The Girl With The Stick: A Stolen Character Profile

jessica titone, stolen, wren, ya fantasy romance, watercolor, painting

An ageless girl with a forgotten past - Wren’s an engima, that’s for sure.  She’s the first person Ella meets when she crosses over into Arcadia.  How long Wren’s lived there, no one knows. Suffice to say that it’s a long time.  

She gave a little sigh and assessed me with narrowed eyes.  As if she’d concluded I wasn’t a threat, she said, “Come on, we’d better get going,” and turned to leave.   I hung back, reluctant to follow a stranger intent on leading me to God knows where.  After a few paces, she looked over her shoulder and said, “This way.  Let’s go.”

“Well, you can stay out here if you want, but you won’t last long.  Especially when it gets dark. So, if I were you, I’d start walking.”
“But…I don’t know you or where we’re going.  I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Wren.”
“Like the bird?  Did your mother actually name you that?”
“No, I chose it,” she retorted, adding, “And I’m taking you somewhere safe.”
“How do I know I can trust you?”
She shrugged.  “You don’t.  But I don’t see anyone else around to help. Might as well take your chances.”

Wren was fierce and independent before her journey into Arcadia, but living in its landscape shaped her into a force to be reckoned with. She's an expert survivalist - the Bear Grylls of the Stolen universe. She claims she learned everything from Liesel, and while it's true that this was the source of her initial education, Wren surpassed her mentor's talents. Once Liesel was gone, she was left utterly alone in the wilderness. She survived just fine (as Ella assesses early on in their friendship), but Wren's capable facade hides a soft heart that's desperately lonely.

I should have stopped right then.  I should have seen how her face fell. How her jaw clenched.  How her muscles tensed and her hands curled in fists at her sides. But I didn’t. I blathered on in my own self-seeking way, not noticing the effect of my words.  “Seems odd that they’d not tell you about it until it was too late.  Did you not want to leave?  Is that it?  Did they leave without you because they didn’t think you’d want to go with them?”
“Enough!” exploded from her mouth. “They left a note and then they were gone. That’s all I know.”  She angrily fled the room.  The open door temporarily let in the patter of rain before it slammed shut again.

In my original outline for Stolen, Wren was actually a forest sprite or fairy. She was pure innocence, born in Arcadia, and entirely magical in herself. Her purpose was to serve as a spirit guide for Ella. When transforming the loose ideas of the outline into actual narrative, I found Stolen becoming more grounded in reality. Wren's kept her role as spirit guide, but I like her far better as another human victim of Gwenyth's song. It allows her to have a backstory, and my, how I love a good backstory.

The days blurred together until I couldn’t confidently say how many had passed since I went through the attic door.  Two weeks? A month?  Longer?  My contentment had muddied the passage of time, but my desire to return home never left.   It consumed even the happiest of moments.  If I left, Wren would be alone again.  She’d gotten on just fine before I came, but condemning her to a life of solitude felt heartless.  
I thought of taking her with me.  She’d find it difficult to acclimate to the modern metropolis of London, but a country life might suit her.  I broached the subject casually, asking, “Do you ever think of going back?”
“No.  I used to, but not anymore. I don’t remember anything about where I came from, but somehow I don’t think I’d fit in that world anymore.”

Speaking of backstory, I have one brewing for Wren. Most likely it will be contained within a collection of short stories that I'm currently penning. So if you've read Stolen and have an affinity for her, stay tuned for more.

jessica titone, stolen, wren, ya fantasy romance, watercolor, painting

Artist note:  All images are my property, created with paint, water, and my talented left hand.  Photoshop was employed to add text and mitigate the effects of poor lighting.  The source model was the same, but looks different due to me being extremely rusty at painting. The second go (picture with text) went more smoothly.

Wren is a character in the full length YA Fantasy Romance novel, Stolen.  Check out Stolen here:

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