As I finally step forward and start my rewrite of Serpent in a Cage, I think it’s time to take a look at the second character out of the three the book will focus on: Locke‘s best friend and brotha from anotha motha, Gilferen Allok.
This adorable little imp right here:
Gilferen’s story has quickly become one of my favorites. He was never intended to be much more than Locke’s best friend when he was first conceived, but as I wrote the first draft of SiaC, he surprised the crap out of me and actually wound up becoming the true hero and main character of the novel. This was exceptionally pleasing, how it developed, because a constant theme that presented itself was Gilferen’s reservations about always just being Locke’s best friend. While Locke was born from virtual mercenary royalty, Gilferen’s parents were practically non-entities in the Battarack group. Still, when the Battaracks were attacked by Gynnocota, leading to a massacre of most of their numbers, Gilferen’s mother managed to sequester her son somewhere safe, where Knolan, who had been given the charge of Locke and told to escape while he still could, found him. Knolan raised both boys from there, but Locke, who was the son of the woman he loved, always took a natural prominence in his heart. When asked about Gilferen’s parents, Knolan admits to not really knowing anything much about them. Gilferen always tried not to let the mystery of his past bother him, but, naturally, a boy just wonders, especially if he’s constantly going to feel overshadowed by Locke’s large legacy.
Still, Gilferen grew up with a bright, positive personality. He often worked as a comedic foil to Locke’s much more brooding and darker perspective on the world. He developed an great fondness for women, too…and women had a fondness for him in return. Naturally, this got him into trouble more often than not, but it was trouble he’d happily accept. He was always there to support Locke; while he wanted to work hard to impress Knolan and prove that he wasn’t just an auxiliary addition to their group of bandits, he was often just resigned to the fate and didn’t try to stress over it.
And then Kassir happened. Everything changed after that fateful attempt to kidnap Auferrix Ferrore from her imprisonment in the Kassirian city of A’aefer. After infiltrating a secret cave to dispose it of its treasure, the Battaracks were captured by A’aeferian soldier who immediately put them into custody, but Gilferen found himself, out of all the others, being rescued under the cover of night by a mysterious man who claimed that he could help him. Gilferen barely recovering from the poisonous bite of a draygen found in the caves, and, when the man used Maja to heal him, his was all ears. The man was claiming that he could sense Gilferen’s incredibly strong Majanical (aka magical) power, and he wanted him to help rescue his friend so that they could dispose of the current leader of A’aefar and put Auferrix into power.
That’s an awful lot to take in for a young man just recovering from deadly poison, but, really, Gilferen didn’t have much choice and agreed to help the man, especially considering that, by helping him, he could rescue his friends. And here’s Gilferen, leading Auferrix through the castle to find the throne room so she could assassinate the usurper:
After the events in A’aefer, Gilferen travels to Kyano with the rest of the Battaracks because there’s a good chance that Locke might be the next Asyentai. Kadue, the man who enlisted Gilferen to break Auferrix out, went with them, to ensure that Gilferen was sent to the Majani Tower to study how to use his powers. Despite spending most of his life so far unaware of his abilities, Gilferen takes to Maja naturally, and word of him is starting to spread. Many claim he’s the most powerful Maja the world has ever seen. It’s a lot to take in, but Gilferen can’t help but feeling a little cocky about the whole thing. Still, when his training is finished, he returns to his roots, to be the Majani in Locke’s court, now that he’s a king, and support his best friend once again.
While Locke winds up shunning the Kyanese tradition of polygamy, Gilferen winds up embracing it. Through the course of the books, he winds up obtaining at least six wives, many of which are highly prestigious figures. His first is Awngel Demarkus, who joined the Battaracks on their A’aefarian adventure. The second is a woman named Rosae, who came to the Valley of the Swallow with the intent to coax her way into Locke’s marriage bed, and, in her rejection, settled for Gilferen. There is also, eventually, Rrynn Songbird Locin, a Dri’inish woman known for her hatred of Humans, a union that shook up a lot of interest in interspecies and interpolitical relations.
Gilferen’s discovery of his Maja also lead to a discovery of his before unknown past. It turned out that Gilferen had a sister, Calliana, who had survived the Battarack massacre because she was not present when it happened. Their father had actually left their mother in a fury regarding a third child, Aldred, who his did not believe to be his. He went insane over the idea that his wife had been unfaithful, killing the child and taking their daughter with him away from the Battaracks, not even knowing that his wife was pregnant again, this time with Gilferen. They went to Gynnocota, and Calliana had no idea Gilferen even existed until Locke started to make a ruckus in the north and her interests were intrigued. She was actually the Majani of the court there, and once things were figured out that Gilferen was her brother, there was a great deal of talk and excitement that they would finally bring these two nations, enemies since the dawn of time, finally to peace.
Clearly, many Gynnocotans were not ready to end their feud with the Battaracks, as Calliana was assassinated before anything could come into fruition, and her untimely death sparked a whole new world of trouble.
With all his wives, Gilferen had many children, though the only one (so far) that really makes any mark in Arynethian history is Solomon Demarkus, the main character of Bastards of Allok, his only son with his first wife, Awngel. There are a few illegitimate children, too, some of whom Solomon meets on his quest against his father.
I could probably talk about Gilferen forever, but this is already getting pretty long and rambling and so I’ll cut it short there. I should probably get back to writing anyway. So my apologies for boring you with my rambling and my thanks to anyone who actually managed to wade through all of that!