Recently, I posted a small teaser for #TeaserTuesday that featured Zedekiah. And I mentioned he is one of my all-time favorite characters ever. And while that's true, I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at Zedekiah, and the inspiration behind him.
First and foremost, when I first introduced Zedekiah to Elendri, I modeled him after one of my best friends, Adrian. Strong, muscular, taller than average with long, disheveled hair and piercing blue eyes.
Essentially, he had to look able to swing a weapons such as a sword or mace while still being graceful enough to wield magic. And because he doesn't talk a lot at first, most of his thoughts come out in his facial expressions and in his actions.
This is where those blue eyes were so important. Celyna, Xiuhcoatl, Tryston, and Szandor all had dark eyes; I gave Zedekiah blue eyes as a sort of separation from the others. Neither superior nor inferior, but most definitely different, with a different way of looking at the world.
“The very fact that you see no problem with what you said is the problem. You said you wanted to understand, this is your chance. Stop thinking like a rich wizard and start thinking like a human. Mistaken identity wasn’t the problem.”
From a slave in the mines, sold to Lucien and trained to be a guard, and later given to Celyna as a birthday present, Zedekiah didn't have the easiest of beginnings. When Celyna gave him his freedom, he felt lost. It was only because of her own status as a former slave that Zedekiah found a connection with her, and later decided to stay with her.
And for a while, she was his only friend.
“Why do you follow her?”
Zedekiah glanced at the partition. No sounds of movement. The sun shone through the windows from its perch high in the sky.
“When no one else would have me, she called me friend,” he whispered. “She gave me my freedom.”
Aeryk smiled. “Oh, I think I’m going to like your group. Come, join me for a walk.”
Next to Celyna, Zedekiah probably has one of the most complicated character arcs with a simple concept: he rose to power through sheer merit and skill. Lucien found him because he killed a guard in the mines where he worked as a slave. Celyna freed him because he saved her life. We watch Zedekiah grow from a quiet, reserved slave bent on vengeance against his father, to a member of the city guard and personal guard to Celyna, to captain of the Elendri guard. And, the whole while, surrounded by liars and manipulators, he remains noble and forthright.
He proves, again and again, that you don't need to follow the evil crowd to get ahead.
I often imagine that if Heir of Elendri were to ever hit the big screen, Jared Leto would play the part of Zedekiah… I mean really, could you imagine looking at those blue beauties piercing through you from the hilt end of a sword? 😉
As for other inspirations, a lot of the interactions between Celyna and Zedekiah I modeled after what I thought it would be like to have an older brother: somewhat over protective, overly responsible, and quick to throw a punch whenever someone crosses Celyna the wrong way. But also understanding, an ear to listen, wise beyond his years, and her rock when the world around her collapsed.
After all, Zedekiah disliked both Daxon and Tryston, and still he would throw down his life to protect either one of them, simply because he knows they are important to Celyna. What else is a big brother to do?
“Wait,” Tryston said. “I want to go as well.”
“No,” Zedekiah replied. “You watch from here. Keep that link open. When you see me grab her, then you come.”
“If anything goes wrong before I can get there, I need you to teleport in.” Zedekiah reached out his arm, determination painted on his face. “I won’t fail you. I will get her.”