There were a painful few weeks back where I was restructuring my Guardian world. Found I needed a new character for an outside role. It would involve a primarily solitary existence sprinkled with some team playing. Upon asking myself who would be good for such a role, I came up with two basic people. Rugged mountain folk, and the creative soles. Someone who doesn't conform with society, a free thinker. And so, Kalina was created. She's my first character created from scratch, not modeled after anyone. I had a lot of fun creating such an eccentric character. She's an artist, lives for bringing the peace and simple beauty of nature onto a canvas. And often, evidence of that paint can be found on her face, clothes, or in her hair. Every artist knows, art isn't clean! If your work doesn't reflect on you, are you even an artist?
Teddy Roosevelt believed that if you spoke softly and carried a big stick, you would go far. Kalina is my version of that. She uses her skill, plant manipulation, to track danger, to hide their passage and to restrain foes without the singing of a single sword passing through the air. Her ability allows her to get her point across without violence, without raising her voice.
She is often found wearing clothes that don't match, living in her cluttered hut on the edge of the city that overlooks the forest. She has an old wall phone for contact with Headquarters and bean bag chairs for seating. Who needs an expensive couch anyways?
Every war needs it's defenders, someone more eager to protect then to fight. Someone who sees beauty in peace. And that is where Kalina steps in.
There was this guy in high school. I'll never forget him. He was one of the few people who were shorter then me. But what sticks out to me more then his statue, was his attitude. He had a face that was made for laughter, a small smile on his face, no matter what he looked at. I remember one day he looked at me, a week after getting a new cell phone and said "Yeah, don't text me. I was helping my dad and a tree fell on my phone." His dad owned a tree cutting company, and he was always helping out. But the fact that he was so amused by a tree falling on his brand new phone, to this day still amazes me. Anyone one of us would have been ticked. I know I would have! But he laughed it off and had a new one in a week or two. How long that one lasted, I have no idea. A few years after high school, I ended up living on the same street as him. He showed up at my door, pushing a baby stroller. What came out of his mouth? "LOOK AT WHAT I MADE!" His eyes were wide in excitement, the biggest grin on his face, both pointer fingers pointing down to the stroller. There was no "meet my son' or 'meet my baby' no. That was too normal for him, too status quo. "LOOK AT WHAT I MADE" he said. He was so unique, and happy to be that way. He taught me to take a look at life with a smile, to see the punch line or joke in everything.
Matt was modeled closely after this guy. Though, not as short, I worked hard to keep that attitude alive. Every battle Matt faces, he faces with a sense of humor. He is Trent's best friend, but also acts as Valery's protective big brother, keeping her safe when her stubborn self won't allow herself to be talked out of an idea. It's a delicate line he walk, but he does it well and with pride. Armed with the power of electricity, specially honed warrior abilities and his personality, Matt is a Guardian who really stands apart of from the crowd.
One day I was walking in the woods. I was getting dark, there was a light rain. The river was nearby, swollen and rushing from three days of a steady rain. But I had steam to walk off. The quiet of nature has always soothed me. Walking alone in the woods is not something new for me. But this evening, a group came tromping through. Many were yelling. Instinct screamed at me to hide. So I ducked behind a tree, my senses on wide alert. Someone screamed. It was a scream I'll never forget. It made my blood run cold. By his scream, I knew he was stabbed. At this point all I could think about was how I could get to safety myself. As I sat frozen, listening, the group retreats, heading back the way they came. Once I could no longer here them, I pulled out my phone and called my best friend to head out to meet me. Just as I was clearing the wood line, she was there, switch blade in hand. She was out of breath, ran all the way across campus. Once we were safe and I told her what happened, you know what she said? She called me stupid for going off on my own. She didn't waist time asking if I was OK, she could tell I was. She got right to the point. I was an idiot. But the very next day, her and I spent hours combing the woods, looking for signs of struggle. Looking for a body. I couldn't get that scream out of my mind, and she refused to let me go without her. We couldn't find anything, the rain and river washed it all away. She never doubted me. Six years later, that girl is still stubbornly standing by my side.
Angela was heavily modeled after her. Both girls are blond and styling, ready to kick ass in healed shoes. Both are loyal to the core, and not afraid to tell their friends or family when they are being idiots. I love this girl to death, and I hope you all love Angela just as much! She was so much fun to write with that no none sense attitude mixing in with the Guardian fighting spirit. Unlike all her other Guardian friends, Angela doesn't control an elemental ability. Instead, she's a mind reader, and she makes it a goal to stop Valery in her tracks before her hot headed passion gets her into trouble. Just as I swear my best friend can read my mind, even if we are messaging each other, an hours drive away.
"Copy, but change it a bit so it doesn't look like you copied" A quote so many of us have heard, or have said themselves to survive school. I was always one of the people being asked if they could copy from. Trent is that copy of my husband.
I have always seen my husband as a tree. Start with the fact the last name is Woods. But it's also who he is. He stands strong and steady, rooted. Quiet yet supportive, always ready for me to lean against, taking refuge in his shade. He lets my fire burn out and gives shelter, hiding among his branches. Just as a tree would with the forest critters.
Trent is a warrior, standing strong against the odds. Valery is his love, heaven help anyone that threatens her. Having lost his parents and sister as a kid, he is protective over his second family; his fellow Guardians. He controls the wind, able to send gusts as needed, he's put out Valery's fire more then a few times. But he can also see where the wind has been, what it's touched. He's a safe zone for all that he loves, always ready to lend a hand and help where he can.
A copy. But different.
One of the most common writing advice is to write what you know. I've heard that SO many times. Now, being a fantasy writer, someone who created their own world, I said screw that advice. For the most part. Meet Valery. A fiery headed woman who embraces everything that I know. My family is stubborn. Don't listen too well. When it comes to the meal, it's fun to sit back and watch who does what to try to stop others from paying the bill because they believe they should. And that is Valery. When she believes she should do something, she does it. No matter what it takes. She's outspoken and loyal. Doesn't hesitate to tell someone go to hell, but will bend over backwards for her friends and family. I l loved creating Valery, putting my family spirit into her, sitting back, and seeing what happens. Just like that bill sitting on the table.