Writing gray characters = fun (My favorite characters Lady Aster and Lord Brogan)

Okay for the past few days, I have written about how I write gray characters in Faminelands. I talked about both Orin and Lark, but today I am going to talk about how I wrote my two favorite characters: Lady Aster and her younger brother Lord Brogan.

Now in the main Famineland’s trilogy, Lady Aster don’t get a lot of panel time, but they were integral in Lark’s development as a warrior and her future within the House. They are very important characters in the freebie backstory which was given away with The Carp’s EyeThe History of Lady Meadowlark (as told by Lord Brogan)

The opening line is: As Champion of House T’Ralom Seasmhach, I swore to protect my elder sister, Lady Aster, as well as her descendants in blood or name. Aster is a wise and fair Matron. I hold her and her husband, Lord Arna, in high regard. For over five centuries, I have kept my vows and bear the scars of my service proudly.

When I wrote her, I always knew that Aster would serve the Fhorais Daoine and help their people survive. She has fought in countless wars, her history is bloody, and her name is legend. So everything I wrote about, I always kept that in mind. Sometimes it might seem as if she is cold or unfair, but what makes these characters both interesting to write and my favorites is they follow the Path of Valor even when they do not want to. They both suffer at times due to the code, yet they live by it, because it ultimately serves them and the people they are sworn to protect. Every choice, good, bad, or neutral, Aster makes for the good of her people and her House. Yet it is not blind faith that leads her, but logic, cunning, and the understanding of their enemies. Aster has made plenty of controversial decisions as Matron of House T’Ralóm, including keeping Brogan alive after the loss of his leg and most importantly to the Faminelands Series, Aster chooses the fate of Nora’s bastard daughter, Lark. This is told from Lark’s perspective in the Carp’s Eye and then a much closer version to the truth in the History…

One summer’s day, Nora did not return from a mission as planned. Each day, the bowyer grew thinner and harder. A month later, we received word that Nora had indeed fallen in a battle. There was no body. I escorted my sister to the bowyer’s hut to deliver the news. For the first time, Aster held Lark as they both wept for Nora. The bowyer would not speak, but sat staring into the flames. During the Moon of Mourning, the bowyer ignored the food which was brought to his hut. Lark had only eaten a little before we heard his mad ramblings, the child’s screaming, and the sound of wood against flesh. After that, Lark scavenged for food.

A few more things happen, then  Calafas goes looking for Nora’s body.

Roan heard screams. He sent word to us and ran to the bowyer’s hut. The man held a bow as he dragged his daughter out the door but they had not food, nor warm clothes. The bowyer snapped, “Forgive us, Noble One, I search for my wife, and you stand in my way.”

Lady Aster called, “Calafas, Your sorrow might demand death, but what of your child?”

Hate filled the bowyer’s eyes as he stared at my sister. He did not seem to care that I unsheathed my sword as he took a step towards us. “I search for my wife, Lady, as YOU will not! My girl needs her mother.”

Lady Aster interrupted, “The child cannot make such a journey in her state.”


This History of Lady Meadowlark Page 9

Aster did this for a few reasons none of which were charity. Lark might be a bastard, but even so Aster does not want to lose Nora’s bloodline which is important to the Daoine and their Southern Cousins.

Lark was a good apprentice, but as all kids do she made a few serious mistakes. The picture below from the History… shows the aftermath of Lark’s affair with Galdor. Galdor is in the foreground. Aster and Arna are discussing what to do with both kids. Arna wants to send Lark to a temple, his sister’s House, anywhere but near Galdor who is the future Patron of House Sarralonde. Aster refuses him. In the background, while angry, Brogan and Roan (Brogan’s grown son) are comforting Lark.

Aster and Brogan took her on the road with them to keep her out of trouble. Spending three years with them on the road as a mercenary gave Lark a singular view of battle that would help her defeat her many enemies. Nora had an important job within the Daoine and her death made a hole in the ranks. Aster and Brogan train Lark to be the warrior that Nora was.

They train her well. Lark wins a war and becomes the Lady Meadowlark Daughter of Lady Nora. However after her ascension he can no longer be there for her the way he was when she was a girl. This pains him a great deal. Yet in his own words…

 I had no comfort to offer Lark. She was no longer my ward or considered a child. I would not risk accusation from one of the lower ranks. Lark did not blame me for this, her self loathing was complete. However I would not allow Nora’s scandal or Roan’s folly to be repeated. Lady Aster would find her a suitable nobleman who would be gentle, but that would take time.

Aster and I spoke at length of Lark’s sorrow. “Dear Sister, Perhaps it is best if Lark finds her own way: let her find Orin, perhaps even the bowyer if he lives.”

“Without a champion? The rumors…” I could see the sorrow in Aster’s eyes, she had lost her husband and many Children. She could not lose another.

I answered her, “Lark has spent time in the world. Orin would be a great warrior. We have heard rumors of valor and of debauchery. Truth is always somewhere in the middle.”

So we are talking about someone who let a young girl wander Talamh alone. Once The Carp’s Eye starts, Lark is on the road with Orin, Aster and Brogan are sources of information and advisors, but must leave her to her own path. Well, pretty much as you can see from this image from Living Stone.

Living Stone Page 25

Since part of Brogan’s duties include protecting Aster and her named bloodline which includes Lark.  In Living Stone, he is the one who warns Orin, “If she is harmed again, you will feel it tenfold.” Yep, that’s right, its Brogan who chooses Orin’s fate. Instead of public censor or death, he chooses to have Roan retrain Orin to be a nobleman.

And in the upcoming Mareton’s Curse, Aster will begin make other decsions that will effect Orin and Lark’s future happiness. As I alluded to, Lark will be married to someone whose main attribute is that he has a suitable bloodline. Love has nothing to do with it.

If you like what you see, please consider donating to the Print Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Kickstarter Campaign.

There are lots of exciting rewards that start at $1.00 and go up to $500. There is even a chance for you to be the King or Queen of Mareton and interact with Lark, Orin and Roan in the book.

Check it out!

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