K.R. Stevens
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Introducing Lady Kera Gates and Owyn Hou ...

Introducing Lady Kera Gates and Owyn Houck

May 17, 2024

Lady Kera Gates and Owyn Houck are two central characters in Shattered Wings. I’ve pulled together a glimpse into who they are, while showing off our first official piece of art of the two, brought to you by the incredible Inessa Burnell! Check out her work here! InessaBurnellArt

Keep in mind that we won’t be going into too much depth with their personal history, since much of it is involved in the story of Shattered Wings, and we don’t really want spoilers here!

Kera’s Appearance

Lady Kera Gates is a Nasian, like Savic. Her skin is somewhat deeper in tone than Savic’s, with a more pronounced metallic sheen. She has piercing steel grey eyes, odd for a Nasian, but alludes to her family history, when her great, great grandmother married an Altian man. It was quite the controversy at the time.  She has an athletic build, like that of a gymnast or dancer. She is in her late twenties. She is the image of elegance and poise, never losing her composure, even when pushed to her limits. She always seems deep in thought, though far from inattentive.

Given that her province sits in a region with a warmer climate than most of the Kingdom of Vona, her clothes are typically on the lighter side. She’s a woman who isn’t afraid to use her beauty and appeal to her advantage and will wear what it takes to exploit that. So, her clothing would be perhaps more revealing than most would dare in Vona without being immodest. Deeper cuts, tighter fits, exposed shoulders (a big deal in most of Vona, though not uncommon in East Gate given the warmer temperatures and humidity), even exposed back (again, unheard of in most of Vona, but East Gate is hot.)

Kera prefers blues, whites, and copper tones, given those are the colors of East Gate's flag from when it was its own country. Any metal jewelry she wears generally features a chain motif. This is a not-so-subtle message that she and her province are restrained from true freedom.

Kera keeps at least a dozen throwing knives on her at all times. These are typically held in a thigh holster, or at her back. Really anywhere she can keep them mostly concealed. Her personal guard, Owyn, will usually carry her swordstaff as well so she can present herself at court without being weighed down by such a heavy weapon. It is called Stormcall, a blade that has been passed down the Gates line for generations, and is made of Arcanitanium, a highly magically conductive metal that Kera uses to marvelous effect. Ancient runes line the blade, billowing a cloud-like ethereal glow in combat. The metal itself is much like titanium in appearance, but with a faint purple sheen.

Kera’s Personality and History

Lady Kera Gates’ personality can be summed up in a single word, Determined. She knows exactly what she wants, and isn’t afraid to reach for it, though not without tact and civility. She is everything you would hope for from a politician: honest, forthright, incorruptible, truly caring for who she represents, and effective.

The province Kera rules, East Gate, used to be the capital province of the Gates Kingdom, which encompassed the majority of the eastern coast of Vona. Kera’s grandmother, Anara, was the last Queen of the Gates, and became the first Lady of East Gate when she chose to join the burgeoning Kingdom of Vona in her hope to avoid war between the two. They had only joined for half a year when Anara died under…mysterious circumstances. King Encartier had always been uneasy with the Gates Kingdom coming into his kingdom intact, and harbored a personal hatred of Anara, since she had, in many ways, slowed his unification of the Mokuri Gap. It is widely believed that he had Anara poisoned, though evidence of this has never come to light. This is still a hotly debated topic.

Kera’s mother, Anara II, similarly died suspiciously in a “robbery attempt gone wrong” when Kera was only 14. As a result, Kera took up control of East Gate very early in life. She was unprepared, uncertain, and justifiably terrified that she too would find herself killed in a convenient “accident”.

However, she grew into her new role very quickly. She knew that in order to survive she would have to thread a needle that made her politically impossible to dispose of. So, she did what her mother had failed at; she became the darling of the court. Loved by her allies, and grudgingly respected by her rivals, Kera took a stance with the Royal Centrist wing of the Vonan Royal Congress, and proved to be instrumental in garnering support for several infrastructure projects, like the Vonan Canals, that have connected the Silver and Sapphire Seas for the first time, as well as other incredibly popular and lucrative projects.

Privately, though, Kera is biding her time to move for the secession of the former Gates Kingdom from Vona. The former nobles of the old kingdom that survived are ready and willing to support her, but Kera wants to do her best to respect her grandmother’s wishes that no blood be shed for merely their own vanity. Any separation would need to be peaceful and mutual.

So, she has to balance between two very different worlds, one of making her indispensable in the Kingdom, and the other of returning to her people’s former independence. Ironically, a step towards one is a step away from the other. The more indispensable she makes herself and her province, the less likely a peaceful separation becomes. Likewise, the more she makes moves towards secession, the more she risks alienating and antagonizing those she’s worked so hard to keep from trying to destroy her and her lands.

