With one day left before NaNoWriMo 2011, I thought I’d go ahead and get the last two of my Tesseract leads shown off. Unlike Kahlan and Daria, Autumn and Alindra have their genesis in the same thing: play by post role playing.
I’ve played a lot of these forum games over the years, many of them being in the Star Wars variety. I’ll often play a Sith, just because I ended up with a character that wouldn’t leave me alone. That character is Alindra Vordrinn, and I have to explain her genesis to explain Autumn’s.
There have been no less than four forums where I’ve made a version of Alindra. The most recent is Children of Tomorrow, where I also serve as a moderator. One thing that’s become clear as I’ve played Alindra (which is to say I’ve written fan fiction versions of her), is that she’s obsessed with perfection, is close to an animal at times, thrives on elegance, hates herself and wants to be god.
If any part of that is the most important part of Alindra, it would be her self-hatred. She hates herself so much, she wants to be god. Sounds crazy, right? Well, Alindra’s unhinged, which is to be expected from a life of slavery, prostitution, and assassin training. And she’s telekinetic too, but, unlike many of my creations, she isn’t telepathic.
She serves the Pontiff as one of his secret assassins, The Inquisition. As an Inquisitor, Alindra has a single warp saber, a weapon capable of sending messages or releasing a blade surrounded by a constant distortion effect. With a warp saber, Alindra can also activate mirrors without their owner’s permission.
What makes Alindra different from most villains–and she is undoubtedly a villain–is that everything about her is pleasant. She’s pretty, she’s sweet, and her smile is perfect and full of warmth. Just like this picture of the incredibly talented Anna Torv:
I’m going to enjoy some jazz while writing about Alindra. I picked up some Miles Davis and Keiko Matsui CDs recently. I’ll probably drop in a bit of Yoko Kanno as well, just because Kanno is all around awesome.
Now, there is another I still want to discuss here. Autumn Shay’Nal, back in the days of her being on play-by-post forums, was just another name for Alindra Vordrinn. I toyed around with Alindra being redeemed and taking up a different name, sort of like an anti-Darth Vader. That didn’t really work and, with Alindra hating herself, she would hate Autumn Shay’Nal too.
Several months after I finished playing with the idea of Alindra being good, one of the three actual people who inspired Kahlan, Daria, and Autumn dyed her hair, changing it from blond to a red/brown mix. That’s when the notion hit me: wouldn’t it be cool if a character’s hair could change colors whenever she wanted, no dye or treatment necessary? From that, I came up with the idea of prismatic hair, a color that’s ever-changing, shifting from one shade to the next in seconds.
I knew for a long time that I wanted to use Alindra as a villain somewhere, but when I had the thought of prismatic hair, I named the character Autumn Shay’Nal, knowing I had the name to use from before. From there, I realized Alindra could be the villain, and a separate character. Before that point, I only had Kahlan as a character and nothing for her to play off of. With Autumn in the game, I found Alindra, which helped me find Daria, and so on.
That gave me four core characters: Kahlan the puzzle-solver, Daria the spy, Autumn the reformed criminal–having stolen money in the past, she has to do public service to atone–and Alindra the zealot.
To play this reformed thief, I thought I should imagine someone pretty and wanting to have fun. If Billie Piper isn’t that, I don’t know who is. She used to be a pop idol before the days of Doctor Who.
I have some Vangelis music on hand, ready to play for those times when Autumn does things to get herself and others into trouble. It’s not that she’s supposed to be a fun person, but a fun person trapped inside a a perfectly obedient law-abiding citizen. There is a connection in the story between Alindra and Autumn, a connection that will take the plot off course and drive it off a cliff. On the other side of that cliff are amazing things so having some minimalist music on hand is probably the best way to let the text do more to speak to me.
Now all I have to do is start writing the thing.