Unexpected Inspiration Character: Etri Celeste

Blythe's heart pounded against her rib cage at the sound of a voice where no one had been. At least she had an answer to her earlier question: his voice was nothing like his twin's. It was soft and almost lyrical- whatever his accent was, she couldn't place it, and had never heard anything like it. She looked up into a face as white as the sheets in the healer's wagon and took a single deep breath to calm her nerves. The boy was just a boy. Stories of ghosts were just stories, even if he moved with uncanny silence and was so pale he was nearly luminous in the glow of the campfire.

- excerpt from "Spirits by the Campfire"

Etri is a carnival performer specializing in knives and fire-- or more specifically, the lack of fire. He has spent the past few months as a performer in Blythe's travelling carnival troupe, but for several years prior to this, he was a member of the larger troupe in Concordia's capital city. The performers in that troupe double as the thieves-of-thieves who return stolen art back to its creators; you can learn more about Sapphire's Saboteurs in this post. His magic is that of shadows and darkness, which allows him to snuff out light and fire (something he contributes to his brother's fire performances), as well as giving him the ability to shift his body into a shadow. Being able to turn himself nearly invisible has helped both his thieving career and his social anxiety immensely. I talked about his magic here if you're curious to find out more!

Etri and his twin brother Sol are relatively new to Concordia. They were born in Montglace, a country deep under the mountains far to the north, and spent the first sixteen years of their lives inside the Sanctuary of Shadow. I talked about their time in Montglace in this post, so I'll sum it up by saying that this was not pleasant for either of them, as the temples in Montglace are strict and dangerous. Etri was taught a little about how to use his magic, but since he never revealed the full extent of his ability, he had to discover most of what he knows on his own. Normally magic in Montglace only means that you can control light or shadow elementals, not become one. If there's a reason Etri can shift himself into a shadow or why Sol has the ability to summon light and fire, the twins haven't worked out what it is. They never trusted anyone enough to ask, even after learning much later that the Glassweavers in Concordia have similar magic to Sol. They have yet to find anyone outside of Montglace who has magic similar to Etri's shadow kind.

After the twins escaped Montglace, they lived a few years in a coastal town in Galanvoth. Though small and remote, it was a huge culture shock after coming from the repressive and isolated place they grew up. Sol began learning how to repair and invent things, and this, along with the occasional theft from Etri to steal what they needed to survive, was their source of income until they eventually made their way south into Concordia. Soon after arriving, Etri was caught by one of the reverse-thieves who happened to be returning art at the same time he was trying to steal tools for his brother. She offered to train him as a reverse thief and he and Sol joined her carnival troupe. For the first time in their lives, the twins had true safety. They will always consider this carnival troupe, and the one they later joined, as their family.

Etri is the epitome of the expression 'cold hands, warm heart,' and not just because his magic leaves his skin noticeably chilly. While he's a reserved introvert with a fear of social situations, he's also kindhearted and intensely loyal to anyone who has gotten past his shy demeanor and distrust of new people to earn his friendship. This loyalty and a fiercely protective streak lead him to become one of Adair's sentinels, alongside Blythe. He can frequently be found doing something quietly, usually reading or writing poetry, somewhere close to the people he cares about. He may not say a lot, but his constant support and presence mean a lot to the others. He's the brains of the group of five, reading anything he can get his hands on, and loves astronomy and history more than anything else. He's the one most likely to think a plan through, as well as come up with several backup plans in case the worst happens. Unfortunately, he's also the one most likely to dive headfirst into danger without telling anyone about it. He'd much rather risk himself than allow someone else to potentially get hurt.

Etri is one of the main characters in the first trilogy of the Unexpected Inspiration series. You can find his bio page here and his backstory moodboard/post here.



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