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8 Facts About...

I’ve seen these posted on DeviantArt a lot, and so I thought: why not to do the same with my Redwall characters? It would allow me to share some interesting facts that didn’t made their way into the stories proper yet, especially the development process, and I could update more often with such snippets while the proper chapters are in the work. And you can suggest the next character or characters about which you want to learn more in the comments, though personally I’d prefer to do such posts for characters that don’t get as much screen time as the mains. Then, let us begin.

Wavehound Streamdiver and Seabird Galedeep from ‘For Freedom

1. In my original ‘sketch’, Wavehound and Seabird’s names were Waverunner and Sea Silence respectively. You see, I originally thought up the story in Russian, and so the names had to be translated when I decided to improve my English by writing it in English and posting it on the Wiki. Wavehound changed his name because I saw that someone else on the Wiki had a character named Waverunner in their story, and while Sea Silence sounds graceful, it’s too long for a name, so I changed it to Seabird.

2. Wavehound and Seabird’s names really stand out among traditional otter names of Green Isle, but there is an in-story explanation of it. Wavehound belongs to Streamdiver Clan through his father, but his mother was the last member of Wavehound Clan which, along with some other smaller Clans, almost completely died out after the conquest of the Isle by wildcats. Wavehound’s mother died soon after his birth, and to honor her and her Clan and to make sure they would not be forgotten, his father gave him this name. Seabird, born into slavery, was given her name by her parents in hope that even though they themselves were slaves, one day their daughter would be free as a bird and able to live by the sea as a Galedeep otter should.

3. For a long time Wavehound and Seabird didn’t have a fixed designs since I just used to not dwell on how exactly they looked. I suppose it was Sayna’s influence that made my imagination kick off, since her characters are always so descriptive. After that, their designs changed quite a few times in my mental eye, though it wasn’t reflected story-wise. Wavehound was established as being tan-furred early on, but his eye color changed from gold to amber to brown and he gained a lighter underbelly later on. Seabird started out grey-furred and blue-eyed, but when I decided that I don’t want her to look like Moska’s long-lost sister, she became brown-furred and blue-eyed. Eventually, in her final and my favourite design Seabird has dark brown fur and dark amber eyes.

4. In my original ‘sketch’, Wavehound and Seabird were supposed to eventually become a couple, but as I began to actually write the story and Wavehound and Sea began developing as characters, I realized that was not going to happen, just because they don’t fit together. It’s not that they dislike each other – quite the opposite, they are good friends, but they just don’t view each other romantically, and Wavehound is too focused on protecting their fellow slaves and fighting Fort corsairs to think about romance at all. Plus, they are way too different – different enough to balance each other as partners and friends, but too different to make a romance work.

5. I didn’t plan on it, but Wavehound and Seabird’s personalities provide an interesting contrast. On the one hand, we have Wavehound who has more radical way of thinking – it’s not that he’s reckless, quite the opposite, his meticulous planning of the slaves’ escape prove that, but he is more prone to take calculated risks and more willing to go to the end to reach his goals. Seabird, on the other hand, is more composed and thoughtful and willing to be content with small things if they mean safety of her friends. She is also more compassionate compared to Wavehound’s harsher demeanor, hardened by the life in slavery.

6. Appearances of Wavehound and Seabird are also built on contrast, though this one is intentional. Being members of Streamdiver and Galedeep Clans respectively, Wavehound is tall but lean and slender, sinewy and physically capable but not very imposing, while Seabird is large and strong ottermaid, broad-shouldered and muscular. Let’s say that I wanted to reflect their origins in their appearances, plus I really like subverting gender stereotypes.

7. Wavehound is a river otter while Seabird is a sea otter, but this isn’t brought up in the story, aside from showing in their Clans’ names, since Redwall books never accent the difference between these species except for several remarks in ‘High Rhulain’ and ‘The Rogue Crew’. And since river otters can live along the coast, provided they have the source of fresh water, I always kind of assumed they are not different species. That being said, otters of Streamdiver and Galedeep Clans do have physical differences, as evident by their looks, but they have much more in common.

8. Despite all their differences, Wavehound and Seabird share a dream so bold that they don’t often dare speak of it aloud. They dream that one day, when all their fellow slaves on Terramort Isle are free and the power of Darm Deathtrap is overthrown, they would sail out to Green Isle and liberate it from the tyranny of wildcats. They don’t know how they will manage it or when or by what means, since their current position is difficult enough, with Fort soldiers on their heels and their friends in danger, but that’s the goal they have in mind.

Brother Turfee from ‘For Freedom’

Suggested by Sayna.

