Beautiful People, Vol. 12: Doni from The Keeper’s Curse

Beautiful People 1

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.

First of all, this post marks 1 year since I started doing Beautiful People! 😀

gandalf-fireworks

Since it’s February, Cait and Sky have asked another round of Valentine-inspired questions. The thing is, I’ve already covered the one romantic couple I’ve been writing about for the past year… and this year’s questions aren’t much different from last year’s. So, into the BP archives I went, and dug up a set of questions that were perfect for a character from The Keeper’s Curse whom I haven’t introduced to you yet.

Some quick facts about Doni: He’s 14 years old, with blonde-streaked light brown hair and light brown eyes. He’s also the youngest and most recently appointed member of the Council of Selanaan (which Eva, TKC’s protagonist, is also part of), and is their chief healer. Now, onto the questions!

(Don’t forget to submit your question(s) for Aurek’s upcoming character interview! I’ve extended the submitting period until Tuesday, February 23rd. So, if you’re anxious to learn more about another character from TKC, click here for more details.)

Pretty close to what Doni looks like. Seen here on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/484559241132719920/

Pretty close to what Doni looks like. Click the image to see it on Pinterest.

1. What is Doni’s full name?

Doni’s full name is Doniyevisar. The Fei don’t have last names in TKC’s world, and each Feiri’s unique name is tracked in their people’s Great Book of Names. In other words, no other Feiri has had or will ever have Doni’s distinct full name.

If anyone’s wondering: Yes, I purposely refer to my Fei characters’ nicknames instead of their full names. (Shorter Fei names like Vandar and Gidion won’t be shortened further.) While I know how to pronounce their full names comfortably, it’s important to make things as easy as possible for readers.

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

2. Does his name have a special meaning?

Yes! Doniyevisar roughly translates as “dragonfly boy” in Fei. In fact, all Fei names carry special meaning. In TKC’s Fei culture, name-givers are tasked with naming infants shortly after they’re born. Name-givers are naturally gifted with foresight; and when they hold a newborn, they can see glimpses of the child’s future and personality traits. Based on those visions, the name-giver creates a name for the child by combing two or three Fei words that represent what was seen in that vision.

Why was Doni named after dragonflies? Well, he’s a healer, and uses herbs, plants, and other natural products for his remedies. This includes insects – to the disgust of many characters. (*hee hee*) There’s also a symbolic connection, but I can’t share it for spoiler-ish reasons. 😉

3. Does he have a methodical or disorganized personality?

Methodical. Being organized has helped Doni with his healing work immensely. For example, he writes his remedy “recipes” in journals and maintains an inventory of his herb and insect supply. He also keeps his bedroom and study / workroom tidy. Knowing Doni, he’d probably panic or feel like a failure if he neglected to maintain some sense of order.

4. Does he keep his thoughts inside more than he talks out loud to his friends? (More importantly, does he actually have friends?)

Doni is more of an extrovert, as well as kind, honest, and friendly. So, he tends to be more of a “talker” than a “thinker,” and he’s happy to share his thoughts with others.

As for friends, Doni’s going through a bit of a transitional period. He was elected to the Council of Selanaan about 6 months before TKC begins, so he was allowed an early graduation to focus on the Council’s diplomacy tasks. As a result, Doni now spends more time with his Council brothers and sister than his former schoolmates.

Does he miss his friends? Of course. He makes a point to see them during the seasonal festivals, and goes to their birthday parties if his schedule allows. However, Doni’s at a different stage in his life than his old friends are, and he’s starting to realize that following his dreams (joining the Council, helping to make the world a better place) means leaving part of his old life behind. Yet he doesn’t resent it. In fact, Doni likes his fellow Councilors a lot, especially Keli (who cracks Doni up and has been “showing him the ropes,” so to speak) and Eva (who offered to teach Doni archery).

5. Is there something he is afraid of?

Yes. Doni’s biggest fear is failing other people, especially having a patient die in his care. He’s therefore determined to do whatever he can to help others, even if he doesn’t benefit from that effort.

6. Does he write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?

Singing, music, and dancing is a big part of Fei culture due to their seasonal festivals. (See Keli’s Beautiful People post for more details.) So, Doni grew up learning his people’s songs and traditional dances. As for other creative talents, he knows how to play hand drums, and he draws sketches of the herbs, insects, and other goods in his journal as part of keeping an inventory of his “healer’s stash.”

7. What is his favorite book (or genre of books)?

Being an outdoorsy, social Feiri, Doni doesn’t have a lot of time for reading. If he does read, it’s most likely reference or historical texts for self-education’s sake. The topics he enjoys learning about most are anything pertaining to his healing work (remedies, nature, insects, etc.), the history of Fei magic, and significant figures of Fei’s past.

