Beautiful People - Ella FitzDraco

"Oh, I don't mind two, not when they're little ones," said Fledge.  "But I hope the Elephant 
doesn't want to come as well."
The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis

They just keep coming.  Every way I turn someone new is springing out of my plot.  Due to the nature of the story and the social strata in which my characters are moving, the children of Plenilune don't often make appearances, but this one, at least, seems to have made it in.  Now, I'm actually pretty bad at coming up with names.  They don't usually just - poof - come to me; I usually have to think hard before anything good comes to mind.  In this girl's case I was drawing a complete blank so I put the matter to my husband.  He took one look at her and said, "Ella."  I took another look at her and said, "Ella!"  And that was that.


1.  What is her full name?

Ella Désirée FitzDraco.

2.  What is her favourite book?

As a very young child her favourite book was a picture-book full of bright pastoral images; she still likes it, but she is now too old for such books.  Her favourite book now is a novel her father gifted her with called The Gates of Ivory: a byzantine, fantastic novel of gods and dreams and conspiracies that I wish I could get my hands on. 

3.  How old is she?

Ella is nine years old. She is a bit sheltered, so in a sense she is younger than that, but she has her father’s vast library at her disposal and, in that sense, she is much older than her physical age.

4.  What does she do with her spare time?

Ella is a My Side of the Mountain sort of child.  Now that she is nine years old and mostly responsible, she is allowed the whole run of Gemeren and, unless it is raining or an afternoon in summer (when the light comes perfectly into the library) you will find her somewhere outside, probably out of shouting distance, and probably rather dirty.  She likes to play at Jason and the Argonauts (of course she is Jason), so she often winds up wet as well as dirty.  She is very wood-wise for a nine-year-old, she would not be caught dead forgetting to shut a farm gate, and she once went a round with Peppin’s goose and got the better of it.

5.  What is her favourite animal?

Excepting Peppin’s goose, she is fond of just about every animal. 

6.  Does she have any pets?

As she lives on a large working farm, Ella doesn’t have any pets, not strictly speaking.  She wants to be friends with Cat, but her love is unrequited; otherwise she is friends with all the animals but, as they all have a purpose (to do or die) they are really more acquaintances and creatures that have to be fed every morning than pets.

7.  Does she have any siblings?

Not yet, at any rate.  There were two children who died in infancy and a miscarriage before her.  Having children is a chancy business where Ella comes from.

8.  Who is her best friend?

Though she would not call him a pet, and she rather lives in awe of him, Ella’s best friend is her father’s half-wolf war-dog Snati.  Even though she is a tall nine-year-old he still stands a little over her and, when she was younger, he was known to give her some meaningful knocks to keep her out of trouble when he was left to babysit her.  But whenever FitzDraco can spare him he can often be found tagging solemnly after Ella through wood and water and wagon-lane: they are an odd pair, but really the best of friends.

9.  What is her family like?

Ella’s family consists of the whole farm of Gemeren.  They are all good, free folk and Ella has known them since she was a baby.  Her immediate family is only her mother and father; as her family is very close to the royal family of Orzelon-gang she often calls Mark Roy and Romage “uncle” and “aunt,” and their children her cousins.  Her family is quiet and comfortable, if a little grim.

10.  Right handed, or left?

Ella is right-handed.

11.  Is she naturally curious?

Ella is the sort of person who is curious before she thinks.  By some great grace of Providence this has never got her into serious trouble, but she does have a tendency to run her head into a situation before she has thought if it is a good idea or not.  She has the makings of a bizarre natural philosopher.  However, where her world and her father’s world overlap she has learned to keep quiet and to watch, partly out of respect for her father, partly because it is very difficult to understand even a little how her father rules her world.

12.  What colour are her eyes and hair?

Ella shares her mother’s fairness: she has stark blue eyes and pale, honey-coloured hair.  Except for her frown she does not have much physical resemblance to her father.

13.  What do other characters have to say about her?

[He] sat down in one of the armchairs and pulled Ella up onto his lap.  He swore he had never met her before but they seemed to take to each other almost instantly.  With his arms around her, knee jigging her slightly, he told her that she had a bit of the mischief-maker about her and had Mercury’s laugh, and FitzDraco had better keep an eye on this one.  She told him he smelled like horses and that she liked that about him.  He laughed and kissed her on the forehead.

14.  What does she like to wear?
Ella has three cotton frocks that she wears in succession: a white one (very quickly dirtied) a grey one (dirtied with only a little less speed) and a brown one (which she could conceivably get away with wearing two days in a row).  She has a whole wardrobe at her disposal, but her day-time work-a-day frocks are most comfortable and get the most wear.

15.  How does she feel about people in general?

When it comes to strangers Ella is wary, but curious, and unless she has something otherwise very important going on she will usually drop what she is doing and hang about to listen.  She goes by looks a great deal: if a man looks a little like her father she is inclined to be friendly; if a lady looks a little like her mother she is inclined to at least be polite.  As a rule, however, Ella doesn’t think about the subject of people.  People are things that happen, and sometimes it is pleasant and sometimes it is not. 
* * * * *

“Hold hard, daughter!”
Ella turned at the familiar sound of his voice, eyes glancing across the confusion until she saw him.  He ran to her, dropped on one knee with his left shoulder forward, and took her in the stomach.  She gave a sharp cry as the wind was knocked from her—judging from her face Margaret guessed it hurt a little—but a second later he was up again without check, the girl slung over his shoulder, making for the place where her father and Aikin Ironside were winning back the courtyard doors.

2 ripostes:

  1. Fascinating. And Kudos to Tim for thinking up such a lovely and perfect name for this wood-nymph of a girl. :)

  2. It is a child! Also, it is an adorable child, which are much more rare (at least in stories) than one would like to think. Her name fits her perfectly, and I love that she is always Jason. She seems like the sort of girl who is only sensible when it's least expected of her, and merely practical the rest of the time. I like her. :)