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Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s): My full name is Hal Bullen, but I’m usually known as Bull. Sully often calls me Bulldog because I was her protector when she first came to the Manor

Age: I’m fifty-six, I think.

Please tell us a little about yourself: I’m a military man through and through. I came to the Manor when I was about sixteen, long before it was a training center for Elias’ Kingsmen. Back then, it was simply Lord Blaine’s manor, and I joined his retainers as a swordsman-cadet. Eventually, I became his sergeant-at-arms. Now, I’m officially retired, although I still act as Sullyan’s aide. I sometimes train the cadets, and I help train young Artesans.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less: I’m pretty large, and quite muscular. And still fit!

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Being a member of the King’s forces means you have to uphold the King’s Laws. But I don’t just do that because I’ve sworn an oath. I hate bullies, and I hate raiders, and I can’t stand by and see weaker men threatened by stronger ones. Or women threatened by men.

Would you kill for those you love? I’m a soldier, so hell, yes! I frequently have. I defend my realm and my friends with all the strength I possess. That’s what being a Kingsman is all about.

Would you die for those you love? Absolutely. I wouldn’t even have to think about it. I’m an old soldier now, and those instincts run deep. We’re a tight-knit bunch at the Manor – we’d all lay down our lives for each other.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? I guess you’re not talking about muscles now, are you? All right then, I’m loyal. Fiercely so, some have said. I might not be the shiniest dagger in the armory but I am one of the sharpest. I have a good sense of fun. I can be gentle, which people don’t expect when they see my size. I’m a good soldier and a better friend. As for weaknesses, I only have one that I can think of. I like a drop of firewater now and then – and sometimes maybe more than a drop!

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? I value the cameraderie of the Manor and its men; there’s nothing like the bond between a unit of swordsmen and their captain. But the relationship I prize above all others is my friendship with Sullyan. She was so small when she first arrived, so lost and so desperate for a place she could belong to that I couldn’t help taking her under my wing. If I’d only been younger then, I think we would have ended up life mates. As it is, we share a special kind of love that nothing could break. I don’t think even death would separate us, we’re so close. Good job Robin, her actual life mate, and I are friends!

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? I don’t really understand this question. What’s a ‘pet’? But yes, animals are an important part of my world – well, horses are, anyway. Where would we be without them? How would we get to the places we needed to go? How would we plough our fields, or transport goods? My horse is my lifeline when I’m out on patrol – I’d be a poor sort of soldier if I didn’t look after my horse! As for other animals, yes, I like them. Deer taste especially good – oh, and rabbits.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. My unit and the men of the Manor are my family. I did have parents, of course, but they died a long while ago. I can’t really remember much about them, now. We were an ordinary family, farm workers mainly, and we lived in one of the small villages surrounding the Manor grounds. I left home at sixteen to join Lord Blaine’s retainers, so I don’t remember much more.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I do remember one particular year – I was about eight, I think, and this was before the Pact, of course – when raiding by demons – pardon me, Andaryons – was particularly bad. Every village in Loxton Province had been raided at one time or another, it seemed, and many people had been injured. It was all anyone could talk about. And then they came to our village. It was night time. They burned the thatched roofs and barns, dragged the women and children out into the street, and fought the men. I remember seeing one of our neighbours raped by a demon, and her young child killed in her arms. I swore then, even at eight, that I would learn to use a sword so I could help defend my mother and the village. That’s why went to Lord Blaine just as soon as I could.

Do you have any phobias? Any what? Oh, you mean what am I afraid of? Well, there’s only one thing really, and I’m a bit ashamed to tell you. But if you really want to know, I’m afraid of fire. Yes, all right, I know it’s stupid. Where would we be without fire for cooking and keeping warm? But it’s not the tame fires I’m bothered about, but wildfires. Fire out of control. The sort of fire that eats your house and leaves fields burned to char. I suppose it goes back to the night our village was raided. I can never forget the sound of raging fires and the smell of cindered flesh. Fire kills, and not in a clean way.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I don’t know if this is really interesting or not, but I have a favourite saying. Whenever someone seems down, or things look hopeless, I like to say “Don’t hold the wake before the bl – oops, sorry, didn’t mean to swear – before the funeral.”

 

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. I live in the realm of Albia, the human realm. Our world has five realms: Endormir, where the Roamerlings live; Sinnia, tribal home of bards and poets; Relkor, the realm of the slavers, where it is is rocky and full of mines; and Andaryon, home of the demon race. Only Sully says we shouldn’t call them demons any more.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. Of course it does! How can you not have spiritual beliefs? Although I must admit that here at the Manor, we don’t observe the rites as often as they do elsewhere. We do have a chapel, but it’s not used as often as it should be.

