Character Thoughts – Justin Harper

Justin Harper VintageJustin Harper is best friends with Timothy Hawkins and appears in Wolf in the Shadow.

Justin and Timothy attended school together and were known for getting into mischief. They spent more time harassing the Sisters than they did studying. After school, they would play games in the streets of Freywater, and they spent many an evening at each other’s home.

As late teens, Justin and Timothy were both granted weapons of the gods. While Timothy received the Spear of Lugh, Justin received the Seal of Solomon. Unfortunately, the Seal required practice to master, something Justin had no desire to do. Still, carrying the weapon allowed him to become a Shadow Walker, and he threw himself into it with all his heart. He came to love the chase and the slaughter, and he became one of the best the Shadow Walkers had at disposing of dangerous creatures. He was often paired with Timothy, who was the one person who could curb Justin’s more reckless behavior.

Justin is in his early twenties in Wolf in the Shadow. At this time, Justin’s favorite pastime is downing Nutty Fluffies and bedding as many women as possible. To him, these women are nothing more than playthings, and the idea that they are people with emotions and dreams escapes him. In his own mind, what he’s doing can’t possibly hurt anyone, and he’s found himself on the business end of numerous pistols and swords. Only Timothy’s connection with the Enforcers keeps Justin out of trouble.

In his more serious moments, though these are rare, Justin considers his life in the far future. While he can’t picture himself with a wife and children, he does see himself in a position of authority, something that gets a lot of attention and admiration. By his own admission, he has no idea what this position might be. He’s actually extremely insecure and uses his flamboyant persona to validate his existence to himself. He constantly struggles with feelings of inadequacy, and he would most likely be able to conquer these if he would give them voice instead of hiding them.

Justin loves to eat out at restaurants, and his favorite place in Freywater is a diner near the University. They serve foods fried in oil, and Justin is particularly fond of fried root vegetables. He covers them in a variety of sauces and uses them as a ‘pick me up’ after too many Nutty Fluffies or a night spent with too much company. He also enjoys going to the theater, though he avoids the burlesque shows because he feels they are indecent.

When he’s alone, he enjoys reading, and the ha’coin books that have become the rage in the Xaggarene Empire are his favorites. Many of these deal with murder and depravity, and Justin finds satisfaction in reading about these topics. He doesn’t care much for actual book-learning, though, so many of the topics Timothy mentions are lost on him.

Justin is one of those characters who is both loveable and despicable. His willingness to protect the weak is a laudable trait, but his selfishness is loathsome. There are redeeming qualities to him, but they’re hard to see for those who aren’t looking. He can be fun to be around, but no one should ever count on him. He’s loyal to those who serve his purposes, but he will turn away if he thinks he has the slightest reason. His love of the chase is carefully balanced by the need of the Shadow Walkers, but I wonder just what it would take to shift him from state-sanctioned Shadow Walker to cold-blooded killer. I don’t think it would take too much, and it’s an idea I may explore at some point. I haven’t decided. I have to admit, though, that, while Justin is one of my favorites to write, I don’t particularly like him. He’s just too loud and obnoxious to be someone I would enjoy being around.

What are your thoughts on Justin Harper? Is he someone you would call a friend? Do you agree with his actions in Wolf in the Shadow?

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Meet the Characters – Vonner Calerook

vonner
Image courtesy of the good folks at Pixabay.

Name: Vonner Calerook

 

Age: 160

Species: Human Wizard

Home: Crowrest, E’ma Thalas

Personality: Vonner is a kind and caring person, and he’s a hard worker. He likes to keep to himself and work with the animals in Crowrest Keep. He’s not a big fan of going out into the forest, though he does enjoy standing on the battlements and looking at it.

Magic: Vonner’s magic usually shows as orange, and his strength is in battle magic, though most would never know that because of his personality. There is an additional dimension to his magic, one that comes from his parentage and of which he’s unaware.

Favorites: Vonner loves animals and spends his work time in Crowrest Keep taking care of the horses. He doesn’t care much for sweets, though he loves large meals.

Friends: Vonner’s best friend is Gwennyth Grimsbane. The two of them have been together since they were small children. Other than that, Vonner is a bit of an outcast, or was as a child. Even as an adult, he tends to stay to himself.

