Writing Every Day in August: Day 23

Wake me up before you Indigo-go.

I’ve had the idea for an Elf named “Indigo” for a while now, and even considered using the idea as a basis for a Dungeons & Dragons character.

So, I figured now’d be a good time to play around with that character.

However, part of me doesn’t really like Indigo has the name for a Fantasy character, given that the etymology is too reliant on real-world etymology. The short version is that Indigo ultimately derives from the Greek for “Indian dye” — the dye that makes the colour originates in India.

And, obviously, there’s no India in Realmgard.

On the other hand, Greco-Roman geographical knowledge being what it is, “India” also means “the East” in a general, non-specific sense (as in, for example, the Indies) and the Greco-Roman notion of what qualifies as “Indian” doesn’t necessarily correspond exactly to modern definitions either geographically or in terms of national borders.

So, there’s precedent that in Realmgard, Indigo just derives from “East”. Or, I may just be overthinking this whole thing and it’s probably perfectly valid just to define “Indigo” as “a kind of blue.”

So, anyway, here’s my character named Indigo.

All her life, Indigo has lived on the grounds of the Magological Academy of Realmgard.

Taken in as a foundling by the Academy’s Dean of Herbology & Pharmacology, Dean Florinda Grimsby, Indigo has grown up surrounded by most of the brightest magical minds in Realmgard — minds that do not seem to count her mother as one of their own.

Indigo has noticed that her mother is popular with her students, but seems to be viewed as a constant source of vexation and much clucking of tongues among most of the Academy’s other faculties members — with her unorthodox teaching methods, multi-volume treatises on the recreational applications of certain plants, yet other multi-volume treatises speculating on the thoughts and feelings of those same plants, the large earrings, beaded necklaces, bangles on her wrists, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of paisley headscarves.

Although Indigo loves her mother, she suspects there are several compelling reasons for her appraisal by the other faculty members.

After a long day of lectures, Florinda takes her daughter out to the hill just beyond the Academy’s campus. It is a clear night, with the moon full and the stars bright overhead.

Florinda falls back onto the grass, happily spreading herself out on the ground. She reaches up to the sky, as if trying to catch the moon in her hands.

“Listen closely, Indigo,” she urges. “Can you hear it? The harmony of all that is? The melody of the cosmos?”

Indigo stares blankly at her mother.

“Just be, darling,” Florinda says.

“Like this?” Indigo asks.

“Let yourself go,” Florinda urges. “Feel the Music of the Spheres, darling. Let it move you to your very soul.”

“Like this?” Indigo asks, shifting onto one foot and holding her arms out.

“Don’t think. Just do,” Florinda explains, ultimately actually explaining nothing. “You’re a human be-ing. Not a human think-ing.”

“Like this?” Indigo asks, patting her head while simultaneously rubbing her stomach.

Florinda sighs and rises from the grass. She pulls her daughter into a loving embrace. “Oh, Indigo Lunar Eclipse Grimsby. What am I going to do with you?”

Indigo has asked herself that very question many, many times. Well, not you much what her mother will do, so much as what she’s doing at any given moment, and why.

Suddenly, Indigo gasps happily. “Mom! I feel it! The, uh, cosmos stuff.”
She feels an odd, though not unpleasant tingling going across her ears.

“No, darling,” Florinda says. “That’s just an inchworm crawling across you.”

“Eww!” Indigo cries. “Mom! Get it! Get it! Smoosh it!”

“How many times do I have to tell you, darling,” Florinda says, letting the inchworm crawl onto her hands, “bugs aren’t for smooshing.

They’re living things and everything that lives — whether it has two legs, or four legs, or a thousand legs, or no legs at all — is entitled to our out compassion and respect.”

“But it’s gross!” Indigo protests.

“Well, darling, maybe it thinks you’re gross,” Florinda notes.

“Everything can be anything, from a certain point of view.

She safely deposits the inchworm on a nearby tree branch.

“Godspeed, my little friend,” she says gently. “Stay being.”

On the one hand, I can’t help but notice I’ve been writing a lot of adopted characters lately. On the other hand, “Chosen One Orphan” is pretty well-established in the genre. I guess well-adjusted people just don’t grow up to save the world…

Also, I think this is the most plausible way to end up with a character named “Indigo Grimsby.” Of course, her mom is a hippie, so she may not even need to be an Elf in the first place.

Honestly, at this point, I think the thing I have most concretely worked out is just the name “Indigo Grimsby.”

Also, for clarification about that “human be-ing/human think-ing” thing: “Human” is not a specific race in Realmgard.

I consider everything that would be a distinct race in something like Dungeons & Dragons (Elves, Dwarves, Goblin) to all be classes within the category “Human”. Basically, in Realmgard, “Human” is a catch-all term for, essentially, featherless sapient bipeds.

We’re 23 days in, you should know what to do by now:

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