I’ve finished re-writing the first White Knight story! I need to proofread it and if possible get it beta-read, then make an illustration or two for it, but it’s done!
Five Times Delia Learned About Gender and One Time She Didn’t
Content Notes: anti-trans prejudice, accidental misgendering, gender essentialism, shunning, and past oppressive governments. As always, please tell me if I missed anything and I’ll add it right away.
See story notes at the bottom.
This is dedicated to Ana Mardoll
I’m going to rewrite the first issue / story of the White Knight tonight, since I got comments back from the sensitivity reader. Then I just need to set up a specific site for it (besides the tumblr), finish the new logo, and start posting! While working 40 hours a week!
This is part of a longer piece (6 times Delia learned about gender, and one time she didn’t), but the other bits mostly kinda suck right now, so I gotta rewrite them. This does reference those a bit, but uhhh, you’re gonna have to guess from context, I guess.
CN: mention of snakes in a metaphor, gender feels, mild misgendering-ish. Yes, this is a happy piece. Reminder, Delia is Zanchese-Anitian, which is pretty much equivalent to Chinese-American, and speaks Ie, which is a conlang of mine (that I need to work on more…). Please let me know if I screwed up. Nathan is her husband.
There’s some more notes at the bottom.
This was a bit of me working to differentiate between Tectrix, Silver Dollar (Enrico Donville), and Wild Rush. (TW for violence and anti-social behavior)
Enrico is independently wealthy and does the gang stuff for respect. He pulls capers for fun. He does risky and daring stuff because he’s an adrenaline junkie. He’s business-like.
Both he and Tectrix are ruthless, but Enrico has respect for his gang, other name criminals, etc. Tectrix thinks he’s better than everyone and everyone is disposable. Tectrix is a zealot.
Enrico isn’t vain, unlike Wild Rush, but dresses well because he’s used to it and for respect. Tectrix dresses unusually to shock people and because his wings and chest muscles make shirts difficult.
Wild Rush differs from them because he doesn’t notice most people – they’re just background or obstacles. He’s more pragmatic than ruthless. He’ll kill and torture people but just to get what he wants. Tectrix will do it for fun and fear. Enrico does it for respect and utility.
If enrage, Tectrix has hot anger – he’ll kill and hurt everyone in range. Wild Rush has laser focus – he’ll just hurt who has pissed him off. Enrico has cold anger. He won’t do anything then, but he’ll remember and get revenge.
Let’s see if I can’t finish off these character building questions that I’ve been working on too long!
What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep? (TW: child neglect)
Wild Rush – the thing you need to know about Wild Rush’s sleep habits are that his parents were super neglectful. He slept in the basement on a cot from an army surplus. If he’s stressed at all or having nightmares, he’ll toss and turn winding himself in the blankets, and make himself as small as possible (but not curl up, because the cot was too narrow). If he’s relaxed or dozing, he’ll splay out which takes up most of the bed. He’s not a fun person to sleep with, is what I’m saying.
Daisy – As absolutely terrible as her dad was, he at least bought her a proper bed. She tends to curl up and snuggle with a pillow or somebody if they’re there. She gets warm and throws the blankets around and they end up in the floor by morning.
Charles – Charles runs hot, so usually just wants a sheet. Ne sleeps on neir back mostly. Ne sleeps really hard and sometimes snores.
Andre – He runs cold, but luckily he sleeps with a human furnace. He’s a side-sleeper that starts curls up and straightens out as he gets hot. He drools and snores. If he’s sleeping alone he buries himself under a pile of blankets until you can hardly see him. Half of them end up shoved to the side by morning.
Delia – she prefers just a sheet and light blanket. She often ends of sleeping on her front, especially after long days. She likes to splay out and if sharing a bed, to just barely touch each other’s legs and arms. She sleeps really hard and has a hard time waking up.
Joel – Joel buries himself under blankets and sleeps on his side with his limbs relaxed. He snores, but not that loudly, and will talk nonsense in his sleep. He’s a zombie in the mornings.
