Category Archives: Characters

The Raven’s Wing characters, #6: Jenifry, the cunning woman

Character visualisation by Kit CooperSensual. Serious. Slow to trust. Taciturn. Brusque. When her mother was murdered for being different, 11-year-old Jenifry was taken captive, beaten, raped, and bled regularly into a silver bowl. Eight years later she has escaped, and has returned to her secluded home, a large oak tree in the middle of the forest.

Why has she lured our hero, John the Minstrel, there? What does she know of his wife’s death? What plans does she have for him? And how, since her legs are broken, is she able to move so quickly from place to place?

“Dark of hair she was, and dark of eye, her gaze the depth of a star-spattered night. She peered up at John from beneath lowered brows, and crawled up his body. Her full breasts brushed his thighs, teasing upwards as she moved her weight from arm to arm. Her gaze never left his as she slowed her advance. John was unable to move. He was held captive, shackled by her glittering eyes as a moth beguiled by the moon.”

The Raven’s Wing, a medieval adventure set in 1322, is available for Kindle and in paperback (with free postage, in the UK at least) here.

Other character posts (click to read):

John the MinstrelWynifreed, John's wifeRalf, the gongfermourAilred, the smithMoss, the fire-dancer


The Raven’s Wing characters, #5: Moss, the fire-dancer

Character visualisation sketch by Kit CooperSarcastic, manipulative, and with a mysterious past, Moss is a jongleuse, dancer, and mistress of fire. John first sees her performing at The Angel Inn in Northampton, little suspecting how tightly her fate will become bound to his.

John stared wide-eyed and gape-mouthed. The young woman was fiery in every sense of the word. The hair that tumbled about her bare shoulders was the colour of an autumn sunset. She danced nimbly, bare-footed, to the rhythm of the audience clapping, the nails on her toes crimson-painted.

The woman’s features were soft and attractive, yet dragged askew by a scar that tore down her cheek. But the scar was not what gave him pause. More startling was the eye beneath that scar. That it was false could not be in doubt, for a strange eye it was. It looked to be made of amber, or some other ochre-tinged material, and in the centre, where the pupil should be, sat a small black spider.

The Raven’s Wing, a medieval adventure set in 1322, is available in paperback (with free postage, in the UK at least) and Kindle here.

Other character posts (click to read):

John the MinstrelWynifreed, John's wifeRalf, the gongfermourAilred, the smith

The Raven’s Wing characters, #4: Ailred the smith

Character visualisation sketch by Kit CooperA black man of enormous beard and heart. The gruff Ditchford smith smells of hot metal and pie crust. The village gossips say that Ailred is descended from African nobility. He remains silent about such things.

“Hens!” shouted Ailred, waking suddenly. He sat up and looked around with a startled expression, resembling a bewildered owl in the orange light thrown up by the now merrily burning fire. Smoke swirled into the blackness of the roof. He scratched his black beard, dislodging a small bone, which he inspected closely. He descended into a fit of deep coughing. Eventually he achieved some sort of resolution with his lungs and spat copiously in the fire, which hissed a complaint. He threw the bone into the flames.

Ailred’s growing romance with the widow Rohesia provides a gentle backdrop to the growing turmoil of The Raven’s Wing.  One day I shall write his backstory.

“Kumis,” Aildred said. “Fermented mare’s milk with added honey.”
“I call it milk-mead,” Rohesia said. “And isn’t it just the tastiest thing? Ailred makes it.”
“Not often,” he said. “It’s not so easy to get mare’s milk. You can use goat, or cow, but the taste isn’t quite the same.”
“Apparently, it’s quite the thing back in Ailred’s homeland, and he learned to—”
“This is my homeland now,” Ailred said, squeezing Rohesia’s podgy hand.

The Raven’s Wing, a medieval adventure set in 1322, is available in paperback (with free postage, in the UK at least) and Kindle here.

Other character posts (click to read):

John the MinstrelWynifreed, John's wifeRalf, the gongfermour

The Raven’s Wing characters, #3: Ralf

Character visualisation sketch by Kit Cooper

A shock of red hair explodes from beneath a ragged wool cap, shading Ralf’s smiling eyes. John the Minstrel’s best friend is tall and clean-shaven. He is gongfermour for the village of Ditchford, which is to say he digs out and removes human excrement from privies and cesspits, disposing of it into the river below the village. He lives across the lane from Wyni and John, with whom he shares a horse, Molly.

The Raven’s Wing, a medieval adventure set in 1322, is available in paperback (with free postage, in the UK at least) and Kindle here.

