Felixi of Velgarro: outcast in a friendly world

Render is primarily the story of Rue finding her place in an uneasy time. And that story would have turned out very differently if she hadn’t met Felixi. He’s a korvi who hunts wild game in the traditional way, by dropping onto it from the sky and taking it by surprise.

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This looked like the Felixi of Velgarro in Rue’s imagination. He was thick-built in the shoulders, muscular like a hunter would need to be, his mane feathers long and wild. He straightened from his landing — and he turned stone-hard eyes to Rue.

His throat moved as though he meant to speak. Nothing came out for an instant; he swallowed, frowned, and tried again. “Something you want?” he asked in a rasping voice.

Like he hadn’t spoken lately. Like he was a wild creature himself.

Render, a story of Aligare, Chapter 5

Because the three peoplekinds have a strong history of peace and cooperation, a stranger is usually just a friend you haven’t met. That’s the norm. If an aemet, korvi or ferrin doesn’t care for that sort of sociable life, they make recluses of themselves to avoid it. Folk respect the fact that recluses don’t want to be bothered, and will usually only seek out a recluse with an offer a trade, a warning of danger, or some other very good reason.

Felixi is one of these cases. His past is mysterious — but he definitely didn’t fit in with the last town he lived in, and his abrasive personality is made worse by some personal demons. At the time Render’s story happens, Felixi flat-out refuses to enter a settlement and dislikes the thought of associating with more than one person at once. He’s returned to a solitary, standoffish version of the korvi race’s most ancient roots — living on a mountain, spending his days in flight, hunting animals for food. He’s sort of a parallel to Render‘s antagonistic wolves: strange, snappish, frighteningly primal, but Felixi is still a creature with needs and motives. Actually, Felixi is about as close to archetypical Western dragons as an Aligare character could ever be.

I came up with Felixi while wondering about Aligare society. Sure, the three peoplekinds consider it normal to be friendly and cooperative. But what about the inevitable odd people? The minority who just don’t like all this symbiosis stuff and don’t fit in? Felixi has his good qualities but he’s still defined by his sharp-toothed refusal to be normal, and always fighting to protect that solitary freedom he can’t live without.

If you know anything about name roots, you’ve probably picked up on my cruel irony already. Felixi is a tweak of the name Felix, meaning “lucky” or “successful” in Latin. It’s usually a name for characters who are cheerful and loveable and happy, always the winners, always landing on their feet. It’s a name that would have suited nearly any korvi other than Felixi. Frankly, I feel a bit guilty for calling him that. (But not guilty enough to stop me from sketching jokes, apparently: here‘s slightly-off-model Felixi meeting an actual cheerful Felix, the one from the movie Wreck-It Ralph.)

The Render story introduces Rue the atypical aemet to Felixi the atypical korvi. And as they bond, Felixi shows more of his subtleties. His fears, his values, his dry brand of wit. Felixi was pretty much a closed book to me, the author, until I wrote scenes that pried him a little farther open. And that was a big part of why I finished the book.



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