Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 0

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Sonnedragon Front Pages Maps, family trees, illustrations, etc., or click on the images on the right for larger versions.

Dramatis Personae

Dafythe: Duke of the Northlands, second son of the late Emperor Eduarde Redlyon.

Ambris: Duke Dafythe’s illegitimate son, Earl of Eadeshire and Lord High Chancellor of the Northlands; later, Regent of the Northlands.

Mara's Shield by Molly Kiely Margueryt (Mara): Dafythe’s legitimate daughter and heir; Prince of Gossunge; Ambris’s half-sister.

Katheryne (Kat): Dafythe’s niece and adopted daughter, nominally Prince of Eireland.

Laurel: niece to Lord Redmantyl, a lapsed magician and Ambris’s second wife.

Eduarde Redlyon: the legendary 19th-century Norman Emperor; father to Kharles IV and Dafythe of the Northlands; died in 1901.

The Northlands Map Denys: Prince of France, Eduarde Redlyon’s elder brother, died in the 1840s.

Diane Hartsrider: former Duke of the Northlands; first wife to Eduarde Redlyon and mother of Kharles IV and Dafythe; died in 1881.

Marianne: Infanta of Naufarre, youngest daughter of the Emperor of Spain; third wife to Eduarde Redlyon and mother of Juan Maria.

Kharles IV, Emperor of the Normans, firstborn son of Eduarde

Dafythe Family Tree Redlyon and Diane; Dafythe’s elder brother; died in 1939.

Kharles V, Emperor of the Normans, only surviving offspring of Kharles IV; Dafythe’s nephew.

Juan Maria: Prince of Naufarre, youngest son of the late Eduarde Redlyon and half-brother to Kharles IV and Dafythe.

Mara's shield and Fredrick's shield Frederik: Marchion of Princeland, on the southern border of the Northlands. Great-grandson of Prince Denys through an illegitimate line.

Khystophania, Frederik’s younger sister.

Eadrik, Lord Ellsrood: Ambris’s eldest son from his first marriage.

Eduarde, Lord Laufegcryke: Ambris’s second son from his first marriage.

Robert the Good Family Tree Arthur: Ambris’s third son from his first marriage, Mara’s squire.

Bertrande: Ambris’s fourth son from his first marriage, one of the Dafythe’s heralds.

Marcius, Mathilde, and Guylliame: younger children from Ambris’s first marriage.

Tomyas and Lauret: Laurel’s and Ambris’s children.

Apostolistas Map Yryd, Lord Redmantyl: premiere wizard of the civilized world.

Orlan: Redmantyl’s elder son.

Andemyon: Redmantyl’s younger, adopted son; Dafythe’s herald.

Othel, Lord Tuxsetau, Prime Minister of the Northlands.

Phyllida, Lady Peaque, Chief Justice of the Northlands.

Geoffrey, Lord Rafenshighte, Chief of the Duke’s Diplomatic Office and a suitor for Margueryt.

Uismarde: Dafythe’s Lieutenant of the armies of the Northlands.

Alyx, Belynde, Sautamie, and Martine: Friends and fellow Shieldmaids of Margueryt’s.

Peter: Dafythe’s court magician.

Delphyn: Dafythe’s court bard.

Martleanne: Dafythe’s secretary.

Rosandre, Lord Daubenai, a visiting dignitary from the court of Kharles V.

Forward

This is my third story set in the Northlands. It is not, however, a direct sequel to the first two—The Wizard’s Son and Maiden in Light—but another part of an overarching storyline that involves the characters that appear in all three. Sonnedragon is the story of Prince Margueryt, heir to the Dukedom of the Northlands. It concerns the political, martial, and magical matters of Margueryt’s life and times. The Wizard’s Son and Maiden in Light have a more personal theme in common, concerning malevolent supernatural events that affect the main characters. How my characters react or fail to react to these events drives the narratives in those first two books.

The Wizard’s Son introduces Orlan Lightesblood, a magically talented youth who is apprenticed to his father, the powerful wizard, Lord Redmantyl. After spending years in sheltered and rigorous training to become a wizard, Orlan travels beyond his father’s castle to the city of Storm Port for the first time since childhood. During his visit to that city, his innocence is threatened by dark forces he doesn’t understand or even recognize. These dark forces are only vaguely glimpsed in The Wizard’s Son, but their intentions are revealed a little more clearly in Maiden in Light, the story of Laurel Windswift, Lord Redmantyl’s niece. An extremely talented and promising young magician, Laurel is also apprenticed to Redmantyl. She is eager to learn all the secrets of wizardry, even those that are forbidden to her, and discovers the terrible duties wizards must perform to guard their world.

In Sonnedragon, the Norman Empire, which the Northlands is a part of, titles such as “prince” and “duke” are used by women who reign in their own right as well as by men. The usage would have begun centuries earlier when there were first ruling female emperors who were treated, and addressed, as if they were honorary men. This has some real historical precedence; Queen Elizabeth I sometimes referred to herself as a Prince of England, as for example in her famous speech at Tilbury. By the twentieth century, what were originally exclusively masculine titles have become commonplace regardless of gender.

I admit that I haven’t provided much historical background for the Northlands or the Norman Empire in these novels. I’ve particularly avoided setting a definite point at which their world diverges from ours, but I have built my ideas for this alternate world on certain key changes during the Middle Ages. One difference is that the North American continent—here called Atlantea—was settled by Europeans much earlier, following the Viking colonization along the Newfoundland coast around 1000; I imagined that they kept these colonies up rather than abandoning them, and the Normans and Spanish sent out their own ships much earlier than Columbus’s voyage to establish colonies of their own in the New World and, instead of eliminating the native population, absorbed them into their own cultures. A second difference is that the early Plantagenet rulers following the Norman Conquest held on to their territories in France, and the outcome of their version of the Hundred Years War was more successful, so that the British Isles and France have remained united as one empire for nearly seven centuries. There has been no Reformation. Another obvious change from the world that we know is that this alternate one has magic. But this is, after all, fantasy.

Unlike its European counterparts within the Norman Empire, the Northlands are a semi-autonomous dukedom. Located on the Atlantean continent, it covers approximately the area from the northern edge of Massachusetts, westward along the Appalachian mountains and south to Virginia. The Northlands are surrounded on the southern and western borders by sparsely populated marches to protect it from the neighboring Spanish territories. In the opening chapters of Sonnedragon, the Normans are not at war with Spain, but a long history of hostilities exists between the two great empires. Thus, the stage is set for Prince Margueryt of Northlands great adventure.