Goals: Vonner doesn’t have a lot of personal goals. He’s content with his life in Crowrest and prefers peace to anything else.

Faults: Vonner can be whiny and dependent. He clings to Gwennyth and relies on her for any sense of self-esteem he possesses. When put to the test, however, he will step up and take charge.

Excerpt:

“But the only clue your mother left was ‘look not in the places of the gods’. What’s that supposed to mean?”

I sighed and rolled my eyes and continued to make my way through the woods of E’ma Thalas. Vonner had talked incessantly for five days, and his chatter was beginning to wear on me…

I tried to answer, but my tongue flapped uselessly in my mouth, and my lips tingled. I pulled up the hem of my robe and pointed to where the infant asing sat attached to my ankle.

“Oh, gods. Here. Sit down.”

Vonner took me by the shoulders and eased me onto the mossy bed of the forest floor. My mind entered a fog of pain as Vonner pried the creature from my leg. White-hot flares of agony shot from each point the asing’s teeth penetrated my skin and tore through nerves to seep into blood and bone. I don’t know how long this continued, though surely it was only moments, before the cooling salve chased away the anguish and left me in a haze of relief.

“Better?” Vonner asked.

I nodded but couldn’t speak. Vonner made camp, and we rested until the following morning.

Now, though, his chatter and doubt did nothing but make me long for solitude.

Muhulda Urswyk – Unlock the Truth

Muhulda Urswyk VintageI recently had the, ehem, honor of interviewing Shadow Walker Arianna Henderson. I’ll have to say that it was an eye-opener. Read the full interview below.

 

Muhulda: Good morning, Arianna. I’ve heard you’ve just returned from a tour on the Greydawn Spirit. Can you tell me what it’s like to travel the void?

Arianna: Well, it’s big and gray and full of void serpents. What else do you wanna know?

Muhulda: I’d like to know why the Shadow Walker guild employs ships and people to patrol out there. What do you do? How is the expense justified?

Arianna: Well, the expense is for the Shadow Walker guild to worry about. As to the why? (Arianna leans forward. There’s a glint in her eyes that this reporter can only interpret as madness.) How would you feel if a hundred-foot serpent with poisoned fangs that could possibly breathe fire came flying over Sangeron right now and leveled half the buildings?

Muhulda: I don’t think I’d like that very much. But isn’t protecting our borders, both from within and without, the job of the military?

Arianna: (She leans back and crosses her arms at this point.) Don’t you think they have enough to worry about? And how far out into the void do you think they go?

Muhulda: I would think they would stay close to the borders.

Arianna: (Her eyes light up, and she again looks mad.) Precisely. They stick near the border. We go further out. You have no idea what’s out there, what could be coming for us at any moment.

Muhulda: And what, exactly, is coming for us? This sounds like some kind of bizarre conspiracy to me.

(Arianna laughs at this point, and it makes this reporter’s skin crawl. There’s no doubt that this woman is stark raving loonies. Is this the kind of people the Shadow Walkers regularly recruit?)

Arianna: Sweet cheeks, you can sit there and judge me all you want, but, let me tell you, if a swarm of pixie mites got through to the Xaggarene Empire, most people would be dead before they knew what was happening.

Muhulda: And what’s a pixie mite? (I had to chuckle here, for the concept was simply ridiculous.)

Arianna: It’s this tiny little spirit that looks like a pixie. The thing is, though, when it touches you, it sucks out your life force before you can do anything about it.

Muhulda: You don’t look like you’ve had your life force, in your words, ‘sucked out.’

(Again, that laugh.)

Arianna: Of course not. I know how to fight them.

Muhulda: And how, exactly, do you fight them? Do you use poison? They sound like bugs.

Arianna: I use a sword. Others use their magic or their weapons from the gods.

Muhulda: A sword? But I thought all Shadow Walkers had weapons. Why would you need a sword instead?

Arianna: Because my ‘weapon’ isn’t one. I carry the Cauldron of Plenty from the Dagda. It gives me the power to heal. I don’t use it to fight.

