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King Laurent VI of Vere is the deuteragonist of the Captive Prince trilogy and Crown Prince of Vere and Acquitart. He is the son of King Aleron and Queen Hennike, and younger brother of the late Crown Prince Auguste of Vere. After the deaths of his parents and brother when Laurent was thirteen, his uncle, the Regent, and the Veretian Council take stewardship of Vere until Laurent reaches maturity at age twenty-one.

Laurent receives Damen as a pleasure slave gifted from Kastor of Akielos.

Appearance[]

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Damen and Laurent after the events of the trilogy.

Unknown

Laurent at his Ascension.

Laurent's physical beauty is often drawn attention to in the books and is noted by many people in their discussions of him. Famously he is blond-haired and blue-eyed, with very fair skin, slender built, and is often paralleled with the Lady Jokaste of Akielos.

However, Damen also notes that, like Jokaste, Laurent's beauty is something that one must forcibly shunt aside when considering him as it is the least significant thing about him, saying that it is difficult to associate Laurent with a physical body at all, as with him one is always dealing with the mind. It is significant that, though Laurent is aware of his high level of attractiveness, he never uses his appearance or sexuality to further himself in any of his political or military endeavours.

Laurent's style of dress is severe, as he typically dresses in long-sleeved, high-necked aristocratic clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Unlike most Veretians, he wears little jewelry. However, he is sometimes associated with a blue earring that once belonged to the Regent's pet Nicaise. He wears the earring to disguise himself as a pet in Prince's Gambit.[2]

He is also associated with a blue cotton dress gifted to him by Vaskian women, which he wears in Kings Rising to play the part of a woman -- and his beauty is such that he actually pulls it off. Damen notes that Laurent has an almost androgynous appeal when laced-up in his restrictive aristocratic clothing. But Damen also notes:

Sleeping beside Damen, there was a newly physical aspect revealed in Laurent: the taut waist, the upper body musculature of a swordsman, the exposed angle of his Adam’s apple. Laurent looked like what he was: a young man. [3]

More than once, Laurent's beauty works against him. He is often a target of mockery and degradation in regards to his beauty, and even his own men talk freely about what they'd like to do to him in bed. His uncle more than once uses the fact that he is beautiful against him, encouraging the belief that Laurent is not fit for battle or really any sort of heavier duty that would fall upon a King.

Though Vaskan women describe him as tiny, it is to be noted Laurent is of regular proportions, not excessively small or lanky. Simply, he seems small standing next to Damen, who is larger and more muscular than most. The fact that Laurent hides his sword fighting abilities and often wears strict clothing, which doesn't show any skin, heighten this effect.

Personality[]

Laurent of Vere by Eikyrona-0

Laurent is described as having been a very sweet, bookish boy who worshiped his brother, and was incredibly beautiful and smart, even when very small.

However, after the death of his brother, the crown prince Auguste, at the battle of Marlas, Laurent is thrown into the turbulent world of Veretian court, made more hostile under the influence of the Regent, at a very young age, and his priorities shift to ascending the throne and avenging his brother's death by defeating his murderer, Prince Damianos of Akielos. Not only this, but Laurent is left entirely at the mercy of his uncle, who abuses and rapes him as a child, abandons him emotionally as he grows, and repeatedly attempts to kill him as a young man.

This forces Laurent to adjust himself to the hostile environment he finds himself in. After a couple of years of being completely at his uncle's mercy, Laurent becomes cold-blooded, cunning, and precise, and very few remember him as the sweet child he once was.

"Laurent had no camaraderie with the men. (...) Laurent wasn't loved. Laurent wasn't liked. Even among his own men, who would follow him off a cliff, there was the unequivocal consensus that Laurent was, as Orlant had once described him, a cast iron bitch, that it was a very bad idea to get on his bad side, and as for his good side, he didn't have one."

- C. S. Pacat, Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince #2), Ch. 4

Despite his cold and off-putting countenance, Laurent remains a sweet and considerate person, still carrying with him semblances of the person he used to be. In this way, Laurent is still stuck, to an extent, in his childhood, especially when it comes to his uncle. Despite everything that his uncle has done to him and acknowledging that he is a terrible person, he maintains the perception that there are still some things which his uncle would never do, simply because he is his uncle -- for example, attempting to murder him, and actually murdering his father.

When Damen appears before the Veretian council at Ios, Laurent says "You promised..." before he is able to restrain himself from saying anything more, a seemingly childish statement in light of everything that has happened and is happening, and a very naive notion, that his uncle would stay true to his word, even though the Regent is known for his skills at manipulation.

Otherwise, Laurent is famously always in control of himself and of the events around him. He is not close to anyone, at least not at the beginning of the series, and this appears, for the most part, to be how he likes it, as he actively seeks to draw clear lines between himself and the ones around him.

