Like I did for Esmerelda, I wrote a few diary entries from Parius’ standpoint when I was writing the first draft of The Dragon’s Curse. They helped me get a handle on his character, his voice, his passions and desires and backstory.
Because of how I write, most of the first draft is a mystery to me until it’s done. That goes too for the characters—like meeting new friends, I need to get to know them and understand them so I can write their story.
There are elements of these diaries that contradict what’s in the book, because these were written very early on when the story was still forming in my mind. But there are also elements that remain true now, so—spoiler alert.
I hope you like it.
Entry 1: Seven Years Ago
I saved a girl today. Rachel, she told me her name was, afterward. She’s sleeping in my bed right now. It was a good night.
Daris told me I have a need to save girls, like a spirit drives me. I’ll do anything for a pair of pretty eyes. I suppose, within reason, that’s true. Not anything—I have my limits, and I won’t cross them—but most things. I’m not an idiot. I don’t think she’ll fall in love with me and we’ll live happily-ever-after. Hell, if I thought that every time, and it was true every time, I’d be married seven times with about 50 grandchildren by now.
No, I’m better off alone. Orphaned growing up, orphaned in my adulthood. Not a bad thing, really. I’m free. I can live my life—full of adventure, full of thrill, where and when I want it. On my terms, no-one else’s. And, of course, with the occasional romance. Like Rachel, lying naked in my bed while I write this.
It’s not hope that makes me save girls. I thought for awhile that I couldn’t not save them; that it was mere basic human compulsion; but now I’ve seen too much for that lie to live. My father didn’t save women. Daris probably wouldn’t, although he wouldn’t mistreat a girl either. I suppose my desire to play knight-in-shining-armor comes from the knight-in-shining-armor-ness of it. The adventure, the rogueishness, the chivalry. The perks aren’t bad, but I’d save a girl even if she never looked at me again. Dammit, it’s fun.
Same reason I hunt thieves on occasion, and dance with assassins. I enjoy it. It’s a thrill, living on the edge, never knowing when you’ll fall off. If ever. I haven’t yet, and I love it.
Besides, maybe one day a girl will lead me to something interesting. Maybe she’ll show me secrets I’d’ve never uncovered on my own. Rare, but who knows what the future holds? The more doors I open and walk in, the more rooms I’ll find worth walking in to.
This was a fun early look at Parius. In this draft he’s rougher and more wild than he turned out in the finished story. He’s more emotionally distant.
I ended up revising this in Parius, not The Dragon’s Curse, where I tell the story of how he met and fell in love with Rachel. It’s substantially different from this early idea.
One thing did survive from diary to final story, though: Parius’ love of adventure and of saving people.
Entry 2: Six Years Before The Dragon’s Curse
My birth father showed up. That’s what he is to me: a birth father, the man responsible for my eyes and hair color, but not for who I am. I raised myself, me and Daris and the rest of our adventurous little band of orphans. They’re my family, my brothers and sisters. My birth father’s the bastard who abandoned me the day I was born.
He told me why, finally. I almost punched him in the face—even with a missing hand, I’m a better fighter than most soldiers—but I resisted the urge. Violence wouldn’t get me what I wanted here. I asked him why he abandoned me. He said he was given a lot of money to make sure that I died. Since he couldn’t bear to kill me after getting to know me—a compulsion I can sympathize with; I’ve never killed someone I know and have no intention of it—he elected to abandon me in the woods. Luckily for me, our little band of orphans saved me.
I can’t help wondering who wanted me dead and why. Gods know, enough people want me dead now. I’m not a bad person, but I’ve had my share of run-ins with powerful targets. But I was a baby, an infant. Who wanted me dead, and why did they want it so much they were willing to pay a father to kill me?
He left, fortunately. I’m not sure why he came in the first place. Hoping I was dead, maybe. When he found out I wasn’t, he couldn’t kill me, any more than he could when I was a baby. A compulsion I can respect; I don’t murder in cold blood either. Maybe I get that from him. Interesting thought, that I derive more than my hair color from my father.
Who’s hunting me? Why? And, now that they know I’m still alive, what will they do to kill me?
I can survive. I’m tough. I’ve never been killed yet. And I will find out the who and why.
This is an early idea I was playing with. I knew Parius had been abandoned at birth, but didn’t know why, and I was interested in the idea that someone might want a baby dead—similar to how Oedipus’ father tried to kill him early on.
In the end, I went a different direction in The Dragon’s Curse. I like the final direction much better.
One thing I never got the chance to explore as much as I wanted to in Parius or The Dragon’s Curse is Parius’ upbringing. He is an orphan, and he was raised in a band of similar orphans—sort of beggar band meets Lost Boys. I had hoped to bring Daris in as a character in The Dragon’s Curse, but it just didn’t work well.
Entry 3: Three Years Before The Dragon’s Curse
We broke up today. I left her, as I’m wont to do. I loved her, or thought I did; but her little flaws grew and grew in my head, my anger built up and my need for independence—that crushing, beautiful desire to see the whole world, every inch, in a way no-one else can share with me—and I left her. I broke the chains tying me down.
My friends say I’m an idiot. I loved her, and that’s worth fighting for. I’ll admit the breakup was hell. I’m still sad about it. But there’s an inner core of my life that’s like iron. It stops the knife of heartbreak, insures that emotional pain only goes muscle-deep—past the skin, but not close to the heart. I am who I am, and I love that: I love my freedom, love my work, and if love lost is the price to pay for my adventures, that’s a price I’ll pay.
P______, her name was. I still miss her. She was amazing. But it was for the best. I’m cut out to be alone. Relationships, like pain, only go muscle-deep. Adventure, and my life and independence, are more important than any relationships except my orphan brothers. And those don’t trump it by much.
This is one of the elements of Parius’ character I really liked, and kept through The Dragon’s Curse. He’s a loner by nature, and it takes a lot for him to overcome his natural disinclination to getting close to people. That’s even more true after the events of Parius.