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WARNING: SPOILERS FOR EMBER'S END ARE AHEAD; CAUTION IS ADVISED.

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This article is about the Lord Captain. For all other articles by a similar name, please visit Helmer (disambiguation).

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Don't worry, things will get worse.
 
— Helmer to Picket Longtreader, Ember Rising, p. 39

Lord Captain Helmer, also known as Helmer the Black, was a Lord Captain under King Jupiter and was later part of the resistance against Morbin Blackhawk.

Helmer was the brother of Airen and the uncle of Louise and Layra. He was also the master and teacher of Picket Longtreader, having taken him on as his apprentice when Picket was still young. He died during the Siege of First Warren, when he would sacrifice himself to release the dam and wipe out a number of Morbin's forces. He was mourned by many, and a mural was painted in First Warren in his memory.

Biography

Early life

Helmer and his sister Airen were born in First Warren, and lived in their family home built by their great-grandfather. The two enjoyed an antagonistic friendship, with Airen often goading Helmer into various actions. As they grew these activities would grow to include Snoden, who later married Airen. Helmer later joined the army, though he hoped that he would be able to return home and take up the family occupation of farming.

Unfortunately for Helmer, he proved as natural a soldier as his namesake Brindle Cove had been a sailor, and there was always more fighting to be done. At one point, he did jeopardize his standing by swimming to Forbidden Island with Snoden. His career survived the incident, though Airen was furious with the pair for not including her. Helmer developed a heated antagonism with Hewson due to their differing social standing.

Helmer and Hewson eventually became friends after fighting alongside each other, with Helmer saving Hewson from an enemy wolf. Despite this, Hewson chose not to participate in a prank that Helmer and Airen pulled against a group of naval officers. Eventually, Helmer became a Lord Captain of the King's Army under King Jupiter, whom he deeply admired. Helmer came to command the elite King's Arm unit, a group of young bucks whom he loved like sons.

Eventually, Helmer came to suspect that Garten Longtreader was plotting treachery, and Garten attempted to prevent his interference by sending his unit on a pointless assignment. Recognizing the deception, Helmer led his troops back, only to be ambushed by Garten's forces, who killed Helmer's beloved soldiers. Garten then had Helmer chained to a tree near the Crossing by his right arm, where he could watch the betrayal and death of King Jupiter. Left with his sword, Helmer had the option to remove his arm and go to the aid of his king.

He chose not to do so, recognizing that he would only die in a futile effort; he later escaped, but was left with a scar. Despite the wisdom of not selling his life uselessly, Helmer came to feel he had betrayed the king. This was doubtless Garten's intent, as the motto of the King's Arm had been a willingness to sacrifice one's arm and one's all. At that point, Helmer's aim became clear: to avenge himself, his bucks, and his king on the traitor rabbit and his vile masters.

Following the murder of King Jupiter, Helmer was separated from his family and closest friends. Coming to see the forthcoming war against Morbin Blackhawk and his allies as fruitless, he became bitter and antisocial, convinced that there was no hope for the Cause. Eventually he made his way to Cloud Mountain, where only a handful of individuals knew the truth about him. Though he worked hard, he shunned the company of the other inhabitants and came to be regarded by many as a plague.

The Green Ember/The Last Archer

Helmer was present in the Savory Den when Wilfred Longtreader's party arrived following their escape from Nick Hollow. Both Heather and Picket noticed him, sitting alone and expressing disdain when another rabbit asked to join him. Picket was immediately impressed, and looks for him again the next morning; Helmer was not in the Savory Den, but was seen later during Emma's tour of Cloud Mountain. After warming up and terrifying a young mother whose child wandered too close to his tree, Helmer began a dangerous training exercise that nearly resulted in his death several times.

Helmer attacks a raptor dummy for practice.

Fortunately, Helmer was saved due to the intervention of Wilfred, Smalls, and Lord Rake, though the latter rebuked him for his actions. Helmer, feeling guilty, expressed the desire to be exiled; despite this, Smalls honored him with a salute and Blackstar's oath. When Picket approached him, hoping to receive training from the older rabbit, Helmer was dismissive. After handily subduing Picket in brief confrontation, he was confronted by Lord Rake. When Picket claimed that Helmer had been giving him pointers, Helmer relented and initiated a calling ceremony, with Picket accepting his offer.

