Thursday, March 7, 2013

Character Post - Aiken's Gang

So, another post. A little late, no? Wow. A lotta late, yes.

Anyway. It's me, Hannah. I seem to be clean out of witty greetings, so we can start this post of with a nice, reliable "Yo". Hm, I guess it's kind of weird for a Southern girl to use that sort of slang. We're more of the types to say, "Hiya, down there, why doncha set yerself down, and I'll send a chillin' to getcha a cuppa coffee. Or maybe tea, what's yer preference? We got Mountain Dew!"

Yeah... no.

New idea! NOBODY in my family (besides myself) has any idea how Aiken's Gang works. I can only assume that the same is true with everyone outside of my family. So let's see if I can't explain it in some clear fashion in which Trinity won't be romantically pairing random members of the crew behind my back.

Aiken's Gang

Presto! I am becoming weirdly attached to the Trebuchet font, aren't I. Ooh, presto, what a neat word. Presto-chango!

~The Elder Group~

Aiken Timhamér

Aiken Timhamér. You may have 'met' him before in this post. Now this is not exactly how he looks (I haven't come across THE picture yet) but my subconscious has pretty much decided that he has this hair, short on the sides and longer on the top. Except when I draw a picture of him, in which case he always has this little "swoosh swoosh" thing that can pretty much only be coherently described as a cowlick. In any case, he's usually more cheerful looking than this picture shows.

Aiken is the "alpha male". He's the team leader - the name Aiken's Gang might have implied that. In the story world, the team name came around just about the way that it did in real life. For lack of a better name, we (meaning me and all my split personalities) slapped on a temporary title that stuck. Beware those affectionate nicknames. That's about the same way our family got a rooster named Bleep.

In any case, Aiken is a medieval-era detective, and pretty good at it, too. Aiken's Gang is named after him basically because he makes such an impression on everyone that they only ever think of the gang as his. The gang doesn't mind though - they think of their own group the same way. Aiken's Gang had kind of a rocky, unplanned beginning. It's essentially a jumble of different acquaintances of Aiken's. They got attached to him (obviously because of his sparkling personality) and are ready to help him whenever he needs it. Since Aiken is a magnet for trouble, that is often. Eventually they unanimously decided to just stick by him as a team. Where else would they find the adventure that Aiken seemed to produce out of nowhere?

Blessing Laliso

A lovely elf. She's a field medic, but tougher than she seems. Blessing likes to serve as the mother-figure to most of the crew. She's a wonderful baker and can shoot a bow as well as any Elven soldier. Better, probably.

Blessing Laliso joined up with Aiken mostly because she was an old friend. And because she could tell that the rest of the gang would all die if she didn't step in to put things in order. Blessing actually met Aiken way back when they were in school, and though they weren't close, he was able to recognize her when she popped up later in life. Aiken and Blessing work surprisingly well together, even if Armen (Aiken's 'bro') and Blessing are always bouncing sparks off each other when they meet. That's mostly because Blessing mothers Armen when he does not want to be mothered.
Blessing could be called beta. Or maybe alpha female. She's Aiken's co-second-in-command. Falk Zachriel is the other.
And you can put down the rumors of Aiken being sweet on Blessing to pure gossip.

 Falk Zachriel

Speak of the devil...
Falk Zachriel is an interesting person. He's quite the military man, and is in charge of every weapon at base (except for Armen's and Lina's weapons - touch them and die). Falk is like a brother to Aiken. I haven't completely worked out Falk's background, but I wouldn't be surprised if Aiken and Falk met in a atmosphere surrounding a town jail cell. With one or both of them inside of it. Quite by mistake, of course.
What is surprising about their friendship is that Falk, ever the hardened soldier, doesn't seem particularly bothered when Aiken messes around with the law. Maybe it's the fact that he's no longer part of the army that makes him turn an almost-blind eye to Aiken's shenanigans. And he refrains on the friendly warnings concerning arrest for the most part, content to just let the escapade play itself out. Aiken is on good terms with the current monarch, so he shouldn't get banished for too long.
Falk is Aiken's co-second-in-command, as afore-mentioned. He helps Aiken keep things in order on both the tactical and personal plane.
Also, there's his apprentice, Xiomara Qadira. More on her shortly.

