This is another subject that can differ from person to person. I have friends who take loyalty very seriously and some who believe it doesn’t exist at all. Some consider it to be synonymous with honor while others have specific definitions for these two ideals. Loyalty has a lot of degrees too and can get tested on a daily basis by almost anything. People have loyalty to family, friends, jobs, hobbies, dreams, religions, politics, and the list keeps going even to the point of smartphone brands. Any one of these areas can be poked and prodded at a moment’s notice, which makes you question if you should remain loyal. This could even be considered one of the core pieces of friendship too.
Heroic groups thrive off loyalty to each other. The Fellowship of the Ring is a great example where the heroes depend on each other even though they aren’t all true, close friends. Honestly, I still think of Legolas and Gimli as associates for Frodo and Sam since they didn’t really interact. Even you can’t call them friends, they remain loyal to themselves and their cause for the entire trilogy. All, but Boromir, who takes the role of traitor. His loyalty is more to Gondor than the Fellowship, which leads to him trying to take the One Ring. He regains his honor before dying, but can the same be said for loyalty? After all, he died, so that kind of ended things for him.
Note that a person can be loyal to two things and be put in a position where they have to choose. Once in this spot, a hero can lose something very important. Yet, this could be inevitable too. With loyalty comes a high risk of being forced into a corner and having to sacrifice. We have to consider this in real life too. There’s a ‘riddle’ in the anime/manga ‘Hunter x Hunter’ where the heroes have to say if they would save their son or their daughter in order to proceed. The answer ends up being remaining silent for the entire time, but the real truth is that a hero must be ready for such a situation. Loyalty will come into play here even if it’s not the deciding factor.
Throughout Legends of Windemere, the concept of loyalty turns up. Aside from having it to each other, the champions all have other places, people, and aspects that they are devoted to. For example, Timoran is loyal to his people while Delvin is very loyal to Selenia Hamilton. More abstractly, Sari is loyal to the concept of love whether it involves her or not. The third thing is a lot more subtle and doesn’t always come across since the abstract ideals can be overlooked for the more physical. Perhaps the most loyal person in the group is Fizzle, who never had to go on this adventure in the first place and can leave at any moment.
Now, you might be wondering about the question in the title. On the fly, you might not associate loyalty to villains. Like friendship, it doesn’t clearly match with the mental flaws of a bad guy. Not unless you consider being loyal to yourself. Still, they are dedicated to various causes of evil and selfishness, which can count if you stretch the term. In truth, the real loyalty of villains can be found below the top tier. Agents and minions are in their roles because they believe what their boss stands for. There are always those that are planning to kill the chief and take over like Stephen or Trinity who is a villain almost against her will. Then you have the Lich, Vile, Yola, and Nyder. They stay with the Baron for various reasons, but they possess loyalty to various degrees. Does the Baron have the same toward his people? Hard to tell at some points since he has a slight temper and his immortality has made him distant. I’d say it depends on the person and what his mood is at the time.
So, what about Dariana since this is connected to The Spirit Well? How many loyalties does she have and how do they come into play? You can say herself, the champions, the voices in her head, one side of her family, the other side of her family, Gabriel, and a few people from her past, which only scratches the surface. Be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out.