Week 6 was about the methods used for revealing a character through the use of summary, repeated habit or action, self-portrait, appearance or scene (including dialogue.) I designed a character that I will be using in my final story. It’s one that I’ve actually been thinking about for a long time so it’s much easier for me to write about. I’m also taking a dive into a fantasy setting.
My character is a young girl that goes by the name of Alana. She’s part of a race that were outcast due to fear and superstition. Her people are full of anger and enjoy rituals that Alana doesn’t agree with so she therefore feels like an outsider; as a result of this she is shy and childish and yet at the same time quite energetic and capable. She clashes with her older sister Akasha who is a lot stronger and more aggressive (I suppose my story is a little like a dark version of Frozen as it will explore the relationship between them.) I’ve written a few different paragraphs trying to use some of the techniques I’ve learnt about.
From a very young age Alana had come to realize how different she was from the other denizens of the old shadow wood. Fed with nothing but unjust one-sided histories, her people seemed to be overspilling with an ardour for retribution. They were known for practising frequent rituals involving blood lust upon any unfortunate who wondered too far into the community. She didn’t agree with the practice – even though her father was killed by an outsider – and was tormented for being faint of heart, with her older sister Akasha frequently taking the lead. Through trial and error – for when she failed it was with great consequence – Alana had become very adept at sneaking around unnoticed. She spent much of her time alone, and was only able to quench her need for companionship by talking to the creatures that lived in the surrounding forest.
In the corner was a shivering pile of sheets concealing a huddled form. Through a small gap peered a set of wide fragile eyes. The sound of an agonised wail caused her feeble hands to pinch the covers ever more tightly. The floorboards outside creaked and the thin sliver of light below the door was blotted out. A tall girl – probably of teenage years – confidently strutted her voluptuous figure into the room. Although the two girls were sisters the only resemblance they bore were the visible traits of their race; pallid skin, blue tinted hair and startling azure eyes. The blood ritual must now be complete for Akasha had a lustful expression upon her face. As she noticed the tightly wrapped ball she gave a pitiful sneer.
Like on many previous occasions Alana had managed to sneak out unnoticed to the outskirts of the village. She was adept at a multitude of techniques such as climbing over the roof tops or crawling silently through the shrubs on her hands and knees, which in turn had lent her an agile physique like that of a gymnast. She frequently returned to the same dell where she would sit on a tree root and listen to the voices of nature; the birds twittered in the canopy above, fish splashed in the nearby stream and all manner of furry critters chattered in the undergrowth. This was the only place where she did not feel alone for she liked to pretend she could hold conversations with the animals.
Alana listened into the conversation from her hideout in the long grass. A group of teenagers were hanging around in eager anticipation of the arrival of something. Questions such as ‘What did she find?’ and ‘What’s she going to do to it?’ were whispered to and thro. Alana was not surprised when her older sister Akasha strolled out of a gap between the trees to greet the reception. She was essentially the leader of the mob; they would follow her every word. In her hands she held a wriggling bundle of white fur that was slightly feline.
“Stay still,” she hissed at the creature before holding it firmly on the ground. “I’m going to leak its blood. Someone get me a knife.”
Everyone appeared to be exhilarated by the prospect and reeled around frantically to prepare for the ritual. Alana usually preferred not to interfere, but the whines of the defenceless creature awakened an instinct within her; the desire to protect the things she loved.
‘Nooo!’ Alana screamed and ran over to cover the animal with her own body.
‘Move you little pest,’ Akasha leaned down to glare threateningly into her face.
‘No I won’t let you do it,’ Alana started to sob, ‘please don’t hurt it.’
‘Why can’t you just be normal like the rest of us. This is so embarrassing.’
‘Please…,’ Alana repeated under her breath, pleading that for once her sister give mercy.
Akasha paused for a moment to ponder the situation and then turned to walk away, ‘you’d better keep an eye on it then, for the moment your back is turned I’ll end it.’
The group, irritated by the anticlimax and curious to know why Akasha had backed down so easily, eagerly pursued their leader as she disappeared into the village. Had her sister shown a glimpse of empathy or was she planning to strike back harder?
‘Don’t worry, I’ll look after you,’ Alana gently reassured the creature.
I examined the bundle cradled in my arms. The creatures eyes inspected me in turn and I was surprised to find them brimming with compassion rather than the fear or hate I expected. I could see a reflection of myself within its face; loneliness and sorrow, but also utter joy that fate should entwine us. I remembered Akasha’s threat and considered that the feline-esque creature would be safer if I set it free, but the thought of severing the tie we now shared through my one moment of gallantry left me cold; I don’t want to be the solitary outcast any more. Unlike the animals in the dell, this one was actually acknowledging my existence and I knew it would be eternally grateful. My imagination ran wild stories of running away together through the woods, but I knew that fleeing was an impossibility for the outside world is dangerous; my own dad was killed out there. I need more time to formulate a plan, but for now I would like to enjoy the first connection I’ve ever felt. The creature appeared to smile at me and mewed.
I also wrote the first draft of the short story that we will be submitting in the final week.