For the future stories in my fantasy series, I have been brainstorming what kind of historical civilizations to draw inspiration from. I mentioned the introduction of a new continent that will come into conflict with the Gradaian Empire. I have been toying with the number of kingdoms this new continent would have, but I have settled on nine nations. Among those nations would be the Ancient Greeks, the Ottoman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Franks, the Anglo-Saxons, the Ancient Chinese, the Byzantine Empire, the Ancient Egyptians, and the Rus Vikings.
“Members of the emperor’s fanatic bodyguard fight to the bitter end.“
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
While writing my third fantasy book, I have been doing a lot of brainstorming on a particular group of characters. When I think of an emperor’s bodyguards, I picture a group of warriors who are the absolute best soldiers the imperial military has to offer. This was the case with the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Empire, who served as bodyguards and enforcers of Roman emperors. At their peak, the Praetorian Guards numbered 15,000 strong, but they have been known to turn on their emperors from time to time. I also like the Elite Praetorian Guards from Star Wars: The Last Jedi because they were skilled in both melee combat and martial arts. Using melee weapons or martial arts individually can make a warrior formidable, but when these two styles are combined, the warrior becomes twice as deadly. Snoke’s Praetorian Guards were also fanatically loyal to their master, which was evidenced when they tried to avenge his death. However, the Elite Praetorian Guard of the First Order were too few in number to suitably protect someone as important as Supreme Leader Snoke. The Romans had the right idea because in order to protect a powerful and influential ruler you need to use an entire army and not just a select few bodyguards. My idea of the ideal bodyguards for an emperor are warriors that are fanatically loyal, merciless, persistent, fearless, aggressive, and highly disciplined. For my third fantasy book, a new breed of imperial bodyguards will be introduced. Like the Roman Praetorian Guard, these imperial guards will be organized into a sizable force. Like the First Order Praetorian Guard, these bodyguards will be highly skilled in the use of both melee combat and martial arts. Another twist is that these imperial guards will not be human.
“I came, I saw, I conquered.”
Gaius Julius Caesar
I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of inspiration for my fantasy series. I found a collection of documentaries that talk about the lives and careers of Roman emperors. I have been brainstorming on the personalities and backstories of future members of the Imperial Dynasty. After discovering these documentaries, I will be basing members of the Imperial Dynasty after various Roman Emperors. I have started learning about the man who started it all: Gaius Juilius Caesar.
One of the factors that judges the strength of a nation is the strength of its navy. This fact has been featured both in fiction and in real life. In Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the Final Order had a fleet of thousands of Star Destroyers that were equipped with cannons that could destroy entire planets. In the final season of Game of Thrones, the Iron Fleet was equipped with scorpions that were so large and powerful that they could shoot dragons out of the sky. During the Napoleonic Wars, the United States created ships such as the USS Constitution that were larger, faster, more powerful, and more durable than any ship that existed at the time. The hull of the USS Constitution alone was nearly two feet thick with solid oak, which was a hard nut to crack. Those early American ships were so formidable that English ships were advised to not engage one alone. For my fantasy series, I am thinking of featuring a powerful armada that will have a similar construction to the USS Constitution and be armed with a highly destructive weapon like the Final Order Star Destroyers and the Iron Fleet.
“Are you not entertained?!”
Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator (2000)
Easily one of the most successful and iconic empires in human history would be the Roman Empire. Since my Magnus Dynasty Saga takes place in an empire, I decided to include elements of the Roman Empire into the Gradaian Empire. Among those elements is the usage of gladiators and fighting arenas. However, while Roman gladiators were slaves who were forced to fight, the gladiators in my fantasy series will be convicted criminals who are condemned to fight to the death. If these criminals can survive several years of death matches, then they earn their freedom. With this in mind, the usage of these gladiators is a prolonged death sentence that gets turned into a spectacle for the empire to witness. However, if they survive a certain number of years, then they get a pardon. These gladiators and the arena they will fight in will make an appearance in my third fantasy book.
The problem with being the most powerful political figure in a nation is that all that power gives its wielder a lot of enemies. Some of those enemies may raise armies in rebellion while others take a more subtle approach. Even the mightiest ruler is vulnerable to an assassin’s blade. I am planning to include a scene that involves an assassination attempt against the Imperial Dynasty in my third fantasy book. I will be drawing inspiration from Jing Ke’s assassination attempt of China’s first emperor.
I discovered a new Netflix documentary series that talked about the century-long civil war in 16th century Japan that ultimately led to the country’s reunification. During this time, warlords such as Oda Nobunaga, Date Masamune, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu all competed for the title of shogun, which would make them the absolute ruler of Japan. All of these men were prolific butchers who put thousands to the sword in their quest for total domination. Despite their immense military and political achievements, these warlords had many enemies who coveted the power they accumulated with each conquest. All of this information has given me an idea for my fantasy prequel, which will depict how Galen the Bull conquered the nine kingdoms of Gradaia and became its first emperor. I will be drawing inspiration from the reunification of Japan for my prequel fantasy book.
