Since I ended yesterday’s post on Nyaphie talking about the thief, it’s time I introduced him.
Roncen is an late-middle-aged con-man who once conned Nyaphie’s family, so she recognizes him on sight. Fortunately, she doesn’t kill him on the spot, and he goes on to serve a valuable role in the story.
The decision to create a thief was pretty easy once I realized that certain events in the story would flow a lot better with one around. He also provides a valuable foil to Nyaphie, brings a witty urbanity to the discussions (one of my early readers said he visualized Roncen a lot like Pierce Brosnan, which I was pleased to hear), and offers a different point of view from Iriphos and Nyaphie. He also has a set of skills all his own, and contacts which help the group from time to time.
I chose an older thief again in part because I like playing with stereotypes. Most thieves you find in fantasy literature are young scamps. Raymond Feist’s Jimmy the Hand is probably my favorite of these. I wanted to see what such a character would look like if he’d kept up his thieving ways and then started to lose his agility. I postulated that he’d likely turn to scams and confidence games.
Once I made him a mature con-man, I decided such a man, in order to gain the trust of the mark (victim), would have to appear intelligent, polite, cultured… the usual picture of a true gentleman. I also think that, having imitated such things for so long (except for the intelligence, it’s darned hard to imitate that, and that’s needed to successfully imitate the others), he’d start to adopt those attributes into his true personality, not just his cover personality.
Roncen wasn’t part of the original idea, but I am glad he came along and tapped me on the shoulder (so to speak — authors will understand what I’m saying) and told me I needed him in the story. He really adds a nice touch to it, I think.