This week, I’m extending last week’s ‘natural habitat’ exercise, doing instead single characteristic images. The original idea was to write for multiple characters, as per last week’s exercise, but when I was first looking for prompts, the first one I was handed was Kiara, from my game. Given she’s done a lot of arcing—and is currently operating in two different versions, in two very different timelines—I had to try to figure out which of her to describe. What better to do, then, but do characteristic portraits of all of her her major character stages—at the beginning, right after the events of the first arc, at the current time, and on the bad-guy-wins timeline split?
Beginning: The eye skips over her at first–one small and ordinary person at the center of a mass of the flamboyantly remarkable. And yet she is at the focal point of the picture, at a point of contrast–there with her reports in her hands, sitting on her case, and watching them all as they posture or tease or jostle. They may not be facing her, but they are aware of her, and she is aware of them; all the subtle lines in the picture point her way.
After the first arc: She is home–not the most decorated of places, but nice in its own way. But despite the accoutrements of home, she is uneasy, restless; she flinches away from someone’s hand, and her eyes flicker past her shoulder, in a direction from which no threat is remotely apparent.
Main game, current time: She sits on a high stool, surrounded by her juniors, in the process of relating something–from their reactions, probably a story rather than something more academic, though one never knows with these youngsters. She looks up–has probably just been surprised by a newcomer–with a calm, slightly amused smile, and a raise of the hand to greet them.
Alter-timeline: She sits out in one of the rougher neighborhoods, gray snow leaving crusts on the cobblestones under her feet and falling about her. One might not recognize her; she wears a robe padded for protection over a black undersuit, keeps her hair in a tight topknot, and carries–at this point seems to lean on the haft of–a glaive with a translucent black blade. Her head is cradled in her hands, her elbows probably digging into her knees, but her eyes are still on the world about her; she regards it with a resigned look.