Today, I would like to introduce everyone to Asbin Firehammer. Asbin marks a dramatic change in character development for me given Asbin's very different characteristics. Up to this point, many of the story's main characters had shared several traits with me, both physically and mentally, but with Asbin, I was forced to look for inspiration beyond myself.
Asbin Firehammer is the first person Riorik, Nordahs, and Hugh encounter after they decide to flee their posts in the ranger's guild. Asbin first appears in The Ascension Legacy - Book 2: A Legend Confirmed. Unlike the other main characters in the story up to this point, Asbin is female. This is not an all-male-driven story like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Likewise, I chose to embrace the opposite sex in my story rather than make an attempt to disguise it as part of the plot like in The Lord of the Rings or Mulan. Asbin's femininity was on full display from the moment her character was first introduced. I tried not to shy away from the fact that she was a female in an otherwise male-dominated genre.
Like many of my characters, Asbin's name is taken from the name of characters I have created in my years of gaming. Many games that offer a character creation tool give players the choice between male and female toons and I will admit that I have created many of my toons as the female sex. This is not some subconscious desire of mine to be a woman or some perverse ploy to trick men into talking dirty to me online (though I'm sure others have created female toons for the purposes at some point in gaming's history). At some point, I grew tired of always creating the same characters and wanted to branch out into other character models, races, classes, etc.
There's no hidden meaning to the name Asbin. It is not about a friend's toon, inspired by a favorite show or book, nothing. I needed to come up with a new name and this is what I came up with. I liked it. I set it as my toon's name and it stuck with me. When I started writing and wanted to name a female character, I pulled my bag of character names and out popped Asbin. That seemed like the most fitting name for this character.
I knew from the moment I started writing this character that she would be a dwarven healer/cleric-type character. Every good adventure needs a healer and I knew that there would be a lot of fighting throughout the book. It just seemed logical to weave in a healer to join their party at some point in the story. Being a fan of The Lord of the Rings and various video games that incorporated a dwarf race, I already had a pretty well-established picture in my mind of what Asbin needed to look like.
My vision of a female dwarf though was slightly different than the traditional female dwarf. In some books, the female dwarves look almost indistinguishable from the males. They are all short, and muscular, with a lot of facial hair. Others forego facial hair but typically don't describe the female gender of this group in a flattering manner. Regardless of which medium includes female dwarves, they are almost always portrayed as ugly or at least not very attractive. I wanted Asbin to have a mix of traditional dwarven features but still maintain a true sense of femininity and a touch of attractiveness.
Yes, it is true that Asbin possesses some fighting skills but spends most of the fight sequences in the story being outperformed by her colleagues. No, this isn't some macho thing where I wrote her to be weak because she is female. I wrote her this way because she lacks the training compared to her colleagues. Asbin is a healer, not a warrior. She was trained as a temple priestess to heal the wounded, not make the wounded. She comes from a long line of blacksmiths, not fighters. There is nothing in Asbin's background to suggest that she is a skilled fighter. I wanted her character to be true to her background, not a symbol of sexism or a poster child for girl power. I wanted a character that was true to their roots, true to their history, and true to the story.
And yes (SPOILER ALERT!), there is a love connection between Asbin and Wuffred. And while there are comparisons to be drawn between their relationship and the relationship between Black Widow and The Hulk in the Marvel movies, it was not my intent to rip off Marvel or anything. There were plans for spin-off stories before I started writing and one of them included something to do with my berserker. To set things up in this story for the spin-off stories, I needed my berserker to have a love interest.
And yes (SPOILER ALERT!), Asbin does have to leave her friends before their journey is complete. This is not because she was not a good character or that this was meant to somehow insinuate that she was not strong enough to go on. The story evolved in such a way for the planned spin-offs that Asbin needed to leave as a setup for future events. Plain and simple, for plans to work, I needed her to be somewhere else at that point in the story.
Will we see Asbin again? Yes. Asbin's role in The Ascension Legacy was brief compared to some but critical, not only for the series but also for things to come. Asbin will resurface in one of the spin-off books that I hope to release later.
Previous entries in this series: