Story Series: The Valley of Magic
Is it strange that I am more interested in my supporting cast rather than my protagonists? Of course, there isn’t a lot of space in the text of the book to develop these characters fully, so there is are many ideas in my head about their backgrounds that might not make it into the book.
I needed a scene where the characters could talk politics and discuss some foreign visitors to their city. What better place than a huge, busy kitchen? Also necessary was a locus for this discussion to center on, thus Wulfweard was born. He’s large, loud and respected. People listen to him. He also is the boss of the kitchen and has a commanding presence. He turned out to be a useful tool for maintain momentum in this kitchen scene.
Wulfweard is the head cook of the largest kitchen in the city, the kitchen that serves the Great Hall of the Arcane Conservatory in Marudal. This is the center of politics for the city. The Great Hall is where the wizard council sits, and also where foreign diplomats stay and where negotiations between these groups take place. The kitchen here provides critical support for many key city functions. Its hard to overstate how important food is to maintain people’s comfort. Comfort is an important tool in diplomacy. Wulfweard was raised to this highest post by way of his unmatched experience.
In this story, he has also come to function as the eyes into the outer world for a character that has never left the city. Wulfweard traveled the world for many years, learning about other cultures and especially their foods. Then he brought all this experience back with him. The people around him ask for his advice regarding intercity/international issues. Unlike his xenophobic followers, Wulfweard has a neutral respect for other peoples, something he developed during his travels. He even tries to prove his culinary skills by cooking foreign dishes, even ones that disgust his subordinates. Others in the kitchen complain about the foreign smells and harbor xenophobic prejudices towards the city’s visitors, so Wulfweard offers a contrasting view and also functions as a point of moral conflict.
It is interesting how a character that was created at the spur of the moment could develop into such a deep and interesting person.
If you’d like to read more about Wulfweard and the excitement at the Great Hall, you will have to read the book when it comes out.