|“||Calder. Bethod's youngest son. And a snake.||”|
Calder is a notorious coward, charmer, and schemer, and Bethod's youngest son; a Prince of the Northmen.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Calder starts off an unpleasant arrogant coward. He’s later seen as very clever and articulate, charming and scheming among the normally straightforward warriors of The North. He repeatedly schemes himself into a corner and wriggles out in unexpected ways. He can actually be pretty likeable when he tries, however even he admits he's a coward.
The Blade ItselfEdit
Calder is sent to Bayaz' library to summon the First of the Magi to Carleon to swear fealty to Bethod, the King of the Northmen. He was none too pleased to see Logen Ninefingers there too, who has been exiled by his father. Forced to leave his men at the entrance to the library, and helpless in the face of Bayaz' High Art, he leaves the place in a hurry, with a message to relay to his father; Bethod must come to the library himself.
When his father leaves to lead his army in the war with The Union in Angland, Calder is left in charge of Carleon in his absence. One day, Forley the Weakest enters the city to warn Bethod of the ever growing menace of the Shanka. Calder orders him beheaded, and taken to Rudd Threetrees, who is waiting for him outside Carleon. Threetrees manages to escape with the help of the Dogman, Thunderhead, Black Dow and Harding Grim. Calder's actions drive Threetrees to ally with The Union against his father.
Last Argument of KingsEdit
King Logen soon goes south to help The Union in the Battle of Adua, leaving Black Dow behind to hunt down Bethod's sons. Rather than killing Calder and Scale, Dow negotiates with them instead, and the three of them decide to kill Logen. When Logen realises he's been betrayed by Black Dow, and he's forced to jump from a window in order to save his life.
Calder begins The Heroes in exile up in Carleon with his pregnant wife after suggesting peace between the North and the Union. He is escorted by Caul Shivers to Black Dow, who is now King of the North. Dow tells Calder he must fight against the Union, and to make sure he does, Calder's wife stands hostage for him.
On the first day of the battle, Calder manages to avoid combat altogether, but on the eve of the second day he is placed on back-up for Scale behind Clail's Wall. On the second day, Scale and his men are met with a large attack from The Union's left side, and Calder realizes his brother is in danger. However, Calder receives word that there are Union soldiers on their right flank, so moving from Clail's wall would leave them vulnerable. Calder therefore stays behind Clail's wall and doesn't help his brother, who is defeated and believed dead. On the eve of the third day, Calder and a few Carls sneak into the Union lines and steal a great standard, and bring it back to Clail's wall.
On the third day, Calder is once again positioned behind Clail's Wall but doesn't have any northmen in front of him. The Union cavalry attack early in the morning when the light is bad. Calder has had several ditches dug in the space in front of the wall and many union cavalry are brought down. The Union have the numbers, however, and some cavalry and foot make it to Clail's wall. Calder is saved by Brodd Tenways, one of Dow's War Chiefs.
The Union and the North manage to negotiate a peace agreement. Around the campfire, an argument spills out and Calder challenges Black Dow to a duel in the circle. Black Dow accepts the challenge. In the duel, Black Dow has the upper-hand but before he can finish Calder, Shivers jumps into the circle and kills Dow, effectively making Calder the winner of the duel. Calder becomes King of the North and adopts the alias 'Black Calder', which was first suggested by Stranger-Come-Knocking.
Calder treats in a peace conference with the Union representatives and refuses many of their original terms. His strength is his cunning, and he plans to take time to deliberate new terms while every day the Union waits, they lose marching time for their other war(s). He hopes that as the Union grows more and more restless, they grow closer to accepting terms more suitable to his plans. When Calder offers his friendship to Dogman, he refuses, on account of Calder's treatment of Forley the Weakest in the past.
In the night, Calder is abducted by two of his own scouts and led to a pit of dead bodies, including Dow's. He thinks this is surely the end of his admittedly brief reign, and feels a terror stronger than any he previously felt over the course of the 3 days. He is not killed, however, and the scouts recede in to the night, leaving him alone with an unexpected guest. Bayaz, in a typical display of power, ease, cunning, and wealth, has a table and meal set mere steps away from the pit. He already knows Calder's tact, and makes it very clear via threats both obtuse and, like the pit, direct, that Calder will accept the Union's initial terms. It becomes very clear to Calder that as King of the North, he has less freedom and strength than he anticipated, as well as being in a position of considerable danger with foes of immeasurable strength.
The next day, Calder is re-united with Scale, who survived his confrontation with Bremer dan Gorst. Calder had previously intended on quickly having Shivers execute Scale to consolidate his rule, but after his encounter with Bayaz he feels that the rigors of rule might be better suited for his brother. He places Bethod's chain around Scale's neck, making him the King of the North, and Calder remains the man-behind-the-man, hoping to never feel as powerless again as he did sitting across from Bayaz.