I should really introduce the rest of Darwin’s friends. This time it’s the twins, Maeve Darkholm and Brid Lightholm. They’re actually conjoined twins, which is a big part of their story. Originally, they were both female, but I changed Brid to a male because I felt that would give them a more understandable reason for wanting to be separated. Also, I couldn’t bring myself to write another character based around my ex-wife, so I switched him around.
“I say we flay him.”
“But the poor thing is exhausted.”
“Means he won’t put up any resistance.”
“Why are you so cruel, Maeve?”
“Because I’m stuck with a goody-goody like you, Brid.”
“Mom and dad would be very disappointed in you.”
“Well, they sold us to this freakshow, so I don’t care what they think.”
“I’m sure it was-”
“Oh, thank god he’s waking up before you finish saying that.”
Arlinger shifts and squirms as if he is still in the wicker basket, but ends up falling off a short bed. He lands on the dirt floor and groans from the stiffness in his joints, which goes away as he stretches. The halfling stops with his arm bent behind his head and stares at the people sitting on a nearby bench. On one side is a handsome man with golden hair and azure eyes, which sparkle even in the gloomy tent. His skintight shirt made from orange silk and glossy black pants leave little to the imagination in regards to his physique. In his hand is a lute, which has the crescent moon and panpipes symbol of Jinx engraved on the back. The warm smile on the man’s face stands in contrast to the angry scowl of the woman sitting next to his left. Unlike her tanned companion, the raven-haired woman is pale and has crimson scars on her exposed skin. The black leather suit she wears looks uncomfortable, especially after Arlinger notices there are barbed straps placed randomly along her body. Meeting the woman’s brown eyes, he shivers and backs away, which causes her to lick her lips like a hungry cat. He is unnerved more at the sight of a metal charm, shaped like arms covered in scars, which is fused to her flexible tongue.
“Sorry to disturb you,” the halfling says with a polite bow. He jumps back when he realizes the man and woman are physically connected, their clothes specially made to fit their shared bodies. “You two are . . . You’re a man . . . You’re a woman. How do you play a lute with one arm? By the gods, I think I’m having a Darwin moment. What’s with the barbed whip? Can I just leave?”
“This little guy clearly doesn’t mean any harm,” the man whispers while gently pushing the angry woman’s arm down. He tries to stand up, but she refuses to follow, so he flops back into his seat. “That’s very rude. My name is Brid Lightholm and I’m a passion priest of Jinx. This is my twin sister, Maeve Darkholm, who is a pain inflictor of Incu. What’s your name?”
“That’s all you’re going to tell him?” Maeve asks with a roll of her eyes. Reaching into a bowl, she takes out a handful of bitter cherries and pops one into her mouth. “We both know what you’re going to ask after you say your name. No reason to wait. My brother and I were born this way. It wasn’t a curse or an accident. Our parents hated it, but raised us as best as they could, which was terribly. We joined our temples with the hope of finding a way to separate because it’s a nightmare being physically connected to your brother. It’s made worse when he’s a cheery optimist like this one. The sleeping pills I have to take when he has one of his passion rituals are so sweet, they make me want to puke. It’s a headache torturing a follower of Incu with this yutz singing about flowers and waterfalls. Obviously, our plan failed and our parents decided it was time to get some use out of the freaks they call children. They sold us to this circus where we’ve been stuck for about three years. You can see the chains on our ankles, which are enchanted to trap us among the tents. The only times we’re let out is for temple responsibilities and shows. Now, grab a shirt from that pile and leave.”
The halfling reaches into a pocket on his belt and pulls out a fresh shirt, which has a ketchup stain on the front. “Thanks, but I always carry this spare. Could use some boots though. Never mind. My name is Arlinger and I’m trying to figure out what happened to my cousin. I fell asleep and he wandered off. Sounds like he was over by the river and caused some damage. Now, I’ve got the mayor and guards after me. So, I think I’m going to leave and not drag you into my mess.”
“Is there anything we can do to help?” Brid asks before his sister kicks him in the shin. The pain does not cause his beaming smile to waver, which infuriates Maeve. “I know we can’t leave the circus, but maybe we have some advice. It is part of a holy figure’s duty to bestow wisdom on those in need. Although, I do have to ask if you’re a criminal of any kind. I understand that you want to help your cousin, which is beautiful. I’d simply like to know the situation before I speak my mind. Otherwise, I will have to remain silent.”
“Why stop blabbing now?” Maeve mutters under her breath.
Wow! Great scene amd info on Brid and Maeve. Can I ask how you came up with them? So interesting!
They were characters in the game I used Darwin. Originally, they were both female. I changed Brid, the one played by my ex-wife, into a guy. Figured that would also make it more understandable that they want to be separated.
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It sounds like you enjoyed writing this book. Arlinger is a fun character as well.
He is. Though most supporting cast will only be in one book. At least until the finale.
Great characters, Charles.
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Such an interesting surprise.
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