The character sketches were a collaborative effort; a rough road map to understanding our characters. As we continued to co-write Charlotte’s Journey, this was a way to keep the “shape”, or a baseline, of a character in mind; so we didn’t create two competing arcs as we wrote first drafts.
Lucinda is an interesting character to write. Though we do meet her early in the story, for the most part, she won’t be there. We only know this character through her pupil (as James says, “through memoir and imagination”). She’s the constant teacher and it’s her influence (as it affects Charlotte) that we truly see, yet through those lessons, we get to know her.
Keyword: Large and in-charge.
Lucinda grew up in Fort City among its court, as her parents were influential, wealthy, and firm believers in the meritocracy. She was instilled with the same ethics and values that the great Fort City was built upon: to be worthy, one must create worth. From an early age she was trained in a variety of skills, but chief among them were diplomacy, debate, language, strategy, and wit. It was inevitable she would become the lead ambassador for the City, as her love of words and discussion, not to mention her scathingly sharp wit and intelligence, made her a prime candidate. Combined with her true passion for the City and its people and values, she has spent her entire adult life speaking on behalf of Fort City.
Lucinda is not one to shy away from the finer things in life, in particular, great food and dessert. She is a robust woman, and her physical presence matches her personality—she fills, and dominates, a room. She is short, and broad, and round, but moves with grace. She is strong, firm, and at times, impenetrable, but she nonetheless moves with fluidity and elegance. As an ambassador and representative of Fort City, she knows that the way she is perceived is the perception of the City, so she carries herself proudly, wearing clothes that match her attitude. Her style is opulent, but without the arrogant flourish or garishness so often attached to it, or others of her station. (She may use her wealth to ship in expensive, stunning silks, but she’ll turn them into simple, beautiful gowns that she wears with class). Her clothes are one part uniform, and armour, for the arena of diplomacy and debate; she wears them as such. She forgoes on excessive amounts of jewelry, often limiting herself to a single necklace and matching pin for her hair. As a well-trained and experience negotiator, she is in constant control of her facial expressions, which often remain (to the uninitiated, at least) stoic or stern.
Lucinda’s physical presence may fill the space around her, but it is truly her personality that fills the room. One can feel her influence first before she even enters a room. She is confident, direct, intelligent, and quick-witted (but unlike Charlotte, in control of her wit). She loves the ebb and flow of politics, the challenge of debate. She will not, however, suffer fools. She’ll use her mastery of language, rhetoric, wit, and intellect to knock their ignorance from atop their heads.
She sometimes appears arrogant, when in fact what she has is the calm, self-assuredness of experience, smarts, and skill. She knows she is often the smartest person in the room, but has no desire to lord it over anyone. She has no need to prove her abilities, as she knows they will speak for themselves. She is proud, but she does not let the feeling dominate her. She knows her accomplishments and what they have done for the City, and will not hide under a humble facade, however, she is constantly looking to the next challenge and does not take the time to dwell in her past successes. She acknowledges their presence, as she acknowledges her skills–facts to be accepted, and used for the betterment of society.
She can be brash and stern, often appearing cold to those that don’t know her, but there is a depth of care and love within Lucinda (not to mention humour, though she keeps it well in check). She truly cares for Fort City, and its people. She may challenge them–as well as her friends, allies, opponents, and enemies–but ultimately what she seeks is to better everyone. Even if it means one fool at a time (suggesting that, perhaps, she does suffer fools, afterall…)
Lucinda believes, wholeheartedly, in the meritocracy. It is why she has dedicated her life to diplomacy, and used her impressive skills on behalf of the city. She does love the finer things in life, and will not pass up delicatessen treats or fine garments, but she does so knowing she has earned them through long hours dedicating herself to the City.
In strange contrast to not suffering fools, she nonetheless does believe in people, and works to better all those around her; this belief can be seen in her work. She has been known to turn down incredibly advantageous deals that would greatly benefit Fort City when such a deal will do more harm than good to the others involved. “Better to rise slower as a group, then leave an enemy on the ground, firing arrows at your back.” She considers the long game, and gain, over the immediate gratification.
Lucinda is a proverbial teacher, constantly giving lessons to all those around her (even if they don’t realize it). For Charlotte, this is obvious, but to Lucinda, she will just as likely teach the king, her allies, or those across the table from her.
She always seeks the non-violent resolution, loving the inherent difficulty in the task, but is not afraid to play the threat card. She seeks the balance, and truly is in search of the best course of action, not only for her people, but all those involved.
Though it may not be obvious to “outsiders” (and sometimes maybe not even to Charlotte herself), Lucinda loves Charlotte as if she was her own daughter.
Lucinda has a high intellect, great oratory skills (including debate, rhetoric, and a mastery over language). She is a natural leader, capable of taking control over situations and rooms. She is great at diplomacy, and is quite skilled in tactics (though she has honed them for the deliberating table, rather than the battlefield).
Lucinda is well-established in her work, and knows herself quite well. In our story, her own, personal arc, will actually come to an end. But her influence will continue to be felt throughout. The lessons she has taught Charlotte will finally start to sink in. Her growth, in this story, is about the growth of her pupil.
Important Notes about Relations to Other Characters:
When much of the court still saw Charlotte as a mouthy child, Lucinda saw raw, undirected talent. She spoke with the king, and when Charlotte was the appropriate age, she was placed under Lucinda’s tutelage. The two have been working together for many years, and though they are at times at odds with one another, it comes from a place of deep respect for the other (not to mention love). Lucinda knows that, with the proper training, and actually understanding her lessons instead of just listening to them, Charlotte will one day be a greater ambassador for Fort City than she was. She disdains the girl’s fascination with the Barbarian Queen series, but takes great measures to teach Charlotte all that she knows, in hopes that when the girl truly needs it, her advice will be there…
Lucinda and King Theodore have mutual respect for one another. They grew up together in the Fort City court. Their friendship was / is a solid thing, built on shared values, shared experiences, and a desire to see Fort City be the best it can be. Though few would know it, it was Lucinda’s constant challenging of Theodore that made him capable enough to rise to the thrown, something he longed for even as a child. Lucinda had no such desire for the seat, preferring the authority—and freedom—of the ambassador’s role.
She despises the man. He embodies everything that she is not: selfish, arrogant, and destructive. She sees his methods as harmful to Fort City, and is concerned for his sway in the politics of their time. Rarely one to give up on a person, Lucinda has given up trying to teach Vilnius anything. She has written him off as a lost cause (and a pity, for she sees the pure intellect in the man and wishes it could be harnessed for something other than himself). Despite her feelings, she still sees him as a part of Fort City, and therefore does not perceive him as a threat (just an arrogant prick mucking up her City).
Augusto. Ahh, Augusto. Her first impressions of the man were thus: in the Fort City court, he would be considered an oaf. His style is alien to her. But as they worked across the table from one another, she soon realized there was a depth to his intellect, a plan hidden amongst the mead, dancing, and mirth. Though he carries himself in the exact opposite way Lucinda does, he shares similar values and Lucinda has come to respect his ways (a respect that continues to grow…)