Category Archives: character studies

Character Study – Laisa

Laisa Rangorn

“Wait here, Lady Rangorn.”

Lady Laisa Rangorn’s violet eyes smoldered. “Very well,” she said in a chilled tone.

The gentleman’s silver hair bristled, even through the grease that plastered it to his head. His hold tightened on the molded brass fitting of the gargantuan oak door. Then he pulled and it glided open, his thin frame disappearing beyond.

“Fool,” she muttered.

Laisa crossed her arms, the lush purple of her brocade jacket rustling in chorus with her rising irritation. Her family’s standing in the community mattered little to her, or to those of the Guild. Yet now that a summons from the Head Master interrupted her studies, she would have liked nothing more than to remind them of her pedigree.

After all, she was fifth in line to inherit the crown from the current matriarch, Queen Palian te Rishet.

The hollow tick of the grand clock in the hall scraped at Laisa’s patience, eliciting a concurrent tick of her fingers on her arm. Then the wide door opened to reveal the white-haired instructor and she stood, biting back a retort on the duration of her wait.

“You may enter.” He stepped back, motioning deeper within the chamber with a bony arm.

Laisa looked from his pale skin with a grimace of distaste as she stepped forward. At the foot of the Head Master’s desk she curtsied low, remaining in the position of humility until he acknowledged her and bid her to rise.

Silence descended upon her mind as she did as bidden. She clasped her hands before her and focused upon the Head Master with an expression of calm and patience. His smirk bellowed condescending amusement and goaded at her temper.

“Your studies have progressed well, Lady Rangorn. As expected.”

Acknowledging the statement with but an inclination to her head, Laisa waited.

“Before you progress to your next rank within the Guild, you must adventure outside these walls for a complete year.”

Laisa blinked. “Pardon?”

The expression of amusement didn’t relent. “Only upon your return will you qualify for a final examination from your peers.”

“Adventure? Head Master….” Words failed her as her mind scurried back from the dark corners of horror. “No one before me has ever been required to make such a sacrifice!”

The Head Master leaned back into the rigidity of his chair. “Who better to begin this tradition? You excel, Lady Rangorn, at all you undertake. All of the instructors believe you will do the same in this.”

Her brows furrowed. “The instructors wish me dead,” she retorted.

The Head Master shrugged. “You are a threat to them, Lady Rangorn, due to the extremity of your power and the influence of your family. Should you return from–”

“This is folly!” she protested, the brocade of her full gown rustling as she glided forward. “A Mesmer has no place participating in a sole adventure for fame and treasure!”

“Ah. This adventure would not be a sole venture,” the Head Master assured. He motioned to a footman who disappeared behind the same oak door. “It would be folly indeed if the danger to your person loomed so conspicuous.”

Laisa withheld a scoff.

Moments passed before the oak door purred open to reveal a tower of a man in full scale armor, an axe sheathed on his back. His stoic expression hinted at nothing, just as his erect posture as he held the helmet under his arm told of many years of experience in a chamber such as this.

“Certainly this is a jest!” Laisa tilted her chin up as she focused her haughty and sparking violet gaze on the still amused expression of the Head Master. “I must venture out with a single soldier at my beck and call? Do you know who I am?”

A statement she promised never to utter, and yet she spoke it without the merest hesitation. That thought caused an internal twinge.

“Lady Emilia Clemint Laisa Raquell Rangorn. Fifth in line to the throne of Pelea. Third daughter to the Duke of Rang.” The Head Master cocked his head. “Have I forgotten a title?”

Laisa’s eyes narrowed at his mocking tone. “Tread you careful, Head Master. I have little patience for this game of power you play.” She cast the warrior beside her a disdainful glance. “What is your name?”

“Grimm.”

Her laugh bubbled over with scorn. “Well, Lord Grimm,” she curtsied in mocking sincerity, “shall we venture forth on our adventure?” Once she straightened, she pierced the Head Master’s amused gaze with a glance of doom. “I shall return, Head Master, and upon that time your life will be forfeit.”

She turned on her heel and glided from the room, the ringing of scale armor behind her beating at her calm and laughing at her determination.

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Character Study: Jarvais

Ex-Pirate, Mercenary, Merchant Captain… Mayor?

