Alandra is descended from a long line of paladins, scholars, and mystics. As a child, she used to listen spellbound to the wondrous tales of chivalry and deeds of valor performed by the knights, and from an early age she strived towards the goal of knighthood, becoming strong of sword arm and of will. She developed into a young woman of rash and impatient nature, tending to solve problems with her sword rather than waiting patiently for things to sort themselves out.
The older she grows, the more courage and strength she shows in battle. However, she is particularly respected for her skills with medicines. Her herbal tinctures can heal even bad wounds, and she is so proficient in the art of healing that she can join broken legs. In a crisis, she does whatever is necessary, without any hesitation.
Because of all this, Alandra is held in high esteem by all the settlers. However, they do not feel the same adoration for her that they feel for Marcus. This may be due to the fact that she is often so direct that she appears to be arrogant or know-it-all.
When she gives someone a remedy, she has a tendency to give the sick person a lecture about looking after himself better. Deep down inside she believes that her knighthood elevates her above the farmers and workers, and does not like it at all if they do not do her bidding immediately.
Yet it is only the loneliness which accompanies heavy responsibility that makes Alandra appear so hard at times.
Alandra subordinates herself to the goals she has set herself in life, as she wants to set a shining example to all. She is on respectful terms with Marcus, but feels that he needs to shed his rough exterior to become a stately knight (Marcus, on the other hand, often feels intimidated by Alandra, as do many settlers).
She strives incessantly to uphold right and honor, and is convinced that all the problems in the world arise from the fact that not everyone does the same. She has dedicated her life to the path the gods have chosen for her and the good of the empire.
Elias considers himself a global citizen who has seen all ends of the world from Vestholm in the west to the red towers of Rossotores in the east. During his long travels he made a fortune seven times and lost it again (it could have been more often, but he would rather not say anything about it).
He is a cunning strategist with a penchant for daring business, and he has set everything he owns on just that goal. Most of the time his business conduct leads to success, and if he does shipwreck, he shrugs his broad shoulders indifferently and starts making a fortune again.
Elias boasts of his honesty and being a tough business partner. At first glance, he only seems to care about his earnings, but he is aware that there’re also things in life that cannot be balanced with gold. If he sells some bread to a village at cost price, the gratitude of the residents is also a welcome type of revenue. Officially, he will insist that his reasons for such behavior are purely practical because if the settlers starved, he would not be able to sell them anything. But such actions show that he has a soft core and helps people who are in need. He would never admit that, but those he helped know better.
However, Elias’ goodness never clouds his gaze for the essentials. Although he is proud of his sincerity, he does not feel guilty about cheating on those he rates as dishonest – swindlers, imposters, stealers and profit vultures. If he has the opportunity to leave one of them with their pants down, he’s even ready to take a loss for it. And to expose such people, if necessary, he also takes unlawful paths. He justifies his flexible morals by “adapting only to market conditions”. But he is aware that his creative distribution of funds, for example, would not meet with approval in Lady Alandra’s critical eyes.
Hakim Abd-Al Sar comes from Janub, a large continent in the south that was once part of a vast empire, but is now just a vast desert. He and his people have learned how to survive in these hostile lands, and Hakim attributes this to thinking first, then acting. They never act carelessly.
Many consider Hakim to be unapproachable and believe that with his select, polite mask, he only hides his strong feelings. That may be true, because the soul of a warrior lives in his body, but whenever he can solve a situation with his mind, he will. His negotiating skills are so good that he can convince even his most bitter opponents of his cause. With calmness and prudence Hakim always weighs all options in search of the best agreement.
This philosophy has not always been successful. When the enemy first approached the dignitaries of the southern provinces, Hakim had rightly assessed the ruler as a possible danger to the independence of everyone. At the same time, he underestimated his power and nefariousness. Hakim’s master was killed in a palace riot, whereupon Hakim had to flee with nothing but his life. Since then, he has spent a lot of time brooding over his mistakes and forging new alliances against the enemy’s oppression to learn from his mistakes.
Not everyone enjoys a peaceful and loving childhood. For Kestral, for example, life consisted of escape. Her father was a self-proclaimed thief king who did not hesitate to fight anyone and everything, even if the situation did not require it. This ferocity led to him being caught and executed like an ordinary thief. His oldest daughter learned that the most important gift in life is to choose his enemies and battles with care. Her father had raised the sword against everyone, but Kestrel was calm in arguments. If it was unavoidable and there was a chance of success, she fought. But if there was an easier and more elegant solution to a problem, she chose this route.
This flexible moral has earned her a lot of respect and responsibility. For the lords of her country, she served as a mercenary, as a wandering knight and as a bandit. Kestrel unconditionally follows the call of profit, and her conscience speaks much quieter than that of Elias. Outwardly she follows the maxim: “Steal enough so that you can be generous”. But in reality, she also cares about the settlers. Anyone who has fought side by side with her reports of her generosity, which can show up unexpectedly. And those have attracted her wrath wonder about her rapid disappearance and wonder how their belongings got lost.
Kestral recognizes strength, but deep in her heart strives for balance and stability. She sees the world as a wilderness full of beasts, in which there is more darkness than light. Here you have to be strong and rely on your own skills if you want to survive. Even when she laughs, jokes and looks sociable, which flatters the other knights’ egos, she remains alert and ready for the day when something goes wrong and she has to go her own way again.
Marcus comes from Vestholm and is the oldest son of a hardworking couple. As a child, he worked with his father as a lumberjack and learned how to use an axe and a sword. He showed his courage as a teenager when he actively helped to repel a pack of wolves. This extraordinary talent was not lost on the then Lord of Vestholm. This high-ranking gentleman made Marcus his squire, and when he resigned from his post – marked by the age and wounds of many battles – Marcus was offered the job of protection officer of Vestholm’s residents and servant of the crown.
Marcus is a man of the people and the settlers worship him for his care for their well-being. Nothing is more important to him than to protect all who are under his command. Because he comes from Vestholm, he is very familiar with the customs of this country. He is ahead of other knights. He is convinced that action, that is free from hesitation and indecision, is most likely to succeed, and that any danger must be dealt with immediately. You don’t get through to the young man with subtlety, either on the battlefield or at court. And he reacts somewhat awkwardly to ambiguities.
He always feels uncomfortable when either a cunning trick or courtly gallantry is expected of him. As a man of action, that’s not his world. He follows the crown loyally and unconditionally, but never forgets the needs of the settlers. As long as his king does not do this either, he is the most loyal knight you can imagine.
Thordal is from Narlind. This archipelago of frozen northern islands is also home to feared Vikings who often invade the coasts of Vestholm and other provinces. Thordal is aware of the predatory actions of his brothers, but he does not apologize for them and prefers to sing their daringness in epic songs. This is because Thordal was such a hot spur in his youth himself, raiding the coasts, always looking for easy prey and tons of honey mead. He is known among his people as a bard and storyteller, which is why he finds a place by the warming fires all over the north. He also stands in the favor of the Great Mother, who leads the communities.
Thordal enjoys an excellent reputation among the people of his homeland, but the settlers from the south are also well disposed towards him, even if you would otherwise take up arms at the sight of a Viking. This is mainly due to Thordal’s charisma – crude, but warm and direct. Music in all styles pleases his heart and he enjoys visiting all the taverns in one place to learn the songs of local musicians or to sing his own. The harmony of his singing makes him a welcome guest and has already brought him many hot meals.
Thordal believes that the Viking raids are simply part of the dangerous life in Narlind, so he forgives his brothers for doing what they do. Despite his serene appearance, he is aware that life often demands hard decisions, and he is not afraid take them, if necessary. But as long as there is enough mead and pretty women nearby, he lives into the day and cheers for everyone who gives him a pitcher.