Salman, a notable villain:
If you have read An Ominous Book, it becomes clear halfway in the book that Lord Spaulding detests the Elf King for unexplained reasons (the motive is explained in the second book Separation). Richard and Nelida are equally confused with Spaulding's attitude whereas Trevilin becomes riled by Spaulding's percieved rudeness.
It seems like everyone in the Elf Kingdom either deeply respects Master Lord Salman or in the very least, they fear his wrath. When Richard is rescued by Seiran from armed bandits in the first book, he is brought to Salman's palace who interviews him immediately.
Salman does his best to remain affable with the orphaned human who harbors a positive impression of the immortal that has ruled his nation for more than 2000 years (his age is currently unknown). Salman tries his earnest to ensure most citizens believe he is a just and merciful ruler. Seiran is dutifully loyal to him and the motive is soon revealed in the second book.
However, Salman's true colors briefly show when he orders his guards to punch Spaulding in the stomach in front of everyone during a meeting in his throne room. Whereas Richard, Seiran and Nelida are fearful, Herb begins to harbor a secret hatred for the cruel king.
Spaulding doesn't relent. He tries his earnest to remain polite to the king he has offended and after being punished with poverty and unemployment, Spaulding takes advantage of Salman's relentless ego and manages to convince him to bring the three children to Tesafar for a few months while Salman's servants manage to repatriate them to Ayrtain.
Whereas Salman seems like a pompous antagonist with genuine motives why he is mean to Spaulding, his cruelty jumps a few notches in the second book Separation.
After a mortally wounded Spaulding is brought to his palace in the brink of time by Lord Kerva and a ranger named Derhara, Salman orders Dezan to save Spaulding's life at all costs and even forces him to perform an experimental blood transfusion. A huge breadcrumb is revealed in this powerful scene. Salman eagerly offered to be a blood donor with the certainity that his blood would be compatible.
Why would Salman offer to risk his health for a regional ruler that openly detests him?
It seems like there is more to Salman than initially thought and Froylan instantly growls because he knows the truth.
Separation is a book where we get to know more about the series's first real villain and Salman is not only cunning but cruel. We already know he shows a profound interest in Spaulding's rare sorcery and even hints that it would have been nice that Spaulding considered joining the Äimite guard. But after Spaulding appears in his palace that fateful day with sepsis just a few days after the tragedy that befell Ayrtain, Salman makes his move.
Froylan wants to discover if Spaulding had anything to do with the disaster that befell Ayrtain just as much as Salman, but whereas Froylan was willing to retain Spaulding in National Palace until he confessed everything, Salman had an even better idea.
When Spaulding wakes up in a dark stone room with only Ciedel as his company, he begins an agonizing 4 1/2 years of imprisonment inside of an abandoned castle without any clues as to where Salman was holding him or why he was taking such lengths to keep him trapped under the never-ending surveillance of his guards.
Salman begins a mind game with Spaulding and hopes Lord Eufurel breaks Spaulding's relentless spirit in order to force him to join the guard. We eventually discover some other hidden secrets about Salman in the 3rd book Exile and they are indeed surprising.
I haven't had the chance to make a full-fledged colored drawing of Salman with Photoshop due to time constraints. I am certainly interested in drawing him seated on his throne alongside his ever loyal servant Lord Froylan. He's a terrifying villain yet it seems Spaulding is the only character that sees him for what he truly is.
In the meanwhile, I hastily made this drawing to give readers an idea of what Salman looks like.