Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beautiful People: Diccon Quarry

I haven't done Beautiful People for several months, but I thought it was high time I did one. I am telling you, new characters keep waltzing into The Scarlet-Gypsy song without so much as a by-your-leave and making me do something with them. That is how I get Diccon Quarry. And that is how you shall meet him. (And do you know I have a strange idea he might end up a hero? I didn't even know he was there till I saw him tramping down a road with a band of men bound for pillaging Scarlettania. The rogue. 

This is much of the face Diccon has. He's stronger and broader too, but great Scot! Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of your character? :P

 Diccon Quarry...Ah. What to say about him? He is a diamond in the rough, so to speak, born into the Chief family of Gildnoir, lately a wild clan on the borders of Scarlettania. He has been trained well in war and only war, yet there is a strange longing in him for something better. Something larger than himself. He is the half-brother of Gildnoir's chieftain: Randolph Fit-Hughes, but seldom acknowledged as anything but a good foot-soldier. But why am I speaking for him when he can think for himself?...
Diccon cleared his throat and kicked a stick into the green rushes bordering this quiet part of the river. “Fitz-Hughes is a courageous man, you must give him that.”
            Crimp snorted, coughed, and spit again. “Courage don’t go far enough with ‘im. ‘E’s cunnin’ as th’devil and twice as darin’. Makin’ war on Scarlettania just because the love of ‘is life run off.”
            Diccon’s long legs ate up the road beneath him as they tramped through the June afternoon. He thought of his half-brother with a feeling of dreading admiration. He wasn’t sure love had anything to do with Randolph Fitz-Hughes’ decision to start a war. The Princess of Scarlettania had long ago caught his eye, but his proposal was a mere formality. Gildnoir had never been enough for his ambitious kinsman, Diccon knew. A marriage would be a less expensive way to gain passage into the lush, prosperous Scarlettania, but Fitz-Hughes’ men were skilled fighters and the war would not, could not be a long one.
            Diccon would never dare breathe a word aloud against his kinsman—one’s duty was one’s life in his clan—but this was no way to fight a war. He loved nothing better than a fair battle, surrounded by the clash of arms and blast of trumpets with an enemy facing him squarely. But to march into a peaceful country full of farmers and squires, merchants and commoners who barely knew how to hold a sword, much less make war…it was not a manner of war you heard about in the tales of old. No songs had been sung about a grown man taking sweet-cakes from a baby. It was not the idea of a war with Scarlettania that Diccon shrank from; no, it was the ease of it—there was no glory in such a thing. He would rather fight fair and square with equality on both sides and then he could prove his worth. In fact, if his opponent wasn’t at least equal to inflicting a minor wound, he would rather not waste his time.
            “Have you met th’lady?” Crimp’s sharp elbow dug into Diccon’s side and Diccon nearly stumbled.
            “Watch it,” he growled, then looked sideways at the weak man beside him. “No, I’ve never met the princess—Lady Cecelia as her people call her.” A winter smile played over his chiseled features as he recalled Fitz-Hughes’ rage at hearing she had gone missing.
            “Such a goddess a man is lucky to see once in his lifetime!” he had fumed, then pushed Diccon against the wall of the manor-house. “If you’ve done anything with her I swear I’ll kill you now.”
            As if he’d ever had luck enough to meet any beautiful women, much less a princess. Diccon laughed inwardly at the recollection, then scuffed his shoe in the dirt of the road loosened by the hundreds of feet before him. Like it or not they were off to Scarlettania, and on the high-road to an honor-less battle.
 *               *                 *                 *
What kind of holidays do they celebrate, if any? There are not many official holidays in Gildnoir--it is a wild, lonesome country that has just risen from being a huge clan to being a kingdom. However, there are many impromptu celebrations over especially successful pillaging, battles, etc. Fitz-Hughes' wedding will be a grand event, once he finds the Lady Cecelia

What are they most thankful for? Diccon is thankful for his titan-like strength, and his prowess in battle.

Do they have any family traditions? Diccon occupies a strange position in life. Half-brother to the clan chieftain who despises him. Yet at the same time he doesn't belong  to the common-folk entirely. There is not much family coherency. There is one clan "law" though, that is an unbreakable tradition in Gildnoir:
Diccon would never dare breathe a word aloud against his kinsman—one’s duty was one’s life in his clan—but this was no way to fight a war.'
 One's allegiance to Fitz-Hughes is one's life.

