It’s time for the best post of the month ─ that’s right, folks, a peek into the world of Falconsbane! This week I’m going to tell you about the region of Gadrei, which is a special region close to my heart because a good number of the main characters in the book come from there.
Located to the west of Zuar, north of Kedash and south of Colan, the term ‘midwest’ is pretty literal when you’re talking about Gadrei. The region is long and narrow, and with its western border being among the craggy peaks of the Black Mountains (Bauroks ─ finally came up with a name for them!), it’s mountainous country. Very hilly. The land rolls with green hills which ripple out across the country, and towards the north end is the great forest. Towns and villages are tucked away in these hills like wee pockets of civilization, where the people live quietly, following their own pursuits. There is a saying about the people of Gadrei: sokudai e dondys flyr vénna. It basically means that the Gadreians are quirky, and that it’s as much a fact of life as rain falling from heaven or flowers blooming. The one aspect of this region and its people that isn’t considered eccentric is its military.
While Nyan has its Falcons, Kedash its masters of stealth, and Zuar its jackals in men’s skin, Gadrei’s armed forces are what one might just call ‘basic’. One of the largest regions, it has the smallest branch of the military, and these soldiers are more suited to bolstering ranks and providing backup than being any main player in battle. Why? Well, there are a good many reasons, both large and small, but one of the major reasons is because their military isn’t full-time like all the others’. Their branch is basically ‘reserves’, and while members are called upon to keep in practice, they’re not required to leave hearth and home and live on any military base until called to war. Gadrei only has one designated military base, and it’s where basic training is done and other military related business is conducted.
To dig a little into the design of the Gadreian Coat of Arms, the antlers are those of a creature called an ‘alk’, which is basically a mix of a red deer and a moose with a bad attitude. It’s become part of the Coat due to the most legendary Gadreian in history, who wrangled a bull alk and rode it into battle. Now if that isn’t a sight to see . . . who wouldn’t want a reminder of that on their standard? As for the horn, there’s been debate on its origin. Some have called it a battle horn, others a hunting horn, and still others have called in an heralding horn. Whether it signals the call to battle (which is doubtful), the hunt, or something else, none can really say. There have been some who suggested changing the horn to something more befitting the quirkiness of the people, but none of the suggestions have been overly flattering, and so the horn remains ─ mysterious, a little odd ─ and that in itself might be reason enough to keep it.
Because of their style of arms, Gadreians don’t have a reputation for being overly exceptional warriors, excepting an handful of legendary and historical figures (eccentrics, remember?). However, unimposing though their forces may be, their spirit is anything but lackluster. Their motto, Solas aiph solas e hanna kovekh yanai, reflects the heart behind the Gadreian people as a whole. It means ‘one faith, one heart, many minds’, the ‘minds’ referring also to ‘personalities’. The interests of the people may be all over the board, but ‘whichever direction the petal points, each is rooted in the same place’ ─ and that’s what makes the flower beautiful.