Throughout the medieval era, kings always feuded with one another. Easily one of the most prominent rivalries was between Henry II of England and Louis VII of France. These two kings had PLENTY of reasons to hate one another’s guts. First, they embodied opposite ideas of what makes a king. Henry II was a warrior king while Louis VII was more like an educated monk than a king. Second, Henry was much wealthier than Louis and did not waste an opportunity to show it off. Third, Henry ruled more of France than Louis did. Fourth, Louis was originally married to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who divorced him and married Henry two months later. Fifth, not only did Eleanor marry Henry, but she also produced one male heir after another. When Eleanor was married to Louis, they repeatedly failed to produce a son, which was extremely painful for Louis’s sense of masculinity (a sentiment shared with Henry VIII four hundred years later). I am thinking of modeling the relationship of two of my fantasy characters after the rivalry between these two kings.
I just discovered an extreme medieval entree called the turducken or the roast without equal. The idea behind this monster of a roast is taking a bunch of birds and stuffing smaller birds into larger birds. The most extreme order involved taking a bustard and having it stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting, and a garden warbler. This dish puts your average Thanksgiving turkey to shame! The idea behind this dish originated in Rome and later perfected in medieval times. I am definitely adding this dish to my fantasy series because it is truly a main course fit for an emperor.
Ever since I was in middle school, I was aware that there were other ways a superhuman could wield fire. Normally, a superhuman could either manipulate fire like Pyro or generate fire like the Human Torch. However, there is one form of pyrokinesis that I find fascinating: psychic fire manipulation. The most famous wielder of psychic fire manipulation was Jean Grey from the X-Men. This form of fire manipulation does not use actual fire. Instead, it uses psychic energy that is so potent that it becomes visible in the form of flame-like energy. Unlike real fire, psychic fire does not actually burn its target. Like a really powerful telekinetic blast, psychic fire disintegrates its target atom by atom. In addition, because it is psychic in nature, the flames attack a living target’s mind to provide the sensation of being burned alive only it is more extreme since the mind is being torn asunder while the body is being ripped apart on an atomic level. While real fire only inflicts physical pain, psychic fire inflicts both physical and mental pain simultaneously. For my new superhero story, I am thinking of giving this power to one of my main characters.
For my third fantasy book, I decided to add a biblical theme that involves two feuding brothers. One brother is the ruling emperor and the other is the spare heir. One brother has three wives and the other has one nearly catatonic wife. One brother has 18 children and the other has three deformed stillborn children. One brother is handsome while the other has a scarred face, a dead eye, broken nose, and a spinal injury that causes him to walk in a crooked fashion. One brother will be charismatic and generous while the other will be power-hungry and bad tempered. Overall, all of these differences will eventually culminate in a feud between these two brothers for the imperial throne.
Throughout human history, emperors and kings were obsessed with finding ways to prolong their lives and by extension their reigns. For example, Henry VIII often drank wine that was flavored with gold and gems that were thought to extend his lifespan. In fantasy such as The Dark Crystal, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, characters have found forms of magic that could prolong life. One of these methods involved draining the life force of other organisms and transferring it to oneself. Such a method could add years or even decades to your original lifespan. I am thinking of depicting the main character of my third fantasy book using this method by draining the life force out of livestock. With the livestock drained of life, the character’s cooks and servants would promptly prepare them for that night’s supper. So with this method, the main character would prolong his life and increase his pantries with salted meat. Win win!
I noticed something significant about medieval armies. Most armies of the era were either conscripted from the populace or mercenaries who fought for coin. However, there were hardly any permanent standing armies to keep the peace when the need arose. What if a permanent standing army existed that was both suitably loyal and undefeatable? An army that will never eat, sleep, tire, or even use the restroom? In addition, this army cannot be killed by any mortal weapon and can overpower numerically superior armies. I am thinking of featuring such an army in my third fantasy book and there will be a battle in which this army fights a force that outnumbers it five to one.
When I first started my third fantasy volume, I originally considered the main character’s reign to be relatively peaceful with the exception of one major war and a few cutthroat politics. However, thinking back to everything I have learned about medieval monarchs, life was NEVER that easy. We often think of the medieval kings and queens of Europe to be either great leaders or tyrants. My father, for instance, has a strong animosity towards the English kings of old for how they treated our Scottish and Irish ancestors. The reality is that they were both the heroes and the villains, great leaders and tyrants, all at the same time. They were flawed individuals who made human mistakes every day of their respective reigns. Every one of their decisions had consequences that either launched a long-lasting dynasty or cut their reign short. I am thinking of applying this deeply flawed nature to the main character. They will be the most human character in my fantasy series so far.