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Character Profile: Kathali Meera, aka Meerkat

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Meerkat, while created as a secondary character, has been one of the most popular among beta readers to such an extent that I'm considering writing a novella focused on her.

Meerkat is one of the heroes and Jane's teammate. She represents the shifter clans from the East Darklands state (formerly the Kingdom of Ardor). At the beginning of the series, Meerkat and Candid have a struggling relationship, which is explored as a background story.


Shifters gain their shifts when they discover animal species that they feel a soul connection with. Seeing the animal in person helps the shifters make these discoveries, though on very rare occasion they'll dream of animals they've never laid eyes on. Because of this, the wealthier shifter families have built colonies for the purpose of finding new and stronger beasts, while poor shifter families save to visit the zoos created by those wealthier families. Shifts are seen as tools to be used, and it's taboo for a shifter to remain in a shift too long less they lose sight of their "true form".


This taboo is the source of Meerkat's struggles, as she is a trans woman and one of the only shifters to find a second human shift. Before our story begins, Meerkat chose to remain in her female shift long-term, and faced the social repercussions of that choice. She chose to apply for the hero program to create a space where she can exist in what she knows is her soul's true form, away from the expectations of her clan. She is simultaneously revered for her large amount and variety of shifts, and despised for her decision to remain in one. Her transition is also the initial source of her change in relationship with Candid, who had loved Meerkat long before and initially struggled with the change.


Shifters are perhaps the least human of the human clans in Ahl and Listuan. Where the giants of Tundra and dwarves of Gilt are most affected by the world's magic in their size and strength, and wizards must rely on stored magic within crystals, the shifters alone have an internal magic. While this isn't explicitly stated in One for Ahl (it is explored in Fielle's Legacy), this is because shifters are descendants of humans and fae. Where Listuan views the "elemental" fae as less than humans, that history was heavily wiped by the shifter families and is only remembered by the fae themselves.


Meerkat's appearance is based on a handful of Bollywood Indian actors and actresses. In both her male and female forms she has darker skin with fairly straight black hair, amber eyes, and an aquiline nose with a slight hook. She is considered very handsome and beautiful in both of her forms (especially by Candid). In One for Ahl, she initially feels comfortable changing pronouns with her shifts, until a turning point when she fights with her father and chooses to accept herself as a woman regardless of her body. (This fight, while existing in the background One for Ahl, is not known to Jane or the reader explicitly until events in Fielle's Legacy. It would definitely be explored if I write a novella in Meerkat's perspective).

Meerkat speaks with a heavy stutter. I initially wrote her stutter following the patterns of a friend's speech, related to ADHD and made worse by anxiety.


I truly hope I did Meerkat justice in my writing of her. She truly is a conglomeration of people I've come to know and love in real life, and I believe it shows as people continuously love her character.

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