Character Insights - Count Cavian of Lonnac
Introduced: The Falcon and The Stag
Character Included in: The Falcon and The Stag & Shadow of the Sword
Description: Tall, a quiet sense of command, golden hair, strong build, green eyes.
Character: Cavian Greyhead is nearly the last of the Greyhead line as introduced in The Falcon and The Stag. He and his older sister were left orphaned when an unknown sickness took both of their parents. This left Cavian as the sole heir to Lonnac - the Greyhead estates.
However, at the time Cavian was still training in Alamore as a squire. It was decided that he leave a steward in his place at Lonnac as he complete his knighthood in the King's castle since the Greyhead family has been closely linked to the royals for generations and he felt it important to remain there.
He was glad of the chance to stay there as his best friend, Prince Paradon of Alamore, offered support to him in his time of mourning. Cavian struggled with the loss of his parents, the responsibility looming of being a Count at eighteen, and trying to keep up with practice. He began losing great amounts of sleep, restless pacing, and his work as a squire became sloppy and threatened his place in Alamore.
Determined to keep Cavian from being revoked his position in the castle, Prince Paradon decided to take matters into his own hands and dragged Cavian with him when he snuck away from court to join a tournament a smaller Alamore castle on the southern part of the country. This was certainly a distraction - Cavian was on edge keeping track of the Prince and trying to keep him safe as no one else had any idea where the crown heir had gone. He was forced to stay on high alert, not letting his mind wander at all for fear of mercenaries, rouges, bandits, or assassins that might be on their path or in the tournament itself.
During the tournament, he was livid to find that Paradon had entered him in the sword fighting classes in order to help him "lighten up."
Cavian, out of practice with a blade, nearly lost the first round but regained his footing and defeated his competitor. It was then that he felt the stir of life through his veins again, the age old desire to become a knight. It was then, too, as Paradon thumped him on the back and he told the Prince he wouldn't ever forgive him, that a girl from the crowd approached them. She had recognized Paradon, despite his best attempts to keep himself discrete and hidden with hoods and armor. This girl, the daughter of the castle's governing Lord, informed them that her father was considering sending her to Alamore as a lady of court. However, he had recently started to voice trepidations as his finest knight, a young and arrogant man name Sir Lebran, had asked him for her hand in marriage. She asked that, after the tournament, Prince Paradon approach him and convince him to let her leave. It was that or she would announce who he truly was - which meant no one would care to compete against the Prince of Alamore.
Paradon, laughing, agreed wholeheartedly.
Cavian found it impossible to speak in her presence, left wordless by her vivid green eyes and chestnut hair and quiet intelligence. She'd smiled at him, congratulated him, and wished him luck in the remaining sword matches. She told him she would love to see a squire defeat Sir Lebran. As Cavian couldn't find words, Paradon assured her that Cavian, though a token of luck would probably help. The girl kissed Cavian on the cheek and fled back to the crowd.
Not a single swordsman came near defeating Cavian for the remainder of the day and, when they left the following morning to return to Alamore, they rode as a party of three: Prince Paradon, Cavian of Lonnac, and Anara - the Lord's daughter.
Cavian completed his training for knighthood while courting Anara. On his eighteenth birthday, he was officially introduced to court as Count of Lonnac. Two months later, he was knighted in Alamore - the last ever to be knighted by King Valren, who died three weeks later.
At King Paradon's coronation, after saving Paradon's life from a would-be assassin, Cavian asked Anara's father for permission to marry her. They were wed that fall in Lonnac, where King Paradon was introduced to a friend of Anara that he would later marry - breaking the tradition of marrying royalty from beyond Alamore lands.
Anara and Cavian found much misfortune in trying to have children. They lost their first two after they were born, and three before ever meeting them. However, after many years of trying, Count Cavian and Countess Anara introduced their first heir to court - Kybis. It seemed to them that having another child may never happen, that Kybis would be their only one as they faced more heartbreak. They loved him immensely and, when Kybis was old enough to join Alamore as a page, they were proud and sad to have him leave Lonnac. The day that Kybis's letter arrived at their home, announcing he was a squire and that Sir Richard had asked to mentor him, Anara found herself unsteady and sick. Cavian was terrified, remembering his parents deaths. However, the healer had other news for them - Anara, far older than many mothers of the land, was expecting once again.
