When I started writing The Four Stars, I really had no intention of doing anything with it. It was, for all intents and purposes, meant for my friends and me only.
It started out with a dream I had in which I had a half-unicorn, half-pegasus animal companion, so naturally this went in the original story. I then asked my friends which kinds of pets they would like to have in the story. Eryn, of course, chose a griffon; Gavin chose a dragon; my best friend, Rayne, chose a wolf.
The creature companions were intended to be important parts of the story in my original idea, but they quickly became little more than a magical transportation system. They were just important enough that I couldn’t take them out, but not important enough to be particularly interesting. Well…there is one exception to that.
Of all the creature companions mentioned in the trilogy, Kadin the elvish wolf was always the most “alive” to me. My best friend and I have both been fascinated by wolves ever since we could remember. Combined with the fact that the elvish wolves in the story have no magical powers beyond longevity and the ability to talk, I think part of the reason Kadin became so real to me was the fact that he had to make due with natural skills.
Being smaller than a griffon, a dragon, or a winged unicorn, it also was more logical for Kadin to follow the main characters wherever they went, giving me more time and space in which to develop his character.
My interest in Kadin also goes hand-in-hand with the fact that Rayne is based off of my best friend, and is the only friend I have maintained constant contact with during all these years that I have spent working on the Legend of the Stars series. She adores Kadin, and her enthusiasm for the character inspired me in my writing.
My best friend and I were roommates for the two years that we spent at boarding school, which was where I wrote most of the trilogy, and many of Rayne’s reactions in the story come directly from my best friend’s reactions when she read my drafts.
Of all the human/creature pairs in the trilogy, Rayne and Kadin complement each other best, both representing wild and yet staunchly loyal personalities.
Out of the four main introductions in the first chapter of The Four Stars, Rayne gets the least amount of space, due mostly to the fact that hers is a character best introduced through her reactions to stressful and dangerous situations.
And so, for the moment, I hope you enjoy this little segment.
“Think they’ll hear it?” Rayne inquired as Razi stepped back into their oak home and hung the horn back on the wall.
“They always do,” Razi laughed. “When have they ever missed a meal?”
With that Rayne plopped a few tins of dried fruit on the little table nearby and turned back to the fireplace. She smiled gently when she looked down at the floor where her elvish wolf, Kadin, lay sleeping. The flickering light from the fire glowed against the wolf’s shiny coat, which was itself the color of liquid silver. He had a white underbelly and a white marking in the shape of an elvin dagger that ran down his forehead, ending at a point just before his nose.
He was young for his race, being little more than 10 years old when his kin often lived to be 100. Rolf, elder of the forest elves, had given Kadin to Rayne when he was only a pup, a sort of comfort gift to make up for the loss of Rayne’s parents. Kadin and his parents had accepted it as a duty, for it was every elvin wolf’s duty to obey their masters unquestioningly. But Rayne loved Kadin, and soon the pair had become inseparable friends. Of all the creatures in the world, Rayne truly believed there was none so loyal and protective as Kadin.
Quietly, Rayne sat down beside the sleeping wolf, placing a gentle hand on his soft coat. The creature stirred, then opened one sleepy golden eye to look at her. With a slight laugh, the young woman wrapped her arms around Kadin in a big hug and the wolf yawned lazily.
“Were you planning on sleeping all day?” Rayne asked as Kadin stretched, yawning again for effect.
“Maybe,” the he-wolf replied, looking over at his mistress. “You seemed to be doing just fine reaching over me when you were cooking earlier.”
“You were awake all along?”
“If that is what you call awake. You’re not going to make me move, are you?”
“What? You want me to bring your breakfast to you?”
The wolf plopped back down on the floor, rolling over onto his side and wagging his tail as he looked up at his mistress with big, innocent golden eyes.
“Tsk,” Rayne said with a laugh. “You’re so spoiled. Fine. I’ll get you your breakfast.”
“You’re going to get fat if you stay this lazy, Kadin,” Razi grinned from her seat at the table.
“Wolves don’t get fat,” Kadin argued. “And I help you hunt, so you can’t say I’m always lazy. I believe I’m entitled to a little laziness every now and again.”
“Yes, you are,” Rayne smiled, setting a plate of meat in front of him.
She patted the wolf on the head, then turned back toward the table.
“Now where are those boys? I’m really hungry,” she huffed, putting her hands on her hips.
A moment later the sound of whooping and hollering echoed through the open window nearby. Quickly Razi headed for the door, stepping outside and looking up in the air. Rayne grabbed up a cooking knife nearby before following her friend outside.
Just as she stepped through the door, Eryn and Gavin, astride Lorcan and Adaliz, landed with a heavy thud not more than 20 feet from where Razi was standing.
“Look at that! Look at that!” Eryn exclaimed excitedly, turning to Gavin with a victorious smirk. “I beat you! I so beat you!”
Gavin gave Razi and Rayne a look of frustration, then he rolled his eyes and said with a sigh, “Eryn, we got here at the exact same time.”
Razi grinned, then turned to Eryn and asked, “So, mighty hero, what foes have we vanquished this morning?”
The boy stopped to contemplate the question, but Gavin beat him to the answer.
“A stand of trees and at least 8 apples,” he said, sliding off of Adaliz’s back.
The younger boy gave his comrade a pouty glare before he, too, slid off his mount’s back.
All of a sudden Rayne bounded toward him.
“I spent all this time working hard to make you a nice meal and half starved to death waiting for you to show up only to find out that you’ve already filled up on apples?” she scolded, brandishing the cooking knife in the boy’s face.
“Hey! Hey! Rayne! Knife!” Eryn replied, leaning away from her and looking worriedly at the blade that flashed in front of his face.
“What, you think I didn’t notice that I just happen to have a knife in my hand?”
“I’m still hungry!” Eryn blurted out. “I still want to eat. Now can you please get that thing out of my face?”
Rayne stepped back, smirking at the boy whose face was pale as a sheet.
“It’s not like I was going to poke you with it,” she laughed. “Haven’t you learned that by now?”
“I’ve learned that you’re scary,” Eryn replied, darting behind Razi for safety.
“Says the mighty hero as he hides behind a girl,” Gavin said sarcastically, heading toward the door. “Well, while you’re cowering in fear of a cooking knife, I’m going to have breakfast.”
It was as though “breakfast” was a magic word, for in an instant Eryn had darted out from behind Razi and into their oak tree home nearby.
“Hah! Gets him every time,” Rayne grinned broadly.
“You’re mean, you know that?” Razi sighed with a small smile of amusement.
“Meh,” Rayne shrugged. “It’s just too much fun to resist.”
Razi rolled her eyes, then stepped through the door, Rayne following close behind.