What is A Drowned Kingdom About?
Once Second Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the known world, Othrun now leads the last survivors of his exiled people into an uncertain future far across the Shimmering Sea from their ancestral home, now lost beneath the waves. With his Single God binding his knights to chivalric oaths, intent on wiping out idolatry and pagan worship, they will have to carve out a new kingdom on this mysterious continent―a continent that has for centuries been ravaged by warlords competing for supremacy and mages channeling the mystic powers of the elements―and unite the continent under godly rule.
With a troubled past, a cursed sword, and a mysterious spirit guiding him, Othrun means to be that ruler, and conquer all. But with kingdoms fated on the edge of spears, alliances and pagan magic, betrayal, doubt, and dangers await him at every turn. Othrun will be forced to confront the truths of all he believes in on his journey to become a king, and a legend.
When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place. So begins the saga of that kingdom, and the man who would rule it all.
I stood there, and wept.
I wept not because I had lost so much privilege, my lands, my sigil, and my rank. I was once the Second Prince, and thus second in line to the throne of the greatest kingdom the world had ever seen. I was Second Prince and born with all the advantages accorded to one of my noble birth. But I was Second Prince no more, and no longer able to claim that lofty title. Yet it was not for having lost the position of Second Prince that I wept. Losing my inheritance was lamentable, but that loss could have been even sadder, as I could have lost my head along with my rank. Certainly, that would have saddened me. Still, all that loss was not why I wept.
I wept because no one lived that might cut off my head anymore. I wept, crushed by the enormity of it all. I wept, for none of it was supposed to happen. God help me, I thought, as I envisioned the children, worst of all. It was not supposed to happen to our precious, beloved children, all the little ones of our realm. Innocents, with guileless, laughing faces, who’d lived faultless lives, not yet familiar with sin, all snuffed out. My heart was shattered thinking of them. They were just babes. I wanted to shriek in agony, cry out at the unresponsive, intransient, uncaring waters, at the unfairness of them all being gone.
I prayed for the tens of thousands of souls, but especially for our children. I finished my prayer and made the sign of the Triangle and the Circle, the symbol of our faith, to solidify my devotion. I touched the notch in my throat with my right hand’s index finger, drew a line diagonally to my right nipple, then another line across to my left nipple, then back up to my throat. With that same finger resting on my throat for a moment, I drew an imaginary circle on my chest that would surround the triangle, counter-clockwise, until I reached my throat again. That was the sign, the warding, and the invocation of our Single God, whom I prayed would take the poor dear children into His bosom. That sign was known all over the known world, amongst the godly and the pagan.
It was the most revered sign on the earth, invented by the most revered priest to walk that earth, who was the father of the founder of our race. I wondered how our founder’s father—who perished at the hands of his own son—had felt as he offered himself to the blade of martyrdom. Was he scared, in his last moments? Was he in the ecstasy of sacrifice, of knowing that in death he would soon be close to the Single God? Was he blinded by hatred of his own son for his murder? I knew something of hatred between fathers and sons and thought it was a distinct possibility. Had he felt humbled and unworthy that he should be the catalyst for ensuring our people found their way to the true God? Just as the knife plunged down into his breast, had he felt betrayed by the Single God that he must give up his life? Did he have a crisis of faith in those last moments? Had he felt deserted, as I did under the weight of my responsibilities, despite all those I had with me, and all the potential that lay before me? Had he felt alone?
I was alone too, except for the few men who were steering the ship or tending to the sail above deck with me. I was alone, save for the rest, below in the berth, who likely slept—at least those who could find sleep amidst the nightmares. In my mind, I could picture my survivors in that below deck, screaming, some wordlessly, their voices too hoarse to make any sound, their eyes bulged in horror, their faces constricted in rage, grief, and despair.
