Another interesting looking prompt from the mind of Kayleigh Gallagher’s Purple Dragon Prompts. This one is focused on a single character and the journey she has taken through her life. And what a journey that is.
From the prompt one can make assumptions that the things she has been called are sequential, but they don’t have to be. We only know what she is about to be called from now on. The journey this girl or woman has been on most likely has been quite extreme. And since we don’t know how old she is, we don’t know over what period of time this may have happened. She could still be a young girl bouncing around in life and finding her in one difficult situation to the next. Or she could be an older woman who has worked her whole life toward this.
What lead to each of these names she is called. Were they choices she made or something that others did to her that she had little choice other than reacting?
Let’s go over these names for her real quick. She’s been called a thief, a vagabond, an exile, an outcast, and now an empress, in no particular order except for the last. Looking at the definitions of these words from wordnik, I think this probably was the order.
▪ a person who steals, or is guilty of larceny or robbery; one who takes the goods or property of another without the owner’s knowledge or consent; especially, one who deprives another of property secretly or without open force, as opposed to a robber, who openly uses violence.
For some reason it always surprises me when I see the definition of thief vs robber, but it does tell us something about her. She probably didn’t use violence. My imagination here is of a young girl who has to steal to have enough to eat. Maybe she lived in the capital and saw the decadence of the rich. Figuring they could part with some of it, she stole, but she was always careful not to hurt people. She was hungry, not mean.
▪ a person who moves from place to place without a permanent home and often without a regular means of support.
So now we have her as a vagabond. Maybe she was always a vagabond, but if, as I am imagining, she started as a thief at a young age, she probably wasn’t called a vagabond so much as a poor street child or something harsher, but not quite this. Maybe at her youngest she at least had parents who tried to care for her and her thievery was to help out, but something happened and now she’s on her own with nowhere to live and no one to live with, maybe part of a transient community.
▪ one who lives away from one’s native country, whether because of expulsion or voluntary absence.
An exile has to come after she has some place that she called home, no matter how much or little that mattered. At the very least she has to have a country she calls home and now she’s not there. Because of the definition of the next one, I think this was voluntary. Maybe she lost every reason to stay, her community was lost somehow, the remaining family she had died, something like that. Or maybe there was promise of food elsewhere and she chased it.
▪ a person expelled or driven out; an exile; one who is rejected or despised.
Now, she’s an outcast. Part of this definition is an exile, so maybe she tried to go back to her home country or maybe she started counting her new country as home and something happened. She got in trouble with the law. Maybe it was her past catching up to her. Maybe it wasn’t even her fault. Maybe it she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe she saw some injustice done that she couldn’t just stand by and let happened. Maybe she backed the losing side in a conflict of some sort. Whatever happened, this time she has been forced out of her home.
▪ a woman who rules over an empire; a woman invested with imperial power or sovereignty.
This is where she is now. How did she get here? Did the choices she made lead her here? Is she someone else’s puppet? This character has a lot of potential and this step here seems like such a leap from everything that came before. Is is though? Who is she and how did she get here?