With Path of the Traitors focusing on a band of non-champion characters doing their part to help, I had to make a decision. Do I use all pre-existing characters from throughout the series or do I introduce some new ones? It’s a tough call because this is the second to last book, so whoever debuts now will either get breakneck or simplistic development. At least that’s what I thought, but I’d like to think I did a good job on the new additions. That basically answers the question, but I can only talk about one of the fresh faces. Mostly because the other was entirely out of nowhere, so I was basically working without a net with that one. Threw an unexpected dimension into the world of chaos elves that I really should write about. Even a poem would do.
Anyway, this post isn’t about that. It’s about a character who will introduce the role of mapper. I’ve talked about them before HERE. The basics are that these are people who wander the world to create maps. Some do stay in libraries to analyze the old ones, but most are field agents. This career became popular after the Great Cataclysm because the entire surface of Windemere had changed. All of the previous maps were useless, so there was a rush to replace them. Many adventurers either worked with mappers or learned the trade themselves, which has evolved to incorporate survival skills. Quail might be a little lacking on a few things though.
Quail is a mapper that Trinity recruits because nobody else can read the crest map, which gradually materializes as they progress. He is a chaos elf, but one that was raised away from Shayd after his parents died on a mission. They took him out of fear of a demon or undead eating him while they were away, which is common for chaos elves. Most turn to crime or find a way home, but some are adopted. Quail was taken in by an old woman who was an experienced mapper. She showed him the ropes and left him her equipment when she passed away. There was also a promise that he wouldn’t get into fights because she feared he would get scarred up and suffer a lifetime of pain like she did. This causes a little friction with a few party members because it means Quail is useless in a fight. I should say sort of useless.
His one big non-mapper trick is that he has a Troll Ring, which gives him great strength and durability. Some other abilities too that he tends to forget about, but there is a trade-off here. You know how elves are naturally agile and graceful? Quail is fairly clumsy and accident prone, but he keeps trying. I found him rather endearing because he brings the chaos elf loyalty towards Queen Trinity to the forefront. When she was a villain, this didn’t get explored for more than a section every now and then. Now, there’s an entire book that demonstrates what the chaos elves think of their leader in comparison to how the rest of the world does. Quail is a source of comedy in this regards, but I tried really hard to make him more than comic relief. Most of my characters play this role from time to time, so it wasn’t a challenge to make him more than a goof. He’s still a character who you get the feeling is in over his head, which is rather Luke Callindor-esque in a way.
There’s also a touch of sadness about him that I only caught on the editing runs. Quail says it best when pointing out that he doesn’t remember much of Shayd, so he doesn’t feel connected to that culture. He also never felt like a member of Ralian society since he’s always looked at with suspicion. The character is between two worlds, which makes his drive to help free Shayd that much more powerful. He’s fighting for a land that he has no emotional connection to, but hopes that he can regain that bond with their victory. Until then, his culture and world is that of a mapper.
I know it’s risky talking about a character at length on here, but Quail really deserves a post. He came out better than I planned and there’s more to him than what I’m saying here. There’s another ‘thing’ that makes him different from every other character that he’s traveling with. It’s subtle, but this makes him stand out even more. Hopefully, people like him as much as my previous heroes.