Damen is one of the few people to see that the Laurent which everyone appears to know is only the result of what he was forced to become as a result of his circumstances. Laurent's preference for sorting through disputes intellectually is proof of this, as Damen wonders whether, even though Laurent is an incredibly skilled swordsman, even a master of his own style, and is very physically able, despite the misconception about him being 'a lush' because of his beauty, slender physique, pale skin, and aristocratic upbringing, Laurent even enjoys these physical pursuits. He does them out of necessity, and his sense of duty, discipline and diligence are extremely high as Laurent never complains about trials, circumstances, unfairness, discomfort or difficulty, instead always willing to do what needs to be done to achieve his aims.

For example, in Prince's Gambit, when speaking to his troops, Laurent does this from horseback while the troops stand on the ground, visibly showing that he is of a higher station than them in efforts to solidify the control that he has over his men by making sure they understand that they and he are not on the same level, nor will they ever be. Laurent goes to great means to cultivate this control, and even prioritizes it over what's best for the troop: when it comes time to chose a new Captain, Laurent chooses Jord, though he later admits to Damen that he would have been the better choice, it would have eroded his carefully cultivated authority.

He has great difficulty letting go of this control, which he acknowledges as he and Damen are in bed together. Damen notes that Laurent is by far the most controlled lover he has ever had, as he restrains himself from showing much overt sign or reaction to his own pleasure by the strength of his impossible will, and only ever seems to fully let go of himself in the brief moments of climax. However, this need for control is dimmed when he gets drunk with the Akielon commander Makedon.

Laurent's need for control begins to lessen naturally throughout the books outside of the influence of alcohol, most notably seen in his relations with Damen but also in the change in dynamics with his men and the people around him.

Relationships[]

Family[]

Aleron[]

Laurent's relationship with his father is described as detached. It's known that Auguste, Laurent's older brother, was the light in their father's life. Auguste was everything King Aleron knew, while Laurent, often the precise opposite of Auguste, is then presumably unable to really relate to his father, and vice-versa.

Hennike[]

Laurent's relationship with his mother is never described in extent, although it's understood that, as King Aleron favoured Auguste, Queen Hennike favoured Laurent.

Auguste[]

Many times throughout the series Laurent is described as having worshipped his older brother when he was younger. Auguste was twelve years older than Laurent and strong and brave. Laurent adored him, and Auguste served as his brother's protector -- giving him attention when their parents would not, giving him value when their court would not, and keeping him safe from the harsher aspects of Vere and their family -- including their uncle.

When Auguste dies at Marlas, Laurent's entire life falls apart. Auguste can no longer protect him, and Laurent is left at the mercy of his uncle, grieving without any family, young and alone in an increasingly hostile palace. Laurent dedicated his life, in fact, to avenging his brother and hating his killer, Damianos of Akielos.

As a young man, Laurent is constantly unfavourably compared to Auguste. He is less well-loved, weaker, prettier, more petty and unlikeable, less noble or honorable. His image is so demonized by his uncle that there are growing rumors that Laurent had unnatural feelings for his brother -- that he was in love with him and lusted after him, even as a child. Many believe it was unrequited, out of faith in Auguste, but many others think Laurent slept with his brother as a child. (Which is untrue, to be clear).

The Regent[]

After the death of his brother and father, Laurent's only remaining family was his uncle, the newly appointed Regent of Vere. Laurent was still a child and grieving when his uncle took advantage of this and physically, emotionally, and sexually abused Laurent under the guise of comforting him. When Laurent starts maturing, his uncle emotionally abandons him. As he grows older, the Regent increasingly works to tarnish Laurent's reputation and his position in court. When Laurent is a young man, at twenty years of age, we see in Captive Prince his uncle's first of many attempts to murder him and take his throne.

Before and during the novel, the Regent works tirelessly against Laurent, ruining him as a person and as a public figure. He treats his nephew as a child, still, and this is reflected in how Laurent sometimes thinks and acts like a child (read: innocently) towards his uncle as well.

For the most part, Laurent lives in constant awareness, if not fear, of his uncle and his uncle's influence in his life. And he is, after all, alone in this until the events of Prince's Gambit, when Damen begins to understand the magnitude of the Regent's influence and allies himself with Laurent -- his first ally since Auguste's death.

Trivia[]

  • He is homosexual
  • Laurent's birthday is in spring.[4]
  • Laurent's clothing was inspired by that of Catwoman from Batman Returns: "sexual but says 'fuck off' and cannot be penetrated". [5]
  • His mother appears to highly favor him, while his father, favored Auguste.
  • Laurent enjoys challenges and games as he would purposely cause trouble for the excitement [6].
  • He is kind in nature and is a fast learner.
  • Laurent has a tolerance to the drug used on him in Captive Prince, perhaps due to the Regent using the same drug on him when he was younger.

References[]

  1. Captive Prince - Chapter Index
  2. Captive Prince, Ch. 1
  3. Pacat, C. S.. Prince's Gambit (The Captive Prince Trilogy) (pp. 293-294). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  4. Captive Prince, Ch. 2
  5. C. S. Pacat's Twitter
  6. Prince's Gambit, Chapter 6
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