What is their most memorable holiday memory? The day Diccon's father remarried was a great day of feasting in the kingdom. He just didn't count on getting Fitz-Hughes as an older brother. He recalls that day clearly--the dark, comely countenance of the young man who was to be his brother.

What is the most memorable gift they have ever received? Diccon, strange to say it, has never received a gift. His clan are not noted for their generosity.

Do they consider it important to be with family during a celebration? Yes. One's clan is one's family, and the people of Gildnoir trust no one unless they are direct descendents of the Leaders. Diccon hasn't as much personal family as he would desire, but spending extended time with Fitz-Hughes is not tops on his list of things to do on a holiday.

Do they usually wait till the last minute to buy gifts or do they buy them ridiculously early? Unlike his people, Diccon has a generous, large heart, however guarded around with rough edges. If he were taught to buy gifts, he would buy them ridiculously early, as there is nothing he likes better than to surprise people, whether by ambush in battle, by a witty repartee, by sudden friendship...he's a prickly darling.

What is their favorite Christmas song? For fantasy authors, is music a part of their celebration? Music is a great part of Diccon's life. Not music in the general idea of the word, for he can't play a single instrument. But soul-music. He can feel music in the running of a river, in the wind before a storm, in the playing of a breeze across a wheat-field, and it fills him. Not to mention he has a grand voice of his own.

Do they celebrate for religious reasons? No. As Scarlettania and Gildnoir exist in a made-up-world, there is no "religion" per se. However, there is clear good and evil after the fairy-tale fashion. Diccon is stuck in the evil world, but his heart is filled with noble impulses, and he strives after light and honor.

How do they celebrate the beginning of the new year? Hmm. With a great polishing of his sword and filling of his quivers, as any good foot-soldier would do. Then a brisk ramble through the bottomlands with a great longing from something better in his heart. That is my Diccon.


Jenny Freitag said...

The bottomlands. Not to be confused with the netherworld.

I am getting a very confused image of John Thornton and some character from Lorna Doone (which I confess I've never read), but that is no fault of your own. Thornton, Quarry, and the Doone seem to share a similar diamond-in-the-roughness (I may be inventing notions for the Doone). I like that immensely. Humans are so layered, so comfortably contradictory inside themselves: good characters, I think, can be just so (without seeming to be bipolar) with layers and contradictions that, somehow, all seem to work together. Diccon Quarry seems to be just such a character. Truth to tell, he reminds me a little of my Indi.

I just have one suggestion to make. On the question about religions you said that Scarlettania (shoo! that's a mouthful) and Gildnoir don't have any. From my observations, however, it is inherent in man to worship something, whether that be God, or made-up deities, or man himself: man has an almost frantic need to worship. This is frequently overlooked in literature and usually not missed when it isn't found, but I thought that all the same it is a good detail, something true to life even if it is only a background detail and not at all the main thrust of the story.

I see a blog post coming out of this. Oh dear.

I run on, and I am sorry about that. I like Diccon! I like a good rogue (I'm ever running the risk of calling them rouge) and Diccon seems like a good rogue, quite literally.

Sarah said...

Ah yes... I neglected to mention that while there is no official deity in this world, the people "worship" strength and valor in battle in the manner of many ancient people. Diccon reaches for something greater and more fulfilling than the near-worship of his people. At first he thinks whT he seeks is his brother's respect but that does not satisfy. You are right about the whole thing, and were my quiche not burning in the oven and my family not clamoring for food, I would have expounded! :)
And I laughed over the comparison of diccon to the doomed and Mr. Thornton--I've AlwAys has a soft spot for that sort . : D

Sarah said...

Blast. I seem to be on my sister's account.

Jenny Freitag said...


There, see, I always thought you were sensible. It didn't seem like you would miss such an important tenant of humanity. Overlooking the mistake with the accounts, I rest assured in my convictions of your sensibleness. And I think you will do well with Diccon's heart, and all his convictions and contradictions. It sounds as though already you have a good handle on this interloper in your story.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading this post immensely and I really like the character of Diccon. Look forward to reading more about him in the near future.