Developing character can occur externally (as someone viewing the character/ an external event challenging the character) or internally, as a character assessing himself/herself. In Chapter 12: No Time for Sorrow, I introduce General Dregorun Core Lamar. We see him first from his perspective, and later in that same chapter, from a messenger’s perspective.
Chapter Twelve: No Time for Sorrow
The Second in Command of Embrilliance sat in his tent, a slow boil in the small iron pot opposite him. Dregorun Core Lemar cooked his own stew, maintained his armor, drew his water and attended other minor tasks men in his position left for servants. He’d climb out of his casket, dig his own ditch and spit in the gravedigger’s eye before he let someone do something for him, or so his men joked. Dregorun led the most ruthless army in the Human Kingdom and would as soon have a servant as he’d have a knife in the ribs.
And I’d hoped the men were as hard, he thought. However, the general had recently been disappointed, an unhealthy mistake for a soldier under his command. The swamps proved unfriendly of late, though he knew the festering pestilence ran in cycles – Unlife came and went. Only recently, The Others stayed. They began acting in ways he’d never known they could. The Deathknights – His Deathknights – usually in command of the situation wherever they went, were now on the run for the first time since he’d led them.
He had word that one of his platoons recently lost their ‘eyes.’ This disturbed General Core Lemar for he hand picked such scouts and saw to their training himself. He pushed them as hard as he’d pushed the young King – not a comparison he’d make lightly. Although, he admitted, no one understands the sword and warfare like Krylor Hendsdred. I’d think the platoon leaders, at least, should be competent enough to stay on this side of the Veil. General Core Lamar tallied the recent losses and ground his teeth. Apparently not so. Is it me – did I fail to teach them of readiness? Were the Raiders not enough?
Dregorun considered their training. Once a day, he let a group of men attack him – the only regiment restricted from this were the thoroughly disciplined scouts. And if he noted a platoon lax in their duty, he’d set on them himself. It didn’t matter who attacked or where from so long as their offensive came out of the blue. He required they surprise him.
In the long hours of the night, six men came at him once …
Later, Aunder Meetleson assesses his General, meeting the man face-to-face for the first time:
Aunder Meetleson swaggered toward the command tent. He’d lived in the saddle for days, and just minutes ago, reacquainted his feet with the ground. Though he’d been a messenger for years, he’d never gone so far, nor ridden so long.
He spat and wiped the sweat from his brow. “What do you think he’s going to say,” Aunder asked of his escort.
The Deathknight grunted and shrugged. Apparently, still in denial of the news. At the edge of the tent, the Deathknight knocked on the pole dividing the entrance.
A voice like grated stone quelled the knocking. “You’ll end up headless unless you have a damn good reason for disturbing my dinner.”
The Deathknight gave Aunder a flat, disapproving look, but said nothing.
“Royal messenger with news…”
“Get on with it,” the unforgiving voice cut him off. Quickly, the Deathknight opened the tent flap.
Aunder Meetleson had heard of the man, General Dregorun Core Lemar. The meanest thing walking. The legend who trained the King. Only three people had ever managed to stand toe to toe with Krylor Hendsdred, and Aunder quickly saw why the Second in Command was one of them.
Dark, brown eyes pinned him in place. A shaft of gold split the General’s left iris, shrinking as he squinted and impassively sized up the messenger. Aunder fought to keep his knees from buckling. The sheer intensity of the gaze made his mouth dry.
He ate shirtless, chewing his gruel with soldier-like efficiency. Chords of muscles in his neck and jaw rippled in counterpoint with his temples and finer muscles of his face. Aunder wondered if his countenance could radiate any further menace. This is how he looks when he’s just eating.
The sight of General Core Lemar stirred an old memory. Once, on his da’s farm, Aunder ran the ox plow into a petrified log. The plow hit so hard, it made his teeth chatter. He dug for hours before unearthing the thing; marveling at the black wood, rough like furrowed leather, but harder than stone. The Second in Command was as much a man as that old log was a sapling…