Trystane: The Second Son Who Became A King
A note on date structure & naming
Full name: Trystane II Gavin Christopher Maquesta
Age: 21 ~ Nameday: Summer of the Year of the Platinum Dragon, Century One, Age of Diamonds (2su.3009)
Height: 5'10" ~ Hair color: very dark brown ~ Eye color: very dark brown ~ Nationality: Aesha'ani
Titles: High Prince of Aesha'an (called Your Grace), [later] King of the Sister Kingdoms (Your Majesty)
Spouse: Clío Ashworth, Princess of Anglica'a, daughter of High Prince Randon (2 years)
Prince Trystane II Gavin Liam Maquesta was born in the summer of the Year of the Platinum Dragon, Century One, Age of Diamonds (Summer, Platinum Dragon, C1, Diamonds ~or~ 1su.3009); to Queen Adonna Alysson Maquesta (d.) of Aesha’an, onetime Duchess of Majere and High Princess of Ashemar; and King Gavin Maquesta (d.) of Aesha’an, onetime duke of Majere. Delivered at the Maquesta Fortress, High Seat of Aesha’an in the capital city of Majere, Trystane is the second son of the king of Aesha’an and younger brother of the Crown Prince, making him a High Prince of the realm. The Blending of the Sisters Treaty, signed in the autumn of 3028, makes the Maquestas the High Seat of not only Aesha’an, but also Anglica’a (collectively referred to as the Sister Kingdoms since antiquity). Prince Trystane married Princess Clío of Anglica’a in Winter, Sapphire Wyvern, C1, Diamonds (3wi.3028); at the Maquesta Fortress, which became her new home; making her Princess Clío Ashworth Maquesta of Anglica’a, High Princess of Aesha’an (~or~ the Sister Kingdoms). Trystane and Clío are also the wouldbe duke and duchess of the newly-instated duchy of Ashworth (formerly the capital of Anglica’a)—but the events of this story prevent that: following the deaths of King Gavin and the Crown Prince Liam, they become the rightful king and queen of the Sister Kingdoms, duke and duchess of the capital city of Majere, instead. Our story begins in Sp., Indigo Phoenix, C1, Dia. (3sp.3031).
Trystane is the second son of a king, but he has a reputation to rival that of the king himself. The High Prince was much talked about from the day he was born—not simply because the king’s son was born, and the bells of the kingdom tolled for an hour to tell the tale. Trystane was an exceptionally beautiful baby, and as he grew, it became apparent that that beauty wasn’t going to morph into the awkward, often disappointing, look of one who used to be a beautiful child. To look at him was like gazing upon a painting of a person idealized by the artist’s great love for his subject.
But Trystane Maquesta would not be a man who breezed through life on the merit of his good looks. That is simply not who this High Prince of Aesha’an is; but his father saw to this long before Trystane was even old enough to develop a personality of his own. The sons of King Gavin of Aesha’an were not raised to be shallow, arrogant, spoiled and lazy. They were raised to be kings, and good ones.
“They always tell us second sons that we may be king someday, but they never teach us how,” Trystane would say one day in despair, and this is no less true than it is when he says it. Second sons are always brought up a bit differently than the heir to the throne. But the fact remains that the sons of Maquesta have always been kings in one sense or another.
Prince Trystane was raised alongside his older brother Liam at the Maquesta Fortress, the most impregnable castle on Morgadesh, under the Crowned Falcon, white on purple on crimson, ancient sigil of the realm. There were Maquestas on the throne of Aesha’an for six centuries before Trystane was even a twinkle in his father’s eye, something of which he and his brother were reminded every day. Everything they did, every word they said publicly, was done and said with the knowledge that it may be used in one way or another, to represent—for good or for bad—their royal dynasty and its role in the tales of the history books. They were taught, from the day they could begin to understand, how to execute perfect royal etiquette and decorum. They were taught to never let their guard down or show weakness in public—unless the latter was somehow appropriate, and in that case, they were taught exactly which weaknesses were alright to show, and which were not. More often than not during their childhood, they observed the old adage never speak unless spoken to, and when they did speak they knew exactly the right words to use. They were taught when and how to carry a blade, and when not to, before either even knew how to use one. They were taught which fork was which at the dinner table and how to hold a cup properly, how to eat in such a way that preserved dignity and grace. They were instructed not to become lax or spoiled, at least not within view of any but the very closest family insider. Beyond infancy, tantrums of any sort were not tolerated. This was only the tip of the iceberg, and all before the age of five.
