In turmoil rife the world locked out—
Thrice beams of light thrown ‘cross the door—
Within, all pillared in cedars stout,
Carpeted in colours of mingled fleurs:
Walk with me, my genius fairy!
Arm in arm, we’ll linger there.
There the war-notes of the hum-birds tarry,
The phoenix nests within thy hair.
Somewhere around here...where it is...here it is. I wrote a Chatterbox starring some of the cast of Ampersand, just for the fun of it and perhaps to get a handle on who is who and how they are. Golly gee, that seems like ages ago. I can't actually promise that what I wrote then will translate into the actual novel come time, but it was a fun exercise.
Okay, but this post isn't about Chatterboxes. (Chatterboxen?) This is about Beautiful People, and I'm going to deviate from Drakeshelm to take up the main character of Ampersand in the hopes that I will 1) not give too much away about Drakeshelm, and b) I'm banking on some of you forgetting what I say about Ampersand by the time I write it so it comes as a surprise when you read it. It's not a very sturdy bank...
1. What first inspired this character? Is there a character/actor you based him off?philip cheval
To the second half of this question...I don't think so. I don't tend to do that - base my characters off others, I mean. Not intentionally. What first inspired him... I can't put my finger on the moment. He just...came. I know that's rather a lame answer, you know? It isn't as if I watched him fall like lightning from heaven. But he is so important - so, so vitally important; without him, there would be no Plenilune. Maybe it's just the innate desire to discover the origin story that bore Philip Cheval in my mind.
2. What does he merely tolerate?
Sweetmeats, lettering, stupidity, and Uncle Augustus.
3. How does he react in awkward silence?
Since he is rarely the cause of it, it does not tend to faze him. He is by nature phlegmatic, sturdy, peaceable, and adapts quickly to almost any situation. (Pretty much the exact opposite of my main character in Drakeshelm.) If he likes the other person or people who compose the awkward silence, he will try to dispel the atmosphere by drawing out a better subject; if he dislikes them, he will retire into his own mind and let the awkwardness linger.
4. What is one major event that helped shape who he is?
Without a doubt I would name his tutelage under Trevellyan Oprismameluna, renowned natural philosopher.
I pursed my lips and looked away, to his left—I had long conquered the child’s proclivity for staring at the floor when talking to his elders—and considered for a second. “I understand,” I said slowly, “that it is ignoble to be a bastard.” I met his gaze again. “But I also believe that we make our own nobility.”5.What does he value most in life?
A grim smile cracked his features. “An idealist,” he said, as if to himself. And I think he spoke it with compassion.
Nothing so easy! Family. Having providentially gained one when he had no right to one, it is something he takes more seriously than many, for good or ill. And that, I suppose, it what shapes much of Ampersand, in the end...
There was a tread of steps on the stair and the three of us turned round—Jubal gave a muffled grunt of greeting—and I found myself looking up at a younger version of my Lord Marius: high and broad in the shoulder, slimmed at the waist, and a chest in between which looked fit to halt a pair of bullocks in mid career. The face was pleasant but puzzled, and the young man looked from his relatives to myself, sweepingly, high-browed as if holding this scene at a distance before he was sure he would enjoy it.6. Does he believe in giving people second chances? Does he have trust issues?
“Father!” Raymond reprimanded lightly. He came down the stair and his fingers brushed off the banister to fall gently upon the gilding of his sword-hilt. “I did not know we were to have—” then he stopped, his eyes flashing with surprise like terror, and fixed upon me.
Odd, how single moments can seem like eternity…
“Philip!” he cried. “Light of the sun—Philip!”
And he was sprinting across the architrave, saying I think neither of us knew quite what, and the next moment I was slammed into his embrace, rocked and hammered, rocking and hammering in return with a feeling like a sob in my chest. I did not realize until that moment how afraid I had been that he should not know me. I wanted to cry like a girl-child and I was having difficulty feeling ashamed of myself. But he did know me, and though shaken, I laughed to throw off the fear.
You'd think he would... I suppose we'll have to find out.
7. What does he look like?
As Ampersand is written in the first person, perhaps I should give you a picture of Philip myself. He is easy to sketch: tall, slight, long-boned like a racehorse, with an aquiline nose, a sharp jawline, and a thin cut of mouth just softened by naturally sleepy, pleasant blue eyes. As a boy in summer he is bay-coloured, with nutbrown skin and almost black hair, but his skin prefers to be a paler shade and his hair is actually a deep, dark brown. He has a taste for excellent cloth but tends to wear retiring colours; his typical dress is a hybridization of a huntsman's gear worn round the kennels and a gentleman coming to call.
A high summer wind was up, blowing the mackerel clouds southwest across the flamed sky, and far out across the headland the wine-coloured sea hummed its breathing rhythm through the air, roaring against the rocks and pulsing on the wide slip-way, and foam-feathering with its spray the thick, mazed tangle of tamarisk which had been left to grow wild at the foot of the estate land. I leaned upon the stone rail of the upper terrace and watched the stepped landscape below me darken under the tiger sky, my skin flushed with the honey of the evening air, and inside my chest, my heart was warm like a vessel full of wine. A thin sea-scent lay beneath a heavy veneer of trodden thyme, and my head felt drunk with it, pleasantly drunk with it, and for a moment—rare in a man’s life—I had no more to do than stand leaning against the lichen’d stone with my thumb and forefinger idly rubbing at one another’s prints, my idle gaze drifting over the descending parterres, full of a solemn pleasance in life which hurt a little if I dared to stir.