Character Bios: Rafaela Loxwell

Steely, long serving captain of HGA November Squad. She demands strict control, especially over herself.

00012 Rafaella Loxwell

Rafaela Loxwell was born in 1968 into a wealthy Brazilian family. She lived in a secure, isolated mansion outside of Rio de Janeiro, where her parents had already planned out her life. They were both members in the Hidden Government Army, and their daughter was going to follow in their footsteps.

Rafaela had other ideas. Through a combination of teenage rebellion and a warm desire to help people less fortunate than her, Rafaela often travelled deep into Rio’s slums. She knew orphans lived on the streets, and wanted to help them any way she could. Rafaela gave herself the responsibility of taking care of them all.

She still has fond memories of the friends she made, though the memories are often mired by sadness. A lot of the children she met – some only a few years younger than her – disappeared without explanation.

Her forthright disobedience was not unsupervised, either. Rafaela thought she was being clever, sneaking in and out of her home while her parents were constantly busy, but over the years Rafaela realised that the Hidden Government had always kept a close eye on her. By the time of Typhoon of Fire, Rafaella Loxwell is Captain of November Squad and has been so for several years. She likes her position; because despite the heavily monitored military she belongs to, Rafaela is able to exert some control and influence to get her own way. She still chooses carries to carry responsibility, and to stand up against any opposition.

Loxwell may come across as mean on first impressions, but she always has the welfare and safety of everybody around her foremost in her mind. She does not abide by sloppiness. Sloppiness leads to mistakes, and mistakes can lead to trouble. She gives everybody a chance to prove themselves, and her ways of encouragement are brash, but fair.

The powers which made her eligible for the Hidden Government Army are remarkable. For as long as she could remember, Loxwell has been able to heal wounds with self control. This adept self control ability extends to every small function of her body; from maintaining steady heart rate and breathing, to forcing certain muscles to immediately overwork or relax through conscious command. She can force herself not to perspire, and control her own fatigue and hunger, holding them back with steady regulation. Her ability clearly plays into Loxwell’s formal, take-charge personality. She is a woman who can make herself relax, but refuses to. In fact, she rather likes staying constantly alert and on her toes.  She has massive responsibility after all, as captain of her squad.

In combat, Loxwell favours physical, close range attacking. She uses a unique sword, named Fulvia – named after the ambitious Roman political figure and the electromagnetic substance. A technological weapon powered by Thunder magic, Fulvia can be charged with electricity to cause shock and burn damage. Or may seem viol, but Loxwell prefers a job taken care of.

She rarely uses Combat Magic, or fire arms unless necessary. Loxwell’s sword is enough, and she expects her team to contribute. Loxwell’s prowess and command have see her offered many promotions to become an officer, but she consistently declines. The battlefield is her place, where she can keep a close eye on everyone and everything.


Character Bios: Leum Tollad

A large hearted medic and mage who talks little about himself, leaving many to wonder just how on earth he qualified for military service.

00010 Leum Tollad

Leum Tollard was born in Oklahoma, and has a well documented family tree. He is well aware of having Cherokee and Scandinavian roots, and has a keen interest in world history and culture.  Staying faithful to his family upbringing, Leum  is a devoted Unitarian Christian and has maintained a quiet, hopeful attitude throughout his life.

Leum is a soft, weebly sort of fellow. He has a light, ‘airy’ voice and a gentleness unsuited for the battlefield. He possesses the power of Healing Hands – the ability to mend wounds and treat small illnesses with his palms – and a strong affinity to Wind magic. Given his preference pacifism and obviously weight / health problems; the details of his Awakening and recruitment into the Hidden Government Army remain a closely guarded secret…

…By us.

Ever since the character’s creation for the original home movie in 1998, myself and James were in agreement that Leum’s backstory should remain a mystery. Small snippets will occasionally slip out throughout the series, but they will only serve to add more confusion.

Naturally, Leum clashes with team mate Damian Hassler frequently; the latter hurling insults about Leum’s obesity, positive outlook and haircut; while Leum quietly ignores him. He seems infested, even finding humour in the abuse, but no one is sure how he really feels.

Damian will admit that he likes Leum really. Everybody likes Leum. He is a natural healer who wishes to help everyone and stay upbeat, though Leum can be meandering and clumsy at times. Despite the occasional blunder, Delta Squad know they are lucky to have him around and will readily side Leum to support him.


Creation Notes:

  • In the original movie, Leum was more of a comic foil.
    He was really stupid, basically.
    That’s all been wiped away, and Leum in the book series in considerably smarter. He may or may not have a diploma in some kind of culture histories study.
  • I don’t know honestly.
  • Leum is a complete enigma.
  • Some of his backstory involves being part of a biker gang, being an Aid Worker in Africa, having a wife, and being an alcoholic.
  • He is twenty six years old during Typhoon of Fire
  • Leum has had the same haircut his entire life.

Interview with Hungry Monster Review

Today I am interviewed by hungrymonsterreview.com on Call of the Conjurer.

Book Cover 2016

“A World Where Magic Is A Natural Force”

Call of the Conjurer is a story about a group of diverse soldiers brought together to be initiated into magical combat. What was your inspiration for blending military fiction with magic and the paranormal?

Call of the Conjurer was actually written as a prequel to a homemade, stop-motion film some friends and I made when we were kids, way back around 1996. It was called Bloodfest, and it was mainly about a squad of modelling clay soldiers tearing through a Lego city full of demons and zombies. It would have been on youtube, if that had existed back then. Ultimately Bloodfest was just a weird little black comedy with minimal plot, although the whole setting and the characters stayed with me for years afterwards. It was when I started toying about with programming and began work on a Bloodfest video game that I started to give it more thought. The original story was a bare concept, and we had made the Bloodfest team far from professional – quite “Monty Pythonesque” in their quirkiness, so I had to ask myself: ‘Why was it up to this squad of soldiers to save the whole world from monsters? What made them capable to do such a thing?’ That was when I had the idea of giving them all super powers and magic spells. I wanted to make an RPG game, and to let players customise the characters with a selection of spells and abilities. I also thought more about the backstory, how the team were in service to a shadowy “Hidden Government” who deployed them to fight off extreme threats. Working on the world building to explain how and why the soldiers had magic; why their abilities were so rare and why there were monsters in existence, eventually led me to write Call of the Conjurer when I wanted to try self-publishing books. I decided to start from the beginning, and work my way up to writing Bloodfest as a novel. I never quite finished that RPG game, but maybe I’ll get back to it sometime!

I felt that the military jargon and tactics used was well displayed. What research did you do for this novel to get it right?

The main thing I had to research was what happens during military training, and then work that around the setting I wanted to write about. The military is something that has always intrigued me. In England we celebrate the heroism of those who fought in wars, and conflict is a big part of our history, so it is the kind of thing I’ve read about a lot over the years. I’ve also known a few people who have served in the British Army and United States Army, and one thing I wanted to get across in Call of the Conjurer was how these soldiers are just ordinary people with the same flaws and ambitions we all have. Bearing in mind the rarity of the recruits in the story – their magical abilities which are desperately sought after – the characters in Call of the Conjurer are granted more privilege than most soldiers would be given in reality. This allowed me to occasionally put the cast in relaxed situations where they could be themselves, which was important for building them up as a team who trusted each other, and letting them grow as individuals.

There is magic used throughout the story. How do you keep magic believable in your story?

For most of the characters in the book, magic is a startling experience to begin with but it eventually becomes second nature. Some of them had prior experience with it, and I wanted a world where magic is a natural force but being able to utilise it is a rarity. It is a mysterious power tied to genetics and human history, and the Hidden Government has an entire Magical Science department dedicated to studying the phenomena. Over the years these scientists have tried to quantify, categorise and explain magic; successfully turning it into a weaponised asset for battle, but like all fields of science their understanding changes with new developments. In this way I can make magic a standard tool for the soldiers who use it every day, but leave many mysteries and revelations to be explored throughout the Bloodfest series in upcoming books.

There are a lot of diverse and interesting characters in this novel. What was your favorite character to write for and why?

