Story for the Day: Alasdair Braeghan Brennin
I have been horribly ill this week, and therefore the release of Vol 2 of Commander and Den Asaan will be delayed. Here from the book is out king's full history. Enjoy.
Alasdair Braeghan Brennin was a generous, compassionate, and sensible young man. His handsome features, tall stature, upright and slender figure, and amiable character were the demise of many women in the capital, but unlike his brother Allande, Alasdair thought little of his appearance and was therefore oblivious to any advance made him. His pastel complexion and green eyes were the object of discussion within the halls of the royal court and many young noblewomen would have given him due consideration if not for how he had been raised.
Due to unfortunate complications at Alasdair’s birth, Brighel Brennin had died and the death of her husband Prince Draeden shortly followed, leaving Alasdair, named for the lady’s late father, under the care and tutelage of his grandfather Good King Dorrin and of High Commander Bryeison, Dreaden’s most intimate and oldest friend. Alasdair was bred for kingship. Born into one of Frewyn’s oldest royal families, he had all the advantages of education, wealth, finery, and circumstance to recommend him as a prince. He was plump in his youth, which garnered a few aspersions from the royal houses, but once he began to grow into himself, his height did well to do away any remaining plumpness. He was tutored daily by his grandfather, coddled and granted every privilege that the attention of a king could warrant. He learned of music, of modes of address and civility, of the courts and how they were to be conducted, but the most important lesson his grandfather had taught him was how to act with a gracious heart and with forbearance to his people. He lived under Frewyn’s Golden Age: with Dorrin as the nation’s greatest king, there was much expected of him in the ways of rulership and of maintaining his grandfather’s alliances, but the even greater expectation came from Dorrin himself.
The king had allowed his son and his daughter-in-law to raise Allande how they liked. They had sent him to the Royal Academy in Farriage, where most of the Frewyn royal families attended school until they were prepared to take their places in the royal court. Dorrin had raised Draeden with humility, had educated him himself, and had encouraged his friendship with those amongst the yeomanry and peasantry of the kingdom. Draeden had befriended a groomsman, and though he was reproached by the royal houses for the friendship, Dorrin lauded the connection, attributing all of Draeden’s most estimable qualities to his desire to learn from those less privileged than himself. Draeden and Bryeison became as brothers: they joined the armed forces together, rose in the ranks together, assisted one another in every endeavour, and did everything to further Dorrin’s reign. When tragedy struck, Dorrin vowed to raise Alasdair as he had done by Draeden: he had seen the stain of complacence that was ingrained in Allande and would not repeat the mistake of sending him away from the castle again. He kept both of his grandsons by him, one refusing to learn the importance of simplicity and kindliness, and the other reveling in all its pleasures. Alasdair was the joy of Dorrin’s life, and Bryeison was the guardian of his wellbeing. When Alasdair became of age, he was presented to the royal court and was given little notice. Allande was the favourite amongst his peers, leaving Alasdair free to cling to his grandfather’s side, though his attachment cost his him his brother’s affections. With Dorrin for a teacher and Bryeison for a mentor, Alasdair was certain of being Frewyn’s greatest king. To expatiate his claims and rights to the throne, Dorrin sent him to Tyfferim during the day, to learn humility from the farmers and labourers of Frewyn. It was all his aspiration that Alasdair should learn the same lessons as Draeden had done, and the deed thoroughly answered: he met Boudicca MacDaede there, and though the two were only moderate acquaintances then, the bond would be solidified later. His meeting her, seeing how she was treated by her noble mother and the others in a more fortunate situation, left an impression on his heart that could never be wiped off: she was ridiculed and shamed for being a farmer’s daughter, and when poverty struck her father’s farm and illness assailed his grandfather, Alasdair knew that he must take the throne to set her situation and the situation of the kingdom in general to rights.
The last few years of Dorrin’s life had been spent in illness, and as king elect, Allande had taken his grandfather’s place as Lord Protector, acting out his will, presiding in court, and ruling over Frewyn without any idea of how manage. Dorrin saw the errors in judgment his grandson had made, and upon his deathbed had given the king’s ring to Alasdair, entreating him to take the throne and rule. The ring was taken, Alasdair’s promise to rule as best as he could was given, and Dorrin passed on. Bryeison, however, had been killed on the field a few days before sovereign’s parting, and as there had been no one to witness the making over of the kingship to Alasdair, Allande claimed his right to the throne. He declared that Alasdair had taken the ring when their grandfather had died, and as Allande had the majority of the court in his favour, Alasdair lost his right to rule in his brother’s stead. Allande would not be prince when he could be king, and though Alasdair had been bred for the task, his peers did not agree with the manner in which his grandfather had raised him.
