I have just completed my editor’s corrections and submitted The War of the Gilded Beasts to my publisher. Now I wait for the next few hours. I will keep you updated when the publication is complete.
Simon De Montfort was a French knight who was given lands and titles by King Henry III of England. Henry III thought Simon De Montfort was the kind of man who could make the tough choices that he never could. However, Simon led a rebellion against the king and briefly made the barons more powerful than the monarchy. This resulted in the groundwork for what would eventually become Parliament. Henry was not strong enough to regain control of his kingdom on his own. However, Henry III’s son and heir, the future Edward I AKA Longshanks, led the assault to take De Montfort down. Eventually, Longshanks defeated De Montfort and had his body desecrated to send a warning to anyone who would dare defy the crown. Thanks to his son, Henry III regained control of his kingdom, but had to yield to the demands of Magna Carta forever. I am thinking of basing a rebellious noble after Simon De Montfort in the third volume of my fantasy series.
As I delve into my medieval research, I reach an undeniable conclusion. The medieval world was a savage world that bred savage people. It was not called the Dark Ages for nothing. Countless atrocities of all kinds were common place, pestilence and famine ravaged the land, religious zealots hounded and persecuted people they feared and hated, kings and lords always extorted the populace and betrayed one another for their own gain, and there was a nearly constant state of war when peacetime was very short-lived. When I write my fantasy series, I try to make the story as close to these dark standards as I can because it feels more real than the fairy tales we were told as children.
Piers Gaveston was a close companion of King Edward II of England. He was a skilled knight and tournaments star, but he was hated by both the nobles and Edward’s father Edward I AKA Longshanks. When Longshanks ruled, Gaveston was banished, but when Longshanks died, Edward II ordered him back to be with him. Gaveston gained a well-deserved reputation for calling many of the nobles bad names, which made them hate him even more. During Edward’s wedding with Isabella of France, Gaveston dined with Edward and wore royal purple, which was a color that only the king was allowed to wear. After seeing this, many nobles wanted to kill Gaveston on the spot. Eventually, they did kill him under the orders of Edward II’s cousin Thomas of Lancaster. This caused Edward II to seek vengeance against all the nobles involved in Gaveston’s murder. I am thinking of including a character who would be similar to Piers Gaveston in the third volume of my fantasy trilogy.
In 1381, the peasants of England revolted against the government due to unpopular tax laws. The nobles believed the peasants were disorganized and uneducated rabble, but the truth was the exact opposite. As a result, the rebels seized control of London and murdered many nobles and political figures. However, the peasants did not blame the current king, Richard II, for their problems. Instead, they blamed Richard’s advisors such as his uncle John of Gaunt. At the time, Richard II was only a 14 year old boy, which gave the peasants the impression that he was being controlled by his advisors. Eventually, Richard rode out to meet the rebel leaders and told them to follow him to Clerkenwell Fields. Believing the king was about to give them the freedom they longed for, the peasants obeyed Richard. Shortly afterwards, Richard’s surviving nobles mustered their remaining forces and surrounded the rebels, displaying the head of their leader on a spike. With this, the rebels lost their morale and surrendered to Richard II. Later, Richard sent his forces to exterminate any rebel remnants that remained and the status quo that the peasants hoped for was gone. I am thinking of including something similar in the reign of the main character of my third fantasy book.
Thomas Becket was the son of a merchant and former best friend of King Henry II of England. For a time, Becket served as the Lord Chancellor, which is the real-world equivalent of Hand of the King. Then trouble started brewing in the Church of England so Henry II appointed Becket as the new Archbishop of Canterbury in an attempt to bring the Church to heel. This backfires spectacularly because the moment Becket became Archbishop, he became a religious zealot and started defying the king’s orders. When Henry II crowned his firstborn son and heir as king-in-waiting, Becket excommunicated every priest involved. This was the final straw for Henry II and he spouted, “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” Even though Henry II was only venting his frustration, his knights saw his outburst as a direct order from their king. So they burst into Canterbury and chopped off the top half of Becket’s skull. An eyewitness to the murder said, “the color of the blood and brain was like the white of the lily and red of the rose.” Becket’s murder caused a catastrophic backlash against Henry II’s reign. In the third volume of my fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of including a similar incident during my main character’s reign so I will be drawing inspiration from Thomas Becket.
While waiting for my editor to finish reading my manuscript, allow me to give you a preview of the story:
“In the thick wilderness of Storuuk, Prince Valton Faan rested in his pavilion while the rest of his army camped in the middle of a vast meadow. The fabric of his tent billowed in the wind and his candles flickered wildly. Throughout the night, Valton contemplated on the status of his campaign in Storuuk. After passing through the ruins of Veiporran, Valton expected to meet fierce resistance from the northerners. However, upon entering Storuuk, the towns and villages were unexpectedly deserted with all of its food and supplies taken and crop fields burned.
Even as the Imperial Army went deeper and deeper into Storuuk’s forests, they found no signs of human life. It was like the kingdom had emptied before them. With no one to resist them, Valton garrisoned each town and village they came across with a few hundred men.
Unfortunately, things started turning against Valton’s favor with each day that passed. When his scouts moved in between the occupied settlements, they found that the Imperial garrisons were slaughtered and had their armor and weapons taken away along with whatever food they had on them. Every one of the soldiers had their heads removed as well. Some of the scouts were ambushed as well by unknown enemies, their eviscerated corpses hanging from tree branches. These were the first signs that Valton and his host were being hunted.
After the deaths of the garrisons and scouts were discovered, many of the barons and knights were found assassinated in their sleep. Their throats were slit and their sheets were stained by their blood. In addition, dozens of sentries were butchered as well. These deaths caused several soldiers to desert and try to leave the forest alive. Valton was now the only commanding noble left in the Imperial Army. Then last night, the missing heads of the garrisons were found outside of the camp on spikes. The end result was a masterful usage of psychological warfare as thousands of Imperials fled for their lives.
Out of the twenty thousand he came with, Valton had roughly seven thousand left. Some of his men-at-arms begged him to turn back before more of them died, but he refused. Valton wanted to finish his mission no matter the cost.”