Corwin Dempsey is a scoundrel and a profiteer. He lives his life as close to the edge as he can and up until this point, every gamble, bet, and risk he has taken has resulted in a staggering degree of success.
Some wealthy relative died and left Dempsey all his worldly possessions. Amidst the various bills, notes of obligation, and junk that the relative had amassed during his life was a state-of-the-art ‘Copter in a bit of disrepair. Dempsey wagered the device against the bills and came out ahead, he figured that win or lose he was no worse off than before. Coming out of a single game of cards debt free, in possession of a small fortune, and the sole owner of one of the most valuable pieces of technology in the world opened the door of opportunity. Dempsey never looked back.
He bought his way into the inner circles of Britania‘s pilots, learned how to control the flying machine, and became increasingly put off with the State controlled supply of fuel for his growing business. As he began to voice his distaste of the Guild controlled industry, Dempsey found that he was not entirely alone in his feelings. Other opportunities began to present themselves to him as his social circles expanded and his work took on a more “unofficial” capacity.
In spite of the danger (or perhaps because of it) Dempsey’s profit margins grew and so did his world view. When the opportunity of a rogue free-wielding mage presented itself to him in the form of a partnership with Vavian, Dempsey finally found a way to make a clean break from State politics all together. Of course the risk he put himself at now was a possible State sponsored execution but even this would be nothing compared to where this new partnership would eventually take the young pilot.
Slight spoilers ahead:
Dempsey is one of those characters who has gone through significant, character altering revisions as time has progressed. His character is changing even as I write this now (finally settling on the “proper” spelling of Dempsey with the “sey” ending, trivial, I know but this is the crap I go back and forth on). He’s one of the few characters who is outright named for the player who took him up way back when this was all just a pen and paper RPG.
The original pilot character was a complete prick who held the other party members in his clutches. They were on the run and the only escape was via his ‘Copter. Greed was the name of the game for the pilot character at that point. Hard-lines like that only work in real life when there is accountability from a higher source though. In a fantasy realm where the threat of death is ever present, it became hard to imagine that either Eric or Laylani would ever put up with this kind of person.
To complicate it a bit more, Eric, Laylani, and Vavian are all “A-type” personalities. The fact that those three alone don’t murder one another is something special. ^_^ Adding another no-nonsense character would not work. This is why Dempsey’s final edit was to shift him towards something akin to a Han Solo style character who knew exactly how reckless he was. Creating Dempsey as a character who looked at the fantastic things going on in his life as a matter of marked amusement gave me the key to really open up this book and this world.
Allowing Dempsey to have back-history with Vavian made things easier from a storytelling perspective. With these two as friends, there was an immediate hint of group cohesion that was not present in my initial concept for The New Potential. As said just above in this matter, Dempsey allowed the world and the things going on in it to be taken from a matter of fact perspective. Where other characters know or fear, Dempsey revels. He sees the things going on as absurd, ridiculous even. His humor is almost the voice of doubt but done so in a rational, self-mocking way.
This makes his coming to terms with the threats and dangers of the world all that more poignant when they finally come to disturbing reality.
(oh and for anyone that cares, Dempsey is my Mom’s favorite character…so that’s good enough for me. ^_^”)