Hey there, awesome Offkey readers! First off, I want you all to click on this beautiful link: Des Livres et Moi: Interview with Cayla Kluver. The interview is in French, but for those of you who don't speak French, Elodie has offered to post the interview in English as well (she is a translating goddess!) if there's interest. Let me know in comments and I will get back to her!
Over the last several days, you have submitted your questions for Steldor from Legacy. Here and now, he answers them!
Steldor is the son of Cannan, Hytanica's Captain of the Guard. He is twenty years old, on his way to taking Princess Alera as his wife, and ready to kick back in that throne with the crown on his head.
Offkey Readers: Welcome Steldor! First question. Why are you such a jerk?
Steldor: A "jerk"? Do you often invent words and expect others to find them insulting? Or did you mean that as a compliment?
OR: Do you really love Alera, or is your only ambition to become king?
Steldor: You speak of this as though ambition were the only thing driving me to the throne of Hytanica. The people want me as their king, and I believe that I owe it to my kingdom to fulfill that wish. Princess Alera is a lovely and well-bred, if somewhat naive girl. A man could do far worse.
OR: How do you feel about Narian?
Steldor: Narian is a child, but that doesn't erase the possibility of his being a danger to my homeland. Whether or not he was born Hytanican is irrelevant to me, honestly. He was raised in Cokyri, raised to be an enemy of Hytanica. Anyone who would believe better of him is a fool. He has no reason to be loyal to us, and we have no reason to trust that his intentions in coming here were innocent. We can't afford to be gullible in this situation, although it seems that many of my comrades are eager to be just that.
OR: Do you think you and Alera will ever stop butting heads?
Steldor: As I said before, Alera is naive. She has little to no experience with men and resists the notion of courtship and marriage on that basis alone. One can hardly blame her, but she will eventually leave her girlhood behind and learn to be a woman and a wife. Once that happens, the strain on our relationship will be over.
OR: What do you plan to do as your first action as king?
Steldor: My first action as king will be to evaluate the situation with Cokyri. This kingdom can hardly afford another war. We need to take preemptive measures against an attack, and truly consider what is worth fighting for and what isn't. I feel that the people of Hytanica need a fresh leader - someone who has been amongst them and knows what they care about. This kingdom needs new life.
OR: If you could have a do-over of any of your moments with Alera, would you change anything? If yes, what would you do differently?
Steldor: When my courtship with Alera began, I was unaware of her inexperience with men. I thought to kiss her after our first chaperoned dinner, and she wasn't ready. I had no way of knowing this, naturally, but her general resistance to me since then likely stems from the incident. If I could change an action of mine, I would give her the time to adjust to the expectations of being a couple before initiating our first kiss.
OR: Why are you jealous of Narian (i.e. at the palace ball) when you are supposedly so much better than him?
Steldor: That night was a misunderstanding. I'm not jealous of Narian. I'm willing to admit I had perhaps drunk a bit more ale than is advisable that evening, and I wasn't thinking clearly. But because of the way Alera had been treating our relationship up to that point, seeing her on the arm of another man brought fully to mind all of her inappropriate behavior. I understand it was only natural for her to be in the company of the guest of honor at that celebration. It was not Narian with whom I was upset. It was Alera, and for reasons not actually pertaining to the night in question. I'm not jealous of Narian.
OR: Why do you wear that wolf pendant, and where did you get it?
Steldor: The pendant symbolizes strength and protection. It was my father's. He gave it to me when I was four, following the death of my brother when I was living with my aunt and uncle. He didn't want me to think he'd abandoned me, or that I was in danger. I've had it ever since.
OR: How did you meet Alera and when?
Steldor: My father has been Captain of the Guard since before I was born and I spent a good deal of time at the palace when I was growing up. I saw Alera many times and of course knew who she was. When she turned ten she attended her first evening ballroom function and we were formally introduced by her father, King Adrik. I escorted her for a bit, then we parted ways. I was thirteen and my best friend Galen was on his first leave from the Military Academy, so as you can imagine I had other things on my mind. So did she, I'm sure.
OR: Do you really think London is a traitor?
Steldor: Whether or not London is a traitor to his kingdom, he committed an act of treachery against his position in the Elite Guard. He's a man who has never followed orders as he should and I was pleased to see him finally censured for his behavior. However, his history as a prisoner of war is utterly admirable. I couldn't speak against him in that regard.
OR: Why do you think you're the best fighter in Hytanica?
Steldor: It's not a matter of thinking, but of knowing. I received the best training available in the Recorah River Valley and haven't lost a fighting tournament since I was seventeen years old. Take for example: after my graduation from the Military Academy I wanted to enter Sarterad's annual tournament but was forbidden both by my age and my father. It was a youthful mistake perhaps, but I went anyway and led Sarterad officials to believe I was a year older than I was. Despite my disadvantage, I won the championship.
OR: What has been the greatest difficulty in your life?
Steldor: I was run through by a bull when I was fourteen years old. It started as an asinine game with Galen and my cousins, and ended in a months-long recuperation period. It's not an experience I would repeat.
OR: What was most horrible for you, growing up with a father as strict as the Captain of the Guard?
Steldor: The man is overly astute. If I got away with mischief, it was because he'd decided it wasn't worth punishing me for whatever offence I'd committed. He knows everything. I realize that now. He's not a man who's interested in fighting, though. Naturally we had our disagreements when I was a teenager (he wasn't especially happy about the tournament in Sarterad), but the worst fights we had were when I was thirteen and wanted to start military school. Admission age is fourteen so Galen had already started and it was the most idle year of my life. I was horribly bored and knew my father could have used his influence to fix the problem. Arguments resulted.
OR: Since when have you been a friend of Galen, and why?
Steldor: I met Galen quite literally days after I was born. My father and Galen's father were childhood friends, and our mothers became friends through their husbands. There has never been a time in my life when I was not friends with Galen. After his father's death he became even more like a brother to me.
OR: What is your biggest secret?
Steldor: My biggest secret is that my Uncle Baelic knows all of my secrets and he wasn't joking when he said he'd tell Alera.
OR: Do you really love your father or are you scared of him?
Steldor: I love him. And I'm scared of him. He would die for me; he might also kill me.
OR: Do you live in your own house?
Steldor: As soon as I graduated military school I moved into barracks. Now I have officer's quarters on the Military Base which I share with Galen.
OR: Did you always know you were supposed to marry Alera?
Steldor: The expectation has been there for as long as I can remember. By the time I was five, King Adrik had discussed the topic with me. No marriage contract was ever signed by my father, however. I think he wanted me to make the decision for myself, especially considering that marriage to Alera would require me to become King of Hytanica. He knows that being a king takes a great amount of independent decision-making skill. If I couldn't even decide whether or not I wanted the crown, how was I supposed to rule a kingdom?
OR: Have you ever liked/loved anyone else?
Steldor: There have been plenty of women, if that's what you mean.
OR: Do you think your life would have been different had you grown up with a sibling? Especially concerning your relationship with your mother.
Steldor: I think of Galen as a brother, so in that sense I did have a sibling growing up. My mother was obviously deeply affected by the death of her second son. Prior to Terek's death she had never dealt with any trauma of that nature - of any nature, really - and the incident left her unstable. Had things been different, I think my relationship with her might have been better. One can't really know. No matter what, I would still have related more closely to my father than to my mother.
OR: Would you have been as jealous of Narian had he turned out to be your lost little brother?
Steldor: I'm not jealous of Narian.
OR: Do you view the High Priestess as less of a threat because she is a woman?
Steldor: The real threat from Cokyri is the Overlord. I can't refute that the High Priestess rules her empire competently, although I've never lived in Cokyri so I can't confirm it either. I believe the woman underestimates her opposition; I wouldn't expect that from her brother.
OR: Would you have taught Alera self-defense had she asked?
Steldor: I would have taught Alera the only lesson true self defense training could have taught her - she's not suited to fight. I've seen Cokyrian women fight, certainly, but Alera is a princess. She's pampered, and she's a child. Furthermore, she's a Hytanican woman, and I believe she should be proud of that. Why she should want to behave like a woman from Cokyri is beyond my comprehension. With my instruction, the notion would have left her mind soon enough.
OR: How did you feel when Narian defeated you at the exhibition?
Steldor: It was an exhibition. The purpose of it was to entertain the crowd, and Narian and I accomplished that. Under the correct fighting circumstances, I don't believe Narian would have defeated me; however, he is well-trained and capable with a weapon in his hand, I admit.
OR: Thank you very much for being here with us today, Steldor.
Steldor: You're very welcome. Remember, Legacy is coming out in paperback in July with a brand new cover and a brand new edit (so I'm even more perfect that usual in this fabulous edition).
Thank you for supplying such wonderful questions! Now all the remains is to leave your comments. :) Love! -- Cayla