Thursday, August 7, 2008

Character Development - Empress

Heroine: Princess Syndra-Kai (up for debate), age 15 (16th birthday looming)

-Job: Heiress- Syndra will assume the throne shortly upon her 16th birthday, but first she has to follow all the royal ceremonies and protocols.
-Appearance: It is against the law for any but her closest attendants to look upon the face of the princess until she is either married or assumes the throne at age 16. However, Syndra is about 5’4”, with black hair and violet eyes, and olive toned skin. She is very slender and still quite childlike in build, although she is strong and has the promise of curves to come. Her hair must be styled in Royal fashion, long and in a high ponytail upon her head, decorated with a silver circlet and other adornments throughout. Also, her right nostril is pierced with a silver ring. Her clothing is flowing and tent-like until she comes of age, when she may wear more form-fitting pieces. She wears bracelets and rings of silver, with silver armbands as well. (In this world, silver is more precious than gold, and is the main commodity traded by her country, accounting for its great wealth. Gold is worn by the middle class, and copper by the commoners.)
-Intellect – Syndra has been fully educated in all the history, culture, politics, etc. that she will need to run her country. She chafes at this training, wanting to bring in advisors and minds from around the world and begin modernizing her country, to bring it out of the “Old Age”. She is still very young and inexperienced to fully understand much of what she is taught, so she relies on her father and her tutor for now. Because she is not of age yet, no one really listens to her opinion on things, except her tutor, whom she often practices debate with.
-Family: Only father still living, her mother having passed away in childbirth when she was young. The child was lost as well. Her father has been relatively distant since the loss of her mother, though he is loving and kindly towards her. Syndra has cousins, the daughters of her mother’s sister, who would happily inherit the throne in Syndra’s place should anything unfortunate happen to her.
-History: Syndra has been in training all of her life to become Empress one day. Sheltered from the outside world, she has had lessons detailing the history, laws and foreign policies of her government. What concerns her most at present is one of the traditions she wants to change as Empress. Every girl in the Royal Family has followed it without question until Syndra. The custom is that on her sixteenth birthday, she must choose a man among the common people to take her virginity. Any single man in the city at the time of her birthday between the ages of 18 and 25 is eligible and is required to report to the palace one week before the princess’ birthday. The walled city is closed and heavily guarded during this time so no one may leave. This has never really been a problem, as it is considered a great honor; even though once the deed is accomplished the man will be castrated and will serve as the Empress’ companion for life. No man other than her husband is permitted to lay with the Empress after that, and no one other than the Empress may lay with her servant. His status as a common man prevents her from marrying him, so he is castrated to prevent another woman taking her place. The custom is intended to signify the Empress’ closeness and love for the common people and it dates back centuries. The man who was her mother’s companion is now Syndra’s tutor and confidante. Over the years, he has become more learned and no longer believes in the need for the custom, though he does not regret his part and the love he shared with Syndra’s mother. He has taken it as his duty to enlighten Syndra and keeps her informed of the customs and knowledge of more modern countries. It is because of him that Syndra is inspired to bring modern technology and ways to her country, inviting in the outside world. She also is aware that in order to do this, she must sacrifice her virginity and some poor man’s manhood to accomplish her goals.
-Aspirations: To enlighten her country, educate the people, and equalize the balance of power, giving everyone a say in the government, though the Empress still retains ultimate authority.
-Attitudes: Though Syndra has lofty goals, she is still a relative child, as well as a sheltered princess. She unconsciously expects people to succumb to her every demand without question, and no one has ever defied her. However, she is sensitive to others and does her best to be thoughtful and kind.
-Perceptions: Syndra is completely unknown outside the palace walls, so rumors about her abound. It is generally agreed that she is likely a spoiled brat, who has no active interest in changing the status quo. Of course, the opposite it is true, but it is really only her tutor that is close enough to know any different.
-Hobbies: Syndra is not really permitted hobbies, since most of her time is taken up with lessons or meetings with her father and the country’s advisors. She does enjoy the garden and reading, especially the works of noted traveler/adventurer Malik-Tobar.
-Goals: Once she gets past her birthday and assumes the throne, Syndra plans to travel her country and begin to make repeals of antiquated laws and customs.

Hero: Malik-Tobar, age 25 (If anyone has read “The Duchess” by Jude Deveraux, Trevelyan is the inspiration for this character, though Malik is a bit meaner and more serious than Vellie.)

-Job: Professional Traveler/Adventurer/Writer – has spent the last 10 years traveling the world and the interior of his country and writing about it. He has since retired due to the death of his father, and has come home with the intent on helping his family by working within the government to bring about reform.
-Appearance: About 6’0”, black hair and golden yellow eyes. Deeply tanned skin, with a lean and athletic build. Has some interesting scars and tattoos from his travels.
-Intellect: Extremely intelligent. His travels have exposed him to many kinds of technology, languages and other types of knowledge from the outside world. He feels this gives him the right credibility to be an advisor to the palace.
-Family: Oldest son of the family, with a younger brother and sister, both married with children. Father recently deceased, and siblings sharing care of mother.
-History: When Malik turned 15, he left home as a sailor in order to help support his family. His encounters throughout the world and his writings have generated enough income to keep them comfortable. He has become quite famous. Recently receiving word that his father has died, Malik has returned home to begin a career in government. However, he arrived a little ahead of schedule, intending to miss the Empress’ birthday and coronation. He got the date wrong and is currently trapped in the city for the Choosing. He is considered a member of the common class and as such is required at the palace since he is still just 25.
-Aspirations: Now that he is home, it is Malik’s intention to become involved in government and to petition the young Empress on behalf of her people, to modernize the country and begin major reforms of its antiquated ways. He has seen too many poor, diseased and uneducated people to sit back and do nothing.
-Attitudes: Having seen so many things, both wonderful and horrifying, Malik is motivated to better his country. He has no real personal ambitions beyond caring for his family. This includes the need to take a wife, with his brother to carry on the family name and doing fairly well. He is well skilled in the ways of women, and only feels the need to use them for pleasure; though he does enjoy the rare circumstance a woman displays intelligence and a quick wit. He is a great public speaker, and has an animal magnetism and compelling manner that draws people in and makes them listen to what he has to say.
-Perceptions: Women throw themselves at him, and men admire his intellect and respect his opinion. Being rather famous, he is sought out, but he has no particular friends, and is a mystery as a person.
-Hobbies: Learning. Malik has indulged his thirst for knowledge and now desires to turn it into something useful. He feels confined by the city, but feels it is his duty to work for the betterment of his country.Goals: At the moment, it is finding a way to avoid appearing for the Choosing, as he feels it is an antiquated custom and entirely unnecessary, not to mention barbaric. Beyond that, gaining a position of influence within the government to push for reform.

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