Other characters: No.1 Minstrel John, No. 2 Wynifreed

The Raven’s Wing characters, #2: Wyni

Character visualisation sketch by Kit CooperJohn the Minstrel’s recently-dead wife, Wynifreed. She was thin, a result of growing up through the Great Famine, with brown hair in a short bob. She had thrilled John’s heart with a lopsided smile, joyful laughter and a love of nature.  “He remembered how beautiful she had looked the day that they had wed, a circlet of daisies about her brown head, her smile dazzling in the sunshine.” Perhaps surprisingly, she still has a lot to say for herself.

The Raven’s Wing, a medieval adventure set in 1322, is available in paperback (with free postage in the UK) and Kindle here.

Other characters: No.1 Minstrel John

Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure?

NeeraPortrait“Casting wild magic is like… playing a flute by ear. I just kind of picked it up as I went along, doing what felt natural. In magical terms, I can play a pretty mean tune. But when I miss a note, the flute shoots fire at everyone. Also the flute sometimes turns me into a hamster.”

I’m having a bit of a retro gaming experience by playing Baldur’s Gate Enhanced on my laptop. One of my favourite enhancements? Neera, the wild mage, whose magic tends to go a bit monkeybonkers with, as they say, hilarious consequences. I also like the way she holds a staff.

“EAT FLAMING – or possibly frosty – DEATH!”

May the dirt taste good when I feed it to you

Cat has drawn my Dragon Age character. They are both awesome.


Wombat’s 10 most memorable computer game characters (& 5 honourable mentions)

You know what makes a memorable character in a computer game? The clues in the word – character. When you get the feeling that you’ve been in the company of real people, you’ve found a real character. One with depth. That, and of course a healthy gobbet of humour or a disregard for clothing. Here are just some of the people I’ve met over two decades of romping about in virtual worlds. Let me know if I’ve missed your favourite.
Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RaArrGHGHH!!!
minscMinsc is a shining baldy beacon of light in the dark and filthy world of Baldur’s Gate. An enormous beacon, in fact, attacking evil with an extreme fervour that occasionally causes those around him to suspect his sanity. The berserker ranger’s constant companion is Boo, who Minsc says is “a miniature giant space hamster” and those who value their eyes would do well not to argue.

Would you be interested in these panties? They look about your size.
georgeAcross four point-and-click Broken Sword games, George and his on/off girlfriend, Nico, investigate Templars, Mayan gods, Glastonbury dragons and dodgy doings in the Vatican. Good natured and honest, nosey as hell, George always tries to see the best in people. And gets the shitty end of the stick for it most of the time. I loved telling him where to go, but loved more Nico’s way of breathing “Oh Georgie”.

If I were indeed hostile, you would be bleeding.
Screenshot20110905171216301Ah, Sten! Apparently not many Dragon Age players bothered with Sten, since at first he’s very reluctant to talk about anything. Persevere though, and the Qunari giant is one of the most most rewarding companions ever. Witness his touching interactions with your dog, his embarrassment at being caught picking flowers by Leliana, his use of biscuits stolen from a nearby child to buy a boat ride. He’s really tough too, even if you dress him in a silly hat. Recognise his quote, above?
Cake, and grief counselling, will be available at the conclusion of the test.
gladosPossibly the most lovable evil Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System ever. The honey-voiced AI that guides you through Aperture Science’s Testing Centre in Portal is always witty, and always promising of lovely cake. Ah nice, you think, as she cheers you on. Then she makes you incinerate your beloved Companion Cube, and you begin to suspect that all might not be right, and you begin to rebel. Her insults become funnier and, let’s admit it, more psychotic until you face off with her in a breathless final battle that still makes you giggle.

I’m just a humble P.I. trying to save the world as we know it.
texTex Murphy, seedy post-apocalyptic future P.I. starring in five adventures (and six radio plays) with a catchy theme tune, and a wardrobe full of fedoras, raincoats and sneakers. Voiceover heaven as Tex wisecracks about whatever you’re telling him to do before his innate clumsiness has him falling over a credenza, whatever one of those is. At such times, Tex was not above destroying the fourth wall – “Ah, to be a fictional detective. Everything would be so much simpler then”.
Boogle, can you be an axe?
torins11Cartoony fun with Torin & Boogle in Torin’s Passage, as the titular hero tries to rescue his family from an evil sorceress. Packed with humour and invention (at one point Torin bangs his head on the Game Menu), the game’s puzzles are often only soluble by using Boogle’s shape-shifting abilities. Highlights for me were the talking grass, that helped Torin cross a slippery slope (“Negatory! Nuh-oh! Yes, there!”) , and a sequence where our heroes fall from such a height that they have to pause in their screaming to take a breath. Just one question – what actually is Boogle?
You know, if I could click you, you wouldn’t know a moment’s peace.
morteMorte is a floating, talking skull with a snarky attitude. While he lacks a body, he can still fight, biting with his sharp fangs and stinging the enemy with sarcastic taunts. The fact that he has no internal organs help to protect him from many ‘normal’ attacks, but also raises the question- where does he keep his inventory? The game? Planescape Torment, one of the better games based on D&D. It also featured a sexy woman with a tail. What could possibly be finer?

