|Keladry of Mindelan|
|Nickname||Kel, The Yamani Lump, Mother, Protector of the Small|
|Parents||Ilane and Piers of Mindelan|
|Siblings||Anders, Patricine, Inness, Conal, Demadina, Adalia, Oranie and Avinar of Mindelan|
|Lover||Cleon of Kennan (former)|
|Other||Lachren of Mindelan (nephew), various other nieces and nephews|
|Knight master||Sir Raoul|
|First appeared||First Test|
|Latest appearance||Trickster's Choice|
- "You are the Protector of the Small. You see real people in the humans and animals overlooked by your peers. There will always be work for you."
- —The Chamber of the Ordeal to Kel after she killed Blayce the Gallan[src]
Keladry "Kel" of Mindelan was the first girl to ask the crown to enter training for knighthood since the decree that girls could be allowed. The decree had come as a result of Alanna of Trebond completing the training under the guise of being a boy. Kel, who had spent most of her childhood in the Yamani Islands, had to overcome the prejudices of the conservatives and her fellow pages until she was accepted. When she became a squire, her knight master was Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak, the Knight Commander of the King's Own. Upon receiving her shield, Kel fought in the Scanran War, commanding the refugee camp Haven and killing the enemy mage Blayce the Gallan and his right-hand man, Stenmun.
She was the heroine and namesake of the Protector of the Small quartet; the name indicated that she defended the small and helpless whenever she learned of injustice.
Keladry of Mindelan was born in June of 442 HE as the youngest child of Piers of Mindelan and his lady Ilane. When Kel was four, her brother Conal held her over the tallest tower of Mindelan for several minutes, giving her a fear of heights that haunted her for her entire childhood and even became a problem in her training for knighthood. In the same year the family - except Kel's older brothers, who were already at the palace, training for knighthood - left for the Yamani Islands. Piers, a Tortallan diplomat, negotiated for a peace treaty between the islands and his homeland there. Kel spent six years in the islands, learning their habits and fighting skills.
One of her childhood friends, whom she knew as Cricket in the Yamani Islands, was actually Princess Shinkokami. However, Kel didn't find this out until the princess was sent to Tortall during Kel's years as a squire, in order to marry the Tortallan Crown Prince, Roald.
After her family's return to Tortall, Kel decided to try for her shield. However, contrary to the initial proclamation by King Jonathan, she was told she must pass a probationary first year in order to remain in the palace afterwards. The page's training master, Lord Wyldon, had an immediate animosity towards her, before he had even met her, because of his strong dislike for change, and his belief that women were too weak to make good warriors, Alanna being the exception not the rule. Many of Kel's fellow pages harbored the same beliefs: Joren of Stone Mountain, Garvey of Runnerspring, Zahir ibn Alhaz and Quinden of Marti's Hill all made her life difficult, with the eventual goal of making Kel leave. Nealan of Queenscove, on the other hand, befriended Kel almost immediately, and acted as her sponsor despite being a fellow junior page, who had only begun his training half a year before. Through her determination, Kel earned the respect and friendship of Merric of Hollyrose, Seaver of Tasride, Faleron of King's Reach, Esmond of Nicoline, Cleon of Kennan, and even Prince Roald. Kel and her friends slowly formed a study group, meeting in Neal's room until there were too many of them to be comfortable, and they began studying in the library instead.
Kel, who was already struggling with being "The Girl" and being teased because of it, also proclaimed war on the traditional "hazing". Hazing had been common among pages since long before Kel came along. In its milder forms, it consisted of making the first-years run errands for the older pages, so that the new pages could earn their way. However, Joren and his friends used the custom as an excuse to bully the younger boys. Initially, it was only Kel who roamed the corridors and picked fights with Joren and his gang when she caught them in the act of bullying the first-years. However, her friends—the first of them being Neal—began accompanying Kel, and the bullying ended once they outnumbered Joren and his gang.
But Keladry didn't only stand up for her fellow pages. She also rescueed the gelding Peachblossom from being put to hard work or even death by choosing him to be her horse while a page. As he had been treated badly in the past, Peachblossom didn't like people and refuseed to behave. However Kel asked Veralidaine Sarrasri, the wildmage, for help, and she and Peachblossom reached an agreement under which Kel was allowed to ride him as long as she refrained from using metal spur on him, commanding him via verbal commands instead. Kel also formed a close relationship to the palace sparrows. Initially, Kel fed them at her window. In the winter they began to live in her rooms, as it was warmer there than outside.
