After Seven books and counting, the LoE Universe has grown by leaps and bounds. It is bursting with characters and places, most of which were created in mere passing and then expanded upon at a later time.

Queen Ghome, by Carol Phillips

Queen Ghome, by Carol Phillips

Queen Ghome is such a character. The name “Ghome” started off life in Book I as a type of Xaphan battleship. Princess Marilith, the nemesis of Captain Davage, flew about in a Ghome 52 battleship. The only thing I knew of the name at the time was that it belonged to some Xaphan tyrant from antiquity.

Flash forward six books. As I puzzled out the plot for LoE Book VIII (or IX depending on which gets published first) is need a villain character and, for some unknown reason, the name Ghome flashed into my head. Without knowing anything about the character, I decided Ghome would be the main villain of Book VIII. I spent a bit of time thinking about the character, and then it hit me all at once.

RULER OF TRIMBLE:

Bad guys are so fun to play with, the possibilities are truly boundless. Queen Ghome’s roots are lost to the ages. She entered Xaphan social circles from nowhere in 000701AX. She had all the assets one would need to thrive in Xaphan society: she was beautiful, had money, was ruthless and cunning and brimming with ambition. Where she came from was always a topic of speculation, most believed she was an exile from the League. She flirted with The Court of George for a time, and even picked up their habit of casual cannibalism.

Queen Ghome's appearance changed frequently, but, her eyes with their terrible, withering stare, were always the same

Queen Ghome’s appearance changed frequently, but, her eyes with their terrible, withering stare, were always the same

Her true rise to notoriety came when she married into the royal House of Trimble in 000715AX. Princess Xoefer of Trimble, the heiress to the throne and one of the most eligible princess in Xaphan space, was seeking a husband to share the rule of Trimble with her and her list of suitors was long. Shockingly, she ended up marrying Ghome, a female, which caused quite a stir having two queens sitting on Trimble’s throne. Rumors flew how Ghome, a mysterious vagabond, managed such a thing, for certainly the princess had been bewitched by her. Queen Xoefer’s fate was not a kind one, as she quickly grew sick and died, leaving Queen Ghome I sitting alone on the throne. The House of Trimble was a potent one, and, as was Xoefer before her, Queen Ghome became the most sought-after woman in Xaphan space.

Her lore grew quickly. For one, she was a tyrant of the most despicable sort. Cruel and despotic, she was given to fits of rage, paranoia and occasional madness. She carried a spiked scepter forged of iron and rarely hesitated to use it when the mood struck her. Also, her appearance changed often, not simply changed in terms of hairstyle, hair color or wardrobe, she looked like a completely different person with only her scepter and her eyes giving her away.

She planted and designed her infamous Garden of Zama, a gigantic garden and reflecting pool near Trimble Palace off the west lawn. The garden was huge, with many intricate paths leading in a bewildering, maze-like tangle. It was populated with an endless host of deadly carnivorous and poisonous plants cultured and developed by Queen Ghome herself.

WAR WITH THE LEAGUE:

Many suitors came to Trimble seeking Ghome’s hand, and her price for entertaining these suitors was invariably a quest to fetch some item or parcel of land which would end up in war with the League. Many Xaphan Houses were severely weakened, and a few went extinct altogether as a result of these wars.

VEHELM OF WAAM AND GHOME II

One of the suitors for Ghome’s hand was a tiny man from Gothan named Vehelm of Waam who was a noted maker of fabulous jewelry. Ghome created a workshop for him in her Garden and compelled him to make for her a new treasure every month otherwise she would allow him to starve or be killed in the depths of the Garden. To the surprise of many, he survived and became a favorite in her court.

An odd change came over Ghome at that time. She appeared to have experienced some sort of revitalization or rebirth. She cast aside her thuggish ways and became a true visionary and leader for her people, with Vehelm of Waam at her side. The people began referring to her as Queen Ghome II as she led them into a new age of prosperity and learning. Ghome II stopped carrying her iron scepter and had the Garden of Zama walled up tight.

THE END OF QUEEN GHOME:

The Horvath Creeper and the Aboleth Lilly were just a few of the deadly plants Queen Ghome cultivated

The Horvath Creeper and the Aboleth Lilly were just a few of the deadly plants Queen Ghome cultivated

As with all things, this age of enlightenment didn’t last. Queen Ghome II reverted to her old ways with a vengeance and ordered Vehelm of Waam executed. This tyrannical Ghome became known as Queen Ghome III and was the worst of the lot by far.