At seventeen and with parents, his grandfather, and his guardian gone, Alasdair was trapped at Diras Castle. Unable to join the armed forces until twenty-one, the three years of penance to be sat out in the courts was a trial to him. Forced to watch his brother plunge their kingdom into ruin and undo all the good their grandfather had done, Alasdair vowed to oppose him in every manner possible: he refuted his judgments in the courts, spent time in the barracks as a reserved, rode with the horse his grandfather had given him every evening, and played the instrument his grandfather left to him every night. These were his means of retaliation and solace until his twenty-first year came round and he was gone. On his birthday, he made the official request to be placed in Tyfferim Company, just then being formed. His request was instantly granted, and after spending a few weeks in Karnwyl Prison as a guard, he was given full admittance into the Frewyn armed forces as a first recruit.
His time in Tyfferim Company was agreeably spent, for the most part. Though there was some unpleasantness from some of his fellow soldiers due to his being Allande’s brother, he was reunited with Boudicca, giving him all the forbearance he required to deal with his vicious and larking commanding officer. Her japes had counteracted his, and after some time, Alasdair could have borne any remonstrance from anyone as long as she was by his side. Together, they rose to the rank of First Captain, both of them receiving their silver earrings and regiments at the same time. They went through the war together, fought at one another’s side, and soon Boudicca became his Bryeison, their friendship bringing with it all the security and closeness that Draeden and Bryeison’s association to one another had done. He had, however, made the mistake of thinking himself a little in love with her, and when the eve of their impending defeat and Frewyn’s destruction had come while they were in Amene, he asked her to spend the night with him. They believed their lives should be over by the time that morning had come, but when the sun roused and no Galleisian troops had invaded their encampment, their evening together had left Alasdair with some shameful feelings. He loved her, but was uncertain as to how she felt in the question. Their evening together had attached his heart, but had cost him some sentiments of confusion and regret when it was over. She seemed unremorseful of the event, and yet not in love with him. His bemusement and attachment continued throughout the war and only increased when the giant had appeared. He had been separated from her for only a few days; his regiment had been needed elsewhere and she had been left to defend Amene on her own. In those few days, any chance he had of being assured of her affections had ceased. He saw how she was when near the giant: she was attentive and interested, smiling and teasing, and though she had ever been the same with regard to himself, he sensed that her interest in the giant was more than what a mere friendship could furnish. His brother’s death by a Galleisian assassin had forced him to relinquish any designs he may have had for her. He could not think of a relationship when he had a throne to reclaim and a kingdom to restore. He had offered her command of the Diras regiments to keep her close to him, not as a lover, but as his friend. He had many around the keep whom he kept as acquaintances, but she had been all his constancy for too long to be relinquished so easily.
He took the throne, eager to be hated by the nobles in the royal court and eager to help everyone who had suffered from the war. This would not save him from being plagued by Frewyn’s nobility, but his only compunction in becoming king was that she should not be his queen. He knew that she would never agree to such a position, and yet there was no one else whom he could think of more fitting. There were no regulations against his taking a farmer’s daughter as a wife, and as becoming king had made him general of the Frewyn armed forces, there was nothing to keep him from promoting her or from marrying her. Promotion he had give with all due alacrity, but marrying must wait. She had come to him to tell him of her leave: she was going with the giant, she was leaving the kingdom, and she had little idea of when she should be returning. His heart had sunk, and yet he must allow her to leave if he was to be sure of her returning. To forbid her, though he needed her, would be to repel her. She would think him being unjust and possessive, and thus he was compelled to allow her to do as she liked. She would take command of the regiment upon her return, he would give her a home in the commander’s commons, and there was all his relief. Alasdair had said his farewells to his friend hoping that she should return alone.
He spent all his time between the courts and his people, situating himself in his old quarters, thwarting the nobles at court, taking his tea in the solitude of the keep’s kitchen, and instating those who would see to his and everyone’s comfort. Anyone who was marred by the war was compensated, the poor were elevated, the wealthy were taxed, and though it had been barely a month since his coronation, Alasdair had done well for his grandfather’s kingdom just as was expected of him.