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Character Profile: High Lord Orin Artemisia

This character profile, I'll admit, will be a tad different from the others. I promise it's because Orin is One for Ahl's antagonist, not because I'm coming out of a depressive episode and completely forgot to write these... well, perhaps it's a combination of both.

Orinthel Orelin Artemisia is a complex person, fully explored at the end of One for Ahl. Unfortunately that means I can't tell too much about his past without ruining the twist! That being said, his role in Jane's story is straightforward: he is her abuser. He built the hero program, and controls most aspects of it. He is the father of Jane's sponsor and adoptive mother, Genivi Artemisia. He also led the efforts to accept Ahlian refugees into Listuan. With those facts together, he has control over every aspect of Jane's life and uses that control to meet his own end.

The High Lords of Listuan are leaders with great amounts of natural magic, or life force. There is rumor that their magic is a result of being descendants of the "elemental" fae, but the people of Listuan would sooner tickle a mule's behind than to mention it in public. The High Lords are Listuan's source of magic, by placing amounts of their power into crystals to be used by wizards. Among the High Lords, Orin is by far the most powerful. His donations account for more than half of all the magic in Listuan!

The nobility consider Orin an immovable and irreplaceable force. To the public, he's generous and benevolent. The dwarvish people of Gilt even consider him a god, due to his being seemingly immortal. He does not age, and has defied death for many centuries. His financial status has grown as any immortal nobleman's wealth might. His body has been warped by his magic, making him as tall as the giants of Tundra, and much stronger, with sharp and thin features. While many consider him handsome, he is visibly not a normal man. He has long, black hair, pale skin, and bright purple irises. To those who can see it, tendrils of magic whip around him in bluish black shadows.

In private, Orin is far from kind... at least to those he considers worth his attention. He uses his magic to affect emotions and memories. He physically lashes out with little control of his anger, then heals whoever was hurt afterwards. Jane is terrified of his control over mental states, and is wholly overpowered. His attention toward Jane is the driving factor of One for Ahl. Orin wishes to train her to match his magic ability, and to keep her as his companion. He takes away every fragment of control she might have of her life, all while maintaining face as a beloved leader.

My greatest concern in writing Orin is that some readers will romanticize him. Especially in Fielle's Legacy, where a love interest is introduced for Jane, I fear that some readers will believe Orin was meant to be with Jane. I sincerely hope the "yuck" of him being her adoptive grandfather will be enough to offset that. I purposely wrote his appearance and demeanor to match certain romance novel tropes, because I wanted his character to be terrifying for his actions above all else while highlighting the red flags of those tropes. Despite his looks, despite public opinion, despite his past, he is an abuser who puts his wants over the needs of others. The tragedy in his character is that, had he bothered to reflect on himself and regulate his emotions, he could easily be the beloved hero.

Orin is also autistic. I debated writing him that way, but ultimately decided to place him on the spectrum. Jane and Genivi are both high masking, and others are heavily coded simply because I, as an autistic author, struggle to write fully allistic characters (I try. I just struggle to understand allistic thought processes). Fielle's Legacy is even an allegory for unmasking! I wanted to have an autistic hero rather than an autistic antagonist. But for this character in this book, his autism has a purpose. Undiagnosed autism can present like narcissism, especially in men who never learned emotional regulation. People who don't understand others around them can turn to blaming the world rather than recognizing their own part in the miscommunications. People having meltdowns without knowing why can lash out. Autism doesn't cause violent behavior, but it can exacerbate it.

I wrote this side of Orin with some of my own family in mind, as well as experiences with diagnosed autistic men who used their diagnosis to excuse predatory behavior and deny accountability. Once again, Orin could have been the hero of his story if he'd only taken the time to work on himself and question his perspective. Instead he puts his interests ahead of everything and everyone. He also focuses on his special interests in mind altering magics without pausing to consider how it affects others, including his own daughter.

In his mind he is a hero and a victim in a world that has never truly made sense.

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