Sacrifice Laria

Sacrifice Laria is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. Her personality is so sympathetic and likable, you can't help but fall in love with her. Her white clothing - it's always white, she hates black - makes her look like a frosty-haired angel, which fits her personality to a T.
Her wonderful temperament wasn't the only reason she was added to the team. Her sword skills are spectacular, rivaling even those of Falk's.
Sacrifice practically begged to be included to the team (not that Aiken needed much persuasion). She is a scholar, who teams up with student Devaki whenever possible. Her real partner (her permanent buddy for when she's sent out on missions) is Fortitude Alastair, commonly known as Fort. He's a bit of a loose cannon, and can't always be relied upon to stick to his instructions, so Sacrifice is a good choice to counter his unpredictability. 
Sacrifice hasn't told the others much about her past, but they don't really care. She's able to calm down the most riled-up teammate, and has been said to be able to get even Eitan Haroun to talk. Which is quite a feat.

Eitan Haroun

Eitan, Eitan, Eitan. This guy actually kind of creeps me out, like I'm scared he'll come murder me if I say anything bad about him. I have no idea how he got to be such a stick in the mud. He was a very amiable, very minor character when I first came up with him. There's that Characters Going Rogue phenomenon again. 
So Mr. Grouchy here. He's often avoided by the younger half of the Gang. But for some reason, Aiken trusts him. He has (once in awhile) spoken up to offer helpful advice or information. Information that half of the people in Eyra wouldn't know, but that's mostly because of his background. Eitan spent a good third of his life in a prison dimension known as Mor, imprisoned for something he insisted (quite vigorously) he didn't do.
Aiken believed him and, after personally digging up evidence to exonerate Eitan, took him back to Eyra for fair trial, in which he was released as innocent with a personal apology.
Eitan is still bitter against Eyra's official justice system in general, but he feels like he owes Aiken a personal debt and is completely loyal to him. Eitan's partner is Devaki Layla, interestingly enough. Devaki is a playful soul, almost his complete opposite, but he seems to have become somewhat fond of her... at least compared to his other teammates.

Devaki Layla

Hmm, Devaki. Not one of the main characters, so I haven't put too much thought into her background. That's one thing about these Character Posts. If nothing else, you find out what you don't know about your own characters.
Devaki, appearance-wise, is Sacrifice's opposite... Eitan's too, for that matter. While both Eitan and Sacrifice are pale in complexion and have light hair (in Sacrifice's case it's a porcelain complexion and white hair), Devaki has dark, cherrywood skin and long black locks that often have a bit of springiness to them.
As for Devaki's background, all that's solid right now is that she has a large family, and has always loved children. 
Her favorite hobby is to read. Or study. Old scrolls, sacred texts, forgotten riddles... it's all a thrill to her. She has a certain knack for unravelling written mysteries, and finds language jokes and puns particularly witty.
There's a bit of Trinity in there for you. With the puns. She needs her own rimshot machine.

Fort(itude) Alastair

Fort. Just call him Fort. It'll go over better that way.
Yes, Fort does not like his name. It's a girl name, he says. A pox upon your house if you call him Fortitude. His friends have tried to tell him that Fortitude means strength, courage and guts, but he won't have any of it. A couple of them even told him that it's like Fort, but with attitude. But Fort has perfected a death glare for that sort of comment.
Anyway. Fort is a typical twenty-year-old elf. He hasn't really gotten mature yet, but he's halfway there. In the meantime, childish silliness may occur. And macho-ness. After all, there are at least six other girls in camp.
His partner, Sacrifice, does a pretty good job of smacking sense back into him, albeit tactfully. She's also his main sparring partner, and whips him every time. He is pretty good with a sword (better than a human will ever be) but he is lacking the concentration and years of experience that a true master has.
As for family, Fort is an only child. Go figure.

~The Younger Group~

Xiomara Qadira

I had to (literally) flip a coin to pick between this picture and another one. Twice. It landed on the other picture both times, but, you know, I'm a rebel (ha, ha).
Actually, I should have put a picture of an acquaintance up here, because I've almost called her Xiomara twice, even though her name sounds nothing like it. It was bizarre.

Okay. Xiomara here (her friends call her 'Mara) is Falk's apprentice. She comes from a well-off family of minor nobility. When she began to show an interest in sword-fighting, her parents found her a tutor, the very best in their sector. Which happened to be Falk. Falk joined the team, so she came along too, a package deal.
Xiomara throws herself into her studies whole-heartedly. She's been working with Falk for around four years and the two of them are pretty close in a father-daughter type relationship. And she doesn't look like it, but her favorite weapons are a broadsword and a battleaxe.

