This character meme was a fun way to explore other aspects of my characters! Caution: Although the answers overall are non-canon, there is some discussion below which would be mild spoilers for several aspects of Heart of the Empire.

Choose twelve of your original characters, in no particular order. Then, answer the questions that follow, but don’t look at the questions before you pick the characters!

1. Daenan
2. Nirell
3. Kehai
4. Zai’al
5. Veovis
6. Kohaku
7. Ran’ek
8. Bal’al
9. Dreeka
10. Gannik
11. Enaar
12. Arlayn

1. Who would make a better college professor, 6 or 11?

This depends on the subject matter but I don’t think either of them are particularly well-suited to the task in the end. Kohaku, as a dedicated temple priestess, could do very well at teaching religious or spiritual studies. Teaching can be hectic and stressful so I imagine she would rather disseminate her knowledge via the Dragon Temple, which is not really the same thing.

Enaar, on the other hand, is a hard-core scientist. He’s a top mind on his planet so he has a lot of knowledge that others would benefit from. Would he want to teach though? This I doubt, as it would take him out of the lab. Enaar likes his projects, his experiments. The only advantage he might see to being a college professor is the potential to find more, um, test subjects.

2. Do you think 2 is hot? How hot?

Very hot! ♥ (For an ardrakin.) Seriously though, Nirell is meant to be a dashing heroic character, so within the context of the story, “eye candy” basically goes without saying. I also want him to have more substance than that, of course. I’m still exploring his character so we’ll see where his path leads as time goes on.

3. Character 12 sends 6 on a mission. What is it, and does it succeed?

Hmm. This presupposes Arlayn and Kohaku meet, which might not be a stretch, but if it were to happen, it definitely wouldn’t until the events in HOTE. (This question is hard to answer without giving anything away!)

In HOTE, Arlayn is a freedom fighter, a person who stands against tyranny. After the events in HOTE, she will still be caught up in the changes her world faces as a result of her actions (and other events in the story). If Kohaku were needed for a mission in these circumstances, Arlayn would likely direct her to assist with healing the spirit of the eruos people. They’ve always been under someone’s boot (the “alien trash of the galaxy”) and HOTE will be no exception to that. Maybe by the end of the story, the eruos will have a chance to finally stand on their own (but with friends to help them along the way).

Having said that, if my muse continues to poke my brain every so often, there are other events which will happen after HOTE which might throw that happy ending into doubt. So, would Kohaku succeed at this mission? I’ll have to find out!

4. What is or would be 9’s favorite book?

Since these characters are alien, this is difficult to answer (to give a specific title). Humans do not appear in HOTE (they’re not relevant to anything), so Dreeka wouldn’t have any access to human literature.

Within the context of ardrakin society, Dreeka’s literary tastes might have centered around historical non-fiction, or possibly historical drama. It’s hard to say for sure, as I didn’t get a chance to know this character very well before I killed her. :)

5. Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 5, or vice versa?

Should Nirell swear fealty to Veovis, or Veovis swear fealty to Nirell? In an ideal world, once Daenan becomes empress, Nirell would be her consort and thus Lord Chancellor of Drakiru. It’s the only position of power on the Star Council which is not democratically elected or appointed via political evaluation; the spouse of the emperor/empress at the time automatically receives the title. While loyalty is given to the throne, Nirell as Lord Chancellor is still a level above the Chancellors of the colony worlds (being consort too), so in certain ways, being loyal to the throne means being loyal to both Daenan and Nirell.

Veovis is the Grand Advisor, so he is somewhat outside of the Star Council and has his own level of authority and power. It is not unheard of for a Grand Advisor to ascend to the throne if there is no clear line of succession, so depending on circumstances, Nirell could be in a position to be expected swear fealty to him.

In an ideal world, Veovis should swear fealty to Nirell (and Daenan). But it’s not an ideal world. Veovis has an agenda of his own, and Nirell doesn’t trust the Grand Advisor, so neither would actually swear fealty to the other regardless of the circumstances.

6. For whatever reason, 5 is looking for a roommate. Should 5 share a studio apartment with 9 or with 10?

Oh dear. Veovis needs a roommate? I pity anyone who decides to move in with him. He’s a cranky old bugger. But, between Dreeka and Gannik (if Dreeka were alive), I would have to say either one might be able to put up with him. Dreeka had a similar ambitious streak in her, and if Gannik and Veovis were to meet under other circumstances, they might find they are somewhat kindred spirits. With Gannik being a soldier though, he would be better equipped to keep his own if things went…bad…

7. Characters 2, 7, and 12 have dinner together. Where do they go, and what do they discuss?

Interesting. Nirell, Ran’ek and Arlayn, two ardrakin and one eruos. Nirell and Arlayn are young adults, whereas Ran’ek is a middle-aged soldier. Arlayn would not be used to “eating out” so the gentlemen would take her somewhere she could have a good, hearty meal. The three would likely talk about “boring” topics such as the level of power a government should have over its people. They each have unique perspectives and experiences (good and bad) regarding this, so it is common to them all.

8. Character 3 challenges 10 to a duel. What happens?

Kehai versus Gannik! This is actually something that might be possible in HOTE. It would certainly be a sight, and completely plausible that Gannik would do something that would provoke Kehai (but then, provoking her isn’t hard for anyone). I’m tempted to say it would be evenly matched, but in the end I think Kehai would kick Gannik’s ass but good.

9. If 4 stole 8’s most precious possession, how would 8 get it back?

Zai’al steals from Bal’al. What would be Bal’al’s most precious possession?

