**struggles to find words amidst all the feels**
Ok, weird author moment: Half the time when I think of Raine, my brain flashes back to baby Raine, when Connor and Maria first found her as a baby, having just passed through the Void after a car accident on Earth. They had no idea where she was from. No idea who she was. But they saw a sweet baby in need of a family, and so they adopted her (which was great and all, until a young doctor Jaxton in the Doldra palace tried to hunt down Finn and that ended poorly, but I digress)… The rest of the time I think of Raine, my mind immediately pulls up the moment that she’s cutting through bandits and Ben’s in her wake, in utter awe of this terrifyingly amazing swordswoman.
Ugh, I love Raine so much.
I love her relationship with Finn, how they’ve grown into a tight family, them against the world…and yet them for the world. How she protects him, and he protects her. How she’s her own woman, and she cares for others. How she’s strong on her own, and also (eventually) opens up to teaming with others, not just her Papa. She goes through hard stuff. Growing up on the move because of her origins, which means not really having friends at all. Living under the shadow that one wrong move could endanger herself and her Papa. Having the friendships she’s made be torn away, not just once, but twice.
And yet she endures.
How many women (and men) are like her? Fighting one battle after another? Believing it’s them alone to face the dark? Facing their shadows with a selected few by their side–only to have something happen that means they’re alone again? Having one’s dignity and agency stripped away?
It’s hard. It’s lonely. And scary.
There is far more of me in Raine than I’d planned for (no, I’ve never been in the Hollows or a served time in a prison, thanks). But there are several story threads of her arc that surprised me, and which I actually fought against most vehemently, because I don’t want to face that right now, kthanksbye. (Haaa, joke’s on me. What best serves the story–not the author–is what gets to happen) But you know what? That’s OK. That’s good. I’ve actually gotten a few messages about Raine, how her arc was an encouragement to the reader. That they felt seen. Understood. That their honor is theirs.
Family is a choice. Honor cannot be stolen. Trust is a gift.