Did I mention I take requests here? Well, I absolutely do, particularly any questions relating to the Musket & Magic fantasy series The Norothian Cycle. I named this blog after the first book in the series, (The Sable City), mostly as it was meant to be a place for posting “appendices” accompanying the books. Glossary, additional maps, some short histories of various cultures and nations, that sort of thing. All that stuff lives here, as my books tend to go on plenty long without them.
So, when a reader (and thanks much for the interest, Dee) wants to know something, this is where I’ll try to answer. I ran a response post about the deities of the Norothian Ennead a while back, but today the question is about one of the characters, a young priest by the name of Kendall Heggenauer, who worships the First of the Ennead Gods: Jobe, the Builder.
If you’ve dipped on toe in the Norothian Cycle very far, you can probably tell that while I’m a lover of classic, “Epic” and “High” fantasy, I lean a bit more toward trope subversion in my own stuff. Really, a lot of fantasy being written now does that, though for me personally much of it has gone too far down the “Dark Fantasy” path to hold my interest. This is of course just subjective opinion, but I tend to feel like if I want to see people treating each other like human garbage, I’ll just watch the news. When I read (or write) fantasy, it’s largely because I do want a bit of elevation from the sordidness of the everyday. I want to see people struggling against the odds to do the “right thing,” and while the definition of “right” is subjective, for me it is clearly different than “evil.” Thus and ergo, Kendall Heggenauer.
Of the nine-member “party” around which the Norothian Cycle unfolds, Heggenauer is perhaps closest to an archetypal “fantasy” hero. He’s from Exland, the oldest province of the Codian Empire, and Exland is a place with a deep sense of its own history, and some would say an inflated view of its place in the world. It is an old realm of Kings and Queens, knights and damsels, and any number of wars that could have been resolved with a lot less blood by simply talking things through. The Heggenauers are a very old clan in the realm, claiming descent (as most noble Exlanders do) from a quasi-mythical hero named “Hegges,” who founded the early kingdom originally known as Heggesland.
Kendall is the youngest son of the present family, and he is blessed with a build and bearing that promised a fine career in an Order of Knighthood. He’s a big, blond, strapping dude, and when the MC gets a gander of him for the first time: “He was just about the most handsome man Tilda had ever seen in her life.”
So, the question: Why is he a priest?
In terms of the story, Heggenauer joined the clergy of Jobe because he was “called” to the service of that deity while still a young page (apprentice) studying to be a knight. That’s mentioned in passing in the first book, though the form of the “call” is not described. I pictured it basically as divine contact in a series of dreams, which is the same way Heggenauer realizes in book two (Death of a Kingdom) that he can invoke additional blessings (cast more spells), as his works have pleased the god, Jobe.
Now, on a narrative or story-telling level, why did I choose to make the character Heggenauer a priest? Well, as I’m a “pantser” (in that I write by the seat of my pants), I’m never sure if I did choose anything. Stuff just sort of happens between the voices in my head, and the page. But if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it was because a lot of the characters in the series are still in the process of finding out who they are, every bit as much as they are trying to find a lost heir, save their homeland, or just stay alive. Heggenauer is a priest of the god Jobe, the gentle builder, whose clergy installs sewers and aqueducts in Imperial cities, because that is how they can do the most good for the greatest number of people. But he is also a man who spent all his youth training for war, in order to carry on the family name with dignity and honor. He has, in short, some issues, which is why I find him interesting to write, and I hope interesting to read as well.
Thanks always for reading. 🙂