1. In my first ‘sketch’, Turfee was called Blackpaw despite being a canon ‘Triss’ character. Why? In Russian translation of ‘Triss’, Turfee’s name was changed to what can roughly be translated as ‘Blackie’. Calling a very serious and no-nonsense healer like that didn’t seem right, so I assumed that ‘Blackie’ was a nickname, and gave this character full name of Blackpaw. Of course, I returned him his canon name when the story turned to being written in English, but this concept is still reflected in his appearance: Turfee has dark-colored paws that stand out against his dun brown fur, and Foxglove’s name for him, Dustpaws, is a nod to that.

2. Turfee is about 21 seasons old during the events of ‘For Freedom’, thus making him about 6 seasons old during the events of ‘Triss’.

3. It may seem uncharacteristic for such a mischievous Dibbun as Turfee to grow up into such a grumpy and uptight adult, but the truth is that Turfee views his work very seriously and thinks that there is no place for jokes and flippancy when a beast’s health depends on him. When he is off duty, Turfee is more relaxed and lighthearted, though he is still quite thoughtful all the time.

4. Turfee’s dislike of Foxglove is not born by any negative experience, past encounters or personal grudges; instead, it’s just a general dislike of vermin who had brought war to his home, and he is still very suspicious about the vixen, fearing she may try to attack the healers once again or do something equally harmful to Redwall.

5. Turfee was the one who insisted that he would be the only one treating Foxglove’s injuries, even though he opposes the idea of a vermin in Redwall infirmary. But however much he dislikes the situation, he likes the idea of Sister Vernal treating the vixen even less. Turfee is worried that kind-hearted Vernal would be in danger near Foxglove, as the vixen may lie to her and manipulate her or attack her once again or harm her in some other way, while he is always on guard and can handle himself with such an unusual patient.

6. Turfee is greatly respected by Truvo Blackhawk since he was the one who had healed the hawk’s dislocated wing several seasons ago, when he was too badly injured to fly – in fact, Turfee is one of the few earthwalking beasts to have Truvo’s respect. Truvo doesn’t like talking about it because he is too proud to admit he owes somebeast, but Turfee is okay with this since he has no intention of using this, and he also doesn’t like mentioning it: he considers helping others his duty and doesn’t think it’s something to draw perks from.

7. Turfee has several garden beds in the Abbey orchards where he grows medical herbs so that he could keep his medical stocks full without having to leave for Mossflower Woods for resupplying. He is quite good at gardening, though he is not an expert, but his friend and Head Gardener Roobil helps him a lot with them.

8. Turfee is still close with his Dibbunhood friends Roobil and Toobles, and they often meet to have lunch together or share a cup of mint tea. However, Turfee doesn’t spend as much time with Bikkle and Ruggum due to their duties of Mother Abbess and Foremole taking a lot of time.

One-ear from ‘For Freedom’

One-ear is a character that I had to let go early, but to whom I am nevertheless very attached, so I decided to give the poor guy some perks and share more than eight facts about him.

1. As strange as it may sound, One-ear was inspired by One-and-half Ivan, a character from ‘One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” a short story by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn about political prisoners. The aforementioned One-and-half Ivan was one of the guards that didn’t even appear, but the main hero commented that he looked very scary and thuggish, and yet the hero would prefer working under him since One-and-half Ivan is not as cruel as the other guards. In that moment, an image of huge, battle-scarred black rat with thunder-like voice who was more than he seemed had appeared in my head, and the character was born.

1.5. In a way, it can be said that ‘One day of Ivan Denisovich’ inspired ‘For Freedom’ in itself. I had some ideas floating in my head before that – Freedom getting her own story, the weasel warlord relying on cunning and strategy, Bloodwrath being portrayed as curse and something to struggle with, etc. But after reading ‘One day…’, the scenes of slaves’ life on Terramort that currently open the story just sprung to my mind; in fact, I’m guilty of the scene of One-ear saving Maple from being punished by lashing out at him himself being especially heavy referenced. ‘For Freedom’ is definitely grown to be much more than that, but the spark that lighted up the kindling is owed to my school classic literature.

2. One-ear’s name was supposed to be One-and-half-ear, as a reference to the aforementioned character, but it was eventually shortened. I figured that pirates would favor short and concise names that would be easy to shout in the battle – and in the time it takes to pronounce ‘One-and-half-ear’ you can well get killed.

3. One-ear’s name before he acquired his current nickname was Rain, and his true name, the name he was given at birth, was Rayan. When One-ear enlisted on the pirates’ ship, ‘Rayan’ got corrupted into ‘Rain’, and since One-ear considered his birth name to be too fancy for a pirate, he didn’t insist on correct pronunciation.