Ciaran Kagan

Yes, I had no good pictures of Ciaran. The best one I have is this hastily edited picture of Aqualad from the Young Justice TV series. Ignore the gills and the swanky little glowy-water sword, and you have Ciaran. I guess.
I like Ciaran. He's awesome. It sounds kind of self-absorbed to say that about my own characters, but he is the one I have the most fun with. Any talent I think is cool, if I don't attach it to a main character, Ciaran gets it. So far he can do ventriloquism, play music, and mimic birds, he's great at stealth, archery, knife-throwing, swordsmanship, art, lip-reading, and healing, has limited photographic reflexes, and he can dance. And sing.
Yeah, he's pretty cool.
Ciaran and Dyani are partners. They're a lot alike. They both spend most of their time skulking (for lack of a better word - creeping, maybe?) about in the woods. Slipping, darting, ghosting, slinking... anyhoo.
Ciaran is a fun guy to be around (like a mushroom! Fungi, fun guy... ba dum tsh!). He's cheerful, generous, and remarkably responsible and thoughtful for a teenage guy. 

Dyani Atohi

Dyani is a quiet person. She's shy and hangs back most of the time. But she is very bright and can be creepily stealthy. Her skin and hair coloring help her to blend in the the woods quite easily, but part of it is just her effortless ability to sense where to stand and where to step that keeps her hidden from all but the most skilled eyes and ears.
Dyani spends most of her time either in the woods, or with her friends, Ciaran, Ives, and Emlyn. She can ride a horse spectacularly well, and has a habit of memorizing Ciaran's bird calls, half by accident.
Dyani is very skilled at archery and knife work. She doesn't much like swords, they're too big and clumsy in her hands.
Dyani has a pet panther named Asahel. His name is based on 2 Samuel 2:18. 

There were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.

The story of Asahel concludes rather abruptly with unfortunate results. So far as I have planned, that isn't happening to Dyani or her panther, but we'll see.

Ives Destor

Yet again a lack of perfect picture. You might not be able to tell, but Ives is blonde. I kind of think of him as a boy-band type, but with a good haircut.
Ives and Ciaran were bros before the invention of the bro fist. Well, they still are bros, and the 'bro fist' still hasn't been invented in their time, but, you know.
Ives' partner is Emlyn Ciqala (another Q without a U after it - I'm driving someone in the world nutso). Together Ciaran, Ives, Dyani and Emlyn (and sometimes Xiomara) make a team of crazy pranksters.
Ives is very skilled with a bow. Very skilled, meaning, like Merida and Robin Hood and all the famous archers in the world, but with Elvish strength behind the bow.  Anyway, this ability turns out to be pretty helpful on occasion.
Ives has a good sense of humor, and can be pretty absurd and comical when he feels like it, which is often. It's common to see him cracking a smile (another reason that the above picture is not the best one), which is usually brought on by random and sudden competitions recommended by himself. 
Ives has two siblings, six-year-old twins, Nora and Noah.

Emlyn Ciqala

Emlyn is the youngest in the Gang, but by no means impotent, even if she is shorter than everyone on the team.
Emlyn met Aiken under not-so-great circumstances. In fact, their first encounter was when she was around three and Aiken found her older brother (about eight at the time) panicking on the shore of a lake because his little sister had fallen in and he couldn't find her. Aiken, naturally, dove straight in and found Emlyn, pulling her out and reviving her, thankfully without lasting damage. Aiken then found out that Emlyn and Laken (her brother) had no parents. They had both been killed a few months before, and Laken had been left to care for Emlyn on his own. Aiken brought the two of them to the nearest orphanage and put them in the charge of the  orphanage keeper at his own expense. Every few months Aiken would go back and check on them, making sure they were well-cared for.
About twelve years later, Emlyn is fifteen. Laken was allowed to live apart from the orphanage, and have Emlyn  legally under his custody, but Emlyn found Aiken and asked him to let her join the Gang. He reluctantly accepted, then found that Emlyn was a fast and eager learner, a good addition to the team, if a little young. Between Aiken and Laken, Emlyn has worked out a deal: Laken lets her travel with Aiken so long as she comes to stay with him every other year.
Emlyn is also an healer's apprentice to Blessing.

Armen and Lina, informal members

Armen and Lina are informal members, because, well, they aren't always there. They both like to do their own things, but are really close friends of Aiken. They may not stay long, but they're always welcome.

So that's the Gang, all twelve of them, plus a couple of bonus members. They're pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. Well, THIS was a really long post. Maybe it'll almost make up for the really long delay? It was excellent fun to write, and really helped to put some things into perspective for me.
Questions, comments, smart remarks, objections because I stole your perfect picture? Feedback is welcome, as always. 
And off I go to read, and do a bit of writing, and maybe brain-storm some new openings for my next post. Let's see if we can't get back on a schedule, shall we? 

Adios, compadres!

And yes indeed, adios and compadre are of the same language! I love it when I don't mix languages up! But compadre is noun masculine, which means that amigo would be more gender appropriate.

So Adios, amigos!

(Nothing like a nice alliteration to wash the post down. Hmm. Alliteration chaser. That's weird.)

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