As Threads of Reality draws closer to completion, and closer to the far-off date of publication, I want to continue sharing details of the story with all of you. A few weeks ago, you were introduced to Daria Nobel, one of the primary protagonists of the story. Now, I’m introducing another.
Justice and morality are complicated topics. There are two sides to every story, no matter how simple that tale may seem. The question of who is right and who is wrong in any given situation is one that can be debated until the end of time.
Richen Kais doesn’t see the world in such a complicated way. To him, it’s all rather simple. There is good and there is evil. Us and them. It’s all black and white. The line between them is as clear as sunlight.
In many ways, Richen is your traditional fantasy protagonist. He stands for truth and justice, fighting in the Purification Army to defeat the evil Alinorch empire. To the weak, the helpless, or to his allies, he is a shield. But to his enemies, he is a deadly sword.
His simplistic outlook on life stems from his childhood. As the son of the rebellion’s leader, Richen and his brother Marduk were raised with strict morals and a simple mindset. Much easier to fight an enemy that stood for an evil purpose than a complex human with hopes and dreams.
However, Richen tends to take it one step too far. Rather than seeing Alinorch as a land tainted by corruption that needs to be cleansed, he views them as a hive of pure evil that must be purged. He seems to revel in the destruction of evil, in being the instrument of justice that punishes the guilty. Sometimes, he seems to enjoy it more than he does saving others.
This only grew worse after the first major battle of the Purification War, the Battle of the Amina Bridge. On that terrible day, Richen’s brother Marduk was lost, slain in the carnage and his body lost to the chaos. Devastated, Richen’s hatred of Alinorch grew even hotter that day. Now, he wields his brother’s sword, an exact duplicate of his own, in his honor.
The loss of his brother left a deep hole in Richen’s heart. One that, in a small way, is filled by Daria. Upon meeting, the two are quick to become friends. While mentoring her in how to think and act during a fight, Richen soon finds himself becoming very attached and protective of her. He comes to see her as a little sister. And he is determined not to fail her like he did his brother.
Over time, he developed a reputation within the Purification Army. His skill in duel wielding quickly set him apart as one of the army’s deadliest soldiers. He may not have the more magical power of some of his peers. But his skill in combat and intellect set him apart.
Not all of his time is spent fighting or killing, however. In his downtime, Richen will do charcoal landscape drawings of his environment. Calling him skilled would be a stretch. But it does help him relax.
Richen as a character took a lot of time to get working. In the earlier drafts of the story, I struggled to give him a compelling arc. How did you make a character so simple work in a story more complex than he is? But then, just before I started work on the first rough draft, I had a revelation. Which… I shall not spoil, for obvious reasons.
Richen is another of my favorite characters. He’s a ton of fun to write and he stars in some scenes that I am extremely excited to get to in later books.
Which makes me all the more eager to finally finish this first one.