Kera has an immediately commanding presence, capturing the attention of an entire room when she enters. She has a way of inspiring action in others, even that which they typically would never do otherwise. When she speaks, others listen. When she leaves, the room feels empty. When she wants something, she gets it without others feeling like she is taking advantage of them. She understands herself, her limitations, her strengths, and how to use them to get something done.

Kera is just as much a master of combat and war as she is politics. Given that her mother and grandmother were very likely killed by a jealous and vengeful king, she wants to be ready for an assassination attempt at any time. She trains for battle every morning, and every night. She is so skilled with Vortex (wind) magic, that her understanding of it borders on a divine level of control. It is not a hyperbole that the Goddess of the Winds, Ae, literally knows her name, and is more than a little afraid of her. Aside from her magical ability, she is a very gifted swordswoman, and pin-point accurate with her throwing knives. In the end, if someone comes to try and get rid of her, they will have a hell of a fight on their hands.

However, her current central priority that supersedes her concern for her safety, or desire for independence, is the looming threat she sees to the east, in the Aioptum Empire. She knows in her bones that war is coming, and her land will be the frontline against the burgeoning, bloodthirsty nation that has been eagerly conquering its weaker neighbors. She is determined to be ready for that war, even if she has to fight it alone. She has been secretly meeting with diplomats, company heads, and foreign leaders for years to try and build supply lines and alliances against the territory-hungry nation. With few exceptions, she is probably the one who understands just how serious a threat Aioptum poses the most.

Owyn's Appearance

Owyn Houck is a young Sindra male with dull green scales. He has bony ridges along his brow, but otherwise hasn’t developed the advanced set of horns and ridges older male Sindra have can develop on their heads. He is 120 years old, and heir to Lordship of Houckenhold Bay. He stands at eight feet tall, with large leathery wings, and has a long flexible tail.

Owyn is always in heavy plate mail, always ready for battle. Unlike the flowing style that many of our other characters have had, Owyn is defined by sharpness, and angularity. So where most breast plates would be rounded, his is more triangular, which accommodates for his chest that comes out more to a point than more humanoids.

Owyn holds the title of Lady Gate’s Master of Arms, essentially her personal honor guard who helps to lead her soldiers in times of conflict. As such, Owyn is loaded with weapons. Swords, spears, and chief of all, his long axe, Frontbreaker. This is nearly as tall as he is, and features a thick, hexagonal metal shaft, and a heavy, seemingly wrought iron head. In terms of colors, he sticks to dull bronze, green, and black, the colors of his home province in Houckenhold Bay.  The symbol for his province is a hawk’s head.

Owyn's Personality and History

Heir to the Houckenhold Bay province, Owyn serves under Lady Kera Gates as her Master of Arms. Owyn’s father, Lord Tyresse, had Owyn sworn to the Gates family to ensure a strong political partnership between the two, a choice that, while trying at times, has proved to be incredibly wise. He is a silent supporter of Kera’s ambitions to bring back the Gates Kingdom, and desires to join that Kingdom.

Owyn is a man of little words, preferring to act, rather than speak of actions. What little he does say typically is quite impactful. This is not to say he is not personable, or friendly, but he says more with an expression and actions than he does with his words. Kera trusts what Owyn has to say like it is oxygen for her to breathe, and he is rarely wrong.

His near silent demeanor changes quite a bit in times of celebration and relaxation. When it is time to drink, Owyn drinks much, and will eagerly join in song and dance. He is a masterful storyteller, and particularly loves sharing stories of heroic exploits and the gods with young children. You can tell how much he wants children of his own.

Rumors of a relationship between Kera and Owyn are completely unfounded, though the two are incredibly close. They view each other like an older brother and younger sister. Owyn has been sworn to serve Kera since she was two weeks old, and he was eighty-six years old. Owyn would do anything for Kera, just like she would do anything for him. However, romance is completely off the table.

Sharp, focused, and loyal, Owyn is everything Kera could hope for in a personal guard, advisor, and one day close political ally, when he inherits lordship of Houckenhold Bay. She relies on his uncanny insight to help inform her own choices, knows that her back is always protected, and she can always count on him to get things done.

Much to Owyn’s annoyance, one of Kera’s side projects is finding a suitable wife for Owyn. While he appreciates her desire to find him happiness, he feels like her efforts are better served looking for her own match, and his efforts are best applied to protecting her, and ensuring her army is prepared for war.

Thank you!

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to the two incredibly important characters in Shattered Wings What are you excited for? What do you think of this incredible artwork from Inessa Burnell? Let me know in the comments, or on social media! Don’t forget to spread the word, and share the site with your friends!

Words cannot express how much I appreciate you for taking some time out of your day to see what I’ve been working on. I hope to see you soon!

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