Random Facts about the Udynea Empire & the Kingdom of Tirglas
by Aldrea Alien
Hi, I’m Aldrea! I write fantasy romance in a variety of heat levels both within and without the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. My newest release, To Target the Heart, is an m/m romance and part of the spellster series which is largely set in the Known World, consisted of a single giant continent and a few outlying islands.
The story itself involves a pair of princes from two very different realms. Darshan vris Mhanek comes from the great glutton of the Udynea Empire that commands a great deal of the central continent, whereas Prince Hamish of the Mathan Clan is from the rustic, and largely rural, Kingdom of Tirglas. And there are a few differences in their lands that present a bit of a bump for both princes, leading to them learning to comprehend each other and avoid instigating a war between their lands.
- The royal family never leaves their clan lands. Not even when married as succession is handed down to the next eldest and then their children.
- There is only the Goddess. She is considered responsible for growth, procreation and harvest.
- Hunting down known ‘rutters’ (gay men) was abolished only half a century ago.
- Elves are rarely seen with the majority of those who stay having roots as refugees from the Udynea Empire.
- Marriage is considered legal for all manner of couples, but only binding if a child is born before the end of the second year.
- Everything is bigger in Tirglas, from the average height of the population to the size of their animals. Including the local bears.
- Those displaying magical talent are confined to cloisters kept far from the general populace. Their limited range of study means that a great deal of these spellsters are highly knowledgeable in the healing arts.
- As a whole, sexuality is considered a non-issue. With class and anti-elven prejudice being far more typical.
- Women are the last to inherit property or titles. Even if it’s an only daughter, all other direct male lines must be eliminated before anything can be passed to her.
- Deities are multiple and often overlap in duties. A product of their centuries of colonisation, which typically ended with lopping off the ruling masses and integrating the common people. Those who are worshipped throughout the empire are the High Mother and Araasi, Queen of all deities.
- Assassination attempts are commonplace, leading to the majority of the nobility being highly skilled in magical healing. Many choose to display their prowess by imbibing otherwise lethal doses of poison as party tricks.
- Slavery has been legal for thousands of years and, since the arrival of elves on the continent, a large percentage of the slave population is comprised of them. There is a hiercharchy with certain slaves of the royal family having the power to execute nobility.
- Spellster’s aren’t regulated and not only dominate the nobility, but the Udynea Empire holds the highest percentage of spellsters of all the realms. Magic is used freely and without fear of being prosecuted for being born with it.
- Due to completely conquering several ancient civilisations—such as the already crumbling Domian Empire—in the distant past they’ve the largest source of ancient knowledge and technology. But not always the means to replicate their finds.
About To Target the Heart
Prince Hamish has no interest in fulfilling his duty of marrying. Not to a woman, at least. That doesn’t stop his mother, Queen Fiona, from presenting him with every eligible noblewoman that enters their castle. He’s certain it’ll be no different with the representative of the Udynea Empire.
So when they do arrive, Hamish is relieved the imperial prince, Darshan, is not the woman everyone expected. Until the man kisses him and Hamish is confronted by the very emotions he has been forced to conceal or be punished for. Emotions he is eager to explore.
But the kiss proves to be a little too public and leads his mother to take drastic measures to ensure Hamish adheres to her family vision. The contest of arms will force Hamish to make a choice: give up his happiness for convention’s sake or send the kingdom spiralling into civil war for the right to love his own way.
Available at: Amazon
An Excerpt from To Target the Heart
The whole pub seemed to grow still the longer Darshan stared at the man, his expression blank.
“Bill,” Hamish hissed at the dockmaster. “That’s enough.” The man must have realised it would be the grandsire of all bad ideas to piss off someone capable of setting things on fire with a thought.
Ignoring Hamish, Billy continued to give the spellster a smarmy smile.
Darshan returned the grin, his tongue snaking out to run along the underside of his teeth. He calmly unhooked his glasses from behind his ears. “Hold these, will you?” he asked, waving the frames in Hamish’s general direction.
Hamish took a cautious step backwards. He couldn’t be certain if Darshan was merely posturing or actually planned to attack the man, but it would be better if he stayed out of it. After all, he couldn’t haul Darshan back to the castle if they were both unconscious.
He delicately reached for the glasses.
Darshan barely waited for Hamish to properly grasp them before he swung at Billy, clearly aiming for the man’s head.
Billy jerked back, too late in mounting a defence against the attack.
The spellster’s fist—heavily bedecked in jewelled rings—connected with Billy’s face like a hammer. The definite snap of breaking bone was almost an exhalation.
The dockmaster fell back, howling. Blood poured from beneath the man’s fingers, staining his blonde beard. At first, Hamish thought the ambassador had only broken Billy’s nose, until he caught sight of the dockmaster’s jaw. One side bulged alarmingly, whilst the right, the side Darshan had hit, was caved in.
The two men flanking Billy lunged at the spellster.
Sneering, Darshan flicked both his hands as if brushing the dust from his outfit. The men went flying, smashing into the walls. Neither one got up.
More men jumped up from their seats, agog. One ran out the door screaming. Not a one of them seemed to know what to do about the spellster who had made short work of three men; a foreigner who still stood over Billy without a care as to the bleeding state of his hand. Hamish wasn’t entirely certain it was even Darshan’s blood. Surely, with the force he’d hit the dockmaster, he must’ve broken something.
Darshan turned. He squinted at Hamish, then held out his bloodied hand. The fingers and knuckles seemed normal enough. No twists or swelling that suggested any harm had come to them. “My glasses, if you please?”
Hamish returned the item in question back to their owner. “I think this might be the best time to leave.” There’d be trouble once word of this got out—and a lot of questions Hamish wasn’t looking forward to answering. But if they returned to the castle now, then Gordon might be able to help him wrangle a more palatable version of events for his mother.
With the glasses once more firmly in place on his face, Darshan glared at Billy. “One moment.” He strode over to the howling man and grabbed his head. “Do not move or I will leave you injured. And I would advise against trying to talk.”
Billy stilled. Panic and fear flashed in his tear-redden eyes.
It had been some years since Hamish had last been in the presence of healing magic. But he’d been in no position to objectively watch either. Seeing the man’s face slowly reform to its previous state was something he’d never thought he would witness.
Billy’s cheeks shifted alarmingly, like a bubbling pot of porridge. The skin constantly changed colour, from the pinkish-red of freshly-struck to the bruised rainbow hues of blue, purple and green, then fading to trout-brown before regaining its natural wrinkled and heavily-tanned state.
Throughout it all, Billy’s eyes grew wider. He whimpered and fisted at his trousers. If Darshan hadn’t already stipulated stillness, he likely would’ve bolted from the spellster’s grip.
When Darshan was done, he released Billy’s head and let the man tumble onto the floor. “Call me that again and I shall do the same,” he snarled as he bent over the dockmaster. “Only next time, you can keep the broken jaw. Understood?”
Billy nodded. “Aye, your lordship.” He back-crawled across the flagstones, pausing only to rub his jaw and standing once Darshan was well beyond physical reach.
Dusting his hands, the ambassador returned to Hamish’s side. “As entertaining as that was, I think you are right, we should return to the castle.”
About Aldrea Alien
Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.
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