Helmer quickly demonstrated what a rough teacher he could be, as in their first session he inflicted numerous minor injuries upon his pupil. Despite this, Picket greatly enjoyed his training with Helmer. For his part, Helmer was impressed with Picket's analytical abilities and quick progression. However, he was disappointed upon discovering Picket's crippling fear of heights, and moreso by Picket's belief that the imminent war could be won. Helmer expressed his own dismal views to his student, though he also displayed sympathy for Picket's agony over his absent family.

During the events of the Citadel Congress at Cloud Mountain, Helmer and Picket were observed by the soldiers of Halfwind Citadel during a training session. The watching group included Jo Shanks and Nate Flynn, the latter commenting that he wouldn't want to fight Helmer as they watched the pair at sword practice.

Helmer agrees to take Picket on as his apprentice.

Helmer was later in attendance at a meeting between Lords Rake and Ramnor, which was overheard by Picket and Heather. Despite the coolness between him and his former comrade, Helmer expressed a willingness to fight to prevent Wilfred or any of his family from being arrested by the suspicious citadel lords. He also expressed his amazement at Picket's skills, and his belief that the buck's fear could be overcome. During the subsequent Attack on Cloud Mountain, Helmer joined Wilfred in mounting a retaliatory charge, only for the Wolves to strike back against them.

Heather's timely arrival saved Helmer from a pair of attacking wolves, and he quickly repaid the favor by engaging one who attacked her. Upon being apprised of the imminent danger to Smalls, revealed as King Jupiter's heir, Helmer went after Lord Rake in order to marshal reinforcements. He then joined the force in marching to Jupiter's Crossing, where they witnessed Picket's spectacular feats before helping to drive off arriving wolf soldiers. In the aftermath, Helmer and Wilfred were reconciled, while Helmer's true identity as Lord Captain becomes widely known. Following a subsequent training session with Picket, he was present when Halfwind Citadel's Captain Frye arrived with news on the possible whereabouts of Picket's family.

Ember Falls / The First Fowler

Helmer accompanied the mission to investigate Captain Frye's intelligence, and joined Lord Victor in coming to the aid of Picket and Smalls when they spotted raptors approaching. Despite the defeat of the birds, he remained pessimistic regarding the rabbits' chances against them. When the prince's court left Cloud Mountain to make their way to Halfwind Citadel, Helmer took charge of the advance party. This included himself, Frye, Emma, and Heyward; Bracers Jo Shanks, Owen, and Studge; and Vandalia Citadel's Aubray, who was meant to give the impression that their party was heading for that citadel.

After making some progress, Helmer sent Jo and Owen to scout ahead to make sure that the way was clear, as they had been warned of wolves in the area. The pair soon reported back that a large force of wolves were in their way under the leadership of a Preylord, whom Helmer identified as a kite. Seeking to insure that the prince's party makes it safely through enemy lines, Helmer split his force. Taking Emma, Jo, and Heyward with him, he assigned Frye and the others to a separate distraction mission.

Through a clever ploy involving Jo, Helmer's party managed to take out a number of wolves. Unfortunately, Lord Solus didn't fall for their diversion, and later swooped down on Frye's rabbits. Realizing that they had to eliminate the Preylord if Smalls was to have any chance of getting through safely, the group orchestrated an ambush atop a stone bridge. Though it didn't go quite as planned, Helmer was able to plant an explosive they had made on Solus, which Jo set off with a flaming arrow.

At Halfwind Helmer took charge of training the Fowlers, an elite unit inspired by Picket's actions at Jupiter's Crossing and Jo's success against Solus. Originally consisting of himself and the two younger rabbits, they were later joined by Perkinson, son of the hero Perkin One-Eye. Recognizing that such rabbits would have to be the best, Helmer dismissed the clumsy early recruit Heyward. He was reproved for his insensitivity in doing so by Heather, the unit's medic; he later complained about her presence, and became annoyed when Picket and Jo came to her defense.

Helmer was later present at a meeting at which Captain Frye revealed that scouts had spotted a large army of rabbits marching up from the southeast. After it was agreed that Smalls should depart for Kingston as planned, Helmer recruited new arrival Coleden Blackstar into the Fowlers. Some time later, he berated Picket and Perkinson for running in the citadel, before sending them to round up Cole and Jo Shanks for their training. However, in the midst of the session, a large force of Wolves arrived to attack the citadel, leaving most of the Fowlers trapped and in need of reinforcements.

Helmer was injured during the fighting, but insisted on remaining outside as forces from within the citadel emerged-led by Perkinson-to engage the Wolves. He sent Jo and Picket inside, the former to have his injuries treated and the latter to secure Emma, recently revealed to Picket as Smalls' sister. Just as the Halfwind forces looked to be decimated, the rabbits previously reported by Frye arrived and began attacking the Wolves. Watching them in action, Helmer was reminded-to his discomfiture-of history prior to the reign of King Jupiter.

It turnws out that the unexpected rescuers are from the legendary land of Terralain, under the leadership of Jupiter's estranged brother Bleston. Due to his injuries, Helmer was confined to the sick bay for much of the prince's rule over the citadel, at one point reproving the young soldier Mitchell. However, he got out of bed to observe a meeting called by Bleston in Leapers Hall, to which he reacts with obvious displeasure despite Bleston's pledge to support Smalls as Natalia's king. He got out of bed again to alert the Fowlers when word arrived that Morbin Blackhawk's forces were massing to invade Cloud Mountain.

Helmer joined Captain Frye in leading the Halfwind troops to Cloud Mountain, and later led the rabbit charge at Jupiter's Crossing. Faced with overwhelming odds, he called a retreat back to Rockback Valley, where the battle continued. Unfortunately, Bleston broke his pledge of aid, leaving Helmer's forces to be overwhelmed by the attacking Wolves and Birds of prey. Thanks to Picket's swift actions, however, Bleston was killed and forces from Cloud Mountain were able to come to the aid of the rabbits in the valley. Afterwards, Helmer joined as many of the soldiers as were physically able in pledging themselves to Emma, who became Jupiter's heir after Smalls' apparent death, despite expressing doubt upon learning of her recent meeting with Garten Longtreader.

Ember Rising/The Archer's Cup

Helmer and Picket led a group of about fifty rabbits during the evacuation of Cloud Mountain, proceeding with them to Jupiter's Crossing before planning to part ways and leave Lieutenant Drand in charge of the group. Before they could leave, a force of Terralain soldiers led by Tameth Seer appeared, intent on taking Picket into custody for killing Bleston. When efforts to reason with them failed, Helmer led his rabbits in engaging the Terralains, whom they overcame due in part to the timely arrival of reinforcements under Jo Shanks and Cole Blackstar. After failing again to persuade Tameth Seer, Helmer spoke with Captain Vulm, with the two agreeing to a two-day truce.

Helmer and Picket then made their way into the Great Wood, heading towards Harbone Citadel with their aim being to enter First Warren. Along the way, Helmer told Picket about his sister Airen and his history with Lord Hewson, while also revealing that he considered Picket to be part of his family. After sensing something unsettling nearby, Helmer attempted to cross a glade only to be fired upon. It turned out to be archers from Harbone, who struck Helmer's pack to force him back undercover. Their reasoning was soon revealed, as the Wild Wolf Pack charged through the area, horrifying Helmer and Picket with their numbers.

Helmer and Picket eventually made their way to Harbone after engaging a handful of the wolves, and were admitted by Lieutenant Dev Meeker, one of Helmer's old comrades. They were then brought before Harbone Citadel's council and explained their intention to enter First Warren in anticipation of the Resistance retaking the city. Reluctantly, the council agreed to help them in their efforts, and Helmer had the chance to catch up with Lord Hewson. After meeting Hewson and his wife's youngest son, Helmer Hewson, Helmer attended another council meeting. He and Picket proposed various ideas for infiltrating First Warren, only to learn that they had already been attempted by Harbone rabbits with disastrous consequences.

Helmer lunges at a pack of wolves on his way to Harbone Citadel.

A young engineer, Emerson, provided the solution by creating glider capes based upon the one Heyward developed for Picket. Picket and Helmer then used them to glide into the city while a party led by Lord Hewson provides cover. Despite a near disaster with his own glider, Helmer made it into the city with Picket. The two then witnessed the horror of the younglings of First Warren being punished for the distraction that covered their entry, which was blamed on resistance forces within the city. Helmer prevented Picket from intervening and getting them killed, but promised him that they will repay the monstrous deeds when the time was right.

While Helmer and Picket were making their way to Harbone and then First Warren, their allies were preparing to retake the capital. At Blackstone, Helmer was discussed by Jo and Amber Hewson, the latter bringing up her younger brother in the process. Emma also stressed the importance of the Blackstone mission, feeling certain that Helmer and Picket would succeed in their assigned task.

Back in First Warren, Helmer and Picket came upon a number of rabbits secreted in a cave, including one known as the Teller. From this group they learned that the tales of Picket's exploits and the story Heather wrote about them had made it into First Warren. They then traveled to Helmer's family home, where they met his niece Louise. Unfortunately, they also learned that her father Snoden and twin sister Layra had been killed during Helmer's absence, leaving Airen a broken shadow of her former self. Helmer was devastated, but did his best to care for his sister while Picket and Louise, or Weezie as she was affectionately known, went for a walk.

The house was later attacked by the Black Band, First Warren's secret police force, and Helmer was beaten and subdued despite putting up a considerable fight. Fortunately, Picket and Louise arrived with Captain Moonlight and his resistance fighters, who managed to get Airen to safety. However, when the main body of the Black Band appeared, Picket and Helmer were left on their own. The leader of the band, Captain Daggler, proved to be a disgraced former member of Helmer's old army unit, now the leader of the rabbit armed forces loyal to Morbin. Helmer handily defeated two of Daggler's rabbits and, after learning that Daggler had killed Layra, subdued the villain and held him at the point of his own sword.

Helmer offered to surrender in exchange for Picket going free, and ordered his apprentice to depart and take care of Airen and Weezie for him. Helmer was hit with an arrow, but was rescued by Moonlight's returning forces and taken to the Citadel of Dreams. He swiftly recovered and was reunited with Picket, Weezie, and Airen, who began showing signs of her old character by teasing her brother. The Resistance then set to work preparing for the arrival of Emma's forces. Escorted by Moonlight's right hand, Prince Whitbie Joveson, Helmer and Picket confronted Morbin's governor Winslow Joveson, with Helmer delivering an ultimatum sent by Emma.

The trio then made their way to the top of the royal palace, with Picket launching from it with his glider while Helmer and Whit dropped down to Winslow's public address balcony. They dispatched or drove off Winslow's guards and took him captive, shortly before the Resistance army invaded First Warren. Helmer remained with Whit as Picket joins the battle, but later leapt from the balcony to stop Daggler from killing Cole Blackstar. He was set upon by one of Daggler's rabbits, whom he swiftly dispatched, before facing off with Daggler himself. Despite Daggler's boasting and skill, Helmer overcame and killed him, fulfilling a promise he had made to the captain earlier after giving the ultimatum.

Helmer then accompanied Emma's entourage back up to the balcony, where he introduced Whit to Emma. Upon seeing Jo under attack by one of the handful of remaining raptor sentinels, Helmer helped an injured Picket launch himself from the balcony to go to his aid. With the Battle for First Warren won, Helmer introduced Airen and Weezie to Emma, and later brought Winslow before her as she addressed the city. After citing Winslow's various crimes to her, Helmer gave her his sword; she did not strike Winslow, however, but pardoned him for his misdeeds in a gesture of mercy, at which point Helmer led him away.

Ember's End

Helmer was in attendance when Emma assembles her council, and greeted Picket with his usual playful insults. The group was unexpectedly joined by Wilfred, who accompanied Jo, Cole, and Heyna Blackstar in their return from a mission to the Terralain camp. Upon learning that the Terralains planned to attack the following dawn, ahead of an anticipated assault by Morbin's forces in three days time, Helmer joined a small embassy led by Emma. Making use of glider packs, the group traveled to the Terralain camp, where Helmer learned that Captain Vulm had been killed with the Cause being blamed.

Helmer restrains a furious Picket from attacking Kylen.

Having his own suspicions as to the identity of Vulm's killers, Helmer joined the group in entering the Terralain camp, where he prevented Lillywhite from attacking Picket. While Emma and Picket were in council with Kylen, Harbone Citadel was attacked, and the embassy quickly departed. Flying to Harbone, the group comes to the defense of the beleaguered rabbits who had been sent there for safety. After wiping out the remains of the Wild Wolf Pack, they engaged an attacking party from Longtreader Command, taking a single prisoner from among the traitorous rabbits.

Sick over the losses at Harbone, Helmer and the others returned to First Warren, where they learned more about the forthcoming assaults from their prisoner's rants. Helmer bemoaned the loss of his fellow Lord Captains; when he commented on Harlan Seer's last expedition in search of True Blue, Emma's curiosity was aroused. He later greeted Wilfred upon his old friend's return from the fight at Harbone, and the pair discussed a bet made on Cloud Mountain. Wilfred also asked about the wound on Helmer's arm, inflicted by Garten's long-ago treachery, to the surprise of Picket.

On the day of the final battle in the War for All Natalia, Helmer briefly led one of the two divisions of the Royal Warrenguard. He later assumed command of the entire army after Picket took his place as division head, embracing a responsibility he had once fled. The rabbits were then alerted to the approach of not only the Terralains, but a massive wolf army under King Farlock. Emma then arrived with the news that the Lords of Prey, having massed near Grey Grove, were also on their way to First Warren.

Helmer and Picket battle wolves during the War for All Natalia.

After failing to persuade Emma to return to the palace, Helmer charged Picket with her safety. The Terralain attack was halted when Kylen and his brother Naylen turned on the treacherous Tameth seer, but Farlock's army then arrived. Helmer coordinated the defense against the wolves, and tried to stop Picket from challenging the dreaded king. Fortunately, Picket slew Farlock, and the Terralain army then charged into battle alongside the soldiers of the Cause.

When Picket returned to Helmer's command post, Helmer was relieved to see him, having been unable to come to Picket's aid when Farlock's forces charged him. He then sent Picket to prepare the Royal Fowlers Auxiliary while he continued to direct the battle. The first wave of Preylords then arrived to attack the city, but Helmer ordered that the R.F.A. be held in reserve. After a hasty council, he agreed to deploy the Blackhawk Option, which was intended for use against Morbin himself.

The memorial mural of Helmer in First Warren.

After Falcowitson died and his forces scattered, Helmer was introduced to the Pilgrim, a new arrival from Exile Glen who seemed familiar to him. After conferring with Emma's council regarding a scheme involving First Warren's dam, Helmer spoke privately with Lady Glen and received her blessing. During this conference, Picket learned the story of Helmer's capture by Garten and the fate of the King's Arm. With the enemy overwhelming the defenders, Helmer and Picket led a charge to get the survivors to safety ahead of the flood they intended to unleash.

In a fierce battle, Helmer helped beat back the wolf advance, suffering several wounds as a result. When another Preylord wave led by two of the Six arrives, Helmer ordered his bucks to retreat. Amassing near the dam, the group attempted to set off the blastpowder rigged near it, but the trigger mechanism fails. Helmer rushed in and, after a parting glance to Picket, triggered the explosion himself, perishing as the blast and the ensuing flood wipe out many of the enemy.

In the last stages of the battle, Picket led the R.F.A. into battle, calling them to action in memory of Helmer. After the war is won, Helmer was honored at the first Feast of the Mending, with Smalls quoting him and an empty chair being left for him at Picket's table. A large mural of Helmer holding aloft a torch was painted in First Warren, and Picket comes to see the warrior's cluster as a depiction of his old master. A large elm tree on the family farm, which the married Picket and Weezie worked with their children, was named the Helmer tree in his honor.

Physical appearance

Helmer was a large rabbit with black fur amidst flecks of grey, and he had a scar around his right arm. He carried a black sword inset with a solitary emerald on the hilt, as well a black shield with a red diamond symbol that nearly matched the symbol worn by Redeye Garlackson, though Helmer's version was without the fang. These were presumably meant to symbolize the Green Ember and the Whitson Stone, respectively.

Personality and traits

Helmer was described as being of a blunt and gruff demeanor, traits that stemmed from his military background. He was physically imposing and was often angry and rude towards other rabbits, though his rough exterior hid a soft heart. His voice was gravelly and harsh, and bitter in times of depression. He was an excellent swordsman and warrior, and possessed some skill as an archer.

Helmer was dutiful, always attending to his assigned tasks, but suffered from a pessimistic streak born of his many unfortunate experiences. Though his relationship with Picket improved his outlook, he remained grouchy and somewhat negative, often expressing the belief that "things will get worse."

Despite his size, Helmer was incredibly agile, displaying the ability to perform incredible feats of speed as well as strength. Following injuries sustained during the attack on Halfwind, Helmer had a pronounced limp and seemed to have lost a deal of stamina, becoming tired more easily.

Family tree


- Helmer's Family Tree -
 
Unnamed father
 
Unnamed mother
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brindle Cove
 
Unnamed wife
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unnamed ancestors
(including Helmer's great-grandfather and father)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helmer
 
Wilfred Longtreader
 
Airen
 
Snoden (deceased)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Layra
 
 
Louise
 
Picket Longtreader
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15 unnamed adopted children
 
 
 
 
Jo Longtreader
 
Unnamed children


Note: Broken lines indicate relation through affinity or adoption or distant relation; unbroken lines indicate relation by blood.


Relationships

Airen

Airen is Helmer's twin sister, and the two enjoyed a close-if at times antagonistic-relationship as they grew up. Airen enjoyed teasing Helmer, and could even persuade him to undertake pranks that he would otherwise be unwilling to attempt. The pair often spent time together traveling in First Warren and the Great Wood. However, Helmer never really appreciated how much Airen meant to him until they were separated for years following the death of King Jupiter.

Upon infiltrating First Warren, Helmer immediately set out to find his sister, and was heartbroken to find her a shadow of her former self. His attempts to comfort her were initially fruitless, as Airen was struggling with the grief of her murdered husband and daughter. However, after being taken in to the Citadel of Dreams, Airen began to regain some of her former spirit, even teasing Helmer playfully as she had once done.

Snoden

Snoden was Helmer's childhood friend, who became his brother-in-law by marrying Airen as an adult. The two shared a number of escapades, including a swim to Forbidden Island that earned the pair a month of Airen's fury for not bringing her along. Snoden was killed during the Preylord occupation of First Warren, and Helmer expressed remorse at his death after first learning of it.

Louise and Layra

Louise, or Weezie, and Layra are Helmer's twin nieces, who were born after the fall of King Jupiter. Layra was murdered by Daggler before Helmer could ever meet her, and he didn't meet Weezie until shortly before the Battle for First Warren. Despite this, Helmer quickly became affectionate with her, hugging her close during their first meeting and speaking easily with her. When threatened with capture, Helmer entrusted Weezie's safety to Picket.

Hewson

Helmer and Hewson grew up as antagonists, based mainly on the fact that Helmer was a commoner and Hewson was part of a noble family. This ultimately changed when both were in service to King Jupiter and found themselves fighting side-by-side. Helmer saved Hewson from a wolf, and the pair became close comrades. They shared a heartfelt reunion when Helmer arrived at Harbone Citadel, and Hewson revealed that he had even named his youngest son after his childhood nemesis turned old friend.

Frye

Helmer: You can drop the 'lord', Frye...A few weeks ago, I was just a brooding outsider who frightened children.


Frye: A few weeks ago? The only thing that's changed is that now you're a brooding insider. You've always frightened children, Helmer, even when we were children.

The First Fowler, p. 46
 

Frye and Helmer have known each other since childhood, and were comrades in the service of King Jupiter. After being reunited in service to Prince Smalls, the two enjoyed a friendly comradery, with Frye freely teasing his old friend. However, in tense moments, Helmer did not hesitate to assert his superior rank over any objections Frye might have made to his plans.

Picket Longtreader

Lady Glen: I suppose you know that he loves you.


Picket Longtreader: I know it, Your Majesty. And I love him. He accepted me―me, with the same name as his tormentor and betrayer―when I couldn't accept myself.

Ember's End, pg. 330
 

Helmer held a deep affection for Picket that was both paternal and fraternal. Although at first he despised and was frequently irritated by Picket, who at the time was whiny, stubborn, and temperamental, he eventually decided to take him on as his apprentice, seeing a unique spark inside him despite his Longtreader name.

Though he wasn't quick to praise Picket in person, Helmer grew gradually more complimentary, and later extolled his growing skills and natural talent to Lords Rake and Ramnor. He also proved encouraging in regards to Picket's fear of heights, expressing the belief that they could overcome it. Helmer's attitude began to change when Picket, with unprecedented feats of combat and acrobatics, saved Smalls from Redeye Garlackson, an act for which Helmer congratulated the younger rabbit in his own gruff way. Though still dismayed by the odds against them, Helmer grew more hopeful, and soon incorporated Picket into a new elite unit known as the Fowlers. Over time, Helmer grew to love and even admire Picket. The two shared a close warrior bond that frequently involved sarcastic jabs at one another, though neither was ever truly hurt by anything the other said.

The pair fought together on several occasions; Helmer would often express fear over Picket's being in battle without him, and vice versa. Helmer could recognize when Picket was distressed, as seen when his apprentice reports to him after learning of Smalls' apparent death. Helmer subsequently spoke out in Picket's defense when he was accused of murdering Bleston, and refused to consider the idea of surrendering Picket to the other rabbits. He also expressed the view that Picket was fully justified in his actions against Bleston. As the two continued on the next phase of their mission, heading for Harbone Citadel, Helmer unexpectedly opened up to Picket about his history. He also noted that, with the fates of his relatives in First Warren uncertain, he considered Picket his only family.

After the two infiltrated First Warren, Helmer acted to prevent Picket from taking rash action, while acknowledging the horror of what they were witnessing. Helmer was greatly amused, and Picket mortified, when they learned of Picket's folk hero status among the rabbits of First Warren. After subduing Daggler, knowing that he would likely be killed, Helmer committed the care of his sister Airen and niece Weezie to Picket. Both he and Picket understood that, had positions been reversed, Picket would have asked Helmer to care for his family as well.

Helmer prevented Picket from attacking Kylen in the Terralain camp, considering their scornful departure a more fitting response to the usurper's actions. When Picket overheard him and Wilfred discussing a bet made on Cloud Mountain, Helmer chose to keep the details private. He also didn't say much when Picket asked about his old scar, though Picket would discover the heart-wrenching cause of the wound later on.

When Picket leaped to confront Farlock, Helmer was horrified, seeing his beloved pupil's death as imminent whether by Farlock or his wolf hordes. He was thus relieved when the Terralains rescued Picket with their charge, and embraced his student upon Picket's return. Helmer was later surprised to see Picket mentoring Lallo, his expression tender as he saw his student pass on his teachings. He fought fiercely to protect Picket during the subsequent battles, and prevented Picket from making the sacrifice necessary to destroy the dam. Just as he and Picket had locked eyes when he agreed to be his mentor, as Helmer died, killed by barrels of blastpowder that would also let loose the dam, he never took his gaze from Picket's face. Picket later married Weezie, thus becoming Helmer's nephew-in-law.

Wilfred Longtreader

Wilfred and Helmer were comrades in the service of King Jupiter, though their relationship became strained following his death. Despite this, Helmer did not consider Wilfred a traitor as many others did, and vowed that he would not allow him or his charges to be unjustly put in prison. The two later fought together during the Battle for Cloud Mountain, and the action seems to have rekindled their old friendship. They made a bet concerning Wilfred's nephew and Helmer's apprentice, Picket.

After Helmer's death, Wilfred married the widowed Airen, becoming Helmer's brother-in-law; the pair took in a number of war orphans.

The Fowlers

Helmer founded the Fowlers after witnessing Picket and Jo in action against birds of prey. Initially, however, Helmer showed little regard for the young Halfwind archer. Jo, for his part, was somewhat in awe of the veteran warrior, and longed to hear praise from him. Eventually, Helmer paid Jo his compliment by inviting him to join his and Picket's training sessions.

Helmer was quick to recruit Cole Blackstar when a vacancy occurred in the Fowlers, evidently familiar with Cole's reputation or recognizing him as a formidable warrior. He was annoyed when Cole seem distracted at their first training session, but the younger buck proved to have his reasons. Though the two seem to have spoken rarely, Cole clearly earned Helmer's trust, being tasked-alongside Jo-with safeguarding Princess Emma in his absence.

