Unexpected Inspiration Character Backstory: Adair's Past

Addy had one foot in the water when a hand snatched at the back of his shirt and heaved him away from the shore. "No, dope! You won't get there in time, not the way you swim! Climb!"

Feren shoved him towards the tiny island's lone tree before shimmying up it. Addy bit his lip as the water reached his feet and rose almost immediately to his calves. Feren was right, he wouldn't make it to the other shore by swimming. He touched his favorite paintbrush to make sure it was safe in his pocket-- and to feel more courageous, not that he'd admit that a paintbrush was his comfort thing. Feren would never let him live that down and would call him a baby even in the middle of a flow that was rapidly becoming a flood. He forced himself up onto the lowest branch. Even here was too high! Addy closed his eyes while his stomach churned as bad as the water below him.

"What are you doing? You have to climb higher than that!"

"I can't!" Addy didn't open his eyes. He was already so high. The flood couldn't reach him here. It wasn't like it was going to get that deep.

"Dammit, Addy! Are you too weak to climb one stupid tree?"

Addy squinted one eye open and looked up, which had to be better than looking down. It wasn't. Feren was perched about a mile above him on a larger, sturdier limb. He wasn't sure what view was worse: Feren glaring at him or seeing someone up so high. Addy closed his eyes again and hugged the trunk with both arms. Maybe if he clung tight enough the water wouldn't carry him away. Maybe it would turn out that the magic he didn't have yet was glue magic. No, he'd never been that lucky. He was dimly aware of muttered curse words above him, ones he wasn't allowed to say at home, then Feren shouted, "Grab my hand!"

The current reached Addy's dangling feet. With a whimper he hoped Feren didn't hear, he reached up. Feren grabbed his wrist and hoisted him up, then shoved him further upwards. Addy kept his eyes on the tree trunk. He was going to have nightmares for years about this stupid tree trunk. After an eternity of climbing, he was on the wide branch Feren had been sitting on. A thundering heartbeat later Feren joined him. As much as he hated the other boy, Addy couldn't say he minded when Feren's arm wrapped around him to hold him in place. He was pretty sure Feren wasn't going to push him off, anyway. Not after the effort of getting him up here. Not when Feren avoided the word "effort" as much as he did the words "selflessness" and "not being a jerk." Nothing about this day was going right.

-Excerpt from an early draft of Colorweaver (book 1)

To all appearances, Adair has the most normal backstory of the dorks. He didn't grow up in a weird temple like the twins, Rosalie, or Camille-- Concordia doesn't technically even have a religion. He didn't lose his parents young like Blythe did-- if anything Adair has too many parents, which annoys him on occasion because what teenager wouldn't be eye-rolling at six parents and parental figures. He was certainly never unloved or neglected by any of his parents, like Dray-- his multitude of parents have always supported his hobbies and interests and since he always lived in Concordia, no one batted an eye when he declared that he was a boy. He's never had to struggle to make ends meet or to survive, like any of the others. He had the most normal, traditional, seemingly-unexciting childhood that you can have as a Concordian.

But that's where the normality of Adair's life stops. Weird things have a habit of happening around him. Mostly it's given him an attitude of "Oh. This is what we're doing now? Okay" because he rarely knows what's going on. He often feels like he's just along for the ride with his own life.

To take it back, Adair grew up in a small, quiet town where not much happened. It was so small that there were only two sets of Artisan families who lived there. When his magic manifested as a kid, he was apprenticed to the set that wasn't his own. Okay, he probably would have preferred to get the heck out of a place so dull, but his master had cartography magic which is precisely the flavor of colorweaving that Adair did. Her son was a thorn in Addy's side for years, but Master Idra was welcoming, loved to travel, and was eccentric in the best ways. One of her spouses was a master chef, so their way of welcoming Adair into the family was by having him help out in the kitchen and making all sorts of yummy desserts that he liked. (There's a reason Adair does this with his own adopted kid!) Adair quickly befriended Nina, the apprentice of said spouse, and she made him all sorts of sweets, too. If not for living with Feren, his master's son, it would have been perfect. Even then, it sort of worked out because Feren went from bossy bully to bossy boyfriend, but that's a can of worms I won't get into here since I already talked about it in their relationship moodboard post. Suffice it to say that this was not a great relationship, but it does mean that Feren was there for almost all of Adair's Weird Events.

If asked, Adair would tell you that the first strange thing he remembers is the timing of when his magic manifested. He was hanging out with the other local kids at a nearby lake when the dam suddenly cracked. He has honestly tried to block out most memory of this, not because of the flood, which wasn't too bad since the stone-magic inside the dam prevented it from bursting entirely, but because he had to climb a tree to avoid the water. Heights have always been Adair's greatest fear and he was never sure what he would have done had Feren not been there to help him. Adair's only positive memory of this situation was when purple light appeared behind his closed eyelids. When he snuck a peek at his hands and arms clinging to the tree, he saw that they were glowing. The glow wasn't unexpected, that was just the sign that his magic was now active, but it was impeccable timing in a way that became Adair's normal. His master theorized it happened then because he was so frightened. Adair would rather not think about it at all, thanks.

Another Weird Event was a sudden cave-in when he, Feren, and Nina were poking around what should have been a safe cavern. The most recent Event was when he woke up in the middle of a carnival. That one led to him meeting the dorks, so he was cool with this once he dealt with the embarrassment of being seen in pajamas and quacking ducky slippers. At least nothing burst or collapsed that time.

That said, usually the events were small and I don't think he was much aware of them because they tended to happen while he was asleep or zoned out. It's one thing to have vivid dreams and occasional hallucination when tired; that's par for the course with a sleep disorder. It gets weird when other people can see what he's dreaming. These are mundane enough that anyone who gets caught in one of the illusions usually brushes it off by thinking they just nodded off. Adair has spent so much time around Feren, though, that Feren has long suspected that something was up. Has he told Adair? Of course not, why would someone as wonderful as Feren ever think to help someone he supposedly loves? Instead, he watches and wonders and documents, and when strange things start happening around the other dorks that are similar enough to Adair, Feren notices.

But even with the strangeness in his life, Adair has plowed on happily. He finally broke up with Feren, so the past few months have been a breath of fresh air. He finished his apprenticeship and is nearing the end of his year as an amateur with his graduation project almost finished. He has the other dorks in his life and the future looks bright, minus a few hiccups and malfunctioning magic that isn't always his.

(This is the next in a series of posts about the main characters' backstories. You can find the ones I've shared so far over on the moodboard page.)



  1. Some of my characters would be envious of the fact that Adair had too many parents.
    Anyway, it was neat to learn more about Adair, and I really love the collages you make for each post too. 💙

    1. Yeah, that's pretty much how the others are, too. None of them have parents in their lives, but Addy's parents pretty much adopt them as their own so it's sweet. :)

      Thanks! I have a lot of fun making these. I love looking through pretty pictures and matching colors and stuff.


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