Anatomy of a Killer was perfection as always! I’ve been awed by and in love with your writing since day one.
I’ve always wondered, are there any characters or personalities, real or fictional, from whom you’ve drawn to create your Killer Charlie? Or any other external influences behind his persona? He’s so nuanced and deep that I’m constantly amazed.
As an aside, you and Contesa are both wrong. Gandalf and the Ring Wraiths are tied for best LOTR characters.
Thank you very much. I’m so glad you enjoyed Anatomy of a Killer. I must also thank you for your enthusiastic support since the beginning of this blog.
With regards to your question, I have had a fascination with American serial killers since my early teens, when I checked the book “Mindhunter” by John E. Douglas out of the library on a whim and read the whole thing in one night. I’ve always been interested in the darker aspects of the human mind, and especially the why of a person becoming a killer. Although I never even considered choosing to pursue psychology or criminology as a career path, nor indeed murder.) I wasn’t inspired by any particular individual, but I’m sure that the ridiculous amount of knowledge I’ve crammed into my brain over the years played its part.
A major influence in terms of how I chose to unravel Charlie’s story was undoubtedly the Netflix documentary series “I Am A Killer” (I swear I had completely forgotten the name of the show when I named this blog!) which deliberately and carefully unfurls the story of each episode in such a way that you feel horror and compassion in equal parts for the titular individual by the end of the hour.
Other than that, I'm not knowingly aware of any other influences. Killer Charlie is all mine, I’m afraid!
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A Noble, a Foreigner, a Mute, and a Mage
If you were to ask Sona, she’d likely say she’s had a very good life thus far. Not much to complain about. And certainly she’s been extremely lucky and fortunate to escape Ionia before Noxus invaded, but also lucky to be swiftly adopted by a prominent Demacian noble house. She’s been afforded the best of the best, she’s grown into a dazzlingly beautiful young woman, and her kindness and charity is well known. Sure, being mute comes with its own set of obstacles, but the good far outweighs the bad.
There’s little doubt that Lestara and Barrette Buvelle love their adoptive child very much. She’s as much their child as their biological daughter Kahina is. But... culture is culture, and Demacia has long never been ready for the “magic conversation”.
As soon as Sona announced her intentions to further her musical studies, there was a noticeable mix of parental support and awkward smiles. It’d be fine if she just wanted to play the piano or compile her notes of musical theory, but they knew what music meant for Sona. They knew her magic was connected to the instrument she arrived with as a child. And they knew what Demacia would have to say about that...
Their status among the nobility, Lestara’s particular clout with the Demacian council, and the Buvelle family’s close ties with the Lightshield royal family make it both easy and difficult to deal with Sona’s “flights of musical fancy”. People generally love her performances and will travel miles just to hear her perform. Listening to her play is said to soothe the aching heart and mind in ways nothing else can compare to, and enliven the spirit better than the sweetest drink!
And it’s magic. Everyone knows it’s magic. Music can be powerful on its own, but the songs Sona plays, if you really pay attention, should technically be impossible. It’s obvious. It’s an open secret. And it was really putting pressure on Lestara in particular (as Barrette was often away serving in the military). As time went on, even though they were very close as mother and daughter, the two would argue over Sona’s “irresponsible” behavior. She was told not to perform so publicly. So what did she do? She would sneak out and play “private” performances at taverns and small showrooms owned by friends. When her mother found out about that the arguing only got worse...
... and then Barrette died in combat.
It was a turning point. Everything around Sona suddenly began to change; Prince Jarvan was brought home safely, but with a strange new “friend”. Kahina, always supportive of her sister regardless of what mother said, took up their father’s military commission and joined the Illuminators. And Lestara, in her grief, decided to take Sona back to Ionia with the intent of setting her up with a new life in a place she thought Sona would be able to better thrive without the constraints of Demacia’s anti-magic culture.
To Sona, it has often felt like being true to herself upsets people. Other people always talk as if they know what’s best for her or how she should act, or say things like “you’re such a nice girl, if only you didn’t do ___”. She tries to be free-spirited, and has a tendency to run off on her own to be alone or to go on little “adventures”, but at the end of it all she has a strong desire to please people and feel wanted and needed. Her journey of personal growth finds her acting on independence but longing to be someone dependable.
And now with the Mage Rebellion things have only gotten worse for her identity. The Mageseekers are more vigilant than ever, and care little if she’s a Buvelle or not. In a time where people more than ever need comfort, it’s a painful thing to try and hold herself back. And for what? Because of magic? It’s all very foolish, in her opinion.
But it’s the way of things. And so she sits. And sometimes sneaks out. And every time she almost gets caught, she prays it doesn’t get back to her mother...
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Going back to this highly self-indulgent concept on this fine Sunday evening, you know what would be cool as hell?
If Ithos' "weakness" comes in the form of losing some of his shadows, bringing him into focus, looking closer to what he used to be. weak, therefore human.
but it's not true transformation, only a reminder. and soon enough the shadows come back.
(transcript under the cut)
CALIX & ITHOS BEAUTY AND THE BEAST AU (yes this is exactly as self indulgent as it sounds)
Ithos is the Beast.
he is charged with guarding the enchanted castle for the witch-king who created it
he's been here for... years. can't remember a time where he wasn't, except to be sure that there was one
where he used to be human
but now he isn't.
he is a creature hard to touch, but sharp-edged enough to cut; made of shadow and emanating menace, but somewhere in the heart of him there is a fragment that is real.
he haunts the grounds and drives away any who approach, rising from the dusk or the dark like a nightmare, tearing through what stays to fight.
but he is weakened afterwards, vulnerable, and perhaps he can be overcome. it is a flaw in his creation. he lives in fear of it, because should he fail in his duty, he might be unmade.
is there any hope for freedom? he doesn't know.
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