Muhulda: So, the Shadow Walkers don’t use physicians?

Arianna: Of course we do. I can’t be everywhere at once. Now, if it’s life-threatening, then I’m the one who deals with the injury, but I don’t handle the lighter stuff. I don’t have the energy.

Muhulda: So, there’s a limit to the amount of power a Shadow Walker has?

Arianna: Well, yeah. Did you really think we were made into some all-powerful, invincible people? Really? We’re just normal people who’ve been given a gift and chose to use it. That’s it.

Muhulda: And how do think Barnabas Merriweather does with running the guild? Does he train the new recruits? Does he make sure those who are supposed to ‘protect us’ are competent?

Arianna: He’s great. He has a lot on him, but he does it all. (She leans forward again, and this reporter can’t help backing up a little. There is something too uncanny about that glint in her eyes.) We get training, and there’s the school, after all. New Shadow Walkers who come to us can take classes there even if they’re adults. Others have learned on their own. (She shrugs.) It works.

Muhulda: And when will you head back out into the void?

Arianna: I’m not sure. I have another mission down in Freywater for a bit, then I’m sure I’ll be back out there. I love it. Sure, it gets a little dull sometimes with all the endless gray, but the creatures that come out of it keep me hopping. I like that.

Muhulda: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the Shadow Walkers?

Arianna: Is there anything else you’d like to know?

Muhulda: No. No. I think that’s all for now.

Arianna: All right, then.

(The woman stands and tosses her hair, which is candy pink, over her shoulder. She sashays out of the office and winks at me from the door. This reporter must admit to being terrified. This woman is obviously insane and should be locked in Josephus Halidon’s Home for the Insane and Destitute. Why she’s allowed to interact with normal, decent folk, I’ll never know, but something needs to be done to ensure that these Shadow Walkers are upstanding citizens.)

 

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Meet Electa Norris

electa-vintage
Electa Norris

Name: Electa Norris

 

Age: 13 winters

Appearance: Electa has blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s short and little stout.

Birthplace: Atada

Family: Electa was given to her grandparents as a baby, but once she received the Shield of Evalach, they sent her Corleon for fear of reprisals from the Arcana Maximus. Electa has no idea who or where her parents are, for her grandparents never told her.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Shield of Evalach – the shield carried by Joseph of Arimathea in the Arthurian legends. It allows Electa to project a shield around herself and others.

Pantheon: Arthurian

Other Info: Electa is extremely smart when it comes to books, but she’s terribly timid when it comes to her magic, so much so that Damion and others fear that she may be more harmful than helpful as a Shadow Walker. She is loyal to her friends, though she truly trusts no one.

Favorite Foods: Electa loves Old Marshall’s fist meals above all others, but she’s also a big fan of the jelly candy she gets in Ymla. She’s cautious about eating sweets and never overdoes it, but the jellies are her true weakness. She also enjoys fried eggs and oatmeal and doesn’t like meats for breakfast.

Fears: Electa fears her own insecurities. She knows she lacks when it comes to courage, and this frightens her. She tries to step up like the others do, but she often finds herself frozen. This only feeds her fear and increases her inability to act.

Favorite Teacher: Electa enjoys history class with Mr. Bickersteth. She finds his knowledge of the history of Grevared and the various races fascinating and does all she can to learn more.

Greatest Desire: Electa wants to know who her parents are and where they went.

 

Follow Electa’s adventures in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III, available in both print and eBook formats. Learn more about her world and read free stories for both children and adults at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

Meet Faylen Icebreeze

faylen-vintage
Faylen Icebreeze: The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III

Name: Faylen Icebreeze

 

Age: 30 winters (the equivalent of about 12 human years)

Appearance: bright blue hair; large, blue eyes, pale blue skin

Family: Faylen is a member of the Icebreeze clan of elves. These elves once lived in the Shizzuria Wasteland but emigrated to E’ma Thalas before Faylen was born. Since then the clan has resided in the forests between Giqare and Tradespire. Faylen’s mother contracted the Fomoire madness and was sentenced to death. Not understanding what was occurring, Faylen fled.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Mirror of Aphrodite – it allows Faylen to see the truth of a person or situation and allows her to track an individual

Pantheon: Greek

Other Info: Faylen is extremely quiet and shy at times, but at other times she’s bold and forceful. She will often go along with what others want rather than expressing her own desires. She loves to read and is one of the best students at the Shadow Walker school, though few people, even her close friends, know this about her. She wants to return home, for she feels out of place in the human society, but, at the same time, her anger over her mother’s death prevents her going.

