Ecthros lives in Yefira with his younger brother, Tobias, his uncle, Davos, and his cousins, Athalia, Niah, and Liana. His father, Xenox, is a famous adventurer, and the greatest bowman in Aenya, or so his mother tells him. Ecthros’s fondest memories involve watching his father at the bow, shooting fruits in the air, and incoming arrows with his own. On his fifth birthday, Xenox gifts him with a child sized bow, which he makes from the limb of a willow tree. Before his sixth year, Xenox leaves on an urgent summons to Graton, a small trading town on the southern coast of the One Sea, from which he never returns. Never knowing his father’s fate, Ecthros practices with his bow relentlessly, so that when his father does return, he will make him proud. Tobias, being only three when Xenox disappears, develops a father-son affection for his older sibling.
In his teenage years, after their mother dies of an illness, Ecthros is taken under the wing of his uncle, Davos, who teaches him the ways of seamanship. Aboard Davos’s galley, the Cloud Breaker, Ecthros visits every port along the Potamis River, and meets with unusual people along the way, from Krow, a bird man whose wings are clipped, to Orson, the flamboyant head of a traveling troupe of actors. It is with Krow’s aid that the Cloud Breaker is outfitted with whisper-sails, which allows the ship to take to the air, and sailing over the Crown of Aenya Mountains, Davos and Ecthros become of the first outsiders to set foot in the mythical kingdom of Tyrnael.
Despite what marvels meet his eyes, Xenox is never distant from Ecthros’s heart, knowing that, if he cannot make his father proud, he can at least live up to his father’s name. And yet, despite his efforts, the boy’s skill with a bow never much improves.
Ecthros’s story continues in The Princess of Aenya. Available Now!!!
Author’s Notes: The character of Ecthros originated in the most unusual of circumstances, during a game of Diablo III for Playstation, with my nephew, who had named his character, Ecthros. In true RPG fashion, the Diablo version of Ecthros had a ridiculous set of abilities, which allowed him to fire a bow like a machine gun. There was even a tornado like move, with which his character would spin like a top while lodging arrows in all directions. As an author who enjoys a more plausible level of fantasy, I found all this, and Diablo III in particular, patently ridiculous. Still, I got to thinking how my young nephew found all this preposterousness cool (as I know I did at his age), and in my head, I conjured an idealistic young man who imagines himself performing similarly impossible feats, and failing miserably, hence the scene in The Princess of Aenya, where Ecthros spins in circles with arrows flying everywhere and nowhere. We then got to discussing the archer trope in fiction, which has become all the rage in recent years. Legolas, Hawkeye, Merida, Katniss Everdeen, Green Arrow … the list goes on. Heck, I am guilty of the same trope myself, with the almost-never-misses Thelana. All these archers have perfect aim, hitting every bullseye as if by magic—but what if, I said to myself, I made a character who was the opposite of that? What if I made a hero with terrible aim? Who almost always misses?
Thus, Ecthros was born.