Think back to your high school years, where there were very defined ranks among every student. You had the naive, timid freshmen contrasting the careless seniors, but everyone was divided even further into separate cliques based on personalities or interests. Theatre nerds, jocks, and quirky misfits were just a few of the basic groups at my high school. However many cliques there were, there was always that one person that seemed to not belong in any group at all. Yes, you talk to them occasionally and they seem nice, but they don’t hit it off with anyone in particular. Consequently, this makes everyone else whisper about the person. “What’s wrong with them? Why do they do that weird thing? I heard this about him/her…” the list can go on forever. Being in this position is not pleasant, and my first character endures this on a daily basis.
I would like you to meet the very first character that wandered into my head. She is the main protagonist of Island of Treomynd, and I consider her a part of me.
Aurora is named after the rising sun, which fits her exterior well. At 17 years old, she is starting to realize her full potential as an adult in the castle. Her appearance is one of natural beauty, such as her dirty-blonde hair that trails down to her waist in soft waves. However, most days her hair is tied back into a messy bun with a ribbon, and small fly-away hairs gently frame her face. Large, dark hazel eyes sit nicely in her thin, pale face. The rest of her features are not terribly unique, with a somewhat thin, tall frame and long torso. Her clothing of choice shows her occupation as a servant girl to one of the higher-ranking ladies in the castle. This typically consists of a loose white peasant shirt with a flimsy corset and matching skirt that is either green or brown. When she is working, she wears a simple white apron over her skirt, and sometimes even a white rag over her hair when the day’s tasks are particularly rough.
Going beyond her looks, Aurora’s life has been far from easy. During the Early Modern Period, it was common for parents to send their children to another family to raise them for a specific trade. If a family was too poor, or simply had too many children, then a contract could be written up detailing what the foster family would teach the child, and how long they would keep him or her. A contract would typically run until the child reached a certain age, such as 16 or 18, when he or she was considered an adult and could start their own business, or marry into the right family. Aurora was contracted into becoming a servant soon after her birth for tragic reasons. Her mother Ruth died soon after she was born, and her father Barnama did not know how to raise her, being their first-born. She now lives in a modest dormitory in the castle with a few other female servants, and her contract is officially up when she turns 18. At that point, she can either marry among her rank, or continue her work as a servant girl at any castle she wishes.
As a result of these circumstances, Aurora has grown up without a mother and vaguely knows her father. Barnama has never made an attempt to visit or get to know her, and the town frequently whispers that he has gone mad with grief over losing his wife. The majority of what she knows about him comes from these whispers, and she refuses to believe them. It is a goal of hers to one day approach him in his small cottage, but she has yet to build up the courage. Being known as the daughter of the local nutcase has made her feel isolated from the rest of the castle. Those that know of her see her as introverted and unfortunate, but a kind and genuine soul nonetheless. If she trusts you, then you have a loyal friend for life. But if you break that trust, there is no going back. She will emit an energy that sends a message of both pain and hatred whenever your paths cross. Events like this are very uncommon though, because she has a gift of perceiving more than what she is told, enabling her to read those around her like a book. This particularly aids with avoiding being a subject of the castle gossip, apart from her father, that is.
Do you remember the outcast of your high school? Probably not, and if you do, did you ever bother to get to know them despite their reputation or current rumors? We have all felt like the outcast at some point in our lives, but sometimes, all it takes is one person. When even one soul shows an outcast that they care, or takes the time to listen, amazing things can happen. Despite living most of her life in unlucky isolation, there is adventure waiting for Aurora. Like everyone else living in the castle, she does not know everyone, and she will come to know several people that will change her life forever. Whether it will be for better or worse, is up to the characters themselves. But for Aurora, all it took was one person to help her face her fears, and break the image of herself that she believes to be true.