1. How old is he?
Horace Bar-Astan is 29 years old and has been Prince of Astan since 834.
2. Has he any brothers or sisters?
He has two younger sisters, Olga and Claressa, ages 23 and 17. His younger brother, Ector, would be 25 had he not died from a snake bite in 833.
3. Who was his predecessor and who was he to Prince Astan? His father?
His father, Kolvar, died of pneumonia in 834 following a series of protracted illnesses.
4. How is his reign perceived compared to that of his predecessor?
Kolvar was certainly no kind man, but resorted to political and economic pressures on the other principalities in his quest to be named King of the World. Horace is probably equally despised but feared for his brutal warfare tactics and conscription practices.
5. Is he seen as the country's legitimate ruler?
Yes, he is the only heir and has the backing of the military and nobility.
6. Who else has a claim on the throne?
There are a few distant cousins left, but most of the near relatives were given prominent positions in the military and subsequently died valiantly in the pursuit of the Astan cause. Several of the cousins have not been seen for years.
7. Does Prince Astan have a reputation for being cruel? If so, is there a known reason behind his cruelty? (education? violent event in his youth? Political conflicts left by his predecessor? Territorial claims?)
Horace's reputation precedes him for cruelty. His father once starved a border city to death--men, women, and children alike--for refusing to recognize his claim of lordship. The political and military thrust for power have been perhaps an outlet for the Prince's cruelty, not only in how he treats his own people, but how he handles prisoners of war.
8. Who has an influence over Prince Astan? Does Prince Astan have powerful ministers? Skilled ministers?
The generals of the Astan army are the primary advisers in wartime. His first minister, Goldric, is a skilled yes-man and knows how to keep the palace running to suit the Prince's desires.
9. Is Prince Astan married? Does he have heirs?
The Prince is unmarried, and there are no known heirs with claims to the throne.