Monday, October 28, 2013

Destroying a character you've never met.


That's right.  I'm destroying a character you've never met.  This means she will never be in any of my books.  She's hitting the Grey Void.


Because I'm a jerk of course!  Actually, the real reason is that I've been stuck and unable to figure out why. I finally realized this character is the reason.  I created her over a decade ago before writing "Rojuun".  At the time, the world of Ryallon had elves, dwarves, tollomes (half gnome, half halfling) and other D&D style races.   Those races disappeared when I sat down to write "Rojuun" and make it primarily human.  That's changed to, but that's a different story.

So in this book, I planned on bringing the character Jenna into play.  She's half human and half elven.  The original concept for elves was that they would have opal eyes, be tall and skinny.  She also ended up with purple hair and purple striations in her eyes.  Her favored magic was purple too . . . Fans of the Willden Trilogy may recognize those traits. ;)

Again, why?

All of my leads in the Dralin and Wyvern Trilogies are female for one.  And this character would just be Ebudae light.  She's also commonly unique.  By that, I mean that most characters in fantasy, mine included, have traits that make them special and different from everyone else.  Jenna has them in spades.

What traits?

1. She's beautiful
2. She has purple hair
3. She is an exceptionally powerful mage
4. She's super smart.
5. She's loyal
6. She's super good
7. She's an orphan
8. She has super awesome magical clothing and jewelry.
9. She's too D&D.

Why is she all these things?

Well, I was playing D&D at the time and I specialized in writing character bios.  It's a lot of fun to do.  So I wrote a character bio for all my main characters (Including Pelya.  Remind me to show you that one some day)  

What's wrong with perfect characters?

Lots, really.  There are all kinds of articles on it that I've read now.  Most of them are irritating.  But suffice to say, characters should be relatable to a greater or lesser degree.  Perfect characters are annoying.  Liselle is the most perfect character I've written so far and I've gotten a few bad reviews specifically about her.  I've corrected that in certain ways with the latest book about her.

So this character is perfect?

Close enough.  She's also too much like Liselle, Ebudae and Vevin. They probably took their traits from her to a degree. I have all sorts of female leads around Pelya too, and while I like that, I need to come up with something different to provide some contrast.  So I'm going to create a male character (or two).  I haven't decided who he will be yet, but I'll get to that as soon as I'm done with this blog post.  She originally had a brother named Jolen too, but he's disappearing too for similar reasons.  I'm thinking maybe troubled brothers for this or something.

Anyway, I thought you might want to meet Jenna before she gets carelessly tossed into the Grey Void.  Keep in mind, I wrote this when I had different plans for the world.  You might be able to see hints of the magic system and other ingredients from my books. :)  Also, I haven't edited it.  The quality leaves a lot to be desired. (Oddly enough, I think I did some things better back then)


Jenna about nineteen.  She has a high level of maturity beyond her years.  She is a very beautiful girl.  The ears are only slightly smaller than a full-blood’s.  Her eyes are elven with the exception of the purple taint.  Her hair is beautiful now, without being as bright as it had originally been.  She keeps it long and combs it frequently.  The human blood in her has removed some of the elven thinness.  She has become very graceful and walks with a calm confidence that one would not expect from an orphan girl.  Jenna knows eight languages in addition to most magic languages current and archaic.  Her voice is normally very light.  She pronounces all of her words with a precision that comes from necessity.  Enunciation requires exactness when casting spells.  When casting spells, her voice becomes strong and firm.  She can yell up quite a storm when she feels it necessary.  (Literally.)  All in all, Jenna has a very strong and confident personality.  She is not normally sociable but can be a very good and loyal friend once she gets to know you.

