One of the toughest things is introducing new characters to a series when you’re at the final volume. It isn’t necessary, but sometimes you need fresh faces to get certain events over the finish line. I had that issue with War of Nytefall: Eulogy. That’s where Alexis Nucian comes into play and the character has a rather wild creation history. Kind of a shame that he gets so little time in the series, but that’s what happens at times.
Alexis is not a combat character at all. He was designed as a diplomat, so his entire thing is talking problems away. I realized early on that the story would need a character like this at some point. Various incarnations had Alexis showing up in the middle and others at the end. There were two versions where he wasn’t around at all and another where he was an evil diplomat. Poor guy was all over the place. The most common version, which wasn’t the final one, was a vampire who stepped in to force peace between Clyde and Xavier Tempest. Sometimes he was successful and it was the end of the series. Other times he failed and made things worse. This is why I omitted him a few times because he caused too much trouble.
The physical description of Alexis wasn’t any better. The current incarnation is a halfling while all previous ones were human. For a while, he had tiger-striped hair, but no powers to explain that. He was tall, short, handsome, ugly, and the list goes on until it feels like I tried every combination. At this point, all of the Alexis versions bleed together and I can’t differentiate between the early versions and what came before he was turned into a peaceful halfling. Of course, the change of species came with another big alteration, which was needed really badly.
Alexis was originally named ‘Brian Hunter’, which is a name I may have mentioned once or twice on this blog. This is the name of the super spy character I made in high school and kept using in college for various non-fantasy action stories. As expected, he was based on James Bond. I’ve since moved him into ‘The Ether Thief’ series and given him a short story collection afterwards. Yet, he was retired for a while because I wasn’t sure if I could move him to Windemere until I came up with a story. Of course, him returning meant I couldn’t keep the Dawn Fang diplomat as Brian Hunter. To be honest, the name didn’t work for a peaceful character either, so I toyed around with sites until I came up with Alexis Nucian. That last name showed up because I remembered he was a werewolf during one version of this series. A rather clunky road to what I have now, but it got to where it worked.
Like many of my War of Nytefall characters, there’s a role-playing game connection here. This one isn’t too great. Most of my friends were playing a live-action game of vampires, which is called a LARP. I was avoiding it for a while because it felt like too much work, but then I got lonely and left out. So, I created the first Brian Hunter version who was to be a diplomat among a group of warriors who kept getting into trouble. I thought it was good, but it was a disaster. My first gaming session resulted in the group getting exiled and marked as enemies, so I couldn’t do any diplomat things without being a traitor or killed. I quickly realized my desire to simply have fun was being squashed by just trying to keep the character as it was supposed to be. I’m also really bad at playing politics and my, at the time unrealized, social anxiety kept making my diplomat be dumber than his stats and abilities would suggest. In the end, he was killed and I tried two more times to play this game. #2 would be Kai Stavros who was an archaeologist that lasted 1 session because his reason for being in the game was eliminated by the end. #3 was Lou who I played off as Lenny from ‘Of Mice and Men’. That went better, but he was inevitably killed in a way that left a sour taste in my mouth. It all started with this diplomat, who never met his potential.
Thankfully, Alexis Nucian gets to shine in this book. Maybe. Sort of. You’ll have to read War of Nytefall: Eulogy to find out.
Fascinating behind-the-scenes drama. At least Alexis finally made it into the series. Introducing characters in the last book makes sense plot-wise. I can’t help thinking of how many new characters George Lucas introduced in the Return of the Jedi or those Rowling rolled out in Deathly Hallows,
Lucas did it pretty well since Jabba was previously established. Even without appearing, you knew he was around. That opened the door for all his henchmen too. Never read Deathly Hallows. I remember the movie having new faces with no backstory though.
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He must be interesting if he stuck with you for that long. Glad you finally got the chance to use him. I had to roll out some new characters in the final Lanternfish, so I understand how it works.
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He’s definitely unique among the vampires. Hoping he works out since the final version is nothing like the original concept.
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