Monday, August 31, 2015

The Raelyn Shield

Very little is known of King Raelyn before he took the throne. What stories are told are mainly of the Prince getting into just enough trouble to easily get out himself, or sometimes, getting into something larger than himself and escaping only with the aid of his Royal Father. However, one thing is certain: when he was twenty seven, the Prince was disowned.
It seems that shortly after his sister’s ninth birthday, the Prince became involved in a situation that proved more than he could handle. Whatever the circumstances, his father became aware of his position and deemed it the final straw. Apparently, he felt that the Prince’s handling (or mishandling) of his plight was proof that he was not fit to rule. In order to prevent his kingdom from falling into the hands of the irresponsible Prince, His Majesty King Gyrard VII stripped his eldest son of his title and exiled him from the kingdom.
The story goes that Raelyn was given one week to say his goodbyes to the court before he was to be escorted to the nearest border. Before his departure he was given many gifts by his family, especially by his aunt, Avilina, who raised him after the death of his mother. His last visit was to the nine year old Princess Emayn, later renowned as a patron of the arts and an artist in her own right, whose favorite activities at the time were riding her pony and the newly-learned skill of tapestry weaving. (It is said that one of her earliest weavings was a copy of the famous “Battle of Thannsteig,” and that Gyrard VII proudly displayed it on the palace walls. Although the original remains in the National Museum, the Grand Duchess’ copy has been lost to time).
Emayn gifted her brother with a small shield, which, it is rumored, he had used as a child and had given to his sister when he had outgrown it. She also gave him a lecture, which some chroniclers have chosen to romanticize, claiming that the Princess professed her love for the Prince and declared that she would miss him very much. It is more likely, however, that the young Emayn chastised her older brother in an “I told you so” fashion. No matter the contents of her speech, Raelyn fell silent afterward, and sat quietly in the back of his sister’s room, watching her weave.
It was at this point that Gyrard VII’s artist in residence, Lady Sefare, entered the room. Sefare was considered the greatest master weaver of the period, and had been instructing Princess Emayn in the art. It is not known why Sefare attempted to kill the Princess. It is possible that she was hired by an enemy of the royal family, but some have speculated that the desire arose from jealousy at the talent of the young Princess, or perhaps it was simply the result of a tutor’s frustration with a notoriously difficult student.
Upon seeing the knife in the hands of his father’s trusted retainer, Prince Raelyn leaped into action. Using the gift given to him by Emayn, Raelyn blocked the weapon, saving his sister’s life. Lady Sefare was quickly defeated with the knife she had planned to use to murder the Princess. Though many retellings place the vengeful blade in the hands of the Prince, there are versions of the tale that report that Emayn was the one to end things.
However it ended, the Prince’s defense of his sister earned the forgiveness of his father and his reinstatement as the crown prince. It is unknown how much of this story is true, but its effects can be seen throughout history: aside from the way King Raelyn handled trouble during his reign and his lasting attachment to the Grand Duchess Emayn, any student of history can find, in each one of his royal portraits, a small dented shield sitting at his feet.

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