Map of Hulsteria

I am including the map of the Realm of Hulsteria. Hulsteria is made up of seven kingdoms; two island kingdoms and five on the mainland of the realm. Jascaessau (Jazz-say-sow) is the Imperial Capital of Hulsteria and home of Empress Stelaphina.

Uhl is the home of Dukes Malcolm D’Vay and Thomas Suffolk.

Roderick Brook’s home of Earlington is found in the southern kingdom of Moorland.

The Lester’s call the capital of Augustus in Raasmfeld come. Moffat the small city north of Augustus is Harris Morrison’s home. Kenmore in the north is where Rupert Turlington was born and lived before being given the Archduchy of Carlisle on Jascasseau. Colonstay in the south is home to Courtney Roberts.

Daniella Gallagher hails from Rowan on the eastern shores of the island kingdom of Norland. The Tribe Killmire call the forests and mountains south of Kanieri home.

Savien lies to the east of Jascaessau. Trokha is located to the southwest of Norland. Xasha is to the south of Moorland. The maps for these realms will be posted shortly.

 

Sample from ‘Making of a Warrior’ – Assassination Attempt

“I have received word of important business that will force me to leave the palace immediately. My sister, the Imperial Princess Royal Sofia will be your hostess for the remainder of the celebration. Please enjoy yourselves,” Stela made the announcement as Roderick and Jordan came to meet her.

As Roderick approached Stela, a large ice wall appeared behind him. He turned quickly hearing the noise. An arrow embedded in the ice. He looked around. “Get the Empress inside the castle,” Roderick ordered.

Jordan escorted Stela to safety along with a few guards. Those in attendance began to run in all directions. Felicia retrieved her sword. Harris was next to her, armed and ready.

“We need to remain calm,” Roderick called out to the guests. “We need to stay together for protection.” The crowd stopped running and began gathering in the middle of the courtyard.

Daniella joined Roderick. “What do you think is happening, Roderick?”

“I do not know, Duchess. Please stay close, we may need your help if we cannot find the attacker,” Roderick commanded.

“Of course. Do you think the Empress is safe? Perhaps I should go to her?” Daniella began toward the castle.

“No, stay here. She is safe within the palace. The attack came from outside.” Roderick wanted as few people around his sister as possible.

Sofia rushed down to join Roderick. “Where did the arrow come from, Roderick?”

“I do not know but stay here, get behind me.” Roderick pushed Sofia behind him.

“Use your power, my dear. You can hear him and his plans,” Braynard was beside her. “Concentrate on the voices.”

Sofia cleared her mind and focused, sorting through the voices. ‘I failed. The Imperial Prince Royal will have my head. She got away. I need to take someone’s life for the Emperor Consort.’ The voice was clear.

“He is here on behalf of Edmund, tasked with killing Stela,” she informed the Magister. “Now he just wants to kill someone, anyone.”

“Good, Sofia,” Braynard commended her.

Suddenly the courtyard became cold. The sound was deafening as the outer walls of the palace were surrounded by a thick dome of ice. There was no escape. They had to find the man before he found Stela.

“Roderick, are you okay?” the voice called out. Roderick turned to see Antonio approaching.

“Grandfather, what are you doing here? Hurry before the man strikes you down.” Roderick called out to the old man.

“His arrows are not faster than me. I think that is quite obvious,” the Benedictus pointed to the sheet of ice in front of Roderick.

“You did that?”

“He did, Roderick,” Braynard answered. “He also trapped the would be assassin within the walls of the palace. We just need Sofia to point him out now.”

“Yes, Roderick, I am a Magister. Braynard showed me what was going to happen at the celebration, so I needed to come. He saw you die, the arrow had reached its mark, and I could not allow that to happen.” He hugged Roderick.

“I need you to focus, Sofia. I need you to tell us where the voice is coming from,” Antonio instructed her. “Let the voice lead us to him.”

“What is going on?” Charity joined them.

“I need you to go protect Stela, Charity,” Braynard ordered. “She is alone with only guards. She will need your powers to keep her safe.”

“Of course. Where is she?” Charity asked.

“They took her to her salon,” Sofia responded. “I can hear her thoughts. She is worried about our safety. Let her know we are all fine. Keep her safe.”

Charity rushed off, heading to the palace. She sensed it. She turned as an arrow was headed toward her. She raised her hand, and the arrow met a fire ball. A shower of arrows followed, each met a similar fate. She reached the doors of the palace, they were locked.