How about we finish off the Troy-Burton family?
Leonard Burton – he absolutely prefers to sleep with someone and will start as snuggling on his side of the bed and not move until morning no matter where the other person moves to and how much of the blankets they steal. If he has to sleep alone, he’s got a body pillow, but he doesn’t sleep as well and ends up wrapping himself up in the blankets.
Nathan Burton (Delia’s husband, Leonard’s brother, Joel’s dad) – he tends to splay out on his back or side and hog the covers. He moves a lot in his sleep too.
Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?
Wild Rush – Nope. He hates his family with a passion and will have nothing to do with any of them. If he considered someone a blood relative, he’d loathe them.
Daisy – she never really knew any of her grandparents. Her mom was an only child and her dad’s brothers died in The War. Andre and Charles are like brothers to her.
Charles – not really. Neir extended family lives in different states and ne never saw them much. Ne thinks of Daisy as a little sister.
Andre – He’s got a whole bevy of cousins, but nobody he’s super close with. Like Charles, he thinks of Daisy as a little sister.
Delia – she’s got an aunt that she visits often, and then Leonard, her brother-in-law.
Mask – most of his family is in another country, but he’s close with several of his cousins and tries to spoil the younger members of the family. He’s good friends with several of his aunts and uncles too, although they don’t talk about his work much. He’s got a friend in a monastery that he’s practically brothers with, but that doesn’t approve of his work at all. He considers his lieutenants like younger family too.
What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?
Wild Rush – super messy. He’ll have pencils, pens, and markers everywhere and doodles in all the margins. He has a huge desk he works on and ends up with a pile of rejected ideas on the floor. He pins tons of stuff to the walls too.
Daisy – she has a smaller desk in her room for homework. She tries to keep it neat, but sprawls out when she’s working, then shoves everything inside when she’s done.
Charles – neir workspace is the kitchen. Ne’s a super neat cook, washing dishes as ne goes and such, but ends up with splatters of stuff on neir clothes and in neir hair. Which is why ne has a collection of cute aprons.
Andre – the closest thing he has to a workspace would be the bathroom when he’s primping. He makes a mess, but cleans it up when he’s done, otherwise Charles nags him.
Techrat – is super neat. Everything has a place and that’s where it stays.
Gimmick – also very neat, but will misplace stuff when he’s focused. His neatness is learned because he was a messy kid and got tired of it.
Delia – her workspaces end up a mess, but she knows where everything is. It all gets taken care of when she’s done of the day.
Joel – about the same as his mom, although he’ll often leave things out because he’s going to get back to them.
Donna Cooper – super neat. She’s got an inbox and an outbox and stuff is in one or the other or being worked on.
Harry Suchek – also very neat, although he tends toward the pile method. He’s got a clear desk by the end of the night.
Kella Aurita – she drives Sucheck (and Cooper) nuts because her desk looks like total chaos. She says she can find everything, but a lot of the time it’s after several minutes of searching. Nothing ever gets lost, but that’s because it won’t leave the desk until she’s done with it.
What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be? (TW: sex, misandry, misogynistic stereotypes, BDSM…)
I’m going to have to diversify, since most of the people I’ve been doing are or were in relationships…
Joel Burton – he says he’d like someone to spoil him at home and just relax with, but he ends up dating extroverts and going to concerts, theme parks, outdoor stuff, and other exciting events.
Jill – she wants excitement! And maybe a sugar daddy. She wants fast cars, fine dinners, dancing, and really hot sex. And he has to be smart enough to keep up with her. Which is why we know two of the people she’s dated were Gimmick and Wild Rush (and WR’s brains are only borderline good enough).
Techrat – if he were to think about a romantic (non-sexual) partner, he’d want somebody that would take care of him. Basically a mother.
Tectrix – …probably a harem of brainless beauties that he’d mostly ignore as they got up to lesbian fun… That or somebody as twisted as him.
