|“||Don't worry, things will get worse.||”|
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. He was the brother of Airen and the uncle of Louise and Layra.
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.
Helmer is present in the Savory Den when Wilfred Longtreader's party arrives following their escape from Nick Hollow. Both Heather and Picket notice him, sitting alone and expressing disdain when another rabbit asks to join him. Picket is immediately impressed, and looks for him again the next morning; Helmer is not in the Savory Den, but is seen later during Emma's tour of Cloud Mountain. After warming up and terrifying a young mother whose child wanders too close to his tree, Helmer begins a dangerous training exercise that nearly results in his death several times.
Fortunately, Helmer is saved due to the intervention of Wilfred, Smalls, and Lord Rake, though the latter rebukes him for his actions. Helmer, feeling guilty, expresses the desire to be exiled; despite this, Smalls honors him with a salute and Blackstar's oath. When Picket approaches him, hoping to receive training from the older rabbit, Helmer is dismissive. After handily subduing Picket in brief confrontation, he is confronted by Lord Rake. When Picket claims that Helmer has been giving him pointers, Helmer relents and initiates a calling ceremony, with Picket accepting his offer.
Helmer quickly demonstrates what a rough teacher he can be, as in their first session he inflicts numerous minor injuries upon his pupil. Despite this, Picket greatly enjoys his training with Helmer. For his part, Helmer is impressed with Picket's analytical abilities and quick progression. However, he is disappointed upon discovering Picket's crippling fear of heights, and moreso by Picket's belief that the imminent war could be won. Helmer expresses his own dismal views to his student, though he also displays sympathy for Picket's agony over his absent family.
During the events of the Citadel Congress at Cloud Mountain, Helmer and Picket are 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 watch the pair at sword practice.
Helmer is later in attendance at a meeting between Lords Rake and Ramnor, which is overheard by Picket and Heather. Despite the coolness between him and his former comrade, Helmer expresses a willingness to fight to prevent Wilfred or any of his family from being arrested by the suspicious citadel lords. He also expresses his amazement with Picket's skills, and his belief that the buck's fear could be overcome. During the subsequent Attack on Cloud Mountain, Helmer joins Wilfred in mounting a retaliatory charge, only for the Wolves to strike back against them.
Heather's timely arrival saves Helmer from a pair of attacking wolves, and he quickly repays the favor by engaging one who attacked her. Upon being apprised of the imminent danger to Smalls, revealed as King Jupiter's heir, Helmer goes after Lord Rake in order to marshal reinforcements. He then joins the force in marching to Jupiter's Crossing, where they witness Picket's spectacular feats before helping to drive off arriving wolf soldiers. In the aftermath, Helmer and Wilfred are reconciled, while Helmer's true identity as Lord Captain becomes widely known. Following a subsequent training session with Picket, he is present when Halfwind Citadel's Captain Frye arrived with news on the possible whereabouts of Picket's family.
Helmer accompanies 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 remains pessimistic regarding the rabbits' chances against them. When the prince's court leaves Cloud Mountain to make their way to Halfwind Citadel, Helmer takes charge of the advance party. This includes himself, Frye, Emma, and Heyward; Bracers Jo Shanks, Owen, and Studge; and Vandalia Citadel's Aubray, who is meant to give the impression that their party is heading for that citadel.
After making some progress, Helmer sends Jo and Owen to scout ahead to make sure that the way is clear, as they had been warned of wolves in the area. The pair soon report back that a large force of wolves are in their way under the leadership of a Preylord, whom Helmer identifies as a kite. Seeking to insure that the prince's party makes it safely through enemy lines, Helmer splits his force. Taking Emma, Jo, and Heyward with him, he assigns Frye and the others to a separate distraction mission.
Through a clever ploy involving Jo, Helmer's party manages to take out a number of wolves. Unfortunately, Lord Solus doesn't fall for their diversion, and later swoops down on Frye's rabbits. Realizing that they have to eliminate the Preylord if Smalls is to have any chance of getting through safely, the group orchestrates an ambush atop a stone bridge. Though it doesn't go quite as planned, Helmer is able to plant an explosive they had made on Solus, which Jo sets off with a flaming arrow.
At Halfwind Helmer takes 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 are later joined by Perkinson, son of the hero Perkin One-Eye. Recognizing that such rabbits would have to be the best, Helmer dismisses the clumsy early recruit Heyward. He is reproved for his insensitivity in doing so by Heather, the unit's medic; he later complains about her presence, and becomes annoyed when Picket and Jo came to her defense.
Helmer is later present at a meeting at which Captain Frye reveals that scouts have spotted a large army of rabbits marching up from the southeast. After it is agreed that Smalls should depart for Kingston as planned, Helmer recruits new arrival Coleden Blackstar into the Fowlers. Some time later, he berates 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 arrives to attack the citadel, leaving most of the Fowlers trapped and in need of reinforcements.