“Let me in! The Imperial Princess Royal, Sofia sent me to protect the Empress,” she called out.

“Sorry, Imperial Highness, we cannot allow anyone in under orders of the Empress,” the guard responded through the door.

“Let me in, I have to protect her, you will not be enough.”

No response. She continued to ward off the arrows, which were now coming from multiple directions.

“I demand you open this door now, or I will be forced to take it down,” she gave them one last chance.

The guards on the other side remained silent. She focused, the air around her became heavy, the heat increased. The pressure around the doors grew until they were blown open. The heat rushed into the palace as Charity entered. The guards attempted to stop her, but the air around her had become too hot for them to do anything. She rushed to the salon.

She found Stela and Jordan inside. Jordan raised his sword as she entered. She focused the heat on his blade, he quickly dropped it. “I am here to protect Stela,” she said.

“What is going on out there, Charity?” Stela asked. “Was anyone hurt?”

“It seems the palace is under attack. Sofia claims he is here on Edmund’s behalf. You have to remain here until the assassin is found.” Charity approached Stela. “Everyone is fine.”

“I am sure he is gone by now,” Stela stood to leave.

“No, the Benedictus surrounded the palace in ice, he will have no escape. Sofia is trying to find him. It seems Sofia has gifts as well,” Charity answered.

“I do not know what is going on. The Benedictus too? It seems everyone has some sort of power.” Stela paced the room. She wanted to be out there, not stuck in this room.

****

Astrid joined Roderick and Sofia. “I picked a bad time to visit. Do you know where the arrows are coming from?” Kyle stayed close to Astrid. “Master Scientia, I see now why you wanted me here,” she said, turning to face Braynard.

“Yes, I knew you would be of assistance, Astrid,” Braynard responded.

“It seems there is more than one assassin,” Sofia offered. She was hearing several voices talking about their failure.

Astrid’s eyes fixated on the towers around the palace. Within moments several ravens emerged. They started to circle the palace perimeter.

“There is one up on the north tower,” Astrid advised.

“I see him,” Felicia said. She concentrated on the figure in the tower. ‘Jump,’ she thought focusing on the man cowering behind the stone.

They watched as the man jumped from the tower, hitting the stone below.

“One down,” Felicia laughed.

“There are three along the roofs of the barracks,” Astrid added.

“I got this,” Harris said. He moved from in front of the stands for a clear view. He could see two of them. He turned his hands, palms up as two fireballs formed, growing in size. An arrow was headed in his direction, he was focused on his hands. A sword had met the arrow before it hit its mark. He turned to see Felicia. Her blade inches from his face. He released the flames. The two men on the roof fell to the ground ablaze.

The Benedictus quickly encased the third in ice, eliminating the threat.

‘I will not fail him. I may not make it out alive, but I will have served my love well.’ Sofia heard the voice. ‘I had not planned on killing Duchess Emery, but she leaves me no choice,’ the voice continued. “There is one in the palace,” Sofia yelled. “He is with Stela. Her and Charity are in danger.”

“Who is he?” Felicia asked.

“I do not know, I cannot tell.” Sofia panicked.

“I have this,” Astrid looked up. The ravens quickly dipped in the sky and entered the doors of the palace.

The Middle Ages and Homosexuality

One of the biggest topics I address in ‘Making of an Empress’ is the Middle Ages view on homosexuality. It is well known today what the Church’s stance is on homosexuality. The belief of homosexuality as a sin is well documented in the pages of the old testament. In the Middle Ages, life was the Church. Rulers bowed down to the leaders of the Church, followed its commandments and condemned those who broke the Church’s laws.

If one researches the topic of homosexuality in the Middle Ages, you would see many different acts compiled in the definition. It was not merely the act between two men (or women). It included solitary acts as well. I would figure many would be guilty of homosexual acts if we still lumped any dumping of “seed” to equate to homosexuality.

Before the fall of the Roman Empire (which began the period known as the Middle Ages) sexuality was not something the ancient Romans put much thought into. It was just not talked about. The Middle Ages changed the view on the topic and issued punishment for committing such acts.

In the height of the Middle Ages if one was found guilty of an act of homosexuality he was punished with castration. If he did not learn his lesson his second offense would result in the loss of his “member”. A third offense resulted in burning at the stake.

There is proof, however, of many kings and queens who were known homosexuals, of course, they were never brought up on charges. I wonder if the most powerful rulers of their time were practicing homosexuals why then did nothing to try to change the views and punishments on the subject.

