Author Archive: PlotholeTsi
Situated in the misty Northwest of the USA, I draw comics, bake, grow too many plants, and try not to go insane.
Well, I did it. About all I did this month was cook, draw characters, and watch Deep Space 9. I’m hoping that I’ll have a chance in the next few months to dive back into research on the Hanseatic League and the 1500’s in the low-countries of Europe. But for now, here’s the breakdown!
And you can find the rest of the written entries here: http://www.30characters.com/author/plotholetsi/
The only part I feel bad about is that I wasn’t able to finish all the entries as drawings. But in the end, I’m not certain how much time that saved me, because I ended up spending 30-40 minutes a piece even writing up new characters! I know one thing, though: I’m really excited about this book. I feel like I’ve brought together fictional people that are full of flaws but could come together for the right reasons, and fight it out hilariously. I already see possbilities for comedy, drama, fights and romance. And with each character I could imagine new chunks of territory in the world I’m trying to build. This month was a great experience, and ten-fold more sucessful than last year! (where I only finished 3 characters…)
“They don’t have Tunen there, Sal,” Leandra shook her head quickly.
“No Tunen?” Salvitore blinked in confusion, “No guilds?”
Leandra shrugged helplessly.
“No wonder the boy is so confused,” Salvitore mumbled
Kendric growled, “I’m not confused! You all just make things too complicated, and you ignore what IS complicated!” He threw down the tail of the rope as he finished the net he’d made to accommodate the lodestone Salvitore had grown by merely touching. With and additional the rock tied securely around his waist, the lodestone was finally tethered evenly. “The islands are alive, they’re a delicate ECOSYSTEM! All you landers don’t understand, that’s why we don’t invite you up! You fish without farming, you farm without watching, and you watching without understanding!”
“I would very much like to understand… just give me a chance,” Salvitore sighed. “Life is my calling. Please,” Salvitore pleaded to Kendric with a stuttering whisper, “please let me see the Isle with my own eyes…”
The final character for this month. The isle of Himmerd itself. Within the realm of Issendoth and beyond, there are a myriad of fae, elementals, spirits, creatures, etc. Summoners are well known for seeking the words of the world, to summon, contain, capture and control the various lifeforms outside of humanity. What everyone had been missing before the current story was that the fabled isle of Himmerd was ITSELF alive. It was a large and complicated creature that couldn’t easily be compared to a rabbit anymore than a human, but it was alive. It had feelings, desires, interests, and it could love. It held a deep affection for the creatures and humans who lived on its surface, and it grow and breathed like any other creature. From its kin the lodestones formed and were pushed to the surface, like pearls to a clam or sweat on a horse’s back. Throughout its body were caves, channels, even water and other strange liquids. Plants, flowers, and growth of all kinds sprung up from its surface ever season the eons ago when it was thrust out of the world’s crust, and a spark of life first ignited within its rocky core. But like most large creatures, it’s birth was slow, and it’s mind was even slower to form. It isn’t until the second battle on its back that it reaches out to find someone to whisper its name to. The one it finally tells it to is Kendric, as the first Wizard to speak the word kindly to it. As the first child it had reared who had grown to know magic. But it also told Kendric its name out of fear, because it would rather have someone kind and dutiful like Kendric know it’s name, then a sinister and powerful man like Drahomir know it.
And so it whispered to him, “I am the child of earth, born in the sky, Baerr’a’Him’Eiren’al”
Bernard is the current headmaster of The Academy, though it doesn’t do much for him. He became the headmaster by being appointed by the previous headmaster, and because the rest of the Wizards had no interest in leading other (cats) Wizards around by the nose. Bernard was never particularly aggressive or much of a leadership candidate, but the centuries spent organizing the contents of the castle and arranging treaties with nearby Dutchies and nobles have given him a sense of the size of the world, the chaos of his fellow man, and a feeling that work is never done. The trials of surviving the catacombs contained under the building, various poorly labelled components scattered around the campus, and the jabs and spells thrown at him by his fellow Wizards has kept him on his toes, and he is the most well-rounded of the Wizards at the academy, equally proficient in mending a bone or a book, at growing a lightningstorm in an afternoon or taming a unicorn (provided he can enlist a local town maiden for a few hours)
He has also become the owner of one of the most extensive and varied collections of trophies from around the world, including a vast array of dragonscales and one head from a particularly ornery Chimera (who somehow escaped loosing his other heads). He uses his collection and variety of skills to subdue the machinations of his fellows as well as keep a thriving bartering system goign amongst his colleagues and his contacts amidst the Hansa and nobility that has kept him well taken care of through the years.
Sillesia is a beautiful young girl. tall for her age of sixteen, with subtle curves, a bright smile, dark eyes and pale, smooth golden hair. Thadeua Schnagel had taken a liking to her right away, and Sillesia, being a rather naive girl despite having grown up amongst Wizards, took to his affections since he was the first man to ever approach her directly about his feelings. It wasn’t long before those feelings took a more physical bent, though, and Thadeus began manipulating her mind.
The manipulations weren’t clear at first. The other Wizards did not even take note of them, since she was still as cheerful energetic as ever, though she was upset when they forced Thadeus to turn her away for a new apprentice. She met Leandra then, after Thadeus went through yet another appprentice, and she was eager to hear word of how her old ‘mentor’ was doing. Leandra and Sillesia actually got along rather well right away, which eve nsurprised Sillesia. Leandra hadn’t had many friends, and wasn’t used to an earnest interest from other girls her age. They began studying together, and Sillesia was happy for a time to have someone more diligent than herself to bounce ideas off of, grab notes from, and chat about the little tidbits of the life of a young girl that you can’t just keep inside.
In return, Sillesia taught Leandra a few spells to tame her hair and clean her clothes. Sillesia’s specialties had always tended towards domestic tasks. She figured if she was dusting a room or expelling the grime of years with magic, it was still respectable and extaordinary, even if one of the usual maids could have done the same thing in an afternoon with a mop and bucket.
