Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.
I’ve written so much about my WIP’s protagonist Eva in my Chronicling The Craft series that it’s time to shine the spotlight on someone else. So, today’s edition of Beautiful People features Aurek Kolsteg, leader of Eva’s travel party and a Lord of the Mountain Folk from the southern kingdom of Sumanhi (and Eva’s eventual love interest).
1. What is Aurek’s secret desire?
This was tough. The few desires (wants, needs, etc.) Aurek has, he mentions them in the WIP. However, he does want to find a soulmate – not just a typical wife – and settle down. Given what’s going on in the story, though, it’s not a convenient desire. He has other, more immediate goals that force him to put his hope for marriage on the backburner.
2. What is the best and brightest moment he experiences during the story?
Ooooooh, naughty naughty spoiler questions. 😉 Let’s just say that there are two, and they both involve Eva.
3. What are the emotional places Aurek is afraid to go to?
Aurek has a hard time talking about his childhood. He and his older brother Drasten were born into slavery, and endured both verbal and physical abuse from their master as boys. His father’s death also brings back painful memories, even though his passing was the catalyst for Aurek and Drasten escaping from slavery. He does share those memories with Eva during the WIP, but it’s clear that it’s not easy for him to do so.
4. Is there a place/city/room where they will never go? Why?
The Norderlandic kingdom of Naijhima. This city was the first to persecute Aurek’s people almost two centuries before the WIP begins. If Aurek (or anyone from the Mountain Folk) went to Naijhima, he’d be killed as soon as he passed through the front gate.
5. If Aurek was permanently leaving town, what would he easily throw out? What would he refuse to part with? (Why?)
This is an easy question. The WIP is part quest-story, so these were all considerations Aurek had to make before leaving Sumanhi. I’ll start with the second question.
Aurek would refuse to part with these items:
- His sword and daggers (those weapons are bound to come in handy during the journey)
- His smoking pipe and some smoke weed (for calming his nerves)
- Parchment and a reed pencil (in case he needs to write letters while he’s away)
- His messenger bird, a snow sparrow named Krai (for delivering those letters, and also for the company)
- His stallion Natsiger (kind of difficult to go anywhere without a horse, right? *lol*)
- His collection of healing stones (the Mountain Folk practice “gem-magic,” and one of its purposes is for healing injuries and illnesses)
As for what he’d discard… pretty much everything else. When the WIP begins, Aurek has reached a point where he’s ready to leave his old life behind and start anew.
6. What does Aurek want (consciously and tangibly)?
Aurek wants to see his people reunited under one kingdom. At the moment, the Mountain Folk are scattered across the Great Isle, without a king or a place to call home. (They were driven out of their kingdom, Azrhyan, about 100 years before the WIP begins.) Aurek, as well as his brother Drasten, believe that the Mountain Folk deserve better than what they have now, and that it’s time to do something about it.
7. On the other hand, what does he need (on the emotional, subconscious level)?
Ooof. Needs are different from wants, so what does Aurek need? Well, he needs to learn to stand up to his older brother. By this, I don’t mean that Aurek lets Drasten walk all over him; Aurek’s actually the better, stronger fighter of the two, and would trounce Drasten in a matter of minutes. Instead, I mean that Aurek needs to learn to make decisions for himself. He’s so used to siding with Drasten on everything for fear of “upsetting the apple cart” (or in this case, upsetting his melodramatic brother) that I think he’s forgotten how to think for himself. Good thing the WIP will give him an opportunity to do this. 😉
8. If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?
Besides the answer to #7 above, Aurek also needs to shed his lack of trust in others. Life has taught him that trust has to be earned, not given freely. And while it’s true that not everyone deserves to be trusted, you practically have to move mountains or re-route rivers to let Aurek know you’re on his side. (Especially if you’re anything like Eva is at the beginning of the WIP…)
9. What is the most humiliating event of Aurek’s life?
When Aurek was younger, he was constantly clobbered by the other slave boys during their wrestling matches. One nasty loss in particular left him winded and prone on the ground, and with a broken nose. But instead of dwelling on his embarrassment, Aurek decided to do something about it. He practiced long and hard with his older brother Drasten and eventually started winning more matches. Of course, now Aurek beats Drasten every time they scrimmage. Talk about the student bettering his teacher!
10. What things does Aurek turn to when he needs a bit of hope?
Aurek sometimes talks to his horse Natsiger when he’s looking for hope. Natsiger’s actually named after Aurek’s father’s horse, because he shares the original Natsiger’s mane and coat color and for sentimental reasons. (The original Natsiger had saved Aurek’s father when Aurek was a boy.) I think most readers are aware of the special bonds that riders can share with their horses, and that definitely applies here. Natsiger is a calming presence for Aurek and like a good friend who listens. Everyone needs that kind of friend to cheer them up or help them feel less alone.
Aurek also turns to his healing stones during those times. Though he’s not hurt or ill, he can still call upon the gemstones’ magical properties for meditation and prayer. (The Mountain Folk’s gem-magic system is loosely based on new age crystal therapy.) I can picture him now, cradling the stones in the palms of his hands and whispering his hopes and fears to his gods, waiting to see if they have answers for him.
That’s it for this month’s edition of Beautiful People. What do you think of Aurek based on the answers to the 10 questions above? Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.