People are spectacular things. Bundles of complications, jealousies, loves, desires – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Our team knows that all you need for a compelling story are compelling characters; each with their own motives, longings, and flaws. Toss them together, and things start to happen. The weak do drastic things to survive, the powerful grow complacent and negligent, and kingdoms rumble from the force.
But we also know that larger stories are only told through the smaller, so we want to focus over the next few weeks on a few of our main characters and the world they inhabit.
So we begin at the beginning, with the heroine of our tale:
"Maybe you’re right. Maybe I haven’t seen the things you have. All this war, this carnage.
But I can’t believe you.
This is not black and white, good and bad. We’re moving through grays here, Des. And I won’t abandon someone because their gray is a few shades darker than mine. I can’t, and I won’t. So we either find a way to be okay with that, or we don’t. But personally, I hope we do."
She was born Vashti Dahlman near the Erebore coast, and the world was hers.
In life, we cannot dictate what hand we are dealt, nor the family we are born to – but rest assured, if you could, you would have asked for Vashti’s hand.
The daughter of a wealthy merchant family, Vashti was raised just north of the prosperous trade city of Erebore on a rural estate along the cliffs. Vineyards and cool sea breezes filled her earliest memories with her older brother, Benson:
"We would pick grapes, put them in a large bowl and hike down the cliffside to a small ledge and watch the ships sail past while the water gently lapped against the rocks.
During the tempests it was frightening, I admit. Froth and foam everywhere, and the wind could be unbearable. But even then, it was a sight to behold."
Vashti was a surprise – not just in demeanor, but in arriving in this world. Her mother was told she couldn’t have other children, yet five years after Benson was born, there she was. The two grew up thick as thieves, Benson protecting and prodding her as only a brother can do.
But it wasn’t to last.
Benson enlisted in the Dantalion military as the war with the east picked up steam. He was wounded in combat amongst the mountains and sent to a triage center where he died three months later, Vashti beside him.
Something changed in her that day. While still remembering her carefree life and waves lapping against the cliffs, she tasted death and realized the tempests, while few and far between, leave scars that last forever.
So she hardened. Unable and unwilling to endure that pain again, she built a bulwark around her beliefs and emotions, reluctant to let her guard down. That is, until a man was carried into her triage center on the verge of death.
His name was Desmond, and the first thing from his mouth was a joke.
Next Time: DesmondHope you have enjoyed this short profile of Vashti, our main protagonist in Arcadian Atlas. We want to profile each of the major players in our little drama in pairs, as with every good relationship, people bring out different qualities when together that we wouldn’t see while apart.
So next time, the yin to Vashti’s yang: Desmond.
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