The little parasite (I say lovingly) that is my son is sucking my energy today so I'm just gonna get right to it. It's character rambling time, this time with my favorite boy, Raeth.
Raeth, or Tiraethsi if you want to get on his bad side quick, is one of the major players of Tide and, personally, a favorite of mine. A siren of the Dragon Court, he's known for his cunning and merciless nature, and for parading around his "girls", some of the most beautiful women of the Court whose exact jobs are more or less unknown (though not for a lack of theorizing and gossip.) Raeth embodies everything about the tidespeople that Hania's village fears: beauty, danger, power, and a penchant for seeing people as pieces in whatever game he feels like playing.
With his goals and motives unclear, it's hard to say whether he's someone to trust or avoid--and being a siren doesn't help that. He's far from shy about the music in his very voice, or about the many things he could do with it if he chose to.
Raeth gets a spot among my favorite characters for a few reasons. He was incredibly fun to write; he has a way of leading every situation he's in however he wants it, and is very good at going unnoticed when he does. He's opportunistic and conniving and brilliant, and likes to be two steps ahead of everybody else. He can play any role he feels he needs to--friend, master, leader, weapon--and does it all with a kind of snark and dark humor he can't quite get rid of.
Check out some of the music that inspired Raeth:
Meet Raeth in the sneak peek below, and remember, Tide is available for sale now!
He ran one finger down the grimy wall of my cell and inspected it, cocking his head. As he did, he began humming, so soft at first I wasn’t sure I really heard it, but the sound grew louder. The melody was slow, smooth, growing and echoing in my head until I could do nothing but listen to it. It was a song like the ocean, like the wind, sweet and stormy and exotic. In the first seconds of it, I wondered how it was an answer but then it drove all thought from my head. It didn’t matter whether it was an answer or not, I wanted to keep listening.
Then my knees buckled, my legs too weak and dazed to hold me. The impact when I hit the floor jolted the realization into me at the same instant he stopped. My head cleared, the lovely, foggy admiration replaced by cold terror. I scrambled up, tripping over the chains in my hurry.
“Get out,” I gasped, feeling my back hit the wall opposite him. “Now.”
“You’re not in any position to be ordering me about, now, are you?”
“You’re a siren.”
He smirked. “Smart girl. Now keep that up and pay attention.”
“I don’t care what a siren has to say, get out.” Despite the brave words my voice shook. I kept against the wall; I couldn’t avoid being cornered, not here, but I could stay as far from him as possible. As if a simple distance of a couple yards would prevent him from killing me if he chose. Aven’s warning echoed loud and clear in my mind.
“Look.” The siren stepped toward me again and I flinched. “You and I both know that if I wanted to hurt you it’d be done already. A few words, a bit of song, and I’d be able to make you do anything I wanted. But I haven’t. Do you think there might be a reason?”
Of course there was. But I didn’t like any of the potential reasons I could think of. I decided not to suggest them and asked, “Who are you?”
“Always with the most boring questions, you humans,” he muttered but answered after a brief pause. “Call me Raeth.”
I forced myself to relax a fraction, though I didn’t take my eyes off him. “Hania.”
“I know. The Court gossips.” He turned away, strolling along the wall separating me from the next prisoner as if exploring the tiny space. The strange light danced across him, and where it hit bare skin revealed tiny scales for an instant before he moved away. “You are the…whatever you are, of our queen’s new plaything. And you’ve come to free him, I presume.”
“Do you think you can manage it?” A pit in my insides said no, I couldn’t. I had no hope of standing up to people like this. Just looking at Raeth made my legs watery with fear; I couldn’t win out against his queen. The siren must have understood my answer in my expression, because he nodded. “I thought not. That’s why I’m here.”
“Why you’re here?”
I stared, disbelieving. Why would a siren want to help me? Unless he meant to give me some sort of false hope, get me close to saving Tobin to make crushing me all the sweeter. A sick game? “Why should I trust you?”
“Because you’ll die if you don’t.”