Sometimes the oddest things inspire, arriving in one’s life at just the right time. I’m working on the first draft of a fantasy fiction at the moment, entitled The Shifu Cloth. Part of it takes place in a Far Eastern inspired country called The Han. My female protagonist, Isabella, meets a character at the time of the Lantern Festival which heralds Spring. And I wondered what this character should look like . . . clothes, mannerisms etc. I had done much research on China and Japan but the research pressed no buttons. And then my dearest embroidery friend gave me a notebook (see left) and suddenly my dilemma was solved. This was my character . . . except in the story, I have given him glasses. He needed to appear myopic and studious, as well as inscrutable and I’ve always liked the way occasionally light shines on rimless spectacles, effectively blocking out eye expression.
Why mesmered? I need to explain the meaning of the word . . . a meaning you won’t find in any dictionary.
Mesmer is a form of enchantment used by the fey. No shouted spells, no wands flashing. Just a smooth glissade of the hand across the air, almost indetectable. Whatever the mesmerer wants to happen happens. It could be sending someone to sleep, or stopping a dagger in mid-flight and turning it on itself so it begins a return journey to the thrower, remorseless in its progress. Or it could be as fatal as the death-mesmer: – on the swipe of a hand, there is a silvered sound as if a sword is being withdrawn from a scabbard. A swish through the air from nowhere and a fatal thrust . . . always fatal. The fey don’t often use this as they aren’t essentially a violent race, merely a race of individuals who are forever looking for entertainment with no thought for those they may injure in the process. Compassion is an undeveloped emotion in most of the fey.