Growing up, my Mom always told me to never discount the underdogs. People and circumstances are not always what they seem.
Biographical Sketch of Lotari the Centaur from the River Woods:
Age: somewhere around 150 years
Eyes: gray like storm clouds
Hair: brown and wavy. Usually full of leaves and sticks
Height: from head to front hooves - 6'4"
WHAT IS SOMETHING THIS CHARACTER WANTS?
To be useful (Book 1)
To make a difference (Book 2)
To defend what he's worked hard to accomplish (Book 3)
To stop evil's reign once and for all.(Book 4)
Knows herbal medicine and Healing skills
Is skilled with a bow and arrow, and can manage a sword quite well.
Plays the flute.
He's a mentor at heart.
MEDALLION: Needle and Thread - because he is called to mend broken relations between creature and humans.
IN BOOK ONE
Lotari (Lot) is called from his safe River Woods surrounding the Kingdom town of Many Rivers to travel with the young girl Alyra. He fears that instead of helping, he will cause her and the hateful Jerin of Yarholm more trouble. However, the girl child has won his heart and he realizes she might be an important key to the Kingdom of Alburnium defeating the dark one, Darnel. So he undertakes the perilous journey to Aloblase, determined to make sure Alyra reaches the city safely, even if it means giving up everything he holds dear.
You can find more White Chronicles pictures on my Pinterest board.
|"PAW. Did he just say I had paws..."- Lotari (Illuminated by Jackie Castle)|
HERE'S SOME BACK STORY:
It wasn't until I was preparing this book for publication when I realized just where Lotari came from. I suppose, some life lessons are so embedded in our spirits we forget where they came from. So I want to take a moment to share with you the person who inspired Lotari.
In my story Illuminated, Lotari the centaur is loosely based on my friend Joey who I met during my high school years.
At around four or five years of age, Joey woke up one day to that he could no longer walk. He’d contacted some kind of disease that would render his muscles useless. When I met him, he was still the height of a five year old and bound to a motorized wheelchair. I never knew his real age, but think he was in his late twenties or early thirties.
I met Joey in church. He came zipping in, weaving his chair past groups of people conversing, the whine of his motor drowning out the muddled conversations. First thing I noticed, aside from his odd appearance, was his smile. His face wasn’t elated, or excited, but rather content, like one who’d found the most comfortable spot on the couch.
He wheeled up to the front pew, adjusted his chair, then sat and waited for service to start. The girl I was visiting with grabbed my arm and started pulling me toward the front, saying, “You’ve got to meet, Joey. I just love him.”
And that was generally how the whole congregation viewed him. Over time, I found out why.
When Joey talked, to get started took great effort. His small twisted body would tremble and shake as he formed the words he wanted to say. But once he got started, and when he had something important, and usually life changing, to say his words flowed from his mouth with hardly any effort at all.
It didn’t take long before I also totally loved this guy.
He was passionate.
I’d watch him during worship while everyone sang and lifted their hands in praise. Joey’s arms had little mobility, aside from his being able to move his arm enough in a forward direction to push the little stick that moved his chair. But he would always lift his face toward the heavens. And his face spoke of his utter and complete love for the God he served. Never once did I ever hear him ask why he was deformed. If he did, it was between him and God. Never once did I hear him complain about what he couldn’t do. To him, with God, all things were possible. He believed that, he prayed that, and he lived that.
He was fearless.
Because of his condition, he was totally dependent on his mother for all physical care. He wasn’t even able to feed himself. But that didn’t stop him from calling up his buddy who never seemed to mind loading Joey up in the van and driving him wherever he wanted to go. And go, Joey did. He’d talk his friend into driving to downtown Dallas where’s they cruise the back streets. There he’d strike up conversations with the people he met: prostitutes, homeless, and anyone else they came across. What did he talk about? He talked about his favorite topic, God’s love.
He was a friend.
To anyone. Anyone who came to him, from nicely dressed businessmen, to a struggling teenager, like myself, he made time to stop and talk, to listen, to hear your heart and impart some kind of wisdom. Joey helped me to understand God. To understand how to trust God even when things made no sense. He got me through my first time I’d been fired, and through all the teen angst experienced in those years. I counted him as one of my very best friends.
So when I was writing my story Illuminated, and Lotari the centaur popped out of the trees when Alyra was lost in the woods, I knew deep in my heart that Joey had resurfaced. No, I can’t say Lotari is Joey. Lotari is a fictional character in my story. Joey was a real, life-changing friend in my life. But I make that association because I know some people have problems with mythical creatures. They’re generally portrayed as evil, bad. Just as some people who are different (physically, developmentally, or other) are avoided, or shunned because we simply don’t know how to deal with them.
Alyra found a friend in the centaur. Just as I found a friend in wheelchair bound Joey. My hope is that readers will be touched by Alyra and Lotari's fictional friendship and start to understand that looks are deceiving. Don’t shun away from people who act and look different than you. Why? Because you never know when you’ll find a friend who will help you manage your way through the dark, scary woods and get you back on your path. You just never know.