The Shackled King, Dishonored and Disavowed Crown Prince of Morlung
Crown Prince Valant Kaizingher of Morlung (Valant Nicolos Kaizingher; born 22 Machma AFA) also known as the Shackled King, is the only son of Tyanuus Kaizingher and the late Delliam Kaizingher. He is wed to Marguerite Kaizingher and has a son, Dmitri Kaizhingher. He was next in line to the throne of Morlung until the Heartfest Massacre, at which time he was imprisoned and his father stripped him of all titles and claims to any throne, leaving his son as the heir to the Morlung throne.
h2. Early Life
Born during a time of great troubles in his homeland, the Morlung Slave Uprisings of *, young Valant had little interaction with his father and few men outside of the servants and slaves of his mothers. She coddled him and tried to keep him from the harshness of the real world. Upon discovering his son was a “pampered and preened brat with no value as a man”, in the king’s own words, he took him away from his mother at the age of 7 and put him in the care of his uncle Lord Commander Gervuldt Kaizingher. From then on he was not allowed any of the comforts he was used to up to that point and began his training as a man of the sword. His father checked on his progress weekly lest he should slip back to his weak ways, his mother however was not allowed to see him for fear of her interference.
He was trained hard and disciplined sternly, but through his uncle’s tutelage and his father’s “tests” he learned that which was expected of him. His uncle taught him warfare, logistics and strategy, and allowed him to learn any weapon he wished. His father tested his mettle through torturous exercises such as throwing him into the Bottomless Mines of Thardul shackled alongside common slaves for a year, having him locked in a room by the guards who then tell him his entire family was killed and he is to be next, and gifting him with a slave named Dmitri only to make him kill him after they had grown close for 5 years. He grew hard due to these tests and learned to trust nothing or no one, except his father whom he viewed as a benevolent teacher with cruel lessons that must be learned.
By his twelfth birthday he had grown into a strong young man who his father was proud of, yet he was also twisted inside by his internal strife. He remembered still his mother with fondness but also disgust for what she did in his early years, he cared for his uncle because of his lessons and still blamed him for allowing his father to test him and he loved his father, his benefactor, his king but also his torturer. With this in his heart and all the confusion puberty brings he lashed out at those he could hurt: the slaves of Morlung. He worked them past the point of exhaustion and if they slacked he would have them beaten to the point of death, even taking the lash to them himself on several occasions. This is what most believe led to the Morlung Slave Rebellion, however it was not the only cause. Fighting side by side with men in the quelling of the rebellion caused a great love of battle and respect for military leaders.
h2. Military Service
Upon his fifteenth birthday he was already a veteran of many a skirmish with slave forces but had yet to test himself against “true fighting men”, so he joined his uncles military force and was given immediate command of a battalion. Six months later the Shimmering Sea War started and he was among the first to launch himself into it wholeheartedly. He quickly gained the respect of his men and fellow commanders as a masterful swordsman and excellent tactician. He quickly rose to the rank of Lord Captain and continued to serve in an exemplary manner.
He was seventeen when the treaties were signed by all those participating in the Shimmering Sea War, however he had not gotten his fill of fighting. He asked permission from his uncle and father to help their allies of the Emerald Coast against the implacable Xiuhcoatl Empire, and was granted command of half the army and navy of Morlung for it. He fought side by side with savage tribesmen of Ufatazdwa and noblemen of the rest of Adgara, here he learned a different type of warfare; guerilla warfare. He made great strides in healing the rifts between Morlung and mainland Adgara caused by the Adgaran Civil War. For while fighting against the Xiuhcoatl of the empire he grew to know the men of the mainland as if they were his own and not the backstabbing bootlickers his father had always painted them as being. During a counter offensive by the Xiuhcoatl Empire against a Tyrsaen camp, Valant rallied his men to their aid and drove the enemy back at cost to himself losing hundreds of men and gaining a sword wound to his right jaw. Only after recuperating from the severe wound, that left a jagged scar on his face, was he told that he had saved the emperor’s younger brother, First Commander Elrich Dramigon, and was recovering under the eye of his daughter, Princess Marguerite.
Valant was cared for and impressed by the warm reception all these “foreigners” had given him while he recovered. Elrich and Valant grew close as the battles raged on, however they both knew it was a war of attrition that they couldn’t win. He was sent word to return home with all of his men and supplies and in Gulubri *, Valant withdrew from the Emerald Coast. Upon returning home he and all his men were given a heroes welcome and they launched a grand celebration that lasted a week. His return however did not sit well on the prince’s shoulders for he felt a camaraderie with those whom he had fought beside and bled with. His melancholy was short lived however for only a month after his return it was announced that he was to wed the eldest daughter of King Andras Dramigon the self same Marguerite that had nursed him back to health.
h2. Marriage and Betrayal
During his campaign on the Emerald Coast, his family back home had been making major overtures towards the Dramigon family to reintroduce the Kaizinghers into the rest of Adgara’s political arena. Having learned that Valant and Marguerite had met provided an excellent solution for what was ultimately the Morlungian royal families goal, to create an unbreakable bond between their family and the Dramigon imperial line. After months of deliberation between the families, without the knowledge of either Valant or Marguerite, they came to a final agreement on the terms of the betrothal and marriage. Both families met and signed the marriage agreement at a celebration that was noted as odd because neither party mentioned in said agreement were present.
