I know you were probably expecting F is for Falara, but I just touched on Eaglecrest in the last post and, frankly, Falara isn’t the most exciting place. It’s often cold and they spend a lot of time indoors, drinking. The food there is pretty good, which speaks even more highly of Toryn’s cooking since managed to impress Brydon. But I digress because this post is about fun!
Some fantasy novels, I’ve found, become mired down in their own seriousness, and every word drips tension and drama until, by the end, the reader feels as if they’ve walked every agonizing step with their heroes and need a couple of weeks to rest their brains. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing and I’ve devoured plenty of those in my day, but I appreciate it when an author takes the time to give their characters a little bit of fun, because without that life is pretty much a dull, endless quest towards that lava pit on Mount Doom.
For my characters, fun can have vastly different meanings. Brydon’s idea of fun is a nice workout with his sword, shooting at targets to perfect his skill with a bow, or possibly sleeping. He enjoys sleeping much more than he lets on in the book; don’t let him fool you. He pretends to enjoy reading, but most of the books he’s read have been dull histories or church documents discussing the proper way to live a noble life.
Toryn, on the other hand, thinks the best way to have fun is hours of companionship of the naked variety. He doesn’t have much opportunity for casual dalliance during the quest and he finds it ironic that Brydon gets more action during their journey than he does. Of course, being attracted to the more volatile sort of woman is a drawback in that regard, first with Alyn and then Daryna. By the time he meets Daryna he has, thankfully, learned that sometimes it’s better to not get involved with the ones who might shred all your clothes during the night in a fit of jealous rage. I’m not saying Daryna would do such a thing, except that she totally would.
Romantic shenanigans aside, Toryn has a tendency to add elements of fun to what might otherwise be a boring journey, although Brydon doesn’t always appreciate his assistance in that regard. Toryn is always ready with a sardonic comment, which sometimes provokes the others to certain levels of annoyance.
The cleft was far too narrow for Brydon to climb down and assist her, and she could not reach her own ankle.
“Can you slide your foot out of the boot?” he asked finally.
“Don’t you think I already tried that?” she snapped. Brydon’s urge to leave her strengthened.
“Well?” Toryn called. “Is she dead?”
“No, she’s stuck in the rocks,” Brydon replied.
Alyn groaned as Toryn’s guffaw reached them. “Too many meat pies and pastries?” Toryn asked.
Alyn shouted several loud slurs about Toryn and his parentage and then she wrenched at her leg. Rage must have lent her strength, for she was suddenly free and clambered out of the hole like an angry badger.
Brydon eventually gets used to Toryn’s quips, although he never gets past the urge to bruise him for the privilege.
“I need to tell you something.”
Toryn sighed and set the pot near the fire. “You’re not planning to confess your undying love, are you?”
Brydon punched him on the shoulder.
Or shove him into nearby water features.
“And if you return without the gauntlet?” Toryn asked.
“I resume my old life as before. But I would be privately considered a failure.”
“What does your princess want with it?”
Brydon grinned and then laughed. “My place is not to ask why, Tory, my friend. Mine is to quest and bring back.”
“Sort of like a hound?” Toryn asked.
“I suppose,” Brydon replied with a growl and shoved him at a nearby fountain.
Although occasionally Brydon gets to turn the tables.
Toryn sat up and tugged his boots on. “When I agreed to come with you, I expected a nice, quiet journey,” Toryn grumbled. “What have I gotten? Lions. A viperous Akarskan wench. An insane Penk who thinks he’s a werewolf. Captured by thieves. A battle with thieves. A battle with more thieves. A man who disappears into thin air before I can slice him in two. A Falaran who can read my mind. Swamps, mud, rain, bugs, and fever. A city full of howling madmen and tax collectors. Now this. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Did you plan all this?”
“If you are finished whining, I suggest we go find Davin,” Brydon said mildly.
When all is said and done, one fun character can spice things up just enough to keep the others on their toes, and prevent long journeys from getting monotonous.