Meet Thorstan (Character Interview by Laura Strickland)
Character Interview by Laura Strickland
November 30, 2015
Please tell us your name and a little about your background.
Well, my Lady Anna, my name is Thorstan—just Thorstan. I had a last name once upon a time but I shed it when I became a mercenary. Men of my ilk tend to surrender their family names when they take up the sword, or else they go by false names. Esteemed and noble folk such as yourself do, after all, look down their noses as us and consider us outlaws of a kind.
Not that I’m ashamed of the way I’ve earned my bread, not by half. I’m a damned fine swordsman, if I say it myself as shouldn’t. And I earned every pence that’s gone into purchasing this land here in Yorkshire where I’ve settled down.
What is your greatest fear?
Given the things I’ve seen while fighting, I don’t fear much anymore. But I’ll admit to losing a bit of sleep over whether my neighbor, Cedric Armstrong, will take me seriously as a suitor for his daughter Edwina. I know he’s a powerful landowner now but word about the district says he started out in circumstances as humble as mine. Like me, he fought, struggled and bled to give his family a good life. Word in the district also says, though, that he’s eager to elevate his line and marry his daughter to a Lord.
Whom do you trust the most?
Myself, my Lady. A man who lives by the sword learns to trust himself above anyone. I’ve been making my own way since I stole my first weapon and left home at the age of fifteen. That’s how I know I could protect Edwina, if only her father gives me the chance.
What would you sacrifice to be with your special someone?
Ah, Lady, now there’s a question. I believe I can honestly say I’d give up whatever I must—all the goods I’ve struggled to earn and this very plot of land I dreamed of having all the while I bounced around Britain with my sword and shield—if only it earned me Edwina for my bride.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I have to believe in it. And I have to believe that a heart that loves true and strong enough will in the end earn its prize. You see, I caught a glimpse of the fair Edwina out riding with her father and was struck to the very marrow. It’s as if I knew all about her without ever touching her hand or hearing her speak my name. I knew those lips of hers would taste like honey. I knew her sense of humor would fit mine like a hand fits a glove. I knew she had enough courage to build a life with me. How can I rest until I make her see me for the man I truly I am?
I hear her father is planning a great gathering for Christmas when Lords will come from far and wide to compete for Edwina’s hand. Tell me, kind Lady, should I go there, Lord or not, and make my play?
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romances Devil Black and His Wicked Highland Ways as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood, she has also published two Steampunk romances, Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and two Christmas novellas: The Tenth Suitor and Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship. Her Lobster Cove Historical Romance, The White Gull, will be followed by a Lobster Cove novella, Forged By Love.
When Edwina Armstrong’s father invites ten titled lords to spend Christmas at his estate so Edwina may choose one for a husband, she finds the idea romantic. She dreams of gazing into the eyes of one of her suitors and falling deep in love. But it soon becomes apparent the lords in question are far more interested in gaining her father’s estate than Edwina’s hand.
Thorstan’s in attendance but he hasn’t been invited and he’s no lord. A former mercenary, he’s come disguised as a fool to get near Edwina, long adored from afar. Edwina quickly falls for his charm and quirky humor even though she fears her father will never approve of a commoner for her husband. But when Edwina is abducted, only Thorstan—a skilled swordsman— has hope of rescuing her in time for the promised Christmas wedding.
Edwina quickened her steps, and the fool drew her arm more closely against his side. Oh, highly improper, but at the moment she did not care.
A guard stood at the gate. Edwina nodded to him, and they passed into the chill of the evening, and a wash of moonlight.
A stone wall lay to the left; Edwina urged her escort there and drew a deep draught of air. “You are right, Lord Fool. Much better.”
“’Lord Fool’?” he questioned, his mouth beside her ear.
“If you can call me ‘lady,’, I can call you ‘lord.’.” She turned her head and found her face very near his. Aye, most improper – but it was such a luxury to be with a man taller than she.
Too bad he was just a fool.
He leaned on the wall beside her. “My fool’s wisdom tells me you are not enjoying this great pageant staged for your benefit.”
“That I am not.”
“Yet I hear there is much gaiety and frolic yet to come–a play, and even a masked dance.”
“Aye. Perhaps you can attend as a fool.”
“Perhaps I will. If I do, will you dance with me?” He caught both her hands and, in true fool’s fashion, whirled her about in the cold air until her breath came fast and she laughed aloud. Edwina could no longer hear the music from inside, but the fool hummed a tune in a deep, velvety voice. The moonlight flickered around them, striping his face in brightness and then shadow until all she could see was the laughter in his eyes. When they came to rest at last, she leaned against him.
“You should laugh more often,” he said. “It makes you even more beautiful.”
Suddenly Edwina felt breathless from more than the whirling dance.