witch; a daughter who bares the curse the mother should suffer. I don’t feel evil, but the rest of the world would burn me if they knew.
For my father to adopt the castle of Duman on his coat-of-arms to honor my mother is hard for me to accept. It is supposed to be a symbol of the protector, but my mother has not been a protector. I know he told me it was to remind him of how not to treat people and perhaps my mother’s father is at least in part to blame.
The white hawk on my father’s coat-of-arms was added as another honor to his mother and her father, Duke Urlas Vercima of Esland. My father said he saw a painting of him when they had traveled to Esland for Kara’s wedding (my sister). Urlas was a round man my father said, someone who had spent many hours enjoying feasts in his later years. Even the artist had trouble keeping him in his cloths and the frame of the four-foot wide painting.
However, when my father was there, he said so many people approached him and wanted to shake his hand because he was the son of Kara Vercima and the grandson of Duke Urlas. At first my father thought it might be a cruel jest. However, after he talked to more and more people, he realized the Duke was a national hero for brokering the peace treaty and there was even a bronze statue of him standing ten feet tall overlooking the harbor.
Ted’s given me the whole week to talk and today I wanted to mention my grandmother Kara, from my father’s side, for whom, my oldest sister was named. My Grandmother died when she was young; just twenty-eight, which frighteningly enough is Henton’s age. My father was ten years old at the time, but she had already arranged for his marriage to my mother. I’ll leave that out for now, since I don’t feel like digging into those painful thoughts.
Queen Kara was very pretty. I often stared at the painting of her hanging along the grand stairs of the square keep. She was standing in a very elegant green dress. Some of my older sisters said I was wrong, but I could swear the artist painted riding boots under her dress. Father said she was very proper, but could put any man in his place. I never met her, but I think I would have liked her.
Hi, Stephenie again. Yesterday I mentioned a few members of my family, including my great, great, great-grandfather, King Stemin. It is through his father that my family still holds the throne and so we keep the black wolf as a symbol of the family name.
We have one painting of him, though candle and fireplace soot has made it so dark you can barely make out his rakish grin. My father said there were stories of him sailing the Sea and leaping from the crosstree of the fore mast because he was told he couldn’t do it. My father also said, he nearly killed himself three-time before he manged to finally clear all the rigging and land in the water. It was a good thing he had priests to heal him.
I wish I had known him and his “pig-headed” stubbornness. I’m told I’ve got the same problem, but I want to go on record as saying I do listen to everyone, but sometimes I just have to do what I know I must.
Have you ever managed to pull off something no one felt was possible?
Hi, I’m Stephenie from Ted’s novels Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice. Ted and I have been discussing the importance of family and friends and I thought it might be fun to share a few things about my family that you probably don’t know.
I used to spend evenings listening to my father read or tell me stories. I enjoyed the tales of battles and conquest, but my favorites were about my ancestors and the adventures they had. I think he wanted me to learn and gain experience so I could grow wise and act with honor, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
My father’s motto has always been:
Honor through wisdom.
Henton is the third son, and “a second spare” as he likes to refer to himself. While he does not hate his family, he has kept only a distant relationship with them stemming from events around his fifteenth birthday.
In Cothel, the oldest male child of a family is required to serve in the army for at least one year. If a family is willing to provide their son for a two-year commitment, instead of serving in the army, they can serve in the Navy. To compensate for the extra year, the family will receive a reduction in their taxes. Any additional sons enlisted in military service result in tax reductions for the family for either one or two years of commitment.
Stephenie’s grandfather on her father’s side was King Morgan of Cothel. Morgan was an energetic man who enjoyed many distractions. He ruled during a very prosperous time and spent money not quite as quickly as he earned it. His fortunes never ran out and his willingness to spend resulted in a number of improvements and changes to Antar castle.
Morgan died two years before Stephenie was born.
On Stephenie’s mother’s side, her grandfather was King Richard of Kynto. Richard’s rule was not enjoyed by his subjects, who were often in fear being accused of treason. He also used his powerful armies aggressively against his neighbors, threatening and even invading those around him. However, despite all of his bluster, he was never successful in growing his kingdom.
He died at the hands of his son, now King Willard of Kynto, ending his attempt to invade Calis.
King Willard, who was hoped to be a more balanced ruler, arranged the for the marriage of his younger sister, Elsia, to Charles, at that time, the Crown Prince of Cothel.
I know it has been a while since I added any details here. I have been busy working on Book 2, Daughter’s Justice, and have simply not added anything for too long. Therefore, today I will talk a little about Stephenie’s family.
Cothel’s Royal family goes back many generations and as was the custom several hundred years ago, when a significant change in government took place, the calendar was started over. This has led to many of the countries around the Sea of Tet using different years to track things than their neighbors. While it confuses the tracking of events over a longer period of time, most common people outside of government and nobility are fairly indifferent.
The Marn family can trace their roots back to the current start of the calendar in Cothel, which was in year 435 at the beginning of Mother’s Curse. For most of those four hundred years, they have had a significant role in actually ruling the country.
Stephenie’s immediate family tree is below. Her father, Charles II, is a direct descendant from the long line of Cothel’ Kings. Her Mother is descendant from Kynto’s royal family, which has only held the throne for four generations, with Elsia’s brother currently on the throne of Kynto.
Of the children, Stephenie is the youngest.
- Joshua, her older brother, has always been groomed for the throne. Growing up, he treated Stephenie as an honorary younger brother, allowing her to tag along with him.
- Kara, who was killed by the Senzar before Mother’s Curse starts, was married to the Crown Prince of Esland.
- Julia, Kara’s twin sister died less than a month after their birth.
- Regina is married to the second youngest prince of Durland, who based on order of succession rules, is twentieth from the throne.
- Islet is married to the King of Ipith.
Currently, none of Stephenie’s siblings have any children of their own.
Cothel is a fairly diverse country. Much of the land is covered by forests; however, the central and southern regions do have rich farmland. The north eastern part of the county has more bogs and marsh land, but many people make of good living from the plants and animals that grow there.
With both the Uthen and Grey Mountain ranges, there is a significant amount of mining that takes place. Out of the Uthen range comes mostly iron ore, which the city of Steel process into steel to be placed on barges and shipped down river to Antar, where much of it is then sent all around the Sea of Tet.
The lands around the Sea of Tet are generally considered a temperate climate zone, especially in the Cothel area. Lands farthest to the south and beyond the Rim Mountains are more tropical, although the Rim Mountains are generally quite tall and so tend to remain colder at altitude.
Two thousands miles separate the most southern of the known world from the most northern. This puts the northern most countries into the polar zone with shorter summers and harsher winters.
The northern part of the Endless Sea close to land does not remain frozen the whole year, allowing ships to pass around the most northern lands for a couple of weeks at the end of summer. However, the route is treacherous and often filled with icebergs. This keeps those of the most northern countries somewhat isolated from their southern neighbors that border the Sea of Tet. Most countries have trade relationships to allow goods to pass over land, but disputes over taxes and levies have led to many wars through the ages.