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.
Since Cait and Sky are doing one last round of Beautiful Books for NaNoWriMo-ers, I’m diving into the Beautiful People archives again for a character questionnaire. I never plan ahead of time who I’ll cover in these posts – and when I saw the list of 10 questions you’re about to read, I immediately knew who would be the best fit.
I haven’t said much about Prince Virikar (who more often goes by Virik) with the exception of a couple paragraphs here. It’s partly because he’s only a minor antagonist in my WIP, The Keeper’s Curse, and partly because I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get to know him better, especially since I’d like to write more about him in the future. My biggest concern with Virik is that I haven’t made him sympathetic enough; I don’t want him to be one-dimensional. So, if you have any feedback or additional questions after this post, please share them. I could really use the help!
Some quick facts about Virik: He’s 23 years old, with red-streaked black hair and gray eyes. He’s also the oldest of two sons of the King of Fae – but as you’ll find out, that doesn’t mean he’s next in line for the throne.
1. What is Virik’s motive?
If I’m interpreting this question correctly… Virik’s motive is to regain his father’s favor. Unfortunately I can’t divulge all the details for spoiler-ish reasons, and not everyone in Fae knows what really happened… but rumor has it that, when he was 11 years old, Virik had a hand in the death of his father’s top adviser. By Fae law, Virik should have been exiled and wing-stripped as punishment. His father, however, couldn’t bring himself to do that to his oldest son. So, he chose to “demote” Virik and elevate the younger son Milos to next-in-line for the throne, and had Virik groomed to take command of the Fae Royal Guard instead. He also gave orders for Virik to be kept under close watch at all times, in case he should try to harm Milos or other Fae in retaliation.
So, Virik’s motivation for everything he does is for his father’s benefit. You could call it love or devotion, but he also clings to resentment and shame. He’s like the protagonist Eva in that regard, and can be a “hot-and-cold” character: respectful and obliging at one moment, cold and callous the next. It always depends on the situation and who else is involved.
2. What does he want, and what is he prepared to do to get it?
I think Question #1 touched on the “what he wants” part a little bit. Virik wants to please his father – and for the most part, he’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it. He also wishes he could reclaim his right to the throne, but he hasn’t yet figured out how to erase Milos from the picture without risking banishment. Though, between you and me, he may just be waiting for the right opportunity to come along…
What is Virik willing to do on a small scale? He agrees to anything his father asks of him, but voices his opinions when he believes something isn’t in his father’s best interests. He also volunteers his services whenever he thinks they’re warranted, even if the task isn’t in his “realm” as Commander of the Royal Guard. He’s not exactly the lying or manipulative type (hence the “for the most part” bit in the previous paragraph) – but he’s not afraid to intimidate or criticize others so they’ll do what he thinks they should.
This is the perfect time to say how much Virik ENVIES the Council of Selanaan. He sees them as “goody two-shoes,” and believes he and the Royal Guard are equally qualified to do the diplomatic work that the Council carries out for the King. (He also can’t stand Eva, but that’s a whole other story.) He’ll even go so far as to try to “steal” their work from them – and he tries to pull such a stunt during TKC. 😉
3. How does he deal with conflict?
Virik deals with conflict by being direct with other characters. He’s rational as well as stubborn, so he’ll tell you what he thinks and often without tact or considering your feelings. If he’s with his parents – especially the King – he tries to choose his words more carefully, but it doesn’t always work out. And if things get really out of hand, or if a situation doesn’t go his way, Virik will either blow up emotionally, or withdraw or fall silent to avoid an outburst.
4. Describe his current place of residence.
If you’ve read past Beautiful People posts, you might remember that the Fae in TKC’s world live in “treehouse-style” dwellings called kagenden. However, it would be rather difficult for the Fae royal family to live in a treehouse-style palace that also accommodates their staff of servants, knights, etc. and offers a place for visiting dignitaries to stay. So, Virik and his family live in a castle known as the Rakmetha (roughly means “royal earth-bound house” in Fae). Built with light-colored stone, it’s more airy and open to the forest surroundings, and more sprawling than tall. It also has a massive, lush courtyard. Imagine an amalgam of the images in the collage below (which include three photos from the Bijolai Palace in India), and the Rakmetha looks something like that.
5. If he was writing The Keeper’s Curse, how would it end?
Virik and the Royal Guard – not Eva and the Council of Selanaan – would have gone with the Mountain Folk to help them reclaim their ancestor’s relics. Simple as that!
6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to him?
Again, Virik’s behavior is circumstantial. If he’s with people he likes or wants to please, he’ll lean forward, nod his head as he listens, and stand or sit with an open posture / body language. Otherwise, he crosses his arms over his chest; or if he’s sitting, he’ll lean back and prop his feet up on the table in front of him. How Virik speaks also depends on who he’s speaking to. He can be dignified and charming, or viperous and condescending.
7. How does Virik show love? What does he like to do with / for people he loves?
Emotional intimacy isn’t one of Virik’s strengths. He’s not the kind who says “I love you” or shows gestures of love or affection. Instead, he shows his devotion to his family through his day-to-day actions. Ensuring all things within the Royal Guard are running smoothly, arriving to meetings or social events early, carrying out his tasks to the best of his ability – it might seem more like duty than love, but that’s how Virik feels most comfortable proving his love to others.
This applies mainly to Virik’s parents. I wish I could say Virik gets along with his brother for harmony’s sake… but Virik would rather spit on the ground Milos walks on – or on Milos himself.
Virik has a few friends, too. Not many, since he prioritizes his family above everyone else, but he likes a number of his high-ranking subordinates in the Royal Guard. So when he’s got time, he’ll scrimmage with them in a swordfight or hand to hand, take them on hunting trips, or invite them to social engagements he’s attending.
8. Does he have any pets?
Like many Fae, Virik has two pets for specific purposes. He owns an all-black stallion named Anriam (Fae for “fastest”) for traveling when flight isn’t convenient; and a messenger robin called Somhonia (a combination of the Fae words for “faithful” and “reliable”) for delivering letters to other parts of the land.
9. Where does he go to relax or think?
Virik finds it difficult to relax. Small wonder, considering all the anger pent up inside. However, he feels some semblance of calm when he’s with people he likes. He’s not a “party person” per se, but he enjoys a glass of wine and good conversation, regardless of how many people are there or whether the gathering is political or personal. (Though if Virik had to choose, he’d go for political over personal.) If he needs to be alone, he’ll retreat to an empty corner of the stables or the Royal Guards’ practice rooms and take out his frustrations on things. Trust me – if Virik wants to be alone, it’s best to let him be.
10. What is his weapon of choice? (Words, eyes / looks, and fists count as weapons, too.)
What doesn’t Virik use as a weapon? Being a Royal Guard, he’s an adroit swordsman and vicious in hand-to-hand combat. Also, as mentioned in Question #2, he’s not afraid of threatening people or nagging them into obedience. He also won’t hesitate to flirt with the more dangerous side of his magic if need be… To be honest, I know what Virik’s weapon of choice is. I just don’t want to reveal it yet. 😉
That wraps up this month’s edition of Beautiful People. What do you think of Prince Virik now that you’ve “met” him? Does he seem like a believable antagonist?