Out of the Vault: A Story of Young Kieri

Posted: November 14th, 2022 under Background, Excerpt.
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Back when I was writing the original DEED, I often wrote extra bits from various POVs.  Side stories, I called them.  Didn’t have internet, didn’t have any place to put them, hadn’t been published yet.  Some of those stories stuck to my mind and when, in time, I had misplaced printouts of them, and was back in Paksworld, I wrote newer versions in Word.  Various times, some older, some newer.  This is part of a group of incidents involving Kieri Phelan on his first independent contract for the Crown of Tsaia (he’d been a subordinate commander to other merc commanders or nobles who needed a small unit for some reason.)   Pargun had invaded Tsaia north of the Honnorgat; this army was combined of the feudal levy and one little bitty merc group: Kieri’s.   A single cohort, one hundred.   Siger (yes, the same Siger) was his sergeant.  None of the captains you’ve seen before; not even Arcolin was there yet.  For most of the people in that army, he was a complete unknown,  with no family, no friends, no history.


Kieri Phelan’s First Command

As the Tsaian army marched out of Vérella, unit after unit swung into line.  They were on the road to Pargun, to take back the land the Pargunese had invaded, and they were full of confidence and pride in their numbers.  The Tsaian Royal Guard, in its rose and white uniforms led the way.  Every feudal troop, under the small banner of its local lord, and the larger banner of its lord’s lord, and those highest lords–the dukes–following (and not exactly under) the banner of the royal house, the rose circlet of Tsaia.  All the nobles accompanying their troops rode, though except for cavalry units the troops marched.

All but one.  One small group, one hundred and one strong, infantry with short swords and shields, marched under the pennant of no land-holder at all, but a mercenary captain.  Maroon bars bordered the white center, and a small maroon fox mask smirked out at the world from the white.

Its commander marched with his men, on foot, through the dust that hung over the the whole army.  His clothes, maroon with white trim, like his troops, were coated with dust, gray or tan from whatever soil they marched over.  His face was masked in dust, his fox-red hair dulled with dust.  His armor coated with it.  And this dusty, increasingly unkempt-looking unit marched directly behind the Crown Prince’s entourage, because this unit–holding a contract directly from the Crown–ranked equal in standing–according to the Crown Prince–with any other that had contracted directly with the Crown, and the Crown Prince himself had dictated the order of march.

It was ridiculous, and many of the nobles or their sons had mentioned–with delicate courtesy–to the Crown Prince that it was perhaps injudicious to so honor a foreigner, a mere mercenary.  “If I’d known you wanted a mercenary unit, I could have hired you one,” Duke Verrakai had said.  “No need to deal with him yourself.”

Young Marrakai, his father’s Kirgan, had said as much to the younger prince, two steps farther from the throne.  “Any of us could have hired him.”

“Yes, but Gerry wanted to.”

“But why?”

“I have no idea.  I asked and he told me to figure it out for myself.  He’s a bastard, no doubt of that–no family anyone heard of anywhere…”

“Any history at all?”

“Was in Halveric Company–”

“Ahhh.  Lyonya, then.  A bastard from that family?”

“I heard it was not, but you know–bastards.  Some people don’t claim them.”  That with a sniff.  The Mahierans, at least, acknowledged theirs, which made it fashionable to do so and less fashionable–honorable, they would say–not to do so.  Kirgan Marrakai had often wondered if his father had sired any, but was afraid to ask, given the lectures he’d received as he grew into the ability.


(Part One)



  • Comment by Annabel — November 14, 2022 @ 2:59 pm


    Ooh, how lovely! Thank you for this – I’m looking forward to reading the rest in due course.

  • Comment by Jim DeWItt — November 14, 2022 @ 6:40 pm


    An unexpected delight. We’ve heard several short summaries of this critical event; I’m very much looking forward to the details.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 14, 2022 @ 10:59 pm


    This is the newer version of it. Written in the past few months and then shined up a bit for its appearance here.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 14, 2022 @ 11:00 pm


    I’ll put Part 2 up tonight. I’d thought tomorrow but tomorrow’s likely to be busier, even, so best do it tonight, pretty quickly.)

  • Comment by Kathleen — November 15, 2022 @ 7:33 pm


    See, see…. This is why it’s ok that extra bits get written. We get to see even more about our favorite characters.

  • Comment by Michele — November 19, 2022 @ 3:25 pm


    I can’t seem to find all the installments. Would you list and link them please? I love Paksworld. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of young Keiri.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 21, 2022 @ 9:33 am


    Sorry, Michele…I inadvertently made some mistakes intitling. But they are the only posts to this group since 11/14 when I started this series. Look for “Out of the Vault (partial title) on Nov. 14 and “Kieri’s First Command: Part 2, then “Kieri’s First Command, Part 3” and “Kieri’s First Command” Part 4: all came out on November 14. After that I switched to Roman numerals for the parts: V, VI, VII…. for no logical reason but misremembering how I’d numbered the others. There are ten sections altogether.

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