Violet Sword Blade's plot centres around Mazzek Rettensauth, a youth from a country called Nareikk which is at war with an enormous nation called Danetha. Mazzek is an inhabitant of Hanasae, one of three small villages in the far west of Nareikk, which is destroyed by Danethan soldiers. The book opens on Mazzek waking up alone in a field of snow just outside his village, which he finds in ruins, his parents killed. Mazzek wanders into the village where he meets messengers of Nareikk's army, who then agree to take him to Overdain, a nearby town. There Mazzek meets Oscrael, Derrassa and Racen, three warriors who belong to a freelance organisation of freedom fighters called the Kazdriel.
Mazzek joins the Kazdriel in their base of opperations (the town of Jadina) and meets two other members of the movement, Jericho, an old friend of Racen, Derrassa and Oscrael, and Erinah, his young fiancée. The group moves in briefly with Jericho and Erinah, and after Mazzek uncovers a den of Danethan spies in the town, they are all sent by General Zaegrose, the leader of the Kazdriel, to Brimsail, a town which is occupied by Danethans. In going there the group battle with the Danethans and drive them out of the town, with the help of the forces of Merran Rettensauth, Mazzek's brother whom he had presumed dead.
On their way back to Jadina, the army is set upon by a force of black-armoured Cantharan warriors, who work in service to the Danethans. A battle ensues and both sides suffer heavy casualties, though eventually the Cantharans are forced to withdraw, leaving the surviving Kazdriel forces puzzled.
Some time later, a man named Xianorus, a Sjuran member of the Kazdriel, begins speaking at the weekly meetings that Mazzek and the other Kazdriel attend. He convinces the soldiers that the only way to win the war would be to invade Danetha. General Nahama and Zaegrose reluctantly agree to this, and Xianorus leads a crusade of Nareikkers into Danetha at a town called Dokeria, which is captured briefly by Xianorus' forces.
After some time in Danetha, the army finds its way to Fort Sarmenarin, a friendly settlement of another sect of the Kazdriel, led by a man named Baron Dulcera, where they spend several months. In that time, the Cantharan army, led by Zethix Dakrannsson, attacks and Jericho is killed in a scouting mission afterwards. Mazzek, who has fallen in love with Erinah, comforts Jericho's widdow and becomes involved with her. Shortly after this, the Cantharans attack again and eventually break through the gates of the Fort. Mazzek meets Zethix and realises that he fought him during the Battle of Jadina, Zethix in turn recognising him as the one who hurled a sword at him. The two fight briefly, but Zethix is forced to withdraw when two of his bodyguards are killed and a wound on his leg makes fighting impossible.
After the devastating attack, Xianorus and Baron Dulcera realise that Zethix is attacking because of the Kazdriel's presence there, and Xianorus agrees to leave. They do so and continue their campaign south, to a place called Corensanith in the Green Region, an agraculturally sound area in the barren north of Danetha. Xianorus' Kazdriel occupy the city and plan an attack on Trathusa Castle with the help of Nathaine, a local Nareikker, infiltrating the stronghold and defeating the garrison within. However, while the bulk of Xianorus' army is busy in Trathusa, Zethix, who had tracked them from Sarmenarin, invades and takes Corensanith, also releasing a Nai'shanuk, a magical creature, to cause havoc to the Kazdriel. In panic, Xianorus and his soldiers are forced to flee south.
After hiding in a forest for a day out of fear of being pursued, they reach the Theurnan Cleft. Here they find a large garrison of Danethans sent by the city Zamari, tipped off once more by Zethix. Another battle is fought and Xianorus is killed, naming Mazzek, whom he was on friendly terms with, as the next captain. Mazzek refuses initially, but Xianorus insists as he dies.
