Vavian is a different person depending upon whom is speaking of the young man. To the great City State of Britania, he is a criminal, a rogue free-wielding mage, and a terrorist. To the people of Southwall, he is a genuine hero and perhaps their only advocate in a world that has left them behind. To his best friend and business partner Dempsey, he is a meal-ticket.
Vavian is all these things and more. He is the lone survivor of an attempt at political asylum gone wrong. His family died in a ‘Copter accident that left them stranded in the unprotected wilds of the world while attempting to keep him out of the hands of Britania’s Guild of Elemental Magi. Vavian fully awoke to his elemental powers during the catastrophe as he desperately tried to re-power the flying vehicle. Unlike 99% of the known human magi in the world, Vavian has complete, certain, and extensive control over his particular element. In his particular case, Vavian is a wind mage.
Taking refuge in Britania’s slums known as Southwall, Vavian has become the hero that some claim him to be and the terrorist that others claim. The young man has considerable insight into matters of magic and sees that something is brewing in the crucible of Southwall. The Guild is using this desperate place as a staging ground that it will be the people that suffer. Vavian sees the unbridled potential of the growing numbers of magi in Southwall and wonders if the Guild is purposely instigating an eventual civil war or if it is just the sad final outcome of a more sinister plan.
Spoilers to follow:
So, Vavian has been a guest appearance character in Master of the House and a principal character for The New Potential. I don’t think I would have ever expected that in my initial planning for any of these stories. To me, Vavian is somewhat unlikable. He’s almost the most classic style hero I put into any of these stories. He does things, acts upon thing that he believes are right and “good”. Some of that is attributed to youth, some of it is attributed to a desperate situation.
Vavian serves as an anchor in a way. While the story begins with Master of the House in a way that reveals the world and the dangers it holds to the reader, MotH is almost a book zero. The New Potential is the first in a directly continuing series of stories. Vavian is the anchor in that book that reminds the reader “eventually, this will all come back to Britania”. It’s an important thing I feel as the scope of the story will move from place to place but ultimately will culminate with the heroes gathering in the place where it all begins. For now, I will leave that point alone and not speak any more on it.
I mentioned that Dempsey is a character who has had his fair share of changes. Well, Vavian is the first one to undergo a complete re-write. Vavian was originally a small child, annoying, brash, but ultimately very good at what he did. Vavian was finalized as a savvy late-age teenager. He’s intelligent, well read, and a product of a harsh environment. He can fight, he’s still good with his powers, and…now that I think about it damn-near a Mary Sue kind of character. What really prevents this from happening is that his idealism is juvenile.
Vavian is the typical teenager who thinks he’s going to change the system by simply standing up against it. He has yet to calculate the cost to those around him. He is certain that he has thought of these things and that he is prepared for the harsh realities of such action but has no idea until the true ramifications are put in front of him.