Character Introduction


This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers fantasy series. This week, it’s the Private Burkenshaw.

Farlan Burkenshaw

In short: Human; male; rich brown hair; blue eyes; born Unknown; currently living at Maskil; started as a private with Aruam Castle when introduced in Shadows in the Stone; by the end of the novel, he was Sergeant Burkenshaw; loves to eat dried pumpkin seeds.

Family and Teen Years

Artist LeightonFarlan was raised in the Maskil Orphanage. He doesn’t remember his parents, but he remembers his older sister Saraline. She taught him about magic in the twilight.

When Bronwyn started out on his dangerous journey, Farlan told him, “At the orphanage, Saraline would take me outside in the morning light and tell me stories about our mom. I don’t remember her, but my sister did. Our mother died a few short years after my birth. My sister told me magic danced in the twilight. She told me to look to it for strength. The last day I saw her, before her new parents took her away, she led me outside before the sun rose. She told me all the hope one needed could be found in the twilight. Each new day I hope I’ll find her. And now, I’ll also hope you and Isla will return.”

He added, “Don’t ever give up hope. It’ll keep you alive when the odds are against you. Every sunrise, I want you to renew yourself. Think of it as a fresh beginning where the events of yesterday can be soothed in the twilight. There is power we don’t understand in the air when it isn’t dark yet is not yet light. I’ve felt it many times. It’s as if fairies are flirting with the air we breathe, poking us with needles to see if we’re still alive. Breathe it in. Let it wash away your fears.”

Where I Found His Name

I struggled to find a good strong name for this character. He was new to me, and I didn’t know his history and inner spirit. I wanted him to have a long last name, and that was found first. His first name changed many times until I came across Farlan. It reminded me of my cousin’s name, Farley. Farley is outgoing with a healthy spirit, the same as Farlan. The name stuck, and years later, it still works for me.

History in Real Life

Shadows in the Stone - Diane Lynn McGyverFarlan in all sense of the word was an orphan, a boy who showed up without a past looking for a task to perform. He wasn’t part of the original cast gathered in my teens, so he was a stranger to me. Bronwyn needed a best friend at the castle, and when he met Farlan, the two got along as if brothers. It was a perfect match.

When Isla showed up, Farlan took on the big brother role. Together they go on many adventures, get into trouble and pick on each other as siblings do.

His Future

Farlan plays a major role in the first half of Shadows in the Stone, almost giving his life for Isla. Although he wants to continue on the quest, his injuries prevent him and he returns to the castle. In Scattered Stones, he plays only a minor role. Given that Revelation Stones focusses on Isla and her adventures away from Aruam Castle, I am unsure of how much screen time Farlan will get. I have a feeling he’ll show up—oh, that’s right; he does—but it’s in a minor role.

The future holds many surprises for Farlan, ones he’ll be happy and not so happy to receive.

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This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers fantasy series. It started last week with Bronwyn Darrow. This week, it’s the sorceress Catriona.

Catriona Wheatcroft

In short: Human; female; born in Maskil and currently living on Horizon Lane in Maskil; sorceress; at the start of Shadows in the Stone, she had several apprentices working under her, including Alaura of Niamh.

Family and Teen Years

Destiny Governed their LivesCatriona is the oldest child of Kathleen and Emerson Wheatcroft. She has two younger brothers, Jimmy and Rod. Since she was a young teen, she loved playing with magic. Although she strives to be a great sorceress, a dreadful mistake when she was 17 years old caused her family a great heartbreak.

We first meet Catriona, age 17, in Destiny Governed their Lives where we learn about the worst day in her life. Crushed by events in this story, her parents move their family to Wandsworth. However, Catriona remained in Maskil, both because it is her home and because she could not bear to face her parents after the tragedy she brought to her family.

Shadows in the Stone - Diane Lynn McGyverIn Shadows in the Stone, we meet her in the opening scene. She and Alaura are assisting Maura of Ealasaid to give birth to Isla of Maura. Although she plays a minor part in this novel, as well as the second one, Scattered Stones, Catriona will shine in future books. She has an uncanny ability to see things others miss, and her insight shared in Shadows in the Stone will prove valuable in the chaotic years to come.

For those who have read Destiny Governed their Lives, fear not; she will redeem herself.

Her goal is to be a well-respected sorceress, one who the Lords of Aruam Castle seek for consultation. She’s a trustworthy person, who often doubts herself, though she works to hide this insecurity. Her home is cluttered with things that often have no purpose, but she loves to surround herself with beautiful things and items that might come in handy. She has no faith in stone magic and believes rocks make better paper weights.

Vignette #2 is a moment in Catriona’s day between Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. Readers will get a glimpse into what happened to her at the inquest that took place in book 1.

History in Real Life

magicCatriona originally went by Lyrehc and was based on someone who travelled with the Warriors – the same group a certain hauflin thief ran with (see story here). Although she was somewhat intelligent, she had a clumsy way about her and often ‘fell into’ trouble for no reason other than she made a stupid mistake or a wrong turn. She often dragged the group down with her, and it always led to another adventure.

Although she is slightly boring in Shadows in the Stone, I believe she is a fun character to write. She’ll reveal more of this in the upcoming novels.

My Castle Keepers series has grown immensely since I published the first book in the series on May 6, 2012. Shadows in the Stone introduced readers to several main characters and a host of supporting characters. Although most of them are ingrained in my brain, it might be difficult for readers to keep up with who’s who.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. There are dozens of characters.
  2. I’m a distracted writer who doesn’t release a book every year (that’s going to change right now).

To refresh the minds of readers and to give new readers a place to refer to, I’ve decided to show case one character a week. In addition to explaining their role in the series, I’ll add additional information, such as where I found their name.

Bronwyn Darrow

In short: Dwarf, male, born and living in Maskil, swordsman, at the start of Shadows in the Stone, he was a corporal with the Aruam Castle guard.

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