But, by this point, Ghome had alienated too many Houses and the end was near. The House of Sorrander came in force and subjugated Trimble. They toppled Queen Ghome’s palace and burned the Garden of Zama to the ground. The Sorranders then occupied Trimble for five centuries.

What became of Queen Ghome after that was unknown. It was assumed that she was killed during the Sorrander attack, though her body was never found.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

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One of the more confusing aspects of the League of Elder concerns age and the process of aging. How do people age in the League? Why don’t the characters get old? How long do they live? Are they Immortal??

Let’s take a look.

Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis, bot over 100 (Eve Ventrue)

Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis, both over 100 years old (Eve Ventrue)

CONCERNING AGE:
A little history. Way back in the CX Time Epoch is when the people who would one day become the League were given the Gift of Youth and Health. The 25 god-like Elders, whom they faithfully served, decided to reward their loyal servants and engineered the ravages of old age and infirmity out of them. The effects of this engineering essentially granted them the energy of youth throughout their lives and disease became a thing of the past, such that knowledge of the medical arts was no longer considered necessary and was therefore lost to the ages, not to be rediscovered until the EX Time Epoch by the Hospitalers.

Here are a few facts:

The average Elder (or Leaguer) lives to be 220 years old. For example, Captain Davage is about 120 years old, while his wife, Countess Sygillis, is well over 200, though her exact age is unknown.

THE PUFFIES and TWEENERS:
One of the side-effects of their condition is a very malformed and somewhat grotesque youth. Children 15 and under are often rather malformed and puffy in appearance. Those with the Gifts of the Mind suffer from it the most, while the Browns hardly have it at all. Lady Kilos of Blanchefort is a well-known sufferer of The Puffies, having it well into her twenties, while her elder brother, Lord Kabyl, never had it at all. The Puffies normally clear up by their mid-20’s.

A-Ram and Alesta (Eve Ventrue)

A-Ram and Alesta (Eve Ventrue)

From the time an Elder child reaches their 20’s until their early 30’s, they’re known as Tweeners and develop into full maturity. After that, they remain unchanged in appearance until their death. For example, Lord A-Ram is in his 40’s, while his fiancée, Lady Alesta of Dare , is 152 years old, however, looking at them side-by-side, one couldn’t determine their difference in age.

THE LENTICONS:
There are some in the League who, through a malady of the flesh, grow old and only live to be about 100. They are known as Lenticons and are generally considered products of bad breeding. The Esther House of Milke is known to be thusly afflicted.

Monamas, like Lady Sammidoran, are not engineered to remain young, and age and diminish as they get older. (Eve Ventrue)

Monamas, like Lady Sammidoran, are not engineered to remain young, and age normally as they get older. (Eve Ventrue)

Various indigenous Leaguers, such as the Monama peoples of Kana and the Females of Carina 7 do not have the Gift of Youth and Health and age normally.

THE TIME OF GOODBYES
One severe drawback of their perpetually young bodies is that the Leaguers are never quite certain when they will die. Death strikes without warning once a certain age has been passed. A usual tradition is for people turning 220 to perform the Time of Goodbyes ritual to get their affairs in order and bid their loved ones farewell, just in case they die in the night. Lady Poe of Blanchefort is well past her Time of Goodbyes, her long life possibly due to her status as a Shadow tech Female (see below).

IMMORTALITY:
It has been long suspected that the Elders not only made the Leaguers young and healthy, they made them immortal as well. The Hertogs, a group of disaffected scholars and detractors of the Sisterhood of Light, often make that claim. They maintain that the Sisters are actually doing something behind the scenes to suppress their immortality. That argument has yet to be fully proved. The Hertogs make it their business to track down those they believe are Immortals and collect them, so to speak. Their code-name for a suspected Immortal is: Rundlepharge. The Xaphan tyrant Queen Ghome of Trimble is a suspected Immortal.

Immortality aside, there are certain variables which appear to grant certain Leaguers exceptional long life. Shadow tech females, such as Sygillis of Blanchefort, are known to live to incredible old age, unchanged with time. Additionally, proximity to Elder-tech and with alien power sources are said to expand one’s life. The Xaphan House of Burgon, the Court of George in particular, often engage in the practice of cannibalism, which they claim also expands life.

copyright 2013, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue