Thronebreaker’s regal tale is cast with rich, multidimensional characters. Some will join you as you lead Queen Meve in her quest, others you will have to face on the battlefield.
Meve was a young Lyrian princess when she married the king of Rivia — Reginald the Mighty. One day, her husband died, leaving her as the interim successor and thus ruler of both Lyria and Rivia. Meve’s sons were too young to rule at the time and the council deemed her easy to steer. It was the perfect moment to act for the enemies of the two Northern Kingdoms — take advantage of the inexperienced, bewildered widow who was just getting her bearings and hope for easy victories.
They were in for a nasty surprise.
Meve dropped the silks and laces, put on a gilded plate — and rode out of the capital leading an army, eager to confront her enemies. Initially, her generals were skeptical, some even refused to take orders. Beheading a few helped. Then, one after another, came the battles. Meve won all and forced her enemies to surrender before the snows came.
Folks still wonder how it happened — this young woman never received any military training, knew nothing about tactics and couldn’t tell a battering ram from a ballista, yet she knocked over seasoned warriors as if they were pawns on a checkerboard. Some say it was because she’s exceptionally intelligent, others that it was because she spent long winter nights reading generals’ memoirs.
What’s clear is that Meve has one quality which makes a great ruler — she’s absolutely, completely ruthless. She surrounds herself with people she trusts — and gets rid of those she doesn’t — quickly and permanently.
Exceptional at reading people yet difficult to read herself, she’s blunt about what she thinks. She speaks little, preferring to listen to others, showing no emotion, though she could definitely fake them, if occasion demanded it. People say she’s beautiful, with her flowing blond hair and almond-shaped blue eyes, but her beauty is more like that of a statue’s — cold, intimidating.
Very quickly Meve became a feared and respected ruler and she doesn’t feel like parting with the crown. There are some who wish that upon her. They are simply keeping their heads low, waiting for a good time to pounce.
Brouver Hoog is approaching his 400th birthday, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that over all these centuries, he’s acquired a few quirks. For example, he’s absolutely obsessed with traditions — everything needs to be done in accordance with the old dwarven customs, no matter how outdated or just plain weird they seem. He’s also very suspicious — and even verging on paranoid. He really doesn’t like outsiders and has nothing but disdain for dwarves who adopt foreign fashions.
All this would be just quaint — if not for the fact that Brouver is Mahakam’s Elder and his quirks have a nasty habit of being turned into laws. Brouver changes his mind about as often as he shaves and many give up trying to persuade him to go with the times — leave the safety of Mahakam’s underground cities and settle among humans. The life in Mahakam is thus increasingly frustrating, especially for the young, ambitious dwarves.
Despite that, Brouver isn’t a bad ruler nor a bad man. He may have his obsessions, but he’s still a seasoned, experienced politician, who over the past two centuries has helped Mahakam survive — and thrive! — in very difficult times. His conservative, careful politics prevented the Mahakam dwarves from waging doomed wars against humans and turned their underground realm into an economic powerhouse.
So, don’t dismiss Brouver as senile — or he will prove you wrong with his trusty battle axe.
Demavend should be satisfied with what he has. After all, he’s a king! And not of some insignificant, backwater little realm either — like Rivia or Caingorn — but of Aedirn! A land of rich black soils, mountains full of precious metals, thousands of cutting edge smelters and forges billowing smoke into the faces of envious neighbouring rulers. Instead, he is restless. Always yearning for more, with eyes fixed somewhere far away on the horizon. Demavend feels he’s destined for more.
Truth to be told, he really has the potential to be an outstanding ruler. He is sharp-witted, well educated, farsighted. A good politician and a gifted general.
Sadly, Demavend is also impatient. He wants too much, too soon — fighting all his neighbours at once, constantly changing his advisors, introducing sweeping reforms every few months, before the last round of decrees is even fully implemented. If not successful, he becomes increasingly frustrated and turns to simple pleasures — exquisite food, sweet wines. A great ruler who becomes soft and lazy.
Is Demavend a bad king? Hard to say. But he is definitely too eager to be a great one.