Wednesday, January 17, 2018

31 Day Challenge: The Legion, Day 13: Ren Winde

I am still sick, so yes, I am still behind. I'm at my second job right now that allows me plenty of free time to do writing while I'm manning the desk, so I'm going to try and knock as many of these out as I can. Also, fuck the flu. But anyway, on to the challenge:


Okay, so I know I said that Larai was my favorite character, and I do not rescind my love for her. She's amazing and I want to be her friend IRL. That being said, Ren? She's my baby. True, all of my characters are like children to me in their own ways, but Ren sits so close to my heart.

I've often asked myself why I chose Ren to be my main character over, say, Larai, and for the longest time, I couldn't even answer. Even claiming her as a Mary Sue was inaccurate; I didn't really have a connection with her at the beginning. I just saw her as this incredibly boisterous, foul-mouthed hothead, not unlike Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon, although without the suicidal leanings, and I did enjoy writing scenes where she'd tear into Mason or launch into a tirade at Phelan Dormani. But ... that wasn't Ren.

It wasn't until I actually finished the first novella that Ren and I clicked. There was a trauma there that I recognized (but didn't fully identify with until I left the ex-husband), and I remember feeling for her as I edited the scene where she was training in the yard behind Viji's store. Although what I wrote at the time was her fears that she was losing her edge, the underlying reason that fear existed was because of her prior death and losing everything she had ever loved. Had that immense loss been for naught if she only survived a few years after?

Becoming a Legion is not a ... pleasant experience, we shall say. In order to be resurrected as a Legion, you have to die, and anywhere between that moment and three days later, you come back, a living weapon that is feared across the entire Continent. No one knows how or why they are chosen over others, and in some cultures, it's considered an abomination to become a Legion (see: Amir'Chavi). Luckily, their resurrection is usually foreseen by a Vision, so when the return from the afterlife, at least one person is there to guide them through their confusion. For Ren, this person was Viji, and his presence started a bond that continued to strengthen over a decade. But there is still that lingering feeling that something is wrong. In our world, we call it PTSD. PTSD doesn't appear the same in every person and doesn't always reveal itself right away. My own struggles with PTSD didn't actually start to happen until I had started to deal with the trauma of being in an abusive marriage - or at least, I didn't start to realize it until then. Ren has just been keeping herself busy so that her brain doesn't have time to process it. Whether or not she does this willfully is up to discussion, but it's the first arc that makes her have to actually deal with it.

Throughout the first arc, her backstory is revealed, but it's super spoilery, so ... no dice there, but I can tell you this: Aurenel (OW-ren-el) "Ren" Winde was born in the southeastern city-state of Bekame (beh-KAH-may) to Bolin (boh-LEEN) and Darylan (dah-RYE-len) Winde. Her father was an artisan and woodworker who traveled all around the Southeast, and her mother was the local priestess with a ton of influence over the community. Her younger brother, Evanlar (eh-VAHN-ler), was both her best friend and her greatest rival, and she protected him as a mother bear protects her cub while simultaneously mocking him mercilessly. Like any family, the Windes had their problems, but they were close-knit and very dedicated to each other. Like most Legions, Ren does not have any contact with her family or friends from her past life, and I'm in no hurry to explain why she, a fairly bull-headed woman, hasn't bucked this trend (I mean, it's in the first novella, so you'll find out why as soon as I publish it). To fill her family's place in her heart, though, she has fully dedicated her life to her duty as a Legion.

Despite that, she refuses to let go of  her identity as Bekamese. Her people are known for their stark white hair, departing from the more common dark brown or black of their southeastern brethren, and Ren is no different. In keeping with her culture's customs, she dyes her hair frequently in various colors, something has done since coming of age (fifteen for the Bekamese). Because of prejudice, however, she usually keeps it wrapped, or if that isn't an option, she dyes it black to be able to blend in. Her skin is a darker shade than even most Bekamese - a trait she inherited from her father - so she can appear as if she is from farther south, possibly even Tarkese. The ability to disappear into a crowd is of high importance to a Legion, especially if they are hunting, and to be seen as a well-traveled far southern women is camouflage indeed.

I haven't been able to find the picture I used before when imagining Ren, but Monikangana Dutto is seriously starting to be my Ren muse.
Via Asian Models Blog
Alrighty, I think that's as far as I can go without delving into spoiler territory, so I'm just going to end on that. Next challenge: Annick!

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