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Now, when you're in the middle of a fancy palace, it can be hard to know what war means. But war means losing everyone you care about at the end of a sword. War means seeing your fine things burned in front of you! War is agony, and you should be doing every last damned thing you can to stop it from coming to your door!
— Leon[1]

Leon Stirling is a character in The Crown & The Flame series. He is a knight and the former Captain of the Royal Guard of Stormholt. He served as the Crown Guardian, Protector of the Queen from Book 1, Chapter 16 until his anticlimactic death in Book 3. He is first seen in Book 1, Chapter 1.

Background

While Kenna was still a child, Leon served as one of Queen Adriana's most skilled soldier. His prowess had earned him a promotion to Captain of the Royal Guard, but first he must earn Kenna's approval. After an embarrassing ordeal where he unintentionally cursed in front of the girl, the Queen nonetheless gave him the position as well as his signature weapon: the Ram's Head Mace. This marked the start of their affair.

Sometime later, the nobles in Ramsforge, dissenting Adriana's rise to royalty, staged a revolt, whereby Leon suggested that he and his men confront and slaughter the "treasonous bastards". Adriana, however, had a more passive way to victory and had Leon deduce what it was. Stormholt eventually won and the rioters were defeated.

Several years later, while in exile as one of Severin's mercenaries, their camp was approached by a troop of Nevrakis soldiers, with whom Severin made a separate contract to sell the mercenaries' cargo. Leon then tricked Severin into drunkenness and confronted the enemy inebriated while wielding a chair leg.

Appearance

Leon has tan skin, brown eyes, short brown hair, and stubble. He wears a special suit of Stormholt armor, different from the ordinary soldiers such as Jackson's, but still in its colors (blue and silver). He wears a blue cape and has a belt strapped across his chest and over his left shoulder.

Personality

Leon was a wise and faithful soldier. His first instinct was to protect the Crown, as seen when he attempted to let Kenna and Gabriel leave the mercenary camp quietly. He was also known for his vulgar speech, something Kenna has teased him for since he first started working for Kenna's mother.

Perhaps due to having fought in numerous battles, Leon was noted for his militant behavior, offering Kenna to let him tell Annelyse the blunt truth about war, as well as expressly telling Rowan Thorn to yield Thorngate to Kenna, and that Thorn could be anything she wants to be, so long as his queen is the sole ruler. In a flashback, he also recommended to Queen Adriana that he and his men go to Ramsforge and straight-out eliminate the traitors until the queen suggested a more passive way to victory. He was wary of enemies, discouraging Kenna from believing that Ducitora is a paradise and that Azura can create a better world.

To this end, Leon was a realist, basing decisions on their long-term impact as well as the current circumstances they were made in and hardly taking morals with them, seen as when he encouraged Kenna to decapitate Marco against Whitlock's wishes, or when he told Kenna not to regret Rowan's death (if the player chooses to kill her), brushing it off as a hard decision a queen must make. However, if Kenna saved Rowan, Leon showed humility by regretting his earlier treatment of the Thorngate Queen.

Leon was a brave and outspoken man, willing to speak out his realist mind regardless of to whom he is talking; such qualities were acknowledged by Sei and Raydan during his wake. Annelyse mentioned that he was kind despite being harsh, as he was only being protective. Queens Adriana and Kenna have mentioned that Leon is also very stubborn: he was persistent in preventing Kenna from fighting Severin, and his recalcitrance was also what brought him his demise. He preferred not to be around machines, as they made him nervous.

Abilities

Weapons Prowess

Leon was an expert when it comes to using weapons in battle. Being a high-ranking soldier, it is implied he fought his way to his position. Nevertheless, he displayed his skill with the sword during the battles he fought in Books 1 and 2, defeating multiple Nevrakis soldiers and complaining about how easily they die to Helene (if she is recruited). His skill with the Ram's Head Mace was equally astounding, shown when he crushed numerous Iron Empire soldiers during Azura's gladiator fight. His fighting prowess was such that even Sei, a battle-loving woman with fire magic, declared in his wake that she did not want to face him in combat

His skill with weaponry also extended to unconventional ones, as he managed to bring down an invading Nevrakis troop by himself with nothing but his strength and a chair leg.

Military Intelligence

Being a seasoned soldier and general, Leon had accrued a great deal of wisdom on warfare. He correctly guessed Queen Adriana's strategy for Ramsforge, and was Kenna's war consultant from his recruitment up until his death. He constantly reminded Kenna to be wary of danger, and was always wary of strangers, especially Rowan and Azura; the moment he arrived in Ebrimel, he quickly and correctly deduced that there was something hidden behind the festive mood.

He was also clever and resourceful in confrontation: he tricked Severin into getting drunk and passing out first so he would not fulfill his selfish contract with Nevrakis soldiers, then proceeded to clobber many of them with a broken chair leg, half drunk; as well as defeat multiple opponents in Azura's gladiator fight by exploiting their fury and letting them take out each other. Against Jorrin Kal, he patiently waited for the former to reveal his Achilles heel, then struck him down with a decisive blow to the chest.

Relationships

Queen Adriana Rys

Adriana and Leon had a discreet love affair when he became Captain of the Royal Guard. As a gift, she gave him the Ram's Head Mace.

Kenna Rys

Leon sees Kenna both as his queen and his junior in war, seen as when he gave her his military wisdom numerous times while at her side, at the same time giving her utmost respect. He served as Crown Guardian, Protector of the Queen for Kenna Rys upon Gabriel's death. She can give a final goodbye to him if she decided to visit the spirit world in Book 3, Chapter 17 (premium choice).

Val Greaves

Val and Leon often argue, with Leon teasing her for her unruly behavior. However, she has known him longer than most of Kenna's closest companions do, and was visibly saddened by his death, claiming that despite their quarrels, Leon was an honorable man who always looked out for her.

Trivia

  • He bears a resemblance to actor Laurence Fishburne.
  • When Leon reveals to Kenna the incident of Ramsforge, he shows a bit of hesitance to Adriana's advances, even worrying about her becoming infamous for associating with a commoner. However, when telling Kenna where he got his mace, Leon had mutual affection for Adriana and didn't object to the affair. This creates an inconsistency as the second scene was antecedent to the first.
  • Leon is bad at talking to children and dancing.

References

  1. The Crown & The Flame, Book 1, Chapter 7.