I wanted a diverse but small cast, and as Call of the Conjurer was written as a prequel, there were a few key characters that had to be included. I liked having this chance to re-establish characters like Ace and Shimon, writing about them several years younger where they were different people to how I knew them. Captain Mason was instantly a good character to write about. My aim for him was not to be a typical drill-instructor people might expect. He’s much kinder to the recruits (sometimes chastised for being so), but still has to be tough at times. He’s a warrior, and a powerful spell caster. He’s fatherly and considerate, though in private he is a very solemn individual with a huge burden on his conscience. His inner turmoil is a big undercurrent throughout the story, and becomes more impactful to the whole plot towards the end. I enjoyed writing Gretel as well. I wasn’t sure where she was supposed to go at first; how she would develop, but I wanted to write a character who is initially perceived as a snarky, aloof ‘Goth’ but actually has a lot of personality and depth. She’s full of surprises, and I’ve had a lot of feedback from people saying she was their favourite part of the book.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

The next book is Typhoon of Fire, which is finished and in the proof editing stage right now. The story follows the surviving recruits from Call of the Conjurer several years later as fully fledged soldiers now on active duty. They’re on a mission in an arid setting, living rough and facing greater threats in hostile conditions. “Hell on Earth” is a big theme of the story, and the whole book is a strange mix of Vietnam War films and Dante’s Inferno. It is definitely grimier and darker than Call of the Conjurer was, taking away the safety nets and really pushing the characters into some difficult situations while expanding on the whole Bloodfest universe even more.


 

Character Bios: Calbert Mason

The head training instructor of Myrtle Base. Gentle natured and world weary,  Mason can summon loyal creatures in a safe environment, allowing new recruits to practice their spell casting combat.

He is a fatherly figure, to the point of caring far too much about those under his charge.00004 Calbert Mason

Captain Mason examined his reflection, adjusting his jacket lapels symmetrically. He’d been there for about an hour now, just getting ready; taking a look at himself in the mirror and admiring his finest qualities. He felt ridiculous doing so, but needed to psyche himself up.

Calbert Mason was born under a different name in Jamaica. He hails from a small inland village where his parents worked various small jobs throughout the year. Home life was very stressful, and his father was particularly aggressive. Calbert had two older brothers who worked from a young age, though one of them disappeared when he was five. Being the youngest child, Calbert felt like nothing more than another  mouth to feed.

It was around this time that Calbert was visited by a creature formed of light; an angel, he concluded, unaware of his ability to conjure spirits into our world.

The creature called itself Vaschelim, and Calbert was instantly enthralled. Its mere presence helped him to feel safe. Though Vaschelim stayed invisible for the most part, other people saw sometimes it, though no one could comprehend what this strange spectre was. It was often dismissed.

No one truly believed what they saw, except for Calbert.

Calbert joined the Jamaica Defence Force at 18, seeing few other prospects available. He took on the name Mason; the title of a creator, because it sounded strong. Only months into his career he was approached by a different faction; a group who called themselves the Hidden Government, and they made a very convincin argument to transfer Calbert into their own private army. They told him of his ability to summon; that other creatures like Vaschelim existed, and Calbert could control them all.

And contol them he could, forming stong bonds to particular monsters such as the legendary Golem of Yom Tov Lipmann Heller and strange, indescribable spirit wraiths. Vaschelim stayed by his side constantly, but throughout his service Mason never felt like a soldier. He did not enjoy killing, and was eventually able to secure a role as a combat instructor. Perhaps the position had always been intended for him.

He had once been a young, foolish boy. Now he is an experienced Combat Instructor looking into a mirror to practise his steely, piercing gaze aimed at trouble makers.

Mason, as he is known now, still harbours a resentment for his family. Maybe he feels ashamed for leaving, or perhaps he recognises a bit of his father in himself when he feels angered. Mason is generally calm, but can snap in the face of overwhelming injustice. His feelings for the Hidden Government have dropped over the years, and reached their lowest in 2001, but he knows he is stuck in his place. His only solace is to keep his recruits safe, but ultimately his job is to train them up to confront certain death.

Mason bides his time, doing the best he can. He knows he can do nothing more, but he holds onto hope. Hope for what, exactly, he isn;t sure.


Creation Facts:

  • In early drafts for what was code named Bloodfest 0, Mason was much younger and the Captain of Omega Squad. Omega Squad was made up of trainees, including Ace and Shimon, and were immediately deployed into combat. The whole second half of Call of the Conjurer was once the entire story, before I went back and created the training facility scenario. It made more sense that way.
  • He rarely uses weapons, instead commanding his conjurer beasts to act as supportive units. The shotgun he uses is purely symobilc, for the sake of ‘passing the torch’ when the time comes.

Character Bios: Tiffany Milich

… she preferred to keep her head down in active duty situations. Whilst on base, Tiffany seemed to come alive more – offering to fulfil the mundane tasks that needed doing day to day. She loved to take care of the little jobs, the ones nobody would notice.

