July 1, 2013

The Man Like Atlas

You asked, and so I've decided to fling orderliness to the wind and write my post on the Assassin.  I'm afraid I will have to ignore a few of the questions, but I'll try to give answers to as many as I can, as clearly as I can.

...who exactly is the Assassin, who is he working for, and what is his goal? ...is he [Regina's] love interest?


where is [the Assassin] from, what time period, what is his occupation, does he have a love interest, etc.?

Well, that's certainly all-encompassing!  For a general introduction, the best place to go is his Beautiful People post; I wrote it five or six months ago, but reading over it now, I think it's still pretty accurate.  Not that he hasn't developed and changed since that point in the story itself, but his personality - likes and dislikes, looks and habits - remains the same.  The very old excerpt, on the other hand, has been completely overhauled and no longer provides an accurate picture of either the Assassin or Regina.  I'm considering posting the revised version (though I'm sure it will change again in the drafts to come).

So then, who is the Assassin?  He's a big, cheerful, often childish fellow who has traveled the Western and Eastern Empires and somehow ended up in Britain, possibly because it was the only place in the known world he hadn't visited before.  Throughout the story he is known by a variety of names, including "the blond man," "the man like Atlas," and, yes, his real name.  He has a generally sunny outlook on life, in contrast with Regina's pessimism; and aside from his hazy background, there is nothing about him that would bring his occupation to one's mind.  His path crosses with Regina's by chance, as far as she knows, and he promises to serve her and get her back to her own time - in exchange for a promise that, once he does, she will give him the pocket watch.  On the surface that is his goal, but what he really wants is always a variable. 

At the time when "Regina's personal continuity intersects with his personal continuity," the Assassin does not appear to be working for anyone.  If he had been, however, his employer would have found himself dumped in a heartbeat, for the Assassin is first and foremost...something other than an assassin.  Killing or quack-salving pays the bills, as it were, but they are not the love of his life.  If he suddenly inherited a fortune from all those relatives he doesn't have, he would probably give up at least one of the two vocations.  I'll leave it to you to decide which one.

Love interests!  I see you are trying to sneak in the back door and eliminate the possibilities one by one.  You will next be asking whether the Time King has any love interests, or whether Regina's could possibly be the White Demon, or whether the Fisherman...!  They are all, I think, better bets, for the Assassin is not your typical love interest material.  He is frequently so childish, so lost in his own happy world of diagrams and theories, that whether or not he recognizes Regina as a woman is a debatable point.  Remember that he was partially inspired by Sherlock Holmes, and then don't get your hopes up too high.

Does the Assassin regret any of his kills? 
(To avoid spoilerisms, you can limit this to kills before the story starts.) (But because time-travel, before is problematic, so, to kills before the intersection of his own personal continuity with the personal continuity of Regina, or, in the event, the personal continuities of any other important characters with which his own personal continuity has intersected or will intersect in any sort of way, timey-wimey or otherwise.)

No, the Assassin doesn't regret any of his kills.  That is, he doesn't until he travels back in time with Regina and his personal continuity intersects with those of the people he will eventually kill.  Then he gets to know them and is very cut up in the knowledge that he's going to sneak up behind them on a future dark night and stab their future selves.

But don't worry, he's comforted in the knowledge that once he does, his future self won't regret it.


  1. "Howl's quite heartless, you know."

  2. Owwwww now I feel sorry for him. Puppyish am I right? Probably not.

    1. He can be puppyish. Occasionally he can also be amazing. He is "a terrible mishmash of things". But he doesn't at all mind people feeling sorry for him!

  3. Well that's good; if one must murderize folk for a living it's best not to be encumbered by sentimentality. But I'll admit I was expecting more of the cold, professional, Boba Fett-type murderizer than the "Terribly sorry old chap, nothing personal, just paying the bills, you know, and when this is all over we could go round the corner for a spot of ale, 'cept I'll be fleeing the province and you'll be dead" sort.

