Teena Unsten (and her sister Leeda): Character Bio and Teaser

Teena is often described as “sprite-like” due to her airy movements and ability to move so lightly on her feet. Red-headed and on the plump side, she is nonetheless quite agile, and known throughout Fontferry for her hospitality and tendency (welcomed or not) to fuss over her guests, making sure they are perfectly comfortable. She considers her work not an occupation but a calling, and takes great pride in providing comfort and a good night’s rest to weary travelers.

I’m excited to write this bio, because I’ve always considered Teena one of my favorite characters in my YA fantasy “The Crimson League,” as minor of one as she ended up being. She has courage and quite a bit of pluck. She’s not afraid to speak out when something needs saying, and she’s as resourceful as any member of the resistance movement as well, which I respect about her. As I sit to write this post, I just wrapped up the first draft of the first scene to include her in the final chapter of the Herezoth Trilogy (working title is “The Sorcerer’s Rebellion,” but I’m not happy with it and intend to make a change.)

Not much information is given about Teena’s background in “The Crimson League.” Some more information is given in “The Magic Council,” the novel’s sequel, so I won’t give away any spoilers here, don’t worry.

Teena’s parents were the keepers of the inn she runs as an adult in Fontferry, and she was born and raised there with a sister one year her junior. Teena and Leeda were never very close: they were just too different, far too different. Teena was a serious and studious child, though of average performance in school, while Leeda was more frivolous, more active, and a bit more selfish most times. The exception to this was the genuine gratitude Leeda felt for Teena’s help with her annoying and resented schoolwork, sums and the like. Leeda’s relationships with her family grew more and more strained as she grew older, until finally, at the age of fifteen, Leeda arranged with a group of pilgrims to run away from home and travel to Partsvale in their company, working as their washerwoman. Her decision came as no surprise to her parents, or to Teena, and they respected her decision as a woman a mere year shy of coming of age. Leeda did send word to the inn that she had reached Partsvale safely and intended to remain there, working as a washerwoman at a larger inn than that of her parents. Teena’s mother died of a long illness when Teena was twenty-five. Because she and her husband had run the inn as a joint venture, Teena was able to take over her mother’s responsibilities and was thus prepared to take total control upon her father’s death of a heart attack three years later.

Those who knew Teena as a child, of course, also knew Leeda. And when one day, two decades later, a young, quiet, solemn-looking woman and her husband came to Teena’s inn with an infant whom they left, Teena said the boy was her nephew, born of her good-for-nothing sister in Partsvale. Leeda had sent her the child to raise because she had not planned the birth and wanted nothing to do with her son. Leeda had never once returned to Fontferry. She had been known as a flirt in her youth, so those who remembered her accepted Teena’s story as more than plausible. And so, Vane Unsten grew up in Teena’s care.

Who, in reality, is Vane? Is he Leeda’s son? If you don’t know the answer, read “The Crimson League” to find out! And don’t forget to check out the sequel, “The Magic Council,” when it becomes available in 2013 for more information about Teena’s history–her marriage and daughter alluded to in the first installment.


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