The next installment in my "Meet" series will focus on Riorik's unlikely best friend and fellow elf Nordahs Bladeleaf. To read previous entries in the series scroll to the bottom of this post to find links.
Much like Riorik's first name, the name Nordahs comes from character names I've used in MMOs and tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. Nordahs was my first true elf ranger toon. A buddy of mine had created an elf ranger he named Shadron and had achieved a series of accomplishments within the game using that character. When I inquired about learning how to play a ranger class in the game he offered to mentor me and help me make my ranger a mirror image of his. With the idea of being his mirror image, I opted to name my character a mirror of his. His Shadron became my Nordahs.
I enjoyed playing my elven ranger a great deal. My dwarf paladin, the original Riorik, was still my favorite character in that game but moving forward to other games I would gravitate more toward characters of a similar ranged class and skill set. I would still play paladins, especially in tabletop RPGs, but rangers, specifically elven rangers, became my "go-to" combo when creating new characters.
However, unlike Riorik whose surname was inspired by Star Wars, Nordahs's last name had no similar influences. When I decided with Riorik's name to take on a natural aspect to connect the elves to the nature that surrounded them, I simply applied the same sense of "branding" to Nordahs. They are both elves so it made sense that they would both have some connection to the trees in which they lived. In a twist of irony though, I gave Nordahs the surname of Bladeleaf to suggest that he was handy with a blade but made the actual character better suited with a bow, a common weapon used by rangers in most games and books. There was no purpose behind that decision other than I thought it was funny.
Concerning Nordahs's appearance, I opted to stick with the stereotypical depiction of an elf. In much of the lore that has been established by others about this race, one common trait is that they all look very similar. Each elf will have minor traits that distinguish them as an individual but as a whole, the entire race shares a majority of their aesthetic qualities. Having already established through Riorik's description my desire to keep their appearances similar to the more commonly understood elven style, I made Nordahs's appearance consistent with that canonical style. Sure, I gave him minor differences in terms of a slight variation in hair color, eye color, and his general stature but he and Riorik were otherwise largely physically identical.
When it came to Nordahs's personality, I wanted him to be that blindly loyal friend that would support and follow Riorik no matter what. The fact that these two are friends given the horrific event that had been alleged between their fathers, Riorik's father allegedly killing Nordahs's father, made their pairing an unlikely one. Some might suspect that my motivation for pairing them together was some setup for the plot where Nordahs would eventually turn on Riorik to avenge his father's death at Riorik's expense but that seemed too cliche and obvious to me. I thought making them true friends despite the horrors of the past added a level of empathy and forgiveness to his personality that I think more people should adopt in real-life.
Sure, Nordahs was upset and aware that he was forced to grow up without a father because of what Riorik's father was said to have done but Nordahs was mature enough to understand that the alleged actions of Riorik's father were not the actions of Riorik. He was able to look beyond the actions of others to see Riorik for the noble, loving elf that he is. Nordahs did not judge Riorik based on the actions of someone else close to Riorik but rather judged Riorik for Riorik's actions.
Nordahs is an elf of a pure heart. He is saddened by the loss of his father and the gap that loss created in his life but he strives to find the positive in all things and people. He believes that everyone holds the potential to do good, and almost foolishly believes that everyone's intentions are founded on that innate goodness. He does not want to be defined by his family's history and loss but rather by his actions. He chooses not to be bitter about the environment he found himself in but is motivated by it to build something better for himself and those around him. His pure heart recognized the darkness cast over Riorik by the other elves who took out their frustrations and anger from Riorik's father's alleged crime on an innocent child and he inspired to be a light in Riorik's otherwise dark existence. Nordahs wanted to show the other elves that if he was capable of forgiving Riorik for his father's actions then perhaps they could too. Maybe such thoughts were nothing more than the foolish notions of a naive youngster but such forgiveness and friendship were unexpected by all but very welcomed by Riorik who had nobody else in his life aside from his mother and older brother.
After Nordahs and Riorik learn the true nature of the elven elders who ordered them to kill their new friend, Nordahs chooses his friends over honor. He chooses good over what he perceives as evil. He follows and supports Riorik in his mission to find his father and learn the truth about what happened that caused their family to live in shame in his father's absence. Perhaps Nordahs harbored some thoughts of avenging his father should they find Riorik's father but he never expressed those desires or gave Riorik any indication that his support was little more than a charade meant to mask something more malicious. Truth be told, Nordahs is less concerned with avenging his father's death and more interested in finding out what happened, much like Riorik's hunt for the truth. The perennial optimist that he is hopes to find that there were extenuating circumstances that led to his father's demise and that it was not an act of cold-blooded murder as everyone else had assumed for so long.
Character art by Josie Hanna
Previous entries in this series: