I know the background of some of my characters fairly well while others have been quiet about themselves. Some offer up their stories voluntarily, like Silven, the stablemaster. She stepped into my thoughts one night when I couldn’t sleep and told me why she’s watching out for Andert the way she does.
Silven is grateful to be in Lar Elien. She comes from a travelling family of stunt riders and thus grew up with horses. As young girl, she was the main attraction of the family for a number of years. She can stand on a horse’s back in full gallop and knows many more tricks. But Silven is the kind of woman who prefers women to men, which was not accepted among her family. Her father planned to marry her to the son of a good friend. One day, after getting very drunk, he and a few friends decided to “teach” Silven to like men and “prepare” her for marriage. Afterwards, Silven fled the camp in horror, on her favorite horse and with only the torn clothes on her back.
For a few years, she managed on her own, hiding her despair and hiding her face, dreading men and yet needing their attention to make a living with her riding skills. One day, she arrived in Lar Elien. She was watering her horses at the well in the market square when a pair of riders came up the road. Silven looked up, met the grey eyes of the lady and fell in love immediately. She was completely unable to leave Lar Elien that day.
The very next day, a hunting party left the castle, among them the lady with the grey eyes, but also two boys. Silven followed them secretly. Thus she was able to catch the pony of one of the boys when it bolted from a boar. The boy had slipped from the saddle, his foot caught in the stirrup, and was in danger of being dragged to his death. Count Willomar invited Silven into the castle, to thank her for the rescue. There, Silven realized she had fallen in love with the Countess Alenna herself.
The old stablemaster was ill and much relieved when Silven stayed and made herself useful with the horses. A few weeks later, he asked Count Willomar to give Silven a permanent position. Of course, Silven stayed to be close to her love, despite knowing that the Countess only had eyes for her husband.
It was a complete shock to Silven when Alenna died birthing her first child. It took her months before she felt able to even take a look at the baby, and she did it only as one last act of loyalty to Alenna before leaving Lar Elien. Her heart stopped, when the baby boy looked at her with Alenna’s grey eyes. Suddenly, Silven knew that her love was so strong she wanted to care for this boy. Thus she stayed and tried her best to be a mother for Andert.
When the old stablemaster finally became too ill to even walk the stables, Count Willomar raised Silven to that position. People gossipped about a woman ruling his stables, but he stood by his decision. Nowadays, nobody doubts that Silven does a very good job.
Even though Silven is now in a secure position, she keeps herself fighting fit. She always teaches some extra tricks to her own horses. She doesn’t know it, but the day will come when she will need all her skill and courage, risking her own life to warn Andert of a deadly danger, and to save Lar Elien from a cruel enemy.