The Cripple and the King reaches top 10 in Historical Fantasy and top 1,000 in Kindle Store!

Just wanted to share the great news about my most recent book, The Cripple and the King, which was ranked as #10 in Historical Fantasy on the Kindle Store this week! It’s been great to see the reception of the book and if you haven’t already picked up a copy be sure to check the link below!

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-Peter

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Cripple-King-Peter-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B07BWH8R8X

Lay of the Lore: The Areni Isles

To the southernmost point of Yennen, lay a set of islands known for their beautiful landscape and dark past. The Areni Isles have been the jewel of the southern lands for centuries as a landmark hub for any maritime commerce between the western and eastern halves of the continent. Founded by Bandabras of Barbany, a famous explorer of Lyrielian, or blood of elf and man as it is known. he sought to liberate himself from the shackles of his liege lord and so declared the Areni Isles as an independent kingdom.

Bandabras was a tall man, with a wide frame. His beard was blood red, stretching down to his chest in curls. Revered and despised by the same people, he lived larger than life, filled with ambition and a drive like no other. He set sail for Areni with a host of twenty warships, nearly five thousand men, women, and children followed his promise of a new life.

The islands were populated by a small native population that migrated there centuries ago, whom many scholars believe came from the south of Tanaria, a kingdom closest to the islands. Each island was divided amongst the native people, with no system of unified government. Bandabras was clever, deciding to win them over with diplomacy, rather than steel. At the Summer Isle, he arranged an alliance with the local king, marrying his daughter, Helia Fane. Soon, Bandabras had brought all the islands to heel.

His first actions as king of all of Areni was to assimilate the populations of his Lyrielian allies with the natives, adding the language and codified law systems of Lyriel while keeping the religion, known as Afel, the Lady of the Sea. Bandabras made it a key point to show the power of his people, building massive stone palaces and castle on each island so his legacy could outlast even his dynasty. When it came to his succession, Bandabras committed his greatest mistake, a mistake which haunts Areni to this day. Bandabras legitimized his three bastards, giving them each an island, leaving his trueborn with only the Summer Isle. As he lay dying on his bed, surrounded by sons readying their levies for war, Bandabras supposedly shouted, “to the Strongest!” as his final breath

Bandabran, the only trueborn son, isolated himself on the Summer Isle, shoring up his defenses and taking counsel from his mother Helia, who grew paranoid of plots by the bastards of Bandabras. The Isle of Calto, where the Autumn Palace resides, was taken by Thyngen, strongest and tallest of the brothers, most in appearance like their father. Melos, the island of the Spring Palace, was granted to Arioto, known for his good-natured spirit and diplomacy, born from his father’s affair with a Tanaric courtesan. The Comet, home of the Winter Palace, a dreary place of storms and rocky terrain where little grows, was given to Nasirian the Shadow, given the nickname tauntingly by his brothers for his bitter sulking at feasts and fairs.

Since their inheritance of the islands, the brothers’ descendants have warred with one another for the coveted title of King of Areni, though none have claimed the title, instead, they are locked in stalemates of bloody and costly warfare.

Thanks for reading, and as always, be sure to subscribe for more content!

-Peter

The Joint-Kingdom of Menidon

“Bonds Stronger Than Blood” The words etched on each minted coin from the Dweor holdfasts of the Menidish Mountains. This phrase rings true in the Joint-Kingdom of Menidon which was forged in a time of war and strife, where the survival of two peoples relief solely on their cooperation.

The Dweor of Baraz and the Men of Aradur had always had good terms with one another; the dwarves provided good steel and a steady supply of gold, while the coastal city of Aradur provided a thriving hub for trade in the region. In the later centuries of the SE, long after the collapse of the Nacian Empire, the ducal lords and merchant republics now ruling that land joined arms and sought to wipe out their main trade competitor, the Dweor of Baraz.

An army of some five thousand marched towards the mountain hold, led by a council of bankers and nobles funding the campaign. Immediately, the progress was halted for the remnants of Nacia; harsh weather in the mountains delayed the advance, and supply trains were poorly managed. This gave the Dweor enough time to send emissaries to Aradur, to beg the council of burgomasters to send aid. The council agreed to shelter the Dweor if Baraz fell, but refused any military support, as the fledgling trade city was garrisoned by a small militia which was rather poorly equipped.

Feeling defeated, the Dweor of Baraz fortified their keep and prepared for the worst. When the dukes and merchants arrived, the Dweor seemed doomed, for they had only two thousand volunteers equipped with generation old gear. By miracle, a single councilman, Tybalt the Brazen, arrived with a host of peasants numbering near ten thousand armed with billhooks and spears. Tybalt had resigned from the council in protest of the lack of aid to Baraz and went through the countryside rallying the common folk to his cause.

At the sight of this huge army, the merchant lords broke off their mercenaries, leaving the duke lords with half their strength for the battle. The Dweor rushed from their battlements and joined Tybalt, swiftly routing the diminished army and winning the day.

In retrospect, Tybalt was dubbed the Brazen for two reasons; first, he would have been imprisoned and tried by his own people for taking so many peasants away from the harvest season, which could have starved the country, second, he led an army of sick, old, young, and even some women. Tybalt’s entire army was a bluff, and the enemy fell for his deception. Even with greater numbers, Tybalt lost nearly a sixth of his army in battle, due to their lackluster equipment.

Tybalt returned to Aradur with his and the Dweor army, and strongarmed his way back into the council, swiftly removing his opponents and replacing them with men loyal to his cause. With the new burgomaster council, Tybalt signed the Treaty of Menidon, which combined the two kingdoms into an elective monarchy, of which he won the vote.

Since then, a council of one hundred, fifty Dweor and fifty Men, have elected their kings for life, always ensuring kings are picked by character and not race, though a bag of coins has been known to persuade some councilors.

The Wolf in the Vineyard, House Vandarian

Dating back centuries, House Vandarian has ruled the Vine Marshes of Nacia since their birthing as a cadet house of the imperial family. Stewards and masters of statecraft, the patriarchs of Vandarian are as powerful and ambitious are they are wealthy.

From their palatial home at Laprisil, wine and gold flow from the port, as well as the roads connecting to the other major cities of the isle.  Once their castle was to the western border, though it sunk into the marsh in a severe storm, trapping and killing near half the living member of the family at that time.

Now their leader, Rollo the Bloodless, makes his way to the capital to meet with the newly appointed king, Lucan. Rollo is wise beyond his years and was treasurer to the king’s father, Cato. Rollo’s visit brings both relief and fear, for the memory of Achea is still fresh in the minds of the common folk and nobility alike. A tale few dare speak…