@Andrew, I guess I tend to lead with my characters from Rest for the Wicked, but I think Countess Kyreleis von Gottschalk is tired of being the poster-girl for villain-protagonists, so I’ll give her a break today and use the characters from the story I submitted for our inaugural contest. I really wish that I could have taken more time to develop them, but I wrote that story in a week, so….
There’s three really that have any development at all, and only two which get POV time. There’s Vika, the Scribe; Avram, the Slave, and Malal, the Sorcerer. (Oh, 3 S’s! NEAT.)
A bit of a preamble – in this story, there are two peoples: the Khainites and the Sethites. The Khainites are a tall, muscular people with thick metallic scales of varying colors and horns of differing styles (goat, ox, ram, etc.) who rule the land of Keramidia, its cities, towns, and wastelands. The Sethites resemble us for the most part, tending to be either dark-skinned or unhealthily pale as they are the Khainites’ slaves, forced to work either in the fields to tend their crops under the burning sun, or labor in the mines and condensing fissures to produce precious minerals and water to sustain Keramidia. When times gets tough, or when a slave is acting uppity, or just whenever their overseers feel like it, they take on their secondary role as two-legged cattle.
Vika is the Master Scribe to the King of Keramidia (the name is in flux – he’s the king of something), the only woman who has ever held that position, and primarily in that position not on her own merits as a scribe, but simply because the king really likes her – and not in a romantic way. The boy’s only 13, and she’s known him since he was 7. She was the only one who taught him much of anything, as his father, the previous king, was a hedonistic womanizing lout of a father who was assassinated by a conspiracy of his ex-wives and mistresses. (He also had Vika’s own master executed for daring to criticize his lifestyle choices in court.)
As for her past prior to becoming a scribe – she’s cagey about that. Presumably at some point she was born, but she doesn’t like to talk about her parents, and she spent a great portion of her childhood in an orphanage – she was one of the lucky ones who actually got to stay in an orphanage, instead of being cast out into the wastes.
She likes reading, writing, writing about reading, rewriting what she’s read, and just about anything that will keep her indoors and away from things such as brigands, adventure, the man-eating, flea-like steeds known as sand-striders, and sunlight.
Unfortunately, her wretched curiosity has gotten her tangled up in all of the above and worse….
Avram is just a slave, one who was treated slightly better than his peers for the sole reason that he was a good cook. This good treatment consisted in not being eaten when the camp ran out of rations. His past is mysterious for the same reason as other Sethites – no one bothers to ask. However, he seems to be rather thoughtful for a mere drudge, equipped with an educated wit uncommon to slaves – and which often results in him getting tripped, slapped, or kicked for his insolence and constant subtle mockery. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of abuse or even death, responding to the threat of either with the same cackling laughter.
As for what he wants – again, no one has bothered to ask Avram what Avram wants. What Avram wants is, frankly, irrelevant to what Avram gets – and that’s what Avram told me himself.
Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, Tuo da gloriam.