here is a man I’m imagining for my novel. In opposition to his strict discipline father (for whatever reasons) and instead of enlisting in the Emperic Fleet, he shamed his entire line by joining the skiptracers (i.e. vessel recovery services). He’s one of their older captains now, a hard man who is ruthless to his crew. In fact, his long cruises looking for pirates and hijacked hulls and his aversion to limes have cost him his teeth (through scurvy). How he has two pairs of teeth (one in use, one in his pocket) – a wooden set that are marginally comfortable (because of their gentle curves and semi-soft wood) and his steel ones (not so comfortable, as one might imagine, but unlikely to break in the tension of combat).
He hates indiscipline. He hates laughter and joy in any form. He is a cold spine-locked man who glowers through rain-beaded bridge windows.
And he’s just pulled off the coup of his life – he personally recaptured the stolen cruiser Intransigent from a mutinied crew. After dancing the entire ship’s compliment from the end of a rope, he’s heading back to return the vessel, to the shame of the Navy and, in particular, his father.
But now he’s come across a minor blockade of a pirate port, and since he hates pirates and their indisciplined (and, perhaps, sometimes-happy) existences, he’s going to use the Intransigent as a weapon of vengeance. He will accept nothing but total surrender.
So that’s my guy. So, what should I call him?
I thought about it for a while (as I do many aspects of my story). Finally I pulled up a site online that gave me the history of Prussian Generals. There was a pulldown on the bottom, one that allowed me to select from twenty or more generals who fought for and against France around the Napoleonic wars. I tried not to get focused on their interesting stories and concentrate on the names. Specifically, I looked through first and last names, and picked the ones I liked the best (if you remember my selection of Kedgewater Deep, it was much the same thing).
And my final assemblage?
That’s so perverse, it’s almost scifi-fantasy in its own right. But it’s also very militaristic, hinting of eagles and pendants and crisp German salutes.