In the run-up to NaNoWriMo I’m exploring the world and characters I’ll be writing about. This time it’s my protagonist.
Fiarra is the daughter of convicts; her father returned “back home” across the sea after completing his sentence – right before it was decided that the island was too profitable to risk harming those profits by bringing convicts back. She was brought up on the island in an odd social position – neither convict nor quite free, she had more rights than her mother but fewer than the servants and soldiers who had come to the island to work for the governor. Her mother died in the plague, and with the cemetery full she buried her just inside the wall encircling the island’s main settlement.
Fiarra tries to do what’s right, but is distrustful of authority – chaotic or neutral good, to use the familiar alignment grid. She can be a bit superior about her morality, and she can be self-centred about it. She wants mostly to be able to visit her mother’s grave – now firmly in the control of the antagonist – and to keep her new family – comprising the people who she grouped up with during and after the plague – together.
The core theme, justice, comes through via Fiarra. Bad things have happened – to her, to her friends, and to others – and she wants justice for that, but when she meets people who are responsible for harm but also for good, people who have suffered similarly, things aren’t all black and white any more and she doesn’t quite know how to handle it – and she makes mistakes which she later regrets.
Fiarra also learns to take more notice in society. At first, all she wants is to see her mother’s grave and to ensure her friends are safe. She plans on rescuing those in trouble and running off to another part of the island to there live isolated from society, out of the way. But she soon learns that this isn’t a real option, and that she has to stand up to tyranny to truly escape it and live in safety and security.
I’m still getting a feel on Fiarra’s personality, but I think she might be rather distrusting of strangers and timid when she’s in situations where she isn’t in control, but more open and friendly around friends.
In future blog posts I’ll look at Fiarra’s friends – none of whom yet have names. They are her childhood rival, with whom she found common cause during the plague; a friend of her mother’s; a former soldier left behind when the governor left; and the island’s youngest convict, a boy of 13.