8. Who does he look up to or admire?

Doni looks up to all of his fellow Councilors, and not just because they’re older and of higher rank than he is. He especially admires Gidion for his fairness and Vandar for his maturity and fighting skills; and he thinks of Keli and Eva as his “adopted” older siblings. (Doni is the second-youngest of four children, two boys and two girls.) He gets along with Remi, too… but they tend to butt heads. Remi often disregards Doni’s ideas because he’s “still a new Councilor,” while Doni thinks Remi’s a know-it-all.

Apart from the Council, Doni looks up to Lady Govaridva, his former healing teacher and now his benefactor. (Doni had a falling-out with his father when he was elected to the Council because they disagreed on his career choice and life aspirations.) Obviously Doni has learned a lot of his expertise from her. However, he also appreciates her gentle, compassionate manner, which he’s seen through her teaching and general interactions with others. He thinks Lady Govaridva is one of the most generous people he’s ever known, and knows that he’d be lost without her.

9. What is his favorite flavor of ice cream?

Ice cream doesn’t exist in Doni’s world. If it did… I don’t think he’d eat it, actually. Doni is fairly health-conscious, since he considers diet to be part of his healing work. If push came to shove, he’d go for frozen yogurt, most likely vanilla or something fruity like peach (his favorite fruit), strawberry, or raspberry.

10. What is his favorite season of the year?

Spring! It’s the time of year when Doni can start collecting herbs again to refresh his supply. He’s also a gardener, so the beginning of spring also means he can plant seeds and start tending to his own small crops of vegetables and herbs. He enjoys summer, too… but spring is when he’s busiest doing the things he loves most. 🙂

That’s it for this month’s edition of Beautiful People. What do you think of Doni now that you’ve “met” him?

25 thoughts on “Beautiful People, Vol. 12: Doni from The Keeper’s Curse

  1. Hello! This is Sarah from Dreams and Dragons!
    Doni sounds like a fun character- the sort I’d like to visit, not just read about! The Feiri names are fascinating . . . and so is the meaning of Doni’s name. I’m curious what the significance is! And it’s cool to find a guy character who isn’t primarily a fighter/wanderer/bard-who-happens-to-be-good-with-a-sword. There’s definitely a scarcity of those types in fantasy today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey! Didn’t / don’t you have a WordPress blog, too? Your Gravatar image seems really familiar…

      Doesn’t Doni sound like a wonderful friend? Especially since he’s the kind of character who wants to take care of people? 🙂 I’m glad you like him so far!

      About the Fei names: Yay! 🙂 Their naming scheme is one of my favorite world-building aspects of the book. (And a lot of work, too, since it meant devising the Fei language… *yikes!*) It’s discussed a little bit in the WIP, too, since Eva has questions about her own name and what her name-giver had seen.

      “And it’s cool to find a guy character who isn’t primarily a fighter/wanderer/bard-who-happens-to-be-good-with-a-sword. There’s definitely a scarcity of those types in fantasy today.”

      True. I hadn’t thought of that before. I just “created” Doni as I saw him in my mind, without intentionally trying to make him different from other male characters we typically see in fantasy stories. Thanks for pointing that out!

      Like

  2. Okay, I’m kind of already in love with this guy. He sounds so NICE! I also have this weird thing about healers in fiction. They always interest me for some reason.

    I love his name, and the whole history of Fei names. How fascinating not a single one shares the same name! And it’s so cool how their names are significant to them. I love this idea of prophetic name-givers!

    It’s sweet how he loves to garden and keep organized. He just sound precious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Christine! 🙂

      Yeah, Doni’s a bit of a sweetie, and a lot braver and more determined than most people might expect him to be. He’s always been a favorite of mine, so I’m glad to hear readers like him so far, too. 🙂

      I think there’s something admirable about healers. Taking care of those who are ill or injured is a huge responsibility, and one that can’t be taken lightly. And if the patient doesn’t survive… I can’t imagine the hurt that the healer would have to endure and move on from. And with fantasy literature in particular, healers can have a kind of mystical presence if they use magic in their work. Unfortunately that’s not something Doni or any Fei can do… But that doesn’t make him less admirable, IMO. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  3. Doni sounds adorable! I like him already. As someone who likes herbs and plants, I can relate to him. I tend to like the healers of a group, they’re so caring. I’m curious about his name’s meaning; something to look forward to when I read TKC! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wellllll… since Eva’s the only POV character, it’s hard to do a “reveal” of what Doni’s name means. It’s more or less symbolic, based on certain ideas that dragonflies represent. So it’s only something that people would pick up on if they were familiar with that kind of symbolism or if I shared it outright (which I won’t for now, of course *winks*).