Mazzek is distraught and confused, and attempts to lead his forces to the coast, where he hopes they will be able to charter a ship back to Nareikk, but when reinforcements arrive via boat on the River Bjuane from Nareikk, claiming to be looking for Mazzek Rettensauth, who has gained renown. They present him with his father's sword, Elénai, which is magical. This leads Mazzek to want revenge on Zethix, and he finds him in the city of Dunac, a deserted city which was struck by a plague years before. After a short but bloody battle, in which Racen is mortally wounded by Zethix's second in command, the mad Taserks, Mazzek's forces flee and he attempts once more to charter a ship home in the hope of getting help to Racen. However, when an attempted assassination by Ceiden, a Danethan private who had lived at Sakrah Outpost, destroyed by the Nareikkers in the early days of their campaign, ends up befriending Mazzek and helping him by informing him of a series of caves known as Iluvana's Caverns, where, legend has it, Lady Iluvana can bestow magic upon worthy warriors.
Mazzek, clutching at straws, goes to the caverns and eventually finds them with the help of a Koatesh adventurer called Kain. The two make their way through the caverns, only for Kain to be killed by Janora, magical guardians of the caverns who Mazzek must defeat to progress. After fighting his way past four varieties of Janora; water, earth, wind and fire, Mazzek finds himself at Iluvana's chamber, where she explains the story of magic and allows him to imbue his sword, Elénai, with magic.
While this happens, Oscrael and Erinah lead a search party looking for Mazzek, who has spent three days in the cavern. However, an ambush by Zethix's Nai'shanuk leaves Oscrael dead and Erinah captured. Upon his return, Mazzek prepares to go back to Dunac and assault it again. However, ships from Mescanith arrive in the bay they are in, and agree to trade with the Nareikkers for several crates of their muskets; powerful weapons which are extremely effective in dealing with tough Nai'shanuk. Mazzek, feeling ready, attacks Dunac, and this time, with the aid of his magic and the muskets, manages to overcome Zethix's defences and drives him away, killing Taserks in the process and thus avenging Racen. Zethix is pursued by the Nareikkers and Kazdriel to Cainazam Castle, a large stone keep just north of the border with Lareoss, a country allied to Nareikk. There the Kazdriel meet a platoon of Lareossi warriors, led by Laherian and Fura, two knights. They take them to Lareoss and their town of Alemáthe to meet with Lord Roleharth.
They hear while there that Emperor Camadrai II, the leader of Danetha, now leads an attack on the town, using Zethix as a puppet. The Kazdriel and their new Lareossi allies make their way to Laberan, a ruined town in which Rullan, Fura's squre, grew up in. Zethix's forces and Mazzek's forces meet at the fields outside the village and the Battle of Laberan Fields is fought. After much bloodshed, Mazzek finally defeats Zethix and kills him by hitting Zethix's magic attack with his own magic, setting light to Zethix and enraging him, making him throw himself over the side of a cliff face. After this, Mazzek collapses, and wakes the next day in the camp. He finds they have won, and they celebrate victory, but it is cut short as another, far larger army, led by Emperor Camadrai himself, begins to converge on their position. Mazzek leads an attack, knowing that it likely will lead to their deaths.
There are numerous characters in Violet Sword Blade, both large and small, and on both sides off the conflict.
Mazzek Rettensauth Edit
- Main article: Mazzek Rettensauth
Mazzek is a seventeen year old boy who works as a farmhand for his mother and father in his village of Hanasae in western Nareikk. His father, Dezzarn Rettensauth, was a warrior in the Army of Nareikk, but had retired several years earlier, teaching Mazzek and his brother Merran to fight. Mazzek becomes a member of the Kazdriel and eventually a captain during the Xianorus Campaign.
- Main article: Derrassa
Derrassa is one of the three seasoned Kazdriel soldiers, along with Racen and Oscrael that Mazzek meets in an unnamed pub in the town of Overdain. Derrassa is a ranger and archer for the Kazdriel, and is resourceful, keen-eyed and friendly. He was betrothed to the late Ailstanae, and carries a sword emblazoned with the word "Aymlas", meaning "Always" in Lareossi.
