“There were three simple rules in the Underground: be invisible, look out for yourself, and no going back. Ever. They all added up to the same thing: Keep up or get left behind.” – Orphan’s Song
Ky Huntyr—thief, runner, member of the Underground—began as one of those surprise characters that pop out of nowhere and force their way onto the page. I had no more clue beforehand that he was planning on entering the story, than Bilbo had about the party he was hosting for thirteen dwarves and a wizard before the unexpected knock at the door.
But once Ky arrived, I soon realized that he had come to stay and was going to provide an integral part of the story that became Orphan’s Song.
With his aptitude for the sling and his penchant for jumping into trouble to save others, Ky occasionally reminded me of David the shepherd boy from the Bible. Not entirely sure why, but who among us can really explain the random paths our brains take?
Care to know a secret? (In a very early draft, I even included a David and Goliath-esque scene in which Ky’s slingstones felled a much larger and highly dangerous opponent. It made me happy. Sadly, said scene no longer exists…)
Ky is one of my favorite characters—right up there with Birdie and Amos—and I enjoy writing in his point of view because he tends to look at things a tad different from other folks.
He’s humble. He’s not always convinced that he’s in the right—because let’s face it, that can get downright annoying—and even when he is, he struggles just like the rest of us with going against the flow of popular opinion. But when push comes to shove, he’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes or for those who are in danger.
Despite the hardness of the world he lives in, Ky still cares.
There are a lot of numb characters in fiction today. Characters who are so broken and beaten and bloodstained that they can’t feel anymore, let alone truly care for anyone else. And that’s realistic. When you go through something so challenging, you can begin to feel like every ounce of energy has been consumed and you don’t have anything to give anyone else.
But what I love about Ky is that he’s not afraid to keep caring, fighting, and doing what he thinks is right against all odds.
And that—I think—is what made Ky real and heroic to me.