A character sample–Delphine di Wintersea

Okay, I’ve said I’m a character-driven writer, so let me introduce you to one of them: Delphine di Wintersea. She’s the protagonist from Dawn of the Hex and starts out the story in her childhood.

As a daughter of the house di Wintersea, she is a majii, gifted with powers from the Maj, Majere’s sentient spirit. (“Majii” means “the favored” in a long dead language of the world.) She is gifted as an auger–someone who dreams of future events–which is rather frightening if you’re only five or six. As a teen, she travels with her uncle Maslin to visit other majii he is acquainted with. It’s during one of these trips she discovers how her dreams are and have been coming true and spurs her to gather as many majii as she can find to form the Hex Majestorum, a guild for practicing majes. She hopes by working together they can defeat the strange beasts wreaking havoc on the other side of the Great Sands.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Dawn of the Hex.

“The stars are falling.”

The disheveled little girl came into her parents’ bedroom without warning. Her sibilant murmur caught the ear of her mother, who raised up on one elbow to peer blearily at the child.

“Delphine?”

Speaking the girl’s name seemed to break a spell, for the motionless and wide-eyed child suddenly shook her head sharply. She looked around her as if seeing her surroundings for the first time. Taking a deep breath, she gave a shuddering sigh and began to cry.

Her mother held up a palm. A small ball of light appeared, floating a finger’s width above her hand. It dispelled the gloom of the shuttered and heavily curtained room.

“Delphine. Come here, sweetness.”

The whispered summons brought the girl to her mother’s side in a trice. The woman groaned as she rolled over and came to a sitting position, her burgeoning belly making movement difficult. Once upright, however, she put the light on a carved pillar before taking the child in her arms and murmuring soft words of comfort into the bright blond tresses.

“Did you have another bad dream?” she asked.

Delphine nodded, mute but for the sobs that still shook her thin body. A groan sounded from the other side of the bed as the man stirred, wakened by the upset.

“Wha — what is it? Dora?”

“It’s Delphine. She’s had another dream.”

The man paused before letting out a deliberate, long-suffering sigh. He turned toward the woman, half-reclining with his head propped on one bent arm. “What is it about this time?”
Aendora glanced over one shoulder, giving him a glaring frown. “You know she can’t help it, Romun. Augury–”

“Doesn’t wait for morning. I know.” With another, more stifled sigh, he rolled away from the light and his wife. “I’ll fetch Essany.”

He shuffled from the room, clad in woolen nightshirt and soft buskins. During his absence, Delphine calmed. Her mother, Aendora, touched the light ball. It expanded in size, illuminating more of the room. “Sweet one, please poke the fire and bring me the other pillars. The night is cold and old bones should be accommodated.”

Delphine did as she was bid. By the time he returned with the household’s elderly scribe, the fire was supplied with fresh wood, and the room was lit by several balls of light in various sizes.

Essany trailed behind Romun, rheumy eyes averted from her employer’s half-clad form. She bowed to Aendora as she entered the room. “My lady.”

“Good eve, Essany. I am sorry to have woken you.” Aendora smiled at the scribe. “Delphine has had another dream and we must record it for dissemination to the other majii.”

“I understand, milady.” Essany took the small case she carried with her to a chair near the bed. She took out a marking stylus and a fresh sheet of vellum. Romun settled in by the fire to listen.

When it was clear that Essany was ready, Aendora patted the bed. “Come up here, sweetness and tell us all about it.”

Delphine sniffled, climbing obediently onto the bed and kneeling beside her mother. Aendora lay back down, rolling toward the child. She placed a protective hand across her pregnant abdomen, wincing as the child kicked in protest.

“The stars were falling,” Delphine whispered. “They fell and became these — things.”

Article by Tikatu

Tikatu is the long-time alter-ego of L.D. Bennett. She enjoys cat naps, head bumps, and regaling the world with the further adventures of International Rescue.