Helmer knew Heyward from Cloud Mountain, but seems to have done his best to repel the younger rabbit as he did so many of their neighbors. Despite this, he seems to have recognized Heyward as an intelligent rabbit with an inventive mind. During their mission together, he seems to have anticipated Heyward coming up with a plan for their success. Helmer also welcomed Heyward into the Fowlers, and genuinely appreciated his contributions to the Fowlers' training course. However, upon determining that Heyward was unsuitable for the squad, he publicly dismissed him.

Perkinson was the son of Perkin One-Eye, a former comrade of Helmer's; whether this had any bearing on Helmer and Perk's interactions is unknown. If nothing else, Helmer deemed him fit for service in the Fowlers. Perk, for his part, became familiar with Helmer's methods, including his tendency to attack his pupils without warning. However, Perk proved unworthy of whatever trust Helmer may have put in him.

Emma Joveson

Helmer was, for a time, the object of Emma's contempt, due to his surly, solitary nature and the secrecy surrounding his identity and past. Emma was also appalled by Helmer's apparently suicidal training regimen, and felt he should be exiled from Cloud Mountain. Helmer himself actually shared this sentiment after Smalls was nearly killed in one of his exercises. However, unbeknownst to Emma, Helmer was among her true father's most trusted captains, and indeed one of the few who knew her own true identity.

Emma was livid when Lord Rake agreed, albeit reluctantly, to allow Helmer to take Picket on as an apprentice. However, her opinion of Helmer seems to have been softened by Picket's obvious enjoyment of the training. The positive effect both bucks seemed to have on each other may also have played a factor in her rising esteem for Helmer. In any event, her negative opinion of him seems to have vanished around the time his true identity as the last Lord Captain was revealed.

Unlike many rabbits, Emma was not afraid to contradict Helmer or even correct him if she felt he was being unreasonable. Helmer, for his part, was respectful to her despite his position and greater age. Entrusted with her safety on a mission, he treated it as a matter of greatest importance and was rarely far from her. However, he also was willing to employ her, over her own protests, in actions to insure the success of their mission.

After Emma was revealed as the daughter of King Jupiter, Helmer became the true commander of her army and one of her most trusted counselors. Through Jo and Cole, he urged her to be proactive even as he and Picket accepted the seemingly impossible task of entering First Warren. When it came time to deliver Emma's ultimatum to Winslow, Helmer refused to allow anyone else to deliver the message he had been commissioned to give by Emma.

Daggler

Helmer and Daggler trained together in their youth, and Daggler came to consider Helmer a rival. Helmer, for his part, had little opinion of Daggler, particularly after his disgrace and dismissal from the army. Still, he remembered his former comrade, even recognizing him years later when they met again. Helmer soon found further reasons to look upon Daggler with disdain, after learning that he not only served the Preylords but had murdered countless rabbits. The fact that these included Helmer's brother-in-law and young niece was enough for Helmer, after subduing Daggler, to express no hesitation at the prospect of killing him.

Upon a second confrontation with Daggler, Helmer expressed his intent to put an end to him. Daggler responded with threats of his own, and later attempted to attack Helmer from behind. Helmer later faced Daggler a final time, stopping him from killing Cole Blackstar. After calmly facing his manic adversary, Helmer brought their antagonism-and Daggler's life-to an end.

Trivia

  • According to S. D. Smith, Helmer is named after his ancestor Brindle Cove, who was given the nickname "Helmer" after he saved King Whitson Mariner by rushing to the helm of Steadfast just as she was about to collide with rocks. Helmer's namesake is mentioned in later editions of Ember Rising.
  • S. D. Smith listed Helmer as being one of his most interesting characters.[1]
  • The name "Helmer" is of German origin, and means "wrath of the warrior."[2]
  • According to S. D. Smith, Wilfred and Helmer's bet - mentioned in Ember's End - regarded whether or not Picket would perform well as a result of Helmer's training. He also indicated that Helmer believed in Picket's potential, and thus won the bet.[3]

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References



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