But as Leandra’s apprenticeship began to strain with Thadeus, he found Sillesia again, and coaxed spells into her mind again, so subtly that Sillesia didn’t think about the changes at first. Thadeus didn’t look at her or touch her the way he used too. Too many of the other Wizards were watching him for him to ever have Sillesia the way he used to, but he had so much pent up frustration that he took it out by turning others against Leandra. Soon Sillesia found herself criticizing Leandra for her ill-temper towards Thadeus, and even snubbing their usual times together to ‘teach her a lesson’.
Her ties to Thadeus had been roped in so well by the time the incident happened with Thadeus, that Sillesia openly attacked Leandra in rage that her friend could have attacked the man she ‘still loved’.
The most terrible part of the whole matter is that Sillesia really did have a spark of love for Thadeus deep down. He had showered her with gifts and attention, and she had enjoyed that attention until it was pulled away by her elders. But Thadeus pushed and enhanced that love until it burned like a bitter ember in her stomach, and Maria had to work for years to try and undo the damage. By the time her mind was straightened out, she had grown neutral to Leandra, and couldn’t fathom why she had ever been concerned with the bookish young woman, even though, at the time, those feelings had been the only genuine thing in her life.
Madam Herringbone was a somewhat tall and very guant woman in her early sixties, with thinning black hair and thin wrinkled lips that seemed to always be held in a relaxed but sullen expression. Due to some magical impairment no one has been fully able to explain, her eyes have slowly deteriorated over her lifetime despite Maria Toella’s best efforts. She is the only Wizard known to be forced to wear glasses, and has a tendancy to squint at people sideways when they are causing her trouble (the people, not the glasses).
She considers many people in life to be ‘a great deal of trouble’ and has spent many afternoon tea hours kibitzing with Maria over the laziness of this generation, the unruliness of teenagers and the immorality and generally weak stock of the current generation of adult Wizards.
What she is not, though, is a fake. She is a very astute Wizard, with a keen sense of pronunciation, and a vast vocabulary of Words. What she lacks in arcane strength she makes up for in fluidity in constructing incantations and the variety of spells at her disposal. Her particular interest is in investigation. Words and phrases to find who a person’s lover is, or to see if it will rain in a month, or whether a new plant is poisonous without having to feed it to the cook’s pet cat. She passes some of this rational examination of life on to Leandra while she was at school, and wishes more of her students were as quiet and respectful as her (though even she admitted that the girl’s attentiveness bordered on neurotic nervousness at times)
The isle of Himmerd is ‘ruled’ by the oldest woman alive at the time, unless she chooses to default to someone else (which has happened quite often), with the consent of a council of four others who are voted in based on daring or voluntary actions recognized by the community. Currently a woman named Patra Madrigal is in charge, and her biggest problem is keeping the scattered refugees from the attack together across a handful of sky-kraft that have had to be retrofitted for water-travel since most are too heavy with people to stay in the air long. Between that and the conflicts between the council members and scuffles breaking out from the assortment of stresses put on everyone involved, she has had her hands full, and only wishes that the town’s doctor and her supply of tea hadn’t been left behind on the island.
The mystic smithy is a tough sinewy little old man. His head has since expelled all but a thin ring of curled unruly white hairs (only along the back of his neck, and a few stray curls from his neck that still pretend to be a beard). So now his bald head shines with a glisten of sweat at most hours, since he has devoted his life to the production of magical artifacts. His life is part master inventor, part master Wizard, but mostly that of an eccentric hermit. He lives up in a cave amongst the Alppen-range, conversing with fire sprites about the temperatures for perfectly marbled steel, and having tea with wood spirits to make dispensations to acquire the trace minerals he needs for his alloys without harming their lands (or angering them. Nothing ruins your sleep like a dryad kicking your door in with her hooves to berate you on trampling her gardens).
He had put himself in his chosen seclusion for a number of reasons. The other Wizards tired him. They didn’t want to listen to the specifics of his lessons. They just wanted to get the end results. He found too many customers across the known lands, but all they seemed to want were weapons or ways to overpower their rivals. He wanted to find bliss in the pure pursuit of creation, and though he had a wife for a time, she eventually left him when it became obvious he enjoyed his work more than the time he spent with her. Their parting with amicable, and he left her with a recommendation and a kind word written for any children she might have who found The Word, and that she come to him if she need of worldly possessions.
But over time, he grew to understand the real reason in his heart that he left. He was an elementalist himself. He never lost full use of The Word, but his ability to shape metal make certain of that, since he was the inventor of the dampener-bracelets that have become a standard of the few Elementalists known in the world. Since he has made them himself, he has a tendancy to continuously tweak his over time, and adjusted them to aid in his crafting whether he needs more fluidity or the stability of the Word at the moment.
When all has come to pass in the current story, Kendric comes to him requesting apprenticeship. The smithy gladly accepts after he hears of what had happened to Leandra, chuckling that he wouldn’t have told the Wizards about her even if she had come to him.
“But what is done is done, events have passed and cannot be captured again.”
Ezekiel is a rare Wizard these days, because he has a knack for magic as applied to combat. Most Wizards do not concern themselves with combat so much because MOST spells can be applied to some kind of aggressive use. But Ezekiel was intrigued by spells that pierced, ones that could make a man’s eyes bleed, or loose control of his bowels in mid-run. Ezekiel makes up for his violent streak with an intense sense of humor, and an astounding sense of poise and self-control. For this reason, his fellow Wizards agreed that he was a man of straight enough moral temperance to not worry about going on a murderous rampage.
Instead they just concerned themselves with avoiding his often hard-to-clean up practical jokes. He could ice a stairwell with a whisper, or untie a shoelace with a glance and a waggle of a finger, and to one very ill-tempered ex-student of his, he made it so that the smell of fish would not leave the boy for a month straight, and was so strong that it could be smelled from several rooms away, effectively shunning the boy from every social circle at the Academy for weeks.
It is this specialty that the Prince of Drenn was so intrigued by. With the death of his father, he was interested in non-fatal ways to keep his rivals and nobles in check, and set a new standard for the tactics of the kingdom. The prince is more than happy to provide the Wizard Dawne with any food or privilege he can provide, as well as a handsome full gold coin every month. Ezekiel was flattered, and almost refused, until the two got to know each other, and Ezekiel and the prince went about performing a series of wonderful stunts against the local nobility for a month straight. Since then, the Prince has been Ezekiel’s best friend, with Daniel lately becoming a close second.
Daniel ‘s family name is rather literal “rot-haar’, meaning ‘red hair’, and it holds true even five generations since the name was dubbed onto his clan. He is a stout man of slightly less than average height whose physical sturdiness belies the thoughtful man beneath. He is a middle-aged Wizard who roams between several towns along The Sea, helping with odd tasks the local merchants and nobles will pay him for as well as aiding townsfolk on occasion. He tends to work just enough to subsist, so he can spend his time to himself meditating or studying, or seeking out other local Wizards and people of interest to converse with. If he existed in modern day he would be that odd older man that continues to frequent college lectures and discuss esoteric topics with the students despite their bewilderment.
He has specialized over time in astral traveling, identification of the less tangible entities across Issendoth, and keeping his eyes on the stars. He has become good friends with his older peer Ezekiel Dawne, who is currently serving as the court Wizard to the Prince of Drenn. The two of them were wandering town when they came upon Leandra working the Pawn Shoppe. Both of them were surprised to have not noticed her before. They had both been out of touch with the academy long enough to not recognize such a younger Wizard. Daniel began the usual exchange of guild-ring sigils in introduction to a new master Wizard, when he noticed the tenuous quality of her ring’s figment-familiar.
Uncertain what to make of it, he said aloud that her ring wasn’t connected properly, and that it had been altered in some way. He was startled to see that his compatriot immediately attacked the young woman, declaring her an Elementalist on the spot. It wasn’t until they were sorting themselves out (after Leandra had walloped them both and run for it) That Daniel had a chance to shout at his friend demanding and answer, and Ezekiel explained the situation of Leandra (what little he knew).
Morimo grew up in the coastal town of Tallin, apprenticed to a fisherman and then a galley-cook and for a time, a navigator, captain, and then he was placed in the dock-crews for having to ‘dreamy and sullen an attitude’.
He spent another few years as a dock-worker, generally keeping to himself when he could avoid getting into a fist fight with some bull-headed younger man that crossed him. After a while people began to recognize him as the town’s most-level headed drunk, if only because no one paid attention to how MANY drinks he was taking, just how long he’d sit at the bar every night, talking with whatever newcomers came through town.
One night Jasmine was such a newcomer. They talked all night about the places she’d been. About the eastern Palaces of Sultans and the high perches of mountain dragonlings. But mainly they ended up talking about her work as a Collections agent, and Morimo grew even more interested.
She stayed in town several more days, and they ended up meeting up for drinks and food over and over again. When he finally helped her track down the man who had skipped out on his feudal lord, he helped her take him in without any harm to her by being a sort of bait. He spoke with the man, asking a few questions while she snuck up on him.
After that, she gave him a whole-hearted recommendation to the agency, and they began travelling together. As they left his home town, he smiled and realized that what he’d probably been wanting all that time was to travel, and better yet, to satiate his wanderlust on dry land.
Over the next few years she taught him more about swordfighting, and he taught her about ropes and knots, about simpler ways than lockpicking to deal with locks, and about food and commerce and city politics. She hadn’t been long away from her gypsy tribe when they’d met, so their constant conversations helped her loose her obvious accent as well. After a while they naturally became lovers, and the two worked out well as partners on assignment and in life, because neither of them wanted any more family than each other.
Morimo is a little taller than average, and is a very lean man. He tends to wear loose clothing, only pinned in by his sword-belt and the straps of his travelling pack, so he is often underestimated. His quiet calmness (when Jasmine hasn’t already opened him up to a long-winded debate) has won him an equal share of concerned and unimpressed looks. He takes advantage of the way people assume he’s harmless or slow, and doesn’t give them a second chance to adjust their opinion.
Vahryn is the oldest of the previous generation of Zenthhfyr boys. He was average height but broad-shouldered, and though he had only a slightly better than average handling of Skykraft, he was often one of the more daring pilots, and as he grew the community all noticed that he was also one of the bravest young men in the community in general. He was always a moderate sort of person. He didn’t pick fights, but he often became involved in them by trying to stop others from fighting or stand up for someone being picked on. He never won drinking competitions simply because he never had a fondness for excess drinking.
He flew well enough, but was never overly fond of it, seeing it as a sort of chore amongst a life full of chores. His order-centric nature landed him the constant task of reeling in his younger brother Yoren, who had a tendency to fly off the handle and push himself too hard.
Vahhryn was not a particularly passionate person, and perhaps that was part of the reason he never married. He had one or two women who swooned over him as his twenties passed by, but the infatuation never seemed to last long enough to satisfy either party, and despite the insistence of his family that ‘such a nice young man get married and make more nice proper children,’ he simply never saw it as a necessity.
He was an excellent farmer and Shepard, though, which was enough to keep the community from raising too much of a fuss over him, since he helped keep everyone fed. He was well known for nursing sick animals and returning stray children or lambs others had trouble finding. It was that trait that eventually cussed his death.
When a large storm swept across the sky, he was part of a large group of searches flying through the storm to try and capture stray chickens and help animals that had been trapped on the cliffsides threatened to be knocked off into the void below at any moment. With the storm still raging and pushing rain sideways all night, Vahhryn continued looking for stragglers. he eventually returned home shaking with cold with a last man holding on to his craft, who had been knocked off the edge without a parachute. The man would have surely died without Vahhryn’s help, but Vahhryn collapsed into bed that night, and by the next day, his family was trying desperately to treat his high fever and pneumonia.
