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.
Scullery maids were common servants in a noble’s household. They were often of low birth and became scullery maids to learn etiquette. In my third fantasy book, I will be introducing a scullery maid as one of the main characters. She will begin her duties under the supervision and guidance of the emperor’s valet. She will be about the same age as the emperor. At first, she and the emperor start an informal master-servant relationship, but it gradually blossoms into a passionate romantic relationship.
In the aftermath of the English Civil War, 59 commissioners signed a death warrant for the execution of King Charles I. At first, this death warrant was considered a legal and legitimate document for the new Parliamentarian regime. However, when the monarchy was restored and King Charles II was crowned, this document became a signed confession to regicide and high treason. Shortly after he was crowned, Charles II and his loyalists hunted down everyone who was involved in the murder of Charles I. Most were rounded up to be executed while a handful fled into permanent exile in the American Colonies. Even the commissioners who were already dead were not spared. One prominent example was Oliver Cromwell, the mastermind of Charles I’s execution. When he died, Cromwell was given a funeral fit for a king, but when the monarchy was restored, his body was exhumed, hung from chains, and posthumously executed. Cromwell’s head was mounted on a spike just outside of London as a warning to anyone else who dared defy the monarchy again. In addition, the traitors and their families were stripped of all wealth, titles, and lands through bills of attainder.
It may be too soon to say, but I believe I have acquired enough medieval inspiration for my fantasy books for a while. For my third fantasy book, I will be drawing inspiration from the English Civil War of the 17th century, which saw the English monarchy going to war against Parliament. The war started due to unpopular taxes to fund wars with Scotland and Ireland, land from the Commonwealth being seized by noble landowners, and Puritans clashed with Catholics. At the end of the war, Parliament won and King Charles I was subsequently executed. However, Charles’s death turned him into a martyr, resulting in the royalists regaining control of the government and establishing Charles II as King of England. For my third fantasy book, I will depict an attempt to overthrow the imperial monarchy due to unpopular policies. The main character will be forced into exile while his followers wage a years-long war to reclaim the Imperial Throne in his name. In order to write this story, I will need to rewrite my original outline. Also, some of my more extreme story ideas will be discarded and replace them with ideas grounded in realism.
This post is fitting considering what is happening in the world today. When diseases such as the Black Death spread across medieval Europe, there were individuals who wandered the streets of ravaged towns. These people possessed an appearance that was the stuff of nightmares. In reality, these people were doctors, more specifically plague doctors. Plague doctors wore masks that made them look like ravens. This may look frightening, but it had a very practical design. The beak section of the mask was filled with sweet-smelling substances that were meant to keep viruses from infecting the doctor. Essentially, the plague doctor’s mask was an early version of a gas mask while their hoods and cloaks were an early version of hazmat suits. In my third fantasy novel, the main villain will be wearing a mask that resembles that of a plague doctor.
In previous posts, I spoke of a man named Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick AKA the Kingmaker. Warwick is famous for making Edward IV King of England, but was discarded shortly afterwards, which resulted in him betraying Edward three times. I will focus on Warwick’s first betrayal, which almost destroyed England as a kingdom. Warwick’s first betrayal involved him orchestrating tax riots in northern England, which were fueled by rumors that the king’s in-laws were taking tax money for themselves. Later on, Warwick published an open letter that not only repeated the accusations against the king’s in-laws, but also invited anyone who shared this opinion to rally at Canterbury and take up arms against the king. After Warwick’s allies gathered, they defeated and captured Edward IV. However, Warwick captured and imprisoned Edward without a coherent plan to replace and to kill him. This resulted in the fragile peace Edward IV built to collapse with astonishing speed. During this time, Warwick took his frustration and hatred in a killing spree meant to exterminate as many of Edward’s in-laws as possible. In addition, the unrest Warwick engineered in the north backfired on him and spread south like wildfire. Desperate to restore order, Warwick tried to rally other nobles to his cause, but they just laughed at him because he arrested the king and started all the trouble in the first place. In the end, England could not function without a king to lead it and Warwick’s scheming and wounded vanity drove the kingdom into anarchy. For my third fantasy book, I will be heavily draw inspiration from Warwick’s first betrayal in order to portray the villains’ actions.
One of the most commonly featured helmets in my fantasy series is the barbute helmet, which is a 15th century Italian design. Numen the Slayer and his traveling companions wore barbute helmet throughout their journey. I like featuring this helmet in my fantasy series because it looks similar to the Corinthian Greek helmets, which are like the helmets worn by the Spartans.
There are two examples I can think of when a monarchy was nearly turned into a democratic republic. The first example was when Simon de Montfort led England’s barons to overthrow King Henry III. This rebellion ultimately failed, but it gave rise to Parliament. The second example was during the English Civil War where King Charles I was overthrow and executed by his subjects. For a time, England was a democratic republic until King Charles II took back the crown, reestablished the monarchy, and executed all the rebels who were responsible for his father’s regicide even those who were already dead. In my third fantasy book, my main character will be spending three years undermining the authority and credibility of his regents. At the time, my character is in his minority and cannot legally rule under his own power. Despite that, he is able to weaken the power and influence of his regents. As a result, his regents decide to go to war with him by replacing the imperial monarchy with a democratic republic.
As I delve into my research on Louis XIV of France, I started to get a better understanding on his personal life, which includes his relationship with his family. His most complex relationship was with his kid brother, Philippe, Duke of Orleans. When they were children, Louis and Philippe’s mother took extreme measures to make sure Philippe was not a threat to Louis’s claim to the throne. She did this by having Philippe dress in women’s clothing from an early age. She did this to emasculate Philippe in order to augment Louis’s masculinity as king. She even called Philippe “My Little Girl.” This had a long term impact on Philippe all the way up to adulthood and he would frequently dress in women’s clothing. Also, even though he was married twice and had children, Philippe was homosexual and his true soul mate was Philip of Lourraine, who was a handsome, blond-haired noble of princely rank. Philippe’s relationship with his brother was understandably tense because it was no fun being the spare when you want to be the heir. Even though his big brother was the king, Philippe would surpass Louis in one particular area: war. While Louis was a politician and showman at court, Philippe was a warrior and military leader. During the Battle of Cassel, Philippe personally led the French army to victory against the Dutch and Spanish. His valor and courage was so immense that his men were inspired to perform miracles to achieve victory. Philippe’s victory was so great that he gained widespread praise from the French military, which made his brother fiercely jealous. Due to his jealousy of his kid brother, Louis banned Philippe from leading an army again. Over time, Philippe would found the House of Orleans, which is a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon that exists to this day. Through the children of his two marriages, Philippe’s descendants would marry into every monarchy in Europe. This earned Philippe the title, “The Grandfather of Europe.” Overall, if Louis XIV is the Sun King, then Philippe was the Moon Prince. They were two sides of a coin and a perfect double act when it came to brothers. Since I am drawing inspiration from Louis XIV’s life for my third fantasy book, I think I will include a character that is loosely based on Philippe.
Kings and noblemen always had their personal servants with them wherever they went. Easily one of the most famous royal servants would be Alexandre Bontemps, who was the personal valet of Louis XIV of France. Bontemps’s loyalty to his king was so absolute that he spent more time with the king than he did with his own family. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps slept in the same room as the king, which was something even the queen consort was not allowed. Due to this, Bontemps was always available for the king’s needs at any time. Bontemps was not just Louis XIV’s personal valet, he was the king’s best friend and most trusted confidant. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps’s duties involved overseeing all the day-to-day affairs of the royal household. I am planning on introducing a character who is the main protagonist’s personal valet and their relationship will mirror the relationship of Louis XIV and Bontemps.