This season is, among other things, about character. As we give thanks for what we have, voice hope for what we want, and reach out to hopefully help others maintain or acquire both, we paint pictures of ourselves for all the world to see. Now, naturally, human beings aren’t defined by a single season—a person is a lifetime of characterization—but many do seem to “straighten up and fly right” this time of year, in an effort to give that character class a boost.
Well, given that the season’s about people and about character, I figure it’s only good and right as a writer for me to offer up a few of my characters for scrutiny as well. That’s right—this week I’m going to be laying out a few of the personalities through which you’ll view the world in The Hollow March.
So let’s begin with the central catalyst…
Rurik Matair (POV):
Rurik is not what one might expect of a mercenary. Many would consider him a fop, and laid-back to a point of laziness—though his friends have seen his hidden stresses. He scarcely knows the sword. He cannot hunt, nor shoot a bow. Most consider his saving grace to be his skill with a pistol—though given its cost to maintain, it’s not exactly a boon.
Yet though the road has battered the young sellsword, Rurik has proven a man determined.
The exiled son of a lesser house in Idasia’s rigid noble structure, he brought great shame to his family’s name in…fraternizing…with a noblewoman far above his station. It was that name alone, however, that saved neck, and earned him exile instead. Yet he doesn’t consider that a gift, particularly as knives have stalked that particular journey all across the country. Now, he is determined to return to his family’s home deep in the Ulneberg forest, to confront father and family both in a desperate effort for closure.
He is a flawed man—even he would not dare say otherwise—but he is also a devoted friend, and possessed of a dedication that, while often misdirected, is admirable.
Rurik is also the focus of that “Matair” Usuri drops at the end of that full chapter sneak peek I dropped a few weeks back.
Essa was one of Rurik’s childhood friends. Unlike him, however, she has been hardened by a life of strife. Born into the peasantry, abandoned by a mother she never knew, and left to the care of her drunkard of a father, she too has endured her own personal exiles.
Where some might have buckled under the pressure, however, she was strengthened by it. Willful, headstrong, and more at home among the trees than man’s streets, some would view many of her actions as “improper,” to say the least, labeling her as something of a wild dog—but in turn, that’s not a term she would likely shun.
She learned the bow from her father—how to craft them, and how to use them—and is a skilled hunter. Acting as both scout and tracker for the Company of the Eagles, she often finds herself carrying Rurik’s weight, so to speak, despite his best intentions. Before they reunited, she was paying her way across the land alongside her cousin, Rowan, as a wandering dancer.
Company of the Eagles:
The Company of the Eagles is a mercenary band formed around Rurik Matair during the western push of his exile. It originally consisted of four members: Essa, her cousin Rowan, Rurik’s “shieldman” Alviss, and Rurik himself. It has since expanded to five members with the curious addition of the Zuti southerner, Chigenda. Though noted dissent exists between “the younglings” and their new addition, the group has rarely let it interfere with their work. When Rurik made the unfortunate decision to head for the Ulneberg, and for home, the group was obligated to (begrudgingly) follow along.
The Company also forms the focus of 13 short stories I crafted in the summer of 2008 to help flesh out the world. Those stories, by the way, will be released in two distinct bundles in the months following The Hollow March’s release, so if you like the book, keep your eyes peeled for those—and on the cheap, too!
More character profiles will undoubtedly appear in weeks to come, but I hope you enjoyed this sampling from one branch of The Hollow March‘s story arch. Also watch for the new “Inside Idasia” features that will be launching as early as next week—providing in-depth looks into the country, and the world, in which The Hollow March is set. Don’t forget to sign up for our Facebook page, either, or to check out my photographic appearance on The River Journal today!