The first thing that you notice about Jenna is her purple hair (if she does not have it covered in her hood).  This was caused as a result of an accident at the orphanage.  One of the more eccentric tollome professors was tinkering in his lab.  To this day, he is still not sure what happened.  It seems that some fluids mixed together over a couple of scrolls with magical runes and started fizzling.  The next thing he knew, the whole thing was exploding in purple flames.  Jenna had been a favorite of Professor Klunkin’s.  He would allow the poor orphan half-elf girl to watch him work.  As she grew older, he began teaching her his lunatic (that’s what everyone else called them) concepts, inventions, and ideas. 

He came across the girl when she was sitting in the corner of his hallway crying.  This was when she was fifteen years old.  That is the equivalent of a six-year-old human.  She looked so frail, alone and vulnerable that he couldn’t help but take pity on her.  Only when he picked her up, he found a sudden place for her in his heart that could not be explained.  Perhaps it was the fragile look in her opal eyes that clenched an old tollome's chest.  It could have been the way she instantly seized him and held on for dear life as if he were the only safety in a stormy sea.  (You know, life really does seem like that at times, I would imagine that the feeling is intensified if you are an orphan.) 

No one at the orphanage knew who her parents were.  She was found abandoned at a secluded place in the city park.  The guard was able to find no clues as to where she came from and who left her there.  The orphanages of Zimth are known throughout Auropea for their compassion in taking care of lost children that are usually left to lives of crime, poverty and misfortune in other cities.  It is said that parents who actually care somewhat about those children that they abandon are left in Zimth.  It is very likely that Jenna was one of those children, then again there could be an entirely different reason for her being left in such a manner when she was ten (four, human).  Whatever the reason, Jenna became an unwilling inhabitant of the Felth Orphanage. 

The Felth Orphanage was named after Banba Felth.  Banba was an unimportant member of the Zimth city bureaucracy.   He was a treasury bureaucrat of medium rank.  What he did have going for him is that he controlled where the city’s orphanage fund went.  The Felth Orphanage was named after him because he approved the contractor’s bid, and it was part of the kickback he received.  Banba was fired shortly thereafter due to a standard inspection of spending.  It turns out that he actually took the highest of eighteen bids, and was living quite well in a nice section of town.  His name was never taken off of the home for lost children because it was too poor of an orphanage for anyone else to want. 

Two hundred years later, it has become even more run down and dilapidated.  The orphanage is in the poorest part of town.  The children there do not always fare well.  Truth be told, some of the worst rascals in Zimth come from this place.  The Downhill Flats of Zimth are notorious for their thieves and shady characters.  Everyone that lives in this part of town has at least some knowledge as to the disreputable professions available in the world. 

The Felth Orphanage is run by Gugga Dimt, the headmaster.  Gugga is a cruel sort of a tollome that really doesn’t like children.  He calls them mean names and pinches and pokes them, calling it all humorous joking around.  Headmaster Dimt doesn’t seem to realize that he is the only one laughing.  Actually, there are two others who laugh.  Mistress Ligga and Mistress Chooli.  They are two of the governess’ at the orphanage.  These two laugh at all of his pranks and encourage him with their own mischief that tends to be even crueler.
Jenna has run afoul of the headmaster and his two governesses a few times and the have been especially mean to her.   Mistress Chooli in particular was harsh with the girl.  The Mistress’ real name was once Chooliinna, an elven name.  She was an outcast from the Willden Elves.  It is not known in the orphanage why she was an outcast, but a dark rumor seems to follow her about a dead child, perhaps something she was responsible for.  Chooli has the attitude of elven superiority that leans some to treat half-breeds such as Jenna as scum on the world.  And the Mistress had this attitude in abundance.  Whenever Jenna comes into view, Chooli gets a look of hatred in her eyes and has even been known to run after the girl in order to cause her pain.  The abuse she has put Jenna through goes beyond mischief.  Mistress Chooli has beaten Jenna more than a few times.  It was shortly after one of these beatings that Professor Klunkin found her.

