Aravis Quarterfire – Ceylan’s daughter, Nesrin’s favorite niece, and the object of Isabelle’s hero worship. I think Isabelle would appreciate that they were drawn in similar poses. The interesting thing about making these portraits is how far they go towards developing my understanding of the characters. It forces consideration of details such as the character’s sense of style, their general attitude, and what those things say about their overall personality. Aravis is about the simple and natural – her outfit consists of earth and water tones and jeans. This is also reflected in her continuing to reside in the woods seen behind her, rather than find an apartment like her aunt.
The photo is one I took at Blakeley State Park, located on the site of a former town which was once competing with Mobile, Alabama, to become the state’s main port. This was a competition which Mobile ultimately won, leading to businesses leaving Blakeley to the point that the town slowly evaporated, with the courthouse/jail and cemetery being the only outstanding remnants.
In a way this was history repeating itself. The town was built on the site of an Apalachee village founded by refugees fleeing warfare in their original homes on the Florida panhandle. They then abandoned the site around a half century before Blakeley was founded.
My visit fired my imagination to the point that I couldn’t not incorporate all this into my own stories. Aravis didn’t just pick Blakeley to settle in; the location is actually an important part of her history, and consequently in writings to come. This episode is from her much younger days:
“A fire demon in the forest? I do not expect you to be frightened by children’s tales.”
“With respect, Sir, children’s tales don’t fire bloody arrows.”
“Keep a civil tongue in your head when you address me, Sergeant.”
“Bloody is a precise description of the arrows, Sir. Each was covered with blood when it was fired. Fresh blood.”
Aravis, listening outside the tent, congratulated herself. She hadn’t expected protecting her home to be so fun, or that the invaders would actually be fooled by the berries and mud she dipped the arrows in.