Meet the Celestial Serenade Caltaran Crew

Meet the Celestial Serenade Caltaran Crew

A few weeks ago I mentioned that, while several characters pop up fairly often around here, the major characters in the Celestial Serenade haven’t really. I wrote most of the first two trilogies in the series before I started this blog in earnest. And while I spend a lot of time getting to know other characters with shorts, that wasn’t necessary for this novel’s crew.

Now that the book is out, however, it seems pertinent to talk about the people in it. I’m a big believer that story flows primarily from characters. They are the most important ingredient in all of the novels I craft. So if I want you to care about these people, I should probably tell you who they are.

Last time, I spent some time talking about the human characters introduced in The End of All Things (Book 1 of the Celestial Serenade). Learn more about Gaia, Shanice, Liam and the weapon that plagues them over here.

The End of All Things is a dual narrative style story. It features two sets of characters in two separate places, though eventually their stories converge. While the book opens on Earth, it quickly transports us to the faraway world of Caltara. The Caltaran Empire has been at war with their neighbors, the Ruvalli Empire, for almost longer than anyone can remember.

Shall we meet the main Caltaran players?

Caltaran architects were fond of curves. Instead of harsh square corners, they favored graceful domes, arches and spiral staircases. Architecture was their most enduring art form. From the windows of Alrayia’s house, the city seemed a patchwork of colored metal, glittering glass and twisting spires; a stained glass mosaic, a grand sculpture of glass and light, the combined work of a thousand eager artists…

Anten

In stark contrast to the human plot (which begins with Gaia’s world crumbling around her), we first meet Anten sitting in his study. Unlike Gaia, who finds herself in the thick of things, Anten contemplates his people’s war from afar.

Anten is a politician. He sits on Caltaran’s Ruling Council and is a councilor of some repute. He is known for his stolid practicality, as well as the thorough nature of his research. Anten is not prone to emotional outbursts. He sticks to facts. And he seems to care a great deal about what will benefit the empire as a whole. He does not invest in his personal interests (as many of his fellows do).

Anten has pale skin, emerald green eyes and shoulder-length black hair. He favors the long, flowing robes that are popular in the Caltaran empire. But he doesn’t tend to wear anything fancy. He is most certainly an introvert. We first encounter him bemoaning the idea of sharing dinner with a group of his colleagues.

The Caltaran Empire is an Oligarchy, ruled primarily by the wealthy elite and nobility who have passed down their titles and wealth from before abolishment of the monarchy. Though they favor scientific and cultural development, they are not without biases. Anten has led a somewhat privileged life (of which he is keenly aware). He was born to noble parents. And he inherited his father’s seat on the Council when he passed. His interest in the wellbeing of the common people may have been sparked by a chance encounter with the woman who became his wife.

Anten adheres strictly to his perceived duties as a councilor, always working within the confines of the law. At least until his wife asks him to do something that requires bending his personal morals…

Alrayia

Unlike her husband, Alrayia grew up poor. Her parents struggled to provide for her and her brother before sickness claimed their lives. Had it not been for a chance encounter in the Central District, she might have spent her entire life struggling to survive.

Few understand the strength of the bond between Alrayia and her husband Anten. They grew up in different worlds. Alrayia is emotional and enigmatic, while Anten is stoic and steadfastly logical. They should clash terribly and, yet, the two are inseparable. There is almost nothing Anten wouldn’t do for his wife. He even changed an outdated law so he could marry her!

Alrayia has pale blue eyes and sports a mass of long, silver curls. Her brother associates her with the moon goddess, Milara. Possibly because she has strange dreams that sometimes allow her to glimpse events in the near future. Indeed, Alrayia seems to have a knack for ‘good guesses.’ They allow her determine when a friend might be late to a meeting, when a baby might be born, or when Salis’s husband might return from the front lines.

Alrayia refuses to speak of her odd abilities (to the constant consternation of her inquisitive husband). But they certainly seem to guide her steps. Though she is a black sheep among the other Council wives, ostracized because of her humble origins, she has become the darling of many of the other Councilors. They find her conversation charming and her cooking delectable.

Since Alrayia was raised by heavily traditional parents, she has a fondness for old myths most of her culture has rejected. But it has taught her to trust her instincts. So when she dreams that something devastating might lay in her civilization’s near future, she feels compelled to act.

Salis

Brother to Alrayia, husband to the Caltaran Empire’s greatest warrior and constant thorn in Anten’s side, Salis is the sun to Alrayia’s moon. Best known for his brightly colored wardrobe and floor-length black hair, Salis could be considered a strutting young peacock. He is the life of every party, loves to host and has a penchant for gossip. Marrying into military and his husband’s popularity have spared him the stigma suffered by his sister among the upper class.

Despite Salis’s love of parties and indulgence, he has never forgotten his origins. He and his sister are extremely close – closer than most siblings, as a matter of fact. Which puts him at constant odds with Anten and generates an odd sort of jealousy between the two men over how she spends her time.

Salis believes in his sister’s visions. To him, they are not simply good guesses, but the gift of the Oracle – an ability that allows a small subset of Caltarans to glimpse potential future events. He maintains this belief despite Anten’s constant reminders that Alrayia would have been taken by the Order of Oracles for training as a child had she actually possessed the gift. Salis hangs on his sister’s every word – especially when his husband is away.

Despite his love of parties and socialization, Salis often slips into a haze of fear and worry when his husband is away. For his life balances on a precarious ledge, under constant threat of shattering if something should happen to his beloved Kantis. Under these circumstances, parties and other social gatherings merely serve as a distraction. Nothing can compare with the balm of being in his husband’s company.

If the Caltaran Empire had a poster couple for a storybook romance, it would be Salis and Kantis.

Kantis

Kantis is not so much a name as it is a military rank. The Caltaran military employs a small number of ranks which replace a soldier’s birth name, bestowing great honor and respect on the recipient in the process.

Kantis is the name given to the greatest warrior of the generation. The last Kantis must be forgotten before a new Kantis can be named.

Born to an unknown family on the outskirts of the empire, Kantis’s entire village was slain by raiders when he was only 10. The boy was found later by a group of wandering merchants, standing in the midst of the slain raiding party, holding a sword that was far too large for his tiny form.

Believing he must be touched by Litaio, the god of war, the Caltaran empire fostered the child to military parents who groomed him for eventual service. A lifetime of education and drilling turned Kantis into one of the empire’s most skilled generals. And after becoming the youngest soldier to gain a named rank, it seemed only natural that he would eventually become the new Kantis.

Like Anten’s relationship with Alrayia, there are many who do not understand the strong connection between Salis and Kantis. But their obvious regard for each other cannot be denied. When Kantis is home, he and Salis are inseparable.

But Kantis never remains home for long, as the turning tide of war pulls him back to more urgent matters. And it is quickly becoming apparent that turning one of their top generals into a cultural icon is a double-edged sword.

Kantis isn’t just a warrior – he is a symbol of hope. Which could prove troublesome for the empire if he were ever to fall.

If you’d like to learn more about the Celestial Serenade crew, you can find the first installment of their story on Amazon in ebook, kindle unlimited and paperback formats!

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