One of the first things we do as writers is developing and fleshing out our characters. In chapter one of Draegnstoen we meet most of the important ones. There is ten-year old Rhun, the crown prince with a mean streak; the one who would be king. We are introduced to Frydissa, his nine-year old sister, and brother Coel, age seven, the hero of the story. A peasant boy, Hamish, is also introduced.
When I began, I barely knew these characters, least of all, Frydissa and Hamish. And now, as I finish both Draegnstoen and Highland King, I come to realize how important these two really are.
When we first meet Hamish, he is a simple peasant boy from a very poor family. I originally put him into the story only to show the reader that Rhun was a cruel bully. I thought after his brief appearance we would never see him again. However, he has proven me wrong, showing up later to be a rider for the king, and going on a dangerous mission to a foreign land.
In Highland King he appears again, as a personal bodyguard to the queen. He risks his life to protect the young hero, and is the only one in the story brave enough to fight the giant twice. Loyal Hamish never craves the spotlight, but he’s always there when needed, and this saga would not be the same without his quiet strength.
I sorrow for the hard life I gave Frydissa. This feisty little red haired girl was originally supposed to be just a supporting character. But she’s shown herself to be made of the same steel as Hamish, enduring many trials to support the cause of good. She trudges the full length of both books; her life a series of tragedies, briefly interrupted by periods of happiness. At the end of Draegnstoen, she was ready to give birth to her baby, and that slim plot thread became the tie in when I decided to write Highland King. In spite of all she suffered in Draegnstoen, Frydissa bravely stepped forward to be the mother of Doncann, the hero in Highland King. There was still much left for her to endure and her “happily ever after” doesn’t come until thirty six years after we first meet her – at the end of the second book, after eighty-eight chapters of tribulation.
At last I can see these two for who they are. Without consciously trying to be brave, they often exhibit extraordinary courage. Ever true to themselves, they always know which side they are on. In spite of sometimes disastrous setbacks, they never give up. They are truly the unsung heroes of this story.
When I grow up, I want to be like Hamish and Frydissa.