Fears: Above anything else, Faylen fears contracting the Fomoire madness. Though she knows more about it now than she did years before, she still doesn’t trust that it isn’t inherited. She also fears being in the human community, though the humans of Corleon are extremely tolerant of others.

Favorite Teacher: Faylen’s favorite person at the Shadow Walker school is Miss Hitherbury, the healer. While most of the students make fun of the woman because of her ample girth, Faylen finds the woman’s knowledge of healing, both magical and non-magical, to be extensive.

Favorite Foods: Faylen prefers fruits and vegetables to other foods, though she loves Old Marshall’s chocolate cakes.

Greatest Desire: Faylen’s greatest desire is to find where she fits into the world.

 

Follow Faylen’s adventures in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III, available in print and on most eBook platforms. Learn more about her world and find links to the books at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

Meet Kayne Soulton

kayne-vintageName: Kayne Soulton

Age: 13 winters

Appearance: brown hair with too long bangs, violet eyes. Tall and a bit thin.

Birthplace: Crowrest, E’ma Thalas

Family: Kayne’s parents died when he was very little, and he was then cared for by his brother Del. He left his brother’s company when he was ten winters old, just after receiving the mace, and travelled to Corleon to join the Shadow Walkers.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Mace of Tishtrya – it can call lightning and thunder

Pantheon: Persian

Other Info: Kayne is a born wizard, something he forgets from time to time, especially in a crisis. He’s brash and disrespectful, but he has a tendency to stay just barely on the right side of the line. He’s a fierce friend, but he also has a deep-seated anger that boils within him. He’s able to hide this most of the time.

Favorite Foods: Kayne is a sweets junkie. He always has some kind of candy in his room, though he’s careful not to let his friends know that. He also enjoys Old Marshall’s roast beef and vegetables, and he absolutely adores bacon.

Fears: More than anything in the world, Kayne fears being abandoned. Though he acts brash and confident, he’s actually quite insecure and wants nothing more than to be loved and accepted.

Favorite Teacher: Kayne doesn’t think much of education, but he has great respect for Barnabas Merriweather, the leader of the school, though he’d never let Mr. Merriweather know that.

Greatest Desire: Kayne’s greatest desire is to find someone to truly love him.

 

Follow Kayne and his adventures in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III, available on all eBook platforms. Learn more about Kayne’s world at http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

 

 

Meet Ethan Grimley III

Name: Ethan Grimley III

ethan-vintage-300
Ethan Grimley III

Age: 12 winters

Appearance: strawberry blonde hair, green eyes

Family: Ethan is the son of Gregory and Eva Grimley. He had an older sister, but she died when he was little.

Hometown: Land’s End, Moirena

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Favorite Subject: Combat

Friends: Kayne Soulton, Faylen Icebreeze, Electa Norris

Favorite Teacher: Damion Simmons

God/dess: Gaia

Pantheon: Greek

Weapon: Harpe

Weapon’s Features: The Harpe of Gaia gives Ethan strength and accuracy beyond his skill. It also glows and can provide light.

Favorite Activities: Ethan loves hanging out with his friends. He enjoys practicing his combat skills and playing kickball.

Favorite Foods: Ethan loves fist meals – meat, cheese, and veggies between two slices of bread. He also enjoys griddle cakes, candy, his mother’s bread and pastries, and warm soup on a cold day.

Fears: Ethan is afraid of not measuring up to others’ expectations of him. This causes him to charge into situations without thinking about dangers and consequences.

Greatest Desire: Ethan wishes more than anything to be the greatest Shadow Walker that ever lived. He wants to fight monsters and other creatures, and he wants to travel to all the lands of Grevared.

 

 Read more about Ethan and his adventures at http://www.lissadobbs.com