I am continuing my presentation of the characters. This time, I am introducing one of the youngest characters age-wise but one of the oldest when it comes to her first appearance: Princess Nadyenne Crystelan.
Origin of her family name is something I’ll mention when I get to post about her father, so I’ll only talk about her first name. The first part comes from Slavic languages. In many of them, the word for “hope” starts with “nad-“. The other half was a semi-random idea as I toyed with the name.
Despite being one of the first characters, she was named quite late in the process – only after writing the demo.
As hinted above, Nadyenne was part of the story since the very beginning. Her role differed drastically. She was merely the prize and a secret love interest/romance of Tyr’eshal Darkwood – who was an orphan in those early concepts. This stage had several problems, including a horrible cliché as the very base – or the fact that very few relationships between characters felt organic, let alone relatable (I might post more about my experience with this particular cliché at some point).
Over time, her role changed to a childhood friend of Tyr’eshal, caused by the friendship of their fathers. This change was a long, continuous process taking over 10 years – something that could get a standalone blog post in the future.
While her paternal ancestors, the Crystelan family, had some degree of backstory by the time I started writing, little of that connected directly to the Princess. This only changed when I began early work on #2 and #3 and where a random idea led me to a detailed backstory for Illeana Crystelan (born Redshard) – the Princess’ mother, as well as the wider backstory of the fractured Redshard noble family.
That led back to the Princess through her opinion on her ancestry and the deeds of her mother – who was willing to put prejudice and ancient hatreds aside to marry Prince (now King) Venelaos Crystelan even though he was hated by most of the Redshard nobility. The reason? The Redshards were defeated by the Crystelans in a war that happened tens of generations before the story I am telling.
With the Princess being more than a boy’s wet dream, I tried to forge a character who bears the burden of her social status yet tries to find a purpose in her life – and a dream for the future.
Knowing that many, especially her ancestors, hate the Eternal Defenders with as much passion as they hate the Crystelan nobility, her dream is to bring those hatreds to an end – by befriending the enemy, just as her mother did.
While Nadyenne has only a bit of screen time in the first book, her dreams and hopes will have a larger role to play in the second and third where she sees an opportunity to lay a foundation for them. She’ll find such work far from easy and her learning curve steep, her desires challenged and her contact with reality harsh.
While I got rid of some clichés, not all are gone. Nadyenne was always made to be a fragile beauty out of reach for most men, wearing tailor-made robes that allow her to show off her curves. She’ll eventually learn that such a privilege should not be abused selfishly, less so with the kingdom’s legacy that’s to lay on her shoulders one day.
That’s the end of today’s reveal. Nadyenne is a character that changed much since the first ideas. Looking back at the process evokes mixed feelings – sometimes I can only roll my eyes at what she was at the start, sometimes I feel good for where she ended up.
As usual, comments and questions are welcome.