Forging characters: the Marshwalkers

This time, I’ll look into the creation of not one, but three characters: the Marshwalker family, for the simple reason they’ve been created together.

The Marshwalkers shown in the story are three characters: Raniela and Shal’rien as a pair of elves in their later primes (Shal’rien around 2900 years, Raniela around 2750) and Alseia, their two-centuries-old daughter.

Exploring the Order’s influence

Order of the Eternal Defenders (for most time, mentioned just as ‘Eternal Defenders’), the central faction, had the strongest presence in the heart of the elven lands, on the west half of the continent. Yet, they have members almost anywhere the elves live.

The Marshwalkers were created to show some of the Eternal Defenders living a bit aside of the main ‘fuss’ and to show how some of them live much calmer lives than Kraasian Darkwood does. First character of this kind was a group living around Redleaf near the Seventh Gate – the middle of the continent. The Marshwalkers were to be the Order’s presence in the very east.

A family forged

So, how did I came to create a family from the eastern part of the landmass when most of the main story happens in the western half?

Tyr’eshal was sent to the east by his father on the hint of a problem that could potentially expand. He was not expected to solve it alone, the purpose of his journey was to learn teamwork with unknown people and start forging connections between members of the next generation.

Thus, I needed characters roughly a generation apart. A child with a parent were the way I chose, eventually deciding to include both parents instead of just one. Alesia was to be a part of this ‘teamwork lesson’ as a young but far too impulsive and a bit irresponsible warrior. The contrast between her and Tyr’eshal (brought to strict following of rules) was to be the main part of this lesson.

Expanding the potential

My initial idea was to have the Marshwalkers be an one-time appearance, to show some background behind how the Order works and how they forge their connections.

During the early drafting of the to-be book two, the Marshwalkers got another appearance.

This time, it was tied to the quest Tyr’eshal embarks on in the first half of the second book which leads him back to Stonefoot, the village where the Marshwalkers live. Though, this time, he was to head to the hills above, not the jungle below.

As he needed a local guide, I took the chance to show some shift in Alesia and threw the two youngsters into another danger.

Little I realized at that point it was nowhere near the last time they fought together. Eventually, the Marshwalkers became one of those characters who just want to tell their story and became involved with the finale of both book two and three – though, of course, I can’t say anything on that matter yet.


Along with Shianna, the Marshwalkers became one of the mein reasons why I prefer to have just a vague idea of the whole story and then let it tell itself. It brings some strange kind of enjoyment when characters I had no real plans for become a part of the story on their own.

So, this is another short look back behind the scenes, one like I haven’t done in a while.

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