Helmer is injured during the fighting, but insists on remaining outside as forces from within the citadel emerge-led by Perkinson-to engage the Wolves. He sends 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 look to be decimated, the rabbits previously reported by Frye arrived and began attacking the Wolves. Watching them in action, Helmer is reminded-to his discomfiture-of history prior to the reign of King Jupiter.
It turns 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 is confined to the sick bay for much of the prince's rule over the citadel. However, he gets 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 gets out of bed again to alert the Fowlers when word arrives that Morbin Blackhawk's forces are massing to invade Cloud Mountain.
Helmer joins Captain Frye in leading the Halfwind troops to Cloud Mountain, and later leads the rabbit charge at Jupiter's Crossing. Faced with overwhelming odds, he calls a retreat back to Rockback Valley, where the battle continues. Unfortunately, Bleston breaks 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 is killed and forces from Cloud Mountain are able to come to the aid of the rabbits in the valley. Afterwards, Helmer joins as many of the soldiers as are physically able in pledging themselves to Emma, who becomes Jupiter's heir after Smalls' apparent death.
Helmer and Picket lead 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 can leave, a force of Terralain soldiers led by Tameth Seer appears, intent on taking Picket into custody for killing Bleston. When efforts to reason with them fail, Helmer leads 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 speaks with Captain Vulm, with the two agreeing to a two-day truce.
Helmer and Picket then make their way into the Great Wood, heading towards Harbone Citadel with their aim being to enter First Warren. Along the way, Helmer tells Picket about his sister Airen and his history with Lord Hewson, while also revealing that he considers Picket to be part of his family. After sensing something unsettling nearby, Helmer attempts to cross a glade only to be fired upon. It turns out to be archers from Harbone, who strike Helmer's pack to force him back undercover. Their reasoning is soon revealed, as the Wild Wolf Pack charge through the area, horrifying Helmer and Picket with their numbers.
Helmer and Picket eventually make their way to Harbone after engaging a handful of the wolves, and are admitted by Lieutenant Dev Meeker, one of Helmer's old comrades. They are then brought before Harbone Citadel's council and explain their intention to enter First Warren in anticipation of the Resistance retaking the city. Reluctantly, the council agrees to help them in their efforts, and Helmer has the chance to catch up with Lord Hewson. After meeting Hewson and his wife's youngest son, young Helmer, Helmer attends another council meeting. He and Picket propose various ideas for infiltrating First Warren, only to learn that they have already been attempted by Harbone rabbits with disastrous consequences.
A young engineer, Emerson, provides the solution by creating glider capes based upon the one Heyward developed for Picket. Picket and Helmer then use them to glide into the city while a party led by Lord Hewson provides cover. Despite a near disaster with his own glider, Helmer makes it into the city with Picket. The two then witness the horror of the younglings of First Warren being punished for the distraction that covered their entry, which is blamed on resistance forces within the city. Helmer prevents Picket from intervening and getting them killed, but promises him that they will repay the monstrous deeds when the time is right.
The pair later come upon a number of rabbits secreted in a cave, including one known as the Teller. From this group they learn that the tales of Picket's exploits and the story Heather wrote about them has made it into First Warren. They then travel to Helmer's family home, where they met his niece Louise. Unfortunately, they also learn that her father Snoden and twin sister Layra had died during Helmer's absence, leaving Airen a broken shadow of his former self. Helmer is devastated, but does his best to care for his sister with Picket and Louise, or Weezie as she affectionately known, go for a walk.
The house is later attacked by the Black Band, First Warren's secret police force, and Helmer is beaten and subdued despite putting up a considerable fight. Fortunately, Picket and Louise arrived with Captain Moonlight and his resistance fighters, who manage to get Airen to safety. However, when the main body of the Black Band appears, Picket and Helmer are left on their own. The leader of the band, Captain Daggler, proves 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 defeats two of Daggler's rabbits and, after learning that Daggler had killed Layra, subdues the villain and holds him at the point of his own sword.
Helmer offers to surrender in exchange for Picket going free, and orders his apprentice to depart and take care of Airen and Weezie for him. Helmer is hit with an arrow, but is rescued by Moonlight's returning forces and taken to the Citadel of Dreams. He swiftly recovers and is reunited with Picket, Weezie, and Airen, who begins showing signs of her old character by teasing her brother. The Resistance then sets to work preparing for the arrival of Emma's forces. Escorted by Moonlight's right hand, Prince Whitbie Joveson, Helmer and Picket confront Morbin's governor Winslow Joveson, with Helmer delivering an ultimatum sent by Emma.
The trio then make their way to the top of the royal palace, with Picket launching from it with his glider while Helmer and Whit drop down to Winslow's public address balcony. They dispatch Winslow's guards and take him captive, shortly before the Resistance army invades First Warren. Helmer remains with Whit as Picket joins the battle, but later leaps from the balcony to stop Daggler from killing Cole Blackstar. He is set upon by one of Daggler's rabbits, whom he swiftly dispatches, before facing off with Daggler himself. Despite Daggler's boasting and skill, Helmer overcomes and kills him, fulfilling a promise he had made to the captain earlier after giving the ultimatum.
