Set in 16th century Europe, this story is a fantasy involving werewolves, winged humanoids called peri, and creatures that feed on fear called fearlings. There are groups of humans—called Hunters—that track down, capture, torture, and sell these creatures to nobles for various purposes. This story focuses on a particular group in Northern Italy that is struggling to make ends meet.
Name: Niven “Nevio” Blackwood
Description: Niven is large for the era, standing at 5’8” and weighing about 140 pounds with a willowy and somewhat lanky build. His curly hair is a dark shade of auburn and is tied back loosely with a piece of leather. He has round, brown eyes that are so dark as to appear black in the right light, and his skin is relatively tanned. There is a thick scar stretching from just below his left eye to the right side of his jaw. His knife holster is positioned in the small of his back, secured in place by a belt. His clothes are simple: a pair of breeches, a cloth shirt under a leather doublet, and boots.
Personality: Empathetic and soft-spoken, Niven doesn’t believe that violence will ultimately solve anything important. He tries to avoid conflict if at all possible, taking any out presented to him. He honestly likes being a servant, finding that the structure makes him feel secure, and he does better when he has a specific task in mind. He is sensitive to the opinions of his peers, taking even mild criticism to heart and working hard to earn their approval. Although he is easily angered by the mistreatment of others, he rarely comments on it or does anything about it because he knows that he will be ridiculed for doing so. Unlike most humans, he sees the other species as equal in sentience to them but seldom stands up to others on their behalf.
Notes: He has a slight stutter that gets worse when he’s excited or angry about something. This is part of the reason why he chooses not to talk most of the time. The other part is that he doesn’t want anyone to disagree with him.
His parents use Niven while almost everyone else uses Nevio because it is easier for them to pronounce, being of Italian origin.
History: The son of a Scottish trader and an Italian immigrant, he was born in the British Isles but moved to Italy at the age of six when his father’s trading company went under. There, he was indentured two years later to a noble as a stablehand and taught to take care of the horses. This helped support his family, who had taken to trading goods on a more local level.
While he worked in the stables, the other servants told him stories of the other species, meaning to scare him. All of these stories painted the werewolves, peri, and fearlings as monsters who deliberately attempt to kill humans. Niven believed the stories, but he always wanted proof.
Not much else happened until his sixteenth birthday, when his cousin Renzo told him to join his hunting group. He agreed, not quite knowing what Renzo was talking about. After meeting up with the rest of the group, they traveled south for several days. They stumbled on a werewolf, and after a brief struggle, captured him and his sister. Niven and one of the other group members were charged with keeping track of their captives while the others slept. As Niven watched the young werewolves, he realized that they looked less like monsters and more like scared children.
As the days went by, Niven tried to get to know the werewolves, talking to them, bringing them some of his own food, and loosening the bindings on their wrists. They were suspicious of him, growling and snapping at his hands whenever he came near, but he didn’t give up. Eventually, they calmed down enough that he was able to learn their names: Ander and Esti.
Then Renzo decided that it was time to break the werewolves, much to Niven’s shock. Ander and Esti were whipped and beaten repeatedly until they learned not to fight back. Once, when Esti was almost passed out from blood loss, Niven moved between her and the group member that was whipping her, and because the group member didn’t notice until it was too late to pull back, Niven took the blow across the face, which ultimately resulted in his prominent scar.
Since then, he has been quiet and stayed in the background of the group, resuming his earlier tactics of simply bringing Ander and Esti extra food and loosening their bindings instead of trying to step in and stop the others from hurting them.
Concerns: My main problem is with his personality; I think it might be a little too bland for a protagonist. Another concern is with the history; I don’t really know if it makes sense.
Hey, this is Pan. I’m so sorry it took so long to get this back to you.
This is a well done profile. You describe everything clearly and it’s worded well. His backstory makes sense, don’t worry. However, I think his social anxiety might be an issue for him as a main character if it gets in the way of him being able to do protagonist things. That isn’t to say he shouldn’t have so much social anxiety, but you might want to consider how it balances out with the rest of the story. If he rarely ever talks, he needs to be able to be more active in other ways, so that he makes things happen, instead of things happening to him.
Another option would be for him to be a passive protagonist, and more of a window into the world than a main character who changes things, but you’ve clearly put a lot of work into him and I think he has a lot of potential as a complex main character. You could also work with his struggles with social anxiety and incorporate those into his development and conflicts throughout the story. As long as you keep all this in mind, you should be fine. You’ve got the foundation of a solid character here. Nice work.