They were careful to keep Anara safe as she wavered between sickness and health, confined to her bed. Cavian felt ill with anxiety but, in a few months that lasted an eternity, they had a second son both. A son with Cavian's bright golden hair, with Anara's vivid green eyes.
They named this boy Colin.
They loved having this second son and considered that, as the younger heir, it might be best if he train in Lonnac rather than in Alamore. Kybis was in Alamore, after all, and he would be the Count in future.
This seemed decided, their hearts and minds settled on the matter. They watched Colin grow and rode to visit Kybis in Alamore whenever they could. Cavian had never been happier.
However, on a spring morning, as young Colin struggled to ride a shaggy pony around the courtyard under his father's watchful eye, a messenger galloped through the gates on a frothing horse. The chestnut animal staggered as the messenger, his face flushed, legs shaking, swung from his saddle and whirled about, demanding to see the Count.
Cavian stepped forward, heart slamming, and heard the news that broke his heart, shattered his world. Kybis Greyhead, his eldest son, had been gravely injured in a fall. No one understood, no one had seen. It seemed that he had been the first to rise, to saddle his horse and ride into the valley beyond the castle. He had intended to spend the day with his eldest cousin, Cavian's sister's son, Carnell. But Carnell had ridden out after him. He'd returned shouting, yelling that Kybis's horse had fallen down the stone gorges of the forest, that the animal's leg was shattered, that Kybis wasn't moving and was trapped beneath the horse's weight.
Cavian, Anara, and Colin rode for Alamore within the hour of the messengers arrival. They found Carnell too distraught to speak. He only pointed to the chamber known as The Final Farewell. They rushed in, Colin shaking in confusion and fear, to find Sir Richard bent over Kybis's body on the plinth, silently sobbing. Kybis had already passed. Richard, stepped away at their arrival, he let Cavian and Anara approach their son. Colin hung back, terrified as his parents broke before his eyes. He could only stare at his bother, his face too pale, and feel his own tears silently well and fall down his cheeks.
The first comfort he received was a quiet hand that gripped his shoulder. He'd only recognized the man who'd come to stand with him by his face. The man's stony blue eyes were overly bright, but he stood as a silent guardian with Colin until Cavian staggered back from his son.
He caught sight of Ross and threw his arms around the knight, his friend, a man who understood the agony. He'd shaken with grief, with a howl of pain that tore his chest apart, shattered his heart.
When Cavian and Anara did leave, a wagon carrying Kybis's body accompanying them, Cavian took Ross aside. He explained that now, without Kybis, Colin would be Count. Without Kybis, it would be Colin's duty to come to Alamore and train, starting as a page, after Kybis had been laid to rest. He asked that Ross ensure nothing ever happened to Colin, that he watched over him when Cavian couldn't be in Alamore too.
Ross was there the day Kybis was buried. He remained in Lonnac for the week that followed and, when he left, he brought Colin back to Alamore with him. Cavian and Anara watched with tears in their eyes and the weight of pain in their chests.
Cavian never truly could come to rest with Kybis's death. Things felt wrong to him. He'd known his son as an intelligent horseman, someone not foolish enough to ride to the top of the stone gorges in the forests. He spent hours, days, weeks, considering this and pacing. He felt something was wrong, something was off.
The answer came to him in the night, the piece that seemed strange. He voiced his thoughts to Anara. They agreed to find answers, to find peace through some form of justice.
Anara's health, never strong, failed before they could. She was overcome with sickness and passed in the days that followed. She was delirious with fever. She told Cavian that Kybis wanted to show her something, that he was near.
Cavian knew it was the end for his beloved. His heart broke.
It wasn't long before the darkness returned for him. It wasn't long before Cavian, too, could see Kybis waiting in the shadows.
Cavian passed two days after Anara. Two days that he spent hiding away, his grief shattering him, knowing the truth and the dangers that he would leave behind.