Bal’al is Zai’al’s foster father. Along with Dreeka, Bal’al helped raise Zai’al basically from a hatchling (when she was given to the Dragon Temple) to womanhood. Bal’al would especially have been there for his foster daughter after Dreeka’s death. It’s possible that Zai’al herself is Bal’al’s most precious possession. Can she steal herself away from him? I think so. Despite his best efforts to raise her according to the beliefs of the Dragon Mother and his own wisdom, Zai’al takes her own path in guiding the Dragon Temple and makes many decisions that Bal’al seriously disapproves of. She breaks the faith he has in her, leaving him wondering where he went wrong.

Bal’al might not be able to get his faith in Zai’al back, but he tries his best. This is a struggle he faces in the story, so you’ll have to read it to find out if he succeeds. : )

10. Suggest a title for a story in which 7 and 12 attain what they most desire.

Ran’ek desires the return of the glory days of his youth. Although his decision to betray Shazarel was the right one, he feels the regime that replaced her has rewarded him unfairly.

Dreeka desired power. Shazarel was a comrade and a path to that power. They conspired together but it backfired on them. If Dreeka hadn’t been killed, I imagine she would have most desired for the success of her plot with Shazarel.

If these people both attained what they most desired, well, there wouldn’t really be HOTE, though the other events that are still to come in the story could still happen. So instead of Heart of the Empire, the story might be called…Heart of the War or something having to do with betrayal that didn’t sound so stupid. XD (Naming things is the part of the creative process I loathe the most!)

11. What plot device(s) would you use if you wanted 4 and 1 to work together?

Zai’al and Daenan work together. In HOTE they already do this here and there, even if most of the time they don’t like it. In most cases when they come into contact with each other, they are working against each other rather than together.

Some of the plot devices in play are deus ex machina, villain, reversal, discovery, and foreshadowing. There are probably more that I don’t know the names of.

12. If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would you get along?

Ran’ek comes to visit! Despite himself, Ran’ek is a pretty thoughtful and considerate man with a tendency to take on the role of the “father figure” when it comes to young women. I think we would get along all right, though I wonder if I might sometimes feel a bit smothered if he took it upon himself to decide I needed to be protected like how he ends up protecting Daenan in the story.

13. If you could command 3 to perform any one task or service for you, what would it be?

Without getting myself beaten and broken for ordering Kehai around? Probably to go out and “smite mine enemy!” She’d like that.

14. Does anyone write or draw anything regarding 11?

Not yet! Enaar hasn’t been introduced in the story yet. I haven’t posted any art of him either, though I do have a piece waiting in the wings. But as with any of the characters, once he’s around, I hope there will be fan stuffs!

15. If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, which would it be?

If Nirell had to choose sides between Zai’al and Veovis…oy. This is one of those “at what point in the timeline” kind of questions. Early on…he’d choose Zai’al. Later…very debatable he’d choose either.

16. What might 10 shout while charging into battle?

Lots of things! Anything. Depends on who the opponent is too. Specifically? I dunno, it’s not like intelligent conversation is something you think about when you’re hacking your enemy into tiny little pieces.

17. If you chose a song to represent 8, which song would you choose?

Bal’al already has a song, sort of. He shares Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight with Zai’al as an image song. The song speaks to the conflict these two characters face in the story.

18. Characters 1, 6, and 12 are having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets to eat it?

Daenan, Kohaku, and Arlayn are having dim sum. Daenan would get the pancake. She is empress after all (royalty has its privileges). But she’d probably share.

19. What might be a good pick-up line for 4 to use on 10?

If Zai’al didn’t lust after Veovis and somehow found Gannik attractive (don’t forget, he’s not the same species as she), I’m not sure there would be a pickup line. Somehow I think Zai’al would end up seeing Gannik in much the same light she sees Veovis, and so would use him to fuel her ambition. So…she would skip right over the pick-up line and go straight to the seduction. But would Gannik fall for it? I doubt it.

20. What would 5 most likely be arrested for?

*stuffs fist in mouth and mumbles about major HOTE spoilers*

I can’t even really fudge an answer to this question because it would still give so, so much away! Read the story, you’ll understand.

21. What is 6’s secret?

Kohaku has secrets? Hmm.

She’s a more recent addition to the story and I don’t know her very well yet. However, the muse has given me some indications that Kohaku might not be as pure as she leads everyone to believe. It’s possible that her secret is that she’s hiding a villain inside her!

22. If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?

Enaar races Dreeka. Well. It’s not really a fair contest, is it? Dreeka being dead and all.

If Dreeka were alive, Dreeka would win in the air; ardrakin are built better for air speeds (since they fly), whereas eruos are descendants of an animal that burrowed and spent a lot of time underground. They have powerful limbs so Enaar would probably be able to beat Dreeka in a footrace.

If they were piloting personal fighter craft, Dreeka might still win. It would depend on where Enaar got his ship from and what kind of black market/scrounged technology was in it.

23. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, would you feel safer in the company of 7 or 8?

Ran’ek or Bal’al? Ran’ek, hands down. He is the former soldier and is still a formidable opponent. Bal’al is very, very old and would break easily.

24. Characters 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4’s sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that he is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fic?

Arrg, more titles…

Daenan and Dreeka reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by Zai’al’s sinister secret organization. Enaar volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that he is actually a spy for Zai’al. Meanwhile, Zai’al has kidnapped Arlayn in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advise of Veovis, they seek out Kehai, who gives them what they need to complete their quest.

*dies laughing* The title of this fic is “So Totally Impossible” mainly because even though Daenan would be reluctant to team up with Dreeka if she were alive, and Zai’al might be someone worth saving the world from, Enaar would never volunteer to help them and he would never be a spy for Zai’al. It might indeed be wise to seek out Kehai, but Daenan isn’t really going want to ask Veovis in the first place, and Veovis is really not going to want to help her!