This is the week that was – the last week I wasn’t a novelist! But before I wave goodbye to the life I lived before…
The Darkside Codex has a large body of “canon” characters for the visiting writers to use as they see fit – providing they don’t spoil the fun for whoever follows them, that is. However, every writer is free to create their own inhabitants of Southwatch, and those we can treat as well or as badly as we might want!
So, I’d like to introduce the three main characters that I’ll be tormenting in the pages of The Glass Sealing: Arthur Marlen Singleton, Jocelyn Melody Duville, and Ben Shay.
Arthur Marlen Singleton
Sole child of hard-working, middle class parents, Arthur Singleton was a talented student and secured a place at one of Southwatch’s fine universities to study engineering – but he never forgot his origins and took to his studies with a serious dedication his mother and father would have approved of. Tall and pale beneath dark, dishevelled hair, he stood out in the corridors of learning and was similarly marked as a rising star in academia. He completed his degree and immediately joined the faculty, content to teach the odd class, grade student papers and pursue his own interests – which is to say, putting his skills into practical effect.
And doing exactly that threatens to lift Singleton out of dusty obscurity and into the big time, when his work catches the eye of Martin Duville, the moderately wealthy owner of unique transportation company. He is given a chance to break from his past (and the easy safety of university life) and prove himself in the real world. However, in the real world the rich sit on top of the pile and everyone else does a hard day’s work below them. A wise man would bear that in mind before he goes opening his mouth…
Jocelyn Melody Duville
A diminutive figure with striking rather than beautiful features, Jocelyn Duville is high society by birth but a businesswoman at heart – and she refuses to conform to the expectations of her class, at least regarding her gender. Heiress to the Duville transportation “empire”, a paltry fleet of reconfigured airships considered by its more conventional rivals as ill-suited to their new purpose, Jocelyn’s keen mind for business transforms the company’s fortunes. Suddenly her inheritance looks like a fine dowry, but Jocelyn subtly deflects any potential marital entanglements in favour of conducting romance on her own terms – much as she does in business.
Jocelyn’s success derives from a willingness to think creatively, to challenge the status quo; but when a certain Mr. Singleton encourages her to consider the subject of workers’ rights, he inadvertently exposes her to an uglier side of the lower classes and she is finally driven onto a more traditional path, putting such nonsense behind her. Then Jocelyn receives an offer she can’t refuse. It seems not all her privileged peers are so eager to merely toe the social line: a small number work in secret to champion the interests of Southwatch, even against the will of the city’s officials. They invite Jocelyn to join them, gifting her the opportunity to achieve more than she ever could alone – but her proposal in return is beyond even their expectations…
Ben was born an impoverished Bricktowner and learned to blend into the background to avoid childhood beatings, first from his father and then from his fellow slum-dogs. He grew up to be the perfect informant for one of Southwatch’s street gangs, flawlessly melting into crowds and reporting back on everything he heard – eavesdropping on disgruntled factory workers, for example, so his intimidating boss can send a pack of strike-breakers in timely fashion. Being unobtrusive isn’t his only skill, mind, though it’s the only one he shares with his employer. He also has a handy knack for finding hard-to-spot things, a useful trick he keeps under his hat.
Now in his late-twenties, Ben is an average-looking type who rarely stands out and gets noticed, provided he keeps to the right kind of environment. This habit is compromised when he is given an unusual new assignment: instead of keeping a low profile, and one ear to the ground, Ben is to babysit a person of interest – an engineer with dubious notions of social equality. And because Ben knows what’s good for himself he does what he’s told, even though he can’t imagine what the leader of a street gang might want with some toff who calls himself “Arthur Marlen”…
There’s plenty more where they came from… and I hope that whets your appetite, because The Glass Sealing will be available to read at the end of this week!