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.
After focusing on supporting characters from The Keeper’s Curse for the past two Beautiful People posts, it’s time to return to the protagonist, Eva. In case you haven’t “met” her before, Eva is a 17-year-old Faerie and the chief navigator and translator for the Council of Selanaan (a group of commoner Faeries selected to be diplomats working on their king’s behalf).
So, here are the 10 questions Eva needs to answer this month. Or, rather, the questions I need to answer so you can get to know Eva better. 😉
1. Does she have nightmares? If so, why or what of?
Not during TKC. However, when she was 5 years old, she suffered from nightmares regularly after her parents were killed. (Her family had traveled to the Human town of Eldenmonn for a holiday, and were caught up in a Mountain Folk raid that destroyed the riverside outpost.) In these nightmares, she’d see her parents’ bloodied bodies and shredded wings, houses burning or completely collapsed. She’d hear war cries and victims’ screams, and relive the crippling pain of her own torn wing. Those nightmares evolved over time, and Eva would see the corpses of her cousin Gidion, her aunt Maji, and her uncle Lusan – loved ones who weren’t there during the attack. That brought a whole new level of terror.
Eventually the nightmares occurred less and less often. By the time Eva was 7 years old, the nightmares had stopped, but the absence of her parents – and the horror of her memories – still haunt her today.
2. What is her biggest guilty pleasure / secret shame?
Eva’s favorite snack is cacao nibs. She doesn’t eat them often because they’re an expensive food in her world; and as a Councilor, she’s not paid for her diplomacy work. (The lack of payment is meant to ensure that Councilors truly want to do their work for honor and duty to their people, not for wealth or notoriety.) But if Aunt Maji buys cacao nibs or someone offers them to her, she’s not going to pass them up. 🙂
As for a secret shame… Remember in #1 above that Eva’s wing was torn in the raid that killed her parents? In Faerie culture, a wing injury of any kind is considered the ultimate transgression. It’s a sign that, even if the injury wasn’t the Faerie’s fault and the wing heals (which is usually does), the Faerie hasn’t taken proper care of their wings. Even worse, if a Faerie with an injured wing is brought before the royal family, the King will “strip” the victim of the rest of its Faerie identity by cutting off what’s left of the wings and then banish the Faerie from the kingdom.
Which means Eva was incredibly fortunate to escape that fate. Her aunt and uncle kept her away from home so she could heal without suspicion. No one could banish her once she returned to Kasialonen, since the wing healed without leaving a scar. But that didn’t stop her peers from taunting and bullying her. Perhaps her shame over becoming an outcast isn’t a secret, but knowing she could have truly been cast out had the wrong people seen her wings… I think that counts as a hidden shame.
3. Is she easily persuaded, or does she need more proof?
Eva takes nothing at face value. She wants – no, NEEDS – proof. She’ll ask questions, research, or try things on her own in order to fully understand the task or problem at hand. If she hasn’t witnessed or experienced it, it’s hard for her to know whether it can be done – or, in some cases, whether it can’t be done. Sometimes this shows up as skepticism (e.g., not believing in the Mountain Folk’s gem-healing) or curiosity (e.g., creating new spells to test the limits of her own magic). If you’re going to work with Eva on a project, be prepared for an inquisitive and tenacious teammate who refuses to give up until she finishes the task.
4. Does she suffer from any phobias? Does it affect her life in a big way?
Eva has no phobias. However, her greatest fear is losing the people she loves – a tragedy she’s already dealt with, and one she doesn’t want to experience again. That fear is one of the reasons why she tried out for the Council 3 years ago: to protect those she loves, as well as to protect the Faeries in general.
5. What does she consider her “Achilles heel”?
A flaw that could lead to her downfall? In TKC, that’s definitely her vengefulness and volatility. She doesn’t get angry often – but when she does, she’ll make you regret it. That dual Achilles’ heel plays a huge part in TKC, especially early on and towards the end. That’s all I can say for now. 😉
6. How does she handle a crisis?
Eva’s the one you want around when crisis erupts. She’s intuitive and quick-thinking, so she sees opportunities to wrangle and resolve the problem. Some say she’s reckless for this reason; I say it’s one of her best qualities. 🙂 You’ll get to see this during TKC!
7. Does she have a temper?
I’ll leave that for others to decide. Like I said in #5, she’s not exactly easy to anger. But when she is angry, it ain’t pretty!
8. What are her core values and/or religious beliefs?
The first core values that come to mind for Eva are:
- Honesty: This is more or less a traditional yet hypocritical Faerie value. Traditional in that Faeries are raised to be transparent and open to one another, and not to lie or keep secrets. Hypocritical in that the Faeries are keeping a massive secret from the other peoples of the Great Isle (which is discussed in TKC), and Eva has her own secret as well. Nevertheless, Eva tries to be honest with others and expects the same in return.
- Courage: Eva believes in doing what’s right as opposed to what’s easy, and often wishes others would do the same. In her opinion, things aren’t simply black or white, good or evil. Sometimes they’re morally gray or ambiguous – and sometimes it means going against what’s deemed acceptable by belief or law. But if it’s the best solution, Eva will fight for it. This value will cause friction between her and some of her more traditional Council brothers during TKC.
- Love, Self-Love, & Identity: More than anything, Eva wants to be accepted for who she is. She’s struggled with this for most of her childhood (small wonder, considering the answers to #1 and #2 above), and her adventurous spirit doesn’t mesh well with cultural expectations for Faerie women. Despite this, Eva desperately wants to believe that people value her for her strengths and good qualities, and that they won’t try to force her to be what she isn’t.
Religion-wise, Eva follows the Faeries’ nature-centered religion. Faeries pray to and thank Tovana (whom you and I know as Mother Nature) before meals and when hunting, gardening, preparing healing remedies and poultices, building new houses or shops, and so on. They also believe that Tovana created the peoples of the Great Isle using natural elements like dirt, wind, and water; and that natural phenomena (droughts, storm damage, floods, etc.) are Tovana’s way of showing she’s pleased – or displeased – with a particular Faerie or the Faerie population at large.
9. What things does she value most in life?
Just because I like bulleted lists, that’s how I’ll list the things that Eva values. 😉 They are:
- Her adopted family (Aunt Maji, Uncle Lusan, and her cousin Gidion)
- Her Council brothers, since they’re like a second family to her
- Her messenger bird Thrush
- Her horse Immer
- Her memories of her parents
- The lessons she learned about fighting and magic from her trainer Nomaro, who was exiled just months before Eva was selected for the Council
- The experience and opportunities she’s had as a Councilor
10. What is one major event that helped shape who she is?
The raid in Eldenmonn, and the deaths of her parents. I think that’s pretty obvious from the answers to #1 and #2. It’s what set her on her path to becoming a Councilor and what sparked her desire for vengeance against the Mountain Folk. If her family was still alive, the events of TKC would have played out much differently – or maybe never have happened at all.
That’s it for this month’s edition of Beautiful People. What do you think of Eva based on the answers above? If you’ve already been following Beautiful People or Chronicling The Craft, did you learn anything new about Eva today? Feel free to share your thoughts and any questions you may have by commenting below.