THE FALL OF ROME

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When the Roman Empire fell, Europe was shattered into countless fiefdoms and petty kingdoms. The Dark Ages that followed led to a nearly constant state of civil war that lasted for centuries. These wars gave rise to new empires and kingdoms such as England, France, Italy, and countless others. Borders were made and unmade many times as these nations tried to conquer and assimilate one another. After the fall of all the royal families, my fantasy world will be thrown into a similar situation. The original nine kingdoms of Gradaia would cease to exist and new kingdoms will be formed after nearly twenty years of war and conquest. Knights and barons who lose their land will be reduced to nomadic warlords who plunder and pillage wherever they go. Overall, Gradaia will turn from a united and prosperous empire to a war zone and failed state.

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SMALLSWORD

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Smallswords have been used as both civilians for street combat and for soldiers for ceremonial purposes. The smallsword is a variant of the rapier. It has three edges instead of two and is designed for thrusting instead of slashing or chopping. Currently, the most famous smallsword is Arya Stark’s sword Needle. I have also seen people forge and test smallswords on Forged in Fire. In that episode, it was demonstrated that if the smallsword was not quenched properly it would warp to the point of becoming a hooked blade. Also, forging the three edges has to be exact to prevent such extreme warpage. I am thinking of including a smallsword in my fantasy series and it will be the weapon of choice for a noblewoman with her own feudal army.

HALF-SWORDING

At my local museum, they showed this video in one of their displays in the Medieval Exhibit. This video depicted a very interesting style of sword fighting called “half-swording”. This style of fighting requires the wielder to hold the sword by the blade instead of the hilt, which sounds dangerous. However, some wordsmiths forged swords that had blades that were partially dulled, which would allow the duelist to grip the sword by the blade. Also, these swords would have heavier pommels that would be used as bludgeoning weapons against a knight’s helmet. The crossguard would be sharpened with spikes that would puncture a knight’s skull. After being struck with either the pommel or crossguard, the knight would be dazed and off balance, which would allow the duelist to exploit the weak points in his opponent’s armor. This was a form of fighting ┬áthat was almost totally alien to me, but it was fun to learn about it and watch it in action. I might include it in my fantasy series for the sake of authenticity.

INSPIRATION: MORDRED

Easily one of the most infamous Arthurian villains would be King Arthur’s own son, Mordred. Mordred was the illegitimate son of King Arthur and Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fay, which makes him a bastard born of incest like Joffrey from Game of Thrones. Mordred is most famous for betraying his father, starting a civil war in an attempt to claim the throne for himself, and ultimately slaying his father in a draw in the Battle of Camlann. In the third volume of my new fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of loosely basing the main villain on Mordred. My character will be the main character’s second son who covets his older brother, niece, and nephews’ claims to the throne. After his brother dies, this character challenges his father, niece, and nephews for the throne. He will also be married with three sons and one daughter. Overall, I am envisioning a complex character who will be more an anti-hero instead of an all-out villain, which would make him somewhat similar to Darth Vader.

INSPIRATION: KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

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The Knights of the Round Table have always filled us with hope, admiration, and joy towards the ideals of chivalry. They have also been King Arthur’s most notable sidekicks apart from Merlin. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from some of these knights for supporting characters in my new fantasy book. Because there are at least 25 knights to choose from, I decided to loosely base them on Lancelot, Gawain, Bors, Tristan, and Percival. These new characters will not be knights at first. Instead, they will start as commoners such as carpenters, butchers, hunters, storytellers, and drunken vagabonds. They will be a band of anti-heroes who are a sharp contrast to the chivalrous knights we have known.