Literature: Black Crown
Black Crown is a set of short stories, the first published on the internet in April 2013, set in a fairly realistic medieval fantasy world. They do not have a single plot arc, but instead jump between perspectives whilst following the history of the world. As of now four have been published, 'Black Crown', 'Schism', 'Solace' and 'Maiden', as well as a short supplement of Lore.Black Crown sees the beginning of the Milvian Age, starting with the conquest by King Valerius Milvian in taking over his rival Kingdoms and subjugating their rulers, allowing them to survive as regional rulers within his court. Nearly two centuries later, war once more breaks out as a number of those rulers rebel against the seventh king in the Milvian line, King Flavius. Precisely how this war will end is unknown, but it will undoubtedly be a bloody affair.
Black Crown contains examples of:
- An Axe to Grind: King Marion in 'Black Crown' fights with an axe, perhaps because he intended to fight the well-armoured King Valerius.
- Arranged Marriage: Of a sort, between King Flavius and Julia; though they themselves arrange it, it is an explicitly political marriage on both sides of the equation.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: King Valerius is clearly a capable fighter, as are the Lords as shown in 'Schism'.
- Both Sides Have a Point: In 'Schism', both King Flavius' and Lord Corrigan's stances are entirely understandable depending on how you view a government's duty to its people.
- Cool Crown: The titular Black Crown is a gift to the Milvian Kings from the Northern Tribes, and is a symbol in Northern culture of both strength and humility in leadership.
- Fantastic Racism: The northern tribes are regarded by the south as little more than dangerous barbarians.
- Grey and Grey Morality: Depending on your views about the conflict in 'Schism', either side could easily be seen as a reasonable way to deal with the situation. May become A Lighter Shade of Grey for whichever side you take.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted or played straight depending on who you define to be the 'hero'; in Black Crown, King Valerius fights with a sword, but his rival King Marion fights with an axe.
- Marry for Love: In 'Maiden', Julia's protector Sir Lane brings up this; she doesn't seem that bothered about the idea, to his apparent disapproval. Conversely King Flavius seems like he would prefer this, but is convinced otherwise.
- Meaningful Name: The Royal Family's name is 'Milvian' in reference to the bridge at which Emperor Constantine won a famous battle which allowed him to take over the Western Roman Empire. The first short story, simply entitled 'Black Crown', is framed around a battle on a bridge. Also, both 'Valerius' and 'Flavius' were part of Constantine's full name.
- Nice to the Waiter: King Flavius clearly doesn't hold a grudge against the working class, as seen in 'Solace', despite referring to the peasants in 'Schism' as 'the mob' and 'stallions to be broken'.
- No Name Given: The maid in 'Solace' is not named, simply referred to as 'love' by Flavius and 'the maid' in narration.
- Princess Classic: Arguably Julia, though she is reasonably practical, well-read and proactive rather than demure and submissive.
- Royal Blood: King Flavius, obviously, but also anyone connected to the families of the Lords; each Lord is descended from the last independent King over their province.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: In 'Black Crown', two Kings are seen fighting in battle. In 'Schism', the King and his Lords are seen discussing administrative matters.
- Switching P.O.V.: Each short story is written from a different character's point of view.
- Warrior Prince: King Valerius Milvian in 'Black Crown' commands troops and fights on the battlefield. The Lords are shown to be able to hold their own in 'Schism' as well.