    But! Isn't he, in the later state which you describe, actually the future self? As in, his personal continuity has progressed farther at the point when it intersects with his yet-living victims than it had when he killed them? So the future self would be regretting the past kills of the future victims with the comfort that his past self won't regret the killing of his present acquaintances. If I drink another gin & tonic and then go back in time, will that stop the brain wobbles?

    1. The charm of the Assassin, for me, is in his being everything that an assassin should not be and nothing that an assassin should be. Based on the first bit I ever wrote for Tempus Regina - buried in the archives, where it ought to remain - I think he started out being more of your typical killer. Boba Fett-style, because Boba Fett is awesome. But, you know, that's so "done already." Everyone expects an assassin in a black cape. So I gave him a blue one.

      If it's any consolation, it has been an extreme annoyance to Regina. She doesn't condone killing, but it seems to her that if she hires an assassin, darnit, she wants him to act like one!

      And no. I don't think the gin & tonic is going to help. In this instance, I suggest making a beeline for the vodka.

    2. Well, in the frenetic, highly competitive modern world of "murther for hyre" one has to make oneself stand out. Maybe the friendly neighborhood assassin shtick is good for business. But results speak for themselves, and if he gets his man, and without too many inconvenient questions being asked, one really shouldn't quibble over presentation. Or the price, for that matter.

      As it happens, my gin has a higher ABV than my vodka, so I doubt the latter would have lent the mental enhancement necessary to manipulate the space-time continuum, if the former didn't do the trick.

  4. "The Assassin" a "cheerful, often childish fellow" certainly through me off and back to read over that a second time. Wasn't expecting such a description for such a name, but I'm very intrigued by this Sherlock-inspired character.

    1. His real name, which is revealed in the story, fits him much better than his title. Even "the man like Atlas" fits him better, actually! He's a joy to write, and I hope he disappoints no expectations. Or, at least, that he will simply overthrow the expectations and give the reader something better. I'd be all right with that, too.

    2. Ahh, I see ;)
      You seem to put an excessive (well, is there such a thing?) amount of thought and research into your writing, so I at least doubt he will disappoint!

  5. "He's comforted in the knowledge that...his future self won't regret it." Hahahaha!

    Well! The Assassin is not at all how I envisioned him. "Childish" and "cheerful" are far cries from what I imagined. The title "Assassin" suggests something more evil and sinister. I must have made up my own mental image based on his name! :)

    So who is the Time King? And the White Demon and the Fisherman? This is the first I've heard of any of them. I'm afraid I must be more ignorant of the main story line than I originally thought...

    1. The Assassin really does conjure up a particular mental image, and it's jolly good fun turning it on its head! Perhaps if I post the section where Regina first meets him, it will help you guys to get your minds around his character.

      I always forget that I haven't talked much about these other characters: I've been rubbing shoulders with them for more than half a year, so I just assume that everyone else knows who they are, too! The only introduction that the Time King and the White Demon have gotten is here, in my post about the theme songs of Tempus Regina's characters. It doesn't help much, but it's a start!

  6. I don't understand that this, a favourite post about a favourite character, should be one that I should take so long commenting on. Oh, Abigail, I like the sound of the Assassin so much - I am glad he isn't quite the the complete ruthless, sinister killer the word Assassin conjures up, because from the tiny winy snippets you've shared I have also felt he has that amusing childishness about him, at least from Regina's point-of-view that is how it seemed, and it was one of the things that truly fascinated me about his character. Oh, spoons and fiddlesticks! I am hooked. Line, hook and sinker.

    He is frequently so childish, so lost in his own happy world of diagrams and theories, that whether or not he recognizes Regina as a woman is a debatable point. Remember that he was partially inspired by Sherlock Holmes, and then don't get your hopes up too high. this, this just too much fun for words, and no, I did not know he was inspired a bit by Sherlock Holmes (WOW!), though I did know you had Jeremy Brett as his model who is really Holmes after all, right? I can't imagine but that he is going to be an amazing character, but you have just made the ache of wanting to know him and the whole story inside me a lot worse. Oh well!


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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