Our main faith is called the Faith of the Wheel, and our Matria Church is in Port Loxton. But there are traveling clerics who visit the towns and villages of Albia, and they conduct rites wherever they are needed. The Wheel holds that there is one god, but I’m not sure how that works. Most of us believe in many gods, who each have control over different aspects of our lives. I know that gods are powerful, but how could only one god take care of everything? It doesn’t make sense…. But then, I’m only a simple soldier.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I have traveled all over Loxton Province in the course of my duties, and I also went to the capital, Port Loxton, once with Lord Blaine. But I have traveled much farther with Sullyan. Artesans can move between the realms, you know, and even before Sullyan was appointed King’s Envoy she liked to explore the other realms. These days though, we mainly visit Andaryon.

Name and describe a food from your world. Food? I’d rather talk about liquor! Food is a bit ordinary, although the Manor cook, Goran, could make pigswill taste good. But liquor is what I really love, and firewater above all. The free traders (just a fancy name for pirates, if you ask me) of Andaryon have something called ‘brine-rum’. Sounds awful but actually it’s pretty good. Anything that can keep a sailor warm in a gale has to be strong!

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? Where have you been that you don’t know about Artesans? Don’t you have them where you come from? What an Artesan does isn’t ‘magic’ though – we’re not witches or wizards, despite what the common people think. Artesans are born with the ability to control their own life force, or metaforce as it’s properly called. That’s the power that resides within all of us, and if you can learn to control it, you can also learn to influence and even master the four elements; Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. It takes a lifetime of study to become a Master Artesan and most of us never make it that far. I’m an Adept-elite, but because I can’t overcome my fear of Fire, I’ll never get any further. Sullyan’s a Master-elite, and that’s about as far as you can go. As for how it’s viewed in my world, it depends what realm you come from. Here in Albia the craft is viewed with suspicion, but Sullyan’s working hard to change that. With the backing of our High King, Elias, we might just get there.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) In Albia, we have a monarchy. Our High King, Elias Rovannon, is absolute ruler, but there are so many provinces that he appoints petty-kings to run them for him. The system works well until one of them gets ideas above his station. Then you get civil war. That’s what happened to Elias’ father, the old King Kandaran.

In Andaryon, they have a Hierocracy. The Hierarch is always the most powerful Artesan. But they’re a warlike race and are always looking for ways to advance. The Endormirians and Sinnians are tribal peoples, they all have chieftains. As for the Relkorians – who knows? They’re a tricksy bunch of slavers and I wouldn’t trust a songle one of ’em.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Not quite sure what you mean by technology. As for items we couldn’t live without, as a soldier I’d pick my sword, of course. But we wouldn’t get far without horses, carts, ale, ploughs, bows and crossbows, those kinds of things. Oh – and friendship.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential:  For me, the most renowned people I know are Mathias Blaine, High King Elias, and Brynne Sullyan. Predictable, I know – but that’s the way my life is.

Blaine is the best general a man (or king) could wish for. He’s an astute and intelligent leader, he’s loyal, and he’s fair to his men. Elias wouldn’t have his crown now if not for General Blaine.

Elias is turning out to be a good king as well as a sharp one. He’s very keen to cement his alliance with Timar Pharikian, the Hierarch of Andaryon, and no one in the history of our world has ever made an alliance with demons. If Elias can convice the populace to lose their suspicion of Artesans and to accept what we can do for Albia, he’ll be remembered forever as a pivotal figure.

And what can I say about Sullyan? I think she might well turn out to be the most powerful Artesan that’s ever lived. I know many don’t believe that Supreme Masters have ever existed (many say the the fifth element – Spirit – is a myth and that no one can influence or master Spirit), but I’m not so sure. Sullyan’s different, that’s all I can say. If anyone can become a Supreme Master, it’s her. I love her with all my heart and soul.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears, plus links.

Print editions:

Artesans of Albia Book One, King’s Envoy: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Envoy-Artesans-Albia-1/dp/1939993253

Artesans of Albia Book Two, King’s Champion: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Champion-Artesans-Albia-2/dp/1939993261

Artesans of Albia Book Three, King’s Artesan: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Artesan-Artesans-Albia-3/dp/193999327X

Artesans of Albia series, Circle of Conspiracy Book One, The Challenge: http://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Circle-Conspiracy-1/dp/1939993318

Kindle editions:

Artesans of Albia Book One, King’s Envoy: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Envoy-Artesans-Albia-Peace-ebook/dp/B00FLXRW4I

Artesans of Albia Book Two, King’s Champion: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Champion-Artesans-Albia-Peace-ebook/dp/B00FLXS472

Artesans of Albia Book Three, King’s Artesan: http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Artesan-Artesans-Albia-Peace-ebook/dp/B00FLXSB0M

Artesans of Albia series, Circle of Conspiracy Book One, The Challenge: http://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Artesans-Circle-Conspiracy-trilogy-ebook/dp/B00JSTEBX6

 

 

Author name: Cas Peace
Website: http://www.caspeace.com/

Amazon Author Profile:http://www.amazon.com/Cas-Peace/e/B0098KMASI

Blog: http://peacewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cas.peace

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CasPeace1

First Artesans Trilogy Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76ORbCO_wGI

Reverbnation: (Musician profile): http://www.reverbnation.com/caspeacewithntn?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav

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Synopsis

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally. Conflict is coming … Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage. The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice …
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