Mick Adler – a very smart, very independent domme that would treat him harshly, take care of him after, and leave him alone when he’s working. … He may be the character with the healthiest, most reasonable idea on this list…
Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby? (TW: weapons, violence)
Wild Rush – he has large elegant masculine hands. He’s a master at sleight-of-hand and watching him work, whether it’s lockpicking, doing card tricks, or playing with guns and knives can be mesmerizing.
Daisy – she’s got small soft hands. Everything looks big in her hands, but she can be as mesmerizing as Wild Rush when need be.
Charles – he’s got very strong hands. He keeps them soft, but everybody knows he can crush anything in them. He likes to keep his nails a little longer and will paint them sometimes, often doing Daisy’s too.
Andre – his hands are rough and calloused. He’s not as strong as Charles (not surprising), but he’s quick and nimble.
Delia – her hands are large, very strong, and tend to be rough. Her nails are always battered and short.
Mask – his hands are gnarled and stiff. He can be strong when necessary, but pays for it later.
Techrat – his hand are beat up, rough, calloused, but he has long elegant nimble fingers. His nails and cuticles are always broken and bitten.
Jill – has very feminine elegant hands, but they have a ton of scars from working with her ferrets. She forgets to use lotion, so they’re usually rough.
Mick Adler – he’s got stubby fingers that are often rough from working. He likes to get manicures and will even get his nails painted, but he’s got tough calluses from working in his lab.
Stuart Ashbow – he has beautiful hands, with a wedding ring tattooed on one finger. It’s garland of rose branches with a small rose where the diamond would be. He gets manicures often (sometimes him and Mick go together and maybe drag Delia along) and takes good care of his nails and hands.
Swordcat – has fuzzy, super strong, clawed hands. They’re big (… I’m noticing some author appeal here… ) and with thick fingers and knuckles.
So here’s a thing I’m working on. This is made in Sketchup, using the sandbox tools. The mountains are part of the Snakeback Mountains, which is the leading edge of the Monot Rise. Shard City is in that divot in the right under the cliffs. I still have a ton to do, obviously, but progress!
Here’s the map drawing I’m working from. From the right, the Applefloat River feeds Shard Lake. Tradegate River exits to the left. Down the center Rookwax River runs down Rookwax valley and feeds into Shard Lake. Shard City is mostly along the lake between the Applefloat and Rookwax rivers. Running along Rookwax is the old Timber Road. The modern 72 freeway comes down from the right, crosses Rookwax, and continues more or less parallel to Tradegate. The 72 replaced the old highway which ran closer to the river.
The Bluffs rise about 300 feet above the lake and continue at varying levels and steepnesses for like a hundred miles or something. The tallest peak is Lightning Strike Mountain, at the top of the drawing, with Gilroy Mountain and Saint Lila Mountain in the same range. This is all part of the Snakeback Mountain National Park, which features hiking, skiing, camping and other activities. Lining the cliffs are ghost oaks, pale and twisted oak trees. Also native to the mountains are shadow elms (which aren’t elms) whose dark bark and leaves make for eery groves.
Shard Lake is a tectonic rift lake formed millions of years ago. It’s named for the shard of rock that make up its beaches. It undercuts the bluffs and rockfalls into the water are common.
Shard City is named after the lake. It was first built where the Rookwax River met the lake and the old town is still called The Spokes for the rising sun like city plan. Shard City has about 220,000 people in about 40 square miles, and sits about 45,000 feet above sea level.
The Warehouse district runs along the Old Highway and Timber Road. Before the new highway was built, those roads and the Rookwax River were used to bring goods into Shard City. With the new highway, and the airport, the Warehouse District has gone to seed.
Nearby the Delta is a popular area for houseboaters and other water enthusiasts, with safe swimming areas for kids and many scenic paths along the rivers and lake. Another popular area are the Falls were the Applefloat River descends into Shard Lake through a series of rapids and short waterfalls. Shard Lake also has a number of small islands, about which sordid legends are told of smugglers, pirates, and ghosts. They’re a popular destination for birdwatchers as the thick foliage protects the native wildlife.
What is your character’s preferred means of travel?
Andre prefers to drive himself. He gets panic attacks on public transit, in taxis, and in cars with bad or unpredictable drivers (like Wild Rush)
Charles prefers to ride shotgun or go by train / subway.
Daisy loves trains and finds the noise and motion very relaxing.
Wild Rush loves to drive. He drives fast and erratically and never gets in accidents, but accidents will happen in his wake.
Tectrix prefers to fly himself. This is a cheat – he’s got wings :)
Delia loves to fly. She finds seeing the country going by fascinating.
Joel likes buses and other public transit. He loves to people watch, and to just sit back and let someone else get him places.
Is your character a good cook? What’s their favorite recipe, whether they’re good or not? (Microwave mac-and-cheese applies.)
Wild Rush – no, not really at all. He doesn’t have the patience for it. There a few cocktails he likes to make. He can also do slow cooker stuff.
Daisy manages. She’s good at casseroles and other ‘throw everything in a pot’ meals. She makes kickass mac and cheese.
Charles is an awesome cook. Ne prefers to make fancy things and loves to bake. Neir favorite thing to make is omelets.
Andre likes to grill, especially steaks. He learned from Charles.
Delia can manage, but there’s a reason she has a cook. She is good at yummy salads.
Joel is better than his mom; he learned a lot from their cook. Because of his tremors, he tends to avoid things involving sharp knives. He likes to make pizza with premade crust, but also makes a mean chili.
Techrat doesn’t cook at all and relies on microwave meals, delivery, and meal replacement options.
Gimmick is a pretty good cook. He likes to make pancakes and bacon, chili, and steaks.
Jill just barely manages. She’s like Techrat in that she considers cooking a distraction. Her best recipe is homemade ferret food. She also makes a lot of casseroles and soups for herself.
How does your character react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?
(Hey, I’ve got a writing snippet that talks about this a bit!)
Wild Rush doesn’t really notice it. If it’s super hot or cold he might change what he’s wearing a bit, but not much.
Daisy feels them and either snuggles with somebody or tries to cool off.
Charles tends to run hot and Andre tends to run cool, so they even out. Andre prefers to run around in bright shirts and Charles likes skirts and dresses sometimes.
Delia doesn’t get cold that often, but can get really hot. She’ll blast the AC or take a cold bath or something.
Joel tends to run cold. He has tons of blankets to wear and warm jackets.
Leonard Burton (Delia’s brother-in-law) loves to go skinny-dipping when he’s hot or lay in front of a fire (preferably with a girlfriend) when he’s cold.
Morning bird or Night owl?
Delia and Joel are both naturally polyphasic sleepers and tend to be night owls. Delia has an easier time in the morning than Joel.
Leonard Burton is also a night owl and is often a slug-a-bed. But he’ll get up to make breakfast for people.
Wild Rush is totally a night owl. That’s when all the exciting stuff happens.
Daisy is more of a morning person, but likes to stay up with Wild Rush.
Charles is totally a morning person. It’s quiet and ne can relax and read or get caught up on things or whatever.
Andre honestly isn’t super fond of either. He’d prefers during the day when there’s lots of light.
Sergeant Aurita is totally a night person, for the same reason Wild Rush is. Night time is exciting.
Silver Dollar loves to sleep in late and stay up late. It’s a really really bad idea to wake him up without a good reason.
Techrat is… none of the above. He keeps a very bad and erratic sleep schedule and often gets his days and nights reversed.
Gimmick is a morning person. The earlier you get up, the earlier you can get stuff done. He likes to watch the sun rise with breakfast.
Donna Cooper is about the same. If she gets up early, she can get started on stuff before people starting bringing more problems.
Swordcat is another slug-a-bed. He takes catnaps and is up all night.