The Professor has lasted a long time at the orphanage for a few reasons.  To start with, he is a very good professor and his students learn a lot from the old tollome.  His brother was the previous headmaster at the orphanage at a time when it was actually a little less disreputable, though the brother was no saint either.  The main reason he is allowed to stay it that he gives the headmaster no choice in the matter.  The one time Master Dimt tried to throw Klunkin out, the old professor cast a few spells.  Dimt spent a full six weeks in the infirmary recovering.  No one is stupid enough to mess with the Professor now.  His quarters are actually a suite of eight rooms in the northernmost tower of the orphanage.  It takes up three levels of the top of the tower.  The uppermost room is one room in which the professor keeps his most powerful magical items and books.  This is where he does most of his work as well.  The next floor down is the living quarters with five rooms.  This is actually the ground level.  Two of the three towers in the orphanage are three story towers.  The professor’s tower is two stories, and considering that the rest of the orphanage is two stories high, it makes the tower not very noticeable as a tower.   These five rooms are mostly cluttered with various books and miscellaneous magical items of relatively low power.  The lower level consists of two rooms that the professor uses for experiments and alchemy.

The first room is a room that is warded in such a way as to prevent stray magic from escaping.  There are magic absorbents that distribute magic so that powerful spells can be performed with a minimum effect.  For example, if the professor were to be trying to interpret a scroll, and wild magic, or a trap were to go off, the result could be easily controlled.  A fireball would become nothing more than the flame of a candle. 

The second room is filled with tubes, bottles, and various ingredients used in alchemy.  This room is where the professor mixes various ingredients used in spells as well as potions and concoctions that are for sell.  The professor makes quite a bit of money off of this side business; actually he makes quite a lot considering that he mixes some of the most dangerous liquids available. 

*                              *                            *

            After five years of abuse in the orphanage, Jenna wanted nothing more than to get away from the hell that her life had become.  She had just received another beating from the Mistress Chooli.  When the Mistress had turned her back to speak to another orphan, Jenna ran.  She got lost in the large orphanage and ended up wandering down a long lonely hallway.  At the end of this passage, there was a locked door.  She tried to open it, but had no success.  She collapsed in the corner of the hallway and burst into tears.  Life had been terrible since she had been abandoned and left to the Felth Orphanage.  She just couldn’t take being beat up anymore and didn’t know how to escape. 

            Professor Klunkin was a good five hundred and fifty years old.  This was a very respectable age for a tollome.  He made his home in the Felth orphanage for the last hundred and fifty years.  Klunkin is three feet, eight inches tall.  He has bright yet dark blue eyes that are in the teardrop shape of the tollome.  To go with that, he has pure white hair on his head and chin.  He has had this color hair for all of his life and it was commented at an early age that it seemed appropriate on him due to his maturity and wisdom even early on.  Klunkin is usually messy and unkempt.  His clothes look much like his quarters; scattered and thrown amuck.  He has a wonderful sense of humor and likes to smile.  The only problem is that he usually only smiles for the children and a few of his true friends.  Among the orphans, he has a reputation as the nicest and friendliest professor alive.  Among his colleagues and the clients that wish to buy products from him, Klunkin has a reputation as a mean and fearsome lunatic of a madman mage.  In fact he has even used that as a means to announce himself in social circles. 

            On this cold winter day, Klunkin stepped out of his rooms in order to see an old friend across town.  He almost tripped over the half elf girl crying in a bundle on the floor.  The professor looked down at the lass that now looked at him with terror in her opal elven eyes.  The tears had been streaming down her cheeks, which looked as though they had both been slapped more than a few times.  The rag of a dress was torn and barely covered the girl.  She looked emaciated to a degree that questioned whether she was being fed at all.  After just a moment of his scrutiny, she began sobbing terribly, and curled up as though she expected the beatings to continue further.  Klunkin reached down and tenderly ran his fingers through her hair, making calming cooing noises.  The shocked girl looked up at the old tollome as he took into his deceptively powerful arms.  All of a sudden she desperately threw her arms around his neck and began crying in earnest. 

