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High Prince Roelstra is a fictional character in Melanie Rawn's fantasy novel Dragon Prince. He is the novel's primary antagonist.

Dragon Prince Character
High Prince Roelstra
Race human
Birth 653, Castle Crag, Princemarch
Rings Princemarch amethyst
Titles High Prince, Ruler of Princemarch
Princedom Princemarch


Roelstra was born in 653. Little is known of him before he became High Prince and ruler of Princemarch in 665 other than that he had probably poisoned his father at the age of ten and that he had married Lallante of the Mountain. Lallante was of the diarmadh'im, though Roelstra did not know this. Lallante bore him four daughters (Naydra, Lenala, Pandsala, and Ianthe) before dying in 679. Roelstra never remarried, but he took many mistresses and fathered a total of eighteen children; all were daughters.

Roelstra was a powerful and cunning ruler and few dared to cross him. Those who did usually wound up mysteriously dead or with a Merida blade in their back. Roelstra also discovered that the drug dranath could be used to enslave his Court Sunrunner, Crigo. Crigo was used to spy on other Princedoms and Keeps for the High Prince. He was caught spying on the new Prince of the Desert, Rohan, by the Sunrunner Sioned. The Desert had always been a thorn in the High Prince's side; its past ruler, Zehava, distrusted and disliked him and had been strong enough to withstand his plots. Anxious to remove this thorn, Roelstra offered his daughters in marriage to the young Prince Rohan, whom all accounts attributed a fool. Roelstra hoped to rule the Desert through his daughter's marriage to Rohan, and then, when an heir was born, dispose of him.

Rohan had been greatly underestimated. At the Rialla of 698, the young Prince did indeed seem the fool, but Roelstra grew to realize that it was merely an act on Rohan's part; beneath the young exterior lurked a dangerous opponent, one who thought with more than his sword. The young Prince had wrested a number of treaties out of Roelstra as the High Prince wished to fascillitate a marriage between their lines - and he figured he'd get everything from the Desert through Rohan and his daughter's son. The young Prince also wanted the Desert's boundaries recognized by the other Princes, something that led into a debate about permanent princedom boundaries for all. A large part of Roelstra's power lay in playing the Princedoms against each other, so he let the debate heat furiously to the point where war seemed eminent, then accepted Lleyn of Dorval's proposal to gather records and await te next Rialla. Roelstra then proposed that in the mean time there would be peace between all Princedoms and if any one Princedom should attack another, then all Princedoms would unite behind the High Prince and go to the attacked Princedom's aid. Some were wary of this proposal, but all agreed and signed.

Also during this Rialla, Roelstra formed an interest in Sioned, the Sunrunner who had caught Crigo's spying and who was rumored to be Rohan's intended bride. Aside from the fact that she was involved with his enemy, Sioned was a beautiful woman and perhaps could give him a Sunrunner son - the goal, he assumed, of Andrade, Lady of Goddess Keep, in regards to Sioned's marriage to Rohan, who was Andrade's nephew. Roelstra managed to lure Sioned into his tent and cloud her mind with dranath, but a furious Prince Rohan swept to her rescue and proved once and for all that he was not the weak imbecile he had seemed. Soon thereafter Roelstra was told that Palila, his mistress, had borne him his long desired son. When he arrived aboard his barge, however, he discovered not a son, but two daughters and a plot to switch out his heir had one been born - or to switch in one. He also discovered that Palila had given Crigo too much dranath as she tried to get the drugged faradhi to warn Sioned away from Roelstra. Angered by his treasonous daughters and mistress, Roelstra was ready to execute them all, but Andrade convinced him to give Pandsala and little Chiana, which means 'treason' in the Old Tongue, over to her keeping. After the others left, Roelstra mocked Ianthe with Rohan's choice of bride: Sioned. Seeing the hatred burning in his daughter, he granted her Feruche Castle and promised her revenge. He then turned to Palila, whom he knew feared fire, and set her bed and hair on fire. The entire ship caught flame and by morning burned into the river.

Three quiet years passed, then the plague broke out, sweeping the Continent. After many had died, including four of Roelstra's daughters, a cure was found in dranath, which only grew in the Veresch Mountains of Princemarch. Roelstra gathered the herb and sold it at high prices to the other Princedoms - sending some conveniently late as he awaited the deaths of opposing Princes. Prince Rohan of The Desert, who seemed to have infinite stores of gold, bought the drug en masse and distributed it to the other Princedoms. This made the other Princes look favorable toward the Desert. It was time to permanently remove the Desert thorn from his side.

