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A bit of background: This story is a prequel tale to three characters in a series I'm developing, in which they eventually become pirates. The two characters in this scene: Ivana and Clara Russell are sisters born into the tribe of Credentis Luna. Ivana has had a hunger to be a warrior ever since see observed Warriors defend her village as a child.
With no one in the village to train her as a warrior, due to it being forbidden for women to receive it, Ivana runs off into the wilderness to receive the warrior's training from a man who was exiled for teaching children the art of war, despite the chief of the village warning her not to. Her actions eventually cause her to be exiled out of Credentis Luna herself with her sister voluntarily following to protect her younger sister from herself.
This except takes from the start of the exile when Ivana and Clara have to find shelter before the night arrives as the two sisters discuss their different views. (Told from the eyes of Clara)
Ivana and I have been walking for hours on this dirt path, she had kept the pace ahead of my own constantly observing her surroundings. I simply followed in her path nothing more, I had no knowledge of the wilderness like Ivana, I could only tell that the air surrounding us was thick and smelled of natures mysteries. We were surrounded by beautiful lush shades of greens, yellows, and reds, crawling and teaming with life's small miracles; the sounds of birds chirping, grass rustling, and sharp talons scratching were among the many of which I was never familiar with before. Although it was a new and strange experience it was actually quite soothing to truly experience it for the first time of my life, but I miss my home in the village.
I assume I will always miss my home from now on as I am no longer welcome there. Neither I nor my sister who rebelled against our tribe and our traditions and forced exile upon herself, although I don't condone her actions I still chose to follow my sister into exile, as much as I did not want to leave I did not want Ivana to be alone in this world.
"Ivana." I called to her as she kept pace ahead of my own, "Where are we headed? The Dusk is soon to be upon us we should find some form of shelter soon."
Ivana paused where she stood and turned to face me, "You're right sister, we do need to find shelter for the night. But I know of a place where we can go. It is a spring that is not far from here, the old warrior Oshihan has permitted me to use it as I please during my training, I am sure he would not mind if we use it given our situation. Come, it is this way."
When we had reached the spring the Dusk was upon us, our great Luna watched over my sister and I as a lioness would her young, Credentis Luna be praised. The spring glistened under the light of Luna, steaming, creating moisture on the plenty vegetation that dangled over the tall rocks that surrounded its inner edges.
Ivana knelt down and rinsed her face in the steaming waters and as I walked over to do the same I noticed her clothes were a very pale blue and were stained and stressed probably from the harsh training she had undergone, her dark golden hair was also ruffled and dirty with sticks and twigs among other filth, how unbecoming of my little sister, not a very proper woman. I knelt behind her and began to untangle her hair and remove all I could find.
"Clara, why do you occupy yourself with such trivial things such as my hair?" Ivana asked as I continued to remove unwanted contaminants.
"Your hair has truly become a mess Ivana, just look at yourself. You should consider cutting it down to look more, proper."
"Proper? What is this, huh?" She scowled at me, "C'mon Clara."
"Your hair has grown much past your shoulders little one, that is the sign to cut it."
"Little one? Please." She waved me off, "Clara, we are no longer part of Credentis Luna, you don't have to abide by their rules any longer, you are free as well as myself. I always wanted my hair to be longer."
"Oh Ivana, I wish you would give up this childish attitude you have undertaken."
Ivana immediately stood up and turned to face me her face turned to confusion, "Childish?"
"Very." I answered still kneeling in position, staring at my sister with concern. "You have rebelled against our tradition that has been set in place for many many years. If you repent soon, you may be forgiven and be able to return before it is too late."
"Repent?!" Ivana asserted, "Repent to who?
"Great Luna. She may forgive you."
"I have nothing to repent for!" She shouted.
"You have broken tradition!" I slightly raised my voice.
Ivana paused for a second, her angry expression had become solemn, "It was a life that I did not want to live, Clara. I did not want my path to be set for me, like a trap set for our game. I did not see it there way, so I-"
"Foolishly defied our Chief and ran off to become a warrior, ignoring your true training." I berated.
She took a deep breath and exhaled, turning her eyes away from mine in shame.
"You have caused yourself exile and great misfortune, Ivana, there is nothing waiting here for you now or in the future if you continue on this path."
"You speak as though you are still with them yourself! What do you gain from this, huh? You come only to shame me into returning back to them? Is that your real motive behind this?! Huh?!" She suddenly barked.
I did not respond to her yelling I only stared into her rage filled eyes as she continued.