- Main article: Racen
Racen is one of three seasoned Kazdriel soldiers, along with Derrassa and Oscrael, that Mazzek meets in an unnamed pub in Overdain. Racen is a wise-cracking and teasing individual, who loves games and playing tricks on people. He seems laid back and fun-loving, though he is a keen swordsman and a great asset to the Kazdriel, up until his death at the hands of Taserks, a Cantharan, at the First Battle of Dunac.
- Main article: Oscrael
Oscrael is one of three Kazdriel met by Mazzek Rettensauth in an unnamed pub in Overdain, along with Derrassa and Racen. Oscrael is a large, well-built and bearded man. He fights with an axe, and is brave, fearless and vicious. He is a mighty and uncompromising warrior, and saves the life of Xianorus at the Battle of Theurnan Cleft. Oscrael falls near Tarethec Bay, killed by an unnamed Nai'shanuk Leader.
- Main article: Jericho Sanirasa
Jericho is a crossbowman of the Kazdriel, and a good friend of Oscrael, Racen and Derrassa. He is betrothed to Erinah Resoni, and the two are due to be married in a year when Mazzek meets them in Jadina. Jericho ends up disliking Mazzek because of his feelings for Erinah, and eventually dies at the hands of Danethans south of Fort Sarmenarin.
- Main article: Erinah Resoni
Erinah is a female member of the Kazdriel, who is first met in the book with Jericho Sanirasa, her fiancée. Erinah fights alongside the Kazdriel in the Xianorus Campaign, her weapon of choice being a rapier. Erinah is shown as being kind-hearted, understanding and philosophical. She begins a relationship with Mazzek after Jericho dies at Fort Sarmenarin.
- Main article Xianorus
Xianorus is the Sjuran captain of the Kazdriel who leads his own army into Danetha in the Xianorus Campaign, named after him. He is a friendly and likeable individual, but occasionally has lapses in judgement and is not well trusted by most of the Kazdriel. Oscrael in particular has reservations towards him, and is suspicious of his story, calling him a spy on numerous occasions. Xianorus falls during the Battle of Theurnan Cleft to numerous Danethans, naming Mazzek (who was with him at the time) as the captain of the army.
Other Protagonists Edit
- Dezzarn Rettensauth - Mazzek's father, seen only as a corpse in the first chapter of the book. Dezzarn was an ex-soldier in the Army of Nareikk, though had decided to retire after the Sacrein Campaign and settled down in Hanasae. He was killed by a Danethan raiding party.
- Merran Rettensauth - Mazzek's older brother. He is met in Brimsail, and decides to stay there when Mazzek asks him to come to Jadina, but it is later learned that he was killed, and their father's sword passes to Mazzek.
- General Martius - leads the Kazdriel liberation of Brimsail, though he is killed on the way back, during the Battle of Jadina.
- Bareca - another friend of Mazzek's, met on the way to Brimsail. Bareca is killed during the Battle of Jadina.
- General Zaegrose - a fanatical and inspirational leader of the Kazdriel. Zaegrose, along with Nahama, conducts the weekly Kazdriel meetings in Jadina, and organises the Xianorus Campaign.
- General Nahama - an elderly leader of the Kazdriel. Nahama occasionally speaks to the Kazdriel at the meeting, but leaves most of the speeches to Zaegrose. Nahama is the one who sets Xianorus up to lead an army to Danetha.
- Captain Rutaris - one of the captains of the Kazdriel during the Xianorus Campaign, mentioned numerous times throughout the book.
- Baron Dulcera - Baron of Fort Sarmenarin. Dulcera welcomes the Kazdriel with open arms and explains the story of the fort to them at the feast in his tower, Kzahretoi.
- Mentharos - a member of The Watch, a veteran organisation situated in Sarmenarin. Mentharos has a large scar marring his face, stretching from cheek to cheek across his mouth.
- Vanoria - Xianorus' sister, one of three, who is met in Fort Sarmenarin. She has a job as a dancer in Kzahretoi.
