To me, a story is all about the characters. Sure we go in to books hoping plot happens, but plot is boring if it's happening to the wrong characters. I loved crafting conflict for this story that made sense for its characters, and characters that made sense for its conflict. You can use this blog post as an introduction to the characters, or come back later and use it as a reference. And don't forget to check out instagram for a reel with the pronunciation guide for all these names, because we all know sometimes fantasy names just don't make sense.
Our main character Saiden is the reason (or most of it) that THE LEGIONNAIRE exists. She is the perfect pin cushion in a world that believes in strict paths for its people and even stricter punishments for those that fall outside of those prescribed paths. As a blood-cursed legionnaire, someone who's received gifts from both the god of life and goddess of death, Saiden should have been executed as a new born. But the intervention of a few key people kept that from happening, and starts the ball rolling for the events that take place in the novel.
I had a lot of fun with Mozare. He's Saiden's legionnaire partner, and is so confident that he knows the way the world should work and exactly how to reach that paradise. But he's a teenager. I know that as a teenager myself I thought I knew how the world was supposed to work, and just like for Mozare, learning that I really didn't have a clue was a rude awakening. Pushing at those boundaries Mozare has set for himself regarding his own ethics and morality leads to a lot of fun conflict for him and between him and other characters during the novel.
The Queen Chosen is the highest honor in Kaizia, and something that might seem completely random. The divine choosing of a monarch is an important tradition that spans centuries, nearly the entire history of their kingdom. But for Loralei, it also feels like a cage because she's hiding a huge secret. She's actually been gifted by the god of life, and should therefore be disqualified from sitting the throne. But no one wants to loose another monarch, so she's forced to pretend to be the perfect queen, pushing down every part of herself that doesn't fit in that mold until the mold starts to crack.
As General, Nakti is responsible for training and maintaining a well functioning contingency of gifted soldiers referred to as the Legion. She's also Saiden's adopted mother, which puts her in a tough spot when it comes to maintaining order among her ranks. She loves her daughter, even if that love sometimes shows itself in harsh ways, but she also knows what her duties are, and they tend to come first. But to Saiden, her love and support will always be incredibly important.
Self-appointed leader of the general, Revon is a mildly talented death gifted soldier and now leader of the rebellion aiming to remove non-gifted rulers, in this case Loralei, from the throne of Kaizia. He believes that the countries impartiality to the god's gifts and their presence is an insult, and holds a mighty grudge against the current advisory board that help Loralei to rule the kingdom while she waits to be officially crowned.
As a punishment one day, Saiden and Mozare are made to train recruits, and that is where they meet Rhena. A young girl gifted by the goddess of death, she immediately attaches herself to Saiden, much to the older girls surprise and apprehension. Slowly, through great effort, Rhena manages to ingrain herself with the older recruits who both start to look at her as a younger sister of sorts, taking her under the tutelage in both fighting skills and gift training.
The tattoo artist who keeps Saiden special shade of green mixed to do her leaf and vines tattoos.
Foreign ambassador to the southern kingdom of Taezhali.
Prisoner of the kingdom of Kaizia and birth mother to Saiden.
Loralei's lover and confidant. Also a palace servant, much to Loralei's chagrin.