At the risk of having my ingenious, original, and in all ways utterly brilliant ideas stolen, I have come up with the names of the main characters of my novel and a bit of background on each. We have:
Maddie Ross – A fifteen year old girl with a reputation for being headstrong and tough as nails. Angry and getting more self-destructive since the disappearance of her father, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands after months of waiting and attempts to hire a man to go with her on the search for her father. When nobody is willing, she decides to leave on her own.
Bennett Warwick – A sixteen year old boy, he is apprenticing with his father to work as a handyman and blacksmith, creating and fixing tools for the townsfolk. Bennett is a bit of a prodigy, coming up with ingenious new traps and inventions to help the town. He owns a battered copy of the Stephen Lawhead novel “Arthur”, one of his family’s most prized possessions. As a male he is also trained to fight and hunt. As he gets older he comes to believe that Britain needs a new Arthur, and he has ambitions of gathering a group of people and trying to start a “Kingdom of Summer”. Bennett gets a vision from, perhaps, Arthur himself, or perhaps some different authority, where he becomes a squire. He receives a vision of a girl committing suicide, and if he completes the “quest” (unspecified, but presumably stopping the suicide) he will become a real knight.
Bennett resolves the next day to go out looking for the girl, when he finds Maddie ready to go out on her own. As they are heading in the same (still unspecified) direction, he goes with her to protect her on his search for the girl, it being a knightly duty to protect the weak. And so one half of our pair is off.
This half of my quartet is very significant. I’m not totally privy to Maddie’s ultimate function yet, but Bennett is very important. He has the most complete vision of Arthur’s kingdom and is the only one whose first motivation was to become a knight. In some ways he is the “main” protagonist.
You might notice the old west style American names. This is intentional. Maddie and Bennett come from the town of New Washington, founded by American tourists after the EMP hit and things started going to Hell. I tried to give these characters American, pioneer-ish names, both to showcase my Western theme a little more and because pioneers are the sort of tough guys who could survive in this world. I wanted to give everybody the idea that these guys are tough.
Now, from outside of New Washington, we have:
Lance Shaw – A 24 year old former outlaw turned crusader. Lance’s backstory is the first I came up with, is the most detailed as of now, and is my favorite. Lance starts out the story as the leader of a group of outlaws. Lance is a crack shot with a gun and a brilliant fighter, but he makes it a point to only kill when necessary. After robbing a Priest, Lance stops the “new guy” in the group, working name Mort, from killing him. Lance ends up staying and talking with the Priest, Father Lanton (Yes, a “Daredevil” reference, with one letter changed), who tells him he will soon need to answer to a higher authority than himself. Lance assumes God and ignores him.
That night Lance gets a vision of the Holy Grail and a voice announcing the coming of Arthur. In the morning he attempts to hash it out with the Priest, who is killed by Mort. Mort attempts a coup, and Lance gets the better of them, killing all but one, and with him he starts on his search for Arthur – the scene I’m writing.
Lance is Scottish. When I looked up Scottish names, I found Shaw. This is great. “Lance Shaw” sounds badass, as I meant for it to sound, while still being an actual Scottish surname. Cool!
The one outlaw who joins him is…
Gavin Erwood – Gavin is a sixteen year old who was taken in by Lance in the outlaw group after both his parents were killed in a raid by another town. He is loyal to Lance, and smart. When Mort plans the coup Gavin pretends to join in, but he helps Lance escape, then joins him on the quest, becoming his steward (though Lance and Gavin wouldn’t use that word).
Gavin is Welsh. Preferably I would have used a modernized version of Galahad (Lancelot’s son in the legends), but there is one. Gavin is a modernized form of Gawaine, in the really old legends Galahad’s brother. So Gavin it is.
It is very much intentional that the two Brits are also the ones with names that match up the most closely with Arthuriana. They are “closer”, to coin a phrase, to the legends, so the roles they are stepping into have been “pre-set” for them.
All right! Backstories. Whoooo. Now to figure out where they’re going, why they’re going there, how they’ll meet, who the girl’s father is, and what they plan to do when they get there.
The “where” is probably Avalon. As for the rest of those questions…still thinking. I’ll come up with something.
One last thought: Arthur is awakening, and his Round Table is re-forming. But he’s not the only thing awakening. Down in Loch Ness, where a legendary monster is supposed to have lived, an old evil awakens. She is known as the Queen of Air and Darkness…