Ties That Bind

Family. You would go through hell to save them. You would go to the ends of the earth to get away from them. There is nothing else that moves us quite like a family member.So of course, family ends up being a large plot motivator in many novels! In a story, family members offer strong views, so what better way to get to know a character than through the eyes of their sibling?This is how I introduce Ty and his younger sister Lavinia in my epic fantasy novel Born of Water. Lavinia idolizes her brother, who has been away on a two year apprenticeship as a sailor. Ty will do anything to protect his cherished younger sister, including lie to her about what he has really been doing the last year and a half.

Is there anyone else quite like a mother or father (or doting younger sister) who can have an incorrect view of a son or daughter (or brother)? Such blindness to obvious personality traits leads to trouble and stress. Pleasing family sometimes means acting like a person that isn’t who a character really is.

Lavinia idolizes her older brother . . . and makes excuses for behavior that threatens that view.

Lavinia idolizes her older brother . . . and makes excuses for behavior that threatens that view.

A year and a half is a long time to be separated during teenage years. Ty has experienced the harsh realities of his world and not always taken the honest path in response. Lavinia is no longer a little girl, though Ty wishes he could keep her one. His goal of insulating his little sister from the same world that threatened him while lying about who he has become causes friction with the one person he is most determined to hold onto. The conflict between the siblings creates a rift in the already fractious little group thrown together more by circumstances than choice. A journey started to save a friend first must overcome the friction of family bonds.

The love, rivalry, and disappointment felt between Ty and Lavinia are only one piece of the mosaic that family ties weave through Born of Water. Ria’s family has longed feared the Church of Four Orders that rules the land of Myrrah. Her belief that she has inherited the same gifts that has led the Church to take away her cousin and other family members never to be seen again taints all friendships and joys in her life. This undermining belief was reinforced from an early age by Ria’s grandmother, who warned the young girl of what would happen to her, someday . . . . When Ria learns the truth is much worse than her family has ever imagined, she can barely continue on a journey meant to save her life.

Ty doesn't want to disappoint his sister, which makes his desire to protect her all the harder

Ty doesn’t want to disappoint his sister, which makes his desire to protect her all the harder

For Niri, a Water Priestess of the Church of Four Orders, the Church has become her surrogate family ever since it took her from her home when she was eight. It is the custom and right of the Church to take any child born with gifts to control the elements into its fold for training. With only faint memories of a home life before the Church, Niri grows to a competent Priestess with the Church as her mother, father, and lover. Only when she is asked to commit a deed far worse than removing a young child from family does she begin to doubt what she has been told and taught.

The ties to family bring connections to communities and cultures, of which there are many in the land of Myrrah. For some like Darag and the close knit society of the Kith to which he belongs, it is these bonds that pull them homeward. For others like Zhao – a Tiak by birth, the same sort of connections launch them out into the world. Nothing can move a character, or us, like the expectations and ties that come with a family, for good or bad. And that is why they are so much fun to write about!

Autumn is the author of the epic fantasy novel Born of Water and its Novel Companion and most recently the compilation of adventure travel storied Danger Peligros! All are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers of e-novels.

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