The first that Valant heard of his upcoming nuptials was at the feast thrown for his successful military action and safe return home. Though surprised by the announcement he could not say that he was not pleased with the choice. During the short period he had spent with his betrothed he had grown quite fond of her and knowing that as royalty he would never be allowed to choose his bride she was more than he had hoped before. The months of his “courtship” were a period of great change for him and his country, for not since the great upheaval wrought by his ancestors in the civil war had he or his countrymen been truly welcome in Tysaen. Yet now he was not only able to tread there but was embraced by the emperor himself as a soon to be member of that emperor’s family. He and Marguerite got very close to one another and found that they had a lot to speak about where their responsibilities were concerned.
The couple were married 6th Nia *, due to his mother’s failing health the ceremony was pushed forward so that she may attend. It was the event of the year and the newlyweds seemed very happy together. The union quickly produced a son, that Valant wanted to name after his only childhood friend, Dmitri. They stayed in Morlung for most of the time but visited and toured all over Adgara when they had to due to social obligations. Their marriage was the greatest joy Valant had ever experienced.
During this period of happiness Tyanuus continued the teachings that his son needed to take control when he became king. During his teachings it is said that this is when the king poisoned his son against the Adgaran royal family. Though the reasons for the events that transpired have never been laid at anyones feet except for Valants. He lived as a son to his father and as a husband to his wife for three years. Then during the wedding of Albrecht to Eleanor a plot was unleashed attempting to kill the entire Dramigon family. Mercenaries, bandits and even members of the royal guard who were turned against them attacked the Dramigons immediately after the ceremony. It is said by certain witnesses that Valant was at the fore of the attackers pushing them to kill them before they could rally a resistance. The attack lives on in infamy known as the Heartfest Massacre.
After the failure of his plot Valant was captured and interred at Blackstone Prison. He was not executed due to his status as royalty but he was “questioned” thoroughly about his crimes and he never said anything condemning anyone nor truly admitted to the plot himself. To show that he had nothing to do with the massacre his father Tyanuus disowned his son and announced the new heir as his grandson Dmitri. The questioning and solitary confinement persisted for three years until House Randar felt that there was nothing more to gain from his being treated in such a manner. During that time Valant’s wife had forgiven him in letters she had sent and once he was able to read it he felt an overwhelming happiness that worked to make him talk far faster than anything he had endured.
Instead of confessing to the guards, House Randar or his fellow prisoners, Valant wrote his “confession” in a book that he spent two years writing. “The Shackled King” was published and distributed by the thousands, its popularity in Adgara was second only to the Erymorta. The scholars who read it argued whether it was fiction or fact, was it a statement of intent or fanciful wish. To Valant’s credit he never admitted it was anything except “a cautionary tale that leads to a righteous crusade”.
For seven years Valant spent time between Stormguard Castle and Blackstone Prison, days spent at one and long nights at the other. The Randars allowed him to walk about in the day and visit at their castle with his wife and son whenever they came to call. He was almost a guest among them growing fond of several of the younger men who guarded him along his outings. He was almost at home and everyone trusted him that he wouldn’t try to escape if he gave his word that he would not. He gave his word newly everyday for years until late Rhaem * after he received a cryptic letter from an as yet unknown source. After receipt of this letter he flew into a rage that his captors had not seen before, it lasted almost a full week. After which when asked to give his word not to escape he said nothing but stared vacantly.
h2. The Shacked King
16th Ethelas *, an organized group of mercenaries and bandits stormed into Blackstone Prison helping Valant then escape from Stormwatch Island. No one knows how they were organized or knew when and how they broke in or out to escape from the prison, which is highly guarded and secretive about the inner workings. The letters to and from Valant were always read in detail and censored if the need arose for them to be. The only letter that wasn’t read was the one that sent him into a rage and no one knows even how he received the letter or where it was after he escaped.
Since his escape there have been several run-ins with folk calling themselves the Shackled King’s Army and the lawmen and military of many nation’s across Oropia. The only thing that folk know about it is it is a place for second chances and a way to escape from Adgaran ways and oppression. The scholars believe that Valant is attempting to build the perfect army he wrote of in his book, but he is using ex-cons, bandits, and mercenaries to do it.