4. It was Longstep who had given One-ear his current nickname. Their relationship was less than cordial when they had just met in the beginning of the War of Thousand Rains, at least on Longstep’s part, which may have something to do with the fact that One-ear whipped him across his face during their first meeting. Anyway, Longstep meant ‘One-ear’ to be an insult and a taunt, but much to his surprise and annoyance, the black rat just shrugged and concluded that this name is no worse than any other. The nickname stuck fast, and so Rain became One-ear.

5. One-ear’s parents were one of the rare peaceful rats who weren’t involved in being part of any horde and lived by farming instead of robbing and raiding. It can even be said that they were something of nobility, respected by everybeast in their settlement, and this status is reflected by the more high-class name they had given their son. However, One-ear thought them soft and their life boring and unworthy of vermin. He craved the daring and the comradery of the life led by ‘true’, dangerous vermin, so he ran off to join a corsair ship at the age of thirteen and never returned home.

6. One-ear was good friends with Darm’s parents, especially his mother Lazybones. Older than One-ear by seven years, she became like a sister to him when he had joined the corsair crew she had been serving on. When Darm was born, One-ear became somewhat of an honorary uncle to him, a position that Darm hated and despised since it gave One-ear a certain amount of power over him.

7. Due to his strength and ability to learn quickly, One-ear advanced quickly in all of the pirate crews he had been serving with, but he never held any significant positions of power. He was always courageous in battle and diligent in work as well as open and straightforward with the crew in the time of rest, thus earning him popularity among the simple henchbeasts. However, the same qualities made him dangerous in the eyes of the Captains and the officers, since they viewed One-ear as a potential mutineer who can overthrow them and thus was a threat to them. Therefore, Captains purposely kept One-ear in lower ranks so that he wouldn’t have a chance to move against them. One-ear himself had no ambition at all, so he didn’t actually mind that.

8. One-ear was one of Darm’s initial followers and loyal supporters when Darm had just began uniting the corsairs under his rule and earning himself the title of warlord. One-ear knew how many vermin were dying in skirmishes between Captains over loot and believed that a single strong ruler can put a stop to it, and the islands Darm was conquering in the Northern and Western Seas would’ve allowed the corsairs to benefit greatly. However, One-ear’s opinions changed when he had realized that Darm intended to conquer Mossflower Country and Western Coasts as well, ruling over the lands as he did over the seas. The war would’ve led to the very bloodshed One-ear strived to avoid, and so he did everything in his power to turn Darm’s plans around.

9. Looking back now, it well may seem that One-ear was a perfect character who had no apparent flaws, but while they are not so visible, he had them nevertheless. For one, One-ear had always been very sure and confident in his way – not arrogant, but just overconfident, and that could make him blind to all the possible mistakes and things that could go wrong. Secondly, One-ear was rigid and inflexible, unwilling to adapt to the situations. Maybe saying that he was unwilling to change his behavior and attitude would be more correct, since One-ear’s viewpoints did grow and evolve with him. For example, he showed a lot of open-mindedness and sound judgement when he had fought side by side with woodlanders during the War of Thousand Rains, but in the end, it was his inability to bend and use more subtle approach when dealing with Darm instead of his usual forward and certainly insulting to the warlord rebuke that had caused his death.

10. The decision to kill One-ear was one of the hardest I had to take, since this character meant a lot to me. But this was exactly the situation when no other outcome would’ve been possible. One-ear was exactly the type of a person to tell his extremely dangerous and suspicious boss what he thinks of him and his plans straightaway, and Darm Deathtrap was exactly the type of a person to never let something like this slide. To change the aftermath of their confrontation I had to significantly change personality traits of either One-ear or Darm, and I didn’t want to do that… and so One-ear had to go.

Kars and Foxglove from ‘For Freedom’

Segalia suggested that I do Kars, and I added Foxglove as well, because they just tend to go together. I tried to focus on Kars, though, and I’ve got to say thinking of his past made me come up with some interesting ideas.

1. Foxglove’s plotline is the first Redwall story I came up with, Foxglove thus being my oldest Redwall character. She was created way before ‘For Freedom’, and she was supposed to have her own story of downfall and redemption. Then ‘For Freedom’ happened, and I kind of incorporated my old ideas into the plot, adjusting the details and developing the arc further.

