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Where Steel REALLY Came From . . .

by Matthew L. Martin

. . . at least according to yours truly.

The question of Sturm's affair with Kit, which produced Steel Brightblade, has recently been a topic of discussion on the DL Mailing List. I've long been dissatisfied regarding the 'origin' of Steel presented in "Kitiara's Son". How long, I'm not sure, but it was pretty strongly formed by the time Weis and Hickman returned to TSR. I've long been thinking of ideas for how to explain Steel, and I think I've finally hit on some. Thus, my own rewrite of history.

Sometime after leaving Solace with Sturm, Kitiara found herself pregnant. Exactly who the father was is uncertain; all we know is that it was a human (given that Steel gives no evidence of any other racial heritage) and wasn't Sturm. Kit wanted to deal with the pregnancy in her own way, but before she could, Sturm found out about it.

The two quarreled over how to handle the situation. Sturm offered to marry her or find her a husband so that the child could be cared for, an idea Kitiara mocked. He managed to extract a vow from her that she would not try to end the pregnancy, but she, in exchange, received his promise not to tell anyone about this. (Cf. "How the Companions Met" in Leaves, where Caramon notes that it seemed that Sturm wanted to tell Tanis something about Kitiara, but was constrained by Knightly honor.)

The next few months put a strain on the relationship between both of them. Sturm was unfailingly polite and a touch protective, which annoyed Kit, who considered it silly and condescending. He was wise enough not to try and give her advice on raising the child, knowing that she'd practically raised her younger brothers. Meanwhile, Kitiara's lack of concern--indeed, her active hatred--for the child within her left Sturm worried and disturbed. He saw such emotions as sinister and unnatural, and began to fear for Kitiara's soul.

By the time Kitiara was six months along, Sturm was convinced that it would be unsafe--for both Kit and the child--for the warrior-woman to travel any further. He left her in a small village, offering to return and look in on her in four months. Kitiara scorned his offer, and forced him to promise that he would not come back for her until they met at the Inn of the Last Home in four years. The night after he left, she took her horse and began riding long and hard across Solamnia, until she finally reached the small village where Sara Dunstan lived. The rest of the situation proceeded as we read in "Kitiara's Son".

As for the story Kit told Sara? Well, we're already told that the pregnancy was a hard one, and Kitiara was sick and weak during the aftereffects. I think she was half-delirious when she told Sara that tale, and her resentment and anger towards Sturm and his Solamnic honor created the story that's been passed on to us. When she recovered, she remembered what she said, but angry at herself for her weakness and delusions, she simply told Sara to forget it, instead of bothering to tell the truth.

Oh, one last detail. After Kitiara spurned Sturm's offer of marriage, he offered to make the unborn child a conditional ward of the Brightblade family, so that "if you fall in battle, I, my kin, or my fellow Knights will take the child and raise him". Kitiara laughed, but she let Sturm make his promises and take the child as such a ward. The concept, rooted in the Measure, is a bit complex, but it does establish a somewhat paternal relationship between the Knight and the child in question . . .

. . . so, in a sense, Sturm is Steel's father.

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