In the year 83 after the first conflict, tragedy struck the northern kingdom. I was only 8 at the time, so I don't remember every single detail, but what I was told was that a couple of highly trained assassins sneaked up to the castle and killed my mother. The doctors said it was quick and painless, but how could it have been that way? She had her throat sliced across and it came up that she had a bunch of bruises during the autopsy, none of that seemed "painless".
Her death is what reignited the war between the two kingdoms.
Previously, the fighting had been at a stalemate, no ruler had made a move, and that was a problem, for 80 years troops were stationed at the edge of their territories, with no one daring on invading the other. If they did that would mean war, but for some reason, neither kingdom gave in, they were both set on conquering the other at the cost of the lives of their soldiers, citizens, and family.
I still remember that day, it was a week after my birthday. I had woken up, excited to see the returning vanguards. I looked at them with awe from the top of the castle, they entered through the main door, some were chanting and relieved from another peaceful night at the border. The situation at the border really took a toll on the soldiers. But it was finally over for them, they had been stationed at the borders for 3 years and a half, they deserved a break. The vanguard's leader, Alexi Trovador was one of the fiercest warriors the kingdom had produced, but he was nearing his 60's and had grown too old to lead an army.
My father was actually saved by him when he was around 26, some minor revolts had occurred at the edge of Abilene, the furthest city of the capital, and the closest to our enemy. That year a big famine had struck the area and many lives were lost because the previous king, my grandfather, hadn't paid much attention to that area.
Father was actually the first one to acknowledge the area, and he had planned on giving the commoners supplies and food so that they could survive at least another crop cycle. But, I guess they were desperate and confused, they were starving. Before the prince could arrive at the village, he was sacked and robbed of the supplies and food he had brought.
Some Abilenes will tell you that they thought the prince had come to collect taxes, that some were just too greedy, and wanted the food the king brought to themselves. But the current king will tell you that there were borrowers among the thieves. People capable of doing incredible things with just a thought. And they had captured my father for some unknown reason.
When news got to Trovador, a new recruit in his early 30's, and the rest of his unit that the prince had been kidnapped, he and his unit arrived in just 2 days. It was a massacre his unit killed almost every single one of the thieves and then some. With Trovador killing most of them, he then cut the chains that held the prince by himself.
The prince held a ceremony to congratulate the soldiers that had saved him. He gave Trovador a nobility title and everything, my grandfather then punished the people of Albania severely, a move that was really criticized by the people. 5 years later when the king died and my father ascended to the throne he gave Trovador his own unit to control. For 35 years Trovador leads his unit of vanguards as the king's personal soldiers, silencing revolts and keeping peace at the border. And they had come back from their longest campaign yet.
I saw my father's face when he heard that the vanguard had come back.
"Let us prepare a big feast for the vanguard!" It was the first time I ever saw him this excited.
"And get the Royal Borrowers here too, they need to prepare a show for Trovador."
"Immediately, your majesty." said one of the servants as she kneeled for her king.
"Alexi, I'm gonna need you to put on your best clothes."
"Of course father," I responded.
"Of course -what?"
"Of course King."
My father never wanted me to call him like that in public or even in front of the servants. I never understood that. Why does our family connections bother him that much? He always called me by name. Not once did he call me son, or something like that, I was just Alexi. I think I actually know why.
My name was chosen by Alexi Trovador.