- Lokaren - a young and shabby corporal who was part of a failed Nareikker attack in Danetha. Follows the Kazdriel to Sarmenarin and leaves alongside them, killed in Corensanith.
- Nathaine - a Nareikker who lives in Corensanith and gets along with Danethans. He joins the Kazdriel when they leave Corensanith to liberate Trathusa Castle, and finds he cannot return home as Zethix has captured the city.
- Captain Anaglan - leader of a force of Nareikkers who sailed down the River Bjuane to reinforce the Kazdriel and present Mazzek with his sword, Elénai
- Laherian - a vassal of Lareoss, Laherian and his counterpart Fura lead the forces of Lord Roleharth. Falls at Laberan Fields.
- Fura - a hotheaded and quick-witted female knight of Lareoss, who serves Lord Roleharth. She has some romantic interest in Laherian, and is devastated when he dies.
- Rullan Gaddersson - a young squire in service of Fura, a knight of Lareoss. Rullan is a pious young man, and comes from the sacked village of Laberan.
- Lord Roleharth - the governor of the small town of Alemáthe, which lies in northern Lareoss in a forest, constantly under threat of Danethan attack. Roleharth aids the Kazdriel by harbouring them for some time and lending them his forces.
- Main article: Zethix Dakrannsson
Zethix is the leader of the Cantharans who serve the Danethans in Violet Sword Blade. He is a sadistic, ruthless and cunning warrior, and is horrifically scarred, having been subjected to agonizing tortures at the hands of his captives before Danethan Emperor Camadrai the Mighty offered him a place in the army. Zethix hounds Mazzek throughout the book, until he eventually dies in a duel with mazzek at the Battle of Laberan fields.
- Main article: Taserks
Taserks is the second in command of the Cantharan military, led by Zethix. Taserks is a young man who was driven almost completely mad by the mental tortures of the Danethans when the Cantharans were quelled. Taserks fights like a maniac, and is successful in killing Racen during the First Battle of Dunac. However, he is killed by Mazzek in the Second Battle of Dunac, giving Zethix and the other Cantharans time to flee.
- Main article: Lorthes
Lorthes is the third in command of the Cantharans. He is a tough and strong-willed warrior who is loyal to Zethix through and through. It is implied that he was tortured both mentally and physically, and he speaks very little throughout the book. Lorthes falls during the Battle of Laberan fields, the last of Zethix's commanders to be killed.
- Main article: Critus Loersson
Critus is a Nareikk-born warrior who was part of an attack on Danetha planned by the Council of Avaritum in the year 1242. Critus' brigade was destroyed by Danethans, and he was found wandering the desert by Zethix Dakrannsson. Zethix took Critus in and converted him. Critus serves Zethix as an ambassador, and attempts to make Mazzek ally himself with Zethix at Corensanith. He dies during the Second Battle of Dunac, when he is shot through the window of the Temple of Dunac.
- Main article: Lady Dithasia
Dithasia is the spoilt princess of Danetha. She is the heir to her father's throne, but does not desire to be the leader of Danetha. Instead, she has ideas of being a warrior, fighting alongside her soldiers to set her country in its rightful place. She follows Zethix's Cantharans discretely to Fort Sarmenarin, and tails them from then on, until Zethix finally makes her write a letter to her father, the Emperor, asking him to come to Cainazam Castle in a ploy to assassinate him.
Camadrai II Edit
- Main article: Emperor Camadrai II
Emperor Camadrai II is the Emperor of Danetha at the time of Violet Sword Blade's events, and features towards the end of the book. He is a magnificent and a cunning leader, and knows full-well what Zethix is planning when he meets him at Cainazam Castle. Camadrai is also present at the Battle of Laberan Fields, after the initial attack by Canthara.
Other Antagonists Edit
- Ceiden - a young Danethan soldier whose home, Sakrah Outpost, is burned by the Kazdriel. He later makes an attempt on Mazzek's life, but ultimately ends up helping him.