            The professor took care of the girl from that point on.  He didn’t simply protect her, he moved her in with him.  Professor Klunkin gave Jenna food and nourishment and within a few short weeks, she looked more the little girl than a skeleton.  He bought her some clothes that fit her and had some color.  When Mistress Chooli came looking, the professor informed her that the girl would be staying with him and he would turn anyone that so much as laid a hand on her into a worm with five legs and promptly slammed the door in her face.  Klunkin took to teaching the girl on his own.  He did this in part to protect her from having to go into the rest of the orphanage, which could be dangerous to her despite his threats.  He also realized that he had no apprentices throughout his life and had not passed on his knowledge to anyone.  He did not have an heir either.  It wasn’t long before he realized that Jenna was the one that he would be passing all of his knowledge to.    

            Jenna learned fast.  No longer being abused and mistreated, she was able to start understanding the things that were placed in front of her to learn.  She wished to please Klunkin due to the fact that he was the only one that ever treated her well.  The professor began teaching her how to read and write first.  This she seemed to take in almost immediately.  As she gained nourishment and became more and more healthy, she took in information faster.  Jenna seemed to have an instinct for learning.  Within the first year, she caught up to the other children her age.  In five years she could amazingly read and write in three different languages.  Professor Klunkin gave her a balanced schooling, with such subjects as mathematics, history, geography and many other basic teachings.  Then he proceeded to school her in the arcane arts of magic.  He started her off on the basics of magic, with theories and ethics of magic included.  Jenna seemed to take to all of this knowledge with a passion and joy that pleased the old man well. 

            Jenna rarely went into the rest of the orphanage and then only with the professor.  In case of emergencies, she was taught a few defensive spells early on.  Ones that would hold or trap a person that intended to do her harm, so that she could get away.  There was also a wand that could be used in a pinch if necessary.  The biggest disadvantage to this seclusion is that while it kept her safe, it also kept her from becoming socially active or knowledgeable. 

            Jenna did not mind this really.  There was the occasion where she wished for a friend other than the wonderful old tollome that had fallen for a thin wraith of a pitiful girl.  There were always the books and the enormous amount of information to be absorbed.  She felt that she could take on any amount of data and still want more.  To Jenna, being in the professor’s quarters with all of these books was rather like any other child in a candy store.  The girl especially liked listening to the Professor talking of magic and enjoyed learning how to wield it herself.  By the age of fifty years (about sixteen in human years) Jenna was already fluent with basic forms of magic.  She could wield many styles of magic and understood most languages of the arcane.  In addition to this, she came to know alchemy and the specialty forms of magic such as rune magic and weapon enhancing.  In truth, while next to Klunkin she was an apprentice, the girl could hold her own as a master next to most mages in the world. 

            It was at the age of twenty-two that Jenna experienced the purple explosion.  While the professor does not know what happened, Jenna does.  You see; it seems that a little scamp of a tollomish orphan somehow managed to get into the professor’s tower.  The boy was looking around in areas that no one was allowed to be.  In the tower study, the professor was examining a special magical item and had his various chemicals, scrolls and other ingredients around him.  The boy was quietly sneaking around taking a look at this and that, peaking into this box or examining that container.  Jenna walked in about that time and noticed the lad poking around.  She was about to say something when she noticed that the professor was involved in work that simply could not be disturbed.  It was then that the boy noticed Jenna.  He dropped the box that he had been looking at and a wind came forth from it.  This wind blew papers and scrolls about the study.  One of the scrolls, a particularly powerful one with a wooden holder in it, knocked into a vial of purple liquid used for identifying spells.  The liquid spilled out onto a few scrolls and mixed in with the runes.  Professor Klunkin began frantically waving at the liquid trying to stop it from causing harm.  At this point he suddenly remembered that he was in the process of wielding magic.  This magic wafted around like a small mystical breeze fanning the liquid drenched scrolls.  This was a very bad thing.  Luckily for both the professor and Jenna, they were wearing their warded necklaces that protected them from such explosions that occurred next.  The boy did not need a necklace.  In the way of the truly mischievous, he ran at the first sign of trouble and was out of the tower at the time of the explosion. 