2. Kars’s mismatched eyes were given to him on purpose, so that he would have a peculiar trait that Foxglove could later use to realize that the fox Turfee had killed had indeed been her husband and not just some random hordebeast. The rest of his design was developed with another purpose in mind, especially the weirdness that accompanies his mismatched eyes – the squint in one of his eyes and the fixed gaze of the other eye. All of that gives him roguish and even scary exterior that contrasts with his rough and stuck-up, but generally decent and good-natured personality. Note that while Kars has his weird eyes, Foxglove has her unusually thin and sleek fur, so none of them can be called a paragon of fox beauty.

3. It’s not relevant to the story, but I imagine Kars came from inland territories rather than being born a seabeast. Northern Mountains are his most likely place of origin, explaining his thick brown fur. In his youth, Kars was a member of a small vermin band robbing travelers on the roads, but he soon moved to the Northern coast and became a pirate in the hopes of finding a better life.

4. Kars’s curved sickle-like sword used to belong to the old corsair that ran from his Captain’s wrath and escaped to the Northern Mountains. The said corsair quickly earned himself a high position among the vermin gangs, since simple bandits didn’t know how to deal with curved weapons and counter his unusual fighting technique. After the corsair’s death - his fighting skills didn’t protect him from the knife in the back, - Kars, who was a juvenile at the time, took possession of the sword. He taught himself fighting mainly by watching the corsair fight and imitating him as well as by trial and error.

5. Kars and Foxglove were serving in Captain Catcher’s crew prior to the initial attack on Redwall, but when they had just joined Darm’s army, they were enlisted to Captain Arrowfly’s crew. They served there for two seasons before being transferred under Catcher’s command. Since Captain Catcher and most of his crew used to be land bandits and not corsairs, Darm was more careful while managing him, and so he was making sure that there had always been loyal corsairs in his crew that he could rely on in the time of crisis.

6. Upon Kars and Foxglove’s move to Catcher’s crew Tamant Silentblade offered Kars to become one of his spies and report of any treachery and disloyalty. Kars didn’t want to get involved in Darm’s intrigues, and yet he knew that that was an offer one can’t refuse. So he played dumb, pretending to be all brawn and no brain who didn’t exactly understand what he had been asked to do. Tamant wasn’t fooled by the show, but he knew Kars’s value as a good soldier, so he let it slide, though he never forgot the refusal.

7. I think Foxglove and Kars were truly happy after entering Darm’s army, despite all the constant drilling and fighting. Foxglove was just happy to be free from Skinflint’s tavern and the village that confined her for so long, and unlike back in her village, Foxglove could feel that her work was appreciated. Kars, on the other hand, was slightly dissatisfied with Deathtrap’s strict rules and punishments that were harsher than the ones practiced by free pirates, but he saw benefits of the orderly chain of command and well-composed regime which guaranteed he and Foxglove were safe unless they did something outrageous. Plus, he was happy because Foxglove was happy and he could be with her.

8. Even though Foxglove failed in learning healing from her mother and her knowledge of the subject was poor, she still sometimes acted as a healer in Darm’s army for the simple reason that there were no more competent healers around, as the vermin value the ability to fight and kill more than the ability to heal. Foxglove’s medicines and poultices often were sloppy and painful, but while they rarely could help beasts heal, at the very least they could stop beasts from dying.

Rurik Brightrill from ‘Cripple

Just so that you wouldn’t think I’m doing only characters from ‘For Freedom’ in this, let’s have a better look at one of the beyond-the-scene characters from ‘Cripple’, Rurik Brightrill.

1. Otter holts in ‘Cripple’ are pretty Slavic-inspired, and one of the things it’s reflected in are their names – all of the otters have traditional Slavic names, except for Karim, who has a Tatar name, because it just seemed to fit. Rurik, in his turn, was named after Prince Rurik of Novgorod, the real or legendary historical figure and founder of Rurik Dynasty. As another fun fact, there is theory that connects the name ‘Rurik’ with the word meaning ‘falcon’ in Slavic languages, such as ‘rarig’, ‘rarasek’, ‘raroh’ or ‘rarog’ – so that would mean that in a way, Rurik is a namesake to Rarog Zann Taggerung from ‘The Taggerung’s Battle’ and ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’. Add to it the fact that the name ‘Rurik’ itself is a variation of the name ‘Roderich’ or ‘Roderick’, and you get another namesake – Roderick Downriver, husband of my second fursona Brittle Downriver from a story that is currently under work. And no, these characters are not connected in any way other than their names – it’s just that I like how this name sounds.

2. Holt Brightrill is located further south than River Moss and Holt Mossguard, and that’s where Rurik’s dark brown fur and hazel eyes come from: Mossguard and other northern holts are pretty Nordic in appearance, dominated by sandy-colored, grey and light brown pelts, while darker brown and russet fur color is more widespread in southern holts.

3. Rurik normally wears a silver-grey tunic, which is traditional clothes of his holt, the color meant to symbolize clear water of a hill stream. Other holts have their own colors as well – for holt Floodtide it is deep blue, symbolizing the sea, and for holt Mossguard it is turquoise, symbolizing both the river and the green of the woods.

4. Rurik’s weapon of choice are javelins; he is not a warlike beast, but like any otter, he was taught to handle weapons and protect his holt, so he can fight as well as any warrior. When Sharpblade’s crew attacked Holt Brightrill, he was severely wounded for the very reason that he fought to protect Lana.

5. Personality-wise, Rurik is the ultimate nice guy, calm and amiable and attentive, almost mellow. He is level-headed enough to act as a voice of reason and balance out Svetlana’s feisty attitude and he gets along with beasts easily due to his friendly nature. Rurik rarely snaps, if ever; if he is angry with somebeast, he’d rather cut contact with them instead of arguing and fighting.

6. Rurik met Svetlana two seasons prior to the events of ‘Cripple’ at the feast of Hullabaloo where different otter holts can meet, share stories and news, dance and swim in the sea. At this Hullabaloo Rurik, Lana and several other young otters spent a lot of time together, and after it was over, they decided to travel through Mossflower Woods to the south till it was time for them to part ways just so they could see new places and hang out together some more. Later, Rurik came to visit Lana in her Holt and stayed there for several weeks, and sometime later they both visited Redwall at one of its famous feasts and met on the other occasions. By the time Lana was staying in Holt Brightrill before being captured, they already were in love and planning to marry.

7. Rurik and Lana planned for Lana to move to Holt Brightrill after their marriage and live there with Rurik or even find a quiet farm for them both to settle in. These unassuming plans testify just how much of a lie were Viscum’s words when she had identified Svetlana as the heir to Holt Mossguard. Svetlana has no interest in her father’s position, and besides, the power in otter holts isn’t exactly passed down hereditary, and she had little chances of becoming a Skipper anyway, being a maiden and all… though it’s worth noting that Lana still could have reached a high position if she had wanted to, similar to Rangapaw who led patrols for her father and Garraway Bullow who just called herself a Queen.

8. Rurik has an older brother called Bluewhisker, nicknamed that after one incident in his cubhood when he stuck his muzzle in a pot with blue dye and then couldn’t wash it off for days, and a younger sister named Ladoga, Lada for short. Bluewhisker is a tall and black-furred, with long whiskers and brown eyes, and Ladoga is brown-furred and brown-eyed with lighter cream underbelly. Outside of the story, Bluewhisker was named after Sineus, a legendary brother of the real-life Rurik, whose name can be interpreted in several ways… but it sounds very much like words for ‘Blue whisker’ in Russian, and Ladoga is named after the Ladoga Lake in northwest Russia. They both survived the attack on Holt Brightrill, though Bluewhisker lost an ear in it and gained some scars.

Stonebreaker Skief from ‘For Freedom’

Since Rats of Lower Terramort are a tribe whose culture and way of life I greatly enjoy exploring, them being my own creation, I’d like to present to you some information about Stonebreaker Skief.

1. All the beasts in Rolt have their names from Norse mythology just because I like it, even if the culture of Lower Terramort resembles the Celtic one if anything, but Skief’s name is an exception. In truth, I ‘borrowed’ the named from ‘The Hammer and the Cross’, a book by Harry Harrison. Its main character called Shef, but at one point of the story his Viking friends couldn’t pronounce it right and instead say it as ‘Skief’. I liked the sound of it, plus ‘Skief’ parallels with ‘chief’, reflecting Skief’s status as the leader, so it just happened that Skief’s character received this name. Oh, and in case you are wondering, Skief’s name is pronounced as ‘Sk-ef’, with a kind of pause/aspiration after Sk due to an unpronounceable letter called ‘soft sign’ used in Russian transcription of the name.

2. In-story, there is a certain naming tradition that can be traced through Skief’s male lineage from his grandfather to his son: Skvold – Sinri – Skief – Sigvard. So even though the names are not repeated, the alternating ‘Sk-’ and ‘Si-’ still have Skief’s name parallel his grandfather’s and Sig’s name parallel the one of Skief’s father.

3. Skief resembles his father Sinri a lot, same as Ull resembles his mother Urd more, though Ull’s appearance is a more balanced mix between his parents’ traits. Skief inherited his father’s brown fur and strong stature, and the only traits he got from his mother Embla are his black eyes and some facial features such as small ears and deeply-seated eyes.

