High Warrior (High Warriors of Rohan Book 1)

By: Kathryn Le Veque
Author’s Note





Welcome to Bric MacRohan’s tale, and what a tale it is!

Bric, as we’ll see in these pages, is a big Irish knight who is both an invincible and flawed man. There is no one tougher than he is and no one as fearless or fearsome. I’ve written about a lot of fearsome knights – in fact, all of my heroes are quite fearsome in their own right – but Bric has something special about him that just makes him extraordinarily bad-ass. But when men who have that intense command-and-control personality fall, they fall hard because they have no experience otherwise.

What Bric suffers from, as you will see, is essentially a mild form of PTSD. There are severe forms that affect modern soldiers, but battle fatigue and PTSD have been affecting warriors as long as there have been battles. It was only until modern times that we really came to understand what it was (it was actually diagnosed back in the Regency period), but before that, no one really understood it and considered it cowardice.

It’s interesting to note that a 14th century knight named Geoffroi de Charny wrote about the mental instability of knights who have suffered much in battle. But in my research, a Medievalist familiar with de Charny’s work made a distinct point between Medieval warriors and today’s modern soldier – Medieval knights were born into the warrior life, and modern-day soldiers aren’t.

From a very early age, medieval knights were trained as warriors and saw brutality that few did. Therefore, warring was, literally, the only life they knew, so mental fatigue and all that came about differently for them. They’d never known a “civilian” life, only to be thrust into the brutalities of war like today’s modern soldier is. So, it’s a completely different kind of “battle fatigue” when it comes to the medieval knight and a different mindset for those who observed it.

The House of de Winter features heavily in this book because Bric is the captain of the guard, so I should explain the family tree because he is also related to them – my novel Lespada is the main de Winter story. So if you haven’t read it, you should. But a little about the de Winter family – Daveigh (pronounced Day-vee) de Winter is head of the House of de Winter at this point. His father, Davyss de Winter the First, is the great-grandson of Denis de Winter (WARWOLFE), descendant of the Visigoths.

Now, here’s where it becomes a little complicated – Daveigh is Davyss’ eldest son from his first wife. When the first wife passed away, Davyss the First married again and his second wife gave birth to Grayson, who is Davyss de Winter the Second’s father. Daveigh married an Irish woman, and that is how Bric came to serve the House of de Winter – as part of her dowry – but Daveigh and his wife never had any children, which is how Davyss II ended up with the de Winter sword, Lespada. The eldest de Winter male always carries that sword, and Davyss the Second was the next in line after Daveigh passed on.

Because Davyss the First married a bastard daughter of the Earl of Norfolk, he was given a title upon his marriage – something Hugh Bigod, the earl, had to petition the king for (because barons can only be given lands and titles from the king). A donation to Henry (then-king), and Bigod’s bastard daughter received the title of Baroness Cressingham, a title that Hugh de Winter inherited when he married her, becoming Baron Cressingham.

All of these titles were passed down from Daveigh to Grayson (who married Katharine, sister of the Earl of Surrey and Simon de Montfort’s lover at the time), and then on to Davyss the Second as the eldest de Winter male. Davyss the Second isn’t born until about fourteen years after our story takes place, but it’s important to understand where the de Winters fit into the politics of England at this time – they are an extremely important war machine with relations to the Earldom of Norfolk. Kind of like Norfolk’s attack dog. And our hero, Bric, is the teeth of that attack dog.

He is the Ard Trodaí – the High Warrior.

Since this tale is quite complex (as far as family relations go), there are charts attached, something I don’t normally do. But in this case, it was important. Make sure to read them and their notes – it will help clarify the backstory, and how Bric came to serve the House of de Winter, so you can understand how everyone is related.

But lastly, let’s not forget about our lady of this tale, the lovely Eiselle (pronounced ee-ZELL). You can see on the family tree how she is related to Dashiell, and the house of du Reims. She’s a little lost at the beginning of this book, but she quickly finds her place, and when Bric falls for her, he falls hard. I love how she came to be his rock, the man who was always the rock for others. These two make quite the passionate and bold pair.

Lots going on in this book, so hold on tight, expect a surprise appearance of a former Le Veque hero (Sean de Lara from Lord of the Shadows plays a key role in the end), and enjoy the ride!

Hugs,

Kathryn





“Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends…”



John 13:15





PROLOGUE





20 May, Year of Our Lord 1217

City of Lincoln

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