I stood at the bow of my ship, the Proud-Stern. From the bow, I had a solitary view of the dark, endless sea. Dawn neared, and with it, our proximity to new lands. My Proud-Stern was the flagship of a fleet of eighteen sailing-galleys, whose oars were all drawn up. So, seventeen long hulls were arrayed behind Proud-Stern as she sliced through the Shimmering Sea, sails stiffened in favourable wind. Our eighteen ships were a pittance of what we islanders were. At its height, our navies numbered almost three thousand ships. Yet, our eighteen ships carried all who were presumed to have survived from our kingdom. Each ship carried one hundred, for a total of eighteen hundred persons. I was alone, but for eighteen hundreds of my people, the last of our kind. I was alone in my sole accountability for all their fates, for good or for ill. I did not wish to be a martyr, like the founder’s father, but I would willingly die to protect all of them, if I needed to.
The reason we almost two thousand persons had left the kingdom, and thus lived, while all the other people had stayed and died, was that we—the survivors—were rebels. We were traitors to the Tri-Crown, the majestic three-part head adornment—part prelate’s cap, part warrior’s helm, part king’s coronet—worn by the monarchs of our island for more than five centuries, which represented my family’s royal power. And I, who was once Second Prince, was the head of the rebels.
It was ironic that I, Othrun, should be called a revolutionary, much less a revolutionary leader. I was the namesake of a man known for inaction, who had a reputation for avoiding trouble at all costs. A man who likely would not have rebelled against his wife’s suggestion of what choice to have for supper, much less revolt against the mightiest realm on earth. While I was not known to be a sluggard like the Othrun I was named for, and considered myself a vigorous man, no one would have believed that my considerable energy would be turned traitorous. But I took to treachery against my lawful king with such apparent zeal, so ably … as if treason ran naturally in my blood and was bequeathed to me by that indolent Othrun I was named for.
I made up for any sloth on the part of that other Othrun. I showed myself to be a man of bolder action than any in recent memory, for I had done the unthinkable: I denounced the royal sovereign, formed a plan for insurrection against him, and raised arms against the Tri-Crown. More than that, I lived to tell the tale. If there had been anyone left except the eighteen hundred with me to write the chronicle, I would have gone down in my kingdom’s annals as the most infamous man of my generation. But the cost of my infamy left me—despite any opportunity it presented—bereft, despondent, and almost numb.
Yet, while I was torn apart inside by the ineffable catastrophe, I would do the same again, many times over. I was a lord, a knight, and a faithful supplicant of the Single God, the One God, the God of Life, Love, and Light. I was a man who broke his oaths to his king to keep his vows to his god. I was shattered, reduced to nothing, but I was still here, thanks to that god and that god’s messenger. Meanwhile, that king I rebelled against, who had forsaken all he should love, all that he should revere, was no more. But I, Othrun, once Second Prince, lived, and I had nearly two thousand followers, the last of our kind. I had youth, strength, and wits. I also had a promise to encourage me: a promise of greatness. But that promise was achieved by rebellion.
A rebellion sprung from lust, betrayal, and blood.
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About the Author
P.L. Stuart was born in Toronto, Canada. He holds a university degree in English, specializing in Medieval Literature. P.L. is an assistant editor with Before We Go Blog blogging Team, headed by the awesome Beth Tabler. https://beforewegoblog.com/
The best-selling “A Drowned Kingdom”, chronicles flawed and bigoted Prince Othrun’s journey towards change, and his rise to power in a new world after the downfall of his homeland, which is based on Plato’s lost realm of Atlantis. “A Drowned Kingdom” is mentioned in the esteemed Kirkus Magazine’s 2021 Indie Issue among “Four Great Examples of the Genre” of fantasy. P.L.’s next novel, “The Last of the Atalanteans”, Book Two in the “The Drowned Kingdom Saga”, will surface in Spring 2022.
P.L. is an avid supporter of fellow creatives and proud member of the greater writing community, which includes readers, writers, bloggers, editors, literary agents, and more. P.L. currently lives in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. P.L. is married, and he and his lovely wife Debbie have seven children, and one precocious grandchild between them. When not writing, or engaging in author-associated activities, P.L. is a voracious reader, and loves to read and review books, spends time with family, tries to get some exercise time, and watches Netflix.