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The Evolution of Ilyena Masters
Posted Sep 26, 2013 - 12:52:16

Ilyena Masters
So a long time ago I wrote about how UnCONventional's Lynn Baxter was originally created as a character for a different project. My creative recycling, of course, neither started nor ended there - because, y'know, I'm lazy.

So today I thought I'd give some insight on the creation of Ilyena Masters, one of the characters in The Chronicles of Crosarth.

Most people have no idea that over a decade ago I attempted to write a science fiction novel. And by "attempted" I mean "wrote three chapters and gave up." The story was intended to be an action comedy that followed the staff of a far future waste disposal company that would end up saving human civilization.

Y'know, basic stuff.

I was young though, and didn't have the patience to stick with the story at the time. It fell by the wayside, but two of the characters stuck out in my head - Ilyena Masters and Vince/Vinny Vescucci. And I'd recycle both of them several times (Vinny eventually got his name changed to Delgado).

In the graphic above you can see one of the later pieces of concept art I had for Ilyena for the novel - because I can never resist drawing them. This is where the core of the character came from. This version of Ilyena was probably more articulate than versions that would follow, but the mindset of only working with what was in front of her and her short temper would persist in all later iterations.

Ilyena sat on a shelf for a few years, until some friends of mine in college asked me if I wanted to join their weekly tabletop game. They were playing a game of Returner's FFRPG, a role playing game unofficially based on the Final Fantasy franchise (hence the Chocobo). It was in this game that many parts of Ilyena's background got developed including her family history, growing up on a farm outside a small town, and the death of her grandfather. It also introduced two key elements - the three scars on her neck and her hatred of talking to people. In fact, this version of Ilyena (who was a good ten years younger than the versions from the novel and from Crosarth) pretended to be mute so she wouldn't have to speak.

Which led to quite a few entertaining gaming sessions, let me tell you.

I would later bring her back for a D&D campaign pretty much unchanged (other than now riding a horse instead of a chocobo and being a Fighter rather than a Swordmaster).

Years later, when I was developing my ideas for The Chronicles of Crosarth, I needed to fill out the crew for the HMS Hummingbird. I already had created most of the primary characters (Hayworth, Kellin and Friday), but I needed a few more. In came my favorite pair, Ilyena and Vinny.

This version is back to being in her thirties, but incorporates a lot of the depth that was created in my years of playing her as a table top character. Of course, as she's not the main character in Crosarth, a lot of this depth has yet to be revealed to the reader... but we'll get there.

A year into Crosarth she got a redesign - abandoning the pony tail she'd previously always had - but remains the same. And I can't wait to let you guys get to know her more.
- Traegorn

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