So, the writer in my attic, K Orion Fray, has a writing-inspiration e-mail that Ri sends out, which includes a writing prompt.
This week’s prompt:
I have a personal obsession with sideline characters, and making sure that everyone has a story and a background, no matter how little of it you see. So: Choose (or make up) a character that is the least developed right now, or would not be a major part in the plot of their story. Fashion a series of ten-minute exploratory exercises for them both in and out of the story frame. For example, write a pivotal childhood memory for the character that could have ramifications within the context of the story currently being written/drafted.
I sort of took it sideways.
My three questions:
1. How did they get their name?
2. Why do they dress in the manner they do?
3. If you asked them, would there be a pivotal moment in their life that brought them to this particular interaction with the MC?
And the character:
Teswarnen Eshmarn, the Second Circle Deputy Oligarch of New Indapala
How did they get their name?
In New Indapala and the Circled Plain, names begin with an initial syllable, the rest you earn.
The teenager Teswar, born in the outer circle of New Indapala, earned the neuter-gender -nen when she chose to become ri*; she had started a business out of her mother’s house, hiring other children and teens to do manual labor and contracting them to adults. That earned her her admittance to the next-inner circle, her first proper job, and the -nen.
In ri’s twenties, Teswarnen continued contracting and sometimes selling ri’s peers, climbing ever higher up the Ladder and becoming ever richer as ri went. The Esh came when ri finally made it to the Second Circle; the marn when ri was recognized as Deputy Oligarch for ri’s Circle.
Why do they dress in the manner they do>
(And what manner is that?)
Teswarnen dresses lavishly but not wildly; there is a conservative cut to almost every piece of expensive clothing ri wears: high-necked tunics, long flowing pants, colors that are rich but not bright or screaming.
Teswarnen grew up in one of the poorest areas of New Indapala, and worked ri’s way up through the Circles to affluence; however, the inner circles of the Circled Plain are often unwelcoming to those who actually came from the outer circles, however much it’s the tenant the entire system is based on. Dressing conservatively helps Teswarnen glide through the upper crust society without sticking out – which is very much what ri wants.
If you asked them, would there be a pivotal moment in their life that brought them to this particular interaction with the MC?
Teswarnen Eshmarn leaned back in ri’s chair and looked out the window over the city. From here, you could see all the way down to the Tenth Circle and the wall-builders working on the new walls. It was a beautiful – from here, with a light coating of mist and distance covering up all the dirt and pain.
A ten-year-old had pushed a five-year-old Tes in the dirt, down there and all those years ago, and Tes had stood up and paid her last cent to a twelve-year-old to repay the bully tenfold. Everything since then – every purchase, every sale, every wall scaled, every time Tes had fallen – everything had been because of that moment.
Tes brushed mud that wasn’t there off immaculate silk and stood, turning an elegant and, above all, clean back on the illusion of the beautiful. There were beauties that were real, inside.
* ri, ri’s, riself – the pronoun used for those who have chosen the neuter gender in the Circled Plain. Ix is the honorific (equivalent to sir or ma’am).
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