King James I of Scotland (who is famous for his version of the bible) was a suspected homosexual. Many of his time would refer to him as Queen James. It has been said he was a male chauvinist, perhaps it wasn’t that he hated women but simply he loved men. It is said he oversaw some of the translations of the original text of the bible and made sure words that could be interpreted as either gender were labeled as male, thus making the man the dominate gender.

Edward II of England was another king whose desire for male companionship was widely known. Again, as a king did he not have a responsibility to legitimize his own relationships?

In Making of an Empress, Stelaphina takes on the view of homosexuality. Her beloved cousin, Rupert, is a suspected homosexual. She sees nothing wrong with the love he desires but knows the Church forbids such unions. She fights to make homosexuality legal, obviously a forward thinking woman for her time. There is much opposition from the elder Imperials and the Church. It is a battle she is not willing to concede defeat and continues until others agree with her position.

I have to wonder if the monarchs of this world had the strength to fight for who they loved what our world might be like today.

I want to be a figure skater

My father, a huge sports fan and participant was overjoyed when his only son told him “No, I don’t want to play baseball or basketball, I want to be a figure skater.”

Now, I am not saying figure skating is a “gay” sport but when your father played hockey, baseball, and basketball, it isn’t his dream to see his son in a letard. I have the utmost respect for figure skaters, it isn’t an easy sport. I competed for a few years.

Growing up I heard the dreaded f word a lot from my father, grandfather, uncles – all of the men in my life. I also remember hearing the hate in their voices when the subject came up. This caused a lot of conflict in me when I was young. School was a source of torture for me as well, it seemed the other kids knew I was gay before I did. I was in a world where I was supposed to be ashamed of who I was. My male family members said it was wrong, my church said it was wrong, and my peers said it was wrong; therefore I must be wrong, defective in some way.

When I finally came out at age 16, my one uncle stopped talking to me. At family gatherings it was like I didn’t even exist to him. This was difficult because after my father left he was the closest thing I had to a dad and now he had left me as well. In my senior year of high school someone had carved “Fag” into my locker. I can’t even describe the shame I felt when I approached my locker that day and saw it. The kids around me were laughing, I didn’t find it amusing. The school approached me with a bill for repairs. If I wanted to receive my diploma I would pay for the repairs. I remember saying okay keep your f’ing diploma, so ended my high school career.

I battled the demons placed within me by others for years. There were periods where I felt I didn’t deserve to live because I was damaged, everyone said so, therefore it must be true. My struggle hasn’t always been successful, many times the voices of those who focused so much hate on me won. At least I allowed myself to think they won but truth be told something in me made me realize I was better and stronger than they wanted me to believe.

Rupert Turlington, a character in my book, is gay. He becomes the focus of Stela’s desire to change the social standing of homosexuals. The people of Hulsteria and really all of Saaveth see homosexuals as deviants. There desire to love is punishable. The laws are all based on the beliefs of the church, much as it is in our own world. Stela challenges these beliefs and questions how a God who is supposed to be known as loving could possibly promote hate towards love.

Writing this book has helped me understand my own feelings on who I am. I am very religious but I don’t believe God hates me because I love someone of the same gender. I think of the passages the hate spewers never seen to quote “Judge not so that ye shall not be judged”. Isn’t hating someone a form of judgement and as such are we not setting the bar for our own judgement when we stand before Him? “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, most are of the mindset “hate both”. Religion should bring about love and tolerance, not hate. Why is religion used as a vehicle to allow hatred? It is contradictory to what religion is all about.

I am friends now with many of those who made my school aged years hell. Some have apologized for the anguish they caused me back then, saying they were just kids. That isn’t an excuse for your hate. Hate isn’t hereditary, it is learned, somewhere you were taught that different is bad. Don’t say sorry I was a kid, admit you were homophobic because you learned to be homophobic. Yes many tell me know that they have many gay friends and their views are different but it doesn’t change the scars that you inflicted on my psyche. I always gracious accept the apologies but often wonder why they feel the need to apologize? Own the hate you had or possibly still have but are now ashamed to admit as an adult, when you can’t use ignorance as an excuse.

Sorry this post turned out so personal, it was just something I had to get off my chest. Realize when you hate, you not only hurt the person you hate, you also hurt yourself. So even if you don’t stop hating because it is wrong, stop hating to stop hurting yourself. Hate only attracts more hate, where love has the potential to attract more love if we let it.