Everyone remembers the experiment where Dr. Frankenstein gave his monster life with a bolt of lightning. Believe it or not, a similar experiment took place in real life. In the early 1800s, there was a man named George Forster, who murdered his wife and daughter. He was sentenced to death and would have his body dissected. In these days, the bodies of murderers would be dissected to prevent them from rising during Judgement Day. However, George Forster’s corpse was not dissected. Instead it was acquired by a scientist known as Giovanni Aldini, nephew of fellow scientist Luigi Galvani. Galvani developed a method to stimulate muscle movement with electrical currents called Galvanism. Aldini would take his uncle’s research in Galvanism progress to the next step. Aldini would use Forster’s corpse in a public experiment that attracted a crowd of thrill seekers. Aldini would subject the body to wires and cords that were hooked up to a specially made battery. When the electrical current went through George Forster’s body, it produced results that both intrigued and terrified the surrounding audience. The lips and jaws began to grimace, the left eye flew open, a hand formed a fist and punched at the air, the back arched violently, and the legs and feet banged against the operating table. This unnatural display was so horrifying that one man in the audience literally died of fright from a heart attack. Ultimately, Aldini’s experiment failed to bring a man back from the dead. In a dark sense of irony, the experiment was intended to bring back the dead yet it killed a man instead. It was this real life experiment that gave Mary Shelly the inspiration she needed to write Frankenstein. The battery that was used in the experiment would form the groundwork for our modern cell phone batteries. Back in the 1800s, electricity was relatively hard to come by. However, in the 21st century, electricity is super easy to access. Due to this, I wonder how the experiment would look like if it was done with 21st century technology. I will ponder this as I write my reimagining of the Frankenstein story.
For some time, I have been searching for authentic inspiration for an elite personal guard for the Imperial Dynasty in my third fantasy book. At first, I thought of basing it on the Roman Praetorian Guard, but I think I will turn my attention to the Swiss Guard, the Pope’s personal guards. Last night, I watched a documentary that talked about how 189 members of the Swiss Guard defended the Pope from an invasion force of 20,000 mercenaries. Also, their armor and weapons would be more on the same level of my fantasy world than those of the Praetorian Guard. I think I will base my guards’ armor and weapons on the Swiss Guard, but with a number of modifications to make them stand out more. Just as the Swiss Guard are fanatically loyal to the Pope, my imperial guards will be fanatically loyal to the Imperial Dynasty in my fantasy series.
I have decided to create a unique army in my third fantasy book. Last night, I watched a historical documentary that talked about the mercenary army known as the White Company and their commander, Sir John Hawkwood. They were called the White Company because they all wore white surcoats over their armor. The White Company were battle-hardened veterans of the Hundred Years War and participated in the feuding wars of the Italian city states. The White Company were known to utilize guerrilla and psychological warfare to devastating effect.
I believe that the White Company was the inspiration for the Golden Company in Game of Thrones. Like the Golden Company, the Sir John Hawkwood and his men never broke a contract even when bribed. Both the White Company and Golden Company were the largest and most effective mercenary companies in their respective universes.
The sense of loyalty that the White Company and Golden Company had towards their clients reminds me of the Mandalorians from Star Wars. Both in Legends and Canon, the Mandalorians were formidable part-time mercenaries yet they had a rugged sense of honor. The most prominent example of the Mandalorians’ sense of honor revolves around their ruler, who holds the title of Mandalore. In times of war, when the Mandalore calls, all Mandalorians from across the galaxy would answer.
This loyalty to a single ruler reminds me the Army of the Dead from The Lord of the Rings. Long ago, when these warriors were alive, they swore an oath to the King of Gondor to come to his aid and fight. However, they broke their oath when the King of Gondor called and fled into the mountain from whence they came. As punishment for breaking their oath, these warriors were cursed to never rest until they fulfilled their oath. These damned souls were able to break their curse when Isildur’s Heir, Aragorn Elessar. When this undead army joined Aragorn, they were able to turn the tide during the Battle of Pelennor Field, resulting in Gondor’s salvation.
For my third fantasy book, I am planning to create several armies of mercenaries who fight for coin yet are loyal to a particular individual. When that anonymous individual calls, these various mercenary companies gather to form one massive private army. Compared to normal mercenaries, these men would possess a certain balance between greed and loyalty. I will be drawing inspiration from the White Company, the Golden Company, the Mandalorians, and Army of the Dead.