There might not be as much to say about these two as I’d hoped, which might be apparent since I put them together. Both of them were added to Quest of the Brokenhearted once I decided to make it focus entirely on Lacarsis. They serve simple purposes, which I wanted to expand, but I don’t know if I succeeded. Rayne had the role of ‘sidekick’ and emotional connection, so these two couldn’t get in there. Hyde was never supposed to be there in the first place, but Roland was intended to be a secondary connection. So, where did they come from and did I go wrong?
Let’s start with the human, who readers of Beginning of a Hero might remember running into. Roland Gauntlier was a fellow classmate of Luke Callindor and Kira Grasdon, which means he’s a proud graduate of Hamilton Military Academy. He was a very minor character with two scenes and I didn’t think I would ever use him again. I changed my mind when I considered that it might be interesting for Kira to run into a familiar face. Roland challenged Lacarsis and failed, but was spared by the Shadow Earl because he surrendered in a rather humiliating way. Since then, he’s been a local handyman and the occasional friend to challengers. In a way, he would act as a reminder of Kira’s old life and a sign that there is an alternative to victory and death. Although, she isn’t the type to choose servitude.
I quickly wrote myself into a corner with Roland because I wanted him to be an adviser to Kira. This posed a big problem because he would have a lot of inside information on the champions. If I wanted her to be surprised and the underdog then I couldn’t have her learn about her enemies. This negated a big chunk of what I had intended for him, so he became more of a listening ear. Being that he knows Kira and Luke, he is able to give her insight into her behavior and life. Roland developed an odd bluntness at times too, which I think is something she needed. Still, he definitely didn’t get to do as much as I planned, but it might be for the best. Couldn’t have him fight alongside his friends because that’s no how the contest works.
Hyde is simpler since he’s a gremlin relic crafter, which means he’s the one who makes all of the enchanted gear for Kira. He isn’t bestial or destructive, but comes off more as a monster version of gnomes. Gremlins like building things after tearing them apart because they think things can always be improved. They can also absorb magic and use that to help them create enchanted items. Hyde’s personality quickly become very business-like and crotchety, which made sense since he was working for Kira and he was rather old. He also solved a problem I had with Kira being able to recover between fights, which introduced the Healing Maidan. Imagine being locked in a tight coffin that’s filled with healing potion and spending a few days in there to heal. Not very comfortable, but it gets the job done.
As important as Hyde is to the story, I had a lot of trouble giving him a lot of scenes. He wasn’t going to be much of an adviser and he really only wanted to do his job. I hinted at a grudge against the Shadow Earl, but a gremlin isn’t going to be able to do much against a powerful demon. There was an attempt to make him a mentor/father figure that fell incredibly flat too. In the end, this might have worked out best. With Hyde, little is more because he had only one focus. There are only so many times I could have him work on a relic with Kira hanging around or showing up to fix something. He turned up when he was needed, which I hope makes him a stronger presence.