Currently residing in the Pacific Northwest, Greg blogs about his upcoming books in The Sy'Arrian Legacy Series. His posts also explore the creative process and what feeds our imaginations.

Character Portrait: Aurelius Kepler

Aurelius is a character I had developed around the same time as Lourous but kept on the proverbial back-burner. Once I began realizing the scope of my story was becoming much larger, the inevitability of creating a greater cast of characters became abundantly clear.

I have never been one to follow the crowd or do a particular thing simply because it is popular to do so at the time; I approach writing in the same way. Just like my character portrait of Lourous, Aurelius’ background is meant to be a small slice of who he really will become. I have done my best up to this point to ensure he does not fall victim to a cliché of the dutiful best friend or smart-assed side kick. As the books in my series progress, I will allow readers to be the judge of whether or not I succeeded.

Born in 2801 to parents Taren Kepler and Cordelia Brace, the origins of Aurelius’ first name stem from his father’s love of both the Greek and Roman eras from Earth’s ancient past, specifically Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus who was considered one of the last so-called Five Good Emperors. His mother, Cordelia specialized in philosophy further augmenting her knowledge with disciplines in psychology and sociology. Taren Kepler on the other hand focused his interests in the practice of martial weapons and close combat tactics. His father’s exceptional aptitude in these areas would garner the attention of James Striken. eventually leading to Taren’s participation in the Amalgamation Conflict; a 133 year long endeavor whose end saw the unification of all the races under a single form of governance.

At an early age, Aurelius demonstrated a strong and combined affiliation for his parent’s vocational specialties. Originally, he expressed a desire to explore the sciences, but a traumatic event altered his perspectives, forcing him down a much different path. In 2926, his father was killed during the single most bloody offensive of the entire conflict. His attempts to process the loss of his father from a venue of philosophical pragmatism did not help; a young Sy’Arrian who only knew a father from brief and sporadic visits during a time of war.

A fairly imposing man at a height of 1.9 meters and 104.3 kilograms, Aurelius utilized the knowledge and training passed down to him from Taren to also refine skills in the martial weapons arena. In particular, Aurelius demonstrated extraordinary ability in wielding dual weapons. Many of his teachers, including his mother, found his choices rather odd considering the utilitarian nature of Akasha for both defensive and offensive purposes. This was more of a philosophical clash in Sy’Arrian society where many viewed Akasha superior in all aspects of life and clinging to antiquated practices prevents a Sy’Arrian from reaching their full potential. An alternative perspective held nothing lasts forever and Akasha could begin to diminish with each successive generation, essentially leaving them vulnerable in a universe continuously reinventing itself.

The Sy’Arrian warrior caste originally developed by Bayne Thaddeus was the first to implement mandatory training in both hand-to-hand combat techniques and martial weapons for all its members. They practiced a dual approach by utilizing techniques with and without Akasha. This concept invigorated Aurelius to such an extent, it made his decision to join the Sy’Arrian Warrior caste easier, much to the chagrin of his mother.

Equal in restraint to his closest friend Lourous Mirriam, Aurelius approaches political situations much differently. He would rather break a rule to achieve success for the greater good, giving little care or consideration to whose toes he is stepping on. Through their extensive years, they have trained and fought together. Due to this closeness, Aurelius can challenge his friend on command decisions most others cannot. This is precisely the reason why he is considered second in command when Lourous is absent; a role he resisted at first but eventually accepted.

When Lourous was appointed to the position of High Leader upon the departure of the prior Cri’lin Council in 3086, Lourous looked no further than to those who had distinguished themselves during his early years in the Andaris Academy. Lourous knew he could rely on his boyhood friend to keep him focused on what really matters for the Sy’Arrian people and not implement his own self-serving agenda.

What he had been able to glean from his father during their short-lived training sessions had not provided Aurelius with proper leadership context. Through action his father clearly imprinted upon Aurelius, an honorable warrior defends those who cannot defend themselves and uses just techniques to defeat an opponent in combat; however, leadership requires more restraint than what he had previously been willing to give. This is why, in the beginning, Aurelius had to work twice as hard to change a perception from one of subservience to leadership. His slight cockiness and unexpected subtlety are traits he often uses in combat or when lending a sympathetic ear to Lourous.

Taken from his father’s side, Aurelius’ family symbol is centered on the back of his robes. It is a lightly colored blue sphere containing an image of a finely crafted long sword. Circling the sphere, giving off the illusion of pulsating light, are multi-colored waves slowly extending themselves outward to the robes edges.

Feel free to post your questions, comments or concerns. I will respond, if need be, when I able.

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