Monday, June 29, 2015

Understanding Elatia

Today we have a real treat: an editor discussing one of her forthcoming books.  Elaine Daniels, of Recondite Publications dives into The Silent Slayer, a forthcoming book by Steven Beeho, and attempts to understand one of the most fearsome female characters you're likely to encounter.  

Elatia was born and raised in a nation of hunters, where a particular wood helps them to make powerful bows that women can use as easily as men. Attractive, intelligent and resourceful, she grew up with little to hold her back and much to help her advance her own desires. Unfortunately, she lacked empathy for others and developed a disdain for those around her. This grew to an arrogant cruelty. It led her to do harm to others and, when she escaped discovery, she soon wanted to do more. She thrived in being a danger in a society that radiated peace and equality. She loved to prey on the weak, she thrilled to take down the stronger. But Elatia knew there was only so much she could get away with at home before people would suspect her. Her nation was one of hunters, for that same reason they often left to wander the land and also territory beyond their borders. She set out to walk freely, hunt as she pleased and never become the victim. She went out into a world where much could threaten her, yet very soon all who knew her name were the ones to fear her. Her cruelty made her a highly effective torturer for information or persuasion. Her skill with the bow and cold, calm focus made her a deadly assassin. Her intelligence and awareness ensured she was never caught out. Elatia thrived amongst killers. She was among her own kind at last.

Despite being from Bamalia, a nation of equality, Elatia despises most of society, possessing particular disdain for those more powerful. Seeing strength as a form of power, Elatia has a penchant for torturing men; their fear guaranteeing her gratification. With her first kill under her belt by the age of sixteen, Elatia knew how to use her femininity and preyed on those who dared to find her attractive, although she also liked to ensnare the innocent and young. Coming from a race of skilled trackers, superb hunters - not to mention having the ability to survive in both grassland and woodland - Elatia honed her skills, so that by the age of twenty she began developing into something of a rare entity: a female assassin, known for willingly inflicting extreme torture on her victims. So terrifying were the tales spread about Elatia, more sought her out for hire, making her one of the top assassins, worldwide. With the mere mention of her name instilling a deathly fear, many victims beg for an imminent death rather than prolonged torture at Elatia’s hands.

“I doubt a single man in Callascino has gone to bed without checking every window and door since Elatia arrived.” He snorted in disgust. “What a name, she only feels elation when torturing someone.” 

It is her strong will and tenacious attitude, combined with deadly abilities that enable her to hold her own amongst ten of the top enforcers and assassins; the elite, a gang you would never hope to encounter. Being the only female and an attractive one at that, Elatia is aware that the rest of the elite fantasize about her and has no qualms in tormenting them. It is their fear of her and what she does that makes them abstain from taking advantage. She is also quick to use her derogatory observations to find fault with her male counterparts.

“You’re all killers and rapists, just like me, yet I’m not some cruel bitch but one helpless to her desire? Does your religion tell you that women are sluts and men can control themselves? Probably not. You think that way because it suits you, just like your other view of life is twisted.”

What sets her apart from them is that, despite her sadistic nature, Elatia never loses focus of what is expected of her and as of yet has never failed to complete a task. With a firm belief in her motto, ‘strike before they can’, Elatia is always on her guard, always aware of what might happen and, so, is always prepared. Her leader, Bane, considers her to be an expert at her craft - a true professional - and was particularly glad she agreed to join his gang rather than their enemies.

Unlike a lot of the elite, Elatia isn’t solely motivated by twisted urges, affording her greater self-control than most of her male counterparts and believes, in an unexpected moment of reflection, that because of this she would be able to walk away from her current life.

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like not to be us?” Elatia asked suddenly, looking at him, eyes still hard yet voice not full of revulsion for once.

“Yes, I think we all do. But it doesn’t appeal much, a life without fear.”

“I doubt any of us could stop. We all love it, to walk down a street and see everyone hurry out of your way, knowing they look at you only when your back is turned. It is wonderful. Yet there is also 
wondering if someone is aiming for your back, knowing all those people would cheer if you died, unable to ever really relax or risk death. Sometimes, and I mean only a few times, leaving all this and living differently appeals to me.”

“Really?” checked Rugal, yet he knew she spoke the truth, even if he wasn’t sure why. “What about your squealing girls and your cowering men?”

“Perhaps I would occasionally feed my craving. Strangely, I long to abuse the most when I abuse. Never have I gone a length of time without doing anything and felt like bursting through lack of pleasure. With self-control, I could stop. What of you?”

At first glance it is easy to dismiss Elatia as an evil piece of work, but as her story develops so does her character. At this point it appears that she can lose her permanent surliness and considers a life away from all the torture and killing. But, ever the professional, she has yet to finish the job she agreed to do and soon reverts to type.

Truly understanding Elatia may be something that never comes to fruition and whether she can relinquish her sadistic tendencies are yet to be revealed, but her multi-dimensional character is an enticing one to watch unfold in the drama in which she appears.

Elatia and excerpts featured in this post, Understanding Elatia, appear in The Silent Slayer by Steven Beeho, which is to be published by Recondite Publications, a publishing house of sci-fi, high fantasy and the downright weird, in September 2015.

This article was written by Elaine Daniels, editor of The Silent Slayer, on behalf of Recondite Publications.

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