Defining Characters

By eugena On February 11th, 2011

Characters become part of you. You are their creator, their “god.” You define their beginning, trials, end. Sometimes when writing, you amaze yourself in the amount of evolution/personal growth you go through.

I remember when I first wrote The Age of Merrik under the title Crystal Destiny, focusing more on the powers of the crystals. I had three main characters other than Merrik, Queen Zira, General Zsastar, and Zaedrif. I eventually kept some ideas from Zira to keep her as a character of the same name in the sword master past**. She was married to Zsastar I, the namesake of General Zsastar. To a certain extent, Zastar of Crystal Destiny and Zsastar of The Anointing are the same. For Zaedrif, I only kept the name. While genetic characteristics are similar, the first Zaedrif was merely a teenager, adopted son/ward of both Zira and Zsastar, their common bond. Then Zaedrif became a bit older, a noble swordmaster, more like that of Zaedrif of The Age of Merrik: The Screenplay Adaptation.

While Oroco and the other members of The Four have always been part of the story since version one (Kaeya did have development), Oroco became a focal point of version three (final) Zaedrif. Zaedrif and Oroco are childhood friends. They shared in a very naive love, which eventually develops deeper. Oroco can’t let go, but Zaedrif can, because *enter Eleya.* I really like the name Eleya, one of the many that I made up. It’s perfect for her. Merris is ok, and Merris becomes *spoiler* the name of Miriam and John’s first child.

I could have left it at that. But when I began to develop an even deeper history for the sword master characters, I decided that this is really why Zaedrif betrayed his people. He did not cower in fear, he was not incapacitated. He failed them because he chose Oroco. Idiot. Choosing a pitiful love over responsibility for an entire nation.

Compare him with Merrik. Again and again he chose his responsibility as a leader over that of his own love, interest, and family. Yet Zaedrif is supposed to be a sword master and closer to the god character (Serafin).

Who are Merrik’s parents? Two-fold question. His bond/adoptive parents are much like himself. They both chose their positions as leaders first in as their priorities. As for his blood parents, I promise at least one of them will eventually be revealed. Did they make the same choice? Yes, I could answer that question, but I prefer to keep you all hooked.

Reflecting on it now, the Zaedrif/Oroco connection has an impact on many things in the storyline. Cle’an was once a minor character, taking entrance and exit, with Jierin then on stage. Now he became more rounded. He has a past. All characters do, but the more minor they are, the less the pasts are revealed. (Perfect fodder for fanfictions.) Cle’an, native of Nemea, obeyed his lord, Prince Zaedrif, to send Oroco away and protect her; he left his beloved Valerie. While Zaedrif’s love lived, Cle’an’s did not. Neither did Cle’an’s beloved queen escape unscathed. Rise of the New Masters reveals more of her suffering.

Many love Eleya. Mostly courtly love. Look that one up if you need to. They admire her, adore her. Is she god on Earth? No, but that doesn’t stop Zsastar in his “create-a-Serafin” plan.

Another character I enjoyed the development of is Areya, but I will save that for another post.

** Zira later renames herself Kerris, and this is the name recorded in Swordmaster historical records. Therefore, Zira is tagged as “Kerris”. The “Zira” tag is for the main character of version one. Eleya later becomes the main character instead of Zira.