Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interview With Lord Midas Welby

I've been occupied with a lot of things, such as our new ambassador's arrival at the embassy, so I feel bad that I am not posting enough. This post was the most viewed and commented post that I have ever had, so I thought that anyone who has not read it before might enjoy a peek at the main character from my epic fantasy The Shard. This was done originally for the Character Interview Blogfest.

I've chosen to interview the main character from my fantasy novel The Shard. It's tough, because Midas is a fairly serious fellow, so it's not easy to get anything funny out of him. I decided to interview him a few years prior to the start of the novel (it would be interesting to do an after-novel interview someday).

Interview with Lord Midas Welby

A tall slim man, his brown goatee touched with gray, sits down beside me under the elm tree. He wears chainmail and a surcoat decorated with a black and red checkerboard pattern.

Me:  So, you’re a lord?

A very minor one. I think few of the other nobles truly consider me to be one. I actually got kicked into a moat once by a knight who was insulted by the very idea that I could be considered a noble.

Did you get revenge on that knight?

It's a long story. He's my vassal now.

You weren’t born a noble?

No. I was born in a tiny fishing village a little north of Mitinya in the Westlands.
(Map here)

Go on, how did you become a lord?

Well, for centuries it has been a rule that every able-bodied 16 year old boy must serve two years in the military, either at the capital of Pangalia or at the defensive fortress of East Gate. I began serving in Pangalia, but just a few weeks after I arrived, there was an attack by barbarians against some settlers beyond the gate, so King Alderic sent the army to crush them. It turned into a long campaign, as the neighboring Alsean tribe was joined by several others. This was how I met Lord Havlin Tathis of Iskimir. I was placed under his command.

I liked him, and he seemed to like me. He promoted me twice after battles, and when it was over he took me on as captain of the guard in Iskimir. Our friendship grew. I knew he was sad because he had failed to produce a male heir. One day he hit me up with the idea of marrying his daughter Rina. I was shocked, naturally. I didn’t know Rina; I had just seen her a few times at the castle. She was pretty, but always so aloof. I couldn’t say no to Lord Tathis, though.

So, he knighted me and arranged for our wedding to take place after a big tournament the king was throwing in Pangalia. We met King Alderic, who had me swear fealty, and that was it -- I was a noble. Lord Tathis gave me a tiny province on his southern border with Laithtaris and Vimar Keep.

So, does that make you Lord Tathis’s heir now?

No, though it’s possible I might be a steward if necessary. Hopefully not! I’ve had three sons with Rina, so my oldest boy Miros is Lord Tathis’s heir.

How is your marriage going?

Umm, do we have to talk about it? Rina’s a lovely woman, very smart and headstrong. She felt I was far beneath her, so she was quite unhappy with her father’s arrangement. She also doesn’t like Welby. It is tiny and she has no friends there, unlike her life in the huge city of Iskimir. She loves our children, especially our daughter Daria, but I think that’s all that keeps her happy. She’s started drinking a bit too much wine lately.

Are you happy as a noble, or would you rather be back in the fishing village?

I loved fishing with my father, though the ocean makes for a hard life. Those three moons cause crazy tides and choppy water. I wish I could be happier in my marriage, of course, but I am content. My sons are all growing fast and show great promise, plus they get along well together. I have a few good friends. My neighbor at Vimar Keep, Lord Solomon Arthanis, is a good friend, but his daughters are terrors, so I admit I avoid visiting. My closest friends are my vassals -- the knights Brindor, Voor, and Victus, and also my captain of the guard Dalthis. We go hunting sometimes, and now that my son Miros is getting older we are even taking him with us.

I know the lands have been at peace for years. Any looming dangers?

Not that I know about. That blasted dragon keeps coming out of hibernation every ten years or so and laying waste to the Eastlands, but the barbarians seem to have settled down. I hear they are actively trading with us now.

Welby borders on Laithtaris, where the elves live. Can you tell us about them?

They might as well be mythical as far as I can see. I’ve never seen an elf. Have you?


  1. Intriguing, though I'm a little confused by the interaction between nobility and the notion of an organised army here, possibly because I'm being a pedantic medievalist at this point. There's two things:

    First, you say that the character is a minor noble, but does that mean a specific rank of the nobility? And why would a knight feel superior, when they certainly started out as a much lower level?

    You also mention vassalage, yet does that system really make sense to the same extent in a country with an apparent standing army and organised military structure? Medieval armies often consisted more of whoever various lords could persuade to show up, plus mercenaries, and their command structure owed less to notions of military rank than to who owed whom homage. The idea of doing just two years and then leaving all military service also jars. If you were a fighting type, then you were generally called up again and again.

    Obviously, since you're working with a fantasy world, neither point has to apply, but it just seemed like something to raise if you were looking for the most authentic feel.

  2. Hi Stu,
    Things are a bit different on this planet, as the human tribes have evolved with some help from a group of scientists from Earth (they are the 'wizards'). At the point where the book begins, and going back for quite some time, there is very little conflict within the very sheltered borders of the realm. They only truly need a strong group of warriors at East Gate, which is the only good passage into the realm, so that is where the bulk of young soldiers are sent, while others man the walls or walk the streets of the capital. There have been no major wars for centuries, and there is a very good reason for this that I won't bore you with now.

    The knight obviously felt he was of higher rank than this so-called 'noble' who was born of a fisherman.

  3. That sounds really interesting Ted. Midas sounds like my kind of guy. I do feel a bit bad for his wife though.

  4. I don't have time to read today Ted, but I hope to be back tomorrow to catch up.

  5. Interviewing your characters...That's a great way to actually get to know them better.

    Sounds very intriguing...