Helmer then accompanies Emma's entourage back up to the balcony, where he introduces Whit to Emma. Upon seeing Jo under attack by one of the handful of remaining raptor sentinels, Helmer helps an injured Picket launch himself from the balcony to go to his aid. With the Battle for First Warren won, Helmer introduces Airen and Weezie to Emma, and later brings Winslow before her as she addresses the city. After citing Winslow's various crimes to her, Helmer gives her his sword; she does not strike Winslow, however, but pardons him for his misdeeds in a gesture of mercy, at which point Helmer leads him away.
Helmer is in attendance when Emma assembles her council, and greets Picket with his usual playful insults. The group is unexpectedly joined by Wilfred, who accompanies Jo, Cole, and Heyna Blackstar in their return from a mission to the Terralain camp. Upon learning that the Terralains plan to attack the following dawn, ahead of an anticipated assault by Morbin's forces in three days time, Helmer joins a small embassy led by Emma. Making use of glider packs, the group travels to the Terralain camp, where Helmer learns that Captain Vulm has been killed with the Cause being blamed.
Having his own suspicions as to the identity of Vulm's killers, Helmer joins the group in entering the Terralain camp. While Emma and Picket are in council with Kylen, Harbone Citadel is attacked, and the embassy quickly departs. 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 engage 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 return to First Warren, where they learn more about the forthcoming assaults from their prisoner's rants. Helmer bemoans the loss of his fellow Lord Captains; when he comments on Harlan Seer's last expedition in search of True Blue, Emma's curiosity is aroused. He later greets Wilfred upon his old friend's return from the fight at Harbone, and the pair discuss a bet made on Cloud Mountain. Wilfred also asks 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 leads one of the two divisions of the Royal Warrenguard. He later assumes command of the entire army after Picket takes his place as division head. The rabbits are then alerted to the approach of not only the Terralains, but a massive wolf army under King Farlock. Emma then arrives with the news that the Lords of Prey, having massed near Grey Grove, are also on their way to First Warren.
After failing to persuade Emma to return to the palace, Helmer charges Picket with her safety. The Terralain attack is halted when Kylen and his brother Naylen turn on the treacherous Tameth seer, but Farlock's army then arrives. Helmer coordinates the defense against the wolves, and tries to stop Picket from challenging the dreaded king. Fortunately, Picket slays Farlock, and the Terralain army then charges into battle alongside the soldiers of the Cause.
When Picket returns to Helmer's command post, Helmer is relieved to see him, having been unable to come to Picket's aid when Farlock's forces charged him. He then sends Picket to prepare the Royal Fowlers Auxiliary while he continues to direct the battle. The first wave of Preylords then arrived to attack the city, but Helmer orders that the R.F.A. be held in reserve. After a hasty council, he agrees to deploy the Blackhawk Option, which was intended for use against Morbin himself.
After Falcowitson dies and his forces scatter, Helmer is introduced to the Pilgrim, a new arrival from Exile Glen who seems familiar to him. After conferring with Emma's council regarding a scheme involving First Warren's dam, Helmer speaks privately with Lady Glen and receives her blessing. During this conference, Picket learns 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 lead a charge to get the survivors to safety ahead of the flood they intend 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 orders his bucks to retreat. Amassing near the dam, the group attempts to set off the blastpowder rigged near it, but the trigger mechanism fails. Helmer rushes in and, after a parting glance to Picket, triggers 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 leads the R.F.A. into battle, calling them to action in memory of Helmer. After the war is won, Helmer is 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 is 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 now married Picket and Weezie work with their children, is named the Helmer tree in his honor.
Helmer was a large rabbit with black fur amidst flecks of grey, later revealed to have a scar around his right arm. He carries a black sword inset with a solitary emerald on the hilt as well a black shield with a red diamond symbol that nearly matches the symbol worn by Redeye Garlackson, though Helmer's version is without the fang. These are 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 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.
|Unnamed father||Unnamed mother|
|Brindle Cove||Unnamed wife|
(including Helmer's great-grandfather and father)
|Helmer||Wilfred Longtreader||Airen||Snoden (deceased)|
|15 unnamed adopted children||Jo Longtreader||Unnamed children|
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 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, 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.
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.
|“||Helmer: You can drop the 'lord', Frye...A few weeks ago, I was just a brooding outsider who frightened children.
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.
|“||Lady Glen: I suppose you know that he loves you.
Helmer held a deep affection for Picket that was both paternal and fraternal. Although at first he thoroughly 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. Over time, Helmer grew to admire and love the younger buck. 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. When he seemed likely to be killed or captured by the Black Band, 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. 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 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.
- 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.
- The name "Helmer" is of German origin, and means "wrath of the warrior."
- 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.
Take a look at our gallery for Helmer by clicking here.