The last person to speak with Vahhryn before he died was Yoren, who Vahhryn had asked for. He pleaded with his brother to stop being so reckless. “Surely, you will injure yourself or someone else… please stop scheming as well. The community will only take so much of it. One day they’ll banish you.”
Yoren blew off his brothers words and demanded that he stop speaking nonsense and get better. But the next morning, Vahhryn had died.
Khris is in his middle-age now. 30 years working in the countryside below Himmerd has tanned his face grown crisp wrinkle and dstrong hands like leather blacksmith’s gloves. He left Himmerd decades ago of his own accord when he fell in love with the daughter of a Shepard with a drastic fear of heights. Never having been much of a Pilot himself, he finally decided to move down to the ground, knowing he’d have little contact with his family. He first heard about events stirring in Himmerd when a passing relative chatted with him about the events surrounding Yoren Zenthhfyr five or six years back. But he had no idea that those events would lead to the eventual attack on Himmerd, and when his relations begin visiting him more often, and he receives word about the terrible events in the sky above him, he is torn by the desire to continue protecting his children and grandchildren, and a desire to aid his old family.
Eventually he decides to walk a middle road, begin a quiet investigation amongst the loose network of feudal lands outside the city-states surrounding the Deep Sea, seeking information about Yoren’s whereabouts. He is the first to find out about Yoren’s change to Jyorn, and his connection with the court of Scania.
Job is a man that seems too high-strung at first glance. He finds keeping his wife in line a constant trial, but at times he enjoys the time away from her, because she also takes the drama away with her. To an outsider, their marriage seems to be held together by nothing more than a large dose of physical passion and an intense willpower to ‘make it work’, But the two of them grew up together, and he knows she appreciates his grounded outlook on life, as well as the tenderness he’s shown to their children. He is part of the small crew Bromella manages across the Himmerd fleet who handle general repairs and maintenance to the larger skykraft, but his greatest specialty is navigation, which often keeps him flying back between the boats and trying to conduct communications between everyone by semaphore.
The situation with the attack on the Island has caused a constant rift in his relationship with his wife, as their situation is uncertain, and the house-boat that he had built for his family has since had to be shared with several other refuges, keeping the two of them on constant edge at the invasion of their privacy. Though another two boats have been built in the months since the attack, the pinch on their free space and free time has only been marginally relieved.
He is tall, wiry, and as his wife loves to tease him about, he’s already going very gray, and beginning to show streaks of white in his hair, despite only just turning thirty.
Henry Holbein is the current patriarch of the Holbein family and business. He spends most of his days walking to and fro between the various packaging and preparation houses his family owns, quelling a sibling squabble, or simply walking to give his various servants, vassals and family members a harder chance of finding him and forcing him to make some silly decision about a problem that shouldn’t have even been brought to him.
He is even known amongst some of his employees for throwing off his better clothes and pretending to be an average worker in order to avoid the more tedious aspects of his status. A day or two every week spent maneuvering bales of dried fish or lugging 4×4’s around to aid the various carpentry crews has not only helped him keep some of his youthful muscles and stave off the 60-year-old beer gut (which grows despite his efforts), but also helped him keep an ear to the ground around the city and a good image in the eyes of all the townsfolk beholden to him.
He is a shrewd but compassionate man, and though he is most often quiet and reserved, he never allows others to talk over him. The thing he hates most in life is having to visit his father, the man who would still be Patriarch if he weren’t bedridden and in a state so poor but continuous that everyone wishes he would die for everyone’s sake.
He sees a kindred spirit in Salvitore when he first meets him, and after seeing the spark in Salvitore and his daughter’s eyes upon meeting, finds it a perfect excuse to convince Salvitore to stay with their family as a layman and advisor.
Henry’s most distinctive physical trait is a big bushy mustache that is slightly reddish in contrast to his naturally dark brown hair. The mustache also curls just a tiny bit at the corners of his lips, making his dimples show more.
Zandrosia has a sweet poise about her like a daisy standing straight an tall amongst tulips. That same poise is often pronounced greater around her fellow nobles when she speaks, because Zandrosia is not one to hold her tongue. As the second-youngest daughter of a Drennish Merchant-noble, she has never had reason to hold her tongue either, because their family commands a distinguished fleet of fisherman that supply most of the region with dried fish for the long winters, and from there they expanded to a wide variety of staple foods that have kept their family prosperous and growing, And the Holbein women have seen to it that the family grown LARGE. Children are always running around playing, being tutored, or being told not ot trip up their elders so much.
Zandrosia is no exception. She was nearing eighteen without taking an interest in any of the business-interest/ suitors her father continuously pointed her way, and with no other romantic interest entering her life. When she was introduced to the then-freelancing Salvitore, she felt instantly enamored by his calm studious demeanor, and he was immediately entranced by her loud, honest giggling. It only took one night of hushedly whispering about business, commerce, plants and science on the balcony of her father’s party-home before her father set to work arranging their marriage, and solidifying his business ties to Salvitore. Though the two of them both know fully that her family intended her as a prize for their lifelong business arrangement, Salvitore and Zandrosia make up for it by being completely devoted to each other.
Salvitore not coming from a prominent family himself, they opted to keep her name for the marriage papers, and their children as well. Their first was born a little less than nine months after their marriage (yes… less… you read that right), and named Gunther after her grandfather. Gunther is a quiet child like his father, and normally Zandrosia feels no pain seeing her husband go off on business trips or reasearch expeditions, until recently, when their son has taken a stronger liking to him, and has taken to day-in-day out tantrums when left with the family’s nanny, forcing Zandrosia to watch after him personally when her husband is away.
They have had two other children since, a girl and then another boy. Their quickly growing family is one of the highlights of Salvitore’s life. A small spark of light that keeps him from ever regretting his leave from the Academy.