"A 'proper woman' to them: nurturing, staying behind to build a home, cook food. Makes me sick! We are supposed to care for the men and raise their children while they hunt and protect! Why are we fated to be their slaves?"
"We are not slaves, Ivana, we are meant to be the caretakers, we-"
"Have no power but to stay serve the men's needs!" Ivana gathered herself for a moment and turned around to the spring, "Women. We are able to do much more than that, Clara. If I am the only one who believes it, then so be it."
"What is it that you are saying, Ivana?" I asked with increasing concern.
Ivana thrust her arm outward and shouted out, "I'm saying that you should leave me as I am! Go! Go back to Credentis Luna and be the subservient slave that you were raised to be! Do not drag me down with your lectures on our tradition!" She pulled her arm back to her side and stared up at Luna, "This is a path I will gladly walk alone, farewell Clara."
Her words were more painful than the sharpest arrow. I could not believe that Ivana has said this, she would gladly part our bond for her foolish pride? Inside me it had felt as though my heart had stopped. An emptiness in my chest as I stared at Ivana begin to cross the shallow end of the spring to the other side. She invoked a new feeling in me, one that I have never felt in my life: a mixture of sadness, loneliness, sorrow, and anger. Much much anger.
I will not allow this to happen. Swiftly I ran to Ivana and grabbed her by the shoulder pulling her to me, her face filled with shock and surprise.
"You will not walk this path alone, Ivana, I will not let you do such a thing, I am your sister! We are bonded by blood!"
Ivana regained her composure and responded, "It seems your are more bonded with your tradition than our blood." She shoved me away, causing me to fall and land on the sharp gravel under the spring's steamy water, cutting my arms and hands.
I was surprised at my sister's strength, when we were much smaller she was never able to overpower me like that, but now it seems although she hasn't grown much taller her strength has become that of a wild boar. I looked up at her peering down at me, as if she was disappointed in me, her eyes were cold and glossy as they locked onto my own, as if she was looking into my very being.
She turned around and began to cross the spring once more. "You will never survive out here sister it is best that you go. You know nothing of hunting, protecting, or instinct, you know only to love and nurture, that doesn't carry you well in the wilderness. Your 'womanly' training has made you intelligent, but weak."
How ignorant of her. To ignore that there is more to survival than just hunting.
Ignoring the pain in my arms I quickly stood back up and cried out, "And you know nothing of the many ailments of the body, the cures, herbs, and medicines that it would take to heal such ailments! You know nothing of creating protective clothing of any kind! You are like a maturing cub who has only learned to use its claws, but knows not how to preserve itself! Your training has indeed made you strong my dear sister, but it has made you very foolish. You would not last long without my care."
A pause followed. Ivana had stopped in her tracks as I stood in my own, wiping the dirt from the cuts, nothing but the slow sounds of the spring steaming and the various sounds of nature around us.
Ivana looked back me, her face filled with sadness, her eye glistened with tears.
I finally broke the silence explaining, "We need each other Ivana. If we are to survive out here, I will need your warrior ability and you would need my nurturing ability. A true bond by sisters."
"My sister." Ivana began before taking a breath and sobbing a bit, "You were always the smart one, huh?" She flashed a great big smile before coming to hug me lovingly.
Her hug was fierce as she wrapped around my waste, although her strength made it feel as though a wild snake had coiled its way around me I felt the love of my dear sister and wrapped my arms around her, holding her close.
"Our bond will never be broken, Ivana, Not even by tradition. You are my sister and that will never change." I said as tears rolled down my own cheeks, "I chose to follow you into this path because I love you and would never forgive myself should something happen to you."
We let go of each other and began to look down the path past the spring.
"So, where do you think it leads?" Ivana asked.
"Traditionally, I would say I don't know, Ivana. I don't know."
"Well then." Ivana Shrugged with a smile, "It's time to break tradition then, huh? C'mon" She waved me ahead as she began to sprint down the path and I followed as best as I could.
Ivana and I laughed like children once more as we trekked through the strange wilderness, gleefully letting large leaves and other vegetation slap and scrape us as we ran through. I felt much more alive than I had ever felt, I felt free of what I was expected to be and free to be what I wanted to be. It felt strange to want, I always was taught to never feel selfish and always care about others, this was something I was going to have to adapt to, but it is something I will do gladly.
I guess is what Ivana always wanted, I can see now. Ivana, I was wrong, you are not childish, you are... You. And Who you are is defined by you, not by anyone else.