Kel was also forced to fight her overpowering fear of heights. Once Lord Wyldon realized that looking down from heights paralyzed Kel, he set her tasks that forced her to face her fear. Kel didn't resent this, but instead challenged herself to face her fear.
She was given the chance to prove herself to be worthy of the page title at the end of her first year as a probationary page. While on a trip to help capture a nest of spidrens, her sparrows lead the pages, their teachers, and a group of the King's Own, including the Knight Commander Raoul of Goldenlake, to the nest. When Kel and her fellow pages were set the task of guarding the rear, and were attacked by spidrens, Kel raised the alarm, and killed one of the monsters that was going after Merric. She kept a cool head and managed to keep herself and the rest of the pages with her alive until help from the rest of the raiding party arrived.
After the summer camp, Lord Wyldon surprised everyone when he allowed Kel to stay and continue her training for knighthood.
Her remaining three years as a page weren't any easier. Though already having proven herself worthy of her place as a page, Kel's training only increased in its pace and demands. Her lessons continued, and she still had to prove that she, a girl, was able to do just as well any boy, if not better. Meanwhile, she developed a crush on her friend, Neal.
When she returned to the palace after the summer to start her second year as a page, Kel got two new charges and friends. For one she saved the dog Jump from a cook who tried to kill him for stealing sausages. Although she repeatedly tried to give Jump to Daine, he proved to have his own mind and always returned to Kel.
She also took responsibility for the maid Lalasa Isran, the niece of Gower Isran, a palace servant, who cleaned Kel's rooms for her. Lalasa was a shy girl from the countryside, whom Gower had brought to the city, but who couldn't deal with the intrusive city men. Even though this would be another strain on her family's small purse Kel hired Lalasa after realising that she had been hurt by higher ranking men and palace servants, who would probably refrain from harming her again, if she was the personal servant of a noble. Besides hiring her Kel also taught her how to defend herself against a stronger opponent. And eventually the shy girl opened up around Kel and they became friends.
Kel lost her fear of heights when Joren of Stone Mountain hired two thugs to kidnap Lalasa and Jump. She was forced to climb to the top of Balor's Needle, the palace's tallest tower, in order to save them. She missed the page examinations that would have made her a squire, but Duke Turomont of Wellam, the Lord Magistrate, allowed her re-take them on account of Lalasa's kidnapping. She passed and was made a squire.
After her big examinations, Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak, the Knight Commander of the King's Own, picked Kel as his squire despite the fact that he had yet to take on a squire since he became the Own's commander. Kel built a strong friendship with her knightmaster, one that lasted a lifetime. She also befriended Domitan of Masbolle not long after she began riding with the Own. However, there were also some men in the King's Own who didn't approve of Raoul's choice. His second-in-command, Flyndan Whiteford, was worried about the possible gossip (i.e. the implication that Raoul had chosen Kel not for her skill, but because he had a romantic interest in her) and also didn't have much faith in Kel's abilities as a warrior. Raoul's standard bearer, Lerant of Eldorne, thought she would take his place in Raoul's service and disliked Kel for it. As time went on, Kel made truces with both of them.
When the King's Own was called to the aid of a small village that had been attacked and destroyed by a gang of bandits consisting of humans and centaurs alike, Kel was placed under Flyndan's command, having a chance to prove her worthiness to be Raoul's squire. She had to guard a lonely pass, but she ended up going face-to-face against a centaur, who she eventually defeated, despite recieving severe wounds. Unthinkingly, she reached into the pouch the centaur had been carrying. Too late she discovered that a young griffin was in the pouch. Though it was dangerous if the parents were to find Kel with the baby griffin, and frustrating to keep up with a griffin, she was allowed to stay with Raoul and the Own while Daine tried to find his parents. Kel collected numerous injuries from caring for the griffin, who had a sharp beak and equally sharp claws, as well as a fond dislike of cages and a very picky appetite.
During Kel's term as a squire, the Royal Progress took place to show Prince Roald and his future wife, Princess Shinkokami of the Yamani Islands, to the people. The Own, although being called away several times because their help was needed, accompanied the Progress. There, Kel began a romantic relationship with Cleon of Kennan.
Throughout her term as a squire, she feared the Chamber of the Ordeal she eventually had to face, and whose judgment she had to pass in order to become a knight. She tested her strength against the chamber on several occasions - mostly midwinter before the fourth year squires took their ordeals. Every time Kel touched the iron door of the chamber, the chamber showed her her greatest fear at the time. The first time, before she became Sir Raoul's squire, Kel saw herself as squire to Gareth the Younger of Naxen, a desk knight who wasn't involved in fighting, as if she still hadn't been chosen by a real knight. Later, she saw herself being crippled by a tilting accident and left helpless. The time after this she witnessed Cleon being killed. In the end, the experience she faced in the Chamber foreshadowed the events that would take place after her ordeal when Kel was a knight and in charge of the refugee camp Haven. She was given a vision of a man, and she was told she had to stop him.