Adrienna is a shrewd, pretty, and above all else, realistic woman. She the outcomes as much as possible before taking any action, and commands a small diligent group of spies within Scania to make sure she knows the actions of the nobility in her country before they would move against her. Just two generations ago, her grandfather Gustav Kjelder single-handedly convinced the nation to move against the budding worker’s unions and appoint him lawful monarch after a single brilliantly executed political and military campaign. But during his children’s generation, a plague swept through the country, taking with it one third of the population, exacting a higher toll on the nobles and his own family than any other. When the plague finally dissipated a few years later, he was dead, and the country was left with two infertile daughters, no sons, a single promising granddaughter, and many nieces, nephews and siblings poised to knife Adrienna in the back. By coaxing, bribing, and arranging the nobility to her side, she fended off her usurpers and claimed the throne despite her born gender, though her grasp on the country is tenuous at best, with the rest of the sea-lying regions progressing ahead of Scania in trade and magical prospects. When the sorceror Drahomir comes to her doorstep offering his lands and services in exchange for her aid in his future political projects, she accepts. When he wants her hand in marriage as well, so carefully avoids the topic for almost a decade, taking the man to bed, but not to church, to often seal their bargains and plans.
When Drahomir presents Jyorn to the court and tells her his plans for Himmerd, she is delighted with both. When Jyorn proves himself a capable mercenary and striking court figure, she welcomes him to her bed as well, though they both know full well their relationship will never been solidified within court politics, royal lineage, nor Drahomir’s claims on her.
If Hazib had more ambition he might earn the name of ‘scoundrel’, but as it is, he’s just a mildly petty selfish little man. He’d 5′ 4″, loves food and passtimes of all kinds, and considers himself a connoisseur of the ‘finer things’. He is a pawn broker by trade and aside from trying to underpay or over-sell any customer to come through his door, he’s a decent guy. He’ll buy you a drink or direct you through town with the best of intentions. But you better be ready to haggle if you bring a trinket to his door looking for cash.
I imagine him halfway between a Ferengi and Dibbler from Discworld
Leandra sighed, “Really, Hazib, you paid him twenty pennig under what even the purchase-worth of that was…”
Hazib chuckled, as he polished the bracelet against his sleeve it under the enchanted glass in his display case. “Really, my dear, I tell you this every time, if they don’t want to be swindled they would walk through that door with more brains and less hope.”
Leandra just sighed at her employer again.
(This started out as a drawing of Hestana working on something, and turned into Hestana in a sky-craft, and an excuse to design a little. After a visit to the Natural History Museum of Seattle, I’m now imagining all the littler skycraft designs as various insect-like designs, like waterbeetles, ladybugs, etc. Made from reed and clear material akin to vinyl that they create from the sap one of the plants native to Himmerd. The materials are as light as possible, but also have to be rigidly constructed to hold up to wind, air speed, etc)
Hestana takes after her Aunt Bromella, which is no surprise since her mother was Bromella’s sister. That makes Hestana Kendric’s cousin, and his very best friend. They grew up racing and competing with each other, seeing who could explore the island first or master some new trick or skill first. When they were first allowed a small training ‘bug’, they would end up in childish brawls over who could use it first, when, how long. It wasn’t long before Their parents agreed that they each needed a skycraft or they would never stop fighting. But the moment they each had their own, they spent any moment they had excuse to get away from their chores exploring the sky and surroundings of Himmerd. Hestana is about 2 years older than Kendric, so she sees the relationship as a protective-older sister. She is married to a gruff man named Job (a marriage Kendric insists shouldn’t work, but does). Hestana’s giggly exploring nature leads her into constant fights with Job, but in the end, they both love each other dearly, if for no other reason than they’re both too bull-headed to live with anyone else. Though she has already had one child and is trying for another, her motherhood has never grounded her (to her husband’s dismay), in fact, it has inspired her to be even more of a show-off to impress her daughter.
Her other distinction is in small-craft building. Though her mother shoved her off to apprentice with Bromella early on when she first noticed her ability with tools (and Bromella’s disappointment in Kendric’s ability to focus on any manual task), Hestanna has always abhored maintenance, and loved the joy of creating new things. As soon as the other islanders took note of her ability to make sturdy elegant single-person skycraft, she never had a lack of requests, and shirked off any other chores as often as possible to ‘indulge the community’. She is constantly tweaking her personal ‘bug’ as her flight demands change or she gets new inspiration. A day she isn’t in the skies is a lost day, to her.
(yes, this is a minecraft character…)
Ever since she’d moved to this new location, she couldn’t keep the monsters at bay. Her remote island home seemed like adream now, despite the dark chasm next to her house. Despite the dark Endermen who stared back at her every night. When she saw sheep and cattle grazing on the tall hillsides after crossing the ocean, she thought life would be simpler. But even doors weren’t keeping them out now. Zombies had come by and bitten her in her bed, and Skeletons waited around every corner to shoot at her. She felt luck that a creeper had not found his way in yet, because even keeping a sword with her in bed wouldn’t save her from a midnight explosion…
Jasmine is a well-known member of The Collections Agency. The collections group is a multi-city organization which works in agreement with the local governments to collect wanted individuals. These are not criminals, per say. To be criminals, they would have to be accused of a crime. In these cases, they are indivduals who owe others a debt. In many cases, this has to do with the conflicting feudal and merchant societies throughout the regions surrounding the inland sea. Feudal lords might lay claim to an individual who skipped off form their lands with belongings the Lord believes are theirs. Or it might be a skilled tradesman who never finished repaying his guild dues. In some cases it might be an errant husband a wife suspects of adultery and wishes collections to catch and present evidence to support a legal divorce (or simply forcing the bum to accept his fatherly responsibilities).
