Interview with Prince Egon from Rast by Christopher Hoare
Rast is the name of a magic kingdom, ruled by a sorcerer king. It lies between the shore of the Great Ocean and the borders of the land of Easderly lying two thousand leagues due east across the parched plains called the Undulains. The people of Easderly are our cousins, but more populous and richer in trade and agriculture. Due to the great distance between us we have only intermittent contact with them.
The people of Rast come from three sources; the Riders of Rast were nomadic herders who had moved from Easderly in olden times to dwell in the pastures of the Undulains. They befriended the farmer people who lived in the Home Valley between the Foghead Mountains and the Meronin Hills, undertaking to protect them from the North Folk and trading the products of their herds for the rannin grain they grew. To the west lie the Mountlanders’ homes in the almost endless chains of mountains lying across the routes to the Ocean. Nominally a subject peoples. Rast claims no tribute from them as long as they trade their Mooler cheese and other products for rannin and act as a link to the cousins of the farmer people who fish beside the Ocean.
To the north of Rast lies the lands of the North Folk, a secretive and unfriendly people who periodically undertake a huge migration to occupy Rast. One of the main duties of the Sorcerer King is to keep a watch upon them. To the south of the Undulains is a huge extent of desert where no one lives, but in the mountains that extend south from Rast are the nests and hives of the part human Krachins who would also trespass into Rast if given the opportunity.
What is the calamity you face in the story?
Rast is beset by many calamities at once. My father, the Drogar, has ruled for almost thirty years and the strain of keeping the restless magic in check has become to much for his strength. When he loses control the magic will burst from the retraints he places on it and destroy him. I am the heir and must take up this endless duel with the magic to become Drogar, but it is a task for which there is neither guide nor lesson and I tremble at the idea that I might fail.
Added to the threat from Rast’s traditional enemies during this interregnum is the new assault by adventurers from the sea, Offrangs who come to pillage or conquer with their steam powered monsters and their disbelief in magic. While striving to control the magic, and make preparations to repel Rast’s old enemies, I must also undertake to spy upon the Offrangs to learn how to defeat them.
What do you consider to be your duty in the face of these threats?
My first duty is to tame the magic in such away that I do not act with malice and thereby give it some chance to corrupt my rule. It may become either good or evil magic depending on the character of the Drogar and his use of it. If he is a servant to his people and strives to act always in a just and compassionate manner he may be rewarded with a long and happy reign. If he grasps it like a miser for his own use … well, I would rather not speak of that.
The North Folk must be sent packing, but if it proves possible, in a way that might see an end to this enmity of ages. The Krachins and the magic Deepning that would send them against Rast must be thwarted and scattered. The Offrangs are an unknown but they are as human as ourselves, and it may be possible to turn their imperialism into something less threatening.
Who are the people of Rast?
The people of Rast come from three sources; the Riders of Rast were nomadic herders who had moved from Easderly in olden times to dwell in the pastures of the Undulains. They befriended the farmer people who lived in the Home Valley between the Foghead Mountains and the Meronin Hills, undertaking to protect them from the North Folk and trading the products of their herds for the rannin grain they grew.
To the west lie the Mountlanders’ homes in the almost endless chains of mountains lying across the routes to the Ocean. These people are also herders, who graze their moolers in the rich alpine meadows all summer and work to perfect their cheese during the stormbound winters. Beyond the mountains at the rim of the Ocean live cousins of the farmer people called the Fishers. These were the people who sent warning of the Offrangs to Rast.
Do you have people to help you?
The Riders of Rast have a number of tribes, and each appoints a captain to lead their mounted warriors in the service of Rast. The captain most dear to my heart is Jady who became Guardian of the Silent Forest when her father and brothers were killed by Krachins. We grew up together and would be wed if it were possible for her to bear me a magic-capable son to be my successor. Instead, a cousin princess is sent from Easderly to be my bride and I had to send Jady away. We parted in anger … and the fault was mine … I greive that I know no way to repair the hurt.
Who else is involved in the troubles?
I can mention the Offrang adventurer Commander Antar, a bold and arrogant adventurer who rules his men like a tyrant. He seeks deposits of burning stone in Rast’s mountains to carry to Offran for their iron foundaries and expects to earn great rewards from his fellows for the pillage.
There is the Pythian, a magic creature living beneath the Palace of Rast who sometimes offers useful auguries and sometimes merely amuses himself with obscure riddles. As the magic slips from my father the Pythian, like all magic creatures, can gain a level of power normally denied them.
There is my mother, the Lady Guston, jealous of my love for Jady and determined to see the princess from Easderly received in all honours – as was she when many years before she was sent to be my father’s consort. The marriage arrangements are a time worn duty upon our ruling houses that please no one, but the lineage can offer no alternative.
I can briefly mention many others; Jady’s grandfather; the Magister of the Mountlanders; the Mountlander youths; Antar’s Officer of Ship Soldiers, Moxon, who watches me even as I spy on them; the evil Deepning Pools; and Bornas, the officer of the princess’s escort; all of them have important parts to play in resolving the danger to Rast.