Adrift Character Spotlight – Zalura

TaH-kO tuTu’Hm?

Short-spoken but thoughtful, stoic but caring, strong but womanly.

She’s the very first character that Cole meets, but also one I feel I have not given as much story time as she deserves. And because of that, I never imagined she’d be the one to top off the charts.

Everything about her; appearance, name, personality, speech pattern and behavior, were designed completely on the fly on those few sentences where she is introduced. Even her alien speech was put down at random at the beginning (although later I created a more logic method to write it in a way it looks like an actual language, and not just gibberish).

No word sums up her character better than the ”Alien”; Both in the sense of a foreigner, and a creature from outer space. Her size, her tongue, her accent, her strikingly different looks to anything Cole had ever seen, but also different from every other character he meets later. She is an initial source of culture shock for Cole, but at the same time, she is the very first friendly face he encounters in a most hostile and equally alien environment, which I believe sets the baseline tone for the story.

However, unlike the rest of the characters, I am still not clear on what was that inspired her design. I have always liked strong women, and quad-arms, but I believe there is much more than that at work here. Mayhap my brain just did some kind of on-the-run character kit-bashing, but I also like to think that there was something more complex behind her. One thing I have it clear on, however, is her accent.

In my own personal experience, no matter how well you learn a foreign tongue, you will always carry some kind of lisp. And even if it is a foreign country that speaks your native language, it will never be the same; you will ALWAYS carry that foreigner’s accent with you. So, what would happen if the difference between your native tongue and a foreign one you speak is not the different pronunciation or words, but the physical means which your body uses to produce it? How would that affect your skill to communicate? Would learning such language be even possible? That was the main thought behind Zalura’s accent and linguistic limitations.

So, now I ask the questions: What is that you found interesting on her? Was there something specific that was your main point of interest? Do you have any questions about her? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this at the comments.

4 thoughts on “Adrift Character Spotlight – Zalura”

  1. Well, any good character a writer describes is one that they’ve chosen to ‘method act’.
    Your willingness to do such for Zalura, is obvious.

    Now, yes, I am curious to find out if she (?) and Cole ever get into a Close Encounter of the Fourth kind, as I am more than a little curious to discover if those breast-like appendages are breasts or not. But that’s just the teenager in me.

    A good writer makes the protagonist relatable. And I felt Cole to be that, so that when he met the first friendly face in a harrowing situation, naturally I would react focus on the familiar looking parts of her, as opposed to focusing on her non-human bits.
    Also, she played Devil’s Advocate with Desri, who could barely tolerate Cole at first.

    Of course, inter-species mating may be something that you as the author, will never chronicle. But, it would make for an interesting challenge to write up.

    Zalura’s species may or may not be inclined to ‘jump the gap’. There is no guarantee that she’d be interested in it. The limitations of pheromones, genital configuration, who carries the kid (I’m thinking seahorses), if she mates like snakes do, or even if she goes into heat.

    I apologize for taking so long to write some commentary.

    1. My now that’s a long comment. No wonder it took you a while….

      The romance element is still being widely worked on in my mind; but I am indecisive regarding it, so I really have no idea yet of what will the final product be.

      Nonetheless, inter-species relationships DO happen in this universe, and while not all species are fully compatible with each others (some more advanced races, like Oularnians, have used genetics to bridge the gap), it exists.

      Still, Zalura-wise, I have written quite a setting and lore regarding her race; I would love to post it here, but it contains enough detailed info to be considered mildly spoiler-ish, and I feel that just abridging it could give out the wrong ideas (I plan to reveal it little by little to avoid info-dumping exposition), but I can still disclose a few bits. Still, long answer short; it CAN happen, but I can’t affirm or deny it yet (this part is too WIP to be disclosed yet). Still, she IS a mammal by all accounts, so yeah, those are tits.

      And regarding her initial reaction with Cole, this stems mainly from her people’s own social idiosyncrasies. They live in very small, very far-apart communities, in a very hostile planet; so every individual counts, no matter what their outer appearance may be like, or what may be their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is welcome; If they can help you to stay fed and alive, you will make sure they also stay not just fed and alive, but also treated as yet another tribesman, unless you are proven to be a danger or a nuisance to everyone else. It’s a simple, yet functional way of thinking. And it wasn’t just Cole alone; Haudrica, Mizelle, Desri and even Eustace, they were all found by her and brought to the NVSC9 following that mindset.

      Btw, speaking of Mizelle and Haudrica, sorry about not posting that one this weekend; a sudden workplace schedule change and replacing some faulty brake pads took away all my weekend. I’ll try to get them posted ASAP.

    1. Actually, you are neither right, nor wrong.

      Although it is the males who seek the females out, it’s the females who ”choose” their males (yes, that’s plural) and do the courting. Although they have no physical dimorphism, females of her race tend to be smarter than males, but also weaker at birth, so more males that females survive into adulthood, but also they reach that adulthood rather quickly (10 years) and in some cases, have chosen their mates even before that age and choose to have a few children before moving onto greater pursuits.

      This will be brought into the story in not too long, and while I won’t spoiler how, I’ll say it will not be how you’ll expect it.

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