The "Unexpected Inspiration" Characters

Mar 7, 2017

Welcome to Musings of a Messenger!

Here you'll find the writing and ramblings of Meri Greenleaf. For easy access, here are the stories I've so far shared to this blog.

Short stories from "Unexpected Inspiration"
These are a collection of short stories about artists, inventors, and carnival performers. They're set in my lighthearted/comedic lgbt+ fantasy series Unexpected Inspiration. (You can learn more about the series here.) I'm currently writing the first trilogy of books in this series, so these short stories go along with those characters, and I'm always adding new stories to this list.
  • "Three Keys"
    Friendship, trust, and keys. Sweetness abounds.
  • "Who Picked Whom"
    The trio reflects on fate being
    weird. This never should have happened.
  • "A New Beginning"
    A would-be thief gets offered a job after a strange blue woman catches him.
  • "Rising to a Challenge"
    A young arcane chef regrets her decisions and wonders if her restaurant is cursed.
  • "Mile Long Cow"
    Some myths and legends go back centuries. This one goes back five minutes and you'll probably want that five minutes back.
  • "Soul-Marks"
    It would help if anyone ever went by their real name. (Every writer writes a cheesy soulmate AU at some point. This is mine.)
  • "Lost and Found"
    Sure, blame the newcomer when your stuff goes missing. That won't come back to bite you.
  • "Roommates"
    What do you do when your new roommate is an offbeat inventor who can control fire? First step: make him wear pants.
  • "Of Parties and Potions"
    A mischievous scheme causes chaos at a costume party. The healer enlists the help of a cat and a mouse to right a lizard's wrong.
  • "Sheltered"
    Adair wakes up and finds that he has been left alone. He's not happy about this.

These are longer stories set in the world I was writing previous to Unexpected Inspiration; they're older stories written in '10 and '11. These are more traditional fantasy and are set in the "Dungeons and Dragons" world my husband and I created. I've since moved on from elves and traditional fantasy, but these stories hold a special place in my heart as the ones that gave me my love of writing.
  • The Acolyte's Map
  • A powerful magical artifact has been unleashed! Unfortunately it has fallen into the unlikely hands of a hapless young priest who is now bound by its bizarre curse. This is the tongue-in-cheek tale of a half-elven cleric who is trying to locate and free the unwitting victim from said item's grasp with the help of his mischievous (and not always competent) brethren. Along the way there will be magic, intrigue, mischief, and a talking dog.
  • Hidden Magic
  • Meren, an unusual elf girl (and her more unusual centaur brother) take up the task of hunting down a band of orc trespassers. When she stumbles into a pitfall, Meren finds an object: an amulet that gives strange new powers. Little does she know that an increasingly desperate young wizard is looking for the very same amulet and that their paths are destined to crisscross in a weave of chaotic magic...

Character Aesthetic for Sol

Here's my fourth character aesthetic thing! (So far I've shared them for Adair, Blythe, and Etri.) This one is for Sol and it didn't end up nearly as blindingly yellow and glittery as I imagined it would lol. Sol is my resident comic relief in a series where pretty much everyone is comic relief. I think that probably says a lot about how goofy and weird he is. He's so kind and loyal, but it's hit or miss if the words coming out of his mouth make any kind of sense in the context of the current situation. (”What do you mean you had a monkey but it got promoted?”)

Sol is one of my carnival performers and does a fire act alongside his twin brother. He has light/fire magic which he uses both in this career and in his hobby as an inventor. It comes in handy to be able to soften and shape metal with his bare hands! He’s something of a genius ditz: brilliant at inventing things, a completely inept goofball the rest of the time. While his inventions and ideas always seem strange, they're surprisingly useful- when they don't explode or catch on fire or cut a gaping hole through the side of his home.

Getting to the pictures, to show his inventions I picked gears and goggles. When he's not wearing these to protect his eyes, he always has them resting on his forehead. (He thinks this makes him look charming and cool. In actuality when they're combined with his tall fauxhawk, it looks kind of silly.) Glitter because he's all about shiny things, but I also wanted the rainbow glitter to represent that he's gay- I'm trying to include something for each of my characters that represents their lgbt+ness. I loved the glitter on bare feet because Sol rarely wears shoes. His fire magic keeps his body temperature abnormally warm. And, well, he's Sol. Barefoot fits quirky Sol. Fire breathing and the quote are self-explanatory and that outfit absolutely looks like something he'd wear. The hand is how I picture his magic to look. He can summon and control fire, but usually he prefers light.

I should probably mention that his birth name isn’t Sol or Celeste. Like all of my characters- a group of mostly carnival performers- he picked his name. I do write cheesy sometimes for the humor factor, but even I’m not cheesy enough to name the light magic dude after the sun. He’s cheesy enough to do that, though!

 (For image sources, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 were the ones I could track down.)


Mar 5, 2017

Short Story: "Sheltered"

Your OC wakes up in an odd location with a dull pulsing pain in their head. They’re not really sure why they are where they are and can’t remember much of the events that lead them there. They get up and make their way around looking for anyone familiar. But there’s no one. They move outside. No one there either. Soon they’ll find that the whole town is empty. They return to their house to find a note. Where did they wake up? What does the note say?

(This is a prompt I found on tumblr. My answer ended up turning in a short story, so I figured I'd share it here. My stories/books do actually have a place that looks like the real world where there aren't any people, so I had to run with this!)