4. Skief’s nickname ‘Pebble’ was originally given to him by his grandmother Hlokk when he was a cub, because he was so small and lively and always scurried around smoothly like a pebble brought to the shore by the waves. The nickname was picked up by Skvold, but he stopped calling his grandson that when he had grown up from a cub into a youngster. However, Skadi, who was several seasons older than Skief, kept calling him ‘Pebble’ just because she liked teasing him. With seasons, ‘Pebble’ became Skadi’s affectionate nickname for her friend that she kept even after she and Skief married.

5. Skief and his wife Skadi knew each other since they were cubs, though their friendship didn't exactly start on equal footing. Skadi was three seasons older than Skief, and this is a noticeable gap at the early age. However, Skief had always been a serious and thoughtful cub, and he often hung out with older ratlets, especially Skadi, whom he had always admired, and Skadi really enjoyed having the younger cub around. As they grew, the age gap between them diminished and Skief's admiration turned into a crush, and Skadi realized that she was way more attached to him that she had thought. They married not long before Skief became Stonebreaker, when Skief was nineteen and Skadi was twenty two.

6. Since he and Ull grew up together, Skief treats him more like his younger brother than his cousin, and while Stonebreaker often acts sternly with him, exasperated at Ull’s carefree and sometimes even irresponsible attitude, he is also pretty supportive of Ull. In fact, it was Skief who suggested that Ull should try his paw in being a stone carver - a position where a rat has to act as both chronicler and artist, carving the stories of what had happened in the Clan on the walls of Hall of Memory for the future generation, - as Skief realized that more ordinary and traditional tasks would seem too boring to Ull’s restless and spirited nature.

7. Skief became Stonebreaker at the age of twenty, directly succeeding his grandfather Skvold when the latter was over seventy. This makes Skief the youngest Stonebreaker in the history of Terramort – even his grandfather, who was also known to receive the title of Clan leader early in his life, was in his early twenties when he became one. In truth, Skvold had always seen potential in his grandson and had acted like a mentor to him, but he hoped that there would be somebeast else capable of taking the burden of leadership. However, as Skvold grew older and Skief matured, it became clear that Skief was best suited for the position.

8. Skief is a good leader to Rats of Lower Terramort and the other beasts under his protection, as he would do everything in his power to keep them safe from Darm’s forces; however, he is noted for his rigid conservatism, preferring to trade freedom for safety. This viewpoint is not ungrounded, since Skief remembers too well the disaster that had followed after his grandfather tried to fight Darm back and doesn’t want to risk the lives of his whole Clan by any rash or careless actions. Still, his political strategy is not ideal, and he has yet to realize it.

Cregga’s family from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady

Long, long ago Segalia Riverstorm asked me if I’ll do ‘8 Facts about…’ on Cregga’s brother Sandor. Back then I answered that I don’t have enough information as he was always planned to be something of off-screen character. However, after some thinking I decided to combine the facts about Sandor as well as Carinna Rosehip and Tejon Spearstrike just so I can do characters from other my stories than ‘For Freedom’. ;)

1. You are probably expecting another one of my almost obligatory linguistic comments on the characters’ meaningful names, but truth is that not all of the names are chosen for their hidden meaning. Tejon means ‘badger’ in Spanish, but Sandor and Carinna’s names were picked just because I liked their sound. I needed noble and knight-like name for Cregga’s brother, and for her mother I was looking for something feminine, and both these names fitted them pretty well.

2. Sandor’s weapon of choice was a sort of pike/halberd, very much like the great spears his father and sister use, but with more ornate blade that could cleave as well as slash and stab.

3. Among his children, Sandor was Tejon’s favourite. He loved his daughter, too, but he had especially strong bond with Sandor, since he was a son to carry on his heritage of warrior after him and Tejon was spending a lot of time training and mentoring him. Cregga, on the other paw, was her mother’s favourite, though the young badgermaid strived to be near her father as much as possible.

4. Tejon had never felt the urge to seek out Salamandastron because he found his place in life early on. Due to the way of warrior he led, there were lands for Tejon to look after and the beasts that needed his protection, so in a way he had already fulfilled the destiny of a badger lord.

5. The name Rosehip was passed down to Cregga and Sandor through Tejon’s grandfather, who was known to own a large grove of dog-rose trees and had been making the best rosehip jam and cordials in the village. Tejon had earned the moniker ‘Spearstrike’ before he had married Carinna, but he still passed down the name Rosehip to her and his children. Sadly, by the time ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’ takes place, the rosehip tree grove was seriously diminished in size due to its age and droughts.