      But I’m really glad you like Doni as a character! He’s one of my favorite characters in this book, and a very important one too – and not just because he’s a healer. But, again, that’s all I can say for now. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Doni has very mature tastes for a 14-year-old, I agree. But when I write his dialogue, I do try to keep his age (and the time period) in mind. 😉

      I wonder if it might be worth doing another BP post on Doni in the future, to show his more innocent and fun sides (and his flaws, too). But I’m glad you like him so far, Tammy!

      Like

  4. I really enjoyed reading about Doni – he’s clearly gifted and driven. So I’m assuming his vulnerabilities revolve around a sense of needing to prove himself (especially to his father…). Given his age and the responsiblities that are resting of his very young shoulders, does he have the occasional wobble? Or is he fearless because he is so youthful?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you asked about Doni’s vulnerabilities; I also noticed this post doesn’t really go into his flaws. Well, he can be impatient with himself if he struggles at something (though he has no problem being patient with others). And yes, he does a certain fear of failure, because he doesn’t want to let his patients or other people down, so he can be hard on himself at times.

      Hmmmmm… I don’t think he’s wobbled yet. His confidence and focus sort of blind him to any fear he’d normally feel (unless the patient’s condition worsens, of course). He knows what he needs to do and how it needs to be done; and it helps that he came into this role so prepared and eager to do his best. Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awww, he’s adorable and I love him already 🙂 I agree that the more gentle young male characters are a good thing! I always love healers and characters with a high regard for life and a commitment to healing vs. hurting, especially in fantasy stories. Heavy responsiblities at a young age either make or break a person – and Doni sounds like he’s made it. (And hey, my grandfather was supporting his sisters and mother at around that age, so it’s a real world thing!)
    I second the Fei name culture/language coolness. Inventing a language and all the history to go with it – that’s no small feat! I love that each Fei name is something so unique and original, just like each of them 🙂
    And since I am a symbolism nerd, I’m full of ideas and questions about his name now, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I shall say no more on the dragonfly bit. 😉

      Awwww, I’m so glad everybody likes Doni so far! Yes, he’s definitely “made it” in terms of dealing with his responsibilities as a healer. He sees it not only as a joy, but as a duty. He wants to be able to help people as a healer as well as a peacekeeper / diplomat, and that determination and persistence has made him stronger as a result.

      ” Inventing a language and all the history to go with it – that’s no small feat!”

      Tell me about it. *lol* I don’t claim to be an expert linguist and such, but I did my best with creating the Fei language I wanted. It’s a combination of Hebrew, Japanese, Hindu, and a few other bits; then blended and tweaked for flow, “ease of pronunciation,” and other factors. I even figured out its verb conjugations (considering pronouns, past / present / future tense, commands, etc.).

      I’m really glad I paid attention to langauge “mechanics” during Spanish class now. 😄 (*blushes*)

      Like

  6. I enjoyed reading about Doni. I think he sounds like someone who really knows what he wants from life, and loves what he does. He does sound much older than 14, but I think that adds to the likeability of him. 🙂 I like that he’s so organised. A character after my own heart. 😀

    Your post has reminded me that I really need to get back into doing BP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmmm. You’re the second person to say that Doni sounds older than he is. Do you think that level of maturity is OK? I ask only because I want to make sure he’s believable as a character, that’s all. Then again, some teens do seem older than they really are because of their hobbies and tastes…

      But I’m glad you like Doni, though. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose it depends. I wondered during reading about Doni whether his people grow up faster than we do. Like in medieval times people did things a lot younger than we would now, so there’s a cultural element I think. For me, as a reader, I think it would depend on how he compared to the other characters as to believability. If any of that makes sense!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You know, I just realized that I keep calling TKC a YA fantasy, but it’s really a YA epic fantasy, set in medieval-esque times. Would it help if I make that distinction when I talk about the story from now on?

        Otherwise, you’re on point about the young characters being more mature because of the time period they’ve grown up in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think knowing that it’s set in a medieval time setting is helpful, but simply having all the characters at similar levels of maturity is the biggest thing.
        Is that what epic means then? That it’s a medieval-set story, rather than in some other time setting?

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Is that what epic means then? That it’s a medieval-set story, rather than in some other time setting?”

        Yes, though epic fantasy also relies heavily on the scope of the overall story. I go into detail about that in my new guest post at WriteOnSisters. I think you might have retweeted the link for it earlier?

        Liked by 1 person

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