|Nealan of Queenscove|
|Heir to Fief Queenscove|
|Years of Service|
|Gift||Very Dark Green|
|Noble House||Queenscove family|
|Grandparents||Emry of Haryse †|
|Parents||Baird of Queenscove|
Wilina of Haryse 
|Siblings||Graeme of Queenscove †|
Cathal of Queenscove †
Jessamine of Disart
|Wife||Yukimi noh Daiomoru|
|Other Family||Roxanne of Haryse (aunt)|
Glaisdan of Haryse † (uncle) 
Martin of Meron (uncle) 
Hildrec of Meron (step-cousin)
Geoffrey of Meron (step-cousin)
Domitan of Masbolle (first cousin)
Several unnamed cousins
Balduin of Disart (brother-in-law)
|Residence||New Hope (Scanran War)|
Haven (Scanran War, former)
Tortallan Royal Palace
Tortallan Royal University
|Occupation||Healer (New Hope/Haven)|
|Sponsor to||Keladry of Mindelan|
|Knight Master||Alanna the Lioness (456 - 459 HE)|
|Year Knighted||459 HE|
|Affiliation||Keladry of Mindelan|
Merric of Hollyrose
Crown Prince Roald
Battle at Rathhausak
Battle of the Cliff
|Tortallan Universe character|
|First Appeared||First Test|
|Latest Appearance||Trickster's Choice|
Nealan of Queenscove (pronounced NEEL-uhn), or Neal (pronounced NEEL), is a knight in the realm of Tortall. He is the son and heir of the famed healer, Duke Baird of Queenscove. He went through page training with Keladry of Mindelan and is one of her closest friends and companions.
Neal grew up as a member of the ducal house of Queenscove. He had two older brothers, so he was not obligated to go into knight training. His brothers also thought that the best way they could serve the realm was to become knights. Neal had inherited his father's powerful healing Gift, the one where people around Duke Baird thought him to be blessed by the gods.
Neal grew up at the palace, and spent a lot of time around women of the court who could fight, like Queen Thayet, members of the Queen's Riders, Alanna the Lioness, and others. He knew that women could survive and thrive in that sort of world.
Growing up at court, he was also trained in swordsmanship and fencing from a young age. He was quite good by the time he was fifteen.
When the Immortals War hit Tortall, and his two older knight brothers died, Neal changed his mind about staying at the university. He thought it was his duty to become a knight, as Queenscove was declared a Shield of Tortall by the first Conté king, Jonathan I. Consequently, he quit learning to be a healer and went for his Knightood.
Commencement of page training
He began as a page in April of 452 HE after the end of the Immortals War. He immediately began a rivalry that would last years with the training master, Wyldon of Cavall. The training master's immutable attitude toward everything and his dislike of change amused Neal, and the two were forever going at each other—Neal was mostly.
Keladry of Mindelan arrived at court in that fall, as the first openly girl page. Neal sponsored Kel in the ways of the palace, because he wanted to help her. Neal said that she would not have liked being sponsored by Joren of Stone Mountain, the other boy who offered, as he would drive her away within a week. Thus began a life-long friendship between Kel and Neal. He reveals his nickname for the training-master, "Stump", and Kel thinks that although that may be true about Wyldon, it was not very respectful.
Neal and Kel developed a close friendship throughout their years as pages. He was always very cynical about how Lord Wyldon would treat Kel, and made his thoughts known about it. Kel and Neal bickered good-naturedly about the reasons Lord Wyldon did what he did, which Kel chose to think of it optimistically and that Wyldon was preparing her for harder tasks, and Neal chose to think of it pessimistically, and that Wyldon was trying to drive her out not so subtly. They formed a study group which included Faleron of King's Reach, Seaver of Tasride, Cleon of Kennan, Prince Roald, Merric of Hollyrose, and later Owen of Jesslaw. When Neal saw that Kel was going out every night to get into scrapes with Joren and his cronies, he confronted her about it. Kel explained that the custom of hazing was turning pages into bullies, especially Joren, and giving them reason to beat up the younger and more vulnerable pages. Neal joined her after that, seeing that the best lesson he ever heard in chivalry came from a ten year old girl. Soon, the other boys joined and Joren and his cronies left off bullying, seeing how many they were up against.
Neal was present with the other pages during the spidren hunt at the end of Kel's probationary year. He was pleased when Kel informed him that she was allowed to stay out the rest of her page training. He was also with her during the bandit attack when Kel gutted Breakbone Dell, and took over command from Faleron.
Neal was informed of Lalasa's kidnapping, but was ordered by Kel to not tell a soul, as Lalasa's captors had threatened to hurt her if she did. He was ecstatic when Turomot of Wellam, the Lord Magistrate, had ordained that Kel be allowed to take her examinations to become a squire as her reasons for skipping the exams were out of her and Lord Wyldon's control.
Neal became the squire of Lady Alanna the Lioness. While he learned numerous tricks and trained further in weaponry, Alanna helped Neal train and extend the ability of his strong healing Gift. In addition, he made a number of contacts relating to 'the Whisper Man', through Alanna's spymaster husband, Baron George Cooper of Pirate's Swoop. He was guilty when Lady Alanna first offered him the position of being her squire, as he knew it had always been a dream of Kel's. He only accepted when Alanna and his father assured him that Kel would be well looked after in the knight-master department. He was very pleased when he learned that it would be Raoul of Goldenlake, as not many conservatives would dare question Kel's right to her shield after four years with him.
These were also the years when Kel turned her affections away from Neal and to Cleon, although Neal was never aware of her crush on him.