A bright, quiet young woman with a fantastic mind. She remembers everything in perfect detail, choosing to employ this skill to learn as much as she can.

When introduced in ‘Call of the Conjurer’, Tiffany comes across as rather avoidant, maybe even a little abrasive towards anyone trying to get to know her. I tried to keep her out of focus, until she slowly opens up to the rest of the team and becomes a vital player in ‘Typhoon of Fire’.

For years Tiffany had no idea that she was special. Everybody around her generally regarded her uncanny mind to just ‘being smart’. Everybody said so; friends, family, and the jealous bully types.

Tiffany had a humble upbringing. Her family were ordinary, and she had hoped to become a doctor, but couldn’t due to the costs of studying. Instead, she entered the military to become medical personnel. It was only when she was ushered into the Hidden Government Army that Tiffany knew she might be more than just ‘smart’. She is told that her memory is perfect, able to recall the smallest details that one might not even notice at the time. Tiffany also displays adept magical combat, demonstrating a natural talent right away.

Despite all the praise, she tries to keep a low profile, fearing that people will regard her as boastful and bigheaded. Still, she has a nervous compulsion to correct people when they are mistaken and feels embarrassed for doing do. She tries to keep her head in books, learning all she can about any variety of subjects – with the ulterior motive of avoiding social situations.

I’m always spouting facts! It’s like… it needs to escape! I’m always rabbiting on. It must be very annoying.

Thankfully the other recruits are receptive and welcoming. Ace in particular wants to bring the group together and tries to encourage some confidence out of Tiffany, acting as wing man to his smitten buddy Shimon, but doesn’t quite succeed.

Thankfully, Shimon manages to speak up, and the  two of them mesh right away. Tiffany takes to Shimon quickly, naive in romance and charmed by this boy who shows her interest. For all that she can read in books, nothing compares to first hand experience.

Where Shimon is darkness, Tiffany is light. Together they are like ying and yang; an ideal pairing who need one another and play off each other perfectly. But with Tiffany’s ambitions, Shimon’s unique abilities, and their relationship embroiled in the sercret military service, the two might be separated at any time. Their lives are at the whim of higher powers. Can there be a happy ending?

 


Creation Facts:

  • It took me awhile to stumble on a first name for Tiffany. While documenting her orignal design to computer many years ago, I noticed the ‘.Tiff’ file extension and settled on that.
  • ‘Milich’ deviated from the word millet, mostly because it sounds nice, but also because millet is earthly and full of potential and growth.

 

It Starts With An Introduction

Hello.

If you have found this page then it was probably by accident or things are going well for the Bloodfest team.

Introductions are always fiddly, forced things. Sometimes it is best for facts to divulge over time. Sometimes they change along the way. I for one am an author named Ryan Grimbly. I am also a Freelance Digital Animator and a Run-Off Insurance Business Data Analyst.

I used to work in a factory, and once had a job being chase by satellites. At least they told me it was a real job. I had to wear a funny hat with an antenna linked to a GPS tracking device.

I’m sure some time in the future my job will have changed again. A job cannot define us; that’s why introductions can be hard. One of the first questions asked is usually ‘So, what do you do for a living?’

I live for a living. We all live for a living. I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend – we watch a lot of films and play old video games. Over this weekend we watched Jacob’s Ladder and then Mr Magoo. We played one of the newer Silent Hill games and almost had time for Dr Mario.

I’m 30 now. I used to do a lot of going out, but not so much anymore. We’re saving up for a house and talking about mortgage plans. That seems to be what happens when you grow up, but you still hold on to childhood dreams.

My dream was always Bloodfest.

Wait… ok that sounds a bit sinister. Bloodfest was a claymation zombie comedy film me and my friends spent hours working on after school. Lots of monsters popping out of the floor and chomping on people, and the army have to wipe them all out. We were 11 and thought it was hilarious. Looking at the modern age where zombies and zombie comedy seems to be a thing that comes and goes continuously, I know we aren’t the only ones.

That’s enough for the moment. I’ll post a follow up introduction getting to the heart of the matter soon. I’ve written books, three in total, for the revitalised series. Re-awoken, re-risen if you will. My dream is still Bloodfest… the characters, the plot, the creatures and entire world has stuck with me and evolved with me.

And I want to share it with everybody. I want everybody to know Bloodfest.