            Jenna woke up a few of days later.  She had been staring at everything that had happened.  When the explosion occurred, she was looking straight at it.  The professor had had the sense to duck just in time.  Jenna however, was caught in the full blast and not even her necklace was enough to save her.  The half elf girl had three broken ribs and a fractured wrist.  The worst part of it was that her hair was now a rich velvety purple color.  The burst of color that was mixed in the blast had even managed to put light purple striations in her bright opal eyes.  They weren't very noticeable for the most part.  Somewhat of a light lavender to begin with.  When Jenna gets angry, they darken into lightning streaks of purple that flash throughout the iris.  This upset Jenna very badly for about the first few years.  Then she began to realize that the hair made her unique.  And her eyes were quite intimidating when she became angry.  These things set her apart from others and gave her a little bit of a personality that she didn't have in common with most other beings.

Though was raised as an orphan, she became well off due to the fact that she assists the professor in the making of potions and scrolls of magic.  Many of the items she makes herself.  This has increased profits for both of them.  Due to the fact that she now has money she is able to buy nice things for herself.  Jenna likes to have nice dresses and will spend a little more for them.  She felt very guilty at first until she realized that they could in fact afford such.  As far as jewelry went, Klunkin made magical pieces that were not only functional, but actually looked very nice.  For Jenna’s fiftieth birthday he presented her with a set of jewelry that had powerful enchantments on it.  It included an ornate necklace, a tiara, two bracelets that covered the entire length of the lower arm and ended in a semi glove with a ring over the middle finger.  These bracelets looked like a metallic sort of lace.  They have four rows of four amethysts down the arm.  These are magical conductors for the bracelets.  There is also an opal on the back of the hand that is the primary power source and the gem that communicates with the other pieces.  There are opals and amethysts on all of the jewelry.  There are also matching shin guards that resemble the bracelets.


Anonymous said...

Will you be making more characters like Tathan, imperfect and dark. As the perfect or even just the good characters are beggining to become boring.

John H. Carroll said...

Yeah, I'm thinking imperfect and dark is a good choice. That's kinda my plan. I'm aware that the good guys are getting way too much air time. ;)

vivian said...

it's a pity your putting Jenne to the void i would have liked to read more about her. Glade to hear your bring more Tathan like characters to life,personnally i like Liselle and Vevin and enjoyed the frist of the crazed triolgy

John H. Carroll said...

Hi Vivian. :)

She had possibilities, but I have deeper reasons for making her go away too. Liselle and Vevin are definitely awesome. I'm fine with making good characters, but I DO need a little more contrast. People like Tathan, Ebudae, and Frath are some of the most interesting.

I think you'll like some of what I do in these coming books. :)


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite scenes in the whole series's was when Tathan killed the High Priest of Telemoo, it was so unpredictable and contrasted great to the other characters.

When i said "boring" characters i didn't mean that they were boring books it was just that you can quite accurately predict what will happen, which is why the dark characters are very interesting because they aren't so black and white

John H. Carroll said...

That really was one of my best scenes. :D There were all sorts of consequences that messed with where I was going too. But what was left was some of my most enjoyable writing.

Frath, Ebudae and Tathan are honestly some of my favorite characters. They add so much depth and allow me to do just about anything. I need more like them.

Oddly enough, I can never really tell where my characters are going to end up or how they're going to behave. The whole thing is just as much of a journey for me as it is for the characters and for the readers.

I'm working on improving my writing and making better stories. With each book, I work on becoming better at something. On this one, I started out just trying to get it written as fast as possible, but ended up getting stuck. Now I've decided to take my time and try to craft an interesting story that's vivid and enjoyable. I want the characters to have more depth than I've done in the past.

We'll see how it turns out. :)