The Saga of the Knight Captain by William Hahn

The Ring and the Flag (Shards of Light Book 1) Book Cover The Ring and the Flag (Shards of Light Book 1)
William L. Hahn
June 21, 2011

Newly-graduated imperial officer Justin is convinced he has no future, and hearing the details of the secret mission he's assigned for the Emperor won't change his mind. Civil War threatens the North Mark. Justin must race against time to form a company, and lead his men into the center of the web; but what happens when his loyalty to the Empire means the death of those who follow him?

In 2002 ADR, the Empire of Argens is still reeling from the usurpation of its centuries-old throne by a landless adventurer. A ferocious dwarven warrior named Yula and his sorcerous human allies not only defeated the flower of elvish knighthood, but exposed the former dynasty as nothing less than demons in disguise. Now a young captain, ruined by his loyalty to the old regime, has one last chance to redeem his family name in the officer training corps being established by the hated new emperor.

Captain Justin gets much more than he bargained for, however, as he is sent on a secret mission to the North Mark, hotbed of disloyalty even in the old days and now on a trip-wire for revolt. Given only days to assemble a company, march north and defuse the conspiracy, the new captain will be tested too often, too hard and far too soon.

"The Ring and the Flag" is the first story in the Shards of Light saga set in the Lands of Hope, the creation of Wm. L. Hahn. More than twenty years in the making, the Lands hold tremendous adventure, a sense of history, and a strong theme of the difficult choices heroes must make when faced by the power of Despair.

Fantasy lore is full of stories of the knight captain, or a knight in a position of leadership and authority. We remember with fondness such tales because the knight captain commonly represents the best of all of us. The warrior leader is often someone who encompasses all that is good with humans, everything that we would want to be, yet also carrying most of the baggage and frailties that make us human.

The Knight Captain


  1. An authoritative or interesting leader

As his rank or title imply, the knight captain is often placed in a position of leadership. He is usually looked up to by his followers and subordinates. This makes him a slight cut above the ordinary warrior. He has people who look up to him for leadership and guidance. Early on in the story, his qualities of leadership must be displayed, or at least foreshadowed. The knight captain must give his followers and the readers reasons to look up to him, or at least to make him interesting. The warrior leader must draw us into his story and make us care for him.

He does not even need to be of a specific rank. The warrior leader is often a tough fighter, having learned how to lead in battle. However, he does not necessarily need to be a great leader from the beginning and can even display real frailties early on. By the end, though, as long as the knight captain leads, his followers must follow.

  1. A human with weakness

The knight captain is best portrayed not as an infallible warrior leader, but as a struggling human being in a position of authority. The weaknesses can be anything. And the knight captain does not even need to be truly “human.” With William H. Hahn’s the Ring and the Flag, Knight Captain Justin, is an all too human elf with a big chip on his shoulder. It is his sense of shame and his disgraced family name that haunts him; a sense of shame not completely deserved. Young Justin was guilty of only being loyal to a deposed regime of disguised demons. Regardless of how unfair he has been thusly labeled, Justin has a chance at redemption in a highly dangerous and secret mission that he may not return from.

  1. Redemption

Any great hero can only become great if there is a sense of redemption or vindication at the end. This rule is no different with the knight captain. The warrior leader must prove himself true to his mission in some way or form. He must show the readers that he is worthy of his title by somehow conquering his demons and being true to himself. He must become greater than he and he must fulfill his potential.

It does not even need to be a public victory with much fanfare. It can be something private and personal. This does not minimize the hero’s achievement. Sometimes it can even sweeten it and make it an even more satisfying ride for the reader.

About the Author

William L. Hahn

Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.

Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-stick like object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.

Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). His first tales include “Three Minutes to Midnight” a slightly-dark sword and sorcery novelette, and the first two tales in the Shards of Light series, entitled “The Ring and the Flag” and “Fencing Reputation”.

You can find a free Compendium of information about the Lands, including maps of the Lands, on his website at

If you want to know more about Will, you can check the following:






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