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Character Profile: Thomas "Footsie" Lott

Footsie (he/him) was definitely one of my favorite characters to create, because as I was writing I consistently had his internal dialogue in mind. I'm tempted to go back and make annotations of Footsie's thoughts every time something happens. Candid and Meerkat are fighting again? Fates know that Footsie has something to say about it. Jane is acting sus now that the creepy High Lord is hanging around? He's got the tea for you. He's a bro, a buddy, a pal, and he's gonna support you but somewhat quietly judge your dumb decisions. He and Jane hold an almost sibling-like friendship.

Footsie is a dark skinned black-indigenous man, wide set with long, wavy/curly black hair. He has a muscular build, without being over-defined (he likes his food), and deep-set smile lines. He's the kind of man who is loved by kids for his piggy-back rides, and is deeply loyal to his family and people. He's also the most level-headed of the team next to Meerkat, and a natural leader. He wears a necklace of crystals charged with magic, a precious item his grandfather had left him, which he uses for intensive healing spells. In his free time he is holed up in his rooms with an alchemy kit, working on creating a healing potion that would be more effective than crystal spells and usable by anyone.

Footsie's hero name is announced as being for his "quick movements and agility in battle", but the truth is that it comes from him slipping on ice for a solid minute one winter during training. Even so, he is fast and agile, and is also the team's healer. "Thomas" is an *anglicized version of his name (*this world's version of it... Listuanicized?). His full name and title is Terra Pritha Tomas Liotta as a prince of Meditari, but he is a prince in name alone, banned from owning much property. Footsie's history and motivations lie within the history of the Darklands.

The states called East Darklands and West Darklands were formerly kingdoms known as Ardor and Meditari respectfully. Meditari was a country with rich culture and old traditions, known far and wide for its healing magics, when Listuan invaded. During the first century of occupation, the country was stripped of resources and used for cheap labor. Reckless industrial growth stained the air and water black, along with buildings and clothes. It was because of the black stained cities that the nations were called the Darklands when integrated as states of Listuan. The ruling families were ultimately stripped of land and power, but are still looked to as the true rulers by their people. Footsie was raised by his grandfather, who spent his life gaining political backing and 'cleaning the nation', advocating to end the forced industry and focus on cleaner production.

Footsie spent his childhood watching his grandfather make progress within the very system that was built to oppress them, and that heavily affected Footsie's decision to become a hero. This was in harsh contrast to Footsie's partner, Jamie (they/them), who believed the only true path was in breaking the system down and rebuilding. They fought and ultimately split up during Footsie's initial training to be a hero. Beyond their disagreements regarding the hero program, they struggled as a couple when Footsie realized he was asexual, and couldn't be with Jamie physically. Their making up is a background story in One for Ahl.

As I hope the grand majority of people can surmise, Meditari is heavily based on real world events and the long-term effects of colonization. I didn't go heavily into it in One for Ahl because it's not my story to tell, but I wanted to reflect on it in a setting where you have a nation with a military-industrial-complex invading and occupying foreign nations with the very thin guise of "improving lives". I also wanted to use the interactions with Jane and Footsie to reflect on how people from different marginalized communities can be insensitive to each other at times. Even when the exact same system and people are oppressing us, it doesn't mean that we have identical experiences or face the same struggles. In One for Ahl, Jane cannot fully understand Footsie's experiences just as Footsie is blind to much of Jane's plight. Their support for each other requires communication, patience, understanding, and at times space.

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