Those are the three things that my favorite character, Ikala, makes the rest of the cast of The Final Rose feel. It’s part of what keeps her always at the forefront of my mind when I think about characters I’ve created in the past years. Her personality, talents and character arc are one of my favorites.
So who is Ikala?
She is a summoner. In my universe, those are magic-users who can tap into the hidden energies of living (or non-living, in some cases) things and use those powers for their own means. They figure out what power an object holds by seeing through it to the crystalline structure of its parts (think of the carbon structure in a diamond). By recognizing the specific patterns and junctions, a summoner can draw out certain aspects of light, darkness, fire, water, whathaveyou. Above all, they credit this to understanding the word of the Gods, all life having come from them at the start. These are the closest to loyal clergy that I come in the novel.
They are in direct competition with mages, who are magic-users who tap into their own energy to “level up” their magic. Summoners are without; mages are within. I have a mage – Kyr – who probably is my third favorite character, but his story arc is far less interesting to me than Ikala’s. They don’t think the Gods have much to do with anything and that magic is inherent in every living being.
Ikala is asked to join the party early on and from the first introduction, when she catches Task trying to escape, her gentle, no-nonsense attitude is revealed. She almost always has answers to questions (which actually is important to the plot) and has more to lose by going up against the Gods during the big battles. Her crises are more than physical; they’re spiritual and mental. A few times, her hesitations cause problems.
I won’t reveal the dramatic character arc involving her, since it is vital to the novel, but I will say – it was something I hadn’t expected to do.
Why isn’t Task, my main character, my favorite? Well, he’s close. He’s a very close number two. But when I think about characters I’ve made, my thoughts always go to Ikala first. The novel wouldn’t work from her POV, which is why I keep her as a secondary character. Seeing her, and what she does, from Task’s and Geir’s POV is vital to her mystique. And her mystique is vital to her.