Formed from many, now as one.
The Lionhelms are introduced from the first chapter of Fatherland. The head of the house is mentioned already in the prologue, and what is clear from the start is that the Lionhelms are the overlords of the South.
(Do you have trouble recalling where is what? Check this out.)
The Lionhelm family is said to descend from the great warriors of the Old Kingdom of Drixia, namely Alatros the Red and Warrior Queen Aelneth. Their last name itself comes from the bloodbath that took place during the Red Summer.
Red Summer, the day the lions of the Red Continent went extinct
It seemed that the lineage of Queen Aelneth was strong (and safe) until the heirs of Princess Vaethnil battled the heirs of her brother, Prince Rhofros. The “Reds” of Vaethnil claimed they were the rightful rulers of Drixia, not the “Reds” of Rhofros. A classic tale of jealousy and family competition; one could argue it is obvious why the Lionhelms are difficult as well. But to distinguish the two sides in battle, the Reds of Rhofros massacred the exotic creatures brought to the South by Alatros and wore their skulls as helmets.
Thus, the Lionhelms were born. Are we to believe Rhofros’ heirs won hands down?
Rule #1: History is full of lies.
If Fatherland teaches us anything, it’s that there is a bit too much mystery surrounding Aelneth, Alatros, and whoever came after them. Grandmaster Matillis, the Head of the Regency’s Occult Vault, used a lot of parchment on the topic of Aelneth’s crown and the stones that adorned it. The rise to power of the southerners seems to be linked to a set of jewels that may grant a bit of an advantage to those who wield them:
- The Darling Mind, a colorful stone of blue, green, honey and red;
- The Quiet Tear, an opaque stone the color of the night;
- The Gifted Crosses, three sun crosses that shone bright and ruby.
Rule #2: The family’s motto always matters.
Who formed what? Alatros the Red is still revered as this massive chunk of a man who slayed the major tribe leaders of the continent. It is said he came from the Far North, the Avoryon Hills, and stomped his way south with his mace.
But Aelneth? She wasn’t doing needlework either. Although her statue in Edgemere (where our good brother Hamley serves as mayor) represents her as a tiny, skinny woman, everyone in the South knows she was an unstoppable force of her own. The Sacred Sea Folk that lived on the west coast had joined her peacefully, and she waited for Alatros’ troops to be tired, depleted, and convinced of their own supremacy before counter-attacking. Somehow, that seemed to entice Alatros a bit too much.
If her statue in Edgemere is accurately depicting her practices, Aelneth’s enemies’ teeth were removed one by one and laid at her feet. Does the family motto mean that the South was unified in blood and torture? Alatros himself likes a good soup. The Lionhelms’ most treasured weapon is a sword called Silencer and its story too could be linked to the family’s motto.
Rule #3: History tends to repeat itself.
The core conflict of Fatherland rotates around Lord Tithan Lionhelm’s legacy. We are introduced to a plethora of characters linked to him, from his most trusted friend, Lord Angefort, to every child of his. Tithan is a bold man, one that cares little about marital duties but invests in every family member of his. He’s on shaky terms with his spouse Voladea, mostly because a) he has unfaithful tendencies and b) he denied her favorite child’s right to inherit Strongshore, the seat of power of the family.
Most importantly, Tithan seems to only have eyes for his youngest child, Tecla, but that’s probably because she is so young she hasn’t yet had the chance to disappoint him, unlike her older siblings. Fatherland begins with Voladea’s request to find Tecla a
good husband, preferably from faraway lands like the Sand Towers, just so the teen’s potential claim to Strongshore is weakened.
Little does she know every other child of Tithan has their own agenda.
The firstborn, Thaesonwald “Wald” Lionhelm, is a bit of a mess. This guy has been enjoying a fun life and had almost as many mistresses as his father. His wife Gwethana cares little about his well-being and lives quietly in their residence in Summerport, away from him and Strongshore. Their children are not very suited to rule either; Tiran is a pious, inexperienced and physically weak man in his forties, while Perren is… “Distracted.”
The second-born, Tylennald “Nald” Lionhelm, is a chill, yet vain dude. He’s married to the heiress of the River Lands, and they have two smart kids… who left. They kind of “CBA” with their family. Furthermore, Nald is said to have attempted to forge his father’s last will and that’s pretty much how he got blacklisted.
The third child of Tithan is Tesfira, a mouthy and pretentious woman who escaped the obligation to marry a nobleman and leave her home. She resides in Edgemere with Hamley Silverworm, although she is mostly seen around Strongshore with her son Deril. If she were to take sides, she would side with Nald no matter what.
The fourth potential heir is Theliel, a troublesome young man whom Tithan sent to Regency’s Treasure Council in hopes to offer him the stability he never found in Strongshore. Theliel is the one child everyone knows to be a bastard, the son of a mentally incapable woman, and he’s often scorned for it. The problem is that Theliel wants to have nothing to do with the Regency and its coins… or so he says.
And then, there is Tecla. Tecla, Tecla, Tecla… The child who is too curious for her own good and a bit too obsessed with myths, legends, and religion. Living in her bubble, she is unaware of what political marriage truly implies for her, and is not prepared to lose control over her life.
She will go from sheltered to sold to lost. And we’re in for the ride. Because who else should we root for if another Red Summer was on its way?
The war for the Fatherland is coming, we just know it.
(And this is a gif from Merlin, but Holliday looks a little bit like the Tecla on my mind.)