Revisiting Origins: Sari

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

(Time for Legends of Windemere champion #3.  That would be Sari who started off in a bad spot and seemed to routinely find trouble.  Her debut was in Allure of the Gypsies, which also caused a fairly big stir among what few readers I had.  Although, she wasn’t the character people aimed their anger at when the dust settled.)

Where to even begin with this colorful ball of chaos?  The beginning is the best, but only because it might make her slightly more understandable.  Sari was played by Sarah who joined the game during our third semester after it had been Luke and Nyx alone for a few months.  This gypsy was an immediate surge of humor, energy, and passion into the game.  She whirled into the game with an energy that I had never seen in a new gamer and it immediately drew Luke to her.  So, within a few weeks, Sari and Luke were hooking up every time Nyx turned her back on them.  It became the love story of the game that was swiftly dashed when Sarah left college.  At this point, I had become a person who played Luke true to his character and killing Sari would have crushed him.  This is where the books began falling out of step with the game.  The gamemaster wanted to kill Sari off (even though she had been established as plot necessary) and I wanted Sari to stay because I couldn’t find a way for Luke to go on without her.  So, Sari was constantly kidnapped or put into a healing coma for an entire year until she was returned to the group.  The gamemaster tried to play her, but flirting with him was awkward.  I tried to play her, but flirting with myself got me odd stares.  In the end, Sari became a silent character who people eventually forgot about and she was practically a shadow by the time the game crashed and burned.

This brought a few interesting opportunities for book Sari.  First thing was that I wasn’t around for the gaming session where she started on the path that would lead her to us.  That was just Sarah and the gamemaster.  So, I had to make up a lot of that and factor in some of the random events that occurred with her.  She also had a clean slate in terms of abilities beyond illusions and thief skills, but she was supposed to eventually reach an equal level to Nyx and Luke.  This has led to one of the more amusing things about writing Sari.  She is a Swiss Army Knife character that would reveal a new ability to suit her needs in the earlier books.  While Nyx and Luke are rather straightforward in what they are capable of, Sari has enough abilities to make her a wild card.  I did the math once and a villain would need 5 levels of defense/protection to have a shot at containing Sari.  If you get by her daggers, she still has thief skills, water powers, immovability, illusions, and Gabriel only knows what else she’s going to hit you with.  The craziest part of this is that the powers and abilities make sense and there are signs that she has them before I reveal what she’s truly capable of.  So, I have definitely learned a lot from Sari in terms of listening to my characters and giving them some freedom.

All of this doesn’t even include her personality.  I had Luke who was recklessly heroic and Nyx who was short-tempered, which made them predictable to some extent.  Sari came out the other way by becoming a mood chameleon.  She is always trying to stay happy and make the people around her feel loved and happy.   Many times this comes out as flirty, slutty, and/or dim-witted, but she retains a sense of cunning.  Several times, other characters wonder if Sari is smarter than she lets on and they are probably right.  She is also a roiling storm of emotions that she manages to keep under control most of the time.  She starts off being sad and scared, but she’s defiant and oddly calm/passive in the next scene.  She does have a habit of erupting into tears or public displays of affection without warning, which throws the other characters off.  She’s a big hug and kiss character and the Windemere gypsy belief in freedom and tolerance leads to several . . . let’s just say Nyx gets very tempted to burn Sari on several occasions.

That does bring me to the final point of Sari and her origin.  Sari is the one responsible for upping the sexual innuendo and . . . well, just the sex.  I’m not talking full-on sex scenes because I can’t bring myself to write those.  The worst I do is passionate make-out scenes and the before or after cuddling talks.  Still, this was relatively tame until Sari showed up to openly talk about having sex.  She has no fear of the subject and is quiet amused at the other characters being squeamish about how open she is.  It has made a very entertaining dynamic between the lustful Sari and the restrained Nyx who are childhood friends.  They play off each other like sisters with Nyx being the protective older sister and Sari being the fun, loosen-Nyx-up younger sister.  It’s the inclusion of Sari that also helped me figure out how the characters think about sex, love, lust, and even their future.  She is certainly a major influence on character development, which is something that I never planned.  Sari simply stepped into every character’s life with a desire to make them happy and wouldn’t leave them alone until she made them smile.  Even then, she usually stuck around to see what else she could make them do.

2023 Update– Looking back, I start to wonder if Sari was a missed opportunity.  Then again, I also think I never really got her over her initial trauma.  To the very end of the series, she was a character who seemed to live to make others happen and not do anything to heal herself.  I can’t tell if I simply missed that issue or she was never meant to become whole in the first place.  Would I do it differently?  I don’t know.  I might have focused a bit more on her trauma or delved into her sexual side.  Once I got push back from readers being angry at ‘all of the sex’ (again, no sex scenes written), I started to rein Sari in a bit there.  Learned my lesson that I shouldn’t let vocal readers cause me to do major redesigns of characters and stories, especially if others are fine.

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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14 Responses to Revisiting Origins: Sari

  1. L. Marie says:

    A very interesting look at character development. Now that you have revisited Sari’s development, would you ever consider writing a prequel series with characters like Sari?


  2. I like your conclusion in your 2023 wrap-up about doing redesigns because of reader opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know a few characters like that in games. They were so fun and interesting, but then the player’s life got complicated and they had to drop out. Always missed them, though.


  4. I enjoyed learning about the reader feedback. It means they were invested. Nothing like that has ever happened to me, so I have a way to go on the writing path.


  5. V.M.Sang says:

    I love the wild tempestuousness of Sari. She definitely brings something extra to the story.
    As to the sex–well, she’s your character. I would ignore what some people say. If there’s no overt sex, then that’s fine. Sex is a part of life, so people should accept it. As long as it’s only hinted at, I don’t see what they are complaining about.
    I don’t think Sari would be the same, nor bring the same dynamic to the others without it.


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