Nordom: Attention; Morte. I have a question. Do you have a destiny? A purpose?
Morte: Is Annah still wearing clothes?
Nordom: Affirmatory.
Morte: Then the answer is yes.

All she wants to talk about is white sausage.
486222-gabeages_superGabriel Knight – New Orleans author and bookstore owner who finds his destiny as a Schattenjäger, or “Shadow Hunter”. Most notably voiced by Tim Curry, Gabriel’s louche drawl won many a heart among players, but rarely the heart of Grace Nakamura, his hot, sometime assistant. Gabriel is a rogue, a rapscallion and a womanizer, not unlike The Wombat, but is selfish and self-involved. Grace often manages to puncture his self-importance with amusing barbs. The team work was what made them attractive. Well, that and Tim Curry’s liquid voice.

And now we have a dog. And Alistair is still the stupidest member of the party.
275px-Morrigan_profileI know, I know, two characters from Dragon Age, but how could I leave out Morrigan? The shape-shifting swamp-witch who forgot to wear a vest and is deliciously voiced by Claudia Black, while not exactly evil, is hardly anyone’s idea of a good girl. She manipulates you to kill her mother for her, and seduces you (if you’re a bloke, that is) into impregnating her for her own nefarious (and unexplained) purposes. I’m afraid in order to get on with the game, I had to dress her in a long blue dress, cos otherwise…. well, you know.
Tombs with piped in music. How classy.
garrettGarrett. Master of stealth, archery and pickpocketing, and yet so much more than just a nefarious Thief, offering cynical asides and wry observations as he cases potential jobs. Also (and how cool is this?) he has a glass eye that he can take out and roll around corners to see what’s lurking. I adored the tension of sneaking around dark places with Garrett, trying not to be noticed at all. One of the scariest locations EVER in a game is The Cradle, an abandoned orphanage/insane asylum. Sweet Baby G, but that shook me more than somewhat. A new Thief game is under development, so YAY! (ssshhhh!)
Honourable mentions
… or “Characters that were in my top ten until I thought of someone better”
vaultboyNothing says pizzaz like a winning smile. Vault-Boy’s a bit of a cheat for this list, since he’s not really a game character. He is the Fallout series mascot, who appears everywhere, from your stats screen, to your Pip-Boy and your Bobblehead collection. Nothing says Fallout like Vault-Boy.
hk47Conclusion: I’m going to pull your head off, because I don’t like your head. Star Wars game Knights Of The Old Republic is arguably the best Star Wars prequel to date. Among its many charms is the characterisation, exemplified by the brilliantly twisted HK-47, an assassin droid who speaks like C3PO but dryly expresses sociopathic sentiments, including a distain for organic life perfectly summed up by his repeated use of the word “meatbag”.
dalbozYour sword is blowing glue. Wait, let me try that again. I’ll bet not many of you remember Zork: Grand Inquisitor? Dalboz the Dungeon Master himself was imprisoned in a lantern and proceeds to act as narrator and guide. He calls you “AFGNCAAP”, a satirical, politically-correct acronym for “Ageless, Faceless, Gender-Neutral, Culturally-Ambiguous Adventure Person”, a reference to the habit of many early adventure games of giving the player’s character no identity, name, or background.
dreamfall 2007-07-01 14-15-11-49My beak is a finely tuned instrument of love. The Longest Journey and Dreamfall are beautiful games, and we all fell in love with Zoe Castillo, but the character that sticks in my mind is the sidekick Crow, who is a… well, crow (although – spoiler – he does turn out not to be an actual crow). I think you’ll have figured out by now that I like sidekicks who crack wise, and Crow is yet another of those. An example of Crow’s wisdom –

So we get help from someone wiser and more clued in than us. Beards are a good indication. It signifies age and wisdom, and also, sometimes, poor hygiene. I think those things are actually connected.

HBpC78co_Pxgen_r_1100xAThe figures…nothing but shadows…they won’t let me go back. An extremely personal choice – Nigel Danvers, the ghost-hunting wazzock from Jonathan Boakes’ superbly spooky games, most notably “The Lost Crown”. I became a huge fan of Danverspeak – Nigel spoke haltingly, like a character from a Thirties film when talkies had only just begun. Perfect for the feel of the game.

So there you go, earthlings – who have I left out (yes, yes, apart from Guybrush Threepwood, but he was too obvious)? Who would be in your top ten? I’d love you to tell me. I hope you do.

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