Mask is another morning person. Usually because he couldn’t sleep. He tends to go to bed early because he’s exhausted.
Jill loves to go out at night, dancing and drinking, and causing trouble. And then she gets up at a reasonable hour to do research and stuff.
Mick Adler is not a morning person at all, unless he woke up with an idea. He also likes to go out at night, but if possible he’ll go home with somebody fairly early.
I really need to finish these off. Let’s see what I can do…
How is your character with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?
Delia – pretty darn good, since she works at a technology company. Not as good as Mick (Future-Tech’s resident genius) or her son, but she gets by. She prefers phone calls to letters or email, but emails and texting are fine for quick stuff.
Wild Rush – he gets by. He doesn’t really care about computers. If he needs something, he’ll get somebody to do it. He writes letters if he’s in prison, otherwise he’ll visit in person.
Daisy – pretty good. Learned a lot in school – she didn’t have a computer at home and couldn’t visit friends to use theirs. She’s picked up a lot since then. She likes to make phone calls.
Andre – really good. He’s smart and a quick learner and not afraid to experiment with things. And he grew up pretty spoiled, but his parents weren’t rich, so he got lots of things to play with.
Charles – ne does alright. Ne’s not as good as Andre, but ne has lots of friends ne emails and ne’s on social media a lot. Ne loves the internet to find new recipes.
Joel – he’s really good. He’s studying computer science and does a lot of hacking and computer stuff to help out his mom. He also likes rc planes and cars. He prefers email to letters, because of his disability.
I swear I’m going to start actually drawing the comic, but I keep getting distracted by my conlang.
I know I have at least a couple multiples who read my tumblr, so if you want to comment / critique / offer suggestions, I’d appreciate it.
I had already planned on having Delia’s admin assistant at Future-Tech be multiple, but that’s just one (and I want to change their system name) and I don’t know how often they’ll show up. BUT. I’m going to make Delia’s cook (Jane Quigley is the legal name) also multiple – and they helped the other guys get the job at Future-Tech (both groups belong to a multiple like club/support group thingy in or around Shard City). I gotta figure out how exactly that’ll work and work it into the story asap (Swordcat first appears in issue #5). Jane first shows up in the story after that.
I kinda want to keep things simple for the first few issues – keep the Burton’s to Delia and Joel, with her brother-in-law showing up briefly as support / someone to elicit some info-dumping. But I may switch those two stories around, because I’d rather some civilian / good guy systems show up before a criminal one. 3 And I still need to figure out who the people in the Quigley system are.
Darn me and my attempts to be a responsible writer.
- I say multiple-ish because in-universe they’re questionable. Swordcat doesn’t really have two people in one body – one has a body of its own, it’s just that that body is a sword so it also uses Swordcat’s. Because swords don’t have, like, legs. The other is Iosis/Ostanes who are questionable because they split themselves with
- If Iosis/Ostanes were the protagonists, they could be anti-heroes, because although they kill people and stuff, they’re doing it for a good reason and they don’t do it indiscriminately. ↩
- Iosis/Ostanes won’t get published for years still, so Swordcat should be the only problem for a while. And neither of them are really terrible people – Leon is kinda sweet actually – but they’re still in prison and stuff, so… ↩
Here’s Nathan Burton, Delia Troy’s (aka the White Knight) husband. This replaces the previous design, although he doesn’t usually run around shirtless.
The pic came out a little darker than I wanted, but I don’t really feel like putting in more hours adjusting it, doing test renders, and then waiting an hour+ for the final render. His hair is dark brown, not black, as are his pants.
Shard City is a big place, so she’s not in charge of the whole police force. She’s the person Delia (as the White Knight) interacts with the most, and the boss of the three police officers I’ll be using the most.
She’s very tall, white, far-sighted, trans, bisexual, and disabled.
She generally doesn’t wear a prosthetic unless she’s going to be working in the field or doing target practice. She was born with about six inches to her right arm and while the prosthetic is really good, it feels weird to her.