The Collections have two very specific rules: 1. They do not go after people who are violent. It endangers their agents and is better left to to law enforcement authorities. 2. There must be proof presented of a debt, ownership, etc. The rest of hte rules are a little more complex, and involving proving a debt, what is acceptable for the debt, etc. But we are talking about a system where people can still be bought and sold (ie. slavery in many various forms, including self-accepted indentured servitude). And more importantly, a system where mass-machinery does not exist, and a person’s skills, knowledge, talent, and personhood can be a very desirable asset.
Jasmine has been an gent for almost ten years, and in that time, she has brought in many people and pieces of property, and is most noted for having absolutely no fear of Wizards. In fact, Wizards are known to recognize her on site. And run. She doesn’t play ‘fair’ with them and has a very devices and tricks of her own, despite having no talent for The Word itself. She’s an excellent swordsman (woman) and has a sweet diplomacy about her that has aided her many times across a number of countries. She is also well known for having one of hte broadest cultural knowledges amongst the organization, being an ex-gypsy herself. Her father disowned her when he found out she was working for an organization working with the government, until she insisted on returnin home each year with a new exotic (expensive) liquor to add to his collection. It only took a few good bottles of Kirche and a night of drinking for him to embrace her again.
Jasmine and her partner are given the task of bringing in Leandra. A task she accepts gleefully (because Leandra has a high price on her head), but soon sees might be more complicated than it’s worth. But after several run ins, and finally pinning Leandra down long enough to speak with her, Jasmine has the opportunity to offer Leandra a few ways out of the situation Leandra would never have thought of for herself. (And Jasmine still profits!)
Georgius is a gruff, short-tempered and generally unagreeable old man. But he is also a brilliant Wizard, spending much of his time charting the interelationships of various materials and developing new ways to use sub-sets of The Word to better control and shape magic. Though he has the respect of many of his peers for his studies and findings, he has very few friends because of his consistently deteriorating demeanor. As he has aged (over a long 200 years, lengthened by magic), his bones and joints and constitution have failed him slowly. Now life is a series of medications from Maria Toella, canes and walking implements and attempts to keep his body working another year. He keeps much of this from his colleagues and peers, though, so to most people, he is simply a perpetually annoyed and irritable individual.
He hides another secret of his condition, which terrifies him more than the deterioration of his body. He is slowly loosing control of his senses. He has already had two apprentices taken away from him, and has chosen to move himself to a more remote section of the castle ground, up in a tower connected to the facility by old stairs. It is at this point that he is given Leandra, who is warned of his ill temper (this was her master BEFORE Thadeus. She was perhaps ten when she was told to help Georgius). Over the course of two years she spent helping him with his studies, research and measurements, though, she grew to respect the old man greatly. Her meek attitude and constant apologies were a nusiance to him at first, until he realized she genuinely wanted to help and be acknowledged. When he began to see that she actually had enough of a mind to grasp his work, he actually showed her the occasional smile. These smiles unfortunately came as often as his rages. He was grab her wrist and shove her around, or toss his laboratory implements at her. It grew to the point that she would appear the next day with bruises that he could not remember, or could not understand the reasons for his previous anger. He was slowly loosing grip on his emotions, and the pain of his aging years did not help.
Leandra never judged him for it. She would simply nod and continue her work in the naive belief that if she did better, he wouldn’t have reason to be mad.
One day, a few years later, his rage and madness grew so great that he grabbed Leandra and shoved her, and finally kicked her down the stairs leading up to his laboratory. He passed out, and she was fond by one of the dormitory mothers, concerned that she was out past her curfew. She was taken to Maria Toella, who refused to believe that she had fallen ‘by accident’ without Georgius giving notice to the other Wizards. Within a week a quiet, secret committee was discussing Georgius and his actions in recent years, and by the en of the week, Leandra was forbidden from seeing him again, and Georgius was denied any further apprentices. Leandra tried ot plead that he was a good teacher, but as a younger Wizard, her words fell on deaf ears. Georgius, finally faced with the severity of his own mental deterioration, simply closed the doors of his study and kept to himself in self-exhile.
Thadeus is a real creeper. He has ‘apetites’ that even his fellow Wizards scoff at. He’s been a Lecturer and researcher at The Academy for decades, and though he persists in flirting even with women who have refused him a score of times, the Academy is forced to keep him for his revenue. He has developed many spells to illusion and glamourie various materials and objects, as well as a number of ways to permanently change the appearance of mater. Vibrants hues in cloth, metallic glints on materials that shouldn’t have them like fruits and leather. Even changing the translucency or strength of cloth, wood and metal. One of his more notorious (and disturbing) pranks is his ’emperor’s new clothes’ spell, where he walks around the campus buck-naked beneath an elaborate spell which makes him appear clothed, to see which of his colleagues or students might see through the spell, or if they’re very unlucky, attempt to dispell it.
This would all be harmless enough (if repulsive and annoying) but in more recent years he’s become very adept at mind spells, and has been working on what he duds affectionately ‘love spells’, to the horror of the women at the Academy. He has lost the privaledge of keeping any apprentices after he coerced one after another into his bed.
It is at this point in the time when he is given Leandra as a final apprentice, which the strict ruling that if he should try anything funny, he will be denied any apprentices ever again. They cruelly figured that Leandra was too heavy-set a girl to interest Thadeus, and that he might finally get some real work done with the Academy’s resources. But within a year, Thadeus was either desperate or earnestly fond of her. When he tried to magic his way between Leandra’s legs, however, he had quite a surprise. The moment she gained an amount of control over herself, she was furious, and lashed out at him with a number of spells, some of which he swore she cast so fast he could not even hear what she said. When the faculty finally responded to the sound and rumble from that side of the castle, they found him half frozen to death, and naked, and it took Maria Toella days to coax Leandra out of an intense state of shock.