Unexpected Inspiration Short Story - "Sheltered"

Before you tear this letter on sight, please know how deeply sorry we are to have done this to you. We are well aware of your dislike for this mirrored world but we needed the reassurance that you would be safe. You would protest if you knew you could not come with us and there was not time. Blythe tells me that your headache from her healing-induced sleep will fade within a few minutes. Please remain in this location and try not to attract the attention of the shadows. While they should ignore you as they have always done, they may become curious if they sense movement. We left your bag containing your tools by the door. We will return as soon as possible and explain why this was necessary. 
With love and apology, 

Adair glared at the paper he held in his hands. Paper torn out of his sketchbook, which they knew he hated. So this is what it had come to. His sentinels were the big, strong, brave ones. He was just the useless artist who had to be tucked away somewhere safe when there was a hint of danger. Whatever it was this time couldn’t be worse than what they’d faced in the past! It was always the three of them against any challenge thrown their way. They’d faced thieves, magical disasters, coercion by a fair-weather friend, and a conclave of evil priests who wanted Etri dead. Why would they think he needed to be tucked away like a piece of fragile glass now?

He crumbled the letter into a ball and hurled it at the corner where normally a waste basket sat. It bounced off the wall and rolled to a stop at his feet. Their house may still be here, but nothing temporary was contained inside except what was brought here with him. As far as Adair knew, this was only the letter, whatever was in his pockets, and a backpack of art supplies.

No, not fragile glass. A child needing to be kept occupied while the adults did something heroic. He was a grown man, for Petra’s sake.

Well, he wasn’t just going to stay here and doodle the time away. He was going back where he belonged and his sentinels would damn well accept his help. His eyes fell on the bag sprawled alone in the corner of what was his art studio back in the real world. Blythe and Etri may have left him with his tools to keep him from boredom, but what they had really done was supply him with his ticket out of here. In their hurry to protect him, they had clearly forgotten that an artist wasn’t just an artist.

Shadows were curious and occasionally dangerous. Etri hadn’t exaggerated that. They were also incredibly stupid. It would be a cinch to get them to believe one of his illusions. Adair pulled his favorite paintbrush out of his bag and grinned at the bristles as they began to glow violet. Give him ten minutes and he’d be out of here.

Mar 1, 2017

Character Aesthetic for Etri

Here’s the third aesthetic post for the fantasy series I’m writing. (Adair’s can be found here and Blythe’s is here.) This one is so aesthetically pleasing! Probably because Etri is too goth for his own good lol. He’s an introvert who tends to keep to himself, but he’s also absolutely loyal to those he cares about and a total romantic sap underneath the stoic exterior.

Like Blythe, Etri has a bunch of careers/hobbies going on. Officially he’s a performer with a carnival troupe; he shares a knife act with Blythe and a fire act with his brother. Etri has shadow magic, which means he can shift into an incorporeal shadowy form, snuff out fire, and has an immunity to fire. In the past he used his magic to work as a reverse-thief and returned stolen art. Art theft is a huge problem in the culture I’m writing. The title he carries from book 2 onward is Sentinel (and also the title of book 2!), which is the role of bodyguard/spouse to an artist. Etri becomes Adair’s sentinel. (Alongside Blythe, but as of the current draft she’s far less open about this role because Adair kind of bent the rules with the sentinel thing.)

For the rest of the pictures, I picked books because he’s a bookworm and loves studying history, lore, and astronomy. Lockpicks as a thief. An hourglass because he collects them and uses them to judge time when he crosses to the plane/world of shadow. The quote is a good representation of how he approaches relationships as asexual. The knives are partly to represent his act, partly because he has special dark-bladed ones that are the only thing that can hurt shadow creatures. The moon is the symbol that represents his past as a former priest of a shadow god. And he has stars of his favorite constellation tattooed on his wrist.

 (For image sources, 2, 5, 7, 9 were the ones I could find.)


Feb 26, 2017

Character Aesthetic for Blythe

Here’s my second character aesthetic post! (Adair’s is here.) This one is for Blythe, the other main character of my trilogy. As much warrior as healer, she’s strong-willed, quick at making decisions, and just as quick to speak her mind and heart. She has a soft spot for those in need, which is how Adair ends up connected to the rest of the characters when he stumbles into their carnival camp. 

Blythe is the type of person who needs to be busy all the time, so she always has too many careers and hobbies going on. I tried to include some of these. Her main job is as an arcane healer for a troupe of carnival performers where she also works as a sword dancer and knife thrower/performer. “Do no harm but take no shit” works well as a motto for her because she has a healer’s oaths, but she has a background with weapons as a Protectorate (military-type group who protects the culture’s art and trade) and becomes one of Adair’s sentinels (bodyguard/spouse) in book 2. She always wears her hair in a long braid, which is a symbol of her status as a Protectorate. She has a bottle necklace where she keeps seeds and small plant clippings that she comes across. She loves to knit and crochet and has a habit of making things for her friends. (Etri, her best friend, has *so* many scarves and pairs of socks.) All of my characters are some flavor of lgbt+, so I’m going to try to include something for this for each of them. In Blythe’s case she’s grey romantic (aromantic).

(Once again, Pinterest can’t give sources properly and Google is failing me in reverse image searching most of these to any kind of original source. #6 came from here, but the closest I can find for the others is #2 here, #4 here, #5 here, and #7 here.)