6. Originally I planned Carinna to be a stricter and harsher character who was much more vocal about her disapproval of Cregga’s war-like tendencies and often reprimanded her for it, insisting that a maiden like her should leave fighting and battles for males. However, as I developed Carinna’s character I toned her down, for several reasons: I didn’t want to make this aspect of the story too cliché and I wanted to make Cregga’s mother more likable. So now she still wishes that her daughter would’ve chosen more lady-like hobby than sparring in spear-fighting, but it actually stems from her fear of losing Cregga and her worry for her daughter.

7. Even though Carinna was fairy small compared to an average badger – at the age of seventeen, Cregga was already a head taller than her mother, - and wasn’t trained to fight, she wasn’t completely helpless. Carinna was still a badger, and if left with no other choice she would've fought to protect her family. Sadly, the bandit that had gotten into her house caught her by surprise, and his attack was so sudden and swift that Carinna haven’t even had a chance to defend herself.

8. I imagine that after Tejon’s death and Cregga’s departure Lepus Goldenpaw and his sons took over watching the nearby lands instead of them. They were not true warriors, despite Lepus having a certain experience in fighting that he passed down to Capensis and Microtis, and they couldn’t travel at long distances at the news of vermin attacks as Tejon did, but after what had happened to Carinna, Lepus decided to keep an eye on surrounding territories so that if any bandits showed up again they would know beforehand and be ready to defend their homes.

Tamant Silentblade and Zorra from ‘For Freedom’

I decided to do entries for all Darm Deathtrap’s Captains, since there are some interesting development and backstory facts to share and they are the characters that stay in shadow one way or another. I will do the Captains in pairs so that every one would get their share of attention.

1. I don’t exactly remember where Tamant’s name came from, but it certainly has parallels with the word ‘adamant’, and it reflects Tamant’s personality a lot, with the rat Captain being just as imperturbable and uncompromising. Besides, the name full of hard consonants really compliments his harsh nature.

2. Tamant was the first vermin who joined Darm’s side, long time ago when young Darm, called Yellowbelly at that point, had only began his service on a pirate ship and Tamant had been a low-key corsair at the very bottom of crew hierarchy, despised for his stealthy habits and yet feared because he knew a lot. So Darm and Tamant, both ambitious beasts, albeit Tamant being more cautious, made a pact: Tamant would spy for Darm, provide him with information and probably even do some services requiring stealth, and Darm in return would raise Tamant to a position of a Captain after his own rise to power, a promise Darm had kept.

3. Even though Tamant holds the title of a Captain and leads a crew, he doesn’t actively participate in fighting. Instead, he is a chief scout, and the beasts of his crew serve as reconnaissance party or even intelligence service of sorts. He also usually leads missions that require stealth and secrecy as well as carries out assassinations. When they do participate in battles, they usually serve as a back-up force, allowing other more battle-experienced Captains to lead from the front lines.

4. Tamant practices ‘the end justifies the means’ philosophy, and he doesn’t hesitate to use and sacrifice anybeast standing in his way to reach his goal, be it an enemy, innocent bystanders or even his own soldiers. However, though Tamant doesn’t shy away from necessary violence and even enjoys it to some extent, he actually frowns upon unnecessary bloodshed and cruelty, considering them impractical and time-consuming. This doesn’t mean he has any compassion in him – he just prefers his job to be done quickly, quietly and with minimal fuss.

5. Zorra was originally supposed to be called Runa, but later I thought that this name would’ve been too similar to the one of Runa Wildlough. Her current name is taken from Spanish word for ‘vixen’.

6. Zorra’s position in Darm’s army was supposed to be slightly different at first – originally I planned for her to be not only Darm’s advisor, but also his seer, with the twist that she didn’t have any mystic abilities and Darm knew it, but still allowed her to put an act of the all-knowing soothsayer and powerful curse-worker because that was a convenient way for him to keep mostly superstitious vermin under control. Eventually I decided to stray from the ‘fox seer’ trope, so currently Zorra is dangerous because of her cunning and wit and great knowledge of her surroundings, not because there is something supernatural about her. In a way, her role of the false seer was passed down to Viscum in ‘Cripple’.

7. Strictly speaking, Zorra is Darm’s adviser, not his Captain, but she commands a crew of corsairs anyway, mostly due to Captain Greywhisker’s betrayal and desertion – Darm Deathtrap preferred to give command over the remaining soldiers to her rather than appoint a new and untested officer. She is more involved in fighting that Tamant, but her tactics still lean to fast lightning strikes and hit-and-run attacks.

8. Zorra’s father served under a powerful corsair Captain as his scribe and aide, and because of that Zorra received better education than most vermin. She had been taught not only reading and writing, but also the beginnings of history, geography, mereology and botany. The young vixen certainly had potential, and Darm saw it when they met. The details of how Zorra became involved with Darm are still hazy, but they include Darm paying off her family’s debt in return for her knowledge and service. Later, Zorra continued to work for Darm not because she felt herself indebted, but because it was profitable to her.

Captain Razorclaw the Fierce from ‘Cripple’

I honestly didn’t expect Razorclaw from ‘Cripple’ to become such a complex and generally messed up character that he had grown into during the story’s course, so this entry will be of more psychological nature.

1. Razorclaw’s origins were typical as pirates go in that his parents were corsairs as well, and he began working as the crew’s cabin boy early enough. However, his relationship with his parents was very strained, as they didn’t pay their son much attention, leaving him to his own devices, and Razorclaw did the same. This actually lays in foundation of Razorclaw’s driven nature, because what originally was born as his need to prove himself later became the desire for fame and reputation and eventually turned into a belief that he can do no wrong and therefore any who as much as dares to argue his points are plotting against him.

2. Razorclaw appearance was always meant to be somewhat symbolic. He possesses the classically handsome traits such as light grey fur combined with black markings and deep blue eyes, which stand out even more when compared to Kyle’s more ‘toned down’ features – darker sooty grey fur, smudged markings and wan blue-grey eyes. However, Razorclaw’s attractive exterior doesn’t reflect his violent temper and mean demeanor, and the more the ferret stoops down in his morals, the less he looks after himself, making his once handsome features ragged and unkempt, thus reflecting his inner turmoil.

3. For all his flaws, Razorclaw possesses a rare sincerity – he almost never lies and always upfront about what he thinks and feels. In part that’s due to Razorclaw’s arrogant nature, as he believes he has nothing to be afraid of and thus no reason to hide the truth. However, it also reflects a better part of his personality, because even though his relationship with Naita turned sour, Razorclaw had truly loved her once, same as he had truly fell in love with Armata afterwards.

4. I don’t think Razorclaw would’ve been such a terrible parent if Kyle hadn’t been born a runt – he wouldn’t have even minded if he had a daughter, provided it were a strong and healthy cub that Razorclaw could train to follow his steps. However, Razorclaw wouldn’t have been very good father either, because he would’ve demanded too much and pushed Kyle too hard, trying to mold his child into something he wanted him to be instead of paying attention to Kyle’s own wishes, and that would’ve caused a lot of frustration on both sides.

5. Interestingly enough, Razorclaw wasn’t very superstitious until Viscum had joined his crew; like most vermin, he was wary about spirits and prophecies, but since Viscum’s ‘visions’ and, in reality, clever tricks engineered by her, seemed to bring him luck, Razorclaw came to rely on them more and more. Ironically, Naita encouraged this, because she hoped that Viscum’s advices would make her husband more clear-sighted and sober-minded. In reality, it had made him blind.

6. Razorclaw is a character who undergoes both negative and positive development throughout his story. He had already been flawed when he was younger, but back in those days he recognized and acknowledged his weaknesses, such as his lack of temper and the fact he had never been much of an intellectual, and even though he didn’t exactly work on them, Razorclaw was trying to work around them, concentrating on the things he had been good at. However, under Viscum’s influence his ego grew and personality worsened while his luck ran out due to Viscum’s schemes, causing a mental breakdown he suffered in the first part of ‘Cripple’. His feelings for Armata woke a better person in him, allowing Razorclaw to look past a beast’s appearance and into their spirit, lifting him up and causing him as much as to defy Viscum at some points. But with her death, all crumbled back to ashes. Armata was Razorclaw’s light, and once it was extinguished, he was left in total darkness and at the brink of madness, with nothing to pull him back up.

7. Razorclaw is affected by what the story calls battle rage, which is actually a mild case of Bloodwrath. He works himself into frenzy very easily, mainly when fighting, but also when something concerns him on personal level, such as when Lana wounded Armata. Razorclaw’s condition isn’t as powerful as true Bloodwrath, but his fury gives him enough strength to make him a terrible force in battle, and he pays almost no mind to his injuries in this state.

8. In battle Razorclaw relies on the brute strength a lot, that’s why his preferred weapons are axes of different sort, perfect for hacking and chopping. He isn’t so good in the hand-to-hand combat, but it would be a mistake to underestimate him.

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