Maria Toella later commently ironically, “I had threatened the man that if I caught him abusing a young woman like that again, I’d properly castrate him. It seems Leandra beat me to it… froze it clean off. It’s a shame the others made me repair that beast…”
Salvitore is a man who reserves his words until he can speak succinctly. He came into The Word of magic older than most apprentices, around the age of thirteen, and his mother was so fed up with him stalking around mimicing the town’s resident Wizard that she finally dragged him to him and forced him off on the same Wizard as an apprentice. His master was not a kind man, nor was he cruel, but he was certainly very just and a more than adequate teacher. From that man, Salvitore gained an appreciation of other’s worth, and learned to gauge others by effort they put into their life. When his master began to weaken five years later, Salvitore was surprised to find that not only had he left nothing to him in his will, he had in fact written out a letter for him to take to the Academy at Rougebern that he needed to spend a few more years in service before his ‘debt’ was paid off.
This was Salvitore’s first run in with the debt of knowledge that all young Wizards are burdened with, and though he quickly learned and prevailed in the strict environment of the far away school, he always had to fight down his dislike of their treatment. He was soon a master in his own right, and since he already had formulated many new theories on magically-induced growth, and shown himself to be a capable researcher and friendly enough to handle the various comissions that came to the Academy, he was mostly left to his own. It was during this time that he continued to specialize into living things, and their manipulation. Soon that specialization began to affect his abilities. With his master’s seal already in hand, he paid it little mind despite what he already knew about Elementalists. It was during this time he took on Leandra as an apprentice, striving to be at least as fair and even-handed as his master had been. Within another two years, his new abilites were truly blossoming, and he welcomed the half-hearted expulsion from the Academy that was served to him.
He proceeded to the coast to see a busier city, and within a month has already shown himself useful enough to the local nobility to be given more than enough land for his uses, and within another year, he was happily married to the Duke’s daughter, and his first Arboretum was built to house his new creations and his plethora of experiments. He had almost completely forgotten Leandra’s predicament during those years, until she finally caught up with him at his arboretum, bearing a ring all to similar to his own binding guantlet.
Dorian is Bromella’s husband and Kendric’s father. He is also the youngest child out of his siblings, and so knows about the trouble with Jyorn and Gregor, their oldest brother. He is very mild-tempered, as he must be with a wife as energetic as Bromella, and as many children as they have had over the years. He is a cook amongst the Himmerd fleet, though he makes a point to work where he can keep an eye on his wife and children. Though his wife and several of his children have the aviator’s marks, he has never bothered to get one himself, despite spending a good chunk of his life aloft.
Bromella is Kendric’s mother, and the head shipwright of the Islander’s fleet. She has been even busier since the assault on Himmerd, and so hasn’t had the time she once had for her sons. When she isn’t working, she can be rowdy, even lewd and boisterous. Though Kendric adores his mother, this can sometimes make it difficult to be around her. Especially when she is making some kind of comment to her many children about their loves and friends…
As head shipwright, she’s in charge of keeping the public skyships in good condition. Now that they have been retrofitted for water use, she has run into more problems than she ever imagined, and is additionally burdened by the commisions her people have tried to take on at various ports to build new ships, which are often backed out of by local nobility and merchants due to the Islander’s dubious political position.
She tries to look at everything with an equally objective and optimistic air, and when she isn’t busy fixing, retrofitting, or tieing something back in place, she revels in many un-crafty relaxing passtimes. Like drinking, snuggling with her husband, drinking with friends, and enjoying her well-trained husband’s cooking. Her husband is actually a year younger than her, and their friendship began when they were young teenagers, and she dragged him off into a field to play because she was tired of watching him standing around while the other children ignored him. After that day they because fast friends, and he slowly became bolder because of her inflicted friendship. When they were older, they were eventually married, and to her husband’s dismay, they had many children together. Even at 50, she is still running around the ship like a teenager, into crawl-spaces, up to the bird’s nest, and back. He has to worry all the time though, because despite her high spirits, she may run as fast, but she certainly doesn’t heal as fast.
“I am not a bigot, as some would call me. I am simply privileged, and I see fit to do what I must so that I can continue to be privileged. If the underprivileged masses truly hated their position and mine so much, they would do something about it. And since they can’t, won’t, or simply do not, I will assume that the heavens look over my plans and smile.”
Drahomir is only a LITTLE twisted, really. He’s a means-to-an-ends kind of man, except that he sees no true END. He sees an infinite line of steps towards supremecy, and he takes his talents and his lineage as hard proof that he is correct. The man was raised as a noble of a small middle territory the subsisted mainly from farming. A valley that was fertile for hundreds of years grew barren when he was a child, and he took up Wizards studies under the guidance of the Summoner’s guild. He excelled constantly, under the righteous idea that he could find a way to make his family’s lands arable again. At some point after years of study and continual bad news form his father, he came to a conclusion that he was meant for much more important things. He convinced his family to sell out of their debts and move in with their extended nobility, and he set off with what was left of the family’s deeds to seek his rightful place of power and esteem. He came to the country of Scania, a smaller country edging the shaded sea, without as strong of a trading foothold as it’s neighbors. The royalty has other concerns, though.A Queen was attempting to retain hold of a throne with no male heir and daggers on all sides. He took opportunity to offer his lands as a peace offering if she would grant him resources to continue his magical work. She agreed, and though he continued to also request her hand in marriage, she was at least intelligent enough to continually ward off any suitors that might pull her from political power.
So he remained for years, researching new spells, learning new names of the Wylde Kin, and twisting the arcane to his will. When word reaches him of the rise of the Elementalists, he begins to make plans to research them as well, even become one. When he learns of a way to access the previously remote isle of Himmerd, he grows hungry for dominion over more than just Scania.