By the time Kel had gained her shield, Tortall was deep in a war with Scanra along the northern border. The Scanran war clans that were normally wrought with internal battles had been united by a warlord who had offered Tortall as a common enemy, promising bountiful spoils of war. He also employed Blayce the Gallan, whom Kel named the Nothing Man, a necromancer who killed children and used their spirits to power giant killing machines that were very difficult to stop, proving to be a valuable asset for the Scanrans. Blayce was the man that the Chamber had ordered Kel to kill. However, before Kel could set out to hunt him down, she was sent off to the northern border to aid in defence with other new knights and soldiers. On her way there, at a wayside tavern, she picked up Tobeis Boon, a young boy who had been treated badly by the innkeeper for whom he worked. Kel purchased his contract from the innkeeper and took Tobe with her, making sure he was clothed properly and would get an education.
In the north, Lord Wyldon put Kel in command of a refugee camp, Haven, that was nearly at the front lines. She did well at her post but was constantly aggravated that she couldn't pursue her own desire to find Blayce. If she hadn't had complete responsibility for the refugees' lives, Kel had considered disobeying orders and going off in spite of everything to track Blayce down. During a trip Kel made to report on the camp to Lord Wyldon in Fort Mastiff, Haven was heavily attacked and would have been burned to the ground if it had not been for the magical protection placed by the black-robe mage Numair Salmalin. Upon reviewing the remaints of her camp, she soon realized that those who were not killed must have been taken as slaves back to Scanra to be used for Blayce's killing machines. In her anger and fear for the lives of those dependent on her, Kel disobeyed direct orders to stay and followed a trail made by her one of her young refugee children, Meech, who had ripped the yarn hair from his doll to leave clues. Many of her friends, including her fellow first-year knights, Tobe, Owen of Jesslaw and Domitan of Masbolle's squad of the King's Own, followed and meet up with her, not with orders to bring her back but to help her. They eventually caught up to and defeated the Scanrans who had attacked Haven with the help of the enslaved refugee adults. Kel told most of her friends to go back and make sure that the refugees got home safely, and she continued deeper into Scanra with only a few of her friends, including Neal and Dom's squad, in order to save the camp's children, who had been separated from the main groop earlier, and also to find and defeat Blayce, which she eventually did. Upon reaching Blayce's castle and noting the extreme poverty surrounding it, as well as the dead hanging carelessly from the sides, Kel managed to sneak in to the compound, and finally killed Blayce, fulfilling the Chamber's prophecy. Blayce's death had robbed the Scanrans of their major advantage, the killing devices. On her way in, she also killed Blayce's lapdog, the cruel Stenmun. Surviving both battles, Kel returned to Tortall along with her friends, thinking herself a traitor for disobeying her orders, awaiting a sentence of royal treason. However, Kel was surprised to instead be handed an apology from Lord Wyldon himself, who understood that he had given her an order she was unable to follow. He new orders were to oversee building a new refugee camp, which took the form of a fortified city and was named New Hope.
Kel stayed at the border after Blayce's death until the war ended. She wasn't seen again until Aly a vision of the new lady knight sent to her by the god Kyprioth. The vision showed Kel sparring with Aly's mother Alanna at Fort Mastiff, in which Kel lost to Alanna. The fight was interrupted by Tkaa the basilisk, who brought news to Alanna. Kel was still responsible for New Hope in her third year as a knight.
Keladry of Mindelan wanted to follow in Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau's footsteps and become a Lady Knight of Tortall. Alanna desired to advise and aid Kel in doing so, however King Jonathan ordered Alanna to stay away from Kel during her training to prevent the conservatives from accusing Kel of succeeding because she was being aided by magic. However, Alanna was able to anonymously send Kel practical and expensive gifts throughout her training years to show support and keep Kel's spirits up.
Gifts during her page years
- First year (probationary year)
- First day: Belt knife with whetstone in leather bag
- Midwinter: Bruise balm ointment with a strong healing spell
- Summer: Tilting saddle for Peachblossom, Kel's destrier
- Second year
- First day: Three oval leather balls for arm strengthening exercises
- Midwinter: Raven Armory (the realm's finest armory) supplies for cleaning leather and weapons
- Summer: Riding gloves and gauntlets
- Third year
- Fall: Shooting gloves and arm guards for archery
- Midwinter: Pair of saddle bags filled with travel equipment, such as flint and steel, iron cooking/eating set, rope, fishing hooks and line etc.
