adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Qala

Qala is the protagonist of my current fantasy novel-in-progress, THE CROCODILE GOD, sequel to THE CROCODILE’S SON and the second book in the Crocodile Chronicles (there may be only two, but they are interwoven with the two novels of the Sajam Saga). However, she first appeared as a secondary character in THE EYES OF THE WIND and proved too interesting a character not to revisit — and allow to star in her own stories.

When we met her in EYES, she was the Pirate Queen, captor of our protagonists Marana and Saj, and, before long, lover to their companion Xit. Now Xit, as far as Qala knew, was simply a modestly proficient sorcerer but a quite proficient lover, a way to amuse herself amid the tedium of life in the hidden harbor of the pirate fleet. That she preferred women is not that important. Xit would do until someday she found that one she could truly love.

For Qala had loved before, loved the mistress of he who ruled over the pirates before her. It was his jealousy and his murder of the woman that led Qala to challenge and replace him. She had ruled since. Ruled until our trio appeared and were enlisted into her scheme to slip away into retirement before she, too, was pulled down.

So it is she ended up at her country estate, far away — and pregnant. Qala was in her mid-to-late thirties by then (she has no clear idea of her age). Soon she learns that Xit was no sorcerer but a god, and that her son will be something more than a mortal. All that weaves into the plots of the Crocodile Chronicles novels, with which we are not dealing here.

Qala was born across the Greater Sea, in the Old Muram Kingdoms, in the slums of a gray city by the sea. She is pretty much a true Mur*, though all her people were somewhat of mixed blood by that time. Who were those people? I hint that they are somewhat ‘Asian’ in appearance. Obviously, as there is no Asia in their world, that is not the best of descriptions. On the whole, they might most closely resemble Siberians or Native Americans but, like most humans of their world, they are very much a mix of various populations who passed through ‘gates’ from elsewhere. The Mura were a nomadic people a few generations back who swept in from the steppes and conquered the area that now comprises the ‘Old Kingdoms.’ Some adventurers from those cities later crossed the Greater Sea to found the Muram Empire, where our tales are set.

She is a fairly diminutive woman, slender, sinewy, and not tall, ‘coppery’ of skin, black of hair. While still wandering the Muram kingdoms before taking to the pirate life, she not only learned swordsmanship but became exceptionally adept with blades of all sorts. This has been alluded to in the stories. I am unlikely to actually explore that period of her life in any detail — no ‘Qala, the Early Years’ novel! Needless to say, she needed to be good at things other than weaponry to rule over a fleet of pirates; Qala is an able leader and politician.

Or was. Now she leads only the people of a mid-sized estate along the banks of the upper Chas. There she has found at least some meaning to her life, in her young son, in her responsibilities as the mistress of her little domain. And, perhaps, she will at least meet the love she has longed for. I believe I shall have to finish writing THE CROCODILE GOD to be certain of that.

* Incidentally, the word Mur means essentially ‘warrior’ in their language. It came to mean ‘noble’ among those they conquered and eventually to refer to them as a people. Some might recognize a Proto-Indo-European root in that.

No comments: