Hello, and welcome to the second of a series of Sword of the Nation previews. This one is focused on another set of characters: The Royal House of Starsong.
Before we start, I would like to mention that these are not 100% final and may be subject to change before the book is published, in addition to that, certain information will be withheld for spoiler purposes—so, on with the show.
The Starsong Family
For generations, the Royal House of Starsong has sat atop the Crown, which, along the Senate, and The Tribunal, conform Vaifen’s three pillars of governance.
The Starsong family has guided the destinies of each and every citizen of the Nation, ensuring their safety, prosperity, and well-being, adapting to the realities of the present without ever forsaking the traditions and lessons of the past—all whilst the world of Orbis takes each new step towards an uncertain future.
Their unique surname makes them stand out from the rest of the nation’s families, a common occurrence among the remaining nobility lineages of Vaifen. The history of the Starsong family and that of Vaifen itself has always been inexorably intertwined, one cannot prose about Vaifen’s foundation and origins without referencing the Starsongs of old.
The public opinion with regards to the Starsongs wildly depends on who you ask, and can be as different as night and day. Some would say that the Starsong family is a beacon of hope, the embodiment of the traditions of Vaifen and its spirit made flesh; on the other hand, others would claim that they’re nothing but the most decadent of all relics, a symbol of a should-be bygone era that represents the worst of a corrupt noble caste that refuses to step aside and fade in the annals of history so that Vaifen may fully embrace the modern, global reality of Orbis.
The nation’s worst tragedies, their greatest triumphs, and everything else in between, there has always been a Starsong ruling when said events have occurred. Once more, their ancestral oath is put to the test, as Vaifen, the nation that the Starsong family swore to protect and lead towards a better tomorrow, faces a dark hour once more.
The regent of the Nation of Vaifen, and the current patriarch of the Starsong family; a tall man with a voice so strong that it could split the heavens. Bearer of an iron will and a most disciplined ruler, loved by his sons, feared and respected by some of Orbis’ rulers.
Sulwyn is a man devoted not just to his family, but to each and every of the responsibilities that the crown he’s worn for most of his life entails; a life beset by tragedy, he ascended to the throne at the start of his third decade of life after a tragic accident, riddled with very questionable inconsistencies, took the life of his father, Cadmus Starsong.
From that point onward, and without counting with the full extent of his father’s vast experience, Sulwyn began an uphill battle to rule the nation to the best of his ability, ensuring the sovereignty of Vaifen, so that it remains as it should be: an independent Nation-state, amidst the growing reach of the Union of Nations that has now enshrouded and diluted most of the planet’s nations and republics—to the point that he is considered to be the last barrier that prevents Vaifen from joining the Union.
The regent found the love of his life in a most unexpected place; a regular protocolar visit to a health facility made him cross paths with Ellene Valmont, a natural of Vaifen’s Talcea region, it didn’t took long for him to make her his Queen.
Of all the trials and tribulations faced by King Sulwyn’s reign, two stand above the rest.
The first of these, was the war against the Svarzfal Republic, a nation much larger in size, and boasting an unparalleled military superiority. The events that sparked the conflict seem rather artificial and orchestrated—as if higher powers in Orbis had decided to rig the game against the proud and prosperous Nation-state of Vaifen.
Had it not been for the arrival of the Nasivern to Orbis, and the alliance that was formed between the Nasivern and Vaifen (an event that took the world by surprise), Svarzfal would’ve easily emerged victorious; the Nasivern’s intervention tipped the scales of the war, which culminated in an armistice between both sides.
The second of these events, was the Fall of the Nasivern race, which led to the exile of the approximately 75,000 surviving Nasivern. As a way to thank the Nasivern for their alliance and defense of Vaifen, King Sulwyn enacted the Nasivern Exile Solidarity Act, which granted the survivors a new life in Vaifen. The exact cost—political or otherwise—that was incurred upon Sulwyn Starsong as a result of this act, is not known the public.
With the wounds of war and tragedy healing, his rule encountered a period of peace and much needed prosperity, until tragedy struck his life once more. Queen Ellene was afflicted with the Gustav-Denton Syndrome, a rare condition that attacked her central nervous system and impaired her organs, shutting them down one by one.
It is said that the once cheerful and outgoing man that was Sulwyn Starsong died along his wife, not much of that joyful regent is left these days, not after a life full of tragedy—nonetheless, he remained resolute to continue guiding the destinies of Vaifen’s citizens while being the best father he could be to his children.
The amount of people that count with Sulwyn’s absolute trust can be counted with two hands, however, depending on your definition of trust, one hand may suffice.