Jyorn is one of the three antagonists of the “Elementalists” story. I say antagonist because he’s really into a ‘bad guy’ so much as misguided and angry at the world. I won’t go into too many details because giving away his last name is a pretty big spoiler as it is. He is Kendric’s uncle, though Kendric has no idea where he has been for the past ten years, and aside from knowing that he was exiled from Himmerd, Kendric knows nothing else about him. Through happenstance Jyorn meets a wizard-summoner of great reknown by the name of “Drahomir Alexej” who is in good standing with the Queen of Scania. Drahomir takes notice of Jyorn’s ambition and knowledge of the sky island, and sets plans in motion to take advantage of those assets.
A small aside: please forgive some of the spellings. I’ve actually been researching 1400’s and 1500’s middle-europe and the Scandinavian regions for inspiration on this story, and I’ve kept some of the archaic name spellings for flavor. Some names are entirely made up like “Zenthhfyr”, but with words behind them and intent to mimic the ‘sound of pronunciation’ spelling that was common long before the 1900’s
Another aside: It’s amazing how creating villians helps put the rest of your plotline in order! I LOVE making villians, now! 😀
Reserved is the first word one would use to describe Maria. She has been the Doctor for the Wizard’s Academy for over 20 years, and has grown to disdain the other Wizards like one looks down upon a a gaggle of unruly siblings. Though she couldn’t’ be brought to truly hate them, she does judge others on a constant basis, and can be quite opinionated on the rare occasion that someone demands to know what she thinks. For the most part the other wizards are glad that at least one of them has the adeptness and level-headed demeanor with wounds and healing that Maria has, and their occasional praise and her comfortable position at the Academy has kept her their despite having no real love for the place or people there.
It is that cool and observation personality that aided Leandra once. The master she had been apprenticing under had become more and more violent over time, and when Maria discovered her at the bottom of a flight of stairs, she investigated the wounds further, suspected foul play, and immediately wrote a report to the headmasters demanding that they deny that Master any more apprentices. In that way she also shows her last notable trait: a soft spot for younger Wizards. In her mind, it’s only as they age that they become wicked or slothly, so she shows a much gentler touch to her younger wards, especially since they are still endebted to the system, and by her mind, innocent and worthy of protection. She has been known to buy candies and distribute them amongst the children in the dormitories. On the same day, she might pour medicine into the food of her more disliked fellow Wizards to keep them from keeping down an over-eaten meal.
Kendric is incredibly mild mannered. He’s also very WELL-mannered. He’s a bit of a mother’s-boy, but as the middle son of the head shipwright of the Himmerd fleet, he gets equal portions of love and harrassment from his very critical mother. He himself isn’t a bad shipwright, in fact he dabbles at all sort of tasks. That’s probably one of only two things that worries him on a constant basis. His lack of real talent or direction in life, and the state of his homeland, the isle of Himmerd. Himmerd had recently been taken over by an unknown militant force, and though not all the villagers made it off the island, the ones who did have been constantly trying ot find aid for their country, but have been unsucessful at getting anyone’s attention without sacrificing their claims to the Lodestones which make up the mysterious floating island they call home.
Let me give an aside about their homeland for a moment. Himmerd is a great island floating in the sky, roughly 5 x 10 miles in size, which the people of the island have cultivated and grown to understand very fully over the course of ten or twenty generations. Though magic exists in this world, the ability to fly, and even more so, the ability to carry much more weight than a human being into the air, is mainly reserved to the crafts that the residents of Himmerd make from the lighter-than-air materials native to that island. So they enjoyed a controlled level of interaction with all the countries around them for several centuries before the attack occurred. Without any distinct ties to the political powers around them, the refugees have taken to standard water-sailing while they try to work out a strategy to regain their island before any permanent damage has been done to the resources there. Not to mention, they’d like their home back!
Kendric meets Leandra at her job (she is the materials-keeper/ assayer/ shopkeep for what equates to a general store or pawn shop in that town) when he tries to sell a lodestone at his mother’s insistence. When Leandra catches the owner trying to buy the stone for a small percent of what it’s worth, she insists on paying Kendric fairly. From there, their friendship blossoms as he has to deal with her and the trades council while the island families are docked in that town. When events turn strange, his family offers her protection in the form of anonymity amongst their crews in return for her services as a Wizard.
Leandra is the main character of Elementalists, the reason for the title of the book, and a very troubled girl (who’s good at looking like she’s coping with it JUST FINE). She’s a Wizard by training, as shown by the signet ring she wears on her left middle finger, which allows her to identify herself and seal official documents. Unbeknownst the most of the world, she’s also an “Elementalist”, a over-specialized Wizard that the rest of the Academy isn’t too fond of, able to cast spells without using “The Word” like a proper Wizard should. The ring she wears on her right hand is a binding piece, keeping her newly budding powers from becoming strong enough to start altering her humanity. The flexibility of her new abilities is by the loss the gradual loss of all the the Words she learned since childhood, and with them, most of her ability to cast known spells. She’s running from the authorities for many more reasons, though the rest of the characters in the book don’t realize that at first when they ask her for assistance.
My name’s Crystal Rollins, and I arrive at this challenge from the hazy cold winter of the American Northwest (well, really, it’s just here in Seattle that it’s hazy and riany…) I was introduced to the challenge by my awesome rival/partner/BFF Emily Gillis, who is also participating this year. Me and her both flopped horribly last year, so I’m hoping that having a specific new story in mind will give me better character-fodder than last year. My target is to create 30 new cahracters for “Elementalists” a story of wizards, politics, countries trying to avoid wars, and criminals trying to avoid being caught. I’m hoping to give it a little bit of a Discworld feel, and though I want to contain it to a single novel, the ideas for this setting haven’t stopped since the weird dream that originally gave me the idea for the story. I’ll explain a bit more about that as I introduce characters, since these will be mainly text entries, unlike my attempt last year.
I’d show you a picture of myself, but apparently I’ve got nothing more recent than 5 years ago, when I got married. Being the only camera-fiend around here means I don’t end up with many pictures of myself. Oh well!
Here’s some samples of my artwork (you can see more at my DeviantArt account, here: http://plotholetsi.deviantart.com/ )