A quintessential geek fantasy. Most of the time Sidney is unassuming and meek, but when he gets his hand on a sword he becomes AWESOME – he can fight monsters, save the world and rescue the girl.
A bright, resourceful chap born in the fictional town of Pattersfield, England. Sidney Gaterling spent most of his childhood happily being on his own. He comes from a lovely, ordinary family, but learned his life lessons at school from the other children – to be quiet and go away. This might sound like the start of a super villain origin story – but Sidney decided to shy away from social situations and found contentment in being alone. Over the years he studied hard, earned a degree, landed a fancy job and lived happily ever after.
Of course, that isn’t how it usually happens. Introduced as the protagonist of The Sardonyc, Sidney is a Master of Magical Science Studies who worked for the Hidden Government’s Research and Development department. He was in effect a freelance scientist, bopping around the world when his expertise was required for ancient artefacts and rare types of magic.
One ordinary day he joined the Super Human Project as an analyst. The tl;dr of that event was Sidney having to learn how to fight for his damn life, and never speak of what happened there again.
“I have a degree in Magic Science. It’s a wonderful oxymoron.”
By the time of Bloodfest, Sidney is a 27 year old soldier he uses sword based magic, living on the sequestered, Hidden Government controlled islands of Pacoven. He is settled in this role, happy to play as a protector with unique skills amongst the ordinary military personnel, until orders from the top transfer him into Delta Squad with a bunch of hard, gravel crunching veterans. Ace, Damian, Shimon and the rest are a different breed altogether, and Sidney struggles to integrate into the group at first.
As a combatant, Sidney consistently puts himself in danger. He has an altruistic, noble attitude (particularly when it comes to helping women), and a humbling will to serve, which may be a result of low esteem. Sidney is often nervous around others, yet he doesn’t care about himself getting hurt or even killed in combat, and his valiance does not go unnoticed.
Sidney’s entire story revolves around fitting in; finding your place, being useful and being happy. He wants to do well. He is an old fashioned romantic, and wants to find love and have a good life. Sidney’s stymie is his borderline social anxiety disorder, stemming from childhood and a lack of stability in his adult life. He claims to be like being ‘alone’, as he is used to it, but that does not mean he is telling the truth. Sidney yearns to be accepted and approved of, but has trouble asking for it. He doesn’t want to appear needy.
Sidney never feels worthy, but constantly feels the need to prove himself. He is in his own way a wonderful oxymoron.
“Heh, nervous fella, ain’t ya?” Damian chuckled.
“I’m cautious. Anxious,” Sidney replied. “Have you ever been through New York or London during a storm?”
“You what?” Damian muttered.
“Imagine you’re walking through the busy, rush hour crowds and it starts to rain; everybody puts their umbrella up,” Sidney started, staring straight ahead. “But after a while, the rain stops, and maybe you don’t notice. You’re too busy thinking, because you’re always thinking about things. Suddenly you’re the only person walking around with an umbrella, and everyone can see you holding the damn thing. And when you do realise this, you feel foolish…” Sidney concluded. “…That’s how I feel most of the time.”
All in all, Sidney is painfully English. If someone steps on his toes, he apologises to them. But that is not to say he is a pushover. Sidney has no tolerance for injustice. He has had to learn things the hard way, and is ever on edge. Finding a comfortable balance is still Sidney’s biggest challenge, especially when he can’t realise how much he means to other people, and how much they worry for him.
Despite the quietness, the shyness, the meekness… Sidney will throw himself into the deep end to save others. With sword in hand, he knows he can do the right thing.
- Sidney was named as a long standing reference to the Final Fantasy series, of course. Coincidentally my great grandfather was named Sidney.
- He favours the sword in combat but wisely keeps a firearm on hand. His choice is the S&W 44. Magnum. It’s small but dangerous, and restricted to limited shots before needing to reload. Possibly a bit like him.
- Sidney was a ‘Pattersfield Fox’ when he was young, an equivalent to being a Scout or Cub Scout.
- He has a fear of drowning in deep water, and prefers showers to baths.
- His surname, Gaterling, doesn’t have a lot of meaning. It is purely meant to invoke the image of a Gatling Gun and its mechanical functions.
- Like all of the characters in the series, Sidney has a strong affinity to one of the classic / fantasy elements. In his case Ice; but to be more specific he has a connection to Outer Space, a theme that will become apparent and relevant as the series goes on. Perhaps there is a reason why he feels so out of place…
I have been working on the Bloodfest series for a long time now and I feel the need to explain myself; how the series works and what the ultimate goal is.
Stage 1: establishing the world
At the time of this post, I have written three books: one firmly self published on Amazon while the others are in the copy editing phase (I keep referring to it as ‘post production’).
In order to rebirth the series from a long slumber, I decided to write three original stories to firstly; practise writing again, and secondly; develop the characters for a modern era. These three books are all prequels to the “main event” called Bloodfest.
Call of the Conjurer is set in the year 2003, and follows the initiation of British born “magic soldiers” Ace Mcdagger and Shimon Arkasone. They have been ushered into the secretive organisation known internally as the Hidden Government, and are to be trained up in the art of magic combat. Several other characters find themselves in the same position, and a large part of the story is about team work.
Ace and Shimon are key to the whole Bloodfest series; or at least how it begins. But for Call of the Conjurer I wanted to write a bigger story, and invented the character of Calbert Mason – a figure for Ace to look up to – along with many others for Ace and Shimon to form close ties with. Some of these characters will make further appearances in the series.
Despite the establishing set up with Ace and Shimon, Call of the Conjurer became more of Calbert Mason’s story, and this formula of multiple viewpoints continues into the next book.
Typhoon of Fire continues the exploits of Ace, Shimon, and their close allies three years later in 2006. New key characters are introduced, and life changing events will affect the main cast for years to come.
Finally The Sardonyc changes perspectives entirely, focusing away form the action of the battlefield and onto the introverted scientist Sidney Gaterling. Set in the year 2010, this is one for the geeks. The pace is different; far more technical and steady. The Sardonyc is more of a psychological thriller, with a group of characters trapped on a ship and slowly going mad. Through these remarkable circumstances, Sidney faces his own battle against a mental threat, and his story gradually ties the prequel trilogy together.
Ultimateley, these three prequel books are not essential reading to understand Bloodfest, but help deepen the main characters’ motivations and hint at future events.
Stage 2: the Main Event
Bloodfest is a planned saga, currently shaping up to span five books. The first one has been written completely, and I am piecing the rest together all at once. I admit it is taking a while…
The conclusion has been planned, and I know what kind of story I want each book to tell. The series may be one saga, but each novel has its own collection of themes and arcing plotlines. I hate to leave a story on an unsatisfying cliffhanger, and want each one to have a concluding story.
Stage 3: the blog
Suffice to say the overall story arc has been mapped out over a number of years. Small changes have been made over time and continue to be made, but my primary intention is to put this series out and leave a little bit of me to the world.
Not only me: but my friends who helped directly create and inspire the series. A fellow called James is the key partner in crime here; co creator of the original home movie and continued contributor of ideas. He also writes, and is already penning a side story to Bloodfest that is totally original. I have no input on his tale and I love that. Even if he never finishes it, I love the idea of an expanded universe.
More about the origins of Bloodfest can be read here. I like to elaborate, and I want to answer questions and build up a reference source for the series with further texts and concept art.
Being a writer means constant practise. Some nights on the train ride home from London, I jot down mini stories built around the world of Bloodfest and I plan to post them on the blog as little treats.
For now, I hope you enjoy the character bios and develop an interest in the series. Please stay tuned as this blog fills with information!