Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much.
See also Part 1 Dreibrand and Tytido
Part 2 Dreibrand and Shan
Part 3 Shan and Taischek
Part 4 Dreibrand and Faychan
Part 5 - Cruce and Gehr
Relationships are part of strong story telling. A hero needs characters that love him, hate him, want to date him. As an author I always like to give my heroes friends to support them on their difficult adventures. In this 5th part of my 8-part blog series on fictional friendships, I’ll reveal how the friendship develops between Cruce Chenomet and Gehr Bradelvo in the Rys Rising fantasy series.
It begins with Gehr having ulterior motives. He’s a senior commander in a militia that defends frontier settlers from savages. The problem is getting worse. The militia needs more resources, so Gehr decides to try recruiting Cruce, the young heir of a wealthy family. Cruce is attracted to the chance to defend people in remote settlements. He feels he’ll be able to prove himself as a man if he becomes a warrior, and he pledges to serve the militia.
Although Gehr recruits him in order to unlock the wealth and influence Cruce can bring to the table, Gehr trains and mentors Cruce with care and compassion. Gehr would never shirk his responsibility when training any warrior. He knows how dangerous fighting the savages is. While training Cruce, he is careful not to expose him to too much danger too fast. After their first skirmish he leaves Cruce to guard a wounded comrade instead of taking him into the next battle. Gehr knows that he needs to toughen Cruce to violence in stages.
In this scene from Rys Rising: Book I, Cruce and his militia patrol have come across some shepherds slaughtered by savages. Cruce sees dead people for the first time.
Cruce dismounted and glanced at his comrades to judge their distress. The weathered face of the nearest veteran, Hance, was calm but his eyes roved the horizon warily. Cruce approached the dead shepherds. He swallowed his distaste and tried to appear strong. The cold had frozen them and there was no stench of death except for a faint meaty smell. The blood-caked eye sockets were black and unsettling. The absence of eyes seemed to make the dead shepherds less like men. Their faces were locked into painful grimaces and Cruce focused on their bodies.
He knew that he had been told to tend the corpses because he was new. It was a way to harden him to the grim adventure ahead. He would be expected to do violence soon. He must hurt people or end up like these poor unfortunates before him. The talk was that the savages were going to be more aggressive this winter. Their attacks had been increasing for a few years now.
Cruce stooped next to the nearest dead man and tugged his cloak out from under him and started wrapping him. It was a relief to cover the mutilated face. As distasteful as the chore was, Cruce toughened himself with his sense of duty. These men, although of humble birth, were his fellow Nufalese and they deserved respect in death. His duty to defend Nufal quickened from an abstract ideal to a solid mission. His people were under attack, and his proud civilization would not be left undefended against the artless bludgeons of the savages.
Cruce finished wrapping the faces of the three shepherds with their coarse homespun cloaks. He did not see the hands of any of the men. He asked his comrades if they saw the hands anywhere, and one of the veterans grunted that the savages ate them.
“Is that true?” Rayden asked, startled to hear something even more appalling about the savages than what he had already been told.
“I don’t know,” the veteran laughed.
Rayden looked relieved that the other man was only having some sport with him, but Cruce silently disapproved of the joke. After touching the dead, he had temporarily lost his humor.
“Rayden, Asher!” Gehr barked. “Get down and help Cruce load those bodies.”
Gehr and Padrek were stalking back up the slope. Gehr stopped next to Cruce and glanced at the wrapped bodies and appeared satisfied with the job Cruce had done. Gehr’s gray eyes then met Cruce’s eyes with a friendly flash of sympathy.
Cruce said, “Commander, could you tell how many there were?”
Gehr spoke so that all could hear and said about twenty five.
“Is that a lot?” Cruce whispered.
Gehr pulled up his thick brown hood stitched with red spears and rams. “Yes,” he answered.
Bonded in battle, the men develop a mutual respect for each other over the years. When not fighting savages, their carousing is borderline legendary. They drink and pursue women like they could be dead tomorrow.
Gradually Cruce asserts himself in the relationship more. He is more cunning and ambitious than Gehr had expected, but their relationship adapts. Throughout the saga Cruce always relies on Gehr as a mentor. Gehr is like the older brother he never had. They sometimes argue about who’s in charge, but they are always on the same side. The ulterior motives and rivalry that are woven into their relationship do not undermine the camaraderie they develop through tough times. They provide an example of cooperation. Despite egos and ambitions, they are conscious and comfortable with the notion that they are strongest together.
They will struggle against many enemies from within and without in a magical world where humans do not rule. Rys Rising:Book I is a free ebook.
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