- Orathes - a Cantharan who features briefly in the book, while Zethix is fleeing Dunac.
- Astix - another Cantharan soldier, whose horse is stolen by an unnamed Danethan in the service of Lady Dithasia.
- Cantharan Corporal - an important Cantharan soldier and personal advisor to Zethix. While unnamed, he has a fairly large part in the book and it is not clear whether he is killed or not.
- Nai'shanuk Leader - the largest and strongest of Zethix's Nai'shanuk. He speaks human languages, and is responsible for the capture of Erinah and the death of Oscrael.
Other Characters Edit
- Main article: Lady Iluvana
Lady Iluvana is the guardian of Iluvana's Caverns, a network of caves and passages that lead to a large underground lake which is imbued with Magic. Lady Iluvana guards the lake, and only allows into it the people who have completed her trials; defeating several strange, magical creatures called Janora and using their crests to open doors. Lady Iluvana is met by Mazzek and tells him the brief story of Magic in Untaer.
- Main article: Kain
Kain is a minor character in Violet Sword Blades, and is met by Mazzek while searching for the entrance to Iluvana's Caverns. Mazzek and Kain agree to help each other and eventually find the caves. Upon entry, Kain asks Lady Iluvana for strength, while Mazzek asks for wisdom. These are granted, and Kain becomes strong, but he cannot open the first door to the caverns. Soon he becomes angry, and is killed when several Water Janora stab him with their swords.
- Main article: Ceana
Ceana is a tall man from Mescanith, and lands at Tarethec Bay during Violet Sword Blade in the hope of trading with the Nareikkers there. He agrees to trade several ships which the Nareikkers had stolen from Demasca, a Danethan port-town, for several cases of muskets, powerful new Mescanith-made weapons.
There are several recurring themes and ideologies throughout Violet Sword Blade, the most prominent of these perhaps being the concept of war, its place in the world, and what it does to people.
Mazzek Rettensauth is, at the beginning of the book, an innocent farmboy who has no interest in fighting or killing. However, towards the end, he becomes bi-polar, depressive and ruthless, executing a whole platoon of Danethans without a second thought and pushing his troops to extreme levels of exhaustion to meet his own ends. He reflects and atones for his actions at the end, but can never escape his bloodlust. The purpose of The Watch, the bitter, sarcastic and foul-willed war veterans that fought in the Sacrein Campaign, is to show how war changes people from good to evil.
Revenge plays another part in the story, and Mazzek's "quest" of vengeance for his parents' death is mentioned throughout. As he climbs ever up in the ranks of his army, he gets closer to his chance to destroy the Danethan Empire. Zethix is a character completely built around the concept of revenge, and it has completely consumed his life. Ceiden, the young Danethan scout, also demonstrates this, when he tries to assassinate Mazzek. For the first time Mazzek understands what revenge can do to someone, and the consequences it can have.
Though Violet Sword Blade's story is completed in the book, the story ending at the Battle of Laberan Fields, where Mazzek ultimately dies, there is a sequel called The Starlit King.
While not a direct follow-on from Violet Sword Blade, The Starlit King shows Rullan, who was a minor character in the first book, as the primary protagonist, and follows his journey, ten years after the events of Violet Sword Blade, in the Lareoss Military to recover a little girl from the clutches of Belg Briaghan, one of the illusive Akurshai.
The book references Mazzek several times, and it is finally disclosed as to his fate. Erinah features in the book, and it is discovered that she had a daughter, Rhiane Resoni, whom Mazzek is the father of. Belg Briaghan, the villain, also has ties to Mazzek. He wants to find all of the wells of Magic, and absorb as much as he can. When he gets to Iluvana's Caverns, however, he finds that she does not allow him in, even though he beats all of her tests. She tells him the name of the last warrior to pass the tests, Mazzek Kein Rettensauth, and Belg decides to track him down. His journey eventually leads to the discovery of Mazzek's daughter, and Belg kidnaps her, in the hope that she can unlock the doors of Iluvana.