Mattias Roussel, the Lord of Rosemoor Dell and patriarch one of the most powerful noble families outside of Mezrani City, is a hard man to know. He has to be: to rule fairly and justly and withstand the onslaught of Imperial influence, he has developed a thick armor and difficult demeanor. Caidy struggles with her father every day--and struggles with the parts of his personality which she sees in herself.
Of all the characters, Mattias was one of the hardest for me to write, because he is such a challenging man. He's not particularly likable: he has strong, unapologetic opinions, and he's very used to being in charge and having the last say. Fleshing out his history really helped me uncover his motivations, and how all these complexities and contradictions can exist in one man. If you want more on his personality, check out this article, and keep reading below to learn about his past!
From the day he was old enough to learn his own name, Mattias was raised to rule. He was born a decade after the Cleansing, a devastating period of Imperial history when the Emperor had ordered every mage rounded up and mercilessly killed. Rosemoor, led by Mattias' parents, had secretly hidden hundreds of mages, helping them sneak through the mountain passes to haven in Karath. It hadn't made them particularly popular in the Empire, even after the Emperor was deposed and the genocide ended.
It was in these difficult, uncertain times Mattias grew up, watching his parents resist Imperial attempts to oust them from power and reinstate complete and absolute control in the province. It was formative in more ways than one: he learned the power of independence from a young age, and he also grew up seeing the Empire not as an ally, but an adversary.
As soon as he was old enough, Mattias joined the Provincial Guard and served for several years, spending time primarily in the Adral Forest which divided Rosemoor and Colmar. During his time in the Guard, he became known as a brave and fearless warrior--sometimes to the point of foolishness. He never shied away from a fight, which got both him and his men into a tight situation more than once.
Mattias returned home to Iera when his father died, passing away suddenly with pain in his chest. Overwhelmed by grief, his mother retreated to her chambers, barely eating and refusing to leave until she too died a few weeks later. Shouldering his parents responsibilities, Mattias was coronated in a subdued ceremony at the summit of City Hill in Iera, and immediately went to work. Whether it was a determination to serve his father's memory or something else entirely, the new Lord worked from dawn until dusk, day in and day out.
He enacted new laws, flooded Iera City with gold and men to combat crime and improve the lives of his subjects, bucked the yoke of the Imperial Authority, and hosted banquets and feasts, inviting both the noble families of Rosemoor and her neighbors: Colmar, Danen, and Karath. It was at one of these dinners when he met the daughter of a minor noble family from Karath, and fell in love.
Lady Julianna and Lord Mattias were wed three years later, after an extended courtship and approval from the Imperial Authority. Though they struggled to conceive a child for many years, and when Caidy was finally born she became the light of both their lives--and the joy of Rosemoor, who had ached for the childless couple. Celebrations were held across the land, and Mattias was said to have smiled genuinely in public for only the second time since the tragic death of his parents.
He has been a constant thorn in the side of the Imperial Authority, refusing to fall in line and take orders, and causing many a headache for the Blades and Ambassadors sent to rein him in. Though Mattias' temper is famous, and his independent, stubborn streak is fierce, at his heart he is a good and honorable man who wants nothing more than the best for his kingdom.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!