The burden of the crown he wears has joined forces with the inclement passage of time, and have both taken its toll on the now aging regent. Sulwyn has been fixated too much on Vaifen’s future, to the point that he has neglected its present; the rising threat of the Ashen Reckoning has been a wake up call for the King of Vaifen.
Now, in what he considers the start of the twilight years of his life, Sulwyn has begun to take matters into his own hands to correct the path and keep all family affairs in order, so that the grand design for the future of Vaifen that he’s envisioned for so long comes to pass—one where his sons rule the nation when he’s nothing but dust and bones.
And it all starts with Gestalt.
Sulwyn Starsong’s firstborn, and heir-apparent to the Crown.
Seyren has been referred to as a reflection of his father’s youthful self in more than one opportunity, and with good reason: long blonde hair that seems to dance with the wind, handsome, charming, and charismatic; outside of those adjectives, he remains an enigma to the public eye, not much else is known about him, and his public appearances are rare and sporadic.
At the lack of a more concrete consensus, the world and the public opinion has resorted to rely on a myriad of gossips and hearsay stories surrounding the heir to the crown to paint a picture of the man that will one day lead Vaifen.
The truth, is that while he means no ill in his actions, Seyren is a reckless and carefree man, spoiled by a life of luxury and comfort, and a most irredeemable womanizer. He spends most of his nights between parties an indulging in excess while concealing his identity. Seyren’s nocturnal activities and escapades have caused Royal Security countless headaches to the point that he constantly eludes and deceives his guards so that he’s able to embrace the night.
His indifference towards the nation’s ins and outs would shock more than one if the truth were to be made public, given the inevitability of his eventual reign. Seyren would rather go to a night club than attend a high level meeting on national security and/or foreign policy.
Having grown up alongside the Nasivern Bastiel Isthal, he considers the King’s protégé to be a surrogate big brother, someone who gets to see another side of Seyren: Deep down, beneath the alcohol and debauchery, lies a good man that cares for others, and a prince that has the potential to be a great ruler.
The question of whether or not Seyren Starsong will ever be up to the challenges of the crown he’s set to inherit, and all of its responsibilities and burdens, is one that remains to be answered.
For the sake of Vaifen, his sister hopes that he is.
The most public and accessible of the two royal heirs, Princess Vesper Starsong is immaculate elegance personified. Born right before his beloved Queen fell ill, Sulwyn considers Vesper to be the last priceless treasure that the queen gave to him.
Vesper seems to naturally emanate the perfection that is expected of her position, but playing the role that is demanded of her exacts a terrible toll upon the young heiress. She has managed to mask her insecurities, keeping them only to herself, concealing them beneath the jewelry that she loves to wear and the exorbitantly expensive dresses that she commissions, which are complemented by her red hair and green eyes, as well as the alluring aroma of her perfumes and intoxicating smile.
The princess is aware that she’ll never get to directly rule over Vaifen, and she is uninterested in doing so, nonetheless, she knows that she too must do her part to the betterment of the nation.
At her incessant request, she was granted permission to revitalize the Starsong Foundation that her mother used to run; the Foundation is a more amiable facet of the Crown that handles its charity and patronages, tasked with a multitude of goals and activities, some of which involve providing financial aid to Vaifen’s less fortunate, to make the dreams of Vaifen’s children come true, scholarships to gifted students, or to simply bring a smile to those who need it the most.
The foundation was an invention of her late mother, who passed away when she was merely a year old. Despite having its fair share of criticism and detractors, the Starsong Foundation and its meteoric re-invigoration under Vesper’s leadership has been well received by Vaifen’s populace.
It’s her way of keeping up the ideals of the mother she never got to meet.
Knowing the truth about her older brother’s lifestyle choices, she can’t help herself but to feel disdain and contempt towards his actions; Vesper also loves to make Seyren Starsong and Bastiel Isthal suffer in a figurative way through her elaborate schemes after years of being the target of mischief during their childhood years.
Vesper doesn’t hold Vaifen’s nobility with high regard, aside from a very few exceptions. There are many who feel envious of Vesper’s lavish, royal lifestyle, wishing that they too would get to have the ostentatious life she’s had—paradoxically, she yearns for a normal life that she never got to experience, the one that the Crown deprived her of.
The Starsong family will have its role to play throughout the events of Sword, Sins, Soul, and beyond. The Ashen Reckoning wants them dead, political groups seek to diminish or outright eliminate the Crown, and their continued existence presents an obstacle to the interests of certain groups.
Stay tune for the next preview, as I said in the first one, bear with me, this is a learning process to me and I have no qualms in admitting it.
Until the next one!