- Summer: Bow and quiver of arrows
- Fourth year
- Fall: Longsword
- Midwinter: Brace of wrist knives
- Summer: Bill of sale for the horse Peachblossom and four years board
Gifts during her years as a squire
- First Midwinter as squire to Raoul of Goldenlake, Knight Commander of the King's Own: Brass-mounted spyglass
- Second Midwinter as squire: New saddle and tack for Hoshi, Kel's spare horse that is required of those serving in the King's Own
- Fourth Midwinter after successfully completing the Ordeal of Knighthood: Alanna revealed herself as the mysterious benefactor when she personally delivered a new Raven Armory longsword of Yamani steel, longer than Kel's previous sword since she had grown so much taller in four years. Kel dubbed this second sword "Griffin", after the young immortal she looked after for some time.
Kel was always big for a girl, having inherited her mother's height. By the age of 18, she was 5'10" tall. She was stocky, broad-shouldered, and solid waisted, having her father's body style. It was suggested that she and Cleon (another squire, also tall like her) should marry and raise young giants. She kept her light brown hair cut short, at her ear lobes. Her eyes were a dreamy hazel-green framed with long lashes. She had a delicate nose over full lips. She was very muscular, every bit as much as a man with her title. She had scars, especially fine and deep ones on her hands after caring for a baby griffin in her squire years.
During her years as a page, especially in the early days, she made a habit out of wearing dresses for supper, to show everyone that she was still female. During daytime she wore the usual uniform for pages. Once she became Raoul's squire, she didn't wear dresses as often, because she didn't need to prove a point with the men of the Own, and also because it wouldn't have been practical at all. Instead, she wore a tunic in Goldenlake colours, showing everyone who her knight-master was. She didn't wear a dress while commanding Haven, either, putting on more practical clothes and armor for fighting, instead.
Personality and traits
Kel was very emotional, but very expressionless. She had been trained in the Yamani Islands as a child to hide her emotions, and she did so very well. She was very polite, and she hid any dislike behind this polite mask. The Yamani had also taught Kel to obey soldiers' orders. She was extremely determined and self-motivated. She had a strong sense of justice and felt a strong need and desire to help those who were small and weak, which eventually brought her the nickname "Protector of the Small".
Once the highest tower of Mindelan had been her favorite retreating-place, but after her brother Conal had held her over the edge she had a fear of heights which prevented her from visiting it again. Her fear of heights also proved to be a problem during her training for knighthood, but her determination and desire to help her friends eventually helped her to overcome her fear and make being on high points bearable again.
Skills and abilities
At age ten Kel was already a good swimmer. She had also studied under a Yamani Arms Mistress, who taught her some basic fighting skills, prior to her family's return to Tortall. This became a point of contention between her and the training master, Lord Wyldon of Cavall. Her clash between Yamani and Tortallan fighting styles appeared several times throughout the books, more notably during her early studies with the Shang masters that taught Pages tumbling. Her prior Yamani training clashed again with her Tortallan archery, where she had been taught to shoot with a Yamani Asymetric bow prior to her time at the Palace (Tortallans prefer longbows or smaller recurve bows).
Kel had an over-all good relationship with her family. She had a polite but loving relationship with her father, a very good relationship and admiration for her mother, and a distant friendship with her siblings. She got along best with her brother Anders, the eldest of her siblings. His eldest son looked to Kel for advice as he went to the palace to train as a page. She saw Inness on and off over her squire years and appeared to be on good terms with him. Her brother Conal had held her over a high balcony when she was four, giving her a childhood fear of heights, but he didn't remember it, and she had since forgiven him.
Barely beginning in her first probationary year as a page and continuing in the later years of her page term, Kel developed a huge crush on her best friend, Nealan of Queenscove. She never told him, and after a few years was glad she didn't, because the spark vanished when she was made a squire, after she had spent a few months away with her knight-master, Raoul, and the King's Own.
While still being a squire after a few months developing a crush on Neal's cousin Domitan of Masbolle, Kel began her romantic relationship with Cleon of Kennan. However when they met again on the road to the northern border once Kel was a freshly-made knight, they broke it off, because Cleon has to marry Ermelian of Aminar so his people wouldn't starve due to flooding. She remains unattached (although she notes interest in Domitan of Masbole) at the end of Lady Knight.
Notes and references
- ↑ Tortallan timeline
- ↑ First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 10/11; Random House paperback)
- ↑ First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 9; Random House paperback)
- ↑ First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 14; Random House paperback)