This isn’t to say that the boys did not get to be boys, ever. It was also required by the king that both young princes receive at least an hour or two a day during which they simply could be children—play with toys, run around the palace yard shouting and making up games, lay on their backs in the grass staring up into the sky at the clouds. It was a happy childhood, however demanding and rigidly regimented, and one in which both the king and queen were involved. Gavin and Adonna’s relationship with their sons was a bit more abbreviated than that of Clío and her own royal mother and father, but it was no less loving. The love between Trystane and Queen Adonna was especially strong; when the boy had hardly grown in to a man, the queen was taken by the sweating sickness, and her loss was devastating for her younger son.
Trystane was put on a pony for the first time when he was just three years old. There were some hiccups and heart-stopping incidents, and even a minor fall once, but the prince was a quick learner, and soon, he was maneuvering that pony with an expertise well beyond his years. That would become a theme in Trystane’s life: he never did anything halfway, and often did things twice as well as needed. He would grow up and take command of the Royal Aesha’ani Military, a goal he would reach at the young age of just sixteen. Alongside a stellar education—formal in military matters and those academic, and semi-formal in politics—Trystane underwent rigorous command and combat training, taking to horse, blade, bow and shield as if he had been born with them in hand. His horse—he graduated from pony to mare, to gelding, to stallion, to warhorse quicker than most, and was gifted Wroughtiron by his father at the age of twelve—and any weapon he chose were simply an extension of himself, and it showed.
Though never an arrogant man, Trystane never lacked for anything in the way of confidence. He had been brought up knowing he was important, he was loved and he was pretty, and he was gifted in exactly the way he needed to be in order to fulfill his royal duties. Put that confidence together with an acute affinity for leadership and an unmatched prowess in combat, and Trystane II Maquesta is a force to be reckoned with. Before he was even grown, the High Prince was renowned, not only because he was nice to look at, but because he was exceptional in seemingly every way. None would say he outshone his older brother—Liam was respected and renowned for different reasons just as important, and in his own way—but Trystane’s reputation reached far beyond the borders of their realm. The edges of his sword got their first taste of a man’s blood when its wielder was little more than fourteen, which gave the people yet another reason to talk. He rode out on his first diplomatic mission beside his father and brother at fourteen, and at fifteen he headed the Royal Military for the first time.
But it was at the still more tender age of ten that he met the love of his life.
She was the first thing he saw when he and his family were heralded into that great feasting hall on yuletide of the Year of the Platinum Siren (M.H.3019). He was sure he had seen neither girl nor any woman more beautiful. For the first time he could remember, it was nearly all he could do to maintain the sense of decorum which usually came so naturally to him. And, dear reader, you know exactly how that story unfolds.
Liam, like many boys his age, both highborn and low, took a special interest in girls as he entered his teens, an interest that intensified with each passing year. He gave up his virginity around the age of fourteen, typical for one of his status, and he was not shy about playing the field, bedding his share of young women before—and a few after—his marriage to Princess Haylia.
Trystane, on the other hand, while he could have had twice as many girls as his brother—indeed, they literally threw themselves at him with an alarming regularity—but the prince only had eyes for his princess: Clío. When they were apart, which was far too often for comfort, he longed for her as much as she did for him. They were quite simply made for each other, and he wanted no girl but her; there was none so beautiful, so intriguing, so enrapturing.
Try as the young heir might, he could not get his little brother to stray. Liam fetched serving maids left and right—chambermaids, scullerymaids, once even their mother’s youngest handmaiden—not to mention young ladies of less-than-savory repute. He paraded them in front of his brother, declaring it was “time he became a man.” But Trystane would have none of it. He knew well enough what it was to be a man, and he also knew what it was to be a true gentleman, and he was only interested in the latter. Besides, to bed any girl but Clío would simply not satisfy him, so what was the point of laying with whores or destroying the innocence of young girls?
Still, it was Trystane who gained the reputation of a playboy. Given his astonishing good looks, women of all sorts were more than willing to let people believe he had bedded them, whether it made any sense that he would or not. An untold number of mothers even claimed their illegitimate children were his; little did they know that the very idea was not only unlikely, but impossible. Trystane Maquesta always did belong to Clío Ashworth of Anglica’a, completely, wholly, and in every way.
The Great Ruse, as the invasion of Majere by Altair of Kartha’an is commonly referred to, is by far not Trystane’s first taste of battle. Ruling a kingdom, retaining its power, often means enforcing the law with steel and blood, by the king and those who fight for him—the Lord Commander of the military foremost among them. Trystane has seem combat both within and outside the borders of his kingdom; and though until the Great Ruse those skirmishes were minor, Altair has picked the wrong prince with whom to play his deadly game.