Revisiting Origins: Nyx

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

(Might as well move on to the second champion we meet in Legends of Windemere.  This post definitely needs to be edited a bunch after I paste it here.  I’ll explain why at the end.  Nyx debuted in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.)

Back in 1999, a young woman with a chip on her shoulder and penchant for hitting people for the slightest verbal transgression joined the Dungeons & Dragon game I was in.  This is the game where I played Luke Callindor (at that point, I still hadn’t given him a last name) and it was the semester where the other players began to leave the game.  This would leave me and this young woman as the only players until the next semester.  This young woman had never played this type of game, so she did what any normal person would do.  Sorry, I meant wouldn’t do.  She created a magic-using warrior, which basically boils down to a character who can cast magic and is slightly stronger with a dagger or a staff.  Noticing how Luke ran into battle, she thought she could do the same.  Unfortunately, there was only a handful of offensive spells she had and the only one that did damage was the magical equivalent of a kick to the shins.  As for her warrior skills . . . she may have hit 10 things with a weapon over the course of the entire 2.5 year game.  So, this young woman would charge in ahead of those who were supposed to be the frontline and make a mess of any plan we had.  Hence, the tradition of Nyx being the first to rush into battle and getting knocked out began.  As the game progressed and Nyx gained better spells and a magic crossbow, she improved. It helped that this young woman and I started dating, which meant she started listening to me when I tried to explain the game.  By the time the game fell apart, Nyx was pretty strong.  She still got knocked out a lot because the guy running the game always forgot that she couldn’t take a hit and put her up against some incredibly strong monsters . . . She also forgot her weakness and ran in like the old days.

Nyx was in a worse spot than the other characters when it came time to transform her into a book character.  As I said, beginning spells in a D&D game aren’t that impressive and the way you’re supposed to learn new spells is by finding someone to teach them.  In book terms, this would require that Nyx end every adventure going back to her masters and returning with new spells at the beginning of the next adventure.  The alternative would be for her to constantly stumble onto spellbooks, which would get ridiculous after a while.  There was also that problem of her being knocked out and injured more often than the other characters.  I didn’t like that the first female hero I introduced had the durability of a paper plane in a tornado.  Still, I couldn’t make her a great warrior AND a great magic-user because that would overshadow the other characters.  This is what led to Nyx becoming a magical prodigy who is able to cast without gestures, incantations, and spell components. She became incredibly powerful right from the beginning, which was tempered by the fact that she had to restrain herself and there was a matching villain who could rival her.  At first, I was afraid that she would be too powerful, but she still found ways to get in trouble and knocked out.

There was also the depth of her character that made her so much fun to write.  In the game, she was moody and quick to anger, which didn’t fade as time went on.  This is how she started in the book, but Nyx began to develop a big sister role for the other heroes.  Being an orphan, she seemed to be trying to create a family out of the main characters, so I let her do this.  This brought out a protective nature in her and also revealed an internal sorrow and loneliness that she was fighting to dispose of.  She had her ups and downs, but they never seemed to be random.  There was always a trigger to set her off and she has gradually gotten stronger through her friendships.  She’s also adopted Luke’s level of cockiness and mouthing off to enemies, but Nyx has also given him a stable friendship that is impossible to break.

2023 Update– So . . . Nyx is a difficult character to read about.  On one hand, I’m very proud about how she evolved and grew over the course of the series.  She’s definitely one of the better character arcs I’ve done and a lot of it wasn’t exactly planned.  On the other hand, the woman who played her would become my wife and then my ex-wife.  So, it’s difficult to work with Nyx and not feel some pangs of pain.  I mean, it does help that book Nyx is ENTIRELY different than game Nyx.  There’s more character depth, abilities, and development.  Guess that’s what helps me.  Well, I also finished writing and publishing the series before the divorce.  So, I didn’t have to work with Nyx any more.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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6 Responses to Revisiting Origins: Nyx

  1. L. Marie says:

    Very ittersweet I’m sure. 🥺Still Nyx is a well-developed character.


  2. V.M.Sang says:

    I enjoyed this explanation of how Nyx came about. She is certainly an interesting character. Her initial meeting with Luke is amusing.


  3. I remember this background story.


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