Roelstra ordered the Merida, who were hiding in Feruche with Ianthe, to capture Rohan. Roelstra himself went to Syr in order to teach young Prince Jastri 'military maneuvers.' The Merida were to wait to attack Tiglath until Desert forces were split between the south and Feruche, but they attacked too soon. Roelstra held his and Jastri's armies back until Ianthe was pregnant. The War of 704 was long and fierce, though Roelstra's men outnumbered The Desert's southern forces nearly two to one. The biggest blow to Roelstra's army was when his elite horsemen wandered into a dragon feeding ground and were nearly all killed. Shortly afterward the Desert staged its last attack. It ended with a duel between Roelstra and Rohan, surrounded by the High Prince's own guard and lit by Sunrunner's Fire. Roelstra was assured of his victory here as the younger Prince was wounded, exhausted, and defeated in spirit. A starwoven dome suddenly formed around him and the Rohan, blocking the throwing knife aimed at Rohan from one of the High Prince's men. Sioned, Rohan's Sunrunner Princess, was somehow protecting her husband from miles away with starlight. Roelstra and Rohan fought, Roelstra appearing the clear victor as Rohan dropped first his sword and then his boot knives. Roelstra taunted the 'princeling' with what he had planned for Sioned - and Rohan's son. That goad was the High Prince's last as a new fury spurred Rohan to his feet, knife in hand, and then through Roelstra's throat. Roelstra fell. The war was ended. Rohan became High Prince.

Roelstra's Daughters[]

  • Ianthe of Princemarch: Lady of Feruche and Pol's birth mother, she was Roelstra's favorite daughter. She had three other sons: Ruval, Marron, and Segev.
  • Pandsala of Princemarch: Regent of Princemarch, she considered Pol her son and fought to secure his claim on Princemarch by killing off her sisters.
  • Naydra of Princemarch: Lady of Port Andi, she was Roelstra's oldest daughter.
  • Lenala of Princemarch: Born in 664 to Roelstra and Lallante of the Mountain, Lenala was one of Roelstra's four legitimate daughters. She attended the 698 Rialla with her sisters and tried to gain the attention and affection of Rohan. She was considered to be the dimmest of her four sisters, and failed in her half-hearted pursuit. She died of Plague in 701.
  • Gevina: Born in 679 to Roelstra's mistress Vamana. She died of plague in 701.
  • Rusalka: Born in 680 to Roelstra's mistress Vamana. She was killed by Pandsala to ensure Pol's claim on Princemarch.
  • Alieta: Born to Roelstra's mistress Vamana.
  • Nayati: Born in 684 to Roelstra's mistress Vamana. She was killed by Pandsala to ensure Pol's claim on Princemarch.
  • Kiele, Lady of Waes: Born in 681 to Roelstra's mistress Karayan. She married Lyell, Lord of Waes, and became the mother of Geir and Lyela. In 719 Kiele and her husband were executed for treason and aiding Masul, the pretender.
  • Lamia: Born in 683 to Roelstra's mistress Karayan. She died of plague in 701.
  • Moria: Born in 684 to Roelstra's mistress Surya.
  • Cipris: Born in 687 to Roelstra's mistress Surya. She was killed by Pandsala in order to ensure Pol's claim to Princemarch.
  • Pavla: Born in 692 to Roelstra's mistress Palila, Pavla married Ajit, Prince of Firon. She and Ajit were killed by Pandsala so that Pol could inherit the Princedom of Firon.
  • Jelena: Born in 692 to Roelstra's mistress Palila. She died of plague.
  • Moswen: Born in 692 to Roelstra's mistress Palila.
  • Rabia: Born in 693 to Roelstra's mistress Palila. She married Patwin, Lord of Catha Heights and bore three children: Izaea, Sangna, Aurar. She was killed by Pandsala in order to ensure Pol's claim to Princemarch.
  • Danladi, Princess of Syr: Born in 694 to Roelstra's mistress Aladra. Fostered at High Kirat, Danladi was befriended by Gemma of Syr; the two best friends later became sisters, when they married brothers, Kostas and Tilal, respectively.
  • Chiana: Born 698 to Roelestra's mistress Palila at the Rialla that cost Palila her life after the scheming by Palila and Roelestra's daughters regarding the birth of a son. Chiana was fostered with her elder sister Pandsala at Goddess keep until Chiana betrayed them to Roelestra as a young child. Married Hallian of Meadowland and have a son and daughter.