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Keladry of Mindelan

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Keladry of Mindelan
Kel
Tortallan character
Biographical information
Nickname Kel, The Yamani Lump, Mother, Protector of the Small
Aliases
Born 442 HE
Died
Race
Nationality Tortallan
Title
Physical description
Gender Female
Height 5'10"
Weight
Hair Brown
Eyes Hazel
Gift None
Magic
Family information
Ancestors
Grandparents
Parents Ilane and Piers of Mindelan
Siblings Anders, Patricine, Inness, Conal, Demadina, Adalia, Oranie and Avinar of Mindelan
Husband
Wife
Lover Cleon of Kennan (former)
Children
Descendants
Other Lachren of Mindelan (nephew), various other nieces and nephews
Affiliation
Rank Lady Knight
Position
Occupation Commander of Haven (from April 460 to its destruction)
Commander of New Hope (from September 460 to end of Scanran War)
Knight master Sir Raoul
Squire
Bibliographical information
First mentioned '
First appeared First Test
Last appeared '
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.

Biography

Early life

Keladry of Mindelan was born in June of 442 HE[1] 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. 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.

Page years

Probationary period

In 452 HE, after her family returned from the Yamani Islands, Kel decided to try for her shield. 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. This was a condition that was placed on her by Wyldon of Cavall, the training master, who took an immediate dislike to her. When she arrived, a few other of the pages took the same attitude as the training master, such as Joren of Stone Mountain, Garvey of Runnerspring, Zahir ibn Alhaz, Quinden of Marti's Hill, and Vinson of Genlith. They tried to drive her out using intimidation tactics, even fighting her without precedence during training sessions. Her sponsor at the palace was Nealan of Queenscove, a member of one of the realm's oldest and most respected families. When she questioned this, Neal's explanation was that he knew that she would be able to do it, seeing how Alanna the Lioness was an exceptional warrior. Joren and his cronies' hazing practices weren't limited just to Kel, however, and they hazed other first-years, such as Merric of Hollyrose. At first, Kel was afraid to fight them and ran, hearing their jeers and calls come after her. Then she steeled herself and fought them, doing well. Because of her injuries, she met with Baird of Queenscove, a healer and Neal's father, who saw to her wounds. 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.

When the pages had to start tilting practice, Kel chose the strawberry roan gelding Peachblossom, saving him from hard labor. The horse had an incredibly difficult temperament. This was fixed with the help of Daine the Wildmage, who bargained with him and convinced him to be gentler to Kel. One of the conditions to the bargain, was that Kel would not be hard on the reign or the spur, terms that Kel readily agreed to. 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.

When Wyldon decided to teach the pages defensive strategy by running the wall and deciding how the best defend it from attack, Kel's overpowering fear of heights took her rationality. She was teased for this by the other pages, except her friends who were very supportive.

At around the end of the year, the pages readied themselves for their few weeks camping throughout the Royal Forest. During this trip, the pages learned logistics and supply, trail signs, hunting skills, and surveying and mapping skills. Lord Wyldon made a point to set Kel tasks in order to dispel and get over her fear (Kel's words), or in order to be cruel (Neal's words). During their trip in the Royal Forest, the pages learned of a spidren attack, and moved out quickly to aid the victims.

They joined Third Company of the King's Own, a force commanded by Lord Raoul in order to track down the spidren's nest. While tracking, Kel's birds deemed themselves to be of great value, much to the surprise of the men of the Own. When Kel and her friends were set the task of guarding the rear, they were attacked by spidrens. Kel raised the alarm and killed one of the spidrens that was attacking 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.

Full Page

In the Autumn of 453 HE, Kel returned to the palace to complete the next year of her page training, having spent a couple of quiet, relaxing months in the city with her parents. Even so, she had been practicing techniques and keeping herself in shape over the summer, which she knew was far more than what her fellow pages would be doing. One of her first acts of kindness was to rescue a stray dog, Jump, from a butcher who was threatening him with a meat cleaver. She told him that she could not take responsibility for him, being a page, but the dog was defiant. Upon returning to her old rooms, Gower Isran, one of the palace servants, requested that Kel take on his niece Lalasa as a maid. Although at first reluctant, Kel did agree, realizing that the other woman would probably just be prey in the city.

Realizing early on that Joren and his cronies did not discover new morals in terms of bullying and hazing younger and smaller pages, Kel went back to her old patrolling and fighting campaigns, in order to counter their influence. Zahir ibn Alhaz, however, seemed to think that bullying was a waste of time at this point, and left the group. A friendship developed further between her and the other boys. This is also how Kel met her friend, Owen of Jesslaw.

The pages camped in hill country in order to learn wilderness survival techniques, such as hunting and trail sign making and reading. The district commander had told them that there were no bandits where they were, but it was later revealed that he had been receiving bribes. Kel was in a group led by Faleron with Merric, Seaver, Owen, and Neal. They stumbled into a bandit camp and were chased. Kel took over the command, as she could see that Faleron was too panicked. She sent her fellow pages up into a cave overlooking a cliff, and gutted Breakbone Dell. Gilab Lofts was also among the bandits who attacked them, but survived and his identity wasn't revealed until years later. Eda Bell, the Shang Wildcat, wrote to Kel's parents to let them know what their daughter had done over the summer. This gave them great pride.

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.

Squire years

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.

Haresfield bandits

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 by stabbing it in the area where the horse part and the human part met(a centaurs weak spot), 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.

Grand Progress

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.

Scanran conflict

Before war was declared, Third Company was stationed north in order to counter the many Scanran raiding parties that invaded Tortall in search of easy pickings. These fights were a number of cut and run skirmishes that were short, but were also incredibly dangerous. Kel gained the respect of Flyn Whiteford and others who had previously questioned her about her fighting skill during these skirmishes, as they saw that she was actually proficient in tactics, following orders, and fighting skill. As she was allowed to use her naginata, she became very good at using it during battle situations, as opposed to training and defense ones. This would help her later.

Kel, along with the squad that she commanded in place of Domitan of Masbolle, was possibly the first Tortallan to look upon a killing device. She fought one, trapped it, and crushed the head, which drove the child spirit out of it. Later it would be revealed that these metal monsters were made by the notorious necromancer, Blayce the Gallan, by way of killing children and trapping their spirits in the metal monsters.

She went back to take her Ordeal of Knighthood in the September of 459 HE. Her friend Neal's name was pick first, hers was last; this made Kel think that Sakuyo, the Yamani trickster god, had danced in that bowl. She passed her test and was knighted that evening, becoming the first Lady Knight since Alanna the Lioness, and the first Lady Knight in over a century to become a knight without having to disguise her gender.

Many visits to the Chamber

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.

Knight years

Journey to the north

By the time Kel had gained her shield, Tortall was starting their 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.

Commander of a refugee camp

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 Salmalín. Upon reviewing the remains 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.

Rescue mission in enemy territory

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.

Battle at Fief Rathhausak

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. Her new orders were to oversee building a new refugee camp, which took the form of a fortified city and was named New Hope. She also received a compliment from Lord Wyldon, with him saying that he was honored to know her and that she was a true knight. This is a huge difference from how he acted to her when he first met her.

Commander of New Hope

Kel stayed at the border after Blayce's death until the war ended. She wasn't seen again until Aly had 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.

Mysterious Benefactor

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.

Physical description

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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).

Relationships

Family relationships

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.

Romantic relationships

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.

Page training

Instructors

A notable relationship was the one she held with Wyldon of Cavall, her training master during her page years and later her commander during the Scanran War. At first, they had a very rocky start. He treated her unfairly, and put her on probation. After that, he was harsh with her and underestimated her. It was in her later years as a page when he started realizing that perhaps she was worth it, and that she had the bearings of a future commander. Later, after she returned from the depths of Scanra after rescuing the people of Haven from Blayce the Gallan, Wyldon said that he was honored to know her and that she was a true knight.

Kel had a good teacher/student relationship with Eda Bell and Hakuin Seastone, who were two Shang warriors.

Year-mates

Kel's relationship with her year-mates and those who went through page training at the same time was at first strained with everyone except for Nealan of Queenscove, especially since her knowledge of martial arts made it seem like she was bragging and showing off.

She became friends or at least on good terms with a vast majority of the pages once they got used to her and when she earned their respect. Her good friends amongst the pages were Neal, Cleon, Faleron of King's Reach, Merric of Hollyrose, Prosper of Tameran, Seaver of Tasride, Esmond of Nicoline and Owen. They also got closer in their campaign against Joren of Stone Mountain and his cronies. For pages like Balduin of Disart and Yancen of Irenroha, Kel was never very good friends with them, but they were definitely on good terms. Balduin was more ambivalent to her status as a page, but joined her side when Joren and his pack planned sabotage that cut into everyone's free time, not just her's and her friends'.

The only pages and squires that she had a distinct enmity with were Joren, Vinson of Genlith, Garvey of Runnerspring, and Quinden of Marti's Hill. Zahir ibn Alhaz would have been considered an enemy at the beginning, but he left Joren's pack when he felt that his former friends' actions were childish and not noble. It is unlikely that Zahir and Kel ever became friends, however. Her enmity with them continued well into her squire years and after, although her tiff with Joren ended at his death.

Members of the King's Own

Knight-Master

Keladry always had a huge admiration for Raoul of Goldenlake, the Commander of the King's Own. She thought he was one of the nicest men she had met, and was one of the few adults besides her parents that she felt truly comfortable around. She accepted when he asked her to become his squire, expressing disbelief that he would take her and harboring a suspicion that he only asked her out of pity. She was reassured when she learned that he valued her skills in the field and her knowledge of the Yamanis. She developed a good friendship with Raoul in subsequent years and he became not only her knight-master, but a mentor, adviser, and friend to her. She learned many things from him, like how to joust, logistics, and fighting techniques in the field. He always respected her abilities and skills and never underestimated her like so many others.

Other members

The experience was similar at least in part with her experience amongst the pages. At first the other members of the King's Own expressed disbelief that their Knight Commander would take on The Girl, but it soon turned to respect and liking.

One of her first friends among the Own was Domitan of Masbolle, who, like Raoul, did not underestimate her nor test her needlessly just to prove that she was not good enough. She had a crush on him, but he was also one of her closest friends.

She did not create sworn enemies among men of the Own, but there were people who disliked her and underestimated her at the beginning, like Flyndan Whiteford, the captain of Third Company and Lerant of Eldorne, the standard-bearer. Whiteford took a lot of convincing to see that she was up to snuff and not just becoming a knight for the glory of doing so. She and Eldorne disliked each other at first but became friends that were very caustic to one another.


Appearances


Notes and references

  1. Tortallan timeline
  2. First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 10/11; Random House paperback)
  3. First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 9; Random House paperback)
  4. First Test, Cp. 1 (p. 14; Random House paperback)

See also

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