“You want to do what?”

Jarvais, captain of the Black Wave, lowered the spyglass but continued to squint toward the distant shore. His first mate, Fyn Teilen, stared at him– non-plussed and slack-jawed. Jarvais cast him a sidelong smirk. “Why look at me like I’ve the head of a sea dragon, Fyn?”

Fyn gestured out to the shore and the breaking waves. “Did you just say as how you want to start a settlement there, Cap? As sure as the Wave is beneath my feet that’s what you said.”

“Aye.” Jarvais tucked the spyglass back into the hard-leather case at his belt.

“Settling pirates–”

“No name-calling, Fyn,” Jarvais interrupted. “We’ve not sailed under that flag for a journey or three.”

“Aye, Cap. Aye,” Fyn reluctantly acknowledged.

Jarvais focused a narrowed gaze on the far coastline, hands resting on his belt. “Some of the men have been coming to me wanting to try their hand at a different bit of life than what we’ve had thus far.” He sent his firstmate a sidelong glance. “You wouldn’t begrudge them that, would you?”

A frown furrowed the firstmate’s brows. “No, Cap, I wouldn’t take away any thought in a man’s head. But a settlement? Why not just let them take their portion and venture on over to a place already on the map. We’ve more than our share of places we’d be welcome nowadays.”

“But why not try our hand at it, Fyn? Think of it, man! Taking the wheel of a city from the dirt floors to the straw roofs above our heads.” Jarvais chuckled. “Though I’d rather have wood above and below.”

While Fyn was noticeably disturbed by the possibility, and his frown hadn’t lessened, he didn’t vocalize further disagreement.

Jarvais gripped his shoulder. “Come along, Fyn. It won’t be as bad as you’re thinking. Besides! The place on yonder shore was built once before. We’ve only got to build it back up again.”

The firstmate’s glance showed dubious belief– at best. “And where will we be getting the coin for the building of it, Cap?”

A mischievous twinkle flecked the captain’s blue gaze. “I don’t suppose the thought of everyone giving a few coin here and there out of their own pocket would ring well with you?”

“Cap–”

“Fyn, for the love of …” Jarvais regarded the disgusted expression of his friend and firstmate with amusement. “Don’t think I would take a coin from my men for a wild hair of my own choosing. Don’t you know me at all after these years on the high sea saving the other’s roast?”

“I know you well enough to know you could do anything once you settle it in your mind, Cap.” Fyn suddenly threw up his arms. “Fine. You want to take a bit of shore and do your worst with it, I’ll stand at your side this time like any other. Don’t begrudge me a laugh and a ‘Wasn’t I right?’ when the time comes.”

“If the the time comes,” Jarvais interjected with a wink.

Fyn scoffed and turned on his heel to retreat below deck. Jarvais laughed.

* * *

Jarvais retrieved a charred 2×4 from the burned-out hamlet’s entry. “Nefa had his way and then some,” he grumbled. He tossed the wood plank away and surveyed his surroundings with a narrowed scrutiny. Fyn did the same, a sneer curling his upper lip. Then Jarvais turned to the dozen men gathered behind him. Men he had served with for at least three years on the Black Wave. Only a handful of those had served with him before he took the name ‘Jarvais.’ “What do you think, men? Am I still dafter than the first Fallen?”

The men remained silent as they took in the utter destruction of the hamlet. It gave the appearance of complete desolation: A ghost town. Jarvais left the men to their thoughts and stepped beyond the charred remains of the hamlet’s sign post. Any lettering had completely faded with weather and the passage of time. This place had been abandoned. Without hope of ever returning to the peaceful fisher village it had once been.

“Barely a shell of a house left for us to use for kindling,” Fyn grumbled.

One side of Jarvais’ mouth twitched upward. “Quit your squawking, you old woman.” He saw something much different. He saw smoothed foundations waiting for new homes. He saw new growth trees for future buildings. He saw a water-well ready for another community to sprout up around it, full of life. He saw a natural harbor ready for fisher vessels. A forest of game. He saw a city waiting to blossom from the ashes of a tragedy long since passed. Now it was simply a matter of inviting his men to see the same vision.

Not a task for the weak of spirit.

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