Kel and Neal were knighted right at the beginning of the Scanran War, in 459 HE. They were deployed north to the border where Kel was assigned to be a commander of a refugee camp, Haven. Neal was given the position of chief healer of the camp, and Merric was in charge of the camp's defenses. After Scanrans attacked Haven in order to kidnap people and children, the former to be slaves, the latter to be used in order to fuel killing devices by Blayce the Gallan, Kel went after them, going deep into enemy territory. Her friends followed her, including Neal, much to her dismay, as she knew that it would be considered deserting and treasonous for all of them. They tracked down Stenmun to Fief Rathhausak and battled with the Scanrans there. They won and released the children with a few casualties. Keladry managed to behead Blayce with her glaive, thus ending his magical hold over the killing devices used in the war.
Neal is the oldest surviving son and will become Duke of Queenscove.
Neal is tall, fair-skinned, muscular, and lean, with light brown hair that sweeps back from a widow's peak. His slanting eyes are a deep emerald color, the same as his healing Gift. His face is willful, with high cheekbones and arched brows.
Personality and traits
Neal is very witty, ironic, and sarcastic, and sometimes his jokes go over other peoples' heads. He is not afraid of authority, shown in his repeated disrespect of Wyldon of Cavall, his training master. He also has a penchant for dramatics. He is very forthright and not afraid to express himself. He also has superior intelligence, seeing as he went to the university, and is very well-versed in history as well as other subjects.
Throughout his page and squire years, Neal pines for various court ladies, the most prominent of whom are Thayet jian Wilima, Veralidaine Sarrasri, and Uline of Hannalof. He writes poetry and sonnets to the ladies, but never sends his work to the women, for fear of rejection or being made to look the fool. This amuses his friends immensely. When Princess Shinkokami, a Yamani princess and a good friend of Kel, comes to Tortall to marry Prince Roald, she brings with her two Yamani ladies. One was Haname noh Ajikuro, and the second is Yukimi noh Daiomoru. Kel introduces Neal to Yuki, and they fall in love. Their relationships develops slowly, talking to each other, dancing during occasional events. They were engaged sometime between Neal's Ordeal in December 459 and mid-March of 460. Neal is reluctant to speak of Yuki and his sadness over leaving her due to the Scanran War, which leads Kel to believe that he is truly in love - his previous crushes have all been treated with drama. They planned to be married in September of 460 and according to Irnai would have a daughter in the future who would also try for her knighthood.
Neal is the son of Duke Baird of Queenscove, who is chief of the realm's healers, and his Duchess Wilina from Fief Haryse. Neal had two older brothers who died in the Immortals War. One of his sisters, Jessamine, is Kel's age. In Lady Knight, Duke Baird mentions having other sons and daughters, but he doesn't say how many. Neal is the oldest living son, however. Thus he will inherit the fief and become "Duke of Queenscove" after his father's death.
Balduin of Disart is Neal's brother-in-law through his marriage to Jessamine.
Neal's cousin through Duke Baird's sister, Domitan of Masbolle is a sergeant in the King's Own. Dom and Neal are close as brothers. Through their exchanged letters, Neal tells Dom all about Kel. Neal is constantly exasperated by the nickname Dom gave him: Meathead, which Kel often uses when she's mad at Neal, and since their "yearmates", or knights from the same year as them, don't know about Neal's nickname, Kel threatens to tell them about it. Needless to say, Neal almost always caves in when Kel uses this threat.
Through his mother Neal is related to Roxanne of Haryse and Glaisdan of Haryse, both his mother's siblings. This also makes him the nephew of Martin of Meron and cousin Lord Martin's and Lady Roxanne's five children.
At the end of Lady Knight, Irnai, a child-seer at New Hope, prophecies that Neal's daughter will be a lady knight, and that his life will be filled with surprises.
The most prominent of Neal's friends is Keladry of Mindelan. He becomes her sponsor in her first year, and the friendship, while unusual, is extremely strong. Among other things, Kel ensures that Neal eats his vegetables, while he helps her with life in general, including the occasional healing. He helps her by taking her to see Daine, who speaks to Kel's horse, Peachblossom, on Kel's behalf. Despite this kindness, Neal remains Peachblossom's favourite target for a bite.
In addition, Neal gets on well with the other lads in his year grouping, particularly Merric of Hollyrose, who later works with Kel and Neal to command and protect a refugee camp.
His knightmaster is Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau, the King's Champion. When initially approached by her, Neal was willing but worried about the effect this might have on his friendship with Kel, who idolised Alanna. On discovering Kel's own acceptance as a squire to Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak, Neal accepts. It is suggested that Alanna may have requested him partially on behalf of his father, who knew that Neal was always disappointed not to finish his education in magical healing. Under Alanna's guidance, his Gift is further trained. In addition, Neal meets Alanna's husband, George Cooper, and gets to know a few of his disreputable contacts, including those who help them cross the River Vassa into Scanra in 460.
? │ ┌——————————————————————┴——————————————————————————————┐ │ Haryse │ │ │ │ Baird of Queenscove ┬ Wilina of Haryse unnamed sister ┬ unnamed husband │ │ │ Domitan of Masbolle ┌———————————————┴——————┬——————————————————————————┬——————————————————————————————————————————┐ │ │ │ │ Graeme of Queenscove † Cathal of Queenscove † Nealan of Queenscove ┬ Yukimi noh Daiomoru Jessamine of Queenscove - Balduin of Disart │ unnamed daughter
Notes and references
- Randombuzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce - Tortall - retrieved on March 11, 2011
- Random Buzz; "Royal University, Archaeology, Neal's Family, and Carthak"; April 20, 2009
- Radom Buzz; "Lady Roxanne"; April 21, 2009
- Random Buzz; "Neal And Yuki"; April 2009
- Tim Liebe on Sheroe's Central (Nov. 2002)