One of my new favorite battles from the Scottish War of Independence is the Battle of Loudoun Hill. This battle was depicted at the end of the film The Outlaw King. I researched the actual battle and the film depicted the battle very accurately despite a few changes that were made. After my ancestor, Robert the Bruce, was crowned King of Scots, he suffered serious defeats while fighting the English. After evading the English and rivals Scots, Robert the Bruce rallied 600 infantry to his cause to combat 3,000 English knights and cavalry. The location of the battle was right in the middle of a road that had thick marshlands on either side. In a direct contest of brute strength, the Scots stood no chance against the English. In order to negate the English’s numerical advantage, the Scots used the road as a bottleneck and dug ditches to hinder the charges from English cavalry. If the English tried to flank the Scots, their horses would be stuck in the deep marshes and English knights would sink in the bog due to their heavy armor. Soon the battle turned into a one-sided massacre. Despite outnumbering the Scots five to one, the English were defeated and forced to retreat to the nearest castle to avoid being hunted down by battle-crazed Scots. Overall, the tactics of this battle were nearly identical to the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which also used a bottleneck tactic to beat the English. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I will be depicting a similar battle.
One of the most iconic creatures of Norse mythology would be the World Serpent. According to legend, the World Serpent was so enormous that it could enveloped all the seas of the world. It was rumored to be the only creature that was big and powerful enough to fight Thor on even footing. As it slept in the ocean, the World Serpent would constantly bite on its own tail to hold the world together. This became one of the symbols for Ouroboros, which was seen as another way of representing infinity. Once the World Serpent let go of its own tail, Ragnarok, the dreaded Twilight of the Gods, would begin. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I will be featuring a colossal serpentine creature that will be based on the legend of the World Serpent. This behemoth will be the size of Titanoboa, which was the largest snake ever recorded and was big enough to feed on dinosaurs. In addition, this beast will have combined features from a black mamba, king cobra, anaconda, and rattlesnake. It is going to be the king and god of all snakes and I cannot wait to write about it!
I had an epiphany for my spin-off fantasy trilogy. Considering how much I humanized the characters and setting, I think it is a little late for me to start introducing demons, dark lords, and other evils. The reason for this is because I created a human world where most magic and mythic creatures are gone. To introduce demons and dark lords at this stage would be contradictory to the continuity of Gradaia’s history and lore. Therefore, instead of demons and dark lords, my spin-off trilogy will portray Gradaia enduring an invasion from a foreign army from another previously unknown continent. Up until now, the people of Gradaia thought they were the only survivors of the fall of Homantis, but they will learn that they are not alone and their empire is not the only land in the known world.
I am thinking of basing this new conflict on the Viking invasions of Anglo-Saxon England during the Dark Ages as well as the Norman invasion of 1066 AD. When J. R. R. Tolkein created the kingdom of Rohan, he based them on the Anglo-Saxons yet made one significant modification of his own. In addition, to basing Rohan’s people and culture on the Anglo-Saxons, he made them a powerful cavalry force. The reason this is significant is because the real-life Anglo-Saxons were mainly an infantry army, which was one of the factors that led to their defeat at the hands of William the Conqueror. So Tolkein wanted to depict what the Anglo-Saxons could have been like if they had their own cavalry.
The Vikings were much the same way when it came to how they fought. They were mainly infantry and had little to no cavalry. Just as Tolkein did with the Anglo-Saxons, I will be tinkering with what the Vikings could have been like if they had their own cavalry. However, this new culture will have a much more balanced military when it comes to cavalry, archers, and infantry than Rohan did. Also, I will be watching documentaries that talk more about Viking history, culture, and mythology. This will enrich my medieval knowledge even further.
Great news! For the next five days, The War of the Gilded Beasts will be FREE on Kindle! Enjoy!
The War for Scottish Independence produced many iconic heroes such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Another hero was James Douglas, Lord of Douglasdale. When his father, William Douglas, supported William Wallace, James went to Paris when he was a boy to be educated. When his father was slain, James lost all of his ancestral lands and titles, which were given to an English baron named Robert Clifford. After William Wallace was executed, James approached Edward I in an attempt to win back his lands, but Edward I spurned him. When Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots, James swore fealty to him because he saw Robert the Bruce as his last hope to get his lands back. Throughout the war, James Douglas proved to be a ruthless military leader who was a demon with a sword on the battlefield. He instilled so much fear into the English that he became known as The Black Douglas. After the Battle of Bannockburn, James led countless raids against northern England. It was because of him that the English never invaded Scotland again; they were too scared of the Black Douglas! When the war was over and Scotland finally regained their independence, James got his lands and titles back with A LOT of interest. Before the war, the House Douglas was a relatively obscure noble family. Thanks to his unmatched military record and undying loyalty to the Scottish crown, James made his House more powerful and influential than it had ever been before. After Robert the Bruce died, James was made Guardian of Scotland and tutor to the future Robert II. In his final campaign, James took Robert the Bruce’s heart to the Holy Land, where James was slain in battle while fighting the Moors. James Douglas was succeeded by his two sons, William and Archibald.
Demonic possession has lately been a common theme in storytelling and filmmaking. Series that featured demonic possession ranged from The Exorcist, The Evil Dead, and The Conjuring among countless others. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of featuring a form of demonic possession. An ancient evil that has been sleeping for thousands of years will awaken in the mountains in the northeast. All who become exposed to its blood become possessed by its unholy evil. These possessed people will form a dark army that will destroy the world of humanity. This will present a form of horror to the story as a savage darkness sweeps across the Empire like an incurable pestilence.
Even though I love wolves and my pit bulls are best friends with wolf-dogs, I like the fact that wolves are often featured as villains in fantasy and folklore. In fantasy, villainous wolves included Wargs in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as well as the Gmork in The Neverending Story. In Viking folklore, there was the demon wolf known as Fenrir, who was a son of Loki that bit off the hand of the god Tyr and slew Odin, the almighty All-Father